Series about properties that have gone to auction. Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Newcastle-under-Lyme, a property in south east London and a house in Bradford.
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Welcome to Homes Under The Hammer.
Whether it's a house you're after, land or a commercial opportunity...
..there is usually a fantastic variety in the auction catalogue...
..so join us now as we follow some of the thousands of people who buy their home under the hammer.
Now, the bidding process can be a nerve-wracking experience.
But, if you've done your research, you've calculated a realistic budget,
you might even enjoy all the excitement.
So, here's what the bidders went for on today's show.
In Staffordshire, I think I've found a solution to the layout issues in this house.
I take a trip to colourful south-east London.
This room is a little bit blue for me, but I could get used to it.
And I visit a house in Bradford.
Perhaps it's not as bad as it looks. But then again...
Urgh! That is more of an issue.
All these properties have been sold at auction,
and we find out who bought them and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.
Today, I am in Newcastle-under-Lyme, known simply as "Castle" to the locals.
It's historically a market town and forms part of the Potteries area in Staffordshire.
This is Cross Heath, a suburb of Newcastle-under-Lyme.
It's walking distance to the town centre, which is good,
and the whole area is undergoing an environmental improvement scheme,
which basically means it's all being smartened up.
I'm here to see a three-bedroom mid-terrace
at a guide price of 65,000 quid, and it looks pretty good.
Oh, it's this one, by the way.
Hughes Avenue is a quiet cul-de-sac, so there's not much traffic noise.
That's a bonus, as these windows aren't double glazed.
OK. Straight inside, and I notice you've got this nice tiled floor here
and I'm thinking straight away, 1930s property, a good, solid build, that's for sure.
Through to the sitting room - a good-size space, and we've got this bay window which is nice to see,
and these floorboards. Haven't been touched, which is brilliant. Stripped, those will look beautiful.
The original fireplace - get rid of that and put something with more character in there
and you'd create a nice focal point.
But no radiators, so you will have to factor in the cost of central heating into your budget.
Through into the kitchen. Well, look at this.
It's so original, it's brilliant. Do you remember these kind of cupboards?
I do from my childhood. Clearly, you'd want to do something in here.
Refurbish the whole thing, but you'd totally revolutionise the way this place felt.
The one bad thing - this is the only bathroom and toilet in the property.
Now, for this house, which could be a great family home, that isn't ideal.
So you want to consider shifting that upstairs.
Let's see if we've got space to do that.
This kitchen's not a great size for a family house,
but if you moved the bathroom upstairs
then this whole area could be opened up to create a well-proportioned kitchen,
perhaps even with patio doors out to the garden.
Upstairs, three good-sized bedrooms, certainly a big one at the front,
a decent-sized one at the back, and a smaller one there.
But is there that elusive space for the bathroom? Well, it looks like there might be.
You've got this strange cupboard thing. I say strange, because it flies across -
flying freehold - the alleyway that's below it, but who cares?
But it's a great space and you could get a shower in there and a toilet, so problem solved.
A flying freehold is when a piece of the property is not actually in contact with the ground
and often goes over a neighbouring house.
It can sometimes make getting a mortgage difficult, but isn't catastrophic,
because it's usually resolved by buying an indemnity policy for around £100.
I think the biggest problem is that if this is to be a bathroom, it'd be difficult to site the pipes.
But if you don't want a bathroom in a cupboard, but you do want an upstairs bathroom,
then the only other option is to lose one of the three bedrooms.
Would that solution be right for the market round here? I asked a local estate agent.
If I was buying this property, I would probably
move the bathroom upstairs because, OK, you get rid of one bedroom,
so it becomes a two-bedroom
instead of a three-bedroom, but I've seen a lot of these properties where they've knocked through
and had a nice big kitchen-diner, and put the bathroom upstairs, and it works well.
But moving bathrooms and putting in kitchens can be costly, so would it really be worth it?
I would value this property at around the £110,000 mark.
It's a difficult market.
I know there are properties on the market a bit higher than that,
but I think, to be realistic, I would say around 110,000.
110,000 is quite a decent uplift on what was a £65,000 guide price,
so resale potential is not bad.
What about rental?
I would say to rent this out, you would probably be looking for
somewhere between 450, 500 a month.
So, all in all, not much to do with this one.
And it's in a great location, so in terms of a buy-to-let investment,
I think it was a good one to go for.
Let's see who spotted the opportunity at the auction.
Lot 42, 19 Hughes Avenue, Cross Heath, in Newcastle.
This is a mid-townhouse, it does need modernising.
We will say 60 to start.
Lot number 42.
60 I'm bid, thank you. £60,000, the bid's right, at £60,000.
Can I say 62, then?
£63,000. At 63,000. At 63.
64 is it now? The bid's at 63. 64.
70, is it?
£69,000 - the bid's right at 69, against you, standing.
