Series about properties that have gone to auction. Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Cornwall, a 1950s property in Middlesex and a house in Wales.
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In difficult market conditions, it's even more important to buy
in the right location at the right price.
It is. From two-up two-down terraces to the unusual and even more quirky, you can find it all at auction.
But with so much on offer, it's important not to get carried away buying your home under the hammer.
Now, buying at auction is a very quick way to get your property.
It's a case of buyer beware.
When the hammer goes down you own the property,
you can't change your mind and you have to come up with the cash pronto.
So, did today's buyers get themselves a bit of a dream or a nightmare?
For me, a trip to Cornwall could definitely bear fruit.
Because compared to some of the places that Lucy and I see, this place is positively peachy.
It seems like they knew what they were doing when they built
the properties in the '50s, like this one in Greenford, Middlesex.
I have to say, this house has thought of everything.
And, in Wales, will anyone jump in to buy this house?
I know we're by the seaside.
I think having a floor that's kind of undulating like a wave is not ideal.
All these properties have been sold at auction and we'll find out
who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.
Well, there's no doubt that the housing market has taken a bit of
a beating in recent times, but there are certain pockets of the country which are more insulated than others.
Welcome to St Ives.
Well, the tide might be out today,
but that won't stop the wave of tourists that visit this picturesque seaside port.
It's famous for the quality of light, which has drawn artists from around
the world, so is today's property a masterpiece or just a washout?
Well, looking at properties in Cornwall sometimes comes with a bit of a health warning.
Sometimes they're small, pokey little cottages where you're always concerned about banging your head.
But not today, because this is the property that was on offer.
It had a guide price of 125,000 quid, so it's not going to send your budget through the ceiling, either.
Well, it's a recently built semi-detached building that's part of a modern housing development.
Situated right on the edge of St Ives, I think it has the best of both worlds,
a semi-rural location and just a stone's throw from the sea.
And what it can be used for doubles up as well, because it's
designated a work living space, which means you can both live and run a business here.
So, it looks like you're getting a lot for your money.
That is until you come inside when you can't help but getting
a hollow feeling.
This isn't much more than a shell.
No electrics, plumbing, flooring or ceiling, though that £125,000
guide did reflect that it was far from finished.
Appropriately enough for artistic St Ives, you could say this was a
blank canvas, but can it be turned into an oil painting?
But none of that really worries me,
because compared to some of the places that Lucy and I see, this place is positively peachy.
No damp to sort out, it's not got dry rot or anything horrible.
It's this fantastic space, and no more so than up here.
Look at this. What a great area for you to put your own stamp on it.
That's one of the great things about taking on a project in this state.
You can do what you want with it, subject to planning permission.
What a great room this would make.
Pool table in the middle, Jacuzzi...
Well, maybe that's just me!
Wow, what a fantastic space.
It's all watertight and ready for first fix, with windows in and the staircase waiting to go.
It's also been designed to be environmentally friendly.
The walls are super-insulated with recycled shredded plastic bottles.
It's triple-glazed and there's solar heating, so despite all the space, it should be snug and energy efficient.
What can the auctioneer who sold it tell us about it?
The property comes with a restriction as to occupation,
being a live-work unit.
So, it's kind of residential, but it's kind of commercial as well
and there's an obligation on the occupier to be earning some form of living from indoors.
This type of space is becoming increasingly common
with more people working at home, but it's not without drawbacks.
The quality needs to be reasonably high,
because live-work isn't everyone's cup of tea, so that if it's...
If what you create isn't everyone's cup of tea and it's a bit naff, you're going to struggle.
You'll probably be able to create something worth about
270, 280, not quite £300,000.
But at a guide price of 125,000, anywhere close to 300,000
sounds to me like there could be a healthy profit.
Well, I don't know about you, but I really like this place.
An opportunity to put your stamp on a fairly unique building.
Of course, you have got the issue of the live-work unit.
Will that detract, maybe limit your market?
I don't know, I think it's outweighed by the fact this is a great opportunity.
Let's find out who spotted it at the auction.
At eight, we have 1 Tom's Yard at Higher Stennack.
Guide price is 125, who's going to kick me off at 125? Safe as houses.
Thank you, sir. 125. At 125.
At 125. 130. At 130.
At 130. At 130. Glancing left. 132.
134. At 134. Six. 136.
136. 138. 138.
138. Would a nine help, sir, in your judgement?
139. Yeah. Thank you. 139. 140.
Straight back. 140. 141. 141.
141. 142. 142. 143. 144.
145 is sat. 145. 146. 146. At 147.
147. At 147 and a half.
147 and a half. At 148.
148. 148 I've got. At 148.
At 148 once, twice.
148. Here we go, on the floor has it at 148 and done.
148, the gentleman on the left there.
Well done, sir. Sorry about that at the back.
And the man sitting on the floor who put in the winning bid of £148,000 was local builder, Dan.
