Lisa and Adrian Spencer-Weiss moved from Hertfordshire to Wales without ever viewing their new home in person (Image: Lisa Spencer-Weiss)
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A couple moved more than 150 miles and splashed out £460,000 on an idyllic countryside cottage – without ever stepping inside it until they picked up the keys.
Lisa and Adrian Spencer-Weiss, from Hertfordshire, were on the hunt for their dream home when the pandemic began and Covid restrictions limited viewing properties.
Instead of looking in person, the couple carried out virtual viewings instead and fell in love with a cottage near Crickhowell, Powys, reports Wales Online.
Not only did the couple not even visit the period property in advance of making an offer and eventually buying the house, they relied on Lisa's best friend Rebecca who lives in the area to visit on their behalf.
The couple then handed over £460,000 to secure the house that they had never visited, with just photos and a video tour on WhatsApp as their only guide.
The couple relied on Lisa's best friend Rebecca
Lisa explains: "We've been coming to the area regularly for about 10 years, about two or three times a year, and it was our long term aim to move down here and we needed to do it now while we were young enough and fit enough to enjoy all the outdoor activities the area offers.
"It had the land and it was an old character cottage and we thought something like this is not going to come up again – we felt we had to do it."
She adds: "We sent Rebecca and her husband round to have a look to put the final stamp on seeing if the property is what we expected or hoped that it would be. She knows me well, I trusted her."
The couple then found themselves in ownership of two houses at the same time for around five months in 2020 as they moved to Wales and tried to sell their house in Hertfordshire.
Lisa says: "We had lots of interest in the English house but it was a stressful situation being so far away from it and leaving it empty.
"Lots of people were interested in it because it is in a quaint little village in Hertfordshire with thatch cottages and a ford, so people really wanted the house.
"But most had a financial problem mostly because they were furloughed or we couldn't get them to commit to anything because we were either in lockdown or in between lockdowns."
The rural cottage boasts character features
When it came to completion day for the Welsh cottage and the Hertfordshire house was still unsold, Lisa had to travel to Wales on her own with no furniture as Adrian packed up the house in England.
It was one of the hottest days of the year and she had a car full of pets as company on the long journey over the border to pick up the keys to her new home in Wales.
Lisa says: "It was a strange day really because Adrian wasn't here and we'd been through all the stress together, I'd done all the financial side of it, but it still felt weird coming here on my own.
"I felt relief but also absolute tiredness from the stress of it all and bringing the animals in all that heat. I didn't have any furniture so I had to sleep on the floor on an airbed until Adrian arrived with the stuff two days later."
Covid restrictions left the couple searching for their dream home online
Whereas some people in the same situation might have instantly rushed from room to room looking for validation of their potentially risky property purchase, Lisa remained calm.
She says: " I just didn't move because I was so hot and so tired, I just didn't care. I did look around the house of course but I wasn't surprised because I knew buying it was the right thing – I was more interested in how the shower worked."
It has been a total change for the couple moving from their open-plan, light and airy home in England to a listed, stone cottage in Wales – sometimes dark and sometimes cold – and they wouldn't change a thing about it.
The estate agent photos helped to sell the cottage to the couple
The only plans they have to alter the property in any way is to construct a workshop on the land, something Adrian has always dreamt of, and planning permission has just come through from the National Parks Authority.
Now the next stress is actually finding a specialist stone builder to construct it.
During their 10 months at the cottage the couple have been busy making it their own, including finding some original features and restoring them including two bundles of 24 foot Victorian railings.
They have had these blasted, recoated and put them back across the front of the cottage where they used to greet visitors to the property in the past.
The couple have spent the past 10 months restoring the cottage
Lisa adds: "Rebecca tells many tales these days about how she decided on our house when we hadn't even seen it, much to her amusement! Every time she comes round it's like 'it's great I found this house for you isn't it?'. She tells people 'I bought that house for them you know!'
"My friends in England were supportive but probably would not have done this themselves, buying blind, but they knew how badly we wanted to come so they didn't really question it.
"We were so determined that this is what we wanted; we wanted it for so long that we didn't really question it, we just went for it and did what we thought we had to do.
"It's everything we thought it was going to be and we love it; I actually hate to leave the house and always look forward to coming home."