Take a half, it helps. 69-and-a-half.
70. Another half?
At £70,000. The bid is seated right, at £70,000.
At £70,000, I'm selling it. The first time at 70.
For the second time at 70... For the third and final time at 70,000.
Yours, sir. Well done.
For £70,000, just £5,000 over the guide price,
the new owner of the three-bed house in Newcastle-under-Lyme is local man Nick.
He joined me along with his friend Jane.
She will project manage what will be Nick's first property development.
Jane, Nick, lovely to meet you. Congratulations.
Why did you want to buy this house?
I visited the Avenue three times and I observed the price coming down,
so I then thought I'll see Jane about this.
Tell me more about that. Why did he come to see you?
I do a lot of property repairs for him.
And we've known each other for a long time.
Nick was a quantity surveyor.
I've always been in the building trade.
I came and had a look and I thought it was brilliant.
It can easily be converted or refurbed,
without costing too much.
Jane already looks after several properties.
But for Nick, it's taken the recent slump in the housing market
to encourage him to take on his own project.
Once finished, he hopes to rent this one out
and keep it as a pension fund.
-Tell me what you're going to do.
-We've had some plans drawn up.
We're putting in for planning permission to convert it
-into two flats.
This room will become a kitchen/sitting room
and two bedrooms at the back and a bathroom under the stairs.
It'll be compact
and upstairs very similar.
Crikey! That's more work than I thought
and no small renovation.
This is straight in at the deep end
with a big conversion that will need both structural work
and the planning permission.
It'll change the house significantly from its original 1930s layout.
Are you excited? Does it feel different to be working on Nick's first personal project?
I think he should have done it a long time ago.
-But he's very cautious.
I don't think he can go wrong with the price he's paid on this property.
I hope they aren't famous last words!
So do I, Jane.
This isn't just Nick's first development and pension plan.
This is a bit of family history that they're about to change radically.
I understand you've got a personal history with this particular road.
Yes, it was one of my grandfather's properties
that he constructed when he was in business.
My mother tells me at this peak, he was finishing one a week.
Gosh! So you're grandfather built this house?
Not personally. It was his company that constructed it.
Is there any significance to the name of the avenue?
-It's my grandfather's name.
Amazing. Grandpa Hughes not only built this house,
but the entire street.
Nick's still got some of the original deeds and paperwork.
Nick, talk me through what we've got here.
This is a copy of the deed for the purchase of the land,
which my grandfather bought in 1932 for £121 and 16 shillings.
Yeah! It says that there.
-He actually bought the whole street?
-Oh, look. Yeah.
What else have you got?
This is a photograph of my grandfather,
-Do you remember him?
-Yes, I clearly remember him.
# You are, you are, you are
# My family tree
# Be good to... #
I hope Grandpa Hughes would approve of the conversion of this house into flats.
He may have bought the whole street for £121 and 16 shillings,
but his grandson has earmarked £25,000 just for the work on this one house.
I actually think that might be rather optimistic.
Oh well. Only time will tell.
That's a first for me.
The property being bought by somebody whose grandfather built it in the first place.
I'm sure with Jane's help, Nick will do a great job of this one.
The only question is will he get that planning permission to convert it into two flats? I'm not so sure.
You can find out later in the show.
The lovely tree-lined road I'm walking down today
is in south-east London.
A place called Brockley.
It's just five miles from London Bridge.
The property I'm here to see commands a 10% premium
and that's because where it sits in the Brockley area. Intrigued?
Well, it's in a conservation area.
And people are prepared to pay well over the odds to live here.
Building began in the 1830s, with the majority of houses being built
in the second half of the 19th century.
A distinctive period property is always a huge pull.
Although the market has cooled a little,
there is still high demand here.
This is Tressillian Road.
The properties along here...are just gorgeous!
I'm quite excited about this one.
The property is here. It had a guide price of £280,000. It's two self-contained flats.
I've got to go inside and have a look around.
It looks good from the outside -
well maintained with bay windows and an entrance porch.
Then there's the bonus of two flats, not just one house.
And all in a quiet street for a guide price of £280,000.
It all seems pretty promising.
In the house, you've got flat one, flat two.
That is a big, long corridor.
Sadly, these rooms are not as large as I'd hoped.
That is because the corridor is so wide and spacious, it eats into it.
Look here. No beautiful old fireplace,
although you could put a Victorian one in here, which would look stunning.
You have got beautiful ceiling height,
and this stunning bay window.
Overall, good first impressions.
This room is a little bit blue for me.
But I could get used to it.
Blue is clearly the favoured colour here.
Just along the hall, there's a blue bathroom and I have to say
a rather uninspiring yellow kitchen.
At the end of this long, windy corridor,
is this room at the back of the house.
To me, it feels unnatural that there is not a door here leading out to the garden.
I know there's one in the kitchen but I think the kitchen area
might work better down here at the end of the house.
