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Hello and welcome to Homes Under The Hammer.
There are lots of reasons why people buy property at auction.
Is it the speedy completion, the wide variety of properties on offer,
or the chance to bag yourself a bargain?
Whatever you motivation, the opportunities are there when you buy your home under the hammer.
Of course, Lucy and I have bought properties at auction in the past,
and it is an experience like no other.
Oh yes. The moment the hammer goes down, you know you're committed,
and that's when the real hard work begins.
So what did our buyers go for on today's show?
This house in Croydon, Surrey, is a little dated for my taste.
I'd say get rid of it. It's ugly.
Here's hoping this flat in Shotts
in Lanarkshire doesn't leave me in the dark.
I love that. Electronic dimmer.
And remember this chapel in Dorset?
The first attempt to resurrect it left it flattened.
Stay tuned to see how it's saved by divine inspiration.
All these properties have been sold at auction.
We find out who bought them and for how much, when they went under the hammer.
I'm just around the corner from today's property, which is in Croydon.
Now, I'm always puzzled as to where Croydon actually is.
Some people say it's in south London but it's officially in Surrey.
It is, though, just a mere ten miles from London centre, and that is a great start
if you work in the capital, but you want that commuter-town living.
As the Tube line is due to be extended to nearby West Croydon,
this area will be even more connected in a year or two.
# You make sure you're connected
# The writing's on the wall... #
Croydon is perfect commuter territory and the houses here
are a desirable mix of old Victorian town houses, Edwardian semis, and ex-council properties.
So, this is it.
Well, there's a little mini Chelsea Flower Show going on here.
You can see the neighbours take care of their home, which is a good sign.
Now, this is an ex-local authority linked terraced town house.
Probably dating around the 1960s, by the look of the property.
It's in the middle of a council estate where there are a lot of
these homes and they're now owned by the occupiers, which I think is great news.
The guide price for this three-bedder is £115,000 to £125,000.
That's a great price for a three-bedroom property so close to London. But it does need some TLC.
While everything might be looking rosy outside,
thanks to the neighbours, what will the place be like inside?
We are the Village Green Preservation Society...
'60s-built houses were all about being modern on the outside as well
as inside, and they're usually a lot simpler in style.
I'm glad to say there's a downstairs loo here. That is a bonus.
And this hallway makes this house feel very spacious.
You could even use this area and put a desk and computer here.
Although before anything gets plugged in, the electrics look like they need a full safety check.
# Danger, danger
-# High voltage... #
-And talking of shocks, there was one waiting for me in the kitchen.
Wait a minute! Have a look at those tiles!
An interesting little design feature going on there, I think.
Even though it's a spacious kitchen, I think it could benefit from some reorganisation.
There's just too many units in there.
Now, a real '60s fad was this through dining room lounge,
which today we all love communal living, don't we?
Sadly, there's no beautiful architectural features in here.
You have got a big space and it leads out to the garden
but you've got lots of this prickly Artex everywhere.
And look at this.
A big fireplace.
It's not really looking hot in here.
I'd say get rid of it. It's ugly.
# If I had a hammer
# I'd hammer in the morning... #
That's a big problem with buying old '60s council houses.
Some are, well, a little dated in the decor department.
But if taste is the only burning issue about this place, that's a great sign.
Upstairs there's plenty more to see.
So upstairs on the first floor we've got a back bedroom there.
It's a good sized double. Along this landing you've got the bathroom.
Come back, come back! Have a look at that. More of those tiles!
Urgh! Somebody has literally stuck tile upon tile. Very interesting.
What I like about this house is that there's a third floor, a bedroom up in the eaves, which is fantastic.
And here, the bedroom to the front. Look at these windows.
They allow loads of light coming into this property.
You know what, if it's a period house you want,
with lots of architectural features, this isn't the one for you.
But if it's space and light and easy living,
this is a nice one.
At a guide price of £115,000 to £125,000, I reckon it's a fantastic
investment for somewhere so close to central London.
It just needs some loving attention and redecoration.
Then I'm sure whoever buys it could tap into a good return for their money.
But what does an expert think?
I asked a local estate agent to take a look.
Looking at the property, definitely you need a new kitchen, a new bathroom, new central heating.
The old garden needs to be looked after as well.
Whew! What an exhaustive list!
Most of that is cosmetic but all that plus sorting out the electrics could cost around 20,000.
However, on the upside, the flat does have a very valuable strip of off-street parking,
handy for the commuter until that Tube is finished.
Now, the advantage of this one is obviously you've got the garage, which you can turn into various use.
You can even make an extra bedroom from getting the right planning.
If you got that planning permission, a garage conversion could turn this into a four-bedroom property.
Not bad for a guide price of £115,000 to £125,000.
But what does the estate agent think it could resell for?
The value of the property will be in the region of £165,000.
So if it sold for the guide price and had 20,000 spent on it,
that would mean a healthy £20,000 pre-tax profit.
