Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a pleasantly surprising terrace in Cheshire, a large flat in London with great views, and a house in Torquay.
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-Bricks and mortar have always been seen as a solid investment.
-But don't let them collapse around you,
-taking your bank balance with them.
-Do the research, check your finances and you can still find some deals.
Many buyers have their own tactics when they go to the auction.
Some prefer to sit at the front, others hide at the back
-and others like to be a bit discreet and bid over the phone.
-A wink or a wave, the result is the same.
Here's what attracted today's buyers.
The more you explore at this terrace in Cheshire, the more surprises!
Outside doesn't look too much. Inside, it's great.
There's a flat in London with great views, big rooms and more.
What I like about this flat is that there's scope to improve.
And behind the grey exterior of this Torquay property is a colourful survivor of the psychedelic '60s!
Remodel this kitchen? No!
All of these properties went to auction and we'll find out who bought them and what they paid.
I've come to Carbrook Village near Stalybridge in Greater Manchester.
It's a stunning location where life drops down a gear.
It even ahs its own bowling green and a babbling brook.
So what was up for auction? Well, it's a terraced house two miles from Stalybridge,
1.5 miles from Peak District National Park. Sounding good.
Sadly, from the outside, a bit of a disappointment.
It's the last one in the terrace and was guided at £65,000-£70,000.
Next door is a working men's club and all the houses are in a conservation area.
But why is this one boarded up? The roof and walls look sound. Time to check out the inside.
You never know quite what to expect,
but actually... I love the floor. Absolutely fantastic.
Shame that somebody's had a go at taking this out.
I love there being a porch there. It stops the draught from the lounge.
Good-sized space. Put a fire in and restore the floor if you can.
It goes on.
OK, stairs up there and then... nice.
I mean, really nice. A huge kitchen. It's almost a kitchen dining room.
It would make a lovely family room. It's a bit of a TARDIS. Outside,
doesn't look too much, inside...it's great!
'It really is! The proportions are generous. So far, so good.
'This is shaping up to be a lovely family home.'
Here are some real surprises. A good-sized double bedroom and another one here.
And the bathroom and loo are upstairs. Absolutely fantastic.
Look at these doors. Brilliant. Listen to me - look at these doors.
Absolutely beautiful. When that's stripped back, that is going to be spectacular. Trust me, OK?
The room itself, well, reasonable condition apart from over this side.
Look at this. I don't know what is going on here.
That is quite serious. A couple of other nice touches.
The window - this pane is broken, so all this leadwork is gone,
but, overall, leave some of the features if you can and it's a great size.
'It's also great that the bathroom is already on this floor, plus two bedrooms that are good doubles,
'but if this deceptively-large property is to become a family home,
'some outside space would be a bonus. How do I get out the back?'
I'd like to show you outside, but someone's done a pretty good job of securing the back door.
It's like a display panel for security products.
'When you've attacked this lot with a bolt cutter, or find the keys for each lock,
'you're not exactly rewarded, but you do get this communal area.
'I'm keen to find out
'what a local estate agent thinks of this house that had a guide price of £65,000-£70,000.
'What does he think is the first job here to bring it up to scratch?'
It needs quite a bit of work.
We've seen worse, but it does need an overhaul, central heating,
new bathroom and new kitchen, probably a rewire.
Whoever buys it has to consider it is a conservation area.
Things like windows... I'm pretty sure they can put UPVC in,
but they'd have to check it was OK.
'It's a bit deceptive from outside. It doesn't look much at all,
'but when you get inside there is quite a pleasant surprise.
'At that £65,000-£70,000 guide price, is there a profit to be made from this two-bed house?'
I think if it was renovated to a good standard, we'd be looking in this market to £110,000-£115,000.
Slightly less than they did achieve, but it reflects the market.
OK, prices have fallen, but one thing that hasn't changed is the beautiful location,
right by the Peak District.
What you're buying into here is the area. How lovely is this?
And the house itself? First looks can be deceiving.
It's great. Big rooms. Yes, it needs a bit of work,
but it's at a great price. Let's see who bought it.
Lot number 108 is in Carbrook near Stalybridge.
Terraced house, vacant possession.
Where shall we begin? 40? I'll take 35, then.
No? I'll take 30.
30 anywhere? Thank you, sir. Looking for 35,000.
35 there. Thank you. 40, sir? 40.
44. Do I see 45, then?
45 there. 50, sir?
No? New bidder.
Is that 50, sir? 51, can I say? 51 I have.
52. 53. 54.
Is that 57? 57 I have. 58?
61? 61,000? And I have it. 62?
65? No? 64 with you, then, sir.
64 and a half any help? Yes, it is. 65, sir?
65 and a half? No? It's with you, sir, at £65,000 for the first time.
