Episode 60 Homes Under the Hammer


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Episode 60

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a grand but run-down house in Cardiff, a three-bedroom property with a view in Southampton, and a flat in Maida Vale, north-west London.


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Transcript


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Hello. Looking for a do-er-upperer or a plot of land to build on?

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Or an investment property or somewhere to live?

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You can find them all at auction.

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Now, there are some key things to remember when buying at auction.

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Do your research and have your finances sorted out in advance.

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So, did today's pupils get an A grade or did they fail?

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I know exactly what this grand, but run-down, three-bedroom house in Cardiff needs...

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A bit of TLC.

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There's a three-bedroom property in Southampton where the value is at the back.

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What I really like about this room is that cracking little view.

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And in Maida Vale, north-west London, this flat has one thing wrong right from the start.

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Straight into the flat and you're faced with the loo.

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All these properties have gone to auction and we'll be finding out

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who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.

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A glistening bay, peaceful parks and a castle in the city centre.

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Where am I? That's right - Cardiff.

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Now, 20 minutes' walk from the centre of the Welsh capital,

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surely property is going to cost you an arm and a leg.

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Not necessarily. Here I am in Roath, where up for auction was

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a three-bedroomed end-of-terrace, which had a guide price of 65 grand.

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Got to be worth a look.

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And for that guide price it looks pretty impressive from the outside.

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Wow.

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Walk through the front door and you immediately get that feeling that this is a grand old house

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that's been sadly neglected, but it's very impressive.

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A big, high ceiling, some features still here.

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Got this lovely staircase going up there, rooms towards the back.

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And then, look at this, for a fantastic front reception room.

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Absolutely huge and, again, high ceilings.

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Obviously, this place is in a right old state.

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It looks like it's been used, been abandoned, I don't know.

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More importantly, we've got some serious issues with

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damp on this chimney breast and my guess is something's going wrong with the flashing up on the roof.

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But, as I said, the overall impression is a grand house that just needs a bit of TLC.

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# Give me all your loving

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# All your hugs and kisses too... #

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It also needs a skip.

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Throughout the ground floor, there's furniture everywhere and I don't think any of it's usable.

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And in a good-sized basement, guess what? More clutter.

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A house-clearance company would possibly take this away and save you on skip costs.

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It's unlikely they'll want tired kitchen units,

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but a renovation here could include French doors, leading onto a little garden.

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Upstairs, there's more clutter for the skip, including a Santa,

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who seems to have lost his way back to the North Pole!

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But, remove all this rubbish and you'd have three well-proportioned bedrooms.

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The front one is especially large.

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And to complete the tour, there's a good-sized bathroom at the back.

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Wandering around this place, I get really excited, cos you know

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you spend time and effort sorting it out and you'll transform it.

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The kitchen, for instance, is in a right old state, but it's a good-sized space

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and you could make it so lovely with just a bit of imagination, really.

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However, it's time to drop the bombshell, because, unfortunately, this place is leasehold.

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That's not necessarily a bad thing.

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The bad thing in this instance is that the lease is very short.

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It's only 56 years. Why's that a problem?

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If you're trying to get a mortgage, a mortgage company will not go for a lease that's that short.

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You can negotiate to have a lease extended, but you don't know it's going to happen.

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It's really important, therefore, that you've read the legal pack and are aware of that.

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Because if you went to the auction expecting to get a mortgage on this

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place and you needed one, you'd have been in trouble.

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It's one serious negative against some great positives here.

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Time to ask a local estate agent

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what he thinks of this three-bedroomed end-of-terrace.

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Clearly, it does need upgrading, but the property does have a lot of potential.

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I believe if someone does come in here, they will need

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to renovate the property throughout.

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Ideally, a new kitchen, bathroom, UPVC double glazing, also.

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It definitely needs some attention and a full makeover,

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but its location is key to making this a success.

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A popular location, close to the local amenities,

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close to the bus link, but also a stone's throw away from the city centre.

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Great if you're going to tap in to that lucrative student market.

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But what about the big problem facing any buyer?

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There is a short lease which could be a problem for the property for mortgage purposes.

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But I would recommend the vendor to purchase the freehold on completion.

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Once lease issues are resolved and the freehold purchased, how much could this house sell for?

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When renovated, I believe selling this property could be in the region of £170,000 to £180,000.

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And with an eye on the student market, how much could each room make in rent?

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I believe you could achieve £200 per room per calendar month.

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Clearly, this place is in a right old state.

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But, intrinsically, it is a great house.

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Good location and, of course, that £65,000 guide price, as well.

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I can see this really making money for somebody. But the big issue, of course,

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is the fact that it does have that short lease, which means you're going to have to buy this with cash.

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You're not going to be able to get a mortgage.

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If you're not aware of that, you are in big trouble. Let's find out what happened.

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Lot number 26 is 70 Mackintosh Place in Roath.

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Who's going to put it in? What shall we say?

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Bid me 70, if you like. 70, can I see, to start me?

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First 70, I'm bid, thank you, I've got in the room.

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At 70. 75, can I put you in? 72, then.

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72, I've got there. 4. 74.

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You're out right in the back, sir. 76, I can see, standing in the back.

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At 76. 8, on the side. At 78.

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Wave to me with that catalogue. 80, I'm bid.

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At 80,000. And again for you, sir.

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82. At 82,000.

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4, will you? 84, I'm bid, in the back, standing in the back.

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86, can I, sir? At 84,

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I'm going to sell it, no mistake.

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At 84,000. 6, can I, anybody?

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Shout if I'm missing you. 6. 86.

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You're out now, sir. 88, standing in the back.

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Where's yours again? At 88, standing right in the back.

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At £88,000, are you all done?

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It's yours, sir. Thank you very much. At 88,000.

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This is Terry, but it wasn't him bidding at the auction.

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That was his brother, Jeff.

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Together, they run a successful property business and this is the latest addition to their long list.

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Terry, good to meet you.

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Congratulations. Why did you want to buy this house?

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Erm, basically, the investment.

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-And you think now is a good time to do it?

-Yeah.

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What do you see about the market in the South Wales area?

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-How has it been and how is it now?

-It's dropped by about 20%.

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-Has that affected you too much?

-Not really. It's actually done me a favour.

-How come?

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Because we've decided to buy more property.

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We've got a lot of property that we bought many years ago, which was

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obviously really cheap, and two or three years ago we stopped buying, because the market went so high.

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And now we've decided to start buying again.

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To be a successful developer, judging the right time to buy is crucial.

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So, Terry and his brother obviously believe this is the moment to invest in property again.

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Having sunk 88 grand into the house, they're confident about making

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a return on it, but they're going to have to spend a bit more.

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So, the state of the property doesn't bother you too much?

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-No, it's in pretty good order.

-That's pretty good?

-Yep.

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That's an experienced developer speaking, isn't it?

