Series about properties that have gone to auction. Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a cottage in Cornwall, a two-bedroomed flat in Hampshire and a property in Kent.
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An Englishman's home is his castle.
Yes, whether it's a small flat or a large house,
most people take pride in where they live.
But the starting point is to find the right property
and one way to do that is to buy your home under the hammer.
Well, renovating a property is certainly a challenge,
especially if it's something you haven't done before.
It can also bring you financial reward if you keep on top of things.
So what challenges faced today's buyers?
This cottage in Cornwall is so good it's jumping out at me.
There didn't appear to be much at this two-bedroom flat in Hampshire,
but looks can be deceiving.
I knew it was going to be spacious up here.
And that old auction tip about buying the worst property
on the best street really comes into its own in Kent.
Anyway, retain an open mind, I say.
All these properties went to auction. We'll find out
who bought them and what they paid for them
when they went under the hammer.
Welcome to beautiful Cornwall
and revel in all that's lovely in this world.
Spectacular countryside to calm the senses,
wildlife to enrich the landscape and some very attractive property.
And while the latter may not be free,
it's a lot more affordable than you might think.
So you could imagine property round here is extremely desirable
and this is the sort of thing that everyone wants to buy.
It's a two-bedroom stone cottage,
at a guide price of 75,000 quid, which seems incredibly cheap.
Let's take a look inside.
Cute and cottagey are two words that would have many people racing
to the auction rooms that offer them, but at just £75,000
there must be something I'm not seeing here.
First thing I notice, reasonable height ceilings, which is good,
but also it looks, to me, like a work in progress.
New plasterboard on the ceiling, bits of flooring here.
The old fuse box back there looks like it's been recently replaced,
so somebody's obviously started this project and,
for whatever reason, stopped.
Kitchen there, this is your main room. Nice wood burning stove,
but something immediately, horribly wrong.
There's a staircase right in the middle.
You have got that room over there, like a lounge area,
another area here which, if knocked through, would be wonderful.
Bit of a big job, but I think it's worth it.
You've got to get this staircase, you've got to put it...
probably over here, to create a really nice open plan area,
because then some of the features can start to be shown off.
Things like... Look at the reveals on the windows here, really thick.
This is a stone-built cottage, it's lovely. Make the most of it.
Big job, but not insurmountable.
'The cottage isn't listed,
'which means you can make this layout really work for you.
'If it was up to me, moving the stairs would be just the start.'
Well, not surprisingly, the kitchen in a bit of a state.
It's not a bad-sized space,
but again it's almost like
I'd want to get rid of all the walls in the bottom part of this house.
This wall here is huge - it really takes up so much space -
and it gets worse when you go that way
cos you've got a separate entrance to the property
and a downstairs loo.
like this barn that's just been added to over the years.
And in terms of general state of repair, well, I think it's...
I'm beginning to see why this cottage is guided at just £75,000.
Upstairs is pretty well laid out with two good-sized bedrooms
and the bathroom, but if you're considering moving that staircase
you'd have to rethink the layout up here.
What does a local estate agent think needs doing
to get this property right?
I believe the expression is TLC.
It does need quite a bit of bringing up to date, obviously decor,
wiring, plumbing, bathroom, kitchen,
but it's stuff that can be done at a reasonable cost because
it appears to be quite sound and with perhaps six months' good work
I think the owners would be very pleased -
if they wanted to sell it on they'd be quite happy.
If this cottage was bought for around that guide price of 75,000
and just renovated as it is, what could it be worth once finished?
When it's renovated, it's going to take them a little bit of time,
but I do feel that you'd get £145,000 even in today's market for it.
I think you can see the potential that this little cottage has,
but it really needs someone just to come along,
rip it out and start again because it really is, at the moment,
a bit of a hodgepodge. However, having said that,
I don't think the guide price would have been anything like 75,000 quid
if it had been all together.
Let's see who fancied the challenge when it went under the hammer.
Lot one is the Corner House, South Road, Stithians.
The guide is 75,
who's going to kick us off at the guide?
Nice and simple, 75 straight in.
Who will say 75? 75 I've got on my right.
At 75. That's early doors. 75. At 75.
At 75,000 on my right hand side. 78.
78? 77. OK, at 77. Let's try to get on the evens if we can. 80?
Can I go to 80 with somebody? 80, we've got it, we're away. At 80.
At 80. 82.
90. I'm going to concentrate on the left for a minute. 92, sir?
96 I've got stood behind you. At 96.
98. 98. One.
102. There's one stood against you.
I'll come back. You have a think. One I've got. One I've got. At 100.
At 100. 102. 104.
106, straight back.
108. Back to these two. 108 and a half.
109 and a half.
110, the young lady there.
110. 110 and a half. 111.
111 and a half. 112.
112. 112 and a half. 112 and a half.
You've seen yourself there, haven't you?
There, tomorrow you'll be thinking, would 500 have done it? 113?
113. 113 and a half. 113 and a half.
113 and a half first time.
113 and a half second time.
114. 114 I've got. 114.
At 114. Half. 114 and a half.
115. At 115. At 115. And a half?
At 116. At 116. At 116 on my left.
At 116. First time then, the young lady here at 116.
The second time. At 116 you're in?
I won't take advantage.
Saturday night, maybe! But 116, last chance then. It's on my left.
Here we go at 116 and out.
