Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Swindon and a flat in Neasden, Greater London. They also revisit a fabulous manor farmhouse near Lincoln.
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Buying a property at auction doesn't necessarily mean you get a bargain.
But when the hammer goes down, it does mean you pay a fair price.
And whatever you paid becomes the value the buyer hopes to improve on.
So settle down and listen to some stories from Homes Under The Hammer.
Buying a property is one of your biggest financial commitments.
-So doing your research is so important.
-And buying property at auction
you spend thousands of pounds in the blink of an eye.
So how prepared were our bidders for today's properties?
In Swindon, it's not just the house that is key to this auction lot.
This is absolutely vital to the practicality of the property.
Going round this flat in London turns out to be a bit of a drag.
There's a really strong smell of nicotine as soon as you walk in.
And we first saw this fabulous manor farm house near Lincoln in 2007.
If you thought it looked good then, wait till you see how it looks now.
All these properties have been sold at auction. We'll find out who bought them and what they paid.
Amongst other things, Swindon is famous for its roundabouts.
There's even a calendar with a different roundabout every month.
I'm not sure where you buy that, but I must find out(!)
Anyway, the big question is will today's property be a real turn-off,
will the person who buys it need an exit strategy or will they end up going round in circles?
# O-o-oh Round and round and... #
Well, that is the property that was up for auction. Guide price of 70,000 quid.
Two-bedroomed mid-terrace. Let's see what's in store behind the door.
'So is this all it's cracked up to be? The exterior's not great, but I have seen worse.
'Much worse, actually.
'I like the bay window, but there's no parking and it's on a bus route.
'The back is a concrete jungle. Low maintenance, though!'
Interesting little entrance vestibule there with its plastic folding door.
Through into the front living room. It's not a bad size space.
A bit natural wood gone mad.
But then through to another wood gone mad area at the rear.
Again it's a nice size space and I like the open-plan feel.
It's linked through to the kitchen. My guess is that this bit is an extension.
Down here has a lot of space. The kitchen is very tired, needs sorting out,
but you have got room to move. At the very rear, you've got a bathroom and loo.
All in all, deceptively large.
'It's not great having a downstairs bathroom and the kitchen and bathroom units need to be replaced,
'but it's the panelling here that's overwhelming.'
# I better knock on wood
# Baby... #
'A small forest in Norway must have been felled to deck this place out.
'It's everywhere! And really makes this house feel dark.'
Upstairs, a fairly traditional layout. Just two bedrooms.
Often when I'm wandering round properties, there are hidden dangers
that I'm not aware of. But in this case there aren't any.
# You ain't seen nothin' yet
# B-B-Baby, you just ain't seen n-nothin' yet... #
'Well, perhaps there's one thing. That's definitely not the best place for a hot water tank.
'A very strange place to put it, but it can be easily rectified
'along with the polystyrene tiles and crumbling plaster.'
Great news - out the back you've got a garden. Laid to paving at the moment.
That's good. What's much better is that here you've got hard standing for a car
and access at the back. It's double yellow lines at the front, so this is absolutely vital.
Well, now I really have seen it all and what I've seen I like.
There's potential to develop off-street parking and perhaps some garden space.
So what are the options here?
Would this be better rented out or sold on? What does a local estate agent think?
As the property stands today, it offers spacious accommodation,
an awful lot of room for improvement,
but would make a fantastic first-time buy or buy-to-let investment.
Let's talk numbers for this house, which was guided at £70,000.
Per calendar month, we would suggest a price of around £550.
When renovated, you could put the property on the market for £115,000.
That sounds like a reasonably sound investment.
So in a city famous for its roundabouts, will this property lead a potential purchaser
in the right direction? It might. Let's see what happened at auction.
Needs some work doing on it, but close to the town centre.
60, then, if you like. 60 I've got.
62? 64. 66.
68. 70. 72.
74. 76. 78.
80. 81. Back to you, sir.
At 86. The bid's over there on the left. Back to where we were.
£86,000. That's for the first time. £86,000 first time.
£86,000 for the second time.
At £86,000, third and last time. Your number, sir, is...? Thank you very much. 24.
'Kerry and Paul, an engaged local couple, made that final bid of £86,000.
'For them, this purchase really was all about the location.'
-Kerry, Paul, lovely to meet you. Congratulations.
-Why did you buy the house?