How much could it get on the rental market?
Again, once the renovation has been done,
you'd be looking at approximately between £1,000 per calendar month to £1,050 per calendar month.
But the markets could always perk up and £1,050 per month still gives a yield of almost 9%.
That's more than many bank accounts could offer.
Love them or hate them, these '60s-built ex-local authority
properties are solid, but there is a fair bit of work to do here.
The location is already perfect, though, for commuting,
and it'll get all even better when that new Tube line rolls into town.
Who saw the potential? Let's go to auction and find out.
This came up near the end of the day when the room was a little quieter?.
So we come to lot 201, 40 Queen's Road, Croydon in Surrey.
Start with 100, please.
Thank you, sir. £100,000. 102,500, sir?
105. 105. 107,500. 110.
112,500. 115. 117,250. 120.
135. 137,500 here. 140.
You wanted to bid, 140?
Your bid at 137,500, yes?
140, white shirt. 142,500.
142,500. 145. 147,500.
No. 150 in the white shirt.
On my left. Take 1,000. 151.
52. 53. At 152,000 I have.
The first time at 152.
Second time at 152.
Third and last time. It's your bid, sir. 152.
£1,000, anybody else?
Done? That's yours.
152. Have you got that?
The top bidder was Midlands-born Gareth.
He's a meat buyer by trade, though he certainly wasn't ham-fisted at the auction.
He bought the house for £25,000 over the guide price and is hoping to cut
as good a deal on the property market as he did in the meat market.
Gareth, congratulations. Well done.
-So what limit did you set on auction day?
Oh, and you just tiptoed over that, didn't you?
Yes. I've lost property before for 1,000 or thereabouts.
I was very disappointed after I left, and thought I should have gone that extra bit.
But I didn't. So this time I decided to do it.
He nabbed it by going just 2,000 over his £150,000 budget. Not bad.
And despite those tiles, Gareth was more than happy with his purchase.
So what was it about this house that you liked when you saw it?
The size. It's very deceptive from the front but there's a nice big lounge,
reasonable size kitchen, the bedrooms are a reasonable size, bathroom is a reasonable size.
Yes, it's good.
And most of the work I can do myself.
And that's lucky, because there's a lot of renovation to do and it'll certainly keep the costs down.
He'll get experts in for the central heating and the electrics, though.
Always important for safety's sake.
And what sort of budget are you looking at?
-Hopefully about seven.
I thought you were going to say 15, possibly 20. And you come down!
-So you think you can do all of this for 7,000?
Hopefully. I probably will go up to ten, because there are bound to be little bits I don't know about.
But I'm quite happy to do that.
That's half the estimated renovation expense of £20,000.
How is he keeping the costs so low?
The deal he did for a new kitchen to replace that tired, dated one will certainly help.
The one I've bought is £8,500, but I got it for £1,500.
Wait a minute. You've bought an £8,500 kitchen, for £1,000?
They were closing down, it was a display model.
They wanted £4,000 for it.
I offered them 2,000, they accepted, then phoned me back and said that the boss said no.
So I went to see them again, and they said, no.
I said, ask him to phone me.
He said he'd phone me on Monday, but he never did. So I went in on
the Wednesday, and they said that he'd said he could do it for 2,000.
I said, no, I've changed my price now. £1,500.
They were closing on the Friday, so they had to take it.
So you got it for £1,500. And, does it look like an expensive kitchen?
It's a hand-built, hand-painted kitchen. With granite work surfaces.
It's going to look fantastic in there, isn't it?
There will be lots of bits left over as well, which I'll probably use in the bathroom as cabinets and stuff.
So, are you a bit of a wheeler-dealer at heart?
No, I'm a trader by heart.
I'm a meat trader, meat buyer.
I know there's always a deal to be had.
Do you enjoy that process, having that deal?
Oh, yes. I don't buy anything without negotiating.
Everything I buy, even down to fruit and veg.
So you never pay the price on the tag, do you?
No. Not if I can help it.
Obviously, Gareth is a shrewd businessman, so if
you want a bargain it's definitely worth taking a leaf out of his book.
He paid for this place with savings, as he saw a window of opportunity to
make more money than he would by leaving it in the bank.
But is he worried about the slump in the property market, and how it'll affect this investment?
A lot of people at the moment are a little bit cautious about investing in property.
There's been a horrendous downturn.
And he you are, with all your money in the bank, sitting tight, deciding to invest in property. Why is that?
I see the market moving back up again.
We're having a little glitch at the moment. It's a good time to buy.
There's a lot more property coming up for auction.
I know people who have bought outside of auctions as well, and made some serious money.
I think it's always the same when there's a recession, that's when people make money.
Gareth, it's been so nice to meet you. Good luck with this project.
-I really hope you stick under £10,000.
-I will do.
I've got a funny feeling you might creep over.
-No, I don't think so.
-Shall we have a bet on that?
All right, I'll hold you to that.