116, miss, madam, thank you.
'The buyers on the day were Leanne and Mike.
'Together with their baby, Farah,
'I met them at the cottage to find out their plans.'
-Lovely to meet you both. Congratulations.
You've got yourself a nice little cottage. Why did you want to buy it?
As you say, it's a lovely little cottage, really nice area
and very much enticed by the guide price of £75,000,
which got us through the door to have a look at the cottage.
You walked in and thought, "Yeah, we could do something with this"?
Yeah, we were thinking of living here, but on reflection
it's a little too small for us, so we'll probably put it back
-on the open market again or rent it out.
-What we saw is the huge amount
of potential here, so that's what really enticed us to buy it, I think.
'Mike and Leanne currently live in navy quarters,
'but with a recent addition to the family
'they're keen to move somewhere bigger.
'However, now they have decided not to live here,
'they see this as an opportunity to make extra income.'
What do you do in the navy?
Well, Mike's actually a civilian now, he left in December.
-Because of baby's arrival, and I'm a warfare officer.
I sub specialise in hydrography, meteorology and oceanography.
-I'll be basically forecasting the weather for the aircraft.
-And until I can find something else, this will be my full time job.
-So you've left the navy completely now?
The thought of going away and leaving Farah...
You go away for six, seven months at a time, you come home
to a different child and that's not something I really wanted.
So you're going to be supervising the projects and being a house dad?
Doing a lot of work as well because Leanne's still on maternity leave.
-Just before I left the navy I did a plastering course.
As you can see, there's quite a bit of plastering to be done.
-And there's also a lot of rendering to be done on the outside
-because pebble dash is... We don't like it.
-Not our choice.
So I'll be rendering over that and giving it a smooth finish,
make it look a lot nicer and give it...
There's also quite a damp problem in the property as well,
so all this plaster is going to need to be chipped back and tanked.
I'll be doing all the tanking, so just basically all the plaster
in here on the bottom level is all just going to come off the wall.
So tell me all about your experience so far.
Property-wise, we've got, what is it? Nine, ten rental properties
that we've just accumulated, often bought at auction, refurbished them
and then rented them out. Just basically love property,
usually old properties, Victorian, taking them and making them
-We've got quite a bit of experience with renovation.
This is our biggest project so far because we're moving the stairs.
We tend to do low-level refurbishment.
We're doing a lot of "we-ing", whereas we tend to call my father,
and it just tends to be a, "Dad, we've got a property,
"can you come and do it up for us?" So it sounded good, didn't it,
-with all the "we-ing", but not quite so realistic!
Fantastic your dad is there to do that.
What does he do when he's not helping you?
Well, he's actually in Yorkshire, which is 300 miles up the road!
-But, yeah, he's semi-retired. My mum's got multiple sclerosis,
so they have a lot of time off, so she'll come up, look after baby.
Not much time off, because generally helping us do the projects.
-Wow! What a great resource to have!
-It's absolutely fantastic.
-There's nothing he can't do.
Having our own baby, we're hoping that she'll stop the phone calls
and the dependence on mum and dad by the age of 31, but we live in hope!
In fact, it seems that Farah is picking up a few skills of her own
-by watching mum and dad.
-I think it'll be the third site
she's been on since she was born. We actually bought one property
when she was two days old, so it's been quite busy.
She's learning how to paint skirting boards at the moment,
just the perfect height! With crayons, though.
-We don't really strap on a paintbrush!
Moving on to gloss paint later.
This couple, with the help of Leanne's dad, of course,
seem to have a great deal of experience,
but that didn't stop them
from nearly making a huge mistake when it came to the auction.
-Saturday Night Fever!
I'm notoriously not brilliant at timekeeping,
outside of my job where, of course, I have to be on time, but...
-And you were guilty on this occasion, too...
-I hold my hands up.
In that I was in bed reading the legal pack half an hour
before the auction started and it was a 20-minute drive away
-and we didn't know where it was and it was the first lot.
-It was all a bit tight.
-So at what point did you walk into the room?
Just before the auction began,
it was a couple of minutes late starting, fortunately.
-You were reading the legal pack half an hour before.
-First time or just a refresher?
-My solicitor had perused it for me,
but I was reading it for the first time and was engrossed.
Then I looked up and saw the time
and it was half an hour before the auction began
so a little bit flustered by the time I got there!
Bit of a mad dash to Redruth.
Nothing like leaving it to the last minute,
but it all worked out in the end.
Although they don't plan to make this their new family home,
that's not stopping them planning a thorough renovation.
We'll be looking in the region of 12,000 to 15,000 for the project.
When we first looked at the place
we didn't think of moving the stairs, but now we've looked
at the property and at the layout of the floor and it's got to be done.
So we've pushed our budget by a few more thousand,
but it just really will enhance the property so much more.
And keeping as many features? These big reveals on the windows
-and the thick walls, all gorgeous, isn't it?
We want to stick to the cottage style as far as we can,
so what we do will hopefully be very much in keeping with the cottage
-and we'll keep all those features.
-And how long to get it sorted?
Three to four months, give or take. Yeah, that's the plan.
It also depends how long Dad stays on site and is willing
to come down and do up properties or else we're going to have to learn
-to do it ourselves, God forbid!
-An important part of your...
-Strategy, isn't he?
-There's just nothing he can't do.
