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The mysterious value of homes with a river view

A phrase often used by estate agents when describing homes is ‘with a river view’, but it’s also one that is open to wide interpretation.

I have valued flats which do indeed have splendid and uninterruptedriver views but I have also seen many properties from which the only way to see anything vaguely wet is through a skylight, perched on the back of a chair.

All were advertised as having river views and technically, I suppose that’s correct.

I have never understood why so many buyers are prepared to shell out extra money for a property with an oblique view of a grubby bit of river. Of course, a view of the sea is quite different because at least you have waves and tides to look at.

About 20 years ago I was instructed by a big lender that is still going strong to value a dwelling situated on an island in the middle of the Thamesnear Kingston. As a matter of interest, islands in the Thames are known asaits, for some unfathomable reason.

At the appointed time I turned up ata boatyard beneath Kingston Bridge to be met a character who closely resembled Compofrom TV series Last of the Summer Wine.

He sported a beard, smoked a pipe and conversed in aform of speech I thought died out in the 15th century.

The boat was quite safe, I waspromised, and the holes in the bottom were nothing to worry about. This vessel had even survived the ravages of Dunkirk, I was assured.

So watching carefully for icebergs, we set off and about 10 minutes later I was deposited on the corner of an ait on which stood a wooden shed. I admit it was a nice shed as sheds go, but it was a shed nonetheless.

Perhaps wisely, Compo did not come ashore and left me to my own devices so like a true professional I measured up, noted the accommodation and braved the return trip.

When I got back to the office I rang the chief surveyorof the lender concerned and much to my surprisehe was prepared to consider it as a suitable security if the structure had a life expectancy greater than the loan period, which it did, and its value exceeded the proposed advance, which again it did on site value alone.

So for all I know the deal went ahead and I can tell you that the shed is still there and can clearly be seen from Portsmouth Road when you drivesouth from Kingston.

At around the same time I valued a rather more grand timber house, this time occupying it’s own substantial island.

It was owned by actor Edward Woodward who, if you are my age,you will remember played the policeman in the film The Wicker Man.


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