-Well... we've got two other properties in this street already,
which we rent out and we saw this one and thought, "Why not?"
Why so many in this street?
When Paul and I started going out together, Paul already had one here.
We've got happy memories here, so, you know...
It's an unusual strategy! But why not?
# All at once am I several storeys high
# Knowing I'm on the street where you live... #
'So this will be the third house here that Kerry and Paul own and they let all of them out.
'It's quite a selective approach, but a strategy that has paid off so far.'
Tell me more about you two. What do you do?
-I work for a utility company. I'm a personal assistant. And Paul's a builder.
-Well, you know what things cost.
-Do you work on the properties?
-I've got my own job. Quite busy at work, so we'll get contractors in.
-You're a builder getting contractors in?
-It's Kerry's project.
I poach Paul's contacts and he's here to give me advice. I've got very much a free rein.
'That's probably not a bad idea, keeping business and pleasure apart,
'particularly with money involved. After all, Paul and Kerry are due to be married soon.'
-What is your involvement in it?
-Just trying to advise Kerry
-and steer her in the right direction with the right contractors.
-And not to go over budget!
Paul knows how much materials cost a lot more than I do.
So, you know, he helps me that way.
-So if you come in halfway through and see a bodged job...
-I shall be coming in most days.
-Will they be OK with you telling them...?
-I've worked with them before, so...
We've got a team of local builders that we use. We've got quite a good rapport with them, so to speak.
-I think we're OK.
'This is a great position to be in, not only to have a team of trusted builders,
'but also someone experienced enough to check everything's done right and a good deal.
'Also Paul can advise Kerry on what can and can't be done easily.'
I'll put in a small kitchen extension, replace the bathroom,
strip all the walls down, replaster,
new skirting boards, doors, architraves, redecoration.
-Roughly how much will it cost?
-I've got a budget of £12,000-£15,000.
-I can't believe you're not itching to do it yourself.
-No, I'm quite busy at work. I have commitments,
-stuff I can't get away from.
-He doesn't want to be bossed about by me, really!
-What were you about to say?
-Something along those lines!
# I was standing
# You were there
# Two worlds colliding
# And they can never
# Ever tear us apart... #
'I'm sure that this couple will turn this property around.'
Kerry certainly seems to know exactly what she's doing.
This strategy of buying a lot of properties in a very close area is good.
The only question is will the builders match up to Paul's expectations? Find out later.
I'm in Neasden, which can roughly be translated from Old English
as "nose-shaped hill". You could see that hill years ago in the early 1850s
when this rural farming hamlet had a population of about 110 people.
When the railways came at the turn of the century and then the North Circular Road in the 1920s,
Neasden then became a very busy and popular suburb.
'Thos nose-shaped hill is only a sniff away from London, just 20 minutes by train,
'so it's perfect for commuters.
'The property is tucked away off the main road
'in a smart, quiet cul-de-sac. It would be perfect for a family,
'especially as there's a school right next door.' So this is what I'm here to see.
It's a first-floor flat with a guide price of £120,000.
From here it looks like those windows have seen better days when compared to neighbouring properties,
so that's the first job to do. But I do like the bays. Let's go inside and see what there is.
'Despite the family-friendly street, inside the flat I found a rather unfriendly entrance.'
As soon as you walk through the front door you've got these stairs.
Straight away, mums with pushchairs and the elderly may be put off.
And there's a really strong smell of nicotine as soon as you walk in.
Let's have a look around. You've got the kitchen behind me. There's only a sink in there.
That needs a complete overhaul. Bedroom through there with a water tank hanging off the wall.
This flat is in a state. You've got a bathroom there.
The lounge in here. Polystyrene tiles everywhere - a fire hazard.
There are no redeeming features at all apart from, of course, this lovely bay window.
But when you look closely, I mean, look. They're disgusting.
They need completely cleaning up or just put some new ones in.
The thing that's worrying me is so much money needs to be spent on it.
Rewiring, replumbing, all the carpets, wallpaper. The whole flat needs starting over.
'OK, on the face of it, not appealing - rotting windows, shabby woodwork and nicotine-stained walls.
'But with a guide price of £120,000, it has tremendous potential.
'It's in a great location with good transport links nearby.
'Those big, light rooms are ripe for renovation, some more than others.'
The bathroom. You'd hardly call it a relaxing space where you'd want to sit and lounge in the bath
in the state it's in at the moment.
But it's quite a big room and could look fantastic.