-Good luck with it. Congratulations.
-Thank you very much.
-I'll look forward to seeing how you get on.
-So do we!
So Mike and Leanne joining forces with Leanne's dad
to take on another development project,
but there is a lot of work to do to sort this place out
and, as well as looking after the baby,
Mike is going to have a lot on his hands.
It's a challenge. Will there be choppy waters ahead?
You can find out later in the show.
This is the market town of Fareham in Hampshire.
The town was well known for producing bricks, tiles
and chimney pots. In fact, the Royal Albert Hall in London
is made from Fareham red bricks.
Now its position between Portsmouth and Southampton
makes it a great base for commuters.
I'm here to see a first floor maisonette
which is about a mile from Fareham town centre.
Now, it doesn't have the most attractive frontage,
as it's set above this taxi firm.
That also might also have some noise implications late at night
with all these shops along here,
but it's got two bedrooms and it had a guide price of just 60,000.
The flat's 1970s architecture might not appeal,
but let's give it a chance and look inside.
Even though this is described as a first floor maisonette
there is actually some extra square footage downstairs,
but you have to access it through this strange uppity-down landing,
which leads to this huge utility area.
This is the same size as a kitchen in most houses
and you've got an enormous cupboard in there.
This really is just bonus space because the main flat is upstairs.
There's plenty of space down here with a porch, a downstairs toilet
and your own large garden. There's even a garage at the bottom of it
so there's off-street parking, too.
The only downside is that you're overlooked
by a window in the taxi firm, but it's a small price to pay
if the rest of the flat has as much as this to offer.
You know what? I knew it was going to be spacious up here!
You've got two really good-sized double bedrooms there
and, of course, through here a fantastic lounge.
I think this would have been an outside wall originally
and this here was an extension,
although it does feel a little bit springy, I have to say, underfoot.
I might get that looked at.
But you could house a family in this flat.
It's really big, you've got this lovely floor to ceiling glass.
On a summer's day
you're going to get lots of lovely natural light coming through there.
I've got to say, the space here really is selling this flat to me.
There's definitely work to do here. The carpets and decor need updating.
There are polystyrene tiles on some of the ceilings
which should be removed for fire safety reasons.
Some of the electrics are surface-mounted,
so ideally you'd want to chase them into the walls.
But after a bit of modernisation
I could really start to warm to this place.
One small quibble, though. This kitchen is actually smaller
than the utility room downstairs, and the bathroom - it's small,
there's no natural light, there's a lemon suite and it's quite dark.
It looks like the window was blocked up
when the property was first extended,
but the good news is that this flat is sold with freehold title,
so subject to planning, you could do what you like.
Although you're responsible for the repair and maintenance
of the whole building, you do get the ground rent
from the taxi company downstairs.
What does a local estate agent think of the place and its neighbours?
The implications of the property being above the parade of shops
are mainly to do with the mortgage lenders.
They're slightly restricted on the lending they'll do at the moment
and there are fewer lenders in the marketplace
that will lend on property above commercial premises.
To a cash buyer looking for a rental investment
that £60,000 guide price could be attractive.
It is a good rental area here.
Probably the rental side of things would be round about £600 a month,
but obviously it would need the work done
before the property could be rented out.
If you bought this place at the £60,000 guide price and spent, say,
10,000 to 20,000 on a complete renovation, you could be looking
at around a 9% rental return.
But could you make any money if you decided to sell?
Once the renovations have been completed on the property
I would suggest a marketing price of round about 100,000 in the current climate.
It's not the prettiest of maisonettes and some buyers
may be put off because it's above a taxi firm,
but you do have a fair amount of square footage for your money here
and the bonus of the freehold title. So who fell for this Fareham flat?
Let's find out at the auction.
Lot number six in your catalogue,
number 51 Fairford Avenue, Fareham, Hampshire.
I'm going to start the bidding on this one, ladies and gentlemen,
at just £50,000. 50 I have, straight away at the back.
51 I have. And two, sir?
52. And three?
54's bid. 55 here. 56. And seven.
58. No? Shake of the head. 57 here.
I'm looking for 58. 58,000, new bidder.
59. 60? 60's bid. 61?
And two? 62,000.
63 here in the front. 64,000's bid.
65 I have. No? A shake of the head. It's 65,000 here.
Looking for 66 elsewhere in the room.
New bid at £66,000. 67 I have.
68. 69. 70?
70,000's bid. 71 seated.
72 on the right hand side. 73 I have here.
74,000 directly in front of me.
75? No? Give you a half?
74 and a half. 75,000 I have to come back.
Shaking his head.
£75,000 with you, sir. I'll take 500 from anywhere else in the room.
£75,000, then, I have for the first time. 75,000 for the second.
75,000 the third and the final time.
Your property, sir. Your number, please? Congratulations.
For £75,000 the new owner of that two-bedroom flat is Ian.
He lives just a few yards down the road
so is very familiar with the area. As a building services engineer
he should know a thing or two about how to renovate it, as well.
But one thing he's never done before is visit a property auction.
Ian, congratulations. I must say you looked very smart
-in your suit and tie on auction day.
-I'm not experienced at going
to auctions, but I thought if I went looking like I meant business
and bidded without hesitation that it may work to my advantage.
-What was your top limit?
-My top limit was 80,000.
-If it got to 80 I was going to stop.
