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Property Lottery: How I’d Spend my Winnings

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
09 May 2018  |   Nick Mead

Nick Mead, Partner specialising in the Home Counties Region for The Buying Solution, reveals how he’d spend his lottery winnings.

You’ve won the lottery! Your wealth advisor has recommended how much you should put away to pay for necessary and important elements such as pensions, investments and charitable donations. They have allocated £8.5m of the remaining pot to invest in property.

What would you buy?

I wouldn’t choose to spend the entire winnings on one huge house, instead I’d prefer to spread it across three.

The first would be something by the river in Henley-on-Thames. The town is known for its annual regatta and rowing is in my blood: my father rowed for Oxford and I have rowed competitively for years but, not only that, I was at school locally and Henley is home.

By coincidence, there is something on the market right now that would be perfect. A rare beast, it’s a 19th century terraced boathouse which has been completely refurbished internally and overlooks both the Leander Club and the Stewards enclosure and enjoys wonderful views down the Royal regatta course. The vendors are asking £3m.

The boat house comes with its own jetty with mooring for two boats so, with some of the change, I’d buy a 1930s Slipper Launch. One of the Henley brokers currently has a launch with lovely lines on the market for £180,000 which I could happily afford. For me, there is no better way to enjoy a balmy English summer’s evening than to gently potter down the river with friends.

And what else?

Of course, it would be easy to spend a few million on a flat in London but with Crossrail opening imminently (December 2019), Bond Street will only be a 45-minute ride from nearby Twyford station—which renders a London base rather unnecessary.

Instead, I’d choose to buy a ski chalet. France is wonderful but there is something particularly civilised about skiing in Switzerland so Verbier–which has been a regular haunt in the past—would be my first choice. It has a huge ski area that you could never tire of and, after a long day on the slopes, there’s nothing better than enjoying a few beers and a pizza in Fer à Cheval. I’d buy a chalet with enough room to host friends, easy access to the slopes and try and go as much as I could throughout the winter season. Another feather in Henley’s cap is access to Heathrow Airport: it’s only a 35-minute drive. I can do the journey, door to slopes, in seven hours.

Would that swallow up the remains of the pot?

I expect the chalet would probably cost around £2m (the equivalent in Swiss francs) so, with the remaining money, I’d buy a country base. Charming and cosmopolitan that Henley is, I enjoy escaping to the peace and quiet and dream about owning a house with wonderful views. Part of the patch that I cover for The Buying Solution includes the South Downs National Park and it’s there that I’d look for the weekend house—specifically somewhere near my all-time favourite pub, Noah’s Ark in Lurgashall. Having looked for clients in the past, I know these houses are hard to find but easy to fall in love with. It’d have to be south-facing, old on the outside but new on the inside and come with a pool and tennis court in the garden. Finally, I’d want a decent wine cellar which my brother, who runs a vineyard locally, can help me fill.

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