Of course, you have to think about moving all of the services,
but it's always worth looking at a floor plan of a property and having a little play around,
because it can sometimes really work in a house's favour.
# Doin' the mess around
# Yeah, do the mess around
# Everybody's doin' the mess around
# Now let me have it there, boy... #
It would be worth fiddling around with the layout here.
But the downstairs flat also has the benefit of a great back garden,
which will add value, both in resale and rental returns.
But in the upstairs flat, what you lack in outside space,
you gain inside.
There are two good-sized rooms,
a spacious bathroom and a superior kitchen to the one downstairs.
# Go on, mess around... #
This is the master bedroom in the second flat. It benefits from the extra space
of the internal area downstairs.
It is much bigger up here.
Over here, you've got this beautiful sash window,
this dado rail but it all needs work - painting, new carpets, these windows will need attention.
But you have got an incredible shell of a house here
in a fantastic area.
What's not to like?
I guess one of the key words there is house.
Should this be returned to the original layout as a home?
Or do two flats make more economic sense?
What does the local estate agent think?
The property could be arranged as two units,
as it is at the moment or it could be turned back to
one family dwelling.
Probably the more lucrative would be as two units.
Probably one for the home enthusiasts would be back to an original house.
What are those money issues? What's the difference between making this a house and keeping it as two flats?
Once these flats have been renovated,
you can get probably in the region of around £200,000 for a ground-floor flat with a garden.
And around £220,000 to £230,000 for a first floor, two-bedroom flat.
If this property was to be converted back to one original house,
you're looking in the region of around £360,000 for this property.
That means, from a financial point of view, the current layout works every time
and should be good for rental income too.
You're looking at around £800 to £850 for the ground floor one bedroom,
and around £900 to £950 for the two-bedroom flat upstairs.
That's tremendous rental return
and from an investor's point of view, if you got this at the right price, it's a sure-fire winner.
It would be fantastic to see this property used as it was first intended -
a home for a family to enjoy.
But financially, it works much better as two flats - your return will be far greater.
Let's see who's done their sums as we head to the auction room.
..is 184A, 184B
Tressillian Road, Brockley.
Where do you wish to start?
200? OK, 200.
205 at the back.
205, 210, sorry.
Lost you. 210.
Thank you. 210, new spot.
215, 215, 220. 225.
Well done. 250.
280 down here.
Coming back in? If not, 280.
First time. Second time.
Third and last time. Are you all done?
283 on the phone?
284, with you, sir, in the room.
285 anywhere else? If not, 284, first time.
Third and last time. Are you all done?
HE BANGS GAVEL
284. Well done.
After that hard-fought battle,
for £284,000, just £4,000 over the guide price,
the new owner of the two flats in Brockley is local man Kevin.
He runs his own building firm and does property development as a sideline.
I was intrigued to hear how he got into the building game in the first place.
It goes back a long way.
My father was in the building game and when I left school
I said I'm not going to get into the building game because I didn't like doing it in my school holidays.
Unfortunately, the jobs that I chose to go to, I didn't like.
I liked more outdoors and more physical.
I ended up getting into the building trade through a friend of mine,
which I said I never would do.
It snowballed from there.
-Plus, I'm quite passionate about my work.
Yeah. I like antiques, I like old buildings
so I tend to be a bit more for restoring houses how they should be,
to a certain degree.
A lot of people come in, they make them look glamorous but they don't do the stuff underneath
what you don't see.
There you are saying, all those years ago, "No, I don't want to be a builder."
-And now I can see a very passionate man, who loves his trade, loves doing what he does...
with a property portfolio?
Yeah. And my wife would like me to retire...
because I'm a bit of a workaholic but if you love your work, and you're still active, why give it up?
I should take more holidays, though, my wife keeps telling me.
Kevin has both sold properties and kept some for rental.
He knows that doing the job right first time pays dividends.
It reduces subsequent problems, making life as a landlord less hassle,
and pays for itself in the long run.
Let's talk about these two flats that you've bought.
What do you think needs doing to them to bring them up to standard?
You need to refigure this room, which is a kitchen.
This will go into the back part. Put some nice doors in.
-Bring the garden a bit into the house.
-You'll move this at the back?
-Yeah. And make this a bedroom.
The bathroom isn't big but you can still make it look quite nice,
a nice bit of lighting.
You haven't got to spend a fortune on things.
If you get your tiling right and a bit of lighting,
get a bit of quality on your white ceramics, make them look good.
Don't go for the cheap option cos I don't like that.
What sort of budget do you think you'll be looking at
for each individual flat?
How much have you got to spend on them?
I wouldn't want to spend no more than about £30,000 per unit.
I would hope to get it under that.
But if I spent £30,000 per unit, they would be nice flats.
Maybe more upstairs because it's a bigger unit.
But £30,000 maximum.