-So 5K under, that's pretty good.
-5K under is pretty good.
-I've got to say,
it isn't everybody's choice to buy a flat over a taxi rank.
-That obviously hasn't worried you.
-No, it doesn't. I talked about that
and it's not actually a taxi rank as such, it's just an office
where they do their telephone bookings from
and we did determine
that there wasn't hundreds of cabs coming in and out,
at all hours of the day and night.
You know this area better than anybody. Is it noisy at night?
-Will that be a problem?
-I don't think so.
It's quite a busy road during the day, but it quietens down at night
and we face on to it ourselves and we don't have a problem.
Knowing the area put Ian in a much stronger position
when it came to the auction.
For the time being at least, he's planning to rent this flat out,
so what will he do to bring it up to scratch?
All the fixtures and fittings in the whole building are coming out,
possibly even the central heating which I believe works,
but could be a bit dated. New kitchen and new bathroom.
I've noticed that the loft access hatch is in the bathroom,
as was ours at home, and we'll put a sun pipe, hopefully, in the roof
to bring some natural light into the bathroom
and then relocate the hatch into the landing.
What sort of budget have you got to spend on this place?
In the region of 15,000 to 20,000.
That's quite a healthy budget for the work.
Yeah. It's not going to be designer. It's just going to be a clean,
tidy, bright, pleasant, carpeted flat for someone to come and live in.
He's hoping to take no more than two or three months to do all the work,
but what then? Is mild-mannered Ian cut out for the role of landlord?
Yeah, I have one other property,
which is a three-bedroom terraced house in Fareham town.
I bought that about four years ago and had a horrendous experience.
The problems I had were two-edged. I had problems with the tenant who,
unfortunately, lost his job and couldn't pay the rent,
and also I had horrendous problems with the letting agent
who I employed to deal with the letting, not being experienced in it.
So now I do all that myself and do the contract
and deal with all the paperwork.
-There's no stopping you now.
-Well, I don't know.
Maybe just the finances! Maybe in the next five years
another place or something. I'm not really intending to be
a property entrepreneur, developer, whatever you call it.
-Somewhere to invest your money and get a great return.
-Yes. Better than the bank.
This really is it for you?
I believe so, especially if I'm considering it over ten years.
Ian, good luck, lovely to meet you.
-Thank you very much.
-Well done. Thank you.
Ian's certainly bought in an area that he was familiar with because
he practically lives opposite!
I think he's made a pretty good investment as long as he keeps this
for a good while because in the current climate letting this will
give him a higher return than if his money was just stuck in a bank,
but if Ian ever has to sell this property I think he may struggle
to get a buyer and that's just because it's above a row of shops.
Let's see how he gets on later in the programme.
Coming up, I was thinking that this house in Kent
looked a lot worse than it is.
Oh, but I've just seen that!
Back in Hampshire, Ian has discovered
he's got more work to do than he'd planned.
I took the decision at that point that I wasn't going to skimp on it,
I just wanted to get a good result at the end.
But first it's back to the Corner House
where there have been a few changes.
We also just popped the stairs into the corner.
That small point. Yes, we did, didn't we?
Time now to return to Cornwall
where naval officer Leanne and husband Mike paid £116,000
for this two-bedroom cottage
near the village of Stithians. Initially they had thought about
making it their home but as it was a bit too small
they decided to stay in their naval quarters for now.
But this little property was certainly all at sea,
so have they got cracking and got it on an even keel?
In terms of what we've done to the property,
it's pretty much been a total renovation.
The outside is different - we got rid of the pebble dash
and Mike's rendered the outside,
we've painted it, replaced the not very nice Elizabethan leaded windows
with the Georgian version, which are more true
to what would originally have been in the property.
We've totally redecorated it,
so we've got a new kitchen, taken out the bathroom
and replaced that, redecorated throughout.
-Have I forgotten...?
-We also just popped the stairs into the corner.
That small point, yes. Yes, we did, didn't we?
As I mentioned before, moving those stairs would be the key
to making this cottage first rate.
They've done just that and, oh, so much more!
# These are a few of my favourite things. #
But the downstairs living space is by far my favourite part
of this beautifully renovated cottage.
Our first priority was to move these stairs from the centre of the room,
which divided it into two unusable spaces, right into the corner,
but to do that we had to take the wall down and replace it
with a supporting beam, so there we've just got the wooden beam,
which actually used to be part of Falmouth pier.
Once in place - my father-in-law and I managed to get it in
just with the pair of us, using ladders and trestles and tables
and goodness knows what - we managed to put the stairs into the corner
and then it was just a case of repairing the damage, as it were.
Just replastering the ceilings. Now the light just can flood through
all these windows and it just makes it such a beautiful and usable space
where you can have your nice big corner group and a dining room table
and it just makes it a much better space to use
for a family or a couple or whoever.
By moving those stairs, upstairs has been shuffled around a bit,
but they've lost not much floor space. Both bedrooms remain
good-sized doubles and the bathroom has been completely redone.
But Leanne and Mike decided not to extend the kitchen.
Instead, they renovated what was already there.
Completely stripped out the old kitchen and put terracotta tiles
on the floor which have quite a nice rusticy feel.
Gone for nice light units, again, light walls.
Solid beech worktops which, again, just nice quality material
and nice rusticy feel to it, the same with the oak handles.