I met him back at Tom's Yard to hear more about his plans for this half-finished work-living space.
-You've got yourself a sort of half house.
-It's a bit of a shell, yeah.
-Why did you want to buy it?
I've got a building company along with a sort of development company
-and we've used it really as a bit of a fill in job.
-How do you mean?
We've got other things in planning at the moment, sort of materialising
in a few months, so we needed something to keep the guys going.
Right. So what's the plan? What are you going to do?
We're going to change the existing plans, turn it into a sort of three-bedroom place with
possibly a loosely divided sort of annexe down below.
Three bedrooms instead of the single large one originally planned makes much more sense.
It's more flexible and should increase the value, so Dan clearly knows what he's doing.
How long have you been doing this for?
I've been sort of in the building trade all my life on and off, really.
My father was a builder, so hooked on to the site at an early age.
I've recollections of swinging of a roof holding trusses and what have you as a nipper, but, yeah...
-Have you got children?
-Yes, three young children.
-Four, three and two.
-And they on the building sites yet?
Not yet, no. Nearly!
-Give them another year or two.
-That's it, yeah.
-How does it progress
from your father running his...?
Well, I actually sort of... When the last recession came around,
I actually worked abroad and I worked abroad for about ten years sort of spraying yachts.
Tell me more.
Refinishing them, really. Just the likes of America's Cup, round the world yachts.
We were contracted to go and finish them off, spray them and that's really how I got into the actual
development side of things because I actually earned some cash and came home and bought four properties.
We turned them round, did various developments on them and
that's how the company was sort of formed really and went from there.
His business really has grown.
He's done new builds, converted a hotel into nine flats and has also done straightforward renovations.
So, he's seen the highs and the lows of the property market.
So, here we are in another difficult, interesting period of the property market,
so what's your sort of view on things as they are at the moment?
I think you've just got to buy right and not be greedy, really.
Be realistic on what you can do, what you have to spend
on a project and what you're going to get back for it.
So, in terms of finances, how's it going to work with this place?
On this, hopefully between 50,000 and 60,000.
And that brings you up to about, ish, 200,000 ish.
-Yeah, 200, 210.
-How much are you anticipating being in able to sell it for, and is that the plan?
Absolutely, yeah. We'll be looking to resell it.
We've got one across the road on the market for 375.
They haven't sold, so we've got to be more realistic. If we could...
I mean, 260 to 300 would be...
Anywhere around there would be ideal for us.
It's a quick in and out and go again.
Dan's clearly a realist.
He'll rent it out if he has to, but he does want to get the job done and move on as soon as possible.
To do that, he needs a scheme that will give it the wow factor, so I was keen to see what he's come up with.
-Presumably one of the first things you're going to do is sort out the staircase!
Get rid of that dodgy little ladder.
Not really ideal, is it?
I remember when I first saw this, I came up here, what a great space!
I know, it's fantastic.
What are you going to do with this?
-Well, we're looking probably to get two bedrooms on this level.
-One over here.
There's a slight sort of temporary piece of timber on the floor we're just sort of mapping it about.
-That wall's going to go.
-So you're going to take that wall out?
Yeah, it's right in the way at the moment. It's halfway through
the bedroom that's going to go there.
En-suite in the corner and a sort of bathroom behind here.
We're going to change the stair arrangement, put a spiral staircase in the middle.
-And it'll also go up to a little mezzanine at the top.
-A small little mezzanine there, it could be a kid's bedroom or
anything really, a little office.
-But it converts into a three-bedroom property?
Do you need planning permission?
Yes, there's a slight external detail that needs changing.
We want to put an extra doorway through on the ground floor and
there's also a couple of Veluxes needed for the mezzanine.
Yeah, there is an application but it's going in next week with a bit of luck.
What kind of involvement do you have on a day-to-day basis?
No, I'm in daily throughout the days and basically making sure it's all running well and more often than not
I've got a number of projects on the go, so it's a case of just
coordinating all the different teams and making sure it's happening.
Do you still get any kind of kick out of turning places around?
Yeah, doing the deals. That's where you get your kick, yeah. I think so.
Not the actual hammering and nailing?
No, no. I try and stay away from that, if possible.
With his team of builders in place and that 60 grand budget,
you would have thought this project should be plain sailing for Dan, but you just never know.
Well, Dan is the perfect guy to take on this project.
To an amateur builder, it would be difficult to finish it off.
To him, an absolute piece of cake.
The only issue is this whole live-work unit palaver.
Will it actually limit his market, as the agents predict? Well, I'm not sure.
However, he's being very realistic about what he's going
to get when he sells this place, so I'm sure that will counteract it and he'll be fine in the long run.
You can find out later in the show.
I'm in Greenford in the London borough of Ealing.