But at the moment you've got a great big damp patch with water from the pipes
and down here, well, I don't quite know what is going on here.
Look. Just coming out in my hand. A bit of a worry, really.
'There are even more signs of disrepair on the roof terrace,
'but it's a good space that overlooks a large shared garden, ideal during the summer months.'
Now being on the first floor means there is the option to extend up into the loft
to create that much-needed second bedroom, like our neighbours.
However, a word of caution - there is a ceiling price and would it be viable?
Other houses on this street did it, so there is the chance you'd get planning permission,
but make sure you do your maths.
A two-bedroom flat in this area wouldn't fetch much more than £260,000,
even in a buoyant market.
'I invited a local estate agent along to give me his expert thoughts on the property.'
I think this flat, basically, needs complete renovation.
It needs gas, electric, new windows, doors and it will probably need a damp course through it as well.
Extending into the loft and roof terrace are both good.
'But if all those changes were made, what could it sell for?'
Once the property's renovated, it would be about £165,000.
'That's not bad at all. How would it fare on the rental market?'
Rental for a standard one-bed here close to the Tube, you're looking at about £850 a month.
'So that's a possible yield of just over 7%. It sounds like a good return.
'Will it be as difficult to pull out as those weeds?'
You could spend a lot of money here if you're not careful, especially if you extend into that loft space,
but it will be viable if you get it near to the guide price.
It is a good rental property and it does have those great transport links.
Who had a nose for a bargain? Let's find out.
Move on now to Lot 70.
Northview Crescent, Neasden, NW10.
Who wants to give me a start? Yeah? 120 I've got.
OK, 130. Yeah, 131.
132. OK, 133.
134. You bidding? 136. More competition.
139. 140. 141.
141 and a half.
153? Want to come in?
159. Yeah, 160.
OK. New competition.
It's with the gentleman on my left at the back. The bid is £162,000.
It's against you on my right. 162 for the first. 162 for the second.
162 for the third and final time. Are we all done?
'There were a lot of interested parties at that auction.
'The winning bid came from Jacob, a retired technical manager from the food industry.
'He hopes this will be the first property investment of many. He paid £42,000 over the guide of £120,000.
'I went to meet him to hear about his plans for the place.'
-What was it that made you want to bid for this?
-I used to live around this area.
I know this area. I feel like I need a small project for me to start.
This is the right property for me.
-So why do you need a small project? Are you not working?
-I'm retired now.
And I felt like I've got this energy and I felt like I need to do something.
So you spent £162,000 to keep yourself entertained, basically?!
# Oh, when you're smiling
# When you're smiling... #
'Jacob's clearly happy with his purchase, but remember he paid £42,000 over the guide price
'plus he'll have renovation costs. The last thing I want to do is wipe that smile off his face,
'but it could be a tight squeeze to make a profit.'
My concern about this whole project is I'm worried that you just can't afford to spend too much on this
if you still want to walk away with a profit. You must be so careful.
That's right. That's the reason why I'll do most of the work.
I'll strip it down myself. The painting I can do myself.
The kitchen units I can put up myself. Even the bathroom I can put up myself.
When it comes to the gas, I need CORGI-registered people to do that for me,
and I'll need an electrician.
'So Jacob reckons he'll get all the work done for £8,000.
'That brings his total outlay to £170,000 for the whole flat.
'What does he hope to sell it for?'
How much money do you think this flat is worth, all singing and dancing, on the open market?
After we've done it up, I think it will be worth about £186,000.
OK, so you're not looking at that much profit, are you?
Not much, but at least it will get me started.
'It sounds like Jacob isn't going to spend his retirement pottering around in that shed.
'He's doing the place up by himself as his wife has passed away,
'but his three children are right behind him.'
They knew that this has been something, the passion that I had hidden inside me
and I've been telling them about a lot. If I get this thing together,
I'll be able to do it.
And they've been supporting me as well, saying, "OK, if you can do it, why not, Dad?"
And this is it and I have to get on with it.
I've got a sneaky feeling that you are going to really enjoy doing this place up, aren't you?
-Yes, yes, yes.
-Are you really looking forward to it?
I've got this energy, the drive to say, "Yes, I'm able to do this."
You can't wait to get started! I need to calm you down a bit!
Calm down, Jacob!
'I can't wait to see the end result of all that enthusiasm,
'but I'm sure that no matter what happens, he'll still be smiling.'