£30,000 per flat is a healthy budget
so Kevin is putting his money where his mouth is.
He wants to deliver a good-quality product here.
For him, it isn't just a case of handing over the cash
and telling his building team what jobs to get on with.
I work with my guys.
If they say, "That's hard." I get in and do it with them.
I don't run around in a three-piece suit. I'll do it with them.
-Will you be in here stripping that wallpaper back?
-I ain't got a problem.
I'll take the ceilings down and I'll put a new drainage in. I've never had a problem.
I was up on a roof a few days ago taking chimney stacks down.
I haven't got a problem.
When it's all looking lovely, it looks fantastic and it's decorated,
are you going to rent these out or sell them on?
I'll get an agent in, see what he says.
If I think the yield's too good for the rental profit, I'll sell them.
If I think I'll rent them, then I'll rent them for maybe
a year, two years and see how the market fluctuates.
How has the market affected you, being a builder
owning your own company and having a property portfolio?
-Have you suffered with the downturn in the market?
-No. The majority of the stuff that I've got, I own.
I don't borrow. I keep my borrowing to a minimum.
I've built it up through hard work and reinvesting.
You could go out and have great holidays and be flash. I don't. I've put it back in.
-You need to take more holidays - your wife's told you.
-That's what you need to do!
I put it back in because I believe,
if you want something, you've got to work hard for it.
It's no good sitting on your backside moaning and groaning - everybody can do that. You get out what you put in.
# ..keep on working
# Keep on working
# Keep on working
# Keep on working
# Keep on working
# Keep on working
# Keep on working
# Work. #
What doesn't this man know?!
He really wants to make the best of this property.
He's one of the more thorough builders I've met
and he takes pride in his work.
But how much time and money will be spent on this conservation beauty? Find out later in the programme.
Coming up - this rather grand house in Bradford comes complete with its own air conditioning unit.
Nice bit of ventilation there.
Back in south-east London, has Kevin's flat refurbishment
been one property too far for him?
I don't want to go from loving my work to hating my work.
First, was Jane right?
I don't think he can go wrong with the price he's paid.
I hope they aren't famous last words.
In the Staffordshire town of Newcastle-under-Lyme,
first-time developer Nick, a former quantity surveyor,
decided that this three-bedroomed terraced house would make a good starting point.
But it wasn't any old property. This was one his grandfather had built,
along with the other houses on the road, which now bears his grandfather's surname.
But without his grandfather's knowledge of the building industry, Nick called his friend,
a part-time property developer, Jane, for advice and assistance. Along with her, he decided
the best way to maximise the house was to turn it into two two-bedroom flats.
But over a year later, had they managed to bring their ambitious plans to fruition?
It's looking promising. There's off-street parking at the front, a necessity for any new flats.
Inside, as the two front doors indicate,
they have successfully converted the house into two flats.
Nick explains exactly how they achieved this.
Originally, this was the front living room.
We've created extra space by taking out the chimney breast,
making a larger living area.
Over here, we, erm, put this door away to give access
to the under-stair area, which originally, was a larder,
and extended into the rear back room area
to form a WC, basin and shower area.
Originally, Nick and Jane were hoping to create TWO two-bedroom flats,
but planning permission was refused, due to the lack of designated parking for the two flats.
They had to re-submit their plans and eventually got two ONE-bedroom flats passed.
While the downstairs flat benefits from a garden, the upstairs one has more space.
This is the first-floor flat.
This was the largest bedroom.
We've turned it into a small kitchen/living room.
We did have a few challenges with this first-floor flat.
We got everything done, everything was finished, everything done and dusted,
and we'd forgotten this section four of the building regs code.
We had to build this free-standing wall,
packed with insulation,
take out the kitchen, build a wall, plaster it, put the kitchen back in.
So that was... We could have kicked ourselves for that one.
That was a costly mistake
as insulating the wall and doing the kitchen costs several thousand.
Along with getting the services in, the two flats had to be sound insulated,
which they had not accounted for.
Along with all the other room alterations delays because of the resubmitting of the plans
and their high-specification finish,
the original £25,000 budget was very stretched.
The final cost is £140,000, including the original £70,000 purchase cost.
So you can see that, the unforeseens
were drastically expensive.
Woah! Not kidding!
That budget is nearly three times over their estimate.
Although they've achieved a lot here,
creating two flats from one house,
has that big spend thrown any chance of a decent return out of the window?
What do two local estate agents think?
It's different, from the point of view that you're expecting
the three-bed town house
and having used the space to get the two one-beds in,
it's going to be quite a marketable property.
They've done a superb job with the development.
I wouldn't have thought you'd be able to get
flats of this size out of this property.
Hat's off to them. They've made a really good job.
So the estate agents are impressed.
But with the total spend of £140,000 to this point,
or £70,000 per flat,
has their decision to turn this from one dwelling into two paid off?