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There's a bit to do, but, really, it's not as much as you think.

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When you get going, it'll come together.

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When you first saw it, didn't the state of it put you off?

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No, I was quite surprised. I was very pleased.

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-Didn't you see it before?

-No, it's the first day this morning.

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-So you didn't see it before you bought it?

-No.

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-Why's that?

-We actually went to auction looking at other properties.

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We didn't buy the others. They went too high.

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And we looked at this one in the catalogue and we thought, "We'll use that one as a reserve"

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and we thought this was going to go for 120, 130, 140.

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We would have went up to 120.

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-Wow!

-Wouldn't go any more.

-But you got it for 88.

-Yes.

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It might turn out the better buy, perhaps.

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This one, yeah. We were just really surprised to buy it for that price.

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You can't buy many properties for 88,000 in Cardiff.

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For Terry and his brother Jeff, it looks like Santa has brought them a great early Christmas present.

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# I call it a bargain

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# The best I ever had... #

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Getting the house for £32,000 less than their top price just goes to show that if there isn't much

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action in the auction room, you could secure yourself a property below market value.

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# The best I ever had... #

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This is one of the concerns I had when I first saw this, the very short lease that's left.

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56-odd years. Does that bother you?

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Not at all.

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We've got somebody working on it at the moment.

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We'll try and purchase the lease, which I should imagine will be between 10,000 - 15,000.

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-Or we'll just apply for another 99-year lease.

-Right.

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But somebody trying to get a mortgage on it would potentially have trouble?

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This was unmortgageable. We had to purchase it.

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Because of the lease issue?

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Because of the lease and its state.

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There was no mortgage available.

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So we purchased it ourselves and when it's finished, we'll then put in for the mortgage.

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With a university nearby, the brothers plan to turn the generous space here into bedsit heaven.

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Splitting the front bedroom into two small rooms

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and turning the bathroom into another bedsit will create five bedrooms upstairs.

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Putting the bathroom in the old utility space

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and making the kitchen a communal area will free up the living room as another bedsit.

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That would give them a seven-bedroom rental machine.

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It sounds like you've got this plan in place already.

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-You know exactly what you're going to do.

-Yes.

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-When did that formulate?

-This morning!

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I was going to say, you've only just seen it!

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I mean, you can tell after a while.

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I've done so many now, you just walk in and think to yourself, that's it, that's what I'm going to do.

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But with so many bedsits, this house will now be termed an HMO - a house of multiple occupancy.

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That will mean complying with a host of rules and regulations,

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such as installing fire doors and fire alarms.

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Give me an idea of the kind of money you can expect?

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-In between £50 and £60 per room, per week.

-Talk me through the numbers.

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What are you going to spend and stuff like that?

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I looked at it this morning.

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Initially, I was thinking...25, but it doesn't really need that.

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It's going to be about 15 to 20. 20 maximum.

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Let me work this out - at seven letable rooms had £50 a week, that's £350 a week, £1,400 a month.

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-It's about £17,000 a year.

-Yeah.

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-That's a good return.

-A very good return, yeah.

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It's like a 14, 15% return.

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Yeah, that's very good.

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They should know what they're doing.

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These brothers own over 100 properties,

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their own building company - which will do the conversion - and their own letting agency.

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So, it seems this family business has all the necessary bases covered to make this a workable investment.

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Well, there you go. Terry obviously knowing exactly what he's doing.

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And if you've got any doubts that now's a good time

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to invest in property, listen to the professionals.

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He's going to get approximately a 15% yield on this place.

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Where can you get that at the moment? Certainly not at the banks!

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How is he going to get on? There's work to be done.

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Will it be as easy as he makes out?

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Find out later in the show.

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For the next property, I'm visiting an area near the River Itchen in Southampton.

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It's in the suburb of Bitterne and it's on Athelstone Road.

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Just off this busy main road is today's lot.

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It's a three-bedroom semi-detached house and the guide price - 130,000.

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Let's see if it's worth the money.

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The name of the road, Athelstone, derives from an old English word, meaning "noble stone".

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But from the front here, there's not much that lives up to that.

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There's moss on the roof tiles and wear and tear.

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So, it's not off to a spectacular start.

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Well, my first impression of this house once you walk in, is that it's really tired and dated.

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And you can see the previous owner has left a lot of possessions

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lying around, so it's quite hard to see some of the rooms.

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But what I do like about 1920s houses, is that you get

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big, big spaces. You've got two lovely reception rooms here.

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But I can detect Artex - everywhere! On all the ceilings.

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That's something I'd have to address.

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But at the back of the house, you've got a really nice, long galley kitchen -

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bit dated, you'll have to update.

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You've got enough room at the end to put a table and chairs.

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But what I'm really like about this room is that cracking little view over the River Itchen.

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That's the real selling point here - those views.

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People are prepared to pay a premium to look out over the river.

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But something buyers do not like paying for is problems - and there's a fair share of those here.

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There's the crack in the ceiling, for starters, and also signs of damp, throughout.

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Upstairs, we have got this really nice light landing area.

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That's down to this lovely, big, sunny window.

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The box room, again, with the fantastic view and two really good-sized doubles.

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The bathroom suite - avocado - it's got to go. Replace it with something white.

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And in this room, you've got a really nice-sized double bedroom.

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It would be lovely to see these stripes stripped and this room

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painted and something more contemporary and modern.

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These stripes aren't the only thing to go.

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The heating here is by old storage heaters and gas fires,

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so you'd have to consider installing new central heating.

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But the bones of this place are solid.

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Get past that dated decor, and you've got the makings of a well-configured family house.

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And we haven't gone outside yet!

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Here's the back garden. You may think it's really interesting,

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with all these little paths and winding walkways,

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but let's not forget, this is a family house

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and this garden could be a very difficult space for kids to play in.

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Next door have taken all the flat land by the looks of things.

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To get this levelled out would be a very expensive job.

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But in my opinion, worth thinking about.

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What really sets this garden off, though, is that view.

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But just to let you know, folks, it's a winter view only.

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In the summer, the leaves will be back and the view will be gone.

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This must be one of the few properties I've visited on the show

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that has me longing for the cool days of winter! Back to the house...

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The back looks very much like the front, everything needs some work.

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And though that rendering isn't easy on the eye, it is, at least, low-maintenance.

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I asked a local estate agent to come to the house and tell

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me more about the potential

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for properties like this around here.

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People pay a premium to live in Bitterne,

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cos it's a nice family area.

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Predominantly made up of older properties.

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There's also good travel networks into the city and on to such motorways as the M3 and M27.

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So, the area seems to have something going for it.

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But is the house equally appealing?

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And what's needed to maximise its potential?

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My first impressions of the property, lovely older style of house.

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Good-sized bedrooms. Does need a little bit of upgrading.

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Generally, it's a little bit tired.

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The house was guided at 130,000, but how much could it be marketed for once refurbished?

