Friday, March 25, 2011

Ivy-covered house leaves buyers with that creepy feeling

Estate agents are searching for a green-fingered buyer for a house absolutely smothered in ivy - which has seen its asking price pruned by almost two-thirds. The detached three-bedroom home in Chelmsford, Essex, would normally be worth £350,000 but agents are marketing the property for offers over £120,000. The 1920s house, which is on Lynmouth Avenue, is thought to have been gradually enveloped by the vigorous ivy for more than 20 years.

Mick Flaherty, 44, a property developer from the town, looked around the house and said: 'I've never seen anything like it. There were no carpets on the floor, there were papers everywhere, the lights didn't work and it was dark inside because you couldn't see out of the windows. The water didn't work and there was no kitchen. The trees from outside have started growing into the house. I don't know if there were any period details because you couldn't really see anything.' Mr Flaherty said he estimated the house - which he had not noticed before due to the amount of ivy on its exterior - would require around £50,000 worth of renovation.

The owner of the house is believed to be man in his 50s who has worked as a solicitor and a driving instructor. He did not want to comment about his home. A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said he had never cut back the ivy - which has now covered the front of two-storey house completely. He said: 'He really is a nice guy. But it's just that blooming ivy. It's been there for 20 years and never been cut. I've complained to the council many times over the years. They came out on one occasion but claimed it was quite quaint.' Another neighbour added: 'Whenever anyone walks past they stop and do a double take. It really is quite bizarre.'

Despite its spooky appearance more than 20 potential buyers took a tour of the house during an open day. A spokeswoman for Bairstow Eves estate agents in Chelmsford said they are not marketing the property on the internet or in their shop window because the owner does not want the sale made public. She added: 'He's got enough interest in it already. I cannot comment on the house or the price. I do not want to discuss it any further.' Potential buyers have been asked to make bids for the house over £120,000 and will have to pay in cash.

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