Now, I'm struggling to tell you an interesting historical fact
about Greenford or talk about an important landmark
because, really, its most prominent feature is the A40. But you know, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
From here, the A40 will get you into central London in less than
30 minutes and in even less time on to the Centre Line tube which will get you direct into Oxford Circus.
Who needs ancient churches and famous residents when you've got fabulous transport links?
OK, so that might be me looking on the bright side. But in London, transport links are key and with
property prices in the centre still prohibitively expensive,
maybe the more affordable Greenford offers a good compromise.
I'm on the south side of Greenford on Ferrymead Avenue, which is lined with solid 1950s terraced housing.
Well, I'm here to see a two-bed.
It's got a guide of 165,000.
Now, that seems cheap to me, but it looks even better when you think
if you got it around that guide, you'd be under the recently revised Stamp Duty threshold of 175,000.
I'm going to have a look around.
So, from the outside, this 1950s house is nothing to write home about.
The windows could do with modernising and the paintwork's flaking a little bit, but I like
the fact that it's set back from the road and it comes with a garage which can be accessed at the back.
Now, inside and it immediately feels dated.
Let's have a look in the front reception room.
Do you know what? It's quite sad.
It's obviously been somebody's home until recently.
But looking at the room, well, you can see there's a decent space here.
You've got big windows at either end, but the kitchen is tucked around the corner, here.
I'd definitely look at taking this wall down and open up this kitchen into this big living area.
I think it will then have a sense of flow and just be more functional.
Opening up the kitchen would make such a difference, but it clearly suited the previous occupier.
Having done a little research, I discovered that she was
an elderly later lady who has now moved into a residential home.
Although the house is dated, it still retains that cared-for look.
Generally, the layout's pretty good with an upstairs bathroom and two bedrooms.
One is a reasonably sized back bedroom
and there's a very generously sized master bedroom,
which I suspect may have been two bedrooms knocked into one.
This house is really adding up as a family starter home, especially when you see the size of this garden!
There's plenty of room to expand out the back here, subject to planning of, course.
Or you could think about building a conservatory or sunroom with some
lovely bi-folding doors opening right out here.
And at the back, you've got your own garage and rear access.
I have to say, this house has thought of everything.
A quick glance over the fence is encouraging, too, with all manner of
extensions, garages and outbuildings added to the other properties.
Provided you're not too ambitious,
extensions or other additions should get planning permission.
I asked a local estate agent
what alterations to the property could maximise its value.
The structural changes I would make to this property
would be to put a wall back up in the main bedroom to turn it
back into a three bedroom house
and change some of the walls in the kitchen to give a bit more space.
A kitchen diner is always popular.
The property here could be extended to the rear.
A single-storey ground floor extension would be fine.
A double-storey extension would probably have difficulty getting
acceptance due to the proximity of the other houses in the area.
Is there potential uplift in this place that was guided at £165,000?
Once the property has been done up to a more modern standard, I'd expect it to reach about £230,000.
If the property had some work done and turned it into a three bedroom house I would imagine it could reach
as much as £250,000 in the current market.
As the estate agent suggests rental figures of up to £1,100 a month,
this little house could add up very nicely indeed.
For a two-bedroom house so close to central London, this is a steal.
On the face of it, there doesn't seem to be any major issues
and there is so much scope to add value and improve the space.
Let's be honest, it's not a beautiful house, but it inspires in a different way. It just works.
Let's see who was tempted at the auction.
Lot 29 is Ferrymead Avenue, Greenford, Middlesex.
Where shall we say, 170? Can I have 170 anywhere?
Yeah? 170 sitting down. 175.
195, back to you.
Are you bidding or not?
196 to the lady.
First time, second time. 197.
197 to him.
First time, second time, third and last time if you're all done?
After quite a battle, the winning bid of £197,000 was made by David.
He bought this as a new family home for himself, his wife, Christine, and their imminent addition.
David works as a mastering engineer in the film industry and Christine is a midwife.
Guys, congratulations! This is great news. David, you looked
so excited and happy when you got the auction lot that you wanted.
Yeah. Yeah, I hadn't really expected to get it, if I'm honest.
The bidding had gone higher than where I'd said I was going to stop.
And then it was my last go I thought, you know, one more bid, give it a shot and it stopped on me!
So, Christine, what did you think about the house prior to auction? Did you look at it?
-No, I'd never seen it. This is the first time I've seen it today.
We picked up the keys this morning and I just trusted David, really.
I knew he knew what I liked, so I just put it all in his hands and...
And thought it will be great when I see it, and it is!
-So, Christine, you're expecting a baby...
-I am, yes.
Yes, well, it's 36 weeks now so from about a week's time I'll be term and any time from there, really.
So they've managed to get this house just in time.
As they previously lived in a one bed rented flat in London,
you can understand their delight at buying this.
The extra space will be a welcome change for them.
The location is also perfect, as Christine works at one end of the A40 and David at the other.
Have you got the vision for what you want to do to this property?
-We have some ideas.