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These houses, once renovated, are worth approximately £185,000.

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A potential profit, then.

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How much could it achieve in rental?

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I think you'd look to rent this out around £700 per calendar month.

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This little 1920s house is in good order.

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It does require work and it needs a new kitchen and bathroom,

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but it's in a desirable area, with great views from the garden.

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And the guide is realistically set at 130,000.

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Let's see who went for this property as we go to auction.

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Number 21 in your catalogue.

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Somebody prepared to start

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at just 110,000?

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You do, sir. 110, we have.

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112, here in the front. 112,000.

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114's bid in the back.

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116? 116, here in the front.

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118, we have got.

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120, in the front.

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122? No? I'll do a one now if that's going to help you. 121, we have got.

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Fresh bid, at 122.

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123?

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123. 124?

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124,000. It's against you now.

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125 is what I need.

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No, back in at 125. 126, thank you, sir.

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127? No, you're out?

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£126,000, then, with you, sir.

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126,000. 127.

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Now we're talking. 127.

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The gentleman's back, at 128.

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128.

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129? 129.

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Gentleman's back in at 130. He looks committed! 131.

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No? You're out. You sure?

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They're out, sir. It's with you at 130.

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I have 130,000 on Athelstone Road, then, for the first.

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I have 130,000, for the second.

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I have £130,000, for the third and final time.

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Your property, well done. Your number please, sir?

0:19:180:19:21

After that battle in the auction room, it was retired couple, Roger and Lindsey, who emerged victorious.

0:19:240:19:31

They got this property for spot on the guide price of £130,000.

0:19:310:19:36

-Roger and Lindsey, congratulations!

-Thank you.

-You pulled it off.

0:19:360:19:39

-We did.

-You got it for the guide price?

0:19:390:19:42

-We did.

-Well done!

-Very lucky, yeah.

0:19:420:19:44

-So was that the first auction you've ever been to?

-No.

0:19:440:19:47

We've been to about five or six?

0:19:470:19:50

-Yes.

-Over the last year.

0:19:500:19:53

So how much would you have gone up to? I love asking!

0:19:530:19:56

You may not believe this, but I was stopping on 130. I wasn't going further.

0:19:560:20:00

You got it bang on the guide price.

0:20:000:20:02

On the nail, yes. That's where I had decided to stop.

0:20:020:20:06

The other two people backed out, so that was it.

0:20:060:20:08

That was the crunch, 130.

0:20:080:20:10

So Roger, why was this the right house?

0:20:100:20:13

Because our son lives about three streets away.

0:20:130:20:17

And is just about to have some work done on his house,

0:20:170:20:20

which means he's going to have a lot of demolition done.

0:20:200:20:23

So we thought it would be a good idea if they move into here while the builders are in.

0:20:230:20:28

My son has got asthma and, of course, little children, as well.

0:20:280:20:33

The youngest grandson, he's 18 months.

0:20:330:20:36

And they've a four-year-old and a seven-year-old.

0:20:360:20:39

And, quite honestly, three children, his wife's very good, but I'm sure she'll be glad to get out.

0:20:390:20:46

Building works can be very messy affairs, so Roger and Lindsey are

0:20:460:20:50

definitely providing their son and his family with a great alternative.

0:20:500:20:54

But there's another personal reason for buying this house.

0:20:540:20:58

Were you looking for property for them? Or it just fell into place?

0:20:580:21:02

Just happened to fall into place.

0:21:020:21:03

I really wanted to have a go at doing a property myself.

0:21:030:21:07

I'd done my own house up a few years ago and I thought, when I retire, it will keep me out of mischief!

0:21:070:21:12

-Now Lindsey, do you agree with that?

-Yes!

0:21:140:21:17

She'll be like, "Go on then, off to work! Off you go!"

0:21:170:21:19

Yes, "Out my way!"

0:21:190:21:22

Is this something Roger's wanted to do?

0:21:220:21:24

He has. Since he's retired last year, he's always said he'd like to do something in property.

0:21:240:21:30

And DIY, he's very good at.

0:21:300:21:32

So, this is ideal.

0:21:320:21:34

Keep him out of mischief!

0:21:340:21:36

-You're raring to go, aren't you?

-Absolutely. Toolbox is ready!

0:21:360:21:39

# I spent a lifetime

0:21:390:21:44

# Waiting for the right time... #

0:21:440:21:46

Well, it's time for all the talking to stop and for Roger to prove himself.

0:21:460:21:50

This house certainly provides plenty to test his DIY skills.

0:21:500:21:54

# It's now or never... #

0:21:540:21:57

The couple plan to install a new central heating system,

0:21:570:22:00

replace the double-glazing and put in an updated kitchen and bathroom.

0:22:000:22:05

As for those cracks, a survey has revealed no subsidence here, so no structural changes are planned.

0:22:050:22:11

But there's still a fair amount to do and the couple have given

0:22:110:22:15

themselves a comfortable 30 grand renovation budget.

0:22:150:22:19

Are you going to get involved, Lindsey?

0:22:190:22:21

I shall be helping, probably labouring a little bit, and doing the gardening.

0:22:210:22:26

And just supervising, now and again, probably.

0:22:260:22:30

-You've made that clear, have you?

-I've made that clear, yes!

0:22:300:22:34

Though looking at the state of this garden, I think Lindsey may have drawn the short straw here!

0:22:340:22:39

Their son's family plan to move in, but it's got some way to go before being child-friendly.

0:22:390:22:45

And the slope rather restricts their options.

0:22:450:22:47

I don't think we'll be doing too much to it, but generally give it a tidy up

0:22:470:22:52

and there's an old air raid shelter, which to be honest, I didn't know was there when I bought the house!

0:22:520:22:57

-Oh wow!

-I had a survey done, and they said, "What are you going to do with the air raid shelter?" Oh!

0:22:570:23:03

"What air raid shelter?"!

0:23:030:23:05

That's right down at the bottom of the garden, so maybe it'll be safer to get that demolished or filled in.

0:23:050:23:12

It seems that Roger's going to do what the Luftwaffe couldn't - demolish the shelter.

0:23:120:23:17

But as for the rest of the house, well, Roger and Lindsey hope to have it ready in three months.

0:23:170:23:23

Though I reckon they might get a bit distracted by looking out the back window!

0:23:230:23:27

What about that view? What about that winter view?!

0:23:270:23:30

-Fantastic. Well, I'm a sailor, myself.

-Are you?

0:23:300:23:33

Looking at that view, which wasn't there when we came to look a couple of months ago.

0:23:330:23:37

A lot of leaves have fallen off since then, so we've got an even better view now.

0:23:370:23:42

-I think that's an added bonus to this house.

-That's right.

0:23:420:23:45

And this morning, up with the blue sky and the yachts moored out there, it's really lovely.

0:23:450:23:49

And you know it's not going to be built on behind, that's one good thing.