If these flats were sold as leasehold flats,
I would value each property in the region of £50,000.
I'd value the flats at around £48,500 each.
Ouch! That's a potential loss of £40,000, if they sold them now.
What do they think of those valuations?
I don't know what to say to that.
Having looked at those other ones last week,
at 72, they were unmodernised.
I'm not sure... It's a good job we're not selling on, isn't it?
-That's a disappointment. That's a big disappointment.
Jane's right. It IS disappointing.
Particularly after their hard work.
But in fairness to Nick and Jane, unfortunately,
they bought a property in an area that's had a national average 20% drop in prices
over the last two years.
Anyway, Nick has always planned to rent out the flats, not sell them.
I would suggest that a rent be set somewhere in the region of £300
per calendar month, per flat.
We would expect to achieve somewhere around £340 per calendar month
for each of the apartments.
-That's a little bit low.
We were expecting £350.
The project hasn't gone as well as Nick and Jane might have hoped.
But those rental values should bring in a 5% yield. Not bad at all.
But I guess that they won't be rushing to do this again.
# Some pages turned
# Some bridges burned
# But there were lessons learned... #
Well, I've learned a lot.
Yes. I know, Jane!
But what lessons has Nick learned?
Make sure you start with a large fortune
so that when you finish, you'll have a small fortune.
# Oh, some pages turned
# Some bridges burned
# But there were lessons learned... #
In the short term at least, Nick and Jane's property development career may be on hold.
But having learned the hard way, perhaps if there is a next time, they may be less ambitious.
I'm in Manningham in Bradford, once a major player in textile manufacture.
And an important hub of the world's wool industry.
# Woolly bully
# Woolly bully... #
Today, it's a diversely-populated area.
I'm here to see a terraced house with a guide price of 60 grand.
What does a guide price of £60,000 quid get you in Manningham?
Up for auction was a four-bedroomed terrace.
Sounds pretty good.
However, there is a warning. And it goes...
Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Subsidence alert! Subsidence alert!
It's spelt out clear as daylight in the auction catalogue.
It doesn't look too bad from the front here.
It must be inside there's a problem.
A lot of properties around here were built to house the industrial workers.
This area was once quite sort after
and is now part of a regeneration programme called the Manningham Masterplan.
Well, a fairly impressive entrance hall.
What would have been a pretty grand house in its day.
Probably owned by one of the textile merchants who lived and worked in the area.
A lovely floor here. Get that cleaned up for sure.
A big front room there.
It's in a bit of a state, but it's a nice size, high ceilings.
Stairs up to the first floor and beyond,
then through to the rear sitting room, a good-sized space as well.
Interesting fireplace. Wow!
You could do something with that to keep it. It's absolutely beautiful!
There's something else which is unusual - a window. I don't know why, but I didn't expect it.
Anyway, er, THAT is more of an issue.
Right. Suddenly you're starting to see the subsidence.
Wow! Look at that window frame. And I don't think it gets much better here.
This is the only kitchen in the property. As you can see, it's tiny.
It's in a right old state, but much more significantly, it's on the move!
Look at the window frame there!
Really bad angle. And then this door...
Again, it's all over the place.
Now, the big question is, is it historical subsidence or not?
I need to do a bit more digging. But for now, we've found the problem.
Maybe a look at the back of the property will give me a clearer picture
of some of the rather serious concerns I've got.
Well, to get a real idea of how bad the subsidence is,
you have to pick your way through the rubbish at the rear of the property.
So this is the rear extension bit. That's where the kitchen is.
Look at the lintel above the window. It's completely askew.
Now, it could be that this is historical subsidence from mines in the area.
But I reckon it's also something to do with this drain on this corner.
I reckon that's collapsed. As a result, the water seeps into the ground, it becomes sodden,
and the whole of this corner is just sinking down.
Now, that is obviously going to be a fairly major thing to sort out.
In an ideal world, you'd knock it down, but the neighbour's is attached.
If you look, that is also subsiding. So what you'd want to do,
in an ideal world, is knock the two of them down and rebuild them,
but clearly you'd have to get their approval to do that and they'd have to pay towards it.
So it's a complicated issue, which at the moment is blighting this house.
This is a former mining area, so I would expect some movement,
though this is quite significant.
But is it recent? You need to find that out before solving the problem.
It's the extension I'm particularly worried about.
Well, upstairs here, even more examples of the chaos the subsidence has caused.
The bathroom, for instance, is not a bad size.
I absolutely love the roll-top bath, but the floor's sloping down,
door and window frames all over the place.
Problems with the ceiling. I'd want to replace that whole part of the house,
get it all sorted.
But when you are up here, even more obvious signs of some problems.
Nice bit of ventilation there(!)
Brilliant(!) Anyway, we've got another floor up there, which is really good - two more bedrooms.
And the bedrooms themselves are actually a really nice size.
Floorboards you could strip back.