# Keep on smiling... #
Jacob is a man with a masterplan and he has certainly got the energy for this type of project,
but I still think he may have paid too much at the auction.
I'm worried he won't be able to get enough profit to move on.
Fingers crossed for him, though. I can't wait to find out. Join me later.
Coming up: we first saw this fabulous Lincolnshire manor farm in 2007.
Watch how it had to get worse before it was finally transformed.
We return to Neasden in London to see how Jacob got on with his first renovation.
I have enjoyed this enormously.
But first, can builder Paul stay away from fiancee Kerry's project?
He doesn't want to be bossed by me.
'In developing, it's not always clear what is the best direction to follow,
'but in Swindon Kerry and Paul were not to be diverted.
'For them there was a definite route to success.'
Well, we've got two other properties in this street already, which we rent out at the moment.
We saw this one come up and we thought, "Why not?"
'So for £86,000 they acquired house number three on this street.
'Paul's a builder, but he felt it would be best just to assist Kerry from the sidelines.
'Well, just eight weeks later we're back to check on the progress of Paul's recommended team.
'First things to note are those new windows and doors.
'Inside, has the panelling gone for good? Oh, yes.
'It certainly has.
'And doesn't it make the whole place feel so much lighter?
'But it's the back reception room and that tired kitchen which have changed beyond all recognition.'
I think the biggest transformation of this property is now the kitchen.
We wanted to create a nice, bright, light space.
So we've put on a small kitchen extension, whereby we've knocked the existing archway down
and put steel across.
We've also made it a little bit wider, with a sloping ceiling
with some Velux windows for extra lighting.
And the bathroom has come out a little bit more, so it's bigger.
For me, this has been the most successful room in this property.
'The addition of a small extension makes a big difference to the shape and functionality of the kitchen.
'The pitched roof adds a lot of character and light.
'By keeping the bathroom downstairs, the two bedrooms upstairs both remain good-sized doubles.
'The very dated and dangerous polystyrene tiles and tired old blue paint were consigned to the dustbin.
'And, yes, thank goodness, that bizarrely placed hot water tank has been removed.
'So it's all looking great, but did Paul really not get involved in any of the work?'
-Yeah, you have a bit.
-I've helped Kerry organising things, but she ran it from start to finish.
He can't help getting involved.
'Paul has helped Kerry sort out the budget and even if he doesn't do the work, he knows who to bring in.
'And he's always on hand if Kerry needs any additional advice.'
It's been quite easy to project manage. We've got a great gang of contractors we use.
They're used to working with me or Paul. They've stayed late, come in at weekends. Whatever we've asked.
'They've certainly turned this around quickly from the sorry state it was in just eight weeks ago.
'The extra hours and more work on the floor and new windows meant their original budget was stretched.
Originally, we set a budget of between £15,000 and £20,000,
but we've actually come in at £15,000, so pretty pleased with that.
'So on time and on budget. It seems the partnership works well. Would they do it again?'
I'd like to think so, yeah. Still together so couldn't be that bad.
# And they can never tear us apart... #
'Kerry and Paul seem to be happy with the way it's gone, but what do two local estate agents think
of the house they bought for £86,000 and have laid out £15,000 on so far?
Have they spent around £101,000 wisely?
I'll be honest. I didn't recognise it. Absolutely fantastic.
The owners have done a very good modernisation of the property.
I like the extension, the Velux windows. It draws in a lot of light.
The dining room space is a big positive.
We've got parking at the rear, which is good. New kitchen, new bathroom, a benefit to any buyer.
A negative with the property is that the bathroom, unfortunately, is still downstairs.
'This was always to be for rental, but was it a sound investment
'as they have now committed a total of around £105,000, including the usual fees?'
Resale value on this property as it stands today, I would expect approximately £120,000.
If I put this on the market, I would test it at £127,500.
That's more than what we thought. We were kind of looking at the £119,995 mark,
-so that's a pleasant surprise.
-Pleased with that.
'So potentially a healthy £20,000 profit if they sold,
'but this was always more about rental returns.'
Per calendar month, I would expect to get in the region of £550.
Rent, we'd be looking at £575 per calendar month.
Yeah, again that's a fair price, but we've actually got a tenant signed up for £600 a month,
So we're pleased.
'That's fantastic. They already have an income, just three months after buying it.
'Buying yet another house on this street has certainly paid off.