0:23:490:23:53

What a fantastic story.

0:23:590:24:01

What a lovely couple.

0:24:010:24:03

Roger and Lindsey have their first project and helped their son,

0:24:030:24:06

daughter-in-law and grandchildren out with a temporary new home.

0:24:060:24:11

You can find out how all this pans out later on in the programme.

0:24:110:24:15

Coming up - there are a lot of good things in this one-bedroom flat in London.

0:24:170:24:21

But the biggest thing in this property is these two great sash windows.

0:24:210:24:25

Back in Southampton, has Roger's renovation been going strong or has it made him go weak at the knees?

0:24:270:24:34

In December, I had a total knee replacement.

0:24:340:24:37

But first, in Cardiff, has this run-down three-bedroomed house become a lean, mean, rental machine?

0:24:380:24:46

We return to Roath in Cardiff now.

0:24:500:24:52

Seasoned developer Terry bought this spacious three-bedroom end-of-terrace for 88,000.

0:24:520:24:58

He and his brother Geoff have a portfolio of over 100 properties and this was their latest addition.

0:24:580:25:04

The plan was to convert it into several bedsits. And the cost?

0:25:040:25:09

Initially, I was thinking...25.

0:25:090:25:13

But it doesn't really need that.

0:25:130:25:15

It's going to be about 15 to 20. 20 maximum.

0:25:150:25:18

With all their experience, that could be possible.

0:25:180:25:21

But there was a lot of work to be done to make this place a rental heaven.

0:25:210:25:25

Four months later, we returned to see if they'd

0:25:250:25:28

created another impressive addition to their portfolio.

0:25:280:25:32

Well, from the outside, not a lot has changed,

0:25:340:25:37

apart from a fresh lick of paint.

0:25:370:25:40

But, head inside...

0:25:400:25:41

The clutter has now vanished from that large front room

0:25:430:25:46

and it's been transformed into a light, airy space.

0:25:460:25:50

And at the back of the house?

0:25:510:25:53

Well, a proposed communal area definitely looks more inviting.

0:25:550:25:59

It seems that, so far, Geoff and Terry have cooked up a good little renovation here.

0:25:590:26:05

From start to finish, we've completely changed the whole house.

0:26:050:26:08

From kitchen to bathrooms, to bedrooms and downstairs, everything's had a complete change.

0:26:080:26:14

And when Terry says "downstairs", he does mean downstairs.

0:26:140:26:19

The cellar has now been converted into a spacious communal area.

0:26:190:26:23

So what about upstairs?

0:26:230:26:25

One of the major changes in the kitchen, we took the chimney stack completely out, down to floor level.

0:26:250:26:31

This enabled us to extend the kitchen and create a bathroom downstairs.

0:26:310:26:36

And the bathroom upstairs? Well, as planned, that is now a good-sized bedroom.

0:26:380:26:44

But up front, with the help of a partition wall, that large room has become two smaller rooms.

0:26:440:26:50

Everything's in good decorative order, though some might think it a bit too snug.

0:26:510:26:56

Reconfiguring that middle bedroom has created space for a shower room on the landing.

0:26:590:27:04

So far, pretty impressive.

0:27:040:27:05

But getting it done on time was down to brother Geoff's project managing skills.

0:27:050:27:11

I'm just amazed how we got it finished in that 12 weeks.

0:27:130:27:18

He said it would be 12 weeks. I thought it would be four or five months.

0:27:180:27:22

And we got it finished exactly on time.

0:27:220:27:24

Actually, two days before we were meant to finish.

0:27:240:27:27

Here and there are signs that the plaster's still drying out,

0:27:270:27:31

but that's a minor quibble in a transformation that,

0:27:310:27:34

given the short time spent on it, is really impressive.

0:27:340:27:38

But Terry's contribution to this project is also important.

0:27:380:27:41

My job was just basically designing and making sure that

0:27:410:27:45

the kitchen goes in the right place, the bathroom goes in the right place.

0:27:450:27:49

Once that's done, the builders come in. We just make a plan,

0:27:490:27:52

"That's what's to be done." I just come from time to time to check it's being done.

0:27:520:27:55

With over 100 properties on their books,

0:27:550:27:58

the experience of reconfiguring the layout has proved invaluable.

0:27:580:28:02

Creating a clean, low-maintenance environment will also mean low overheads in the future.

0:28:020:28:08

One of the things I've learnt with student lets is easy maintenance.

0:28:140:28:19

As you can see, we've taken all the grass, we've taken the shed from the back.

0:28:190:28:24

So there is completely no maintenance.

0:28:240:28:27

With seven bedrooms, this property will now be termed a House of Multiple Occupancy, an HMO.

0:28:270:28:33

Fire doors and fire alarms have been installed

0:28:330:28:35

and there are enough bathrooms and toilets to satisfy requirements.

0:28:350:28:39

The only snag is that the kitchen will need another sink.

0:28:390:28:42

Not a big problem, but with all this work, how did the budget cope?

0:28:420:28:46

We gave it a budget of 25,000.

0:28:490:28:51

We then decided to take out the chimney breast, the stack, from ceiling to floor.

0:28:510:28:56

And we decided to tank the cellar.

0:28:560:28:59

That wasn't in the budget.

0:28:590:29:01

But other things went better than we thought, so we still came in

0:29:010:29:06

on budget, slightly over by, perhaps, a few hundred pounds.

0:29:060:29:09

Still, pretty good going at this level of renovation.

0:29:090:29:13

They also incurred another expense - but one they wanted.

0:29:130:29:17

We've recently bought the freehold for 4,700,

0:29:170:29:23

which, I think, is absolutely fantastic.

0:29:230:29:26

Getting the freehold at such a great price has immediately increased the value of the property.

0:29:260:29:32

Add that to their renovation costs of 25,000,

0:29:320:29:35

plus the house price of 88,000, that takes their total spend to 118 grand.

0:29:350:29:42

Time now to ask two local estate agents

0:29:450:29:47

what they think of the brothers' renovation.

0:29:470:29:49

My impressions are very good.

0:29:510:29:54

I'm impressed with the way he's actually improved the property.

0:29:540:29:57

He's obviously spent a considerable amount.

0:29:570:30:00

I think the property has been renovated to an average standard.

0:30:000:30:04

It's neutral throughout, so it can suit all types of people.

0:30:040:30:08

They have done a considerable amount of work to the property in a short period of time.

0:30:080:30:12

It's very presentable and will sell or let very quickly.

0:30:120:30:15

Although the brothers have designed this as a seven-room bedsit,

0:30:150:30:19

the agents feel that the front room should be a communal area.

0:30:190:30:23

This would make it a six-bed house, so what would the rental return on that be?

0:30:230:30:27

I would be looking at renting each of the rooms at 250 per calendar month.

0:30:270:30:31

You would probably be looking at £250 a room, so six rooms, £1,500 a month.

