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Jimmy James

Prepare To Be Sick, Kirtie Alsopp Guardian Profile

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1769822,00.html

"Yes, I feel passionately about the struggle of first-time buyers."

"I want to help home buyers."

Allsopp is not sure how far she will support the Conservatives. She likes to say she votes "house buyer".

"Because potential sellers will be put off sticking their houses on the market, prices will soar as the supply of houses falls.

Buyers will be put off, too: "The idea of someone looking at a survey before they have viewed a property, it's nuts, because your average Joe - without being patronising - is completely freaked out by a survey." Buyers won't save much money either because mortgage lenders will not automatically accept the home condition report. Many purchasers will have to pay for a separate valuation despite having Hips."

I think a few House Price Crash letters to the Guardian attacking good old Krustie are much needed

letters@guardian.co.uk

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1769822,00.html

"Yes, I feel passionately about the struggle of first-time buyers."

"I want to help home buyers."

Allsopp is not sure how far she will support the Conservatives. She likes to say she votes "house buyer".

"Because potential sellers will be put off sticking their houses on the market, prices will soar as the supply of houses falls.

Buyers will be put off, too: "The idea of someone looking at a survey before they have viewed a property, it's nuts, because your average Joe - without being patronising - is completely freaked out by a survey." Buyers won't save much money either because mortgage lenders will not automatically accept the home condition report. Many purchasers will have to pay for a separate valuation despite having Hips."

I think a few House Price Crash letters to the Guardian attacking good old Krustie are much needed

letters@guardian.co.uk

Can't wait for hi def telly then. She claims she'll move to radio when that kicks in.

Clangnuts

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In the interest of balance I like the Guardian Newspapers review of Kirstie's book from 04. Sorry, I know this is old news but well worth a re-read.

http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/ho...1297453,00.html

Sunday September 5, 2004

The Guardian

Hot property

She was the poor little rich girl with the stunted social antennae, but then she grew up. Harriet Lane meets her ex-Bedales schoolmate Kirstie Allsopp - TV presenter, private location scout and 21st-century dykon

There is a protocol to interviews like this one. The rule is that the subject must always confide that they were the odd one out at school, the local geek, the misfit. Keira Knightley was teased for being a late reader; people ran away from Erin O'Connor screaming in fright; and when Jamie Oliver walked into class, everyone chanted, 'Special needs!' Apparently. But when TV's property Miss Moneypenny Kirstie Allsopp says, 'I was the weird one at school,' I know she was right; I was there.

Kirstie wore velvet hairbands and kilts and Puffa bodywarmers, when everyone else wore ripped jeans and DMs and grandad overcoats. She had framed pictures of domestic pets on her bedside locker, liked mum music (Elkie Brookes, Neil Diamond), dropped nobby names with abandon, and possessed the sort of ringing RP that meant Pony Club and Sloane Square and shooting in Scotland. She was pure rah, an entirely different sort of posh from the craven, glottal-stopping norm, with our Smiths tapes and Indian throws and patchouli joss sticks from Camden Market. The thing was, Kirstie simply couldn't morph. In a sea of fakers and canny survivalists, she was unable to dissemble. She was who she was (just as, on telly today, co-presenting a rather authoritative property show, she is entirely herself: a slightly revved-up, camper version for sure, but still authentically Kirstie). It's obvious in retrospect how splendid an achievement that was. It demonstrates a confidence of identity that few 15-year-olds possess. But at the time, a group of us danced around her in the dormitory, singing Hall and Oates' 'Rich Girl', while Kirstie went red with fury and indignation and, oh Lord, a sort of agonised pleasure, because she was always, always hungry for attention.

It's not usual to begin an interview with an apology, but this one has to. Kirstie, 31, dismisses it with a cheerful snort. She has long since made her peace with a fairly miserable adolescence. 'It just happened that I wasn't good at schools. That's why I went to so many. I just struggled. Mum said she saw it when I was little, she says I had little stunted social antennae from birth. Out of some children's heads spring these social antennae, with state-of-the-art bells and whistles. Well, one of my social antennae was deformed, and the other was stunted. I grew them. But it was a struggle.'

There's another pin-sharp impression I have of teenage Kirstie, and that's of her gallumphing attempts to get on socially. She was always a trier - the nicest maths report she ever got said, 'It's such a pity Kirstie won't pass her GCSE because she really has worked hard,' - and when it came to making friends, she was precision-guided. This transparent ambition enraged people more than anything else, but you sensed she didn't even know she was doing it. She liked pretty things; she wanted to be friends with the pretty girls. 'Mum said it was agonising: at every new school, she'd see me make a beeline for the coolest kid in the class, absolutely determined to be that person's best friend, come hell or high water.'

