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-As a nation, we are obsessed with property.
-And no-one more so than Lucy and I.
It's a topic that keeps dinner party guests talking into the small hours. And everybody has an opinion.
And it's our opinion that the best place to buy your property is under the hammer.
The auction catalogue can give you clues about a property,
but it's not until you look inside that you know whether it's going to be a goldmine or a money pit.
It's up to you to dig beneath the surface of your investment.
So let's see what's coming up on today's show.
In Stoke-on-Trent, the bad news is the kitchen's pretty tiny.
The good news, though, is that is a stud partition wall.
'This block of bedsits in London needs to go back to basics.'
Rip all this out and just give it back a bit of soul.
'And remember this 400-year-old listed house in Wiltshire?
'We returned to see the hidden gems uncovered after its remarkable restoration.'
'All these properties were sold at auction and we see who bought them and what they paid
'when they went under the hammer.'
I'm in Stoke-on-Trent today on the border of Fenton and Longton.
It's mainly residential here with terraced houses that used to be home to workers at the famous potteries.
An interesting one as not only does the property have two addresses,
you seem to get a lot of property for your money.
You've got a commercial unit. You've got two flats.
You've got a workshop and outdoor space, all for a guide price of just 45,000 quid plus.
Better take a look inside.
Well, you can see from the signage outside that this used to be a furniture shop.
There isn't much space to store furniture, but this would work quite well as a commercial unit
because there's a double aspect with the main road there and other windows there,
so there's lots of display area. So we like that. One thing we're not so keen on is that. Look at that.
That's a manhole cover. Imagine the smells that'll come out of that if this is active as a sewer.
You can get special covers to go on there which would seal it which you'd definitely have to do.
You could put in a loo, so that the people who worked here wouldn't have to go next door to use the toilet.
So if you're thinking about using this as a commercial unit, great.
To convert it into anything else, you'll need planning permission. Let's see the rest of the property.
Above the corner shop is one of the two flats offered as part of this auction lot.
Upstairs, good-sized flat. But it isn't making the most of the space with the layout.
You've got this corridor over there.
Decent-sized bedroom. And you've got the bathroom and the loo. But it's not quite working for me.
This room, though, is quite a good size, if you ignore some of the strange fitted furniture.
But this is where it starts to go horribly wrong. This is the kitchen and it is a complete disaster.
It's narrow. It's falling to pieces!
The good news, though, is that is a stud partition wall.
So it wouldn't take much to take that out, make this an open kitchen-living area, and job done.
Like the shelves, there are some aspects to this flat that are odd.
The main bedroom has no natural light.
And there's a blocked-up doorway in the partition wall to the bathroom.
Definitely a re-think needed here, I'd say.
The second flat is on two levels at the back of the property. So what condition will this one be in?
In contrast, the layout of this flat I really like.
You've got the bedroom upstairs. You've got the living room here.
And hallelujah, a decent kitchen. It's not huge but I like the layout.
And these particular units will be fairly serviceable. You've got a loo and a bathroom at the back.
And you've got your own private access, an exterior door, which is exactly what you need.
Creating separate entrances to both flats makes this lot a potentially rewarding prospect.
By blocking up a few doorways, you could give each flat its own entrance, separate from the shop.
And there's more.
Well, what a fantastic bonus this is! Out in the rear yard, you've got this additional building.
It's obviously some kind of a workshop. But it's on two storeys.
And I don't think it'd be too hard to get planning permission to convert that into a maisonette.
And even better, out the back here, look, lots of building materials.
Now, if you were to try and get things like this, you'd have to go to an architectural salvage yard.
This is great news if you need another brick in the wall.
# All in all it's just another brick in the wall... #
Well, I really like this property.
So much potential which could hopefully be realised without spending too much.
But converting the workshop into a liveable building would take a bit more time and money.
At the moment you can't even get up to the first floor without a ladder.
What will a local estate agent think of it?
For the flat and the shop, the main area of improvement is cosmetic.
There seems to be a problem with the roof in the upper bedroom.
And the rear outbuilding needs complete renovation.
At a guide price of 45,000, how much could this be worth once renovated?
I'd estimate the resale value of the property, once it's been converted, in the region of £90,000 to £95,000.
If this project was done well and each area decorated individually,
I think they could fetch more. And there's the rental option.
Separate flats, each earning perhaps £300 to £350 per month.
And depending on what you did with the building at the rear, whether it's living accommodation or retail,
again, similar sort of values.
Well, oatcakes are a traditional food in this part of north Staffordshire.
And in terms of this property, there are so many options, I think you can have your oatcake and eat it.