0:30:310:30:36

They're pretty close. We've actually just rented it for 1,600, per calendar month.

0:30:360:30:40

It was on the market for one day and the first viewers came and we've just signed them for one year.

0:30:400:30:48

That would give the brothers a whopping 16% yield, even if it was just a six-bed.

0:30:480:30:54

Remember, their total outlay on the house was just under 118,000, so what could it achieve on resale?

0:30:540:31:01

I'd expect to market the property at 225,000, with any offers over 200 being considered.

0:31:010:31:07

I would expect to achieve 215,000 for this property.

0:31:070:31:11

I expected it around the 200, but, you know, 200, 215 is, literally, fantastic.

0:31:110:31:17

That would give the boys a potentially impressive pre-tax profit of just under £100,000.

0:31:170:31:24

So this rental machine will soon be earning its keep.

0:31:240:31:28

This is Maida Vale in West London, just north of Paddington.

0:31:410:31:47

It really is a delightful spot.

0:31:470:31:49

The poet Browning actually had a house overlooking the pool

0:31:490:31:52

where the Grand Union and Regent's Canal meet here.

0:31:520:31:55

He was so inspired by the area he named it Little Venice.

0:31:550:31:59

Well, it's lost none of its charm and it really is an oasis in the centre of London.

0:31:590:32:05

This isn't an area with a chequered history.

0:32:050:32:08

It always was, and still is, a hugely-desirable place to live,

0:32:080:32:13

with grand mansions sitting alongside narrowboats.

0:32:130:32:16

It's a perfect hidden idyll.

0:32:160:32:19

And with a good selection of atmospheric old-fashioned pubs, what's not to like?

0:32:210:32:26

Well, just steps away from the Tube station of the same name,

0:32:270:32:31

you have Warwick Avenue, made famous most recently by the Welsh songstress, Duffy.

0:32:310:32:36

And, of course, the street is well deserved of a song of its own.

0:32:360:32:41

It's beautiful. Just look around. So what am I here to see?

0:32:410:32:44

Well, it's a one-bedroomed first-floor flat at a very appealing guide price of 165,000.

0:32:440:32:51

# When I get to Warwick Avenue... #

0:32:510:32:56

These attractive, early-Victorian terraces are typical of the area. Believe me, by London standards,

0:32:560:33:02

165 grand is a snip, compared with what you'd normally pay for this location.

0:33:020:33:08

So, not a bad little entrance foyer there,

0:33:080:33:12

but then straight into the flat and you're faced with...the loo.

0:33:120:33:16

Quite unusual for a one-bedroomed flat to have a separate loo but it does take up a lot of space,

0:33:160:33:21

probably at the expense of other parts of the flat.

0:33:210:33:24

We'll explore that in a sec.

0:33:240:33:26

Into what, I suppose, is your living room.

0:33:260:33:29

It's got a gas fire, probably need upgrading, but you could make a centrepoint.

0:33:290:33:33

Reasonably high ceilings and then I like the way it's been divided off.

0:33:330:33:37

This is actually your kitchen.

0:33:370:33:39

It's in a right old state, clearly in need of total refurbishment.

0:33:390:33:43

You may take down this wall, make it open-plan.

0:33:430:33:45

But the biggest thing in this property is these two great sash windows.

0:33:450:33:50

Loads of light pouring in and it gets better than that.

0:33:500:33:53

Because out here, you've got use of this absolutely delightful little private terrace.

0:33:550:34:01

This is rather special.

0:34:020:34:04

With its original iron railings and enough space for a chair or two,

0:34:040:34:07

it's perfect for people-watching and taking in the afternoon sun.

0:34:070:34:13

Slightly less perfect is the bedroom.

0:34:130:34:15

It's a reasonable size and has its own sash window, which is good, but it's an odd raised area which

0:34:150:34:22

makes me think maybe the plumbing has been laid clumsily underneath.

0:34:220:34:26

And I was right. That separate loo does eat into the space.

0:34:260:34:30

So this is the bathroom and actually, good news, because there's a lot of wasted space.

0:34:300:34:36

You've got this cupboard here.

0:34:360:34:38

There's another there, housing the hot water cylinder.

0:34:380:34:41

If you stick a new combination boiler in, you can get rid of that,

0:34:410:34:44

create lots of the extra space, move your loo from the centre of the property in here -

0:34:440:34:49

it's on an external wall, so you shouldn't have problems with the soil pipe -

0:34:490:34:53

and then you're going to generate yourself a heck of a lot more space.

0:34:530:34:56

Absolutely perfect.

0:34:560:34:58

So, we're back to perfect again.

0:34:580:35:00

But there's still a lot to do here, most of it about getting this space to work for you.

0:35:000:35:06

I asked a local estate agent along to tell me about

0:35:080:35:11

the potential of this one-bedroom flat in Warwick Avenue.

0:35:110:35:15

It's not the biggest flat in the world, but I think with the right eye

0:35:150:35:20

and a good builder, it could be a very nice little one-bed.

0:35:200:35:23

You don't want to overspend on this type of property, because it's not a

0:35:230:35:27

big flat and you don't really want to be putting a Porsche engine inside a Ford Mondeo.

0:35:270:35:32

I'd be looking to spend around 25, I think you could be quite a good job with 25,000.

0:35:320:35:37

But still, on top of that £165,000 guide price, the flat would still represent a good buy.

0:35:370:35:44

What could be achieved on the open market?

0:35:440:35:47

In its current state, I'd value the property at 275,000.

0:35:470:35:51

Once the work is done I'd expect to achieve 330,000 on the open market.

0:35:510:35:56

As a letting valuation, you'd probably be looking at anywhere from £320 to £340 a week.

0:35:560:36:03

Make no mistake, this is a hot property.

0:36:090:36:11

That guide price, I think, set deliberately low, just to attract attention.

0:36:110:36:15

But who couldn't be touched by the appeal of the area?

0:36:150:36:18

The flat itself needs a bit of work,

0:36:180:36:20

but I'm sure it's one that sailed away at the auction.

0:36:200:36:23

Lot 10, Warwick Avenue. Over to you. I think I've got a low reserve.

0:36:260:36:30

Is somebody going to start off punchy? 215. 220.

0:36:300:36:37

225. 230?

0:36:370:36:40

250.

0:36:410:36:43

A great bid, well done.

0:36:430:36:45

Lay it down. 251.

0:36:450:36:47

It's not going to make any odds, is it? 252. Good bid, though.

0:36:470:36:51

251 down here. 252, anywhere? 252.

0:36:510:36:56

253. 253. 254.

0:36:560:36:59

Anyone else? 253, anywhere else? It's going down here.

0:36:590:37:04

Are you together? Blimey.

0:37:040:37:07

In all this room, everyone there and you are together.

0:37:070:37:14

How much? 254. 255.