Really tried to go for a compromise between a modern kitchen
and something that fits with the cottage.
Overall, it was a huge amount of work, finished in just three months.
With Leanne back at work after maternity leave
and Mike caring for Farah, it's been difficult finding time
to fit it all in, but, thankfully, they had Leanne's superdad to help.
He was only here for about... six weeks? Four weeks?
The frustrating thing about this property is that the vast majority
of the work was done in, I think, the six weeks my father was here.
After I went back to work full time we've had to snatch time.
I do about a 55-hour week on average, so I've either been at work
or Mike's been at work, but we've had a lot, lot less time,
so the vast majority of the work was done by you and my father,
in six weeks and from there things have got a little bit slower.
At one stage we worked out
that out of 30 days we worked 28 and a half of those days.
-On average, they were about 14-hour days?
-Seemed like it anyway, yeah!
I don't know what you were doing for the other 10 hours,
it's quite slack!
Initially the couple had considered living here, but it's not big enough
for them, so what have they got planned for the Corner House?
We were thinking of living in it, but we'll be having another child,
so I think we'll look for something a little bit bigger. It's a shame.
I know you've enjoyed working here because the neighbours are lovely
and it's been a real pleasure to be here, but I think we'll have
to sell it and hopefully it will make a lovely home for someone,
just not for us this time.
After all the work they did, along with Leanne's dad,
I think that it will be a perfect home for someone,
but how much has it cost them to renovate the cottage
on top of the £116,000 purchase price?
In terms of the budget we're quite happy with how things have gone.
We were looking at around the £12,000 to £15,000 mark
and we've come in just about under the 12,000 mark, which is great.
Just sourced lots of things cheaply using internet auction sites,
so even though we've used the solid wood worktops, the oak flooring,
the limestone tiles, we've managed to get them at a really good price.
We did look at block paving the yard but I think it's not money
that we'd get back from the sale so we've kept that out,
but I think we've done quite well to come in at about £12,000.
Me too! That brings the project in at about 128,000.
As they now plan to sell it
and continue searching for a new home of their own,
they'll be hoping two local estate agents
are also impressed with their work.
It's a very fresh, contemporary property - a character cottage.
It's retained a lot of charm. A good two-bedroom property.
Moving the stairs has made a lot of difference.
It's opened out this room so much, whereas before
there was this area and an area here divided by the staircase.
He's done a tremendous job by moving it. Well worthwhile.
Good comments, but after spending a total of 128,000
buying and renovating the place, will this naval couple's boat come in
when the cottage sets sail on the open market?
I think if I was marketing
this property now we'd be looking £175,000, £180,000,
something like that, because of the standard that they've done.
I think we would market this property
at between £175,000 and £185,000.
At those figures, it's been a success,
-if we can sell it for 175, even a bit more.
-It's been hard work,
but I think we've enjoyed it most of the time, so pretty good.
With a predicted profit of around £50,000 from the venture
I think they've sailed through with flying colours.
They've successfully transformed this cottage from rack and ruin
to shipshape in no time. How do they feel now it's finished?
-Really happy. Really enjoyed it.
-I think we can be proud of it.
It's been a huge transformation from what it was to what it is now,
-so really quite pleased.
-So bring on the next one!
I'm in Orpington in Kent,
famous for buff, black and speckled.
Not painting techniques - chickens, which were first bred locally
by William Cook in the 1890s.
This is in the borough of Bromley which is a fantastic place
for commuting into London, quick rail services
into the centre of town and you've got the Eurostar, as well.
The big question is, will the property I'm here to see
be "eggcellent" or just plain rotten?
Up for auction was this.
It's a 1930s bungalow.
It had a guide price of 120,000 to 130,000 quid.
Now the street is lovely, but the bungalow itself
doesn't look too good from the outside.
It doesn't look like it gets much better inside, to be honest.
Anyway, retain an open mind, I say. What have we got?
Central area here, quite small and cramped,
and then all the rooms spread off it.
You've got the bathroom and loo there.
It doesn't look like it's been refurbished since the bungalow was built.
First bedroom there, kind of small, but perfectly formed, I suppose.
Living room there with a nice bay window, that's good to see.
It's got a gas fire in it. I suppose that could be a bedroom as well
because you've got this here which is the rear living room.
Single door there. I'd like to see that opened up with double doors
out on to the garden for sure. I want to check out the gas fires.
I don't know, I suppose for a small bungalow it's not doing too bad.
Oh, but I've just seen that!
Because this is your kitchen and that sink unit is your work surface.
There's a few cupboards, a bit of wasted space here and there,
but overall a total refurbishment required.
Take out this wall, at least increase the space somehow
because at the moment if you come in here you just feel so cooped up.
Well, they say you have to break eggs to make an omelette,
but whoever buys this bungalow is going to have to shell out
a bit of cash to make it "eggciting" again.
For that guide price of £120,000 to £130,000
the key to maximising your investment is at the back.
I think the great potential of this bungalow is to be found
out the back here, in the back garden. Actually, it's given away
by the neighbouring property, because on that side
they've put on a huge extension and on that side a small conservatory.
You want to do that with this bungalow. How much will it cost?
Something like that, probably 50,000,
something like that, maybe 5,000 to 10,000, so somewhere between there
you've got a choice, but either way that is the way
to maximise this property and make it into a much nicer place to live.