-'So presumably it's more of the same?'
-Now this property's finished,
the next things on our list are extending our own property,
but we're also planning a wedding, so we'll throw ourselves back into that now
and not worry about doing up properties!
'So doorbells will be replaced by wedding bells.
'Then after that, maybe, it will be back to the street they both love.'
# Let me be
# On the street
# Where you live... #
'In 2007, on the outskirts of Lincoln, I found a real gem of a property.'
This is the little village of Heighington in Lincolnshire.
A pretty place. Good couple of pubs, a supermarket, a post office. Everything you could need.
And yet you're only 4 miles outside the cathedral city of Lincoln.
'So a real prime spot for property. In Heighington, it seems you CAN have it all -
'country living and city connections.'
From the outside, this house looks fairly unassuming.
But boy, oh, boy, are first impressions wrong in this instance
because behind these gates...
are the grounds of one of the most spectacular properties I've seen on the show.
See what I mean?
'And the price tag for this big country manor farm house? Well, it was guided at £750,000-£775,000,
'so it's certainly not cheap. But what do you get for your money?'
It's bound to be fairly disastrous inside, isn't it?
No, it isn't. It's amazing!
Fairly low ceilings, but the whole house was built around the 1700s, so you expect it.
Original beams, huge great fireplaces.
OK, not authentic that, but it's amazing. Lots of narrow corridors, little rooms,
staircases - that's all part of its charm.
Through to the kitchen. Again, a fantastic large fireplace.
The units are a bit dated. You'd probably want to update this,
but, you know, it's amazing.
'This place is almost too much to take in. There are nine rooms downstairs alone,
'including four reception rooms, a utility room, downstairs shower cloakroom and even a pantry.
'It's absolutely vast!'
Well, upstairs, there are higgledy-piggledy corridors. Five bedrooms.
One there, bathroom, another bedroom there.
Down a long corridor - imagine putting antiques there - through to the master bedroom.
This is glorious. Exposed beams. And it goes on. There's an annexe.
You could get lost in this house.
'It's maybe an overused cliche, but I'm going to use it anyway.
'This property really does just ooze character. Each room is different, beams everywhere
'and it's equipped to modern standards. There's central heating and en suite bedrooms. Spectacular!
'And it doesn't stop with the house.
This place really is starting to make me feel a bit dizzy!
You've got this courtyard the garage area, stables,
and you have got a barn
and not just some ramshackle, needing thousands of pounds spending on it pile of rubble,
but a barn somebody has restored.
Look - the roof's in good condition, you've got this glorious gallery area there.
This is a property in its own right. You could convert this or just hold parties.
And it comes with the house!
'And as if this fantastic barn wasn't enough, there's even more.'
It doesn't end there because you also get this.
Over three-quarters of an acre of land. With the barn there, you've got this area here.
It is absolutely amazing.
'The guide price might have been £750,000,
'but for a fabulous house, plus all those outbuildings,
'three-quarters of an acre of land and a barn that's been used as a village hall,
'this definitely adds up to more than the sum of its parts.'
I wasn't at the auction, but I'd have been sorely tempted to bid on this myself.
Let's find out who was lucky enough to buy it under the hammer.
Lot number 80.
Manor Farm, Heighington.
Let's start by going right down to £700,000.
Let's get started at 700,000. £700,000 I'm bid, seated at the back of the room on my right.
710. 720. At £720,000.
At 730. 740.
745. The bid is here, seated, at £745,000.
I'll take £1,000 from either of you. At £745,000. 746. 746.
At £747,000, the bid is seated on my right.
Going once. At £747,000.
Going twice at £747,000.
For the third and last time of asking at £747,000.
Are we all done? The gentleman seated. Thank you, sir. 809.
'And surprisingly, at under the guide price, for £747,000,
'the new owners of Manor Farm with all its buildings and land are Rachel and Steve.
'This is to be a new family home for themselves and their two boys.'
Steve... I hate you(!)
You lucky person!
Yeah. Yeah, it's great.
What a great house for a family this is - kids running in between all the different rooms downstairs!
-You'll never find 'em.
-Well, that's an advantage(!)
'I can definitely see the appeal from a family point of view.
'It's got space, yet with the walled garden, it's self-contained.
'I want to know more about Steve. Is there more to this purchase than meets the eye?'
-So, tell me a bit about you.
-Well, I'm a property developer.