0:37:140:37:17

256. 257. 258.

0:37:170:37:22

257, 258. Anywhere?

0:37:220:37:25

257, with you. First time, 258. 259.

0:37:250:37:29

259, down here. 260.

0:37:300:37:33

260, well done. 261, sir?

0:37:330:37:36

260, anyone else, down here?

0:37:360:37:38

First time. 261. 262, madam.

0:37:380:37:43

261, with you, first time, second time, 262.

0:37:430:37:50

263? 262, in the front, first time,

0:37:500:37:55

second time, third and last time, are you all done? 264.

0:37:550:38:00

265. 266.

0:38:000:38:03

265, in front, first time, second time, third and last time, 266.

0:38:030:38:08

266, with you now. 267?

0:38:080:38:11

Yeah? 267. 268?

0:38:110:38:14

With the lady, 267, first time, second time, third and last time...

0:38:140:38:20

Well done, 267. Well bought.

0:38:200:38:24

The winning bidder of that hard-fought battle was Paula.

0:38:240:38:28

She's a first-time buyer, who had her heart set on this one-bed in Warwick Avenue.

0:38:280:38:34

Originally from Romania, Paula has lived in London for four years since finishing her Master's degree.

0:38:340:38:40

She now calls the city home, but I wanted to know why she chose this flat.

0:38:400:38:45

-Paula, congratulations.

-Thank you very much.

0:38:450:38:48

You've got a gorgeous flat in a lovely location.

0:38:480:38:50

-It's fantastic, indeed.

-Why did you decide to buy at auction?

0:38:500:38:54

I started looking exactly a year ago and I remember having a wander

0:38:540:39:00

in Little Venice and I decided, this is where I want to live.

0:39:000:39:04

I found it very frustrating to deal with estate agents and not be able

0:39:060:39:11

to negotiate with the sellers, so I thought I'd try the auction.

0:39:110:39:17

How did it turn out? Because it seemed a bit frantic

0:39:170:39:20

and the price just went up and up and up and up and up.

0:39:200:39:23

I hadn't been to an auction before, so I had, literally, ten minutes to learn how it works.

0:39:230:39:28

So I got in and there was this massive room,

0:39:300:39:33

with hundreds of people and I felt very small and very nervous

0:39:330:39:39

and then it was Lot 10 and everything goes really quickly,

0:39:390:39:43

so I had, literally, five, ten minutes to figure out,

0:39:430:39:47

"Oh yes, I have to raise my hand and I have to shout my price and

0:39:470:39:51

"he has a gavel and he bangs it three times before that's it, all is gone."

0:39:510:39:55

You didn't even know that before you went there?

0:39:550:39:58

No.

0:39:580:40:00

But it was a lot of work I did prior the auction.

0:40:010:40:05

I did my homework before.

0:40:050:40:08

Paula may be inexperienced at auctions, but feels she paid the right price for this property.

0:40:090:40:14

For her, this is not just a way of making a fast buck, but somewhere to make her home.

0:40:140:40:20

The location suits her as it's only a 12-minute journey to her work.

0:40:200:40:24

She's in procurement for the Royal Mail, buying anything from planes, trains to automobiles.

0:40:240:40:29

Is she going to sort this place out special delivery or second-class snail mail?

0:40:290:40:34

There's nothing special about it.

0:40:340:40:37

I think it has potential.

0:40:370:40:39

-There's a lot of work to be done, but we'll see.

-What are you going to do?

0:40:390:40:43

Loads of things. Shall we start with the bathroom?

0:40:430:40:46

I have a budget and the plan for the bathroom only.

0:40:490:40:53

It'll have the feel and the look of a spa.

0:40:530:40:58

I'll have small luxuries, like underfloor heating and a spa bath

0:40:580:41:03

-and...ceiling speakers.

-Wow.

0:41:030:41:08

Do you spend a lot of time in the bathroom?

0:41:080:41:10

I think it adds value to a property.

0:41:100:41:14

With the bargains you can get today for tiles and bathtubs,

0:41:140:41:21

it's a pity not to do it, really.

0:41:210:41:23

Paula also recognises that reconfiguring the layout would make this place more desirable.

0:41:230:41:30

So her plans are to move the toilet into the bathroom, create a walk-in wardrobe in the old toilet area

0:41:300:41:36

and take out that dividing wall, to create an open-plan kitchen-living area.

0:41:360:41:41

In terms of the work inside, have you had quotes for that?

0:41:410:41:44

Yes. The most expensive was £29,000.

0:41:440:41:49

-To do what?

-To do the whole place.

0:41:490:41:51

What I decided in the end was to do it in chunks, so I'll start

0:41:510:41:57

with the bathroom and then move into the bedroom and to the living room.

0:41:570:42:03

I envisage to spend about £15,000 in total.

0:42:030:42:07

Paula seems to have got her teeth into this particular project

0:42:070:42:11

and hopes to raise this place from the dead in six weeks.

0:42:110:42:15

Do you bring any of the skills from your job into the purchase?

0:42:160:42:19

Oh, absolutely.

0:42:190:42:21

I'll have a contract with the builders, a service agreement and...

0:42:210:42:27

Great. More people should do that.

0:42:270:42:29

Write it down, what they've said to you, what they have agreed to do, how much they'll charge.

0:42:290:42:34

Yes, I have everything in writing and if they

0:42:340:42:38

give me a quotation I'll ask them to break it down and include all

0:42:380:42:44

-materials they're going to use, where they're going to source them...

-Ha!

0:42:440:42:48

..quantity, all of those things.

0:42:480:42:52

This is exactly what budding developers should do so, they aren't hit by unexpected extra charges.

0:42:520:42:57

It seems that Paula is a tough cookie, who won't get bamboozled by any dodgy builders.

0:42:570:43:02

But there is another way to save even more.

0:43:020:43:05

DIY? Any experience of that?

0:43:050:43:07

Have you done up properties before?

0:43:070:43:09

No way.

0:43:090:43:11

-Are you going to be getting your hands dirty?

-No way.

0:43:110:43:15

You're just going to oversee, tell people what to do?

0:43:150:43:18

Not even, I'll call my mum in.

0:43:180:43:21

-Your mum in?

-My mother.

0:43:210:43:23

All the builders would be really scared of her.

0:43:230:43:27

I trust her with my life.

0:43:270:43:30

She'll come over and will manage the project.

0:43:300:43:34

Well, good luck with it all and I hope it turns out just as you want.

0:43:340:43:38

Quite an experience for Paula's first venture at the auctions.

0:43:430:43:47

And yes, she paid well over the guide price, but I think

0:43:470:43:50

she's got herself a lovely home here and that's all that really matters.

0:43:500:43:54

With her organisational skills and the help of her mum,

0:43:540:43:57

I'm sure she'll do a great job at making sure she gets a good job done by those builders!

0:43:570:44:02

Find out how she gets on later in the show.