Well, that's my opinion, but in the interest of fair play I've invited
along a local estate agent to see if he agrees with my analysis.
In terms of potential, there's two clear areas where the property
could be extended. A lot of bungalows in the area have been extended
out the back and a lot have been extended upwards into the roofline
to create chalet bungalows.
The key issue here is to get the existing structure sorted out
in terms of wiring, plumbing,
replastering and decorating and then if budget suffices
then look at an extension.
To find out the maximum you should spend on doing those renovations
deduct the £120,000 or £130,000 guide price
from whatever this property's worth once finished.
Once the property has been refurbished and renovated,
not extended, then I would expect it to sell on in the open market
somewhere in the order of £215,000.
Orpington is famous for its chickens and the bungalow garden
is certainly big enough to keep a few, but the big question is
will this be a nice little nest egg or not all it's cracked up to be?
Let's find out who shelled out for it at the auction.
Now we go to lot number 13, which is Six Somerden Road, Orpington.
A semidetached bungalow in need of improvement, but well worthy of it.
Start me where you will.
Can I see £120,000 for it, in Orpington, a bungalow?
100, I'm on the way. Thank you, sir. £100,000 I've got.
And 10 now do I see? 110 sitting down in the aisle. 115 if you like.
115 in a fresh place at the back.
115 I've got. 120 if you like.
120. And two if you like? 122? 122?
At £120,000 I have sitting down.
122 I'm looking for. Are we all done at £120,000? 122.
127. 130. And two. 132.
And five. And seven. 137. And 40.
And two. 142. And five.
145. At 142 I have.
145 you're coming in. At 145.
And seven. 147 on the back wall. 150.
150 in a fresh place. And two.
152. And five. 155? 155. And seven.
And 60. 160.
160. 162. And five. 165.
And seven. 167.
165 sitting right in the back row. At 165. Seven on the back wall
and you're out of it at the moment, as you are in the front.
At £165,000 I will sell, then, for the first time.
165 sitting down for the second time.
165,000 for the third and final time if you're all done? Yours at 165,000.
And the number please, sir?
With that bid of 165,000
the new owners are husband and wife duo Alan and Violet.
This is the first time they've bought a property at auction.
I met them back at the bungalow to hear about their purchase.
Tell me why you wanted to buy the bungalow?
We were looking for a property to buy because our business has
-quietened down in the recession.
-And what's your business?
We've been a builder for 28 years and mainly working for housing trusts
and because of the recession their funding has got cut back
-so we're not as busy as we were.
-I'm actually retired now,
semi-retired, I help out, but the family's involved in the business,
-so I reinvested some money into the business to buy a property...
-Largely by watching your programme.
-Oh, really? Oh, excellent!
-I'm glad we helped out there.
And we're trying to buy... Sorry, we're trying to buy our work
rather than rely on somebody else sending it to us and doing a quotation.
How come you haven't done this before?
Never had to. We've worked continually for housing trusts
for 28 years and we've been very busy.
We've never had to look for work.
There's always been more than enough.
Tell me about you two. How long have you been together?
-We got married when we were what, 20 each?
And we met when we were on holiday and we've been in love ever since,
-really, haven't we, you know?
Aww! That's nice to hear. It's nice to hear you saying it.
Well, she's my right arm, really.
I couldn't do without her at all.
# Ah, ah, working together
# Ah, ah, living together... #
Although Alan has been a builder all his life,
this is his first investment property. It will provide some work
not only for him, but also his family, which is a big one!
Alan and Violet have four children and six grandchildren
and they all live within a 30-minute radius.
My wife said to me that she wouldn't marry me
unless I agreed to have four children,
so I didn't have any option, really!
So you've been together almost 40 years?
-It must be that.
Well, I'm coming up to 68.
-No, don't say it!
-So you've been together nearly 50 years.
-It's more than 40 years. Yeah.
-What do you put that down to,
that you've been together for that length of time?
-Just love each other.
-Sharing, I suppose, one another.
-Yeah, we do everything together, really, don't we?
They're a pretty close-knit family and when Alan says
they'll do everything together he means it.
They will all be involved with this renovation from start to finish.
Pete will do the carpentry and joinery. Stephen will do,
he's a Corgi registered plumber, do central heating.
My daughter will do decorations. There's some brickwork that
needs doing and a bit of plastering which I'll do.
-Stephen's also a qualified electrician, so...
So it really is going to be a family affair?
-I used to do the brickwork and plastering.
I suppose I'll probably have to do a bit here, you know, to help out.
Have to or want to?
I don't mind. I mean, I'm quite fit, you know, I've got a bit of a tummy,
but I'm quite fit and, you know, I like to do a bit of work.
-I always did, you know?
-Any idea how much it's going to cost?
Yeah, I did cost it out.
Including fees for buying and selling and insurance and things like that,
it will come to about 27 grand, I think, 27,000.
Quite a big budget, then?
Well, we want to do a good job on it, you know?
Often I can't always follow the figures that is given
on your programme when people say they can do it for 5,000 or 6,000.
I think they ignore their own wages.
I think they just include the material.
-But, I mean, I've been doing estimating for 28 years,
so I know what it costs to do jobs for housing trusts,
very similar sort of work.
Interestingly, Alan isn't doing this to make a profit,
but rather to find work for his family. However, if he keeps
that budget in check and the house does make money
he'll be able to go and buy another one to renovate.