Let's see what happened at the auction.
A two-storey retail unit.
40, I'm bid. Thank you. At £40,000.
Can we say 45? 45. Thank you. At 45. 50.
Oh, a new bidder. £60,500.
61 and a half. 62.
62 and a half. 63.
And a half. 64.
65. Do you want to go 66, sir? 66.
67. 68. 69.
Bid seated at 73. I'm selling.
£73,000 then for the first time.
At £73,000 for the second time.
At £73,000, third and final time.
You bought it. Well done.
'The guide price was 45,000, but husband and wife Paul and Wendy paid 73,000.
'They're full-time developers and landlords, so they're no strangers to auctions
'and have other properties in the Stoke area.'
-Paul, Wendy, good to meet you both. Tell me why you wanted to buy it.
-It's got a lot of potential.
You've got a shop front and it's set up for two flats at the minute.
-Plus you've got the outside building at the back.
-Yes. It struck me - the place has so many options.
-What's your experience in this?
-We've been developing property full-time for six years.
-Part-time for 16.
-What kind of stuff?
Mainly commercial. But when the commercial property market dried up, we started buying residential.
'As they already have 33 industrial units and 11 residential properties,
'they must know what to look for in a building.'
Good value for money. Um...
Something you can sort of turn round and make it a little bit different.
-So what was it about this place that you liked, Wendy?
-Well, the size and the little building at the back.
That's going to be a little one-bedroom maisonette...
-Hopefully. Yeah. It's got a lot of character.
-Plus, Paul looked at it 25 years ago.
-He looked at this 25 years ago.
-He couldn't afford it, so we came back cos it was back on the market.
'Paul eventually got what he wanted. He just had to wait 25 years and pay an extra 61,000.
'It can't just have been nostalgia that made him want it.'
-Good income potential.
-Very good. Off the whole site, we reckon we'd get over 13,000 a year.
-Really? Talk me through the numbers.
-We weren't really interested in the front shop.
-So whatever we can get for that, it's just a bit of a bonus.
-You're going to keep that as a shop unit?
-And let that, we thought about 30 quid a week. Yeah? And then you've got the two flats.
The downstairs one is a bit small. It's got a very small bedroom. So maybe about 300 a month?
The upstairs one, it's a bit bigger, about 325. The back one, when that's all done, about 350 a month.
-So in total just over 13 grand a year.
'That's good. Before they can make that sort of money, there's a bit of work to do.
'Upstairs, they will remove the wall between the kitchen and the lounge to create a kitchen-living room.
'And re-arrange the bathroom so the bedroom wall can be opened up to allow some light in.
'In the downstairs flat, the ceiling needs insulating and fireproofing.
'They will brick up an entrance door to separate the flats and tidy the place up.
'The shop is also going to have the ceiling done.
'Because that drain only has a fresh water pipe running through it, a loo will be built in the back.
'And all the wiring will be renewed. And that still leaves the workshop.'
Downstairs, as you go in, we'll put a new set of stairs in.
Kitchen area... So downstairs you've got a lounge-diner again.
Then upstairs you've got obviously a toilet and your bathroom's separate.
-There'll be fitted wardrobes because obviously you'll be limited on space.
-It's all going to be fitted.
-We have done one of those before and it was smaller.
-It turned out OK?
-It was beautiful.
'I can't wait to see what they do with that workshop area. I bet they've sorted the budget.'
We were just going to convert the two flats. The outbuilding was initially going to be just repaired
and just rent it out as a lock-up.
So we thought then the entire area for 7,000. But since we're going to do what we're going to do outside,
we reckon about 17 in total.
OK. And a kind of timescale?
-Eight weeks to do all that?
-It'll be done.
-You sound pretty certain about that.
-It'll be done.
Well, I don't know about oatcakes, but Wendy and Paul are certainly two smart cookies.
And they've got exactly the right idea to sort this place out, to turn it into a money-making machine.
Still, there is a lot of work to be done to sort it out.
And can Paul really get it completed in just eight weeks?
You can find out later in the show.
I'm in an area of south-east London known as Hither Green.
Snugly tucked between vibrant Lewisham and trendy Blackheath,
Hither Green often attracts a more mature resident whose partying days are over. Why?
Well, much of the area was developed by one Archibald Corbett, a Scot with a hard line in temperance,
who decided that no pubs be built in the neighbourhood, thus saving the Victorians from temptation.
Now, over a century on, his legacy lives.
The area is up and coming, but perhaps a tad sleepy.
# There's a place I call Sleepy Hollow
# Where I go when you're not around... #
But fear not. You don't need to go far for a more exciting pace of life.