Second time. Third and final time.
After that rather frantic auction, Mark was the winning bidder.
He paid the bottom of the guide price - £65,000.
I arranged to meet up with him to find out what he planned to do with his purchase.
-I like this little house.
-Obviously, you do.
-What struck you about it?
The main thing was the area. A little stream, a conservation area, a lot of effort put in.
And bigger than you think inside. Not a bad little house.
Tell me a bit more about you.
I work in acute medical wards, which tends to be people who are quite poorly when they come in.
We stabilise them and hopefully send them home.
-So you're a male nurse.
-That's in Manchester?
-How did you get into property?
-Well, I've been watching the show.
-You've inspired me.
It's something I've wanted to do and you have to take the plunge.
-SO is this the first time?
-First time I've bid at an auction.
I've actually bought one before, but I made an offer prior and that was accepted.
First time I've had the thrill of it and the fear.
-You got it at the bottom end.
-Yeah, I was lucky with that.
-They rejected a higher offer prior to auction.
-Yeah. Wouldn't take it.
-What did you offer?
-So you saved yourself five grand.
'That was a very useful and substantial saving for Mark
'as he had to pay a further £3,500 on top of his purchase price to cover the seller's legal fees.
'Luckily, he had spotted that clause in the legal pack.
'An additional cost like that can eat into your budget.'
-Did you see it before you bought it?
-Just the outside. I know it's a no-no.
But even with everything missing, it would be worth it, even with stairs missing.
-You must have been quite pleased when you saw it.
-It's not bad.
The rooms are a really nice size.
-It's tiny looking from outside, but it's great.
-I was surprised.
The gentleman next door invited me in so I got an idea of the sizes.
That's a good idea. It's not always possible to view a property.
It may be unsafe, so if you can't physically get in, inspect it from the outside and chat to a neighbour.
What's the big plan? What are you going to do?
Most likely is to rent it out. I don't want it on the market for ages, losing potential money.
That's the most likely thing. Someone is interested in it.
-I'll see what the interest is. For a decent offer, I'll sell.
Talk me through it.
Well, new kitchen in here, up to a good standard, tiled floor.
Central heating everywhere. Just make good everywhere. Nice, new bathroom.
Possibly oak flooring out there. Or I may leave them flags down if I get them to a good standard.
They're beautiful. You've got issues potentially with damp, but...
-But they would be spectacular.
'But the flagstones are just another addition to the To Do list that includes windows and doors.'
-Where do you live?
-Miles away in Salford.
-Ooh. That's the other side of Manchester.
-It is, yeah.
Personally, I won't do too much. I'm useless at DIY.
But I've got some good people that have worked with me over the years.
I can leave them to it and trust them.
-Any idea how much you need to spend?
-About £20,000 altogether.
-That's quite healthy.
-I'm hoping to maybe do it within 10 weeks, something like that.
-Ever think this will replace your career as a nurse?
-No, I love medicine, so I'll stay in that.
-Good luck with it. I hope it turns out great.
-Nice to meet you.
'You can't see the potential of this house from the outside, but has Mark made a visionary purchase?'
I think Mark has bought really well with this place
and he's going to inject it with that tender, loving care it definitely needs
and nurse it back into life. Still, he lives a fair distance away and has to manage the project
at the same time as doing his job. That can wreak havoc with your timescales and time is money.
Find out how he gets on later in the show.
I'm in London, just walking distance from the City,
the South Bank and the shops and theatres in the West End.
This is Borough in south-east London, home to London's oldest food market
and also the chosen location for Bridget Jones's Diary.
I wonder if Colin Firth and Hugh Grant are still somewhere around? Well, a girl can only hope.
Anyway, I'm here to see a two-bedroom flat in this block.
It's accessed off the street through this big archway here.
'It went to auction guided at £220,000-£240,000.
'It's in a building that was built in 1886.'
So off the main drag and you're in this courtyard.
A little kid's play area, some parking, and this lovely big old Victorian building.
It's all looking rather good, but the flat is on the third floor.
And there's no lift. I'll see you up there.
'All these stairs might put some buyers off, but at least you're away from the traffic.
'I wouldn't fancy lugging my shopping up here, though.'
Well...after all those flights of stairs, I need my breath back.
I don't get bored with nosing in old properties like this. I love it.
Walking in, you've got two really good-sized bedrooms here with lovely old sash windows.
You've got a nice reception room.
It looks as though somebody has started stripping the wallpaper off. You could have a feature fireplace.
But really it's just a blank canvas to work with, although I would invest in some window covering -
some blinds or some curtains - because you look straight across into the other people's flats.
'The double-glazed window does let a lot of light in to this room
'and the sash window in the second bedroom is also double-glazed.
'The kitchen is pleasant and bright, but needs some work.'