You've got some lovely features in this house, if you could just see through the mess -
like the stained-glass windows there.
In its day, it was a grand house. It just needs somebody to get it back to that.
As you may have noticed, there's graffiti on some of the walls,
and other signs of vandalism.
Yet also there are some fantastic original features still intact.
So with the subsiding extension, this house is a real mixture
of the good, the bad and the out-and-out ugly.
But it was guided at just 60,000,
so perhaps it's worth fighting to save it from further neglect.
What does a local estate agent think?
The property itself lends itself to be a fantastic family home.
If you're looking at it as an investment,
um, it could be a fantastic rental property
due to its location,
and the colleges,
and the local employers that are around, the businesses around.
OK, it may be worth saving.
Let's put some numbers on those potential returns.
This property, once renovated, would achieve,
or hope to achieve,
a marketable value of around £160,000.
The rental valuation on this property, as a whole, once renovated,
would achieve around £650 per calendar month.
So, on the face of it, a lot of house for a guide price of £60,000.
But dig a little deeper, and you do discover the subsidence problems.
But hang on - let's set aside a really healthy budget to sort it out - £20-25,000.
Your total investment in this property would only be £85,000.
For that you get a four-bedroomed house in a really good part of Bradford.
I think it's still a great one to go for. Let's find out who bought it.
2 Queen's Road in Bradford, vacant four-bedroomed terraced property
needing renovation and remediation of subsidence issues.
£60,000, may I say?
60 for us? 60,000.
£60,000 opening bid, thank you very much.
And I've got 65. 70? 75?
And 80? 85?
Strong bid, 85 - I like that.
86, then? You seem determined. No, shakes his head.
£85,000, good determined bid, I like that.
£85,000. 86 anywhere else? 86, still going.
Hasn't put him off. 87? 87.
No, shaking his head. 89, you put him off, sir. £89,000 we have.
£90,000 anywhere else?
All done, then, at £89,000?
£89,000 for the first time.
third and final time, if we're all done...sir.
Excellent bidding there, gentlemen. Well done.
The determined bidder and new owner of this four-bedroomed house is Imran. He wanted this property,
and this one alone, for a very specific reason.
'Imran, very good to meet you.'
-Why did you want to buy the house?
-Well, the main reason was it looks into my garden.
-Where's your house, then?
-Just behind you.
Quite an expensive way to make sure you know who's going to be peering over the fence!
There's more to it than that, presumably.
No, that's just about it, really. It's looked into my garden for years and we thought we'd buy it one day.
Last year, I was willing to pay up to £160,000 for it,
which I gave the offer to the solicitors for, and they refused it.
-If they'd have said 200,000, I'd have given it to them.
But then it's my luck that it stayed empty, went to auction and I got it for 89.
-So what are you planning to do with it?
-Obviously bring it up to spec,
then see what we do from then.
Either we keep it empty or we put it on rent.
-You would contemplate keeping it empty?
-With a view to what?
-Just leaving it empty. Nobody peering into my house!
So it seems Imran really would have bought this at all costs.
But it wasn't just for himself.
The house he lives in next door has been turned into apartments,
for his family and two brothers, with nine children between them.
There are quite a few of them wanting to be sure who their neighbours are.
Tell me more about you.
I just... We started off in the property market after my dad retired,
and then we carried on buying.
-And here we are today.
-How many years ago did you start?
Er, my dad retired in '97, '98, and that's when me and my brothers carried on buying and renting out.
How many properties do you have between you?
-I'd say just under 40.
-And I personally have two care homes and a day nursery.
So I spend quite a bit of time there as well.
'So, Imran's other investments allow him the luxury of not having to buy this as a money-making venture.
'Even so, this isn't a house you can just leave in its current state.'
So what did you think about the condition inside when you saw it?
I only saw it properly today.
-The condition doesn't bother me, cos I've done worse projects than this.
-OK. Let me introduce you to a very serious issue of subsidence.
-Did you...? You presumably know about that?
-I do, yes. Most of the Manningham area is built on mines,
and as mining tunnels collapse and stuff, obviously buildings above it
eventually do sink, but that was many years ago, because the pointing outside hasn't cracked,
to show that it's recently happened.
It maybe happened 20, 30 years ago.
-How much have you set aside to do the work?
-Money's not an issue!
I've not even looked at that. As long as it gets done, it's fine.
'Imran's very relaxed. That's partly due to the fact that his brothers will do the renovations,
'so he knows he'll get a good deal. After all,
'he would have happily paid another £100,000 more for this house if necessary,
'and the work here won't cost anything like that.
'What a great story - '
Imran buying this place just to stop somebody peering into his garden.
How many of us would like to be in a position to do that, I wonder.
Anyway, he has got some issues to sort out, and even though he's not that bothered about the budget,
the issues of subsidence are going to be quite significant, not least getting the neighbour's approval.