Lewisham has bars aplenty. And from Hither Green train station, you can get into London in 15 minutes.
Hither Green is split into two halves by the railway line.
And property to the north, nearer Blackheath, is 15% more expensive
than the south side, bordering Catford.
Now, the property I'm here to see today is on the south side, but only just.
And as I was hoping, it's on a lovely Victorian street. It's a three-bedroomed mid-terrace.
It's got a guide price of only 170,000 to 180,000. It's here. Let's have a look around.
I'm aware this property has been let as bedsits. And it was owned by a housing trust for 15 years.
But as soon as you walk in, that's exactly what it feels like.
More like an office than a home.
Through here into the reception room, it's a nice size but utterly characterless.
You've got woodchip wallpaper, cheap carpets.
The fireplace has been boarded up. I wonder if it's still inside or it's been sold on?
Got lovely high ceilings. Original sashes and that is great to see.
But it just feels to me this house has been smothered by practicality.
Firstly, I would rip all this out and just give it back a bit of soul.
# I'm a soul man
# I'm a soul man... #
In the hall, there are some features that have survived - beautiful spindles and some lovely cornicing.
The second reception room has been stripped back to its bare bones.
There's also a lurid but useful downstairs loo. And then there's the kitchen.
The kitchen is at the rear of the property. It's HUGE!
It's larger than the back garden. But it just feels like a shell.
Maybe that's not such a bad thing. You've got central heating. It's all been well maintained.
You've got here what they call in the trade a blank canvas.
# You can do anything you want to do
# It's not wrong What I sing is true
# You can do anything you want to do
# Do what you want to... #
Upstairs, there are three good-sized bedrooms and bathroom which doesn't look bad.
There's a separate loo. But you could knock down the wall and make a useful family bathroom.
With a lick of paint, it's certainly a canvas that could be turned into a masterpiece,
all for a guide price of 170,000 to 180,000.
I've been working out how much you could end up spending here
to bring this house back to its former glory. Straight away, I'd get rid of these horrible fire doors.
Reclaimed Victorian panel doors will set you back at least 100 quid each.
And with ten doors in this house, that's a tidy grand.
You'd certainly want at least one, nice big fireplace in keeping with the period of the house.
That could cost you around £800 cheapest. I'd also look to get some nice cornicing re-instated.
And plaster moulding, you're looking at over £7 per metre for that.
So there's several thousand quid gone and I've not even started on the kitchen and the bathroom.
You can do all of this on a budget by being clever and shopping around.
But once you get started, it can be very hard to stop.
# Can't stop Addicted to the shindig
# Chop top, he says "I'm gonna win big"
# Choose not a life of imitation
# Distant cousin to the reservation... #
Budgets like this have a habit of sucking you in, plus the contents of your wallet at the same time.
To see if it's worth that, I asked a local estate agent to have a look.
There's some work that needs doing in the property.
The bathrooms could be... It'd be nice to put a new bathroom in, to decorate the property throughout.
Original doors, if you're able to source those. Maybe consider sanding and varnishing the floors
to bring it back to its original period style.
If renting it out, you needn't go to town on the period features or install a new kitchen and bathroom.
A bit of general tidying would probably do.
To rent this property as one dwelling, it should value at £1,100 to £1,200 per month.
The guide price at auction was between 170,000 to 180,000.
If the property were renovated, how much could it be worth?
I think the value of this property could be worth round about 275,000 to 280,000.
That's good. Depending on the cost of restoring this place, there's potential for profit.
This house in Hither Green doesn't exactly shout, "Come hither!"
But it doesn't need much work to bring it up to a liveable standard and for those with deeper pockets,
it's a chance to restore a beautiful Victorian home. Get it for near the guide price and it's a great buy.
Let's see who thought so at the auction.
Mid-terrace house. Bidding on the phone. Somebody start me at £150,000?
150, may I say? Thank you. 150 I'm bid.
180 I'm bid now. Gentleman there with the black coat.
87. 88. 89.
96. 97? 97. 98?
97 on my right, first time.
-Second time. It's going to go.
Hello, Douglas. You've been very quiet. 198. 99. 200?
199 there on the right. First time at 199. 200 could be his limit.
200. 201? 201. Still there.
Nice and strong. 202. Two and three. Three and four.
Four and five. Five and six.
Six and seven. Seven and eight.
Eight and nine. First time at 209...
Second time at 209. Come on, just one more. 210. Thank you. 11, sir?
11. 12. Just one more?
211 against the lady here in the green. Yours once again, sir. Hanging in there.