I'm in Scotland, at a place called Shotts, which is allegedly named after Bertram de Schott, a giant
who used to prey on unsuspecting travellers, and was eventually slain by a brave young gentleman.
Well, the big question is, will today's property present
giant opportunities, or be a shot in the dark?
What's clear as day, though, is Shotts' ideal location.
Slap-bang between Glasgow and Edinburgh, with only about 45 minutes train journey to each.
This is Erskine Gardens, easy walking distance to the train
station, it seems to be a fairly nicely maintained development.
I'm here to see a two bedroom flat at a guide price of just £45,000.
This modern, ground-floor flat is tucked off the main road on this little estate, with its own parking.
There's plenty of wind up here in Shotts, so there's even somewhere to hang up your washing.
It's all rather pleasant.
I wonder if the inside will be just as neat and tidy?
It seems all right. Good start.
Hang on a second, a small crack there.
But bearing in mind this is a fairly new build,
I'd put that down to settlement in the early stages of build.
What have we got? Storage radiators.
Again, because it's new, I wouldn't worry too much about putting any other kind of heating in here.
It's probably not worth the expense.
It's clean, it's tidy, it could do with a little freshening up.
But you'd kind of expect that. This is the second bedroom.
Not a bad size. Laminate flooring, which is good.
Then, the kitchen.
Well, straight out of the showroom.
In fact, the fixtures and fittings are decent quality throughout.
Just a bit dusty, that's all.
But I see the bathroom has been nicely spruced up.
Even the toilet seat sparkles.
As with all new builds, space is a little tight.
But you could remove these fitted wardrobes for more space in the bedroom.
Overall, the flat could do with a clean, but there's one thing I wouldn't change for anything.
I love that. Electronic dimmer.
You know, the smallest things amuse a Martin.
I'm just trying to find things to talk about in this place, because not a lot needs to be done.
Here, in the lounge, it's a good size space.
You've got laminate flooring. Yes, there's a bit of skirting needs replacing there.
You might not like the shag-pile carpet in the main bedroom, you could replace that.
But these are trifling things.
A little bit of money spent here, maybe a lick of paint on the walls.
Maybe, I don't know, quick brush up, not much really.
Think I'll go back to playing with that the light switch.
If only it was this easy to brighten up the dark, blustery Shotts weather.
Well, I thought it was too good to be true.
I've finally found something with the house that needs to be done.
There it is. You need a new door handle.
Sorry. Best I can do!
Well, you know a property must be a great find if all it needs is a new door handle.
And maybe some fresh flowers, too.
Just to make sure I haven't shot myself in the foot with this Shotts
property, guided at £45,000, I asked a local estate agent along to see what she thought.
This flat is a bright, modern flat.
It's got fairly good sized rooms, it's got a lovely kitchen and bathroom.
I think this property would appeal probably best to the first time
buyer, or someone who was going to buy to let the property out.
It would only cost about £1,500 to bring it back to life, but how much could it make if it were resold?
Once renovated, I'd put this property on the market for resale at approximately £62,000.
Based on the £45,000 guide price for this two-bedroomed property,
there could be a potential £15,000 pre-tax profit.
Great news for a property developer, but what about a prospective landlord?
I'd put this property on the rental market for £375-£400 per calendar month.
That's almost £5,000 per year, which could mean a 10% return on your investment.
And, with the rental market healthy in this area,
buying to let could be a great option, too.
Well, this flat may look like the perfect investment opportunity, and that's because it is.
If you want a hassle-free investment that could deliver good returns, you need look no further.
Let's see who spotted it at the auction.
Lot number 9 is the next available Lot, guide price here's £45,000.
45? Are you going 45, so? You are.
£46,000 at the front, here.
Against you, sir.
47? 47 it is.
48,000 against you, sir.
Go 49? £49,000. £50,000 against you now.
500? I'll go 500.
50,500. 51. 500? 51,500.
500? 53 it'll be. £53,000.
£53,000, seated near the front. 500, sir?
And 500. £55,000 now.
£55,000. 500, sir?
And 500. 56.
56,500. £57,000. He shakes his head, I'll go 250 if it helps you?
Yes, £57,250. And a half.
57,500. You're definitely out?
£57,500, seated near the front.
Anyone else coming in?
£57,500 and I'm going to sell.
Sold at £57,500. Congratulations.
The final bid was made by Laura, who's local to Shotts.
Her parents have bought the flat for the property development side of the family business.
Laura manages the properties for them, and already has a portfolio of eight.
-Laura, lovely to meet you.
-And you, too.
Tell me a bit more about the family business.
It's a small engineering company.
Started by my parents about 25 years ago.
Specifically industrial boilers.
-Have you been sort of tasked with taking on the property side of things?
As much as I hate to admit it, engineering isn't particularly a woman's business.
I try my hardest, but I just can't figure out one end of a screwdriver to the next.
But Laura does know her way around the property market.
At the auction she managed to get the flat for less than her £60,000 budget.
