Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Get It Right First Time; (1) Lucy Judd's Move to the Country Was a Disaster - but Now She Runs a Business Helping Others to Avoid Her Mistakes, Says Caroline Phillips (2) HOMES & PROPERTY

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Get It Right First Time; (1) Lucy Judd's Move to the Country Was a Disaster - but Now She Runs a Business Helping Others to Avoid Her Mistakes, Says Caroline Phillips (2) HOMES & PROPERTY

Article excerpt

Byline: CAROLINE PHILLIPS

LUCY Judd appeared to have it all: a great husband, Dominic, a wonderful baby and an 18th century cottage home with roses round the door and sheep in the neighbouring field in exquisite Bodiam in East Sussex.

But Lucy, 31, was itching for something more. Most days she would jump in the car and drive 90 minutes just be be with friends. "There was no one likeminded nearby," she recalls. "Most of them had never even been out of the area."

There were no decent shops close by, either, and certainly no health club or amenities for mothers with young babies.

Lucy missed her past life as a property consultant for Ernst & Young, when she and Dominic had been one of Clapham's Dinky couples - duel income, no kids yet.

All that changed overnight when their baby, Henrietta, came along in 2001.

They decided to move to the country, not realising it would mean a three-hour commute for Dominic, who recruits surveyors, nor how much their lifestyle would change. Says Lucy: "I morphed out of all recognition; I was miserable."

A year ago, they moved again, but not back to London. They now live in another 18th century house - complete with Aga, beams and rambling outbuildings - also in East Sussex. But this time they chose a location near Fletching, close to busy Uckfield and easy for trains at Haywards Heath.

Everything they need is now on their doorstep.

The move has prompted Lucy to turn her unhappy experience to good use. She has started a home-search company, Simply Sussex, which shows people how to avoid emotional and expensive mistakes when they move house - and to get it right first time. She charges a registration fee of [pounds sterling]600 for a 26-week period, plus 1 per cent of the purchase price.

People's first problem, she says, is a lack of time: "What should you do when you don't have enough time to look, or when you are fed up with wasted journeys to see unsuitable properties, or when you don't know the area terribly well and are frustrated by continually chasing agents? …

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