So how will he get on? We should find out later.
So, we've left our new buyers up to their own devices for a few months.
And we wonder what they've been up to. Let's go and find out.
In the conservation area of Brockley in south-east London,
this rather splendid Victorian house was snapped up for £284,000
by local builder and part-time property developer Kevin.
It had already been converted into two self-contained flats.
Despite being in the building trade most of his life,
Kevin's enthusiasm remained undaunted.
Quite passionate about my work, so I tend to be a bit more for restoring houses how they should be,
to a degree. Cos a lot of people come in, they make them look glamorous,
but they don't do the stuff underneath, what you don't see.
Eight and a half months later,
had Kevin practised what he preached?
The front had certainly been sympathetically updated,
with repainted doors, windows,
and a new path laid.
Inside, in the ground-floor flat,
it's out with the blues and in with a contemporary look - oak flooring
and a modern gas fire.
In the bathroom, there's a completely new suite
and it's tiled throughout.
And hooray -
Kevin has rejigged the layout,
swapping the kitchen and the bedroom around.
In this flat, this has been the biggest change up to now -
this used to be a bedroom, but now I've changed it into a kitchen,
and also I've incorporated, by opening up the wall and putting French doors in,
it brings the garden into the kitchen, which in my opinion makes it a much better flat.
Changing things so that the kitchen at the back
has direct access into the garden is spot on.
Great minds think alike!
While the upstairs flat may not benefit from the garden,
the rooms are that much bigger. That sense of space has been enhanced
by the way Kevin has finished off the rooms.
Not only has he retained the character of the house,
he's actually reinvigorated it.
In this particular room, we've put high skirtings in,
which are more traditionally Victorian, plus we've put a picture rail in and quality oak flooring.
Plus, as you can see, we've put a nice original Art Deco fireplace,
which gives it a bit more character as well, and I'm quite pleased.
Kevin has been doing developments and building for many years,
but seems to remain passionate about what he wants for his properties.
I don't believe in cutting corners,
because I wouldn't want it done to me. If I was to rent this or sell one of these units,
and I met the person six months down the road, I can walk up and shake their hand, say, "How's the flat?"
and not cross over the road.
I could walk towards them and look at them and that's how I've always been. That's the way I will be and I am.
That commitment means
that he's more than just the boss and project manager.
I've got no problem in filling up skips or taking things out,
or helping to put cupboards up or stud work, clearing out, redesigning the kitchen,
taking parts of a stud wall down, setting things out with my guys.
Mainly cos of my other business, I'm always busy,
so sometimes I can't always be here as much as I would like to be,
but I still made a point of getting in every day, keeping an eye on things.
Sometimes it's good to work with your guys, because they can see how you work. It reflects on them and on you.
Kevin describes himself as a fair but tough taskmaster.
He wouldn't ask his building team to do anything he wouldn't do himself.
He very much leads by example and, of course,
his input also keeps costs down.
I anticipate the overall building cost, because obviously having my own company keeps prices down,
but the overall building cost, I'm looking in the region of about £45,000.
£45,000 for the two flats,
so less than 23 grand per flat, is pretty good.
Kevin paid £284,000 at auction for the entire property,
bringing his total expenditure, with costs, to around £335,000.
So does quality and commitment bring financial return?
The transformation from the first time I saw this property is vast.
Changing the layout to the kitchen at the back was a masterstroke.
It's opened up that room.
There's now a big kitchen-diner with doors opening to the garden, which will do well on the market.
I think he's laid the property out really well.
He's put down good quality flooring, he's decorated nicely,
he's thought about things -
for instance, he's put points up high on the chimney breast
so you can put your plasma screen up, hide the wires - little things like that.
He's put gas feeds in the chimneys so you can have a gas fire in the winter when it's cold outside,
so it's nice and toasty inside -
really well thought-out things that make the place really homely. A very good development.
Well, a big thumbs up. But with £335,000 invested here,
will the two flats add up to being a good deal?
The valuations I'd give these properties for sale
is around £210,000 for the ground-floor flat, with the garden,
and £240,000 for the top-floor flat, with two bedrooms.
Looking at the two flats, um, the one-bedroom flat, value-wise,
I would place it at around £180,000 on the market.
And the two-bedroom, I would place it around the £230,000 mark on the market.
So the two flats are worth, in total,
between £410,000 and £450,000.
That's not a bad mark-up from £335,000.
What does Kevin think?
210, 220 is about, I would think, about the market value of the ground-floor flat at the moment,
due to the quality.
The upstairs flat is about, I would think, nearer 230, 240, realistically.
But I'm quite adamant to sit on these for a little while.
So, not content with a quick, healthy profit,
Kevin feels rental is the way forward.
If we were to rent these properties on the open market,
you're looking at around £850 per calendar month for the ground-floor flat,
and around £950 per calendar month for the top-floor flat.