She has always been a dog-type person, full-throttle, heart-on-sleeve: apparently unembarrassable. So she crashed that precocious clique with all the subtlety of a wrecking ball. There was some resistance, and I was forever coming across Kirstie in corridors and on stairwells, in noisy torrents of tears because she'd been cut out of a breakfast date (any normal mortal would have lain low, hoping such a slight wouldn't become public knowledge). But Kirstie's best friends are still those girls: framed photographs of them are scattered throughout her flat. Only the other day, one of them told her the only reason they're all still in touch is because Kirstie is so good at organising get-togethers, and 'I nearly cried. I felt that was such a cool thing. That means I've grown my antennae.'

Her flat is in a quiet street in North Kensington - just the sort of street she'd pick out for a punter on her house-hunting show Location, Location, Location, since it is equidistant to both chichi and scuzzy neighbourhoods - is also decorated exactly as you would expect. It's a million miles from minimalism, packed with chintz, stripes, good oils, bead-and-butt woodwork in pearly blues and creams, corduroy sofas, snapshots of people in evening dress and cushions so excessively plumped, in that rah tradition, that they are practically spherical. A one-bed country pile in west London, it is rather definitely not groovy. 'Ladylike' is the word that springs to mind, though its owner, who had friends over last night and so is repeatedly hijacked by a succession of yawns and burps, does her best to undermine that impression.

Kirstie's dad is Lord Hindlip, the former chairman of Christie's, a dashing auctioneer who roared with laughter when Ali G asked him why Van Gogh cut off his *****, and shouted, 'Sock it to 'em!' when a black velvet Catherine Walker dress raced past its $50,000 estimate during the 1994 sale of Diana's wardrobe. Her mother, Fiona, is an interior designer, a cat type who believed 'rather sweetly, that it was the other kids who were out of step, and if she found the right school, there'd be other kids who would be, like me - special. It's a thing all parents feel, you expect your child to be recognised as, basically, dazzling. So she waited for that to happen to me, and it didn't.'

Kirstie left Bedales, where I knew her, after GCSEs. She studied for A levels in a desultory fashion, while working part time answering the phones in an estate agency. That was when she started to feel happy about herself. 'As soon as I was in a working environment, with grown-ups, I was being judged by how hard I worked, and how well I did. The practical was suddenly a good thing, and I have semi-domestic talents, I suppose.'

A variety of the usual premarital Sloaney pasttimes kept her busy for the next few years. When she was 19, she got a job with the flamboyant interior designer Nicky Haslam, which paid 50 quid a week. 'Complete baptism of fire. He'd lost his licence, so I was driving him all over the place, getting involved in one decorating disaster after another.' On one occasion, the lilac silk tenting they had prepared for the VIP dining room at London Fashion Week was condemned by the fire officer an hour before the lunch was due to start.

Then she went to work at Country Living magazine. She was an editorial junior on nine-and-a-half grand, and in many respects it was like a sort of finishing school with lunch money. Not only did her dyslexia put a damper on any advancement up the masthead, but, worse, much worse, there were no men. Everyone menstruated in synch. She didn't have a boyfriend the entire time she was there. The statistic that 40 per cent of people meet their partner through work haunted her throughout her time at the magazine. At school, she had never turned up for any of her careers advice sessions. What was the point? She was going to leave school at 16 and get married, and 'everyone knew that. I really didn't need a career. So at Country Living I was just biding my time, waiting for him to turn up. And he didn't.'

It was around this time that I last bumped into her. It was late autumn and Kirstie was planning, with one of her girlfriends, to launch a service buying Christmas presents on behalf of cash-rich, time-poor execs: a sort of proto-concierge company. When I mention this, she shrieks with pleasure. 'Oh yes! I'd forgotten! That's so cool! I always credit myself as not having any ambition, but I did, I did, I was really mad keen on that idea. I always used to think that I'd be good at being a highpowered PA. It's that thing of making people's lives easier, seeing a need and sorting it for them. I never minded the thought of being a dogsbody.' In the end, though, she chickened out and - having bought a flat with parental assistance - joined a history of art course at Christie's, mainly in the hope of finally collaring the future father of her four children. (Her dad was still running the auction house at the time: did she get funny looks from the staff? 'No, because my mother and my brother had both done the course,' she says, innocently.) Christie's turned out to be good for her confidence. At 21, she realised that she wasn't quite as idiotic as everyone had thought: by osmosis, she had picked up a grounding in art and architecture.

The next box to be ticked on her Sloaney checklist was supposed to be an interior design business but then fate - or former New Labour spin doctor Derek Draper - intervened. A friend of a friend, he asked her to find him a flat, and soon loads of Westminster and media types were ringing up, asking for help in tracking down the right property. There was a namecheck in the Guardian, in the Telegraph, then Channel 4 asked her to do a screen test with an ex-marine called Phil Spencer. Kirstie always had a certain charisma, but now she had something to add to that: competence.