-David... David has ideas. I'm leaving them to him.
You're leaving quite a lot to David!
-I know you've a lot going on there, but you're very trusting!
-Quite busy at the moment!
-You're very trusting in him, aren't you?
He's done this once before in East London. You bought a flat
and did it all up from scratch and had some quite interesting ideas and
-it all worked well.
-So... So, what are your interesting ideas for this house then, David?
Basically, I want to kind of remodel the downstairs, get rid of that wall there and that wall there, as well.
Whoa! So, you walk into one room?
-OK, so it'll be the everything, the kitchen, the dining room, the lounge?
-Just one open-plan room.
I mean, with the baby coming, I really like the idea of being
able to cook in the kitchen and still see the baby playing in the lounge and kind of not worrying about...
Kind of, see what she's doing, sort of thing.
So, what's the budget, then, for your ideas?
We've got a small amount of money left in savings after, you know, all the solicitor's fees
and everything, but I also have a very generous granny who's helped us out with the deposit and she's...
you know, said she wants to kind of buy us washing machines and things like that and things for
the baby, so that's really, really nice of her and we wouldn't have been able to do it without her help.
I think £5,000 should cover the initial work,
though later they would like to add an extension and possibly a loft conversion.
In addition to his job, David plays in two bands and hopes maybe he could have
a studio at the end of the garden. But that's all in the future, so what are their immediate plans?
How soon are you hoping to get in here?
I mean, you got the keys today.
-And you're going to live in it like this, are you?
We might get rid of some of the furniture that's been left behind.
Hopefully, we'll get the first bit of work done quite quickly,
because obviously I don't want to be banging around when...
when our child is trying to sleep upstairs.
They don't sleep.
Oh, dear, I think David and Christine have a bit to learn!
It's always a challenge at the best of times working on
a house whilst living it in it, but with full time jobs and a new baby, this is going to be much tougher.
So, is there anything now that's worrying you with this?
I remember when David was doing up his last property, there was an issue with sawdust.
So, we're going to have to confine areas where you're allowed to make some mess...
-..and exclude you from others.
-What you produce in the end...
-I've got a room now, though, to do it in.
-Oh, that's true.
-I can do it in the garage.
We have a garage, can you believe that?
-Do you love that?
-It's great, it's great.
I never thought I would ever have a house with a garage.
Christine, you just seem extremely calm at the moment. Are you feeling that?
I'm just delighted that we've got somewhere that is not a pokey one-bedroom flat
with lots of prams and things in the middle of the room.
I am thrilled for you two.
Clearly, I cannot wipe the smiles off your faces.
-Good luck with the baby.
Good luck with the renovations and everything you do together.
-It's been a pleasure to meet you.
David and Christine have got such an exciting time ahead of them
and I'm just delighted they found their perfect home.
It's great, they can do the work bit by bit, but I'd really
advise them against taking down all the internal walls downstairs.
Find out what they decide later in the programme.
Coming up, in Wales I find my own kitchen nightmare.
Trying to get your Sunday roast out?
You can't. This has got to go.
We return to Greenford in Middlesex
to see how David and Christine are getting on with their new space.
I've no idea how we lived in such a small flat.
But first, has Dan stuck with his plan to cope with the current property slump?
Be realistic on what you to have to spend on the project and what you're going to get back for it.
For many years, St Ives in Cornwall has been a desirable coastal town to live in.
The natural harbour and rugged coastline has attracted both tourists and artists alike.
When local builder, Dan, came across a half finished work-living space
on the edge of the town, he thought it was the perfect project
to keep his building team busy and at the same time turn a profit, so he paid 148 grand for it.
Well, six months later, had he turned the blank canvas into a masterpiece?
Well, from the front, the outside space hasn't altered greatly.
But the back garden has now been completed.
Along with new patio doors, he's also repositioned the main back entrance.
Inside, the designated work area is complete.
There's also a downstairs kitchen
which Dan installed to give him more options, as he explains.
One of the main areas we've changed, I suppose, is removal of the wall
which made a large corridor area that used to sort run through here and up the stairs.
We've taken that out, which makes this room obviously a lot larger and also the workspace in there,
you know, sort of free from clutter and a lot larger.
And obviously the best thing is, we can sort of close this door
and it gives you a lettable separate unit.
With one bedroom and a shower room downstairs, everything is here
for this to be a self-contained unit, but what about upstairs?
When we walked into this massive open sort of cavernous space, OK, it was a great open area
as one room, but I just think it was also a bit of a waste.
Well, it certainly is not a waste now.
Ooh, love it!
And out of this massive cavernous area we've managed to get a mezzanine area,
which could be used as an occasional bedroom or possibly an office, two good bedrooms.
One of the bedrooms is en-suite and the other of a good size.
So, along with the mezzanine room
and the downstairs bedroom, Dan has managed to turn this
into a potentially four-bedroom property.