211 for the first time.
Second time. Third and last time. At £211,000. Last chance.
I think we're there. 211, your bid, sir. Well done. 211. Thank you.
'With the help of his dad, the winning bidder was Tom.
'He got the house for 211,000, 31 grand above the upper guide price.
'Tom works for a PR company and he's also an actor.
'He almost lost the property when he got stage fright at the auction!'
My dad said to me, "Don't bid straight away. Let people get going."
Then he said, "Going once, twice." I realised I hadn't bid anything.
The first time I was like, "Yes." I had no idea what I was doing.
-When you first clapped eyes on this house, what did you think?
-I was buying a flat and that fell through.
And my mum... Because I always wanted a Victorian house, but I didn't think I could afford it.
My mum emailed me the website link for the auction and I drove up and looked outside.
I fell in love with it. I thought there was no way I could afford it.
But the guide price was in my region, but I couldn't go too much further. I just couldn't believe it.
Is the way the property market is at the moment allowed you to get more for your money?
Yes. I got this house for the same price as the flat I was looking at, a one-bedroom flat, six months ago.
'That's not bad. The financial downturn has done Tom a favour.
'He's got a three-bedroom house instead of a one-bedroom flat. What more could he want?'
I would've loved it if there'd been more original features.
But now I see it as a challenge to try and put them back in.
-So what sort of features are you looking at to put back?
-Skirting boards. Coving. Fireplaces.
I'll need to get somebody to look in and see if I can put fireplaces in.
Probably change the kitchen later on as it's fine. And get all the floorboards up, bring it all back.
So how do you think you'll feel living in this house as it is? It's in a pretty raw state at the moment.
I am really excited, to be honest. I don't really care about the state because it's my house.
I feel like it's my house so I don't care.
Also this year is the first year that I'm doing Christmas for my family, so they're all staying with me.
I've got Grandma, Mum and Dad and maybe my brother.
-They're coming to you?
-I've got four weeks to get it ready for them.
My grandma can't stay in here. I'll have to do something snazzy with one room.
'Four weeks to get a room fit enough for Grandma will take some doing!
'With all this work to do, I hope he's a dab hand at DIY.'
I think my dad's expecting a lot of phone calls. Mum gets the phone calls if I cook.
-I think with Dad, it's going to be, "How do I sand the whatever?"
-"And can you lend me...?"
In fact, he's bringing his tools today as I haven't got anything.
-So I rang my dad and he's brought hammers and...
-So you don't have a hammer, a screwdriver?
I have a screwdriver and um... What else do I have? I have a screwdriver...
And sanding paper for a sander that I borrowed off my dad, but I gave the sander back.
# If I had a hammer
# I'd hammer in the morning
# I'd hammer in the evening
# All over this land... #
'A screwdriver and some sandpaper is a start but I think he'll need to buy a few more tools.
'Let's hope the budget can take a hammering.'
I've got enough to do the living room, this room and a bathroom.
And I'll sand the floors myself by hand, so... Well, with a machine, not by hand.
-Yes, that would hurt!
-With a machine.
And then all the other stuff like tiling floors, tiling the kitchen and stuff,
that's a longer-term job, but I'd imagine 20 grand overall.
I'm delighted for Tom. He really loves this house. And I'm just so pleased he's going to do it justice.
So will we find a changed man when we return? Will Tom be a DIY disaster or a renovating revelation?
Find out later on in the show.
'Coming up - when we last saw this listed house in Wiltshire, it needed some TLC.
'Later on, you can see how it's been restored.
'In London, the new owner of this place grapples with a new enemy - woodchip.'
I've employing somebody to do the living room and dining room as I can't face it any more.
'Have those Stoke properties lived up to their buyers' high hopes?'
-A good income potential.
# Just the two of us We can make it if we try
# Just the two of us...
# Just the two of us... #
Paul and Wendy bought a lot, and I mean a lot, a shop, two flats and a workshop in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent.
They paid £73,000. But could they have paid less?
Paul looked at this property 25 years ago when he was looking at buying. And he couldn't afford it.
Well, they've got it now. And it looks like they've been busy.
-# Ain't no stopping us now
# We're on the move
# We've got the groove... #
The shop and flats have undergone a complete makeover.
# We've got the groove
# Ooh ooh ooh ooh
# Ain't no stopping us now We're on the move
# On the move Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
# Ain't no stopping us now We've got the groove
# Yeah Yeah, yeah, yeah... #
And the outbuilding is absolutely unrecognisable.
# And if you're trying to make it, they only push you aside
# They really don't have nowhere to go... #
Well, this is the studio apartment.