So, what do you think about what you paid at auction?
I think we did very well.
-It was bought as a new-build five years ago for £58,500.
We paid £57,500 at auction, so, I mean, straight away, we have
a five-year old property having paid less than what it cost new.
To get a property cheaper than it cost five years ago is a sign of the times.
With the £2,500 saving she's made, she can easily afford her £750 renovation budget.
What's the plan for it, then?
A quick sort of spruce up, there's nothing structurally needs done to it. Paint all the surfaces.
Change a couple of the floor coverings. New blinds.
And market it for rental.
Any idea how long it's going to take to sort it out?
Ideally, getting some family members involved, maximum maybe a week.
However, in Scotland just now, it's our sort of local area holiday.
But I'd think, worst case, we'll have it ready to go on the market maybe within two or three weeks.
That means she can start making money back on the property almost immediately.
But, despite a great buy, it's good to hear Laura isn't going to be resting on her laurels.
So what next?
-We stop spending for a while.
Make sure everything, all the maintenance is good on all the properties we've got.
Just sit back and primarily see what happens to the market.
Historically, it's been good to put your money in bricks and mortar.
But historically it had also been good to put your money in the bank,
but that's getting a bit risky these days.
We're at a good place to manage almost on a part-time basis the properties that we've got.
So, we're happy to stay at this level just now.
Her parents may actually own the flat, but Laura is certainly doing them proud.
What do you get out of it?
the satisfaction of coming into something like this and getting it all done up.
meeting people. And a wage at the end of the day.
-So you're child labour?
I'd say cheap labour, but my dad will disagree with that one.
Well, buying low-cost properties that don't need too much work doing to them so they
can be put straight back on to the rental market isn't a bad strategy in today's current economic climate.
But, will Laura's passion for property still be blooming when we come back?
You can find out later in the show.
Coming up - I visited this chapel in Dorset two years ago.
The first stage of its renovation was dramatic.
Find out later how it's been resurrected.
Back in Shotts, Laura reveals what it's been like working closely with her family.
There's the odd argument.
But we all agree in the end.
But first, we discover Gareth had more than just a paint job on his hands.
We ended up with the ceiling coming down, so we had to replace the ceiling.
We return to a very rainy Croydon, to catch up with Gareth.
A meat buyer by trade, he's now entered the world of property development with his wife Sarah.
It's the perfect partnership.
He's hoping to make a good return on this three-bedroom ex-council house.
When I spoke to him last, he didn't seem worried about the current economic climate.
I see the market moving back up again.
We're in a little glitch at the moment. It's a good time to buy.
He bought it at auction for £152,000, which was more than £25,000 over the guide price.
This is Gareth's first investment property.
But he almost missed out on it at auction.
Luckily, Sarah was there to goad him on.
Gareth had been to quite a few auctions over the preceding months,
and missed out by just the odd 1,000 or 2,000.
So, that was me nudging, saying, "Go for it!"
What did he get for his money? A spacious, three-bedroomed house,
although it was a little rough round the edges.
It was unloved. It had not been lived in for a couple of years.
It just needed some TLC.
It was very tatty.
Horrendous decoration... Bathroom and kitchen that you wouldn't want to be anywhere near.
It was a challenge.
But they certainly rose to that challenge and the place has been transformed.
-# I got you to hold my hand
-I got you to understand...
# I got you to walk with me
# I got you to talk to me
# I got you to kiss good night
# I got you to hold me tight... #
We've basically stripped it down to basics.
Took most of the plaster off the walls, took all the tiles out,
took out the bathrooms, the downstairs toilet, the kitchen...
Erm, rebuilt it from scratch, basically.
Rip it up and start again...
What a sparkling and clean and tidy house it is now.
New carpets throughout and a fresh lick of paint in all the rooms,
plus there's a brand new bathroom and kitchen.
All the fittings have been replaced and rewired, although not without a few shocks along the way.
The wiring was external not internal so there's trunking all around the place.
When we disconnected that we found out wiring in other rooms didn't work, so we had to have the whole
of the downstairs rewired, which was an unexpected thing, but, again, we did it.
But there was something even more shocking in the house.
That crazy, '60s fireplace, it was top of Gareth's hit list.
That was the first thing we took out.
We got a big lump hammer and skip and that was the first job we did.
When we did that we ended up with the ceiling coming down so we had
to replace the ceiling and do a lot more plastering on the walls than we anticipated but we got it done.
Gareth did most of the work on the house himself,
apart from the electrics, but wife, Sarah, also lent a hand.
One of my first jobs was to sort the outside out, the gardens both
front and back because they were such a mess, rubbish everywhere.
I didn't want it looking like a building site.
I know what men are like once they get going, destructive and just throw everything everywhere.
That was my priority in getting it sorted.
Gareth maybe a messy worker but the end results are certainly not rubbish.
The best part, I think, is the kitchen. I think the kitchen looks fantastic.