This is an enormous kitchen! Easily a kitchen diner.
But it's got this weird suspended ceiling! What was that used for?!
I'd rip that out straight away.
It's a room that could look great with some clever kitchen design.
There's enough space for wall units, but I'd take this stud wall out
and use this hallway space to make it more open plan.
'The bathroom's dated and needs refurbishment, but it's a reasonable size with scope to increase it.'
This cupboard really excites me. It's right next to the bathroom.
I'm visualising a huge separate shower or wet room.
The only drawback is this gas meter will have to move.
That's expensive and you do need permission.
This hot water tank can be replaced with a combi boiler.
What I like about this flat is there's scope to improve and add value.
'And it has an extra bonus.'
There's one more flight of stairs above the flat and it leads you up to this!
It's like the chimney sweep scene from Mary Poppins! I'm on the roof!
It's somewhere you can come out, get fresh air, hang your washing and just look at that view -
right across London.
'I do like this two-bedroom flat, but how will an estate agent react
'when he sees inside?'
It's a really good little flat.
The rooms are all fairly well-proportioned.
A good-sized kitchen and potentially great bathroom.
There's lots of pros with the flat and although it's a walk up
it's got great light.
'To maximise the potential, where should you start?'
I think really it's just a case of concentrating on the main rooms, the big selling points -
the kitchen and the bathroom. Just put really good fittings in.
With the bedrooms and reception room, maybe have a nice fireplace as a focal point.
Just nice wooden floors, clean neutral colours, that's it.
Contemporary, but nice.
'There's lots of room for improvement, but you'd need to budget for unexpected problems.
'This block was built in 1886. Once refurbished, are the prospects good for a buy-to-let investor?'
Absolutely great area for rental. Long-term investment is really good.
Very central, close to transport. You've got two equally-sized bedrooms and a reasonable living space.
In terms of rental income, you'd probably be looking at £1,300-£1,400 per calendar month.
'So renting is a possibility, but once renovated how much could the flat sell for?'
I'd value this property between £320,000 and £330,000.
'Well, note to self: there could be a profit here!'
I think this flat, with a bit of a spruce up, a new kitchen and bathroom and some decoration,
would suit Bridget Jones rather well, but was it a thirtysomething singleton who bought this flat?
Find out as we head to auction.
Lot 299 is 30 Douglas Buildings, Mint Street.
Leasehold, self-contained third-floor flat.
180? Sounds cheap. 180, thank you. 185, may I say?
185. 190? 90.
200? 200. 205?
205. 210? 210.
215? No. 210 I have. 215 anywhere else?
215. 220? No.
Third call, sir.
217 and a half anywhere else? 217 and a half. 220?
220. 222 and a half? 22 and a half with you. 25?
25. 27 and a half? 27 and a half.
30. 32 and a half? 32 and a half. 35, thank you.
37 and a half. 40?
Strange place to stop. 240 anywhere else?
No? For the first time with you, sir, at £237,500.
And the second time. Third and final time. All done?
Sold to you, sir. Very, very happy customer!
And the very happy investor who paid £237,500 for this two-bedroom flat
After living in rented accommodation with his girlfriend Catherine for years, it's their first home.
I met up with him to find out more.
This kitchen is so large, it could be a kitchen diner.
What made you want to buy this flat?
Basically, we've been looking for about a year and a half in the area.
We live in Waterloo, not far from here. And we couldn't afford it.
So we came to have a look at a flat downstairs in the basement and it was out of our price range.
Then we came up to look at this and we weren't daunted by the work.
We just thought, "Go to the auction."
-What do you like about Borough?
-I love it. I'm an actor by trade, so there's all local theatres,
there's Borough market. It's getting quite trendy.
Because we lived in Waterloo, we've seen the development of the area.
For right here and now it's really vibrant and really funky. I love it.
-Tell me about your acting career. You must be busy.
This is where I say, "Actually..." No, I'm not.
-It's been really quiet?
-Good! You've a lot of work to do. That's a good thing.
-I'll have time off to do it.
-How skilled are you going to be renovating this flat?
-You've got quite a bit to do.
-Can you do it? Honestly?
No. My girlfriend's like that. I say, "I'll do the tiling. I did the tiling in our kitchen."
She's like, "We'll just pay for it." "No, I can do it!"
I don't think I'm allowed to do anything. Strip and rip. Yeah.
That's good. Stick to stripping and ripping and get professionals in.
What you don't want to do is end up getting someone in to do it again.
'A resting actor with loads of time on his hands because he's not treading the boards at the moment?
'Maybe he can sand these floorboards instead? I reckon they would polish up beautifully.'
-You have got a lot of decisions to make.
I think, "How can I add value? What can I do to improve it? To get more light?"