The spec's a little bit too good for rental, to be honest with you!
But his first rent on these should get a really high rent.
I'd have thought the one-bedroom garden flat would probably get somewhere between the 750-800 mark,
and the two-bedroom should do the 900-1,000 per calendar month mark.
That gives a total of between 1,700 and 1,850 a month -
potentially over 20 grand a year.
Anything over 1,600 to me is a plus,
so if we're coming around the 1,800, yeah, I'm happy with those figures, definitely.
After a successful project here, is it onwards and upwards?
I'm already doing more building,
at this moment in time, as we speak.
It does get a bit draining,
and I don't want to go from loving my work to hating my work,
because then that will show in your quality,
which I don't want to ever let that happen.
It sounds to me like Kevin ought to take a well-earned break.
I think I need to give the wife a holiday,
otherwise I think it's going to be a very expensive year for me!
So I think I'll have to sweeten her up with a little holiday.
# ..Get up in the morning And do it all over again
# Well, I'm a hard-livin' Hard-workin' man! #
This rather neglected four-bedroomed house in the Manningham area of Bradford
wasn't everyone's idea of a perfect purchase.
But when local developer Imran snapped it up for £89,000,
he couldn't have been happier.
The main reason was it looks into my garden.
-There is more to it than that, presumably.
-No, that was it, really.
It's looked into my garden for years and we thought we'd buy it one day.
Having finally bought the house, the plan was to get his builder brothers to do it up.
But after that, Imran wasn't so sure. So where are we,
eight months on?
Well, quite frankly, not much further forward.
In fairness, they have tackled the previously subsiding extension.
As you'll remember, this used to be a small kitchen when I first got the place.
Now it's much bigger,
because while we were trying to fix the subsidence,
we thought, "We'll make it a lot bigger," and we've got more space through it now.
Progress has really only been made on the extension.
Work on this was delayed by neighbours also putting up an extension,
so Imran and his brothers couldn't start work until THEY'D finished.
Although Imran bought the property on behalf of the family firm,
he hasn't exactly been hands on here.
Last time I was here was when we filmed for Homes Under The Hammer then,
and this is the second time I've been in since then.
And quite a bit has been done.
Like I said, my brothers have put this extension up
and done quite a good job on it.
Despite living just next door, Imran has trusted his brothers completely
to crack on with it, without any input from him.
They all live in an adjacent house
and the main reason for buying this one was to maintain their privacy.
But he must have plans to use it in some way, surely.
It's not going to be a house - it's going to be like an add-on to our house,
where our children can come and play. We're hopefully getting a snooker table, pool table, um...
we're going to put a swimming pool between the two houses.
Well, that's amazing - a real, whole house of fun.
What will it have in it?
Um, the top floor will probably be table tennis, or something of that nature, upstairs.
The middle floor will probably be pool and snooker,
and down here will be like the kitchen.
We'll have an office in here for the children.
Did he say an office? That's not much fun!
Not all play - it'll be schoolwork and homework and studying as well as, um, playtime.
As yet, the nine children the family's had between them
don't know what they're getting.
As far as they're concerned, the place is just being renovated.
In essence, it is, because Imran's still determined to keep it as a house and will fit it out as such.
So what does he think all this is likely to cost?
My brothers have spent in the region of £2,000 so far.
And they're looking at between £7,000 and £10,000
to complete the whole house.
Most of that will go on the bathroom, kitchen and laminate flooring.
That £10,000 spend will take Imran and his brothers' costs
up to around £100,000
to make their fairly large play-homework-office annexe.
But will it be an investment for their children's future as well?
What do two local estate agents think?
I think from top to bottom it does need...regutting,
and, you know, new bathroom, new kitchen, radiators, double glazing,
fully decorating, everything.
This development needs a total refurbishment from top to bottom.
Even the outside and the front needs to be renovated as well.
Although there's clearly still a lot to do,
with approximately £100,000 invested here,
has Imran actually landed himself a good investment?
I value this at around £150,000.
Um, once the total works is completed,
I would value this property at around £150,000.
Ah, pretty encouraging.
So, despite not looking at this as a money-making venture,
Imran seems to have done pretty well.
What does he think?
Good price, but... it's not about the money, though.
It's about buying the place and keeping it.
Imran and the family firm have over 40 properties,
and he personally looks after two care homes and a day nursery as well.
So what's next?
Take over the world! I want to expand as much as I can in the scale I've got.
# Everybody wants to rule the world... #
So, Imran won't be playing snooker or table tennis with the kids any time soon.
He's going to be far too busy building his ever-growing property portfolio.
Well, we hope the bargain hunter in you has picked up a few tips on today's show.
Yes. Maybe next time it'll be you buying your home under the hammer.
-See you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house with an interesting layout in Newcastle-under-Lyme, a property in south east London and a house in Bradford in need of a total renovation.
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.