Obviously getting the kitchen diner and a living space, so it's worked out quite well.
Not only has he utilised the space well, but he's also gone for a pretty high spec.
The kitchen has all mod cons and with triple-glazing, super-insulation
and solar water heating, he's also created a property that exceeds all modern eco standards.
How hands-on has he been?
I come every day in the mornings and at night, you know, just to, you know, see how things are going.
I organise all the materials and I've a great team of guys, you know?
They should really take all the credit.
They do all the work. I've done...
I've come in and helped out when necessary, but they've certainly
knocked this out themselves and they should take the credit.
Dan may not have got his hands dirty, but the look and layout was part
of a collaborative process with a local architect.
But it's come at a cost of at least £70,000
and Dan says his total spend is now around 225,000.
I'm intending to sell the property as soon as possible.
It's going on the market at 385.
There are two agents marketing it at the moment.
385,000 is a massive jump up from his £225,000 investment,
but is it a realistic figure in the current market?
What do two local property experts think?
When I was here previously,
it was an empty shell and the plans were for a one-bedroomed house
and I've come here today and there's three bedrooms, workspace, it's...
It's an unbelievable transformation.
When you come inside, your initial impressions are
of a property that has been finished to a very high standard.
Somebody has taken time to finish off all the little finishing touches that so often get left behind.
Just the flooring, the carpet throughout, the slate, windowsills.
They've thought through every aspect of the property.
Well, they may like what Dan's done here, but does it warrant the 385 grand price-tag he's put on it?
Although it is finished to a very, very high degree I think realistically,
325, 340 would be absolute maximum in this current market.
I'd expect something between £325,000 and £350,000 has got more chance of being got.
I don't think that even those £320,000 values are too shabby.
In terms of potential pre-tax profit, that's still almost 100,000.
-What does Dan think?
-We'll give it three or four months, you know,
give it time out in the market and then go for it
after that and get it rented.
How would it do as a rental?
As a whole, to the perfect legitimate user,
you could be looking as much as £800 to £900 per calendar month.
I think realistically,
You can't really achieve much more than about 850 per calendar month.
If you could actually split it into two separately lettable components,
you could top over the £1, 000 a calendar month. Totally. Quite easily.
So, those values are just around tick-over value.
He will definitely make more if he could rent it out separately.
But for Dan, this is primarily a selling project.
So, where will he go from here?
Keep developing. But it would be nicer, because now I have sort of three young children, to actually
ease off a little bit and spend some time with the children. So that's my ultimate goal.
Whether it'll happen is another matter.
Well, if all his infill jobs make the same potential return as this one,
then maybe he'll be able to get his wish sooner rather than later.
No, Homes Under The Hammer hasn't upped sticks and moved to Australia,
though with these beach scenes, you could be forgiven for thinking that.
In fact, I'm a lot closer to home in the glorious Gower region of South Wales.
It's easy to understand why the Gower was the first place in the UK
to be declared a site of outstanding natural beauty.
Not only has got those beaches, it's got some glorious countryside, too.
The property I'm here to see is aptly named.
It's called Squirrel's Leap, it's a three-bedroom cottage.
It had a guide price of £115,000.
A cottage surrounded by all this natural beauty
and for such a modest sum? I'm pretty excited.
Well, it's reasonably attractive, but immediately looks like it needs some repairs.
It would benefit from new windows and a lick of paint, but I like the fact that it's detached.
So, cute if a little bit tired on the outside. What have we got inside?
Well, straight through the front door into one large kind of living room-reception room.
What is going on with that ceiling?
I'd definitely want to do something about that.
But... OK, well, I know we're by the seaside, but I think having a floor
that's kind of undulating like a wave is not ideal.
Still, it's a good-sized space and you shows you need to fit
this kind of flooring properly and leave a gap round the edges.
Let's hope there aren't too many DIY disasters in the kitchen.
Well, actually, it's not too bad.
You can't intrinsically dislike it, but it's a bit disappointing because
this is a cottage and you kind of hope for a cottage-style kitchen, which it certainly isn't.
And something which you are definitely going to have to change is this breakfast bar.
Ergonomically disastrous! You're trying to get your
Sunday roast out,
you can't. This has got to go.
So, it's definitely curtains for the breakfast bar, but perhaps just by
replacing the unit doors and tiles, it could look like a new kitchen.
Off that kitchen, there's a breakfast dining room and a utility area complete with modern shower.
So, there's no lack of space downstairs.
Upstairs isn't bad either, with three fair-sized bedrooms.
And a reasonable bathroom.
There's also the interesting addition of patio doors leading on
to a walkway which takes you straight out to the long sloping garden.
That also comes complete with its own outbuilding or tool shed.
So, all in all, this seems to add up to a lot of property for what was a guide price of 115,000.
Given its location, I think this would make a great holiday home
or holiday let. What does a local estate agent think?