The shoe box, as we call it. I'm quite pleased with it. Nice job.
Basically in here, we got the chimney breast out to give us more room.
And more and more space.
We had the stairs made, again to give us more space.
And then basically upstairs we've got the en-suite,
which initially we were going to put the full width of the building.
But we've managed to make it a bit smaller, so we get a storage area.
And then back down here... The kitchen's worked out well. Again, fairly compact.
You've got room for a small fridge-freezer in there and a washing machine.
It's quite modern. There's quite a good feel to it. It's turned out really well. I'm very proud of it.
This transformation has continued throughout the property.
One of the rooms we're really pleased with is this one.
When we purchased the property, there was lots of wood cladding, very dark, built-in cupboards.
We've taken all those out and injected a bit of colour.
And then on this side of the room, originally, there was a studded wall about here.
And the other side was a galley kitchen, very tight and very dark.
So we've taken the wall down to open the room up and fitted a new kitchen.
The partition wall between one of the bedrooms and a bathroom has been removed,
giving the bedroom a window and natural light. The downside is that the shower is also in the bedroom.
Sunshine and showers - a meteorologist would love it.
The room next door is now a small toilet area.
# Ain't no stopping us now
# We're gonna tell you, we're gonna show you
# Ain't no stopping us now... #
And the second flat has been finished in a similar style.
In the yard area, we built an outside toilet for the shop, there's no room in the shop,
out of all the reclaimed bricks and everything.
The yard worked out very well.
We've split it up into sections for each property, so they've all got storage for the bins.
# Just the two of us We can make it if we try
# Just the two of us...
# Just the two of us... #
This was a major project which not everyone could have handled.
It's looking good. The rooms are much lighter.
But I imagine they went over their original budget of 7,000 to 10,000?
We have gone a little over budget. It's coming in between 25,000 and 26,000 on the renovation.
The budget went out the window, really, with the shoe box at the back. A lot more expenditure there.
A lot more structural work than we expected.
When we first took the roof off, a lot of the timbers had gone.
The brickwork had all perished as the roof had been open for years.
So the walls had to come down so far and be re-built. Basically you could just lift the bricks off the top.
-There was nothing holding them together.
-I think once you start, you do get a little bit carried away.
But it's a good investment. That's how we look at it. We do things right.
-And then hopefully you haven't got to go back and do anything else.
-Keeps all the maintenance down.
The couple have already rented out the shop to a theatrical costumier's for £120 per calendar month.
To check that they're on track with the other three apartments,
I asked two local estate agents to come and have a look.
They've done a really good job. I can't believe how different it is.
They've done quite a good job.
They've not skimped on the renovation costs
and they've used the space sensibly.
They've all got separate entrances. I can't believe the outbuilding is the same building.
He's done a really nice job on that.
The only negative is that there's a shower in the bedroom and it doesn't seem very private.
I'm not sure about having the shower in the bedroom. Bit unusual.
But there weren't many other places that that could go.
Other than problems with the shower, it all sounds very positive.
So will they be showered with money?
I would estimate the rental figures on these two flats at £300 per calendar month.
And on the studio flat, with its extra parking, about 325?
The two flats in the main building, we would rent it at around 325.
And we'd rent the studio flat at 295 a month.
Paul and Wendy bought the property for 73,000 and spent about £26,000 on the work.
Will they be happy with the rental figures?
First, the studio flat for £295 to £325 per month.
-Oh, I'm a bit disappointed in that one.
-We'll get more than that.
What about the other two flats at between £300 and £325 per month?
I thought the upstairs flat we might have got a little bit more for because of the higher spec.
-But we'll see what kind of interest we get.
So the estate agents estimate a very impressive yield of 12% to 13%, including the rental from the shop.
That makes it a fantastic investment even at those rates.
They could make a pre-tax profit of £100,000 to £155,000 if they sold the properties
either as a whole or individually.
-We'll keep it as a rental property.
Whatever they do here, they've done a great job. And remember, they did it in only nine weeks.
Now, it was over two years ago that I first went to the quiet Wiltshire village of Calne,
where I found an opportunity to step even further back in time.
Up for auction is one of those properties
that when you see it in the auction catalogue, you go, "Yes!"
It's a two-bedroomed, end-terrace cottage. It's Grade 2 listed.
And it gets better because it's got a guide price of just £95,000.
Well, I know something that you don't. And that's the fact that this cottage has recently been bought
and was immediately thrown back into the auction.
That sets alarm bells ringing. What could possibly be wrong with it?
Doing your research is vital when considering auction properties.