Tell me exactly what you're going to do to the property.
First, we'll strip the walls and get rid of the wallpaper,
see if there's any replastering to be done. The kitchen,
you probably noticed, does really need completely replastering.
We're going to put central heating in because it isn't in at the moment.
-And then double doors out on to the garden from the lounge?
we were thinking about cutting the shoulders down on the brickwork
-and rendering and putting in patio doors.
-Or French ones.
-Or French ones, if you get your way, so maybe!
-I like French doors, too.
-You think French doors might be better?
-Yeah. I'm on your side.
OK! I think you've won that one.
Violet obviously has some ideas of her own, but hopefully together
they'll be able to make sure
this first investment project of their own is a success.
Well, what a lovely story. And Alan and Violet turning
the restoration of this little bungalow into a real family affair.
I am a bit concerned that there's virtually no incentive
to keep tight reins on that budget, so goodness knows what will happen.
You can find out later in the show.
Well, as you know, the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong.
So have today's schemes and plans gone well, or have they gone awry?
Let's find out.
Earlier in the show I visited this two-bed flat in Fareham, Hampshire.
There was lots of space available inside and it even had
its own garden and off-street parking, so it had a lot going for it.
But the pokey kitchen and bathroom did worry me a little,
as did its location above a taxi office.
Building services engineer Ian wasn't concerned, though.
He lives just down the road and felt that a 15,000 to 20,000 investment
on top of his 75-grand purchase price would be enough to convince
prospective tenants that the positives in this flat
far outweigh any negatives.
Just ten weeks on and Ian seems to have got further than I'd expected.
There are new windows, new doors and new plasterwork throughout.
So was this all part of the plan?
Obviously, we started by stripping everything out and we realised
that the plasterwork was fairly dry and crumbly.
I took the decision at that point that I wasn't going to skimp on it,
I just wanted to get a good result at the end and have
something that someone would be pleased to live in.
I think that's what Ian's achieved.
He had the flat completely rewired and after some consideration
also decided to replace all the plumbing, too.
I was hoping we could reuse quite a lot of, but in the event,
when we looked at it we decided to again replace the lot,
bring it all up to date and make it more energy efficient and hopefully
give it another 30 years of life. The bathroom was horrible.
We've put in a modern white finish
and we've put a sun pipe in the roof
which gives a huge amount of natural daylight during the day
and you don't need lights or anything in there other than at night,
so it's turned a horrible room into a very pleasant bathroom,
albeit small, but functional.
Not only that, but renewing the central heating system
also had advantages when it came to remodelling the kitchen.
In the kitchen we've regained a nice chunk of space in this corner
where the hot-water storage used to be in a big built-in cupboard.
The cooker used to be behind the door.
We've put a radiator there, probably some shelves will go above,
and then made a layout which is a bit more ergonomic than it used to be.
Oh, we've put a new window in as well, and a new wall there
because it was falling down. Other than that, that's it, really.
Modestly put, Ian! Now, what was that about a wall falling down?
We found the wall between the bathroom and the kitchen
was very unstable. It was made of blocks planted on the wooden floor,
so we took that out and rebuilt it with a studwork wall.
However, it wasn't all repair and renovate with this flat.
Ian also made some interesting discoveries.
This room at this end where I'm standing, most of it was boarded off
with hardboard and shelves and behind me there was just a flat wall.
When we took the hardboard away we found a fireplace
and an alcove at the back of the stairs which we thought we'd keep.
The fireplace is original 1930s, not in particularly good condition,
but it just seemed a shame to rip it out and it just looks
quite a pleasant feature.
And the same is true in the second bedroom where the fireplace
adds some much needed character.
Acting on advice from a local tree surgeon, Ian has removed
the trees as the first step in landscaping the garden.
That's another feature sure to attract tenants.
Although it seems he isn't going to rent it out just yet.
The plan for the flat is it's going to be let and as it happens
it's going to be let to my son at the moment because he's imminently
going to be a father and his girlfriend, obviously,
and they could be here for a year or five years, who knows?
But that was possibly another reason to maybe spend a bit more
and do a better job than one might have done if it was just
a straight buy-to-let to make as much income as possible.
The property has certainly benefited from the extra effort,
but at a cost of 32,000 Ian has almost doubled his original budget.
With that 75,000 purchase price his total investment
is now £107,000. Was it all worth it?
My first impressions are
there's been a lot of money spent and it's done to a high standard.
Decorated throughout, which makes it feel much lighter,
it felt quite dark last time, and a lot more spacious.
The kitchen's very nice, very compact, but again modern throughout
and it's got the integrated appliances, which is great.
So all-round approval from the estate agents for the work
that Ian's done here,
but what should he be charging his son in rental when he moves in?
For rental I would expect this property to achieve between
£600 and £625 per calendar month.
We would put it on, and like to achieve,
between £595 to £625 per calendar month.
620 was the figure I had in mind, so they're spot on. We agree!
£620 per calendar month would mean a yield of about 7%
on his £107,000 investment.
How much has he added to the resale value?
We'd put this on the market at 115,000.
I would value this property at £125,000.
Well, I agree with the 125,000, obviously, which I would,
but I think 115's too low.
Even at 115,000, Ian could still make a pre-tax profit of £8,000,
but he intends to rent it out in the long term.