And we built our property last year, moved into it,
then since then, we've bought another patch of land to develop,
but as soon as this came on the market, it just meant that changed totally.
-So, was the land and the buildings a significant thing to have?
-Yes, because of the development potential.
-We don't necessarily want to over-develop,
but if the potential is there, that is a big plus for us.
'Steve works in the family firm with two other brothers and previously with his dad who recently retired.
'It's the firm that has bought Manor Farm, even though it will be Steve's family home,
'so it was always viewed as more than just a property purchase.'
When you do that though, doesn't the thought of having another person living quite close by
and another person even closer...
Do you not think, "If I'm living here, maybe I'll keep it for me?"
It would be nice to keep it exactly as it is,
but even though the grounds around the place are so fantastic and well-kept,
it just means there's a lot of work, especially with a young family, to maintain all that,
so to lose some of it, as long as it didn't have any detrimental effect to the house...
'To get a better idea about the development plans, Steve and I took a stroll across to the barn.'
-The grounds are just gorgeous, aren't they?
-And then this!
I mean, what a fantastic bonus!
Definitely. A big surprise, really.
When you book a viewing, you're obviously coming to look at the house,
and then to come across the barn which was so well cared for as well,
-it was another wow factor.
What are you going to do with this?
Hoping for a barn conversion.
You know, basically down to local authority approval.
-And converting it into a house?
-Into a residential property, yeah.
-What about access?
There's access at the rear of the property,
but we've also got one on the other side of the property, so it wouldn't be a problem to separate the two.
And then you've got this huge, great area of land here as well.
What would you do with this?
Well, there's also a possibility for a building plot in the future,
but again it's down to local authority approval, really.
-So you could have that as one unit, then something else here?
So, any idea of what that would cost to build?
-It would probably cost something like 300,000 to build.
-And what would they be worth?
-Probably just under 500.
If you do that, you'd make 200 on each of these. That's half paid for your house.
That's the idea.
'That was back in 2007
'and boy, was I envious of Steve's amazing purchase!
'Eight months later, the size of the task he and has family had taken on was evident for all to see.
'Stay with us to see how, in the end, all the hard work pays off
'and this really becomes a very special home.'
Time now to check on our second property. What happened after we packed up the cameras?
Did it all go smoothly or were there nightmares in store? Let's find out.
Back now to Neasden in London
where we catch up with Jacob, a retired technical manager from the food industry.
But rather than put his feet up, he's delving into the world of property developing.
I've got this energy and I need to do something.
So Jacob bought this first floor, one-bedroom flat in Northview Crescent.
It went to auction with a guide price of £120,000, but he ended up paying £162,000 for it.
It needed to be redecorated throughout and have a brand-new kitchen, so how has he got on?
We had to... We gutted everything.
And we re-plaster, re-paint
and make sure that it looks OK.
We managed to change the windows,
so we had to get double glazing and they look pretty well.
He's also replaced those nasty, nicotine-stained walls
and the polystyrene fire hazard tiles on the ceilings.
Apart from the cosmetic changes, Jacob had to rip out the bathroom completely
and replace all the lead piping underneath.
The kitchen was taken out too
to make way for a completely new one which Jacob designed himself.
We're going to be having the sink over there
and we're going to be having the oven and the hob over there.
There we're going to be having the boiler and also the fridge will be around this area.
I designed this kitchen and it will be lovely.
I cannot wait to see it finished.
The work on the kitchen and the whole flat has been delayed by one major problem - the gas supply.
# But it's all right I'm Jumpin' Jack Flash It's a gas, gas, gas... #
We were told that there wasn't any gas, so the National Grid had to do a "live and dead" check.
And this came out to be dead. Obviously, there was no gas.
So we had to make sure we bring the gas into the property.
We have to dig the trench ourselves.
I dug the trench, really.
I dug the trench! And it was OK.
# Can you dig it?
# Oh, yeah
# Can you dig it...? #
Digging a trench? Even in retirement, Jacob is no slacker.
In fact, he has done all the work on the house himself.
But has he stayed within his original budget of 8,000?
I believe I will have to spend another extra £2,000,
and the reason being for the flooring.
We're going to do laminated flooring and the carpet to the stairs.
That's 10,000 in total for the work,
so, added to the price he paid at auction, that comes to £172,000.
Will Jacob see a return for his money?
We asked two local estate agents to give us their thoughts on the place.