-Have you had those thoughts?
-Yeah. We want to do what you just said - add light, quite minimalistic.
We're looking at creams and light browns and sandy colours. In here will be white and glassy.
And in the bedrooms, we're umming and ahhing about stripping the floors or having nice, thick carpets.
-It sounds extremely stylish.
-In my mind, it looks amazing!
'Well, visualisation is a classic technique for actors, but I can foresee that money is needed
'to refurbish this £237,500 investment.'
-What sort of budget have you got in mind for the renovations?
That's the ideal, taking advantage of mate's rates, sales, and so forth.
-Some purchasing has been done.
Bathroom sinks and cabinets and yeah...
That's all taken care of. And with the kitchen, we're just ready to put the money down.
-How many months will it take you?
-Well, I don't know.
Realistically, three months. Maybe that's not realistic. In my mind, three months.
So three months and £15,000. You'll have to shop around, but I think you can do it on that.
I think we can, can't we?
-I'm really excited about seeing the finished product.
-It's been great meeting you.
-Thanks very much.
'It's been Graham and Catherine's dream to live in this part of London for years.
'Now I bet they feel on top of the world.'
That's what I love about auctions - dreams can come true.
Borough was an area they loved, but they never thought they could afford. They've taken a chance
and ended up buying their first flat. We'll be back later
to see if they can turn this old and tired property into a perfect home.
Coming up: in Torquay, a property as colourful as a saucy seaside postcard.
Wow! That is blue!
In London, this actor was knocked out by the auction performance.
I've boxed, I act, but I would say that has to be the biggest buzz.
First, this Cheshire house needed nurse Mark to add some panes, not take them away.
It's hard in some ways, but I'd definitely do it again.
Here in the beautiful Cheshire village of Carbrook,
Mark, a full-time nurse and part-time property developer had paid £65,000
for this terraced house.
He planned to add it to his buy-to-let portfolio,
but what did his builders discover inside and outside this house?
11 weeks later, Mark invited us back for a check up on the progress of his patient.
From outside, the peaky-looking place now looks in rude health,
with new windows and a door.
Light floods into the living room.
The fireplace has been exposed and white gloss and neutral colours look great.
At the back, a stunning kitchen diner has been installed.
Upstairs, the two bedrooms are light and airy
and the quality of the finish is very striking.
But for this NHS nurse, the new appearance isn't just skin deep.
Yeah, the whole house needed a full re-plaster.
Also needed full rewiring, needed to get a gas supply fitted, which took a while, unfortunately.
Also had new floors put down, ripped the flags up in here,
-insulated the floor, boarded it and carpeted throughout.
-The flooring problems didn't end in there.
Well, before there was no real floor in here.
There were bits of vinyl everywhere. We've completely redone the floor.
New tiles, new work units, new boiler,
extractor fan hob oven, the doorway was also moved. That was in the corner.
Moving it there allowed me to put a fridge freezer space here.
Everything looks great, considering how it was beforehand.
'Like Mark, I had certainly spotted the potential here,
'but I'm sure a lot of buyers took one look at the boarded-up windows and backyard and took flight.'
The exterior, the bricks could do with a little polish up. I knew I'd regret it if I didn't do it.
So we painted them with acid, blasted them, repointed all the brickwork,
painted the sills. There was a crack to the rear of the property. It was just movement a long time ago.
All the windows at the back have been reinforced,
so if anything does move again, it won't really be going anywhere. Those were his words.
'You'll remember Mark is a full-time nurse who works shifts and does a bit of developing on his days off.
'He's the first to admit he knew nothing about DIY, so did he pick up any tips on this project?'
I haven't learnt anything. My skills are still horrendous.
But I do know how to get people together and oversee a project.
'Judging from the bathroom, Mark has some great tradesmen.'
There was no real bathroom, so I thought to rip it all out and make it as good as I could.
New sink, good finishes with the taps and really good tiles throughout. New bath, shower.
And shower curtain rail. Really pleased with this room. I wanted it as nice as possible,
given it's a small space. Bathrooms tend to make a difference when somebody looks at a house.
He's done a really good job.
But did he manage to stick to his £20,000 budget?
I did actually go over. It was partly a conscious choice,
partly things that popped up that I didn't expect to do,
so I've gone over really by about 4,500.
But Mark's achieved a quality finish which he knows attracts potential renters.
I was quite lucky with finding the tenant.
The lady next door happened to know somebody who was looking for a house, so it's worked out really well.
How much income does he hope to generate?
The rent that I've asked for is £500 per calendar month.
I could get more, but I'd rather everybody be happy and get a good tenant who'll stay for a long time.
How do two local estate agents rate the value now it's complete?
I'm very impressed with what's been done.
It's a very high standard.