0:44:020:44:05

In the property world, time is money.

0:44:080:44:11

If you want to make profits, you've got to work quickly and get the job done.

0:44:110:44:15

Have our owners finished their projects, or is time their enemy?

0:44:150:44:18

Let's go back and find out.

0:44:180:44:20

Earlier, we met retired couple, Roger and Lindsey, who bought this

0:44:220:44:25

run-down three-bed semi in Bitterne, Southampton for £130,000.

0:44:250:44:30

They were planning to renovate and use it as a temporary home for their son and his family.

0:44:300:44:36

But for Roger, there was also a chance to pursue his dreams of refurbishing a property.

0:44:360:44:42

Seven months later, we return to see if it's now a dream home or a nightmare on Athelstone Road.

0:44:420:44:49

The house still looks like it's in a deep sleep.

0:44:560:44:59

There's no sign of curb appeal yet and when you head inside,

0:44:590:45:04

again, there's no evidence of any renovation work taking place.

0:45:040:45:08

But as Roger explains, there has been an unavoidable delay.

0:45:080:45:12

In December, I had a total knee replacement,

0:45:150:45:17

so I've been a few months getting back to strength.

0:45:170:45:22

It was twofold, really. My son has used the house to store

0:45:220:45:28

furniture and goods etc while he's had his house renovated.

0:45:280:45:33

As he was able to work around the builders, Roger and Lindsey's son

0:45:330:45:37

had decided not to move in, taking the pressure off Roger getting the renovation done.

0:45:370:45:43

That gave him time for his knee to heal

0:45:430:45:45

and also provided an opportunity to think about the layout.

0:45:450:45:49

Out here, once I've got the new roof on and the double glazing,

0:45:500:45:54

we're going to knock the extension down here and build a new extension right across the back

0:45:540:45:59

and open up with a nice, big kitchen living room, really.

0:45:590:46:03

It should all fit in very nicely and I've talked to the neighbours

0:46:030:46:06

and, apparently, they're going to extend across the back, as well, so it'll all conform quite nicely

0:46:060:46:12

and the whole thing should look really good.

0:46:120:46:15

Once this garden has had its makeover, the new extension

0:46:150:46:18

will definitely provide a great place to sit, relax and take in views of the River Itchen.

0:46:180:46:23

Remember, winter only, though!

0:46:230:46:26

Inside, there's another welcome addition for downstairs.

0:46:270:46:30

One of the main considerations that I've got here is to put a downstairs toilet in.

0:46:300:46:36

This was just a cloakroom previously, with a meter cupboard, so I've just plonked a toilet and

0:46:360:46:43

sink in at the moment, just to see how it fits in, and, yeah, I think I'll have plenty of room for that.

0:46:430:46:48

It should be good.

0:46:480:46:50

Roger didn't see the renovation budget extending beyond his original £30,000 estimate.

0:46:520:46:57

That would take the total bill to 160,000, plus the usual expenses.

0:46:570:47:03

Even though seven months have passed since buying the house, he's still relaxed about getting the job done.

0:47:030:47:10

I'm in the position really where there's no real big hurry.

0:47:100:47:15

The fact that property prices have not moved, there's a lot

0:47:150:47:18

of properties out there to let, so I'm happy, really, just to wait for the property prices to rise.

0:47:180:47:24

But will the agents think it's time lost on the investment?

0:47:260:47:30

Remember, Roger and Lindsey

0:47:300:47:31

bought the house for 130,000 seven months ago.

0:47:310:47:34

So has the value of this three-bed semi changed in that time?

0:47:350:47:39

At this stage I'd say that the value hasn't increased, whatsoever.

0:47:400:47:44

Obviously the potential is there,

0:47:440:47:46

but at the moment, it's looking on a par from when I first saw it, a few months ago.

0:47:460:47:52

The main thing I'd say to get as much value out of the property,

0:47:520:47:55

is make sure that the refurb is done to a good standard

0:47:550:47:58

and not just your basic refurbishment.

0:47:580:48:00

To achieve as much as you physically can, go that little bit extra.

0:48:000:48:04

Roger and Lindsey are planning to spend 30,000 on the renovation,

0:48:040:48:08

which would take their spend on the property to £160,000.

0:48:080:48:13

What could they achieve on a resale?

0:48:130:48:15

The figure I'd value the property, once the work has been done, would be around about 184,495.

0:48:150:48:21

You're probably looking at an asking price, once it's fully refurbished, of about 180,000 to £185,000.

0:48:210:48:27

That sounds good.

0:48:270:48:28

That's round about the sort of area that I thought of.

0:48:280:48:32

If I make 20, 25,000, I shall be more than pleased.

0:48:320:48:36

Far more than it would have made in the bank.

0:48:360:48:38

And what could the rental income be?

0:48:380:48:42

The rental value on this, once the work has been done, would be 775 per calendar month.

0:48:420:48:47

You're looking at around £800 per calendar month.

0:48:470:48:50

To sell or rent?

0:48:500:48:52

When the renovation is done, Roger and Lindsey will test the waters

0:48:520:48:56

of the resale market to see if their first property will sink or float.

0:48:560:49:00

It's taken a long time to get there, but after all the hold-ups,

0:49:000:49:04

is Roger still keen to make this new venture work?

0:49:040:49:07

I think it's a hobby, so it's not dead serious.

0:49:070:49:11

But at the end of the day, obviously, I've got to be serious about the money.

0:49:110:49:15

But I'd rather do something with it, with something I like doing,

0:49:150:49:19

rather than just sitting there earning money in the bank.

0:49:190:49:23

So, I shall probably have another go at it.

0:49:230:49:26

# When I get to Warwick Avenue... #

0:49:310:49:35

And that's where we were earlier, in Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale, north-west London.

0:49:350:49:40

Here we met Paula, who bought this one-bedroom flat for £267,000.

0:49:400:49:46

Originally from Romania, she was well prepared for her

0:49:460:49:49

first dip in the property market, but not for quotes on a renovation.

0:49:490:49:55

Most expensive was £29,000.

0:49:550:49:57

Huh! To do what?

0:49:570:49:59

To do the whole place. I envisaged to spend about £15,000 in total.

0:49:590:50:05

Well, it is just a one-bedroom flat, but with great views up and down Warwick Avenue.

0:50:050:50:10

I don't think this place will break her heart, but it might have broken her budget.

0:50:100:50:16

Three months later, we've returned to see what Paula has managed to do.

0:50:160:50:20

And the result?

0:50:200:50:22

Tearing down that kitchen wall has transformed what was a shabby

0:50:290:50:33

lifeless lounge into a more open and stylish kitchen living area.

0:50:330:50:39

And the bedroom?

0:50:390:50:41

Well, this is a far more relaxing, elegant room.

0:50:430:50:47

What about that bathroom?

0:50:470:50:50

The bathroom was actually the biggest change in the flat.