Obviously, it's still got quite a way to go with the refurbishment.
The windows are all in and he's made a start on the kitchen and bathroom.
The standard of the finish is basic, but I'd like to think that he'll bring it up when he finishes it off.
From what I can see, it will be a nice flat once it's all finished.
How much could it re-sell for on the market?
Once the property is renovated, I believe it will sell for around £175,000.
I think once the property is finished, it will have a value of in the region of £170,000.
Oh, well, I've already asked local agents here.
They're the people that told me that they can put it on
for 190,000 to 200,000.
Jacob hopes to sell the property for a higher price, so fingers crossed that he does.
But if he decided to rent it out, what could he expect?
I think if he put the property on the market to rent,
he'd be looking in the region of £750 per calendar month, as long as it was finished to a good standard.
Per calendar month, the property would rent for £850.
Well, the 850 is nearer
because the same agent told me they've got a one-bed flat on this road that goes for 900.
Of course, Jacob plans to sell the flat,
but it looks like even though he's cleared that garden, he won't clear much of a profit.
But he's still proud of his achievements on this - his first property venture.
I have enjoyed this enormously, you know.
I set myself a challenge
and I believe I've already gone the length
to make sure that I can achieve what I've set my goals on.
# Keep on the sunny side
# Always on the sunny side
# Keep on the sunny side of life... #
Whatever he goes into next, we certainly wish him all the best.
It was in October 2007 that I first visited
this simply amazing old farmhouse in the village of Heighington
just outside Lincoln.
It was by no means a run-of-the-mill auction lot.
Not only was there a fantastic five-bedroom stone farmhouse, set in three-quarters of an acre of land,
but also several outbuildings and a big barn.
It was a mixture of development potential and a great family home.
The lucky man who snapped this lot up for £747,000 was Steve.
Initially, he bought it on behalf of the family building firm.
The plan was to make it into a family home for him, his wife Rachel and two young boys, Luke and Jacob.
The company planned to develop the barn and outbuildings
and then possibly put two new builds on some of the very large garden plot.
But when we first went back to see them just eight months later,
the house renovation alone was turning into a massive project.
# It takes a little time sometimes
# To get the Titanic turned back around
# It takes a little time... #
It was pretty much living accommodation when you were last here
and we found damp issues, other issues
and there was a sign that it needed modernising anyway,
so we decided at that stage then to take it right back to the basics
and produce new, basically, all the way through.
Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better,
but what did his wife Rachel feel about what would be their new home?
It's a really exciting project.
It's obviously looking a long way from being finished, but it can all come together really quickly.
I think it will be fantastic when it all comes together.
That was in 2008.
Now, another year on, had they finally managed to turn this project around?
Well, yes, it certainly looks that way.
Steve and Rachel have transformed this from dated and rustic
into a beautiful, contemporary home.
Yet they've retained the old character features that made the place so special.
Mixing old with new was a fresh challenge for Steve.
The process of renovating something like this has been a learning curve
because we've generally been involved in new build, so everything is square,
and to come in here and see everything isn't square to start with goes against the grain.
But wow, haven't they risen to the challenge by creating spaces that flow from one area to another
while retaining the integrity of the old stone-built farmhouse!
Where once there was a traditional farmhouse kitchen,
there is now their own modern interpretation of one.
It's definitely a challenge! I'm not so keen on a challenge now. They're nice once in a while.
Part of that challenge was living on a building site with two young children,
but the reward for all that hardship and discomfort
is a large family home with bedrooms for both of their boys.
There is a fantastic family bathroom.
And a stunning master bedroom.
Just look at those beams!
And as if the space they had wasn't enough, they've also created some extra guest accommodation.
This room originally was a landing.
We had a staircase out of the kitchen in the corner of the room and also a small walkway,
so the room was a bit idle, it didn't really have a purpose.
What we've done is separated the two wings of the house and created a guest bedroom.
This approach of utilising space to the maximum continues upstairs in the attic room.
It's been transformed into yet another bedroom,
complete with en-suite and a rather interesting bath.
As in all the other rooms, this one reflects the care that's gone into the look and design
which is mainly down to Rachel.
I love building, I love the structures, I love the external design and some of the internal,
but as far as soft furnishings, colour matching, hard surfaces
and things like that come together,
she just makes a big effort to get everything to gel together and it always does.
Stephen has got a fantastic vision for properties. He knows exactly what will work.