Lovely kitchen, new windows, new bathroom. Very nice.
There's nothing I don't like about the property. It's very well fitted.
The fitments are to a good standard,
whether it be for a sales or rental market.
Overall, I'd give it the thumbs-up.
The standard of the finish is excellent. It's clean, tidy and ready to sell or rent out. Perfect.
It is important to renovate to a high standard.
There is an influx of properties available, not many buyers, so you must make the best of what you have.
Mark has a tenant lined up and plans to keep the property for some time.
Let's find out how much it's worth.
Remember, he paid £65,000 at the auction and spent £24,500 renovating it.
If the property was sold today, I'd expect to be achieving in the region of £100,000 to £110,000.
I would market this property for £110,000.
110 is slightly under, but it's about what I expected, so still a good profit in there. Happy with that.
£20,000 gross profit to be precise.
So, is he tempted to cash in?
I wouldn't like to sell the property at the moment, given that I've got a good tenant
and I'm still making money on the rental each month.
A tenant in place, but is Mark getting the right income?
This property would rent for approximately £425 per month.
I would expect, if you were renting this property out, to be achieving £500 to £575 per calendar month.
It's quite a difference, the rental values.
I'm quite happy with the £500 per month. Mine is about in the middle, so I'm doing something right.
Remember, Mark found his tenant through a neighbour, so he doesn't have any letting agent's fee to pay.
I've really enjoyed doing this. It's fun to come down and see things changing each couple of days.
It's hard in some ways, but I'd definitely do it again.
Full credit to Mark. He's managed this refurbishment on days off from his tiring nursing job
and has given this property the kiss of life.
I've come to beautiful Torquay in Devon,
but my promenade is not so much seaside as semi-ville
as I'm moving inland to a popular local suburb called St Marychurch.
There's no doubt this is a beautiful part of the country to live in,
but when it comes to having somewhere to park your car outside your house,
a lot of properties in these parts fail dismally, so when this property has a garage,
you think, "Fantastic, thumbs up!"
£130,000 to £150,000 is the guide price. Three-bedroom semi-detached. Definitely worth a look!
The grey exterior is appropriate, considering that ominous sky.
But let's hope it's not a bad sign for this property
and that my optimism about it isn't going to be rained upon.
Okey-kokey, what have we got?
Oh, lovely(!) Yes, a half-timbered entrance hall,
much favoured in properties of this era - sort of.
Well, it is interesting. The layout is very classic.
Front sitting room there, rear sitting room there, steps up to the bedrooms, then it gets a bit weird.
There's this kind of corridor which leads down to a utility room and then through to a...kitchen.
You're gonna love this.
If ever Mary Quant was gonna design a kitchen,
this is what she would come up with.
Look at this!
How about that for a hob? It's bright orange!
Absolutely brilliant. Have you ever seen a bright orange cooker?
Me neither. The question is, is it still in fashion? I think it's probably back in fashion!
And the piece de la resistance - a pull-out table!
What more could you want? Remodel this kitchen? Not on your nelly!
It should be in the Victoria and Albert Museum
in homage to a time when fashion was more important than flavour in a kitchen.
As for the rest of the downstairs, there are no more surprises -
just a utility area and downstairs loo.
Then there's a door accessing a run-down garden that definitely needs a bit of softening up.
It's all slabs and no grass, but that can be changed.
Up here, three good-sized bedrooms - one there, another one there and a bathroom.
If you enjoyed the kitchen, you'll love this. Wow, that is blue!
But unlike the kitchen, I think I'd probably change that.
There's something much more serious. This is glass on here. How dangerous is that?
Just imagine, if you were to slip, you could cut yourself really badly, or worse. It needs to go.
Through to the other bedroom, nasty problem with damp there, but something much more serious.
What is going on with this crack in the ceiling? You'd want to have that checked by a structural surveyor.
But it all pales into insignificance compared to the glass on the stairs which has to go.
It's not just the ceiling that's cracked in this bedroom.
I've spotted a whopper in the wall by the window.
But the house is well-proportioned with three good-sized bedrooms upstairs.
How will a local estate agent rate the prospects here?
It was guided between 130,000 and 150,000
and came with colours and fittings spanning the decades.
The tangerine colour in the kitchen, I'm not sure it's my cup of tea,
but he'd want to rip that out straight away.
As for the blue in the bathroom, that's liveable, but still, not the best.
But look past the vivid colours and the basics are here.
There's the added bonus of double glazing and central heating already installed.
I think it should be made into a smashing house, rather than converted into flats.
I'd probably keep it as a family home. It's a straightforward renovation project.
The cracks could tell some horrible tales, but pretty straightforward and that's what I would do -
just renovate and sell to the family.
By keeping this as a family home, the renovation budget will be much lower
than turning it into flats.