And that means more than just reading the legal pack.
Issues like the property's previous sales history can be a barometer to gauge exactly what you're getting.
There is always a certain sense of anticipation when you open the door of a property like this.
What are you going to find inside? Well, actually, quite a pleasant surprise. It's got character.
Oh, but dear! Oh, but dear oh dear!
It's also got rising damp.
Now, properties like this... You can feel it on there.
It's not going to be easy to sort that out unless you get involved in some major renovation work.
It's probably rising from the floor, which... Yes, it's a solid floor.
But you could decide, "I'm going to live with that for the character of the place, so who cares?"
But some nice touches. Look at that.
Original wood built into the walls.
Not original gas fire built into the other side. So we'd want to get something more characterful there.
Not a bad-sized room. I love the flagstone floor. I don't like the fact that it's got two doors,
which in a small room isn't good at all. Stairs up to the bedrooms and then through to the kitchen.
Oh, dear. Not a lot of head room in here then.
What a surprise!
This is the kitchen. It is absolutely tiny. Not only tiny, but you know, I mean, I'm six foot,
and I can't even get in here.
So a big problem.
Practical things just like these units here. Look. There's a normal base unit. There's a top unit.
Not much working space there, really, is there?
So, in terms of doing something with this space, firstly, you'll need a bespoke kitchen built for you.
Forget all these standard units.
And secondly, if you're going to try and increase its head height,
the only thing I can see is to dig down. And that will cause all sorts of problems.
It's a listed building, you'll have to get involved in tanking it, talk to the neighbours to check it's OK.
Not good. So not an easy problem to solve.
These are the sort of problems that would scare off some developers.
They prefer an easy and speedy profit. And you won't get that with this little cottage.
It's going to be difficult to renovate.
Well, the adventure continues as you go upstairs. But um... Oh, dear. That's not good.
Clearly some kind of rot and also woodworm,
although the woodworm have actually left.
The thing is with a property like this, any problems like that are just not that easy to fix
as this wood needs to be done and put back together by a specialist.
So in a normal house, that would be bad. In this place, it's probably even worse. But what a surprise!
Up through to the main bedroom.
And compared to the kitchen, look at the ceiling height here. Again, all these old beams built into the wall.
It's got a lovely, lovely feel to it. But practically, not so sure.
Got a bathroom there. Second bedroom there. But the only way to access them is through those stairs.
So, really, not ideal. And I don't know how you get round that.
I've had a good look round and there's really nothing wrong with this property.
The roof's good. Well, it's not falling down. There's some damp and it does have a few cracks.
But then so would you after 400 years.
Well, you either hate these kind of quirky properties or you love them.
You're either willing to put up with the kind of work that's going to be involved in doing this place up
or you're not. It's got problems. The tiny kitchen with that low roof.
And just the amount of work you'll have to do, given that this is a Grade 2 listed building as well.
But have I found anything that's particularly scary about this place? No. Do I love it? Yes.
Who else fell in love with it when it went to auction? Let's find out.
Right, OK. Next one, please, is lot number 11.
Start me at £100,000? Someone save my breath. I'm selling lot 11.
There we are. 100 put me in? 100 I've got. OK, round the corner I'll go. At £100,000. 102?
At 102. 104. At £104,000, back right. At 104. 106 in the middle? Yes, 106.
8 now say? At £106,000.
108. Now 10 if you will? At £108,000. Pretty little cottage.
110 I've got. OK. 112. 114 to you, sir? 114.
OK. At £114,000. The bid is there. Against you at the back. 115. 116 to you, sir. 116.
116 on the wall for the first time.
Anybody else for 117? 116 then for the second time. Are you all done?
Third and last time. You're finished.
It's yours, sir. And your number is 98.
'The new owner is professional carpenter, Glyn. He bought the little cottage because of its age
'and also its name, The Pippin. But this is no pipsqueak of a project.
'I couldn't wait to find out what Glyn had in mind.'
I just... I've got a feel for old buildings.
During my working life, it's the old buildings that I've enjoyed working on.
-As an apprentice, I worked at Ashton Court in Bristol, a big stately home.
-That's a fascinating job.
'The interior is where a lot of thought is needed.
'For upstairs, Glyn wants to source some ancient oak to replace the bathroom's stud partition
'that was put up in the 1970s and build a new wall using the same methods as the rest of the cottage.
'He'll separate the two bedrooms without blocking off the stairway.
'He thinks he could split the stairs, so that each bedroom can be accessed separately.
'It all sounds very clever. So what about downstairs?'