It's probably a bit overspec for the house considering it's going to be rented out but we're happy with it.
My wife wants to take it home and put it in our house.
I bet she does! That's the £8,000 kitchen he got from a mere £1,500!
It looks fantastic!
Thank goodness those tiles have gone, but did they survive in the bathroom?
The bathroom was horrible. Bright red tiles, needed a lot of work.
A new ceiling, new floors...
I think it's now bright, clean...
I like the style, I like the tiles.
We have this wonderful bargain, £17.01 for the mirror and the sink.
I just think it's wonderful. I'm really, really happy with it.
Yes, you heard her right, £17.01 for a sink and mirror worth £500!
Gareth's a real bargain hunter.
He thought he'd do all the renovations for under 10,000 but I wagered him he wouldn't.
-Shall be have a bet on that?
-Yeah, go on.
All right, I'll hold you to that.
How did he get on?
We have spent a bit more, about 13,000
A lot of that has been on tools and ladders and stuff, which I will reuse.
I had to buy new drills, new sanders and also we had to pay a lot of labour, which I wasn't anticipating.
I managed to do my back in putting a ceiling in the bathroom so I had to employ some labourers to help there.
We also didn't anticipate rewiring and replastering.
A sore back? Excuses, excuses!
That'll be a tenner, please, Gareth.
In fairness, though, he still came in eight grand under the experts estimated price. So, not bad!
They bought it to let out and paid 152,000 at auction for it.
The plan is to rent it for about £1,000, but the rental market has dipped in recent years in the area.
What do two experts make of the renovation work and the property's potential on the current market?
My impressions when I came here today is very, very well done.
I'm well impressed.
The standard of the work is very good. It's acceptable for the area, it's acceptable for the property.
It's clean, tidy. They've thought about the decoration.
It's white, which makes it look a little bit larger.
The bathrooms and the kitchen are modern.
They've done a good job. I wouldn't have said they've overspent on it, but they've done a good job.
So thumbs up all round.
How much do they think Gareth and Sarah could rent it out for?
I'd put this property on the rental market, per calendar month, at between £950 and £975.
I would put this on the rental market for 850 to £900 per calendar month.
So that's anywhere between a 6% and 9% yield, a good return for their money.
Are they pleased?
I actually thought it'd be a bit more than that.
It's nice, it's encouraging.
It more than puts us in the area where we wanted to be, around 900, so... That's really good.
With the work on top, the property has cost Gareth and Sarah 164,000.
If they decide to sell further down the line, what could they expect to make back?
I'd put this property on the resale market for £185,000.
I'd put this on the resale market for approximately £200,000.
It's about what we were expecting.
We were hoping for roundabout the 200, so... That's really good.
Yeah, that's excellent. Thank you!
That's a great profit of 35,000!
I think this pair are really switched on when it comes to property investment.
How did they find this, their first experience?
It's been stressful at times. It's been a challenge.
I've enjoyed it and I guess we'll probably do it again.
I've been in the meat trade most of my life and I've had good fun enough but I enjoy this more now.
It's a new challenge and it's something completely different every day.
I might try and stick with this if I can make any money out of it.
And with Gareth's great buying skills I'm sure he'll easily make the leap from meat to mortar!
Back in the summer of 2007, I took a trip to Dorset
and the quiet hamlet of Huntingford to see a property the likes of which I hadn't seen up for auction before.
I've looked inside an old candle factory, a public toilet and a baker's shop!
I have to admit, this, is my first chapel.
Look at it. Ripe for development.
For years the church has been the centre of this small community.
Local worshippers used to walk here every Sunday
but a dwindling congregation meant it was closed down a few years ago.
This chapel was built in 1867 by a well-known local builder, William Coward.
He built this chapel in sections in his workshop and he brought it here and bolted it all together.
The idea was that it could be easily dismantled and relocated, if necessary.
140 years later, it's certainly stood the test of time pretty well.
Although, I think the floor down there has seen better days.
There maybe rotten floorboards everywhere but that doesn't seem to worry some of the residents.
You can see why.
It's certainly a vast space.
With so much light coming through the windows, just imagine how you could transform it.
The chapel is charming and an heaven sent opportunity for someone but there are some downsides.
Wooden structures are notoriously difficult to get mortgages on.
You're not just going to be able to just walk into an average High Street bank and negotiate a deal.
However, there are some specialist lenders who will give you the money.
Be warned, you might not be able to get such a good rate because it's built of wood rather than brick.
It's certainly worth shopping around and I think you should bargain for
spending a little more on mortgage repayments.
The chapel went to auction at a guide price of 50,000.
After they sorted the mortgage, the new owner will have to make
a decision about what they're going to do with it.
In the past this chapel has been used as a workshop,
a farm shop selling local produce, an antique shop and most recently it's just been used for storage.
I think this could make a wonderful home.
You could putting a mezzanine level with a bedroom up there.
However, there aren't any services like gas and water installed.