Once refurbished, how much could the place be worth?
With the limited garden space, it would be hard to get over £170,000.
There could be profit here, but the budget will need watching.
All in all, a great little house which you could do big things with.
A few safety issues to sort out, but most of all, that kitchen.
Who is going to be captivated by it at the auction?
Lot 69, we're still in Torquay, but we're in St Marychurch.
This is a two-storey, three-bedroomed, semi-detached house.
Needs modernisation, but it's tucked away. It's £120,000.
100 and I'll kick it off?
At 100. 102?
104. Thank you, 104. 104.
110? Is that what you're meaning or stop?
110. 112. 114?
That's a lot of house to miss. 118. 118.
Do you want to say 120 to try and blow him out? Yes, 120.
At 120. At 120.
At 120. I'll take a half if it'll be helpful.
At 120 once...
At 120 twice...
I tried to dig in your pocket, but you won't let me. All done at 120...
Sold. Well done.
'The successful bidder, who paid 120,000, is David.
'He's really pleased that he managed to purchase a perfect family home for £10,000 under the guide price.
'He's brought along his wife Lucy and a recent addition to their family to meet me at the property.'
-Lucy, David, lovely to meet you both.
-This is Ruby.
-How old is she?
-Our little bundle of joy is three months old.
-Fantastic. So this is her first house, is it?
-Why did you want to buy the house?
-This is a project for us.
We'll do it up and hopefully... Obviously, it's hard times with market conditions,
but the aim is to sell it on and make some money.
-Is this something you've done before, Lucy?
-We began up in Nottingham.
We renovated our house there and David really enjoyed that, so we thought we'd do it for a living.
We moved down to Torquay and converted a three-storey house into three flats.
-That was project number one.
-This is number two.
# We'll start over again
# Get a house in Devon... #
'Converting a three-storey property into three separate flats is certainly a baptism of fire.
'But these two seemed to take it in their stride.
'They now live in one of the flats, rent out the other and have sold the third.
'It was very successful and inspired electrical engineer David to try property developing.'
I trained as an electrical engineer and did a few conversion courses to make use of my background
in terms of rewiring and electrician type side of things, but yeah, it's a complete change.
-Is that something you're qualified to do now? You can do the electrics?
-That's a real bonus.
-A great bonus.
-With the change in regulations, you have to get somebody in to do it.
Yeah. I'll probably wind up doing quite a lot of the work myself on this one cos times are tight.
I will be trying to control the budget.
-What will your involvement be, Lucy?
-Mainly supervisory, I think.
-You've got a baby to look after.
But I'll be carrying out regular inspections to make sure they're doing a good job.
'So David's bringing his electrical qualifications and building experience from previous projects,
'plus Lucy is keeping an eye on the details, so the budget should be kept under control.
'The house has double glazing and central heating, but some areas do need a considerable outlay.'
# We're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue... #
The roof is leaking. That's let water in which has caused some damage.
And the bays have moved, so that's caused some cracking as well.
But that's relatively minor repairs. The house is fundamentally sound.
It doesn't sound very minor. "The bays have moved!" Where have they moved to?
-They're on separate foundations.
-This is the advice we've been given, as they say.
So the main house is in good nick, but the bays need to be repaired.
-How much have you set aside?
-The budget at the moment is around 15,000.
15. So quite tight if you're gonna have to do a lot of work on the roof?
Yeah, it will be tight, so I'll have to keep a tight control over spending in the budget.
And yeah, see how we get on.
'The timeline is not unreasonable as they've allowed four to six months,
'but keeping a lid on such a tight budget will depend on what they do to the rest of the house.'
The layout, we're gonna knock that wall through there to make a kitchen-diner.
New kitchen, new bathroom, decorate throughout.
-New kitchen, new bathroom.
-I'm afraid the orange kitchen will be going.
-And the blue bathroom.
-Yes, the bathroom can go.
That kitchen is fantastic!
-You want to keep the kitchen, don't you?
Ruby, what do you think? Stay sleeping if you think we should keep the kitchen.
-The kitchen is going?
-I'm afraid so.
'I can't say I'm surprised, but I am disappointed.
'David and Lucy are concentrating only on what is absolutely necessary, so what's their plan?'
Once it's done up, we'll get it valued
and if the valuation comes in at a good level
and if there's still a housing market at that point...
-Of course there will be.
-..we'll see if we can find a buyer for it.
But if not, we'll let it out and there is a Plan C, failing all that.
We could wind up living in it ourselves.
-And congratulations on this little bundle of joy.
-I hope it all turns out great.
Well, these are turbulent times in the property market,
but David and Lucy have done the right thing by buying this property at the right price,
so they've stacked things in their favour in terms of turning a profit.