0:50:530:50:57

I had to change all the planning.

0:50:570:50:59

As you can see, I changed the layout completely.

0:50:590:51:03

Obviously I added little things, luxurious things, like a sound system, underfloor heating.

0:51:030:51:08

A towel heater and a shower head.

0:51:080:51:11

So, all good. I'm really pleased with it.

0:51:110:51:15

Back in the bedroom, there has been one very important change.

0:51:150:51:19

As you remember, there was a wall here.

0:51:210:51:24

There was a loo with a door from the hallway.

0:51:240:51:28

That has gone from there.

0:51:280:51:30

I've turned the space into a wardrobe, which is fantastic.

0:51:300:51:34

I didn't have enough storage space before.

0:51:340:51:37

This, you know, does...look,

0:51:370:51:42

it goes all the way back and it's great.

0:51:420:51:45

I think Paula's alterations have made the best use of space in this small flat.

0:51:450:51:50

She can be very proud of the final result.

0:51:500:51:52

But getting to the finished product was not her idea of fun.

0:51:520:51:57

I enjoy things being developed.

0:51:570:52:01

Transformed. I enjoy the end result.

0:52:010:52:04

But I wasn't patient enough to stay here and help the builders, for example.

0:52:040:52:09

I tried for a couple of days and gave up. It's just not for me.

0:52:090:52:16

I'll not touch a brush or anything.

0:52:160:52:18

Well, Paula may have struggled to understand DIY, but she was lucky enough

0:52:180:52:23

to find a team of Romanian builders, who did this fantastic renovation.

0:52:230:52:27

By the sound of it, a bit more, as well.

0:52:270:52:30

The builder picked the colours, the furniture. Everything, basically.

0:52:310:52:37

It made my job really easy.

0:52:370:52:40

They've certainly done a great job in creating a stylish flat,

0:52:400:52:43

but that's only half the story.

0:52:430:52:45

It was still up to Paula to make the finances work and stick to her £15,000 renovation budget.

0:52:450:52:53

Everything that you see in here cost about £20,000.

0:52:540:52:59

That includes furniture and kitchen equipment, everything.

0:52:590:53:04

She may have been £5,000 over the original estimate, but considering she had a

0:53:040:53:09

higher quote of £29,000 to achieve the same renovation, I reckon Paula has done extremely well here.

0:53:090:53:15

But then with her background in buying for the Royal Mail, she knows

0:53:150:53:19

all about the haggling process and the savings that can result.

0:53:190:53:23

I just found the right places to go.

0:53:230:53:26

I went to clearances for houses.

0:53:260:53:28

I looked for deals. For example, the work top, it was in a state.

0:53:280:53:33

It needed a lot of work, but I got it for £50.

0:53:330:53:37

The same work top, you buy it in a place with a name,

0:53:370:53:41

the branded places - £400.

0:53:410:53:43

So, that's how you save money.

0:53:430:53:45

Paula bought the flat for £267,000.

0:53:450:53:49

But she had to add a seller's fee of 2%, which took her costs to just over 272,000.

0:53:490:53:56

Add that £20,000 spent on the renovation,

0:53:560:53:59

plus other expenses, and Paula's total outlay is now £300,000.

0:53:590:54:05

For a first investment, that's a pretty big commitment.

0:54:050:54:08

Paula seems to have navigated her way so far without any problems.

0:54:080:54:12

But now the flat has to face its toughest test.

0:54:120:54:16

My mum hasn't seen the property. She's coming in a couple of days.

0:54:160:54:20

I'm quite nervous about it. My mum will like the property,

0:54:200:54:24

but she'll think it's a bit too small...

0:54:240:54:28

So, we'll see.

0:54:280:54:29

Well, her mother's opinion will be important to Paula.

0:54:290:54:33

But it's the property market that will decide if her flat's a winner.

0:54:330:54:36

So we asked two local estate agents to tell us what they thought of this renovation.

0:54:360:54:42

My first impressions are very good.

0:54:430:54:45

The transformation is incredible, actually.

0:54:450:54:48

New kitchen, new bathroom, wooden floors.

0:54:480:54:52

Just the little touches on the wallpaper.

0:54:520:54:54

It's looking very good.

0:54:540:54:56

I'd think it's very good.

0:54:560:54:57

Lots of natural light, which is important in this area,

0:54:570:55:01

cos people like outside space and you've got that at the front.

0:55:010:55:04

Well proportioned, nice colours. Very good.

0:55:040:55:07

The size of the reception is just about big enough.

0:55:070:55:10

By taking down that wall, she's brought both windows into play,

0:55:100:55:13

so when you walk in, you get a "wow" factor,

0:55:130:55:15

there's more light and you can see the balcony.

0:55:150:55:18

So I think it's a winner as far as I'm concerned.

0:55:180:55:20

But will the returns match their enthusiasm?

0:55:200:55:23

Remember, Paula spent £300,000, so what can she expect to sell the flat for?

0:55:230:55:28

I'd probably put this on the market for an asking price of somewhere about 375,000.

0:55:280:55:33

I'd put it on the market for 370,000 and I'd expect offers anywhere in the region of 360 upwards.

0:55:330:55:40

That sounds fantastic.

0:55:400:55:42

I really, really didn't expect it.

0:55:420:55:44

I'm not surprised. In just three months, she could have made a potential pre-tax profit of £65,000.

0:55:440:55:51

Will the rental figures make her even happier?

0:55:510:55:55

For rental, very attractive.

0:55:550:55:56

You'd be looking in the region of £1,500 per calendar month.

0:55:560:55:59

Per calendar month? I think it would achieve in the region of £1,500.

0:55:590:56:04

Wow! That's fantastic! Because...wow!

0:56:040:56:09

My mortgage is £720, so that's amazing.

0:56:090:56:15

Paula's first dip into the property market has proved a real success.

0:56:150:56:20

With the help of her builders she has created a cool, contemporary London flat.

0:56:200:56:24

She's quite clear about the reason for her success.

0:56:240:56:28

Obviously, I got something right.

0:56:280:56:29

So, yes. Buy it at auction, be clever about it, work hard

0:56:290:56:34

and everybody can do it. Anyone can do it.

0:56:340:56:37

Paula was lucky when everything hit the mark.

0:56:370:56:41

She bought a run-down flat at the right price and definitely in a desirable part of London.

0:56:410:56:47

Also, she did her research and make the figures work for her.

0:56:470:56:51

In this case, there will be no broken hearts in Warwick Avenue.

0:56:510:56:55

That's it for today's properties.

0:56:570:56:59

Join us next time for more Homes Under The Hammer.

0:56:590:57:02

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:100:57:13

E-mail [email protected]

0:57:130:57:16

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a grand but run-down three-bedroom house in Cardiff, a three-bedroom property in Southampton with a great view, and a flat in Maida Vale, north-west London.

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.