Byline: Duncan Farmer
St Helen's is a delightful seven-bedroom home in grounds of more than two acres in a secluded spot near King's Lynn, Norfolk. It is on the market for [pounds sterling]695,000, but finding a buyer has been a problem because interested parties can't find the house.
According to Google Maps, satnavs and the big property search engines, the extended former chapel sits in the middle of a new estate of starter homes and has views no more enticing than its neighbours' back gardens. In fact, the flint house is three miles away, across rivers and fields in an idyllic location with uninterrupted farmland views.
The problem is its postcode, which changed four years ago and has been giving owners Paul and Wendy Holmes trouble ever since.
'The postman knows where we are, but most delivery men - and even our local Indian takeaway - don't,' says Wendy, 50, who bought the house in 2004 for a little less than [pounds sterling]500,000. 'We don't give people our postcode any more because they won't find us. We just tell them to key in the full address and that seems to work.'
The issue was a mild irritation until the couple, who have four grown-up children, decided to put St Helen's on the market and buy a barn seven miles away. 'Everybody uses the internet to look for property and they rely on the postcode to show them where it is,' says Paul, 50, who runs his late father's engineering firm. 'We're asking a lot of money for a very spacious house but when people look at a Google map they're put off. …