Personally, I wouldn't advise making any major alterations
as far as extensions go. Possibly if you look at the holiday let route,
you could change one of the rooms downstairs and make it into an extra bedroom.
We're in a prime holiday area, so maximising bedrooms make sense. But holiday lets are very seasonal,
so is it financially viable to go along this route?
Weekly rents you'd be looking approximately between £500 and £600, depending on the season.
That's OK. With only 50% occupancy that would still net nearly £13,000,
which on a guide price of £115,000 sounds like a decent return.
I would say when the property is fully renovated you'd be looking at
an asking price of 200,000 to 220,000.
That means it also stacks up from a resale point of view, keeping all options open.
So, a bit of work to be done, but intrinsically this is a lovely little cottage in a great location that
would make a wonderful family home or potentially a lucrative holiday let.
The big question is, did they go nuts for Squirrel's Leap at the auction?
Right, we go on to lot number ten now, ladies and gentlemen,
which is the detached house
in Swansea. 120 to start.
120, thank you. I'm bid at £120,000.
At 128 it's your bid. At 120.
And five, thank you.
Bid to me in the back, sir. 130 standing right in the back.
135 and again if you like, sir.
At 135. At 135. 140 I am bid.
Thank you. Five is bid. Please bid as quick as him.
At 145. Six if you like, sir.
At 146. 146. You're out still.
Seven. Seven is bid.
147. And eight if you like. At 147.
Hold it up again. Hey, thank you.
At one nine. At 149. And again, sir.
You'd better leave it up there permanently! 50, thank you.
At 150. And one, can I?
At 150 you're out, sir. One?
At 151. No, hold it up again!
At 151. Because you're going to lose it otherwise.
Make no mistake, I'm selling all the time.
At two. 152. Three is bid. 153 here.
You're out before... 154.
You're still not getting it yet, sir. At 154. Five, can I? 155.
At 155. Bid again in the back, sir, if you want it. Be quick, please.
At 155. Put that number up again if you want it.
At 155. The hammer's up then.
I'm selling to the gentleman in the middle of the room at £155,000.
Have you all done?
It's yours, sir, thank you very much.
After a hard-fought battle that pushed the price up to 155,000, the new owner of Squirrel's Leap is John.
He now lives on the Gower Peninsula not far from his latest acquisition.
John, nice to meet you. That was a bit of a battle, wasn't it?
-It certainly was.
-So, why were you so keen to buy the place?
Well, I think the first thing that attracted me to the property is the name, Squirrel's Leap.
And I'd had a good look at it, it's in a good position.
-I know the Gower is a beautiful place to be in and I thought it would be good value.
So, buying it with a view to what?
My intention now is to turn it into a holiday let.
We can make four bedrooms
to suit eight people. There will be a disabled bedroom as well,
so we'll be able to cater for disabled people.
John already owns another holiday let property and feels that it's important in this competitive market
to have an edge on the others available.
He did some research and decided that disabled people are not well catered for, so he felt that was a potential
area to make this house stand out from the others in the region.
What did you do before you got into this?
I came to Swansea 30 years ago to start up a business in chemical distribution.
We built it from nothing to a £15½ million,
-But five, six years ago I retired from that.
I then worked in the construction industry for five years and then
just about a year ago I decided that I would retire from business life,
invest my money in properties, including holiday properties.
John isn't fazed about taking on new challenges.
Although this may be a retirement project, he approaches it with the
same businesslike manner he applies to all his ventures.
What do you think the biggest challenges of doing holiday lets are?
In this day and age, second-best won't do any more.
People will pay a good price for their holiday let, but they expect
it to be tip-top, five-star with all the modern facilities incorporated.
And my wife is in charge of the finishing touches
and she insists on making it a top-quality finish.
So, tell me what you're going to do to turn this into the sort of desirable holiday let you hope.
Well, we'll be blocking the door from the kitchen into what's euphemistically called
the breakfast room at the moment
and opening another door from the dining area to create the disabled bedroom.
And then adding to that,
access to a shower room and disabled toilets.
So, the disabled person's quarters will be self-contained on the ground floor.
Then we have three bedrooms upstairs.
We'll be taking out the walkway across to the garden
and the French window there, putting a window in
and creating a second bathroom, so we'll have two bathrooms upstairs.
We'll also be taking back the bank
behind the kitchen window to create a patio area there
and to let more light into the ground floor of the house.
So, what kind of budget have you set aside for doing the work?
Our initial cost costing is around £20,000.
I think that now we've looked a bit more into disabled access part,
that's going to add maybe 5,000 more
and by the time we furnish and fit it out that's another 10,000. So £35,000 to £40,000.
John certainly seems to have been very thorough here.
He knows both his market and his returns.
Although he will plan and project-manage the work,
he'll employ a builder friend to carry out most of the changes.
He hopes that in three months it will be ready for his first holiday let.
So, will John's plans for Squirrel's Leap have him leaping for joy?