Will they do so? All I'm concerned about is the fact they're taking out that kitchen. How could they?
Anyway, you can find out how they get on later in the show.
We're dying to see how our buyers have got on.
Let's go back and find out.
Earlier in the programme, Graham, an actor,
paid £237,500 for this two-bedroom flat in London.
It was near the famous Borough Market, an area featured in the film Bridget Jones' Diary.
It was to be home for Graham and his girlfriend Catherine, a theatre director.
They were delighted to finally move to a part of town they thought was out of their reach.
Now seven months later and their flat with fabulous rooftop views of London is finished.
The configuration has changed a little.
The living room has become a bedroom with a study area in the corner.
The second, smaller bedroom remains as a bedroom
and has been sumptuously decorated with a striking colour scheme.
But the original larger bedroom is now a living room with a big TV and very large corner suite.
As for the kitchen, now that's what I call a refurbishment!
Fully fitted with all appliances.
Catherine's away directing a theatre project, so it's down to Graham to explain how they tackled this job.
We got the builders in, the plumbers in, the electricians.
We ripped all the electrics and the plumbing out and started again.
We dropped all the ceilings, plastered every single wall, fitted the kitchen and the bathroom.
Although the bath remains under the window, the layout in the room has changed slightly.
They removed the dividing wall between the kitchen and hall, so the rooms gained valuable extra space.
We're really pleased the way this has turned out. It's turned into a fantastic light room -
getting rid of that wall, for us, making it all white, moving the radiators,
moving the sink around, getting the woods to complement each other.
All in all, I think we did it for about four grand, so we're really happy with this room.
It's definitely the most sociable room in the house.
Yes, it's lovely, but it soon became clear to Graham that converting a flat on the third floor with no lift
was going to be pricey, so right on cue, this actor volunteered to do the legwork.
The labouring was going to be expensive
because it takes so much time to take it up and down.
Fortunately, we knew the builders, the plumber and the electrician,
but when we told them what we'd like and they told us how much it was,
at that stage, it was already going over budget,
so for me to do the labouring, we then could take that out of the fee.
They'd leave it, I'd come back every evening, clean up, and every weekend, I'd get rid of all the rubbish.
Graham's more used to projecting his voice on stage than rubbish into a skip,
but it saved money and allowed extra features to be added.
We're really pleased with the way this room has turned out - fantastic use of light again.
We had a slight complication with the gas meter in there. Moving it was going to cost us far too much money.
So this room pretty much designed itself.
We got the wet room, we wanted that. We've got a bath still, so we're pleased the way it's turned out.
The only slight downside is we spent the best part of 1,500 quid on the sink
which was a large chunk of our budget, but we love it, so what does it matter?
I've got to hand it to Graham and Catherine. This is an impressive refurbishment.
But how much have they had to spend? Remember, Graham had budgeted between £15,000 and £20,000.
Including furnishings, that all came in at about 27.
I think the building work came in at 19 and our furnishings on top of that.
£27,000 on top of the £237,500 they paid at auction
makes almost £265,000,
so is the plan still to live here or would they consider selling?
When we moved in, I think that we could have flipped it, I was told, for 300.
I think realistically now, we're probably looking, after spending almost 30 grand, at about 300.
We live here, we love it and we don't need to sell it.
If we were offered money to go and do it again, we'd do it, but we're happy chilling out for the moment.
Time to see if the valuation of this flat,
like these two local estate agents, will have gone through the roof.
It's a good use of space, very nice kitchen, bathroom.
Bright, very good finish. It's a period building in a sense.
It's really nice. It's a really interesting finish. Good quality.
And made use of all the space really well.
In SE1, there's an inherent shortage of stock,
so renting or selling, there is a demand.
People may want a slightly larger reception room,
but with the size of the kitchen, it more than compensates for that.
It's a lovely, comfortable room to sit in.
Positive views, but have there been any of those green shoots of recovery in the property market?
Graham reckons he could get £300,000 for the flat. Is he right?
A good two-bed in this area, I mean, this property is really nicely done.
I would suggest you'd be looking at around £300,000.
You'd look at putting it on the market at 325, looking for anything in excess of 300.
So, spot-on, Graham's figure, and £25,000 more! How about that?
What, one came in at 3 and one came in at 325? Great.
Brilliant. We didn't lose. We're not skint. Yeah, so that's good news.
It's always reassuring to know that hard work has paid off,
but for this couple, the reward isn't just financial.
They've got a flat in a part of London they've wanted to move to, but thought was out of reach.
Long-term, how do they see things shaping up?
As well you know, the market is not in a great state right now, so we're living here.
And we're more than happy to stay here.
If somebody offers the right money, we'll consider selling it
and moving on and doing another project, then get the castle with the moat and the crocodile(!)