This is going to cost around £500 to £600 to do
which pales into insignificance really when I tell you that to turn this place into a home, I think,
you're going to need a hefty budget and the local council on your side.
At a conservative estimate, you may need to spend £60,000 here,
which is more than the guide price was to buy it!
A local expert reckons the chances of it being turned into a full-time
residential property are very slim indeed.
However, there might be a chance.
It could be made into a holiday let, which would be an exciting option but there are no guarantees.
So this pale, wooden chapel could turn into a white elephant if you're not very careful.
This chapel certainly needs some divine intervention to stop it crumbling away.
The big question is... What is somebody going to do with it?
Let's go to auction and find out.
Right, our final lot of the morning, the chapel at Huntingford.
Believed to be the first time that this has been on the market.
So, what a chance for you.
Our guide is £50,000.
Would someone like to put me straight in at 50,000?
40? 40,000 thank you.
At 40,000 seated at the back.
At 40,000. At £40,000... 42, 44.
48,000, right at the back.
48,000... All done and sure then?
In the stalls at 50,000.
All done and sure? Are you bidding or just scratching?
Just scratching, sorry.
Oh, dangerous! £50,000... In the stalls.
All done and sure then? At £50,000!
Congratulations, sir, at £50,000. Thank you.
For the exact guide price of £50,000, John and his wife, Jenny,
are the new owners of the old chapel.
John runs an agricultural company and Jenny does the secretarial work.
I met up with them to find out why they wanted to buy it?
John and Jenny, this is such an unusual auction lot.
I absolutely love it. What attracted you to the place?
It's got history.
It's got character. It's a challenge.
It's a landmark.
It's a landmark in the hamlet.
Are you guys local?
Well, funny you should say that because we live just over there.
The cottage behind?
-Great! Well, shall we get the kettle on and have a cuppa.
-We can do that.
You can certainly have a cup of tea.
Let's do that, let's go in.
John and Jenny have lived in Huntingford for the last eight years.
The chance of a cuppa at their house, with no risk of falling through the floor in the chapel
seemed too good to miss, especially as Jenny makes wedding cakes in her spare time.
John and Jenny, thank you very much for the tea.
So you've spent £50,000 on a beautiful, wooden chapel.
What are you actually going to do with it?
We hoped to make it into a holiday let and to restore it.
The first thing is to clear the land, isn't it?
Clean the land and stabilise the building so it can weather the winter.
The intention is to convert it to a holiday let with a mezzanine floor...
Yeah, one big room with the kitchen and shower room at the back of the
property and the mezzanine floor, so you've got a bedroom upstairs.
The intention is to try and keep the walls as they are with the insulation between the two wooden panels.
Insulate the roof, the floor will have to be ripped out.
The brick plinth at the bottom has got to be renewed.
It's quite a project. It will be done.
John and Jenny certainly have a steely determination to complete
this project but they may have to dig deep to fund this conversion.
How much money do you think it's going to take to bring this up to
-such a standard that you can call it a holiday home?
-30 to 50,000.
-Are you worried that it might spiral out of control?
-He's the control man.
-Why? Tell me why it won't?
-Because I'll keep
an eye on costs. We'll work to a budget and once the
chippies start work on it, then it will be done to a timescale as well.
You see, Jenny, I believe everything he says.
What is he like to work for?
Erm, can be a bit of a controller, can't you, darling?
No! I'm a pussycat.
John's bark might be worse than his bite but he does love the countryside.
He's happy for work to start only when nature sees fit.
I notice that you've got some residents in there already.
-A couple of swallows.
-Yeah, they're lovely, aren't they?
What are you gonna do about that?
-We can't start till they've fledged and gone.
Once they migrate, we'll start.
We've had house martins in the past here and you have to
schedule everything round them because they're precious.
So when the swallows fly,
the building flies.
Well, that was back in 2007.
When the swallows did finally leave the nest in the autumn, little did John and Jenny know,
it would be nearly two years later and lots of ups and downs and scary moments, before they could return.
Join us later to find out how they've turned the project round
after their dreams came crashing down.
Well, we've given them a while, but was it long enough?
-Will we return to super stories of success, or stress and spiralling budgets?
-Let's find out.
Back in Scotland, this neat and tidy two-bedroomed ground floor flat
sold at auction for £57,500 - £12,500 over the guide price.
It was bought by the parents of Laura who has lived in the area all of her life.
She oversees the property management side of the family business
and she told me about her plans for the place.
A quick spruce up and there's nothing structurally needs doing to it.
The flat was only five years old and it was in great condition.
It just needed a little love and attention to spruce it up.
So we caught up with Laura to find out exactly what she'd done to it.
We had to paint all the walls, put new flooring down, fill in some holes where things had
been hung in the wall, but really it was just cosmetic.
And what a cracking job it is.
I'll do my best. I'll do my best to do the best I can...
Everything is just as bright and fresh and if it was just brand new.
In the bedroom that dated shag pile is gone, replaced by some smart,
wooden laminate and Laura didn't stop there.