Well, I think his idea of going five-star is definitely a good thing to do,
and also building in those disabled features will give him an advantage over the competition.
But there's a lot of work to do and running a holiday let is a business and a lot of work in itself.
How will he get on? You can find out later in the show.
Well, time has passed. Have our purchasers kept on schedule or have they overrun?
Have they stuck to their budget or has the money slipped through their fingers?
Let's go and find out.
Greenford in Middlesex may not win awards for stunning scenery and architecture,
but it scores well both on transport links and relative affordability.
David and Christine, who were expecting their first child,
had been renting a one-bedroom flat. So buying this two-bedroom house with a front and back garden
in a leafy suburb for 197,000 seemed like a very good step indeed.
-We have a garage. Can you believe that?
-Do you love that?
It's great, it's great.
I never thought I would ever have a house with a garage.
I'm just delighted that we've got somewhere that isn't a pokey one-bedroom flat
with lots of prams and things in the middle of the room.
Eight months on, did things work out as well as they'd hoped?
Has David got something more exciting than a garage to show us?
The outside shows signs that the house is starting to blossom,
sporting new windows and patio doors into the garden.
Time was very short at the beginning, because Christine was about to give birth.
We just about managed to get the nursery decorated
and all three of us for the first week were sleeping in the nursery.
And yes, little Sarah Jane was born just over seven months ago.
She's fit, healthy and looking very happy in her new home.
Living in the property was quite difficult to do with a newborn baby
while a renovation was going on, I won't deny that. But it's all worthwhile once it's all done.
After the nursery was sorted out, David tackled the downstairs area.
I'm glad to report they didn't knock down all the internal walls and go completely open plan.
But they did go for the kitchen-diner option.
Well, this is our new kitchen.
The biggest change that's happened is this wall here has been knocked through.
Then after that was done, after a lot of tidying up was done
from all the mess that was created by that, it was just a case of putting in a new kitchen.
We've got new worktops, a nice little island here.
This here is where the door was to this room.
We've moved the entrance to the kitchen area to here, which again I think makes more of an open space.
And so this is it, and Christine really enjoys cooking here so that's great.
This works really well.
Not only does it make the kitchen feel so much more spacious, but it's
what David and Christine wanted - being able to see baby Sarah Jane while they're busy in the kitchen.
The hardest time during the renovation was being away from David, actually, having to stay
with family and friends while he decorates the house. That was quite difficult.
The first couple of months were very weird, very, very strange
and it's a big thing to adjust to, having a new child. No-one actually tells you
what it's going to be like and I think even if they tried, they wouldn't be able to get it across.
But now things have settled down a little bit
and I've got used to being a dad, it's fantastic. I really love it.
Parenting might be great, but the downside is that it inevitably eats into your renovation time.
Along with a full-time job and living in the house,
David hasn't quite been able to finish off all the rooms upstairs.
Well, the bedroom used to be quite old-fashioned, so we've changed the colour scheme.
We've gone for chocolate brown and cream, and it happens to be
Megan, our cat's, favourite room and she sleeps in here all the time.
So, Megan the cat certainly likes her new home and the extra space after living in a one-bed rented flat.
How about her owners?
It's just wonderful. It's lovely to have all the space,
particularly because we don't have anyone above us,
so we can't hear the noise from footsteps and loud music from above.
We had a lot of stuff in storage which we are now slowly being able
to move out and put on shelves and we're rapidly filling the space.
I've no idea how we the lived in such a small flat!
But, of course, a step up involves more money.
Not only did they have the cost of the house at auction
of 197,000, they obviously also had the renovation costs.
Initially they aimed to do the work for just £5,000.
We quickly spent 11 in the first two months.
In the last couple of months, we've managed to extend our budget a little bit in order to get the new windows
and I think we've probably in total spent about £15,000, £16,000.
It was thanks, in part, to David's gran
that they could afford the extra expenditure.
It now takes their total investment up to nearly 215,000.
Clearly, in terms of quality of life, the move
has been worth it for them. But has it also been a good investment?
What do two local estate agents think?
Well, it's the second time I've seen the property and
since I first saw it, there has been a lot of work done.
They're definitely going in the right direction.
I've had a look around. Nice and spacious, good size.
There's still a few bits to be done before it's ready for marketing.
David and Christine were over the moon to get this house in the first place, but will they be just
as happy with the estate agents' valuations after investing £215,000 of their hard-earned money here?
If I was going to market this property, I'd suggest a marketing price in the region of £275,000.
I would market the property at £259,950 to achieve 250,000.
Well, that's not bad and could see a return of at least £30,000,
so it seems a sound investment. But what do they think of that?
Well, 250 sounds about right.
The other one, wow! But, yeah...
But we don't really intend to be selling for any time soon,
so it's good to know, but not particularly relevant right now.
Long term, David, Christine and Sarah Jane want to stay here
for at least ten years. But what are their short-term plans?
