Forget everything you think you know about first time buyers: Gail Bedwell has just become a homeowner – at the age of 53.

Gail and her partner Tony Jinks successfully bid on the property at an auction conducted by Cotswolds estate agent Moore Allen & Innocent on Thursday, April 26.

Oaklands, a two bedroom detached bungalow in quarter of an acre at Minety, carried a guide price of £230,000.

But after some tough bidding, determined Gail, who held bidding card number 1, snapped up the property for £297,000 – just £3,000 off her upper limit.

And being a first time buyer, with a property under £300,000, Gail won’t be expected to pay stamp duty, which would have added £5,000 to the cost of her new home.

Gail – a lifelong renter – said an inheritance windfall had given her the opportunity to buy her first house.

Renovations will be carried out by Tony, who grew up in the village and can remember the bungalow being erected in 1961. He was a  stonemason and general handyman for the Charlton Park Estate for 51 years and also worked on the farmhouse and a similar bungalow bungalow either side of Oaklands.

Gail was delighted with her purchase. “As the auctioneer called my bid for the first time I was just thinking ‘drop the hammer, drop the hammer’,” she said. “When he did I just burst into tears – I am so relieved and happy.”

The property was described by auctioneer Roy Bowyer as “quite unusual – a small bungalow on a big plot with lovely views.”

Elsewhere in the auction, a grand looking period house in 0.37 acres at Elkstone was snapped up by London commercial property solicitor Martin Smith.

High Cross carried an auction guide price of £330,000, but some very determined bidding saw the gavel fall at £415,000.

The three bedroom property extends to just over 1,100 sq ft. It sits at almost 900 feet above sea level and benefitted, said Roy, from “the most incredible views.” On a clear day those views extend to the Marlborough Downs, around 30 miles away.

Originally built as a pair of cottages in the 1860s, High Cross was converted into a single house in the early 1900s. The vendor and his family occupied the house for 64 years.

For Martin, who grew up Prestbury, it was a second attempt at buying a property at auction – and his first success. He described the auction process as “an exciting experience.”

And work will soon begin on three new townhouses at the former Bennett’s Garage site on Cirencester’s Victoria Road, after developers fought hard for the 0.1 acre parcel of land, far exceeding the £450,000 guide price to settle at £555,000.

The land was sold on behalf of Timothy Bennett, the third-generation garage owner whose grandfather started the business in 1931.

Tim closed the garage at Christmas, when he retired at the age of 65. Planning permission was soon after granted for the erection of three two-bedroom town houses, with each house extending to 170 sq m over three storeys.

Roy said the sale demonstrated the desirability of town centre plots: “Twenty years ago everyone wanted to live in the villages. Now in-town living is highly sought after.”


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