With the kitchen, obviously,
I shall hand-build that. You know, get the units in proportion to the size of the room.
Try and make it all workable.
# I will try to fix you... #
'Glyn knows exactly what's involved with repairing this little cottage.
'But he has no idea of how much it will cost.
'But by doing the work himself, he hopes to keep the expense down.
'He has over 30 years' experience as a skilled carpenter, so there's not much he hasn't seen before.
'It's an enormous project, but one that Glyn is in no rush to complete.'
So what's the longer-term plan for you and this place then?
-I intend to live here.
-For the foreseeable future?
-For the foreseeable future, yeah.
As far as the work goes, it'll be like doing a custom car, a classic car.
It'll be putting the time in for no returns. Art for art's sake, really.
-That's a lovely analogy. Yeah, it's like a classic car.
-A labour of love definitely.
'Well, that was the spring of 2007 and when we returned three months later,
'Glyn's labour of love had only just started.
'But now, two years on, due to his patience and skilful endeavour, the job is finished.
'See how Glyn returned this 400-year-old cottage to its former glory later in the show.'
# I will try to fix you... #
Time to return to our properties and uncover the truth.
-Are they a triumph of engineering or a house of cards?
-Let's find out.
Actor, PR man and dog lover Tom
bought this three-bedroom, mid-terraced house in London for 211,000.
It needed a lot of work to bring it back to its former glory.
Tom wanted to do much of it himself but his toolkit wasn't up to much.
I have sanding paper for a sander I borrowed. But I gave the sander back, so I've just got the paper.
Well, despite that, it looks like Tom's been getting to grips with it.
# Work, work You know you gotta work, work
# I got the goods and I want you
# Put your boots on, baby Get to
# Work, work You know you gotta work, work...
# I tend to get what I want So are you starting to see... #
It must have been tough turning this bedsit into a home
with just a screwdriver and a piece of sandpaper. How did he do it?
When my dad comes, he brings his toolkit and I nick one more thing.
So when he takes his toolkit home, I've kept one more item. I've probably got about six things now.
But it's amazing what you can do without any tools. So the cupboard in the dining room that I removed,
I took it down with a claw hammer. So I banged the doors off and knocked it out. You don't need tools, really.
Probably not the best way of doing things, but the work is coming along.
I have plastered every room, the landing, top of the stairs, front bedroom, middle bedroom.
I'm plastering the living room and the dining room.
I've done the floorboards, I removed the pins, the carpet, lino, wood.
Wait a minute. Slow down. Carpet, lino, wood, I understand. But what are those pins you mentioned?
Staple. Um... The bane of my life.
And goes in with the rest.
I have pulled out now around 5,000 or 6,000 of these pins because there's 55 per plank.
There's about 25 planks per room. I've done the hallway, landing, bedroom, living room, dining room.
And I'm starting on the back bedroom. So by the time I've finished, it'll be around 7,000 of these.
The pins held the original carpet down. So has he done anything else?
I've knocked the bathroom wall through in the toilet through to the main bathroom.
I plastered all the ceilings as well and totally redid the back garden. And I'll be doing the front as well.
For a man with no tools, Tom's certainly been busy. And those pins aren't the only things he's tackled.
Woodchip is the worst creation on the planet.
And anyone that looks at a house that has woodchip, avoid it like the plague.
It took me just over a fortnight to strip the woodchip out of the main bedroom at the front.
And because it's an old house and the walls are a little bit crumbly,
as you took the woodchip off, it took half the wall with it, so I had a constant battle with woodchip.
It took two weeks to do that bedroom. Hallway and landing, three, maybe four weeks.
And I'm employing somebody to do the living room and the dining room.
It's been worth all that to return this house to the bare basics.
It gives Tom a chance to install some original features if he can track them down.
In terms of putting features back and things, internet, reclamation yards.
Which I thought would be cheap, but they're expensive. So it's a case of finding the thing that you like,
saving up for it and getting it. So the fireplace - saved up for that.
Researched on the internet, went and found it. It was kind of a reclamation fireplace centre.
It's worth shopping around for those period features as prices vary wildly.
My original budget was probably 15 to 20 in my head. I think it's going to work out a lot more in the end.
But then I've probably spent about 7,000 so far.
So I've kind of done the basics for seven. But the kitchen will obviously take sort of five or six.
The bathroom's going to take two. I reckon it's going to be at least 30 grand.
The house originally cost Tom 211,000.
And he's spent 7,000 so far. He's saving money by doing most of the work himself and borrowing tools.
To see if he's going in the right direction,
I asked two local estate agents for their opinions.
Well, it looks like the vendor's kept the original features.