She says the screen Kirstie - who is now something of a dykon thanks to her bossiness, her spike heels, her 'luscious dark hair' - is pretty close to the real thing, 'just more domineering. I don't fake it, I don't think it's a different me, it's just a bigger me.' The show is now in its eighth series, and its presenters are in professional partnership offscreen as well as on, charging clients of Garrington Home Finders a minimum fee of six grand.

The temptation to make life a bit simpler by just concentrating on the telly work is not an option. 'I am neurotic about the fact that telly is transient and borderline demented,' she says. 'Property is my security blanket. If you don't have a day job, or at the very least a job you can go back to, you are setting yourself up for a terrible fall.' And in any case, though her assurance in front of the camera has now grown to the point where she's experiencing 'a bit of a transition ... I could probably do anything, as long as it wasn't stupid,' the last few weeks have shown her the risks involved in heightening her profile, after several tabloids suggested that she had been involved in breaking up the marriage of a schoolfriend.

Though reluctant to talk about it, she's seething about the way the press twisted the story of her relationship with Ben Andersen, a property developer. Before all this blew up, she had a rather sunny view of her position in the entertainment firmament, believing that because she and Phil were property finders rather than TV stars - because they never went to film premieres or to parties given by people who were not friends of theirs - the tabloids wouldn't bother with them. 'It turns out I was completely wrong about that. There is no difference, no deal. You are fair game. I feel so stupid. I've been so naive. And to be honest, if I had any ambition to further my career in telly, it might have been knocked on the head by that. It has brought me up sharp.'

She has been thinking about something I said earlier on. 'You know you said that at school I probably wanted attention?' she asks. She admits there's an element of truth to that. She has always been gregarious, noisy, in need of reassurance. But just recently she has realised that some sorts of attention she can do without.

It's not true that she and Ben were seeing each other before he and his wife Theresa, another Bedalian, separated in January. 'I'm incapable of having an affair with someone else's husband. I'm sure I'd stab my own grandmother to get certain things, but that's not one of them.' In fact, it was Theresa who introduced them for the first time, at an April fundraiser for Orlando Fraser, the Tory prospective parliamentary candidate for North Devon. Kirstie had gone along to the event at London's Bush Bar and Grill with an ex, half-hoping they might get back together, and was talking to Theresa when Ben turned up. They danced and he rang her later with an invitation to dinner, and she said yes. It wasn't a big deal to Theresa: in fact, when she next saw Kirstie, she said, 'By the way, I think Ben quite fancies you.'

Uncharacteristically cautious when the topic is raised, Kirstie will say 'Theresa's totally OK with it. But she's furious about the story. For Tree [Theresa] to be painted as the victim is ridiculous. It's completely scummy.'

A few weeks ago, she'd have jumped at a recent overture from Simply Come Dancing, because she likes the idea of competition, and glittery frocks and learning something new. Now, if the production team turns out to be serious, she's pretty sure she won't do it. But before you well up in sympathy, it's worth bearing in mind that she has let me in; a photographer from the Mirror is piling up his equipment in the hall and there's a long list of promotional obligations attached to the publication of How To Buy A House, a guide she has co-written with Phil. In truth, though it's packed with snaps of Kirstie and Phil having a coffee at a pavement cafe, and Phil and Kirstie peering in estate agents' windows, and Kirstie and Phil looking serious in the snow, it also has some useful tips in there that might just make the whole business a little less painful (though, personally, I have a bit of a problem with the idea of buying an ingratiating cappuccino for the agent before a morning viewing).

Kirstie takes the hobby that turned into her calling card very seriously indeed: she has fervent opinions on stamp duty, the extension to the congestion charge, property tax inconsistencies, asbestos-removal legislation and the new housing bill (which she pronounces as useless as a chocolate teapot). And if she brandishes these opinions a bit, banging on crossly until, sinking deeper into her cord sofa, I find myself mentally checking out and inspecting the books on her shelves (lots of Dominick Dunne, Kitty Kelley and, of course, Jilly Cooper), who can really blame her? These opinions demonstrate that she is more than a telly personality in heels and a wasp-waisted red coat; they also - as she points out herself - make her feel better about the fact that she never took her A levels that seriously. It's one of her big regrets. The other? 'I wish,' says Kirstie, 'I wish I'd realised years ago that everyone feels the same way. Everyone feels left out, insecure, scared. There are a few people who are more resilient, but they are the weird, strange, left-out ones: the ones who are so tough that they never worry what anyone thinks.' It's the sort of thing that people do tend to say in interviews, but coming from Kirstie, it has the ring of absolute truth.

· How To Buy A House is out now - priced £12.99

Don't forget to get your copy! HouseDog :blink:

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Are Tories really this politically tone-deaf, and/or just plain thick, to want to bring on board Kirstie as someone who 'wants to help the first-time house-buyer' by opposing HIPS?