Just relaxing, enjoying our home, enjoying SJ growing up.
-Building an outbuilding, building a loft conversion.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Putting some carpets down, doing up the bathroom.
-Yeah, David's got a lot of work!
-Not relaxing too much, then!
For the time being, I think the job they've done here is certainly good enough for them
to just take a break and enjoy some time with baby Sarah Jane and their spacious new surroundings.
Back in Wales and on the beautiful Gower Peninsula, there was a three-bedroom detached property.
It looked just the right place for retired businessman, John, to get stuck into.
It wasn't in bad condition and was very roomy.
After a few tweaks, John was planning to turn it into a holiday cottage
with four bedrooms, one of them suitable for disabled guests.
He'd bought this cottage for 155,000. So, just four months later,
was it ready in time for the fast approaching summer season?
Well, externally, it's looking great.
The front has a new porch along with a complete overhaul.
And at the back, not only has John extended slightly, but the rather unsightly metal walkway has gone.
What about inside?
Well, it's looking pretty good, too.
But has it all gone to plan?
One of our major unplanned changes was the kitchen.
Originally, we planned to keep it, but the more I looked at the horrible green panelling and that
grotesque breakfast bar, the more I became convinced we should change it.
So, we ripped it out and replaced it with a fitted kitchen,
brand new appliances, tiling on the wall and we opened up the
light coming into the kitchen by taking the bank back.
While the kitchen changes may not have been on the original plan, creating a downstairs bedroom
and nearby shower room suitable for disabled visitors was always near the top of John's to do list.
As were the changes on the first floor.
Upstairs, we've upgraded this bathroom,
tiled throughout and put in new sanitary ware, but we really made the changes in this bathroom.
Here we've put in the shower that was originally downstairs
and we've tiled throughout and put in new sanitary ware.
We've also blocked up the old patio window
and taken away the walkway,
enabling us to create this bathroom.
With four bedrooms now, so possibly up to eight people staying, two bathrooms are pretty essential
as John hopes to achieve the top local holiday rating.
We haven't had the assessment visit
from the Welsh tourist board, Visit Wales, yet,
but we've replicated the standard we used in the other cottage which has gained five-star rating
and we've no reason to think that this won't be rated as five-star as well.
And this high-quality finish is already paying dividends.
The first guests have just left after their week here and from
next weekend, we're fully booked through to the middle of September.
So, that's a promising start and should mean this holiday let
will go from strength to strength. But John can't take all the credit for the changes here.
His wife helped with the interior design and it was builder Keith who did the bulk of the work.
I first met John on the last project we worked on, where he did a holiday conversion next to his property.
We both worked on that and then moved on to this job after that, really.
The work took quite a tight schedule on it,
but the finished product we've come up with, we're very happy with and I believe John's happy with as well.
With two successful projects under their belts,
are the Keith-and-John double act likely to do more together?
It's good to work with John. He gets stuck in himself as well.
He's always here on the job, so any consulting to do can be done immediately
and he's always receptive to our ideas and we listen to his as well. It's great.
They certainly make a strong combination, but with all the changes
and a pretty high specification, it must have all cost a bit.
We paid 155 in the auction
and if I've spent 30 plus 10,000 to...
So, we're probably up to 195.
So, has he got value for money on his £195,000 spend?
And, more importantly,
how will the property do on the holiday rental market?
We asked a local estate agent and a holiday letting agent to tell us more.
Very impressed with what the owner has done to the property throughout
and he's done it to a very high standard.
Noticeably, the back part of the property with the walkway being removed, that's a great idea.
That's letting quite a lot of light into the kitchen.
And the changing to the rear of the property
with the small addition to the back I think is a good feature.
But how would it fare on the open market?
Has John invested his £195,000 wisely?
If we were to put the property on the market now, we would be looking at an asking price of £240,000.
I, myself, had put a value in my head of 250,000.
Even if the valuation isn't quite as high as John hoped, there's still a pre-tax profit of over £40,000.
But this is all about the holiday market, so what does the lettings agent make of it?
What I like about this place is the fact that
they've split the living accommodation on to two floors.
They've got bedrooms on both the upper floor and the ground floor. That's great for families
and generations of family when sometimes they want a little bit of space.
I would hope that in the first year, it would achieve at least 15 weeks.
Would 15 weeks of occupancy actually bring in enough return?
Maximum peak advertised price would be in the region of 950 per week.
And Karen reckons that even in the low season, you could get as much as £650 per week.
Assuming most of the 15 weeks will be at the mid-to-peak income time,
John should get a return of between £10,000 to £15,000 per year.
So, while holidaymakers relax here,
John will hopefully be making money, which is good news!
Well, that's it for today, but don't despair, there are plenty more properties out there.
Join us next time for more Homes Under The Hammer.
-We will see you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Cornwall, a 1950s property in Middlesex and a house in Wales.
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.