Remember, Graham is a resting actor and that all sounds like a great film waiting to be written.
I hope he gets the starring role!
Earlier in the programme, property developer David and his wife Lucy
bought this semi in Torquay for 120,000.
The kitchen was stuck in the Swinging Sixties,
but the house had spacious rooms, although not without problems.
There were cracks in the ceilings and around the windows.
They planned to refurbish the property and then sell.
Now, seven and a half months later, the grey house has a new cream colour scheme on the outside.
And that leaking roof has been completely re-tiled.
Inside, in the front living room, maroon has been added to the neutral cream and beige
and a very, very shiny floor.
As promised, the rear of the house has been transformed into a marvellous, huge kitchen-diner.
But I'm sorry, '60s fans, that orange kitchen is now history.
And so too is that dangerous glass at the top of the stairs, thank goodness!
The front bay-windowed bedroom now looks to be crack-free with an almost cottagey feel.
It's all lovely, but there's had to be a change of plan.
This place originally was intended for either sale or possible rental,
but my wife is pregnant with our number two,
so we've decided to keep this one for ourselves and move in.
It all changed around March time
when it became clear that I was expecting a second baby.
That threw everything. Where we are at the moment is completely impractical for two children.
It was either buying somewhere else for ourselves or... but this house is nearly ready,
so it seemed perfect for us to move in here.
This is the new kitchen-diner which is hopefully a very sociable family space.
The dividing wall used to run along here.
The doorway was there where the central heating programmer is.
So, yeah, we've lost that orange feature kitchen
and replaced it with something more modern and contemporary.
But they added a touch of orange to the new kitchen as homage to that previous '60s look.
The refurbishment has continued behind the stairs in the utility room.
Upstairs, even the smallest of the three bedrooms is a good size
and the cracked ceilings were replaced easily.
But what about those big, gaping cracks around the bay windows? They looked more serious.
The repairing of the bays, it did look quite bad
and might have put a few people off possibly.
But when it came to it, it was relatively simple and quite cheap to fix.
It was just tying brickwork back in where it hadn't been tied in before
or tying joists back in where they hadn't been tied in.
David is a qualified electrician, but has in fact done the majority of all the refurbishment here.
I did most of the work. I've had help from friends and family, particularly over recent days.
I've had a plasterer in, a tiler in
and I've had a building specialist on hand to give me a bit of advice when I've needed it and a bit of help.
Long hours, hard graft - I bet Lucy's impressed.
Yeah, really proud of what David's done. He's worked really hard.
He's done so much of the work himself.
Keeping labour costs down is a real bonus for any refurbishment,
but you must be qualified to do it like David.
Did they keep to their £15,000 budget?
We've spent a little bit more because we decided to keep it for ourselves.
There's also been a few other changes like we've kept the garage,
so that took some money to actually make that structurally sound again.
We've spent about... On the kitchen, we've spent, I think that came in at about 2,500.
And that money's not just been spent inside the house.
There was a big greenhouse here three foot down, all at different levels.
There was a few big bushes with bricks around that just got in the way.
And there was no open space out here at all.
So we've levelled it, made it one flat space
and put lawn down and made it a nice, family-friendly space.
Now it's time to get opinions from two local property experts
on this first-class refurbishment.
The couple that bought this property have really turned it round and created an enviable family home.
They've opened up that kitchen into a complete kitchen-breakfast room
which gives it a wow factor. It's a cracking job!
The decision to enlarge the kitchen by knocking the wall down
between the kitchen and the then dining room was a good one.
Most people now want a kitchen-breakfast room. It's the main focal point of anybody's house.
I didn't remember there being a garden last time. It was not laid out in the best way.
But now it's a wonderful garden.
It's got somewhere to sit, it's got grass.
They bought the house, planning to refurbish and sell, but it's now become their home.
They paid £120,000 at auction and the budget has gone slightly over 15,000.
What's it worth now? Could they clean up?
I would place the property on the market somewhere in the region of £159,950
with a view to achieving around 155,000.
If I were to put this property on the market now,
I would ambitiously ask £165,000, but a realistic figure would be 160.
That represents at least £15,000 gross profit
before the usual expenses.
-I'm pleased with that.
-Yeah, that's pretty good, I think.
That's good. That's really good news.
It has been a pretty successful project,
thanks in no small part to David's extremely hard work.
I think when we come to sell it, we shouldn't have too many problems,
but in the meantime, it'll be a lovely family home.
-That's all we've got time for.
-We hope today's properties entertained, inspired and surprised you.
-So join us next time for more Homes Under The Hammer.
-See you then.
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2009
Email [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a pleasantly surprising terrace in Cheshire, a large flat in London with great views, and a house in Torquay.
All of these properties went to auction and Martin and Lucy find out who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.