When I initially bought the flat most
of it was done in laminate flooring which we were anticipating leaving.
However, when we were starting to measure up for doing the rooms
that had the carpet, we decided that we would just strip the whole flat.
So we've waved goodbye to the tired, worn and mismatched flooring
and said hello to high quality laminate throughout.
On top of that, the bathroom has been decluttered.
Even though the glittery toilet seat has been replaced, the bathroom still sparkles.
It wasn't all as easy as planned though, one repair in particular saw the renovation come a little unstuck.
There had been beaded glued all around the skirting boards, which we had to take off
and then resand the skirting boards and repaint all of those.
I would say that it added quite a considerable length of time onto the renovation works.
And with all that new laminate flooring, the cost spiralled as well.
Laura's original budget was £750, but the final outlay was £1,100.
Even though it cost more, Laura proved what a bright spark she is.
She rallied the whole family round to do the renovation work for free.
My dad's he an electrician to trade, so he could do any of the electrical work and most of the painting.
Once all the painting was finished mum and I then came in and cleaned all the flat.
My cousins he also came in to help my dad with the electrical side of things.
Being able to do it alongside my family.
It's nice, there is the odd arguments but we all agree in the end.
There's compromise, everybody's got their own ideas.
However, it definitely makes things easier when it's a family project.
And what a good job they did on everything. Well, almost everything.
I would say the only thing still left to do is the door handle.
We've still got to renew that, I'm just waiting on getting the door handle in.
OK, so that'll be sorted then. But there is one thing they've changed that I definitely don't agree with.
Yeah, in the living room there was a touch sensitive dimmer switch.
It frustrated me greatly because I couldn't get it to work.
There was no question, that was going to get changed to a normal switch.
I certainly take a dim view of that attitude.
Oh, well, there's no accounting for taste.
We invited two local estate agents along to see what do they think of all Laura and her family's hard work.
It's lovely, fresh and clean.
The white maximises light.
It makes the place look much larger.
They've replaced the flooring.
It looks fantastic.
The decor isn't the only thing of note in the flat.
The location is also very appealing.
I particularly like that the property is situated close to the town centre.
Easy access for people who are relying on public transport.
I think it suits a variety of different purchasers.
But Laura's planning to rent the flat.
To get people in through the door, she's gonna rent it for £380 per calendar month.
What do the experts think of that?
On the rental market, unfurnished I would put this property on the market at £395 a calendar month.
At that price it looks like Laura won't get that sinking feeling.
She's pretty much spot on, or is she?
This property, I would put on the rental market at around £450 to £475 per calendar month.
Wow, very different.
One of them I would have said is spot on with the ideas we've had.
We had initially thought 380 but when we've seen the flat finished, we upped it to 390.
The one that was higher than that obviously is considerably higher.
I'm not sure, given the area that we could attain that but they're
the professionals so it's nice to know that.
It sounds like Laura's confidence in her pricing is as firm as that new floor.
If she were to sell in the future, what would the experts expect it to go for?
To achieve a quick sale, I would put this property on the retail market for £65,000.
In it's current state, I would put this property on the resale market for offers around £63,000.
I'm slightly disappointed at that, I must admit.
There are two other flats, the same builder, about 100 yards
from here and both of those flats, with different estate agents, are both on at a fixed price of 80,000.
So that's a big difference from what they're saying this one's valued.
I know this one doesn't have as good a location,
but I still would have anticipated slightly about 70.
Laura's sure she will see a healthy profit in the future.
She hopes her local knowledge will keep her plans from coming off the rails.
And she hopes to add one new property to her portfolio each year.
We're keeping the portfolio reasonably small so that we are able to manage it within the family.
We're all enjoying it. So, roll on the next one.
Laura's landed herself a real deal with this flat, certainly more real than those flowers.
It was 2007 when I first visited the Dorset hamlet of Huntingford
to see a derelict wooden chapel built in 1867.
Although it was a local landmark, it had been neglected for many years.
Then Jenny and John, who lived in the house opposite, decided to take it under their wing.
They bought it at auction for 50,000 hoping to turn it into a one-bed holiday cottage
but when we returned a year later, all wasn't going quite to plan.
The first job was to get the ground cleared.
Following that we then got the team in to start renovating the building.
They took the tin roof off.
And as they lifted the roof off, the front end came inwards,
the sides when out and the back gave up the ghost.
The whole thing came down.
So having stood for over 140 years, it took just one afternoon for Jenny and John to see their
dream of turning the chapel into a holiday home come crashing down.
Now another year later we're back with Jenny and John and their
architect, Peter, to see if they've successfully resurrected the place.
Hurray! At last, Huntingford has it's old chapel building back again.
I remember when it fell down and we had to start again and
building regs were quite aggressive with what their demands were.
I was absolutely terrified.
Although deemed a new build, it was also considered a restoration
so the building had to look similar to the old one but also meet modern standards.