The vision for this place is nearly finished.
Once we've created the office space at the end of the building, this place is complete.
The rest of it is the next stage.
Yes, from now on, it's not about renovation. It's about developing the rest of the site.
We've finally got planning approval for a barn conversion in the outbuildings
and also another four-bedroom property in the other outbuildings.
We're going to extend the barn in line with what it is at the moment
and incorporate these cart sheds up to this point
with a glazed frontage,
with a kitchen, dining, living space.
And on from that, we're retaining the last part of the cart shed with Manor Farm House,
purely because the bedrooms are above.
And the other property starts as Manor Farm finishes
and extends a good 20 metres down in that direction
with bedrooms in the roof space.
Originally, they had hoped to get two more new builds on the land as well,
but that plan is on hold for now, meaning that the large outside spaces remain intact.
Good news for their boys!
The boys think it's fantastic. The garden, they love.
I come down the stairs, open the back door and they're off,
enjoying all the den finding
and the trampoline and kicking the ball around and they love it.
They only use it as a hotel! As soon as breakfast is finished, they're out the door.
Then we have to call them in for lunch, so that aspect is great.
And it's a great family garden with practically everything a child could desire.
But creating that ideal home and garden didn't come cheap.
We thought we would spend somewhere in the region of 200,000 on this property
and so far, we're probably about 110,
but we have got a barn to use as a double garage and there's a little bit of accommodation above
and we've still got some external renovations and window replacements to do.
On listed buildings, that can become a bit of an open chequebook scenario!
Originally, through their firm, they bought the whole plot,
including the farmhouse, for £747,000.
Since then, Steve and Rachel have bought just the farmhouse from the family firm for 300,000.
Bearing in mind their potential £180,000 to £200,000 outlay,
the couple's investment here could be nearly half a million pounds.
I think the overall finish is stunning.
I haven't seen a property finished to this standard for quite some time.
I think the changes they've made to the property have been fantastic.
It's easier to walk through, it's improved the flow of the property.
I think what I particularly like here
is how the vendors have combined the very traditional mainstays of the property,
but brought out a contemporary twist to them at the same time.
The garden is excellent. It's a good size
and is not overlooked by another property, so a real selling point.
So the estate agents are definitely impressed, but have Steve and Rachel invested their £500,000 wisely?
I think I would be looking to put it on at around the 550, 560 mark.
I'd recommend putting it on the market for 575.
-Sounds good to me.
-Yeah, very good.
It's probably... It's probably a bit more than we thought, isn't it?
At the moment, yeah. It's not quite as good as we thought it was going to be 12 months ago.
-But certainly quite positive for this present climate.
So the house at least looks like it's coming up trumps,
but will the barn conversions fare equally well?
Now concentrate. This is the slightly complicated bit.
The barns and outbuildings are still owned by the family firm for which they paid around £447,000.
The estimated cost of doing the conversion of the two barns is 365,000,
so the company firm would have invested around 812,000 quid
on bringing the barns to the residential market.
So would they see a return?
I think the larger barn, a four-bed, which, if it was finished to this standard,
would at least be worth around the £450,000 mark,
whereas the smaller one, I think, would even in this current market be worth around £350,000.
After the conversion has been done, the larger four-bedroom, the barn, probably in the region of 385
and the smaller one probably 325, somewhere around that region.
In the present climate, that means only breaking even,
so perhaps they'll have to wait a while before realising the maximum potential of the whole site,
but for now at least, Steve and Rachel have one gorgeous house.
But is it a great home?
It does feel like home. Wherever you have your family, you can create that if your children are happy.
You can see how they enjoy it, then it becomes your home. But it is a lovely place.
-The setting is fabulous.
With the grounds and the big family kitchen, there's space for everybody.
# There's a million places I can go
# But without you it ain't... #
Rachel's so right.
It's not just what the house looks like or costs.
It's about being a space to live and the people in a house that makes it a home.
We wish them well with it.
# And I've learned the only truth that I need to know
# There's a million places I can go
# But without you it ain't...home
# It ain't home... #
That's it for today, but there are plenty more properties out there.
-Join us next time for more homes under the hammer.
-See you then.
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Swindon, a flat in Neasden, Greater London and revisit a fabulous manor farmhouse near Lincoln. All of these properties have been sold at auction - Martin and Lucy find out who bought them, and what they paid when they went under the hammer.