It sounds as though he's got it ready for the first tenants
in the nick of time!
The baby's due within two weeks, I think, and they can move in,
it doesn't stop us carrying on the work in the garden,
which won't take too long, so they're all looking...
Everyone's looking forward to it.
When builder Alan and his wife, Violet, invested £165,000
buying this battered two-bedroom bungalow in Orpington, Kent,
it wasn't as a new home, nor was it simply a profit-making exercise.
Instead, Alan bought it as he, and the other members of his family-run building business,
had run out of work.
So, rather than sit on their hands
they planned to renovate this property and then decide what to do with it.
Well, three months on we've returned to see they've been very busy.
Stephen's done the plumbing and Peter's just finished the kitchen, hasn't he? But mainly been painting.
And you've done quite a bit, haven't you, yourself?
-More than I expected to do, yeah.
-Yes, he has.
It seems that Alan perhaps took on more than he wanted,
but together with his daughter and two sons, they've completely transformed this property.
As you can see, this is a new kitchen.
Originally, there was a door leading out there which we closed up so that we could have a wraparound kitchen.
There was a window in that corner which we bricked up.
We lost a bit of light, so we put a slightly bigger window in there,
which is a new PVC glazed window.
We renewed the ceiling
and we replastered the rest of the walls because they were damp.
The entire place has been rewired, replumbed and replastered.
As well as the new kitchen,
the bathroom now looks a lot more inviting, too.
Inside, all that's left to finish are the carpets.
I'm pleased to see that Violet got her French doors,
but the biggest change is outside.
The first time that I visited the property I noticed that the sun was beaming down
and I thought to myself, "This would be ideal for a conservatory," which we've now built.
I also noticed that the ground was quite deep there,
there was about 18 inches with steps running up to the rear door
and if we happened to sell to a pensioner that they wouldn't want that.
They wouldn't want to go downstairs and upstairs, so we raised the level,
so that now, as you can see,
there's maybe a six or an eight inch step in the conservatory.
While Alan may have been a bit more hands on than he would have liked,
it was because his sons were working on a new contract for the family business,
but as son Steve points out,
when they were here working for themselves it took a bit of getting used to.
It's been different from what we normally do because we normally
have a spec to work on, we're told exactly what we have to do,
whereas here we've had to make decisions that architects often make, you know?
So that has been a new experience.
It's just been real fun, you know? It's been good, I've enjoyed it.
With all that experience, this is the first time they've renovated
a property as an investment for themselves,
so with no other boss but himself, did Alan keep the budget under control?
If you remember, the original budget was 27,000
and I would say now it's just about 30,000, so we spent about 3,000 more.
Add that to the purchase price of 165,000
and it brings their total to just under £200,000.
There's no doubt they've succeeded in providing work for themselves
as well as doing a successful renovation,
but have they decided what to do with the bungalow now it's finished?
I think it depends whether we make a profit or a loss, to be quite honest.
I mean, we're starting to pick up a bit more housing trust work
which is what we know, which we've done reasonably well out of
over the years, but this is a complete venture, really.
But I've quite enjoyed doing it and, you know, if we get our money back
and a small return, then, yes, we would probably try another one.
After investing a total of around £195,000 buying and renovating this place,
it's down to two local estate agents to help Alan and Violet decide
what to do with it now it's nearly finished.
But, before they do that, they're coming down to see for themselves.
First impressions, very impressive considering they only just bought it a couple of months ago.
They've done a very good job
and I think it's a very appealing property.
The conservatory addition at the back gives extra space
because these bungalows can be a little bit small
and it's ideal for somebody who's looking for something with no chain and they can move straight in.
I think the level of finish is very high
considering they've only just bought the property back in July.
Throughout, it's been done to a very high standard
with double-glazed windows throughout.
Both estate agents agreed that the bungalow would achieve
around £800 to £850 per calendar month if they were to rent it out,
but if they decided to sell, how much would they get
after spending a total of 195,000 to date?
I'd put this property on the market at a figure between 215,000 and 220,000.
If I was to put this property on the market today
I'd sell it in the region of £210,000 to £220,000.
Yeah, we were hoping for about 215 to 220, so, yeah, that's fine.
Yeah, that's about what we were thinking, yeah, which I indicated, yeah.
Yeah, so that sounds like in the ballpark we were sort of thinking ourselves, so, yeah, yeah.
More importantly, that gives them a potential profit
which they could always use to buy and renovate another.
So, are they heading back to an auction for a further family project?
Well, we've got an auction magazine come through, haven't we?
Yeah, we shall thumb through that and see where we go from there.
Yeah. But, yeah, I think we would probably want to sell first.
I mean, they've got work,
they've got other work they can get on with at the moment,
so what you're giving us is opinions,
but it's not money in our pockets, is it?
So, you know, the proof of the pudding is when we actually sell it
and the money is back in then we can go ahead.
While Alan may officially be retired,
I think that with Violet by his side and their family behind them
this won't be the last successful property they renovate together.
We hope we've given you some good ideas and tips, should you venture into the auction room.
And we hope you'll join us next time to hear more stories
from people who did buy their homes under the hammer.
-See you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a cottage in Cornwall, a two-bedroomed flat in Hampshire and a property in Kent.
Having all gone to auction, Martin and Lucy find out who bought the properties and what they paid when they went under the hammer.