Buying a House in Stoke-on-Trent: the Italian point of view

We are looking for a house here in England. My Sicilian Hubby is, shall we say, going up a learning curve.

He is learning to speak English. Learning to speak English from estate agents is probably not something most people would advise. They speak in a code which even English people have to learn to translate.


He read out one advertisement to me, utterly baffled.

“We are delighted to bring to market this realistically priced property, which could benefit from extensive refurbishment throughout. Early viewing is recommended, owing to the property being realistically priced.”

“What doesa mean?” he asked, his bright little eyes full of innocent hope.

“It means the house is cheap but nobody is going to look at it, because it is not structurally sound,” I told him.


Poop at your own risk.
Poop at your own risk.

“Oh,” he said. “A gorgeous home, located within a quiet cul-de-sac location and if you are looking at the pictures thinking how well furnished the home is, not only would you be right but there is the potential to move into this house from day one, with all the furniture! What isa mean?”

“It means the last person died in it, and they can’t be bothered getting the furniture taken away,” I translated.


All furniture included. Pig negotiable.

This one sounded good until we saw the photos:

“Space, space, space, and more space. Stephenson Browne are delighted to bring to the market this semi detached home in a popular residential location which as we may have mentioned, offers deceptively spacious accommodation in abundance.”

It is a one-bedroom terrace house. But hey, it has lots of space!


Newly refurbished kitchen! (Please climb over the counter top if you wish to leave by the back door.)
Newly refurbished kitchen! (Please climb over the counter top if you wish to leave by the back door.)

There was a pause and then he found this little gem:

“With fantastic potential to convert this house into an inhabitable dwelling, the opportunities are limitless.”

We scrolled through the pictures and realised that the limitless opportunities did, in fact, include the opportunity to install a toilet that was not a hole at the end of the garden. Another opportunity included fitting a kitchen. There was even the opportunity to get it a roof without holes in it. The opportunities seemed limitless indeed.


Not like that!
Not like that!


That's better.
That’s better.

Our favourite so far, though, is the five bedroom detached house which is on sale for one pound. We had thought that houses for one Euro were a sicilian speciality, but apparently they exist in Stoke-on-Trent too. The house came with a warning that “buyers should be aware of the recent mining report, indicating that the property stands above an unsupported disused mine shaft.”

Essentially, you can pay a pound to live over what will definitely become a sink hole before long.

“The property could yield a rental income of no less than £600 per calendar month” the description boasted.

Anyone interested?


What a rude house, sticking its tongue out at passers by!
What a rude house, sticking its tongue out at passers by!


It still doesn’t really beat the all-time record on which offered a Sicilian house like this:

A CHARACTER HOUSE FULL OF ORIGINAL FEATURES: [by which they mean the antique electrical wiring and bucket-based plumbing I presume], well-lit and airy [thanks to the well-ventilated front door and lack of a roof] The property features a rustic- style facade, a lusciously planted green roof garden [growing out of the remains of the roof], with additional garden areas both inside and out, and an open-plan interior [it’s just one room]. This character home would make an ideal pied-a-terre for those seeking a Mediterranean villa with character.


It's always nice to have a focal point in a living room
It’s always nice to have a focal point in a living room




14 thoughts on “Buying a House in Stoke-on-Trent: the Italian point of view

  1. What a great post – this had me laughing and laughing especially the toilets – the washing machine about is ingenious! My brother-in-law went to stay at a B&B in southern Ireland, it had a bathroom complete with beautiful bath in a room with no plumbing whatsoever and therefore out of use. When he protested to the landlord that he had insisted on a room with adjoining bathroom when making the booking. The landlord replied. “There is a bath here – you didn’t state what you wanted to do with it!”

    Liked by 1 person

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