I have to say I was intimidated by it and quite worried and frightened.
But it got to a stage where they weren't going to beat us.
From the outside, it appears that through sheer determination Jenny and John have not only
put the chapel back on site, but a newer, stronger version that should be good for another 140 years.
What we see here is the finished chapel.
As it is, unfortunately, everything here is new apart from the doors, which are original.
Inside and outside doors.
We weren't really able to save any of the old building other than that cost effectively.
It stands on exactly the same footprint as when we bought it,
apart from the extension, which is where the old tin shed was.
Large time you were here all we had to show you was a concrete raft and a load of rubbish.
Now, hopefully, this is a little different.
Remember that old, shabby, rotten interior?
Well, just take a look at it now.
Off the fantastic mezzanine level, there is the only bedroom and below are the kitchen and bathroom.
My heart did sink at the auction when my husband waved his hand and we bought it.
Little did we know it was going to involve so much.
It's been fun.
It's been a challenge.
We had a good team of guys working on the place.
A lot of the time it took a lot of my life.
Trying to project manage with a full-time business as well was difficult.
So my project manager, namely Jenny,
had a lot of the work to do and she was good at it.
I found it very interesting and a very steep learning curve.
I just wished we started with something simpler.
# I gotta have faith faith, faith... #
So John put his faith in Jenny to be the site manager while he continued to run his agricultural company.
She in turn put her faith in their architect, Peter,
who had to sort out all the complicate compliance issues.
The biggest challenge on this job, really, was the fact that it was classified
by the building controllers as a new building, and that meant we had to achieve very
high levels of thermal insulation, which was really, really difficult.
We've got very thin walls. We had to put them back with the same
thickness, otherwise the building wouldn't have been the same.
The planning department were very happy to understand our idea of doing
a demolition and then a rebuild as a conservation exercise but the building inspectorate was not.
They wanted modern standards for a new building and that really presented a lot of problems.
We did get over them all but not without some effort and some cost.
As very few of the original fixtures and fittings were usable
exact replacements of the old design had to be hand made.
John and Jenny's £60,000 budget was never going to be enough.
The budget has been blown clean out of the water by about 50%. I think
I made a comment in the interim period that I would keep a tight eye on the budget. Well, I have done.
But, it's about 60K over budget.
Do I care? No.
It's a better investment than putting money into ISAs.
Well, it might have been expensive but they wanted to restore this local landmark.
Not quite at all costs, but they saw it as an asset to both their property and the hamlet.
When we'd finished it was ours and we didn't want to let it.
I think if we were honest about our emotional feelings, it sounds a bit corny.
It's so much part of our creation and we had felt that it was part of us.
We were a little bit loathe to let other people come in, really.
It is a business. It's got to be a business and therefore we took a time to adjust to that.
I think we have now. And, it's still here.
We can still come in and see it.
It's not as if we've sold it and moved it on.
In the end they spent a whopping £140,000.
So, including the original 50,000, it cost them at auction,
plus expenses, they won't see much change from £200,000.
But resurrecting the chapel was both a labour of love and a pension plan.
So, how would it fare in the current market?
My first impressions of this building is one of a very clever reconstruction and renovation
that's maintained the inherent charm of the original building.
It's unique, it's been built from scratch
to replicate the original and that is a selling feature when it comes to marketing it for the holiday let.
The interior works very nicely because the panelling matches the
original feel of the property and suits the charm of the area as well.
Though they intend to rent this out for holiday lets would their hard work and persistence pay off
if they were to sell their investment of nearly 200,000.
If this property be launched on the open market
today, I would envisage a figure in the region of about £150,000.
I would expect the property to achieve somewhere in the region of
£130,000 to £135,000 and I've probably market it around £140,000.
Well, that leaves us with a considerable loss on the
face of things at the moment but the property market has gone down.
The way we looked at it, I think, was that we lumped the value of
this in with what we paid for the cottage and did the sums that way.
It's something we wanted to do.
And, we've done it.
So currently they may be looking at a loss of 50 to 60,000 but this was
always a long-term investment aimed at the holiday market.
High season, I'd expect rental to be within the order of £450 a week and low season around £215, £220 a week.
For holiday rentals, I think we'd be looking
at £200, the low season and to £450 in the high season per week.
If we reckon on a 20-week occupancy, that could net around 6,000 to 8,000 a year,
which isn't a bad way of topping up a pension fund.
How do they feel about it now?
-Pleased with it.
-Pleased with it.
Happy with it. I like it, actually, because it's different.
I like different things.
We could have invested the money in pictures.
We could have done some gambling and got rid of it that way as well.
Life is a roller-coaster, just gotta ride it...
This has certainly been a roller-coaster for Jenny and John.
They've had their ups and downs but have ended up on a tremendous high.
I for one have nothing but praise and admiration for what they've achieved here.
Well, that's it for today's show.
Join us next time for more thrills and spills on Homes Under the Hammer.
-See you then.
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