How does HIPS hurt first-time buyers!?!? It's such a stupid position to take that I can't believe anyone even bothers to argue otherwise. But they do......

If this is the new Conservative strategy, it'll be another decade of New Labour to look forward to - they can at least package their rubbish better than this. I'd take 'two-Jags' Prescott any day over this monster...

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Are Tories really this politically tone-deaf, and/or just plain thick, to want to bring on board Kirstie as someone who 'wants to help the first-time house-buyer' by opposing HIPS?

How does HIPS hurt first-time buyers!?!? It's such a stupid position to take that I can't believe anyone even bothers to argue otherwise. But they do......

If this is the new Conservative strategy, it'll be another decade of New Labour to look forward to - they can at least package their rubbish better than this. I'd take 'two-Jags' Prescott any day over this monster...

I echo that!

The Tories are making a big mistake by joining up with Krusty. I even emailed the Tories a while back asking why. The answer "the computer says...."

I haven't seen a good argument against the principle of HIPS. To say it won't help FTBs is just plain stupid. Would you buy a car without an MOT? Or even pay for an MOT on a car you 'may' not buy?

If Kirsty wants to help FTBs stop ramping property and stop with this anti HIPs crap.

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Are Tories really this politically tone-deaf, and/or just plain thick, to want to bring on board Kirstie as someone who 'wants to help the first-time house-buyer' by opposing HIPS?

How does HIPS hurt first-time buyers!?!? It's such a stupid position to take that I can't believe anyone even bothers to argue otherwise. But they do......

If this is the new Conservative strategy, it'll be another decade of New Labour to look forward to - they can at least package their rubbish better than this. I'd take 'two-Jags' Prescott any day over this monster...

The reasoning people use to claim that HIPs will damage FTBs is this: Home owners will be discouraged from putting their houses on the market because of the cost and inconvenience of HIPs. There will be fewer houses available and the same number of FTBs, and therefore house prices go up. What people (conveniently) forget is that FTBs are just one part of the market. More expensive properties are typically bought by people who have a house to sell. The fixed price of a HIP will be proportionally a cheaper cost for high end properties. So if people in first rung properties decide not to sell because of HIPs, the potential buyers for higher rung properties will crash. If the potential buyers for higher rung properties crash, then so will the prices of higher rung properties. This will reduce the difference in price between lower rung and upper rung properties, meaning that first rung property owners will spot the opportunity to move up, and then want to sell their property again.

Though I expect the number of properties on the market to fall initially as "kite flyers" will be discouraged.

Billy Shears

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The reasoning people use to claim that HIPs will damage FTBs is this: Home owners will be discouraged from putting their houses on the market because of the cost and inconvenience of HIPs. There will be fewer houses available and the same number of FTBs, and therefore house prices go up. What people (conveniently) forget is that FTBs are just one part of the market. More expensive properties are typically bought by people who have a house to sell. The fixed price of a HIP will be proportionally a cheaper cost for high end properties. So if people in first rung properties decide not to sell because of HIPs, the potential buyers for higher rung properties will crash. If the potential buyers for higher rung properties crash, then so will the prices of higher rung properties. This will reduce the difference in price between lower rung and upper rung properties, meaning that first rung property owners will spot the opportunity to move up, and then want to sell their property again.

Though I expect the number of properties on the market to fall initially as "kite flyers" will be discouraged.

Billy Shears

I always enjot your posts. You explain things really well. This would make a perfect and succinct letter to the paper. Thanks.

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Facts as I see them:

1) FTB's like HIPS - it's cheaper to buy a house

2) Genuine sellers should be indifferent on HIPS - they already pay for a survey currently on their new house

3) OO's who test the market don't like HIPS - it costs them money to find out how rich they might be.

4) Surveyors don't like HIPS - one survey per house? Bah! Nothing used to limit surveys done on a house

5) Estate Agents don't like HIPS - no idiots testing/driving the market with ridiculous asking prices

6) Kirsty says she is defending the FTB (!)

7) FTB's like HIPS

8) Kirsty doesn't like HIPS because...... ?

Maybe when the market is visibly crashing, interest rates rising, and that egg is flying toward her - will she hold up a Home Information Pack to stop all that unborn chicken hitting slap bang in the middle of her grotesque red face?

Edited by Adam

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The most important sentence in that article is "having bought a flat with parental assistance"

Well that just sums up Kirsty for me, Mummy and Daddy bought me one but you can't have one the same :P

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I always enjot your posts. You explain things really well. This would make a perfect and succinct letter to the paper. Thanks.

Thanks. Though, I would classify what I write above as a theory. I think that the influence of HIPs will be fairly unpredictable, as there are several ways that it can all go. It could be as I describe, it could be an opportunity for ASDA and the like to take over from EAs, or maybe even everything will continue as before. We shall see I suppose.

Billy Shears

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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