He's made the place much more open.
He seems to have done a nice job.
I think the changes that have been made so far are really positive.
Making the bathroom bigger will make the property much more modern
and appeal to a wider spectrum of buyers.
If Tom carries on the way he's going with the renovation,
will an attractive period building bring in an attractive rent?
I think this property should rent for around £1,200 per calendar month.
The rental for this property would be in the region of 1,200 per month.
That's pretty good.
That's pretty good.
I'm glad he's pleased. He's doing a grand job. Hopefully that will be reflected in the market value.
I think he's going along the right lines in terms of ways of decorating and improving the property.
I think we're working around about 325,000.
If this property was renovated to a high specification, they could achieve somewhere in the early 300s.
I'd recommend an asking price of 310,000.
310 and 325? That's brilliant.
I'm well chuffed with that.
Awesome indeed. If Tom spends all his £15,000 budget,
the overall outlay will be around £226,000.
That's potential pre-tax profit of 76,000 to 91,000, minus usual expenses.
Not bad for a property auction novice.
So, what advice can Tom pass on to those who hope to follow his lead?
Get a right set of pliers cos it makes all the difference to get nails out the floor.
-If you use normal pliers, they don't work. But if you use the curved end ones, they work.
-What a gem!
It was back in the spring of 2007 when I first visited a 400-year-old cottage called The Pippin
in the village of Calne in Wiltshire.
Although some might say it was looking pretty good for its age,
time had taken its toll and it was in need of a lot of tender loving care from a skilled craftsman.
Step forward professional carpenter Glyn. He paid £116,000 to turn it into his new home
and was under no illusions about what he'd taken on.
-I'll put in a lot of hours.
-A labour of love.
-A labour of love definitely.
When we first returned three months later, Glyn had made a start
and was discovering all sorts of things about the cottage's history.
While I was doing the fireplace, I was pulling out...
These were very sooty. These pieces haven't really been cleaned up yet.
But I've got a letter, a letter to Mother from the son.
Um... And they're all dated 1878, 1879.
I've got a North Somerset and Wilts Guardian.
A hymn sheet and various other pieces of paper.
Clearly the cottage had a fascinating past. But what about its future?
Well, two years on and we're back.
And just look at it now.
Glyn has resurrected the old inglenook fireplace and uncovered
and, where necessary, replaced the oak beams.
The walls have been traditionally plastered with lime and horsehair
and painted using lime or clay paints. So this doesn't just look authentic, it is authentic.
And remember the tiny kitchen? Glyn hasn't only made the most of the space,
he's utilised all the bits and pieces he could find.
The kitchen, I replaced the broken flags on the floor.
And I replaced a couple of joists.
They're all oak joists now to the original sizes
because a couple of them were broken and collapsing.
And it's just a question of design, really.
I'm making the best use of the space.
I've got a drop-leaf, gate-leg table there or half of it.
The other half didn't get wasted.
I built the bathroom cabinet, the towel rail, the toilet roll holder and the light pull with that.
# Let's go round again
# Maybe we'll turn back the hands of time
# Let's go round again One more time... #
Recycling, re-using or re-working is the name of the game for Glyn.
The kitchen cupboards and worktops were old units he found locally and adapted to fit the space.
This approach continues throughout the cottage.
Well, the upstairs, um... I mean, this bedroom in particular,
I haven't done an awful lot, really, well, apart from re-plastering and painting.
This is the original banister, original stairs.
I stripped back and cleaned out the timber work.
This electric cupboard there was made from an old chest of drawers that was left here.
I hand-made the window shutters, again out of reclaimed material.
It's easier for me to make shutters than it is curtains.
This clever combination of adapting old wooden furniture
and restoring what was already here works brilliantly.
It keeps true to how the old cottage would have evolved naturally over the years.
Do you remember that drop-leaf table in the kitchen that Glyn cut in half?
Well, this bathroom - originally, it was part of the bedroom.
And this was the bedroom fireplace
that had been knocked about and blocked up.
I've designed and made a bath panel with access to the taps
and access for storage at the other end.
Um... Again this is recycled. This is the other half of the kitchen table.
The towel rail, light pull and toilet roll holder are part of that table.
So Glyn has brought his carpentry skills to the fore.
Everywhere you look, there's something he's created especially for the cottage.
He's made it his home, but at the same time has been sympathetic to this Grade 2 listed property.
It now looks much more as you'd expect for a 400-year-old cottage called The Pippin.
So what's it been like doing all that work?
Well, we agreed at the outset that it was a labour of love.
And it's been that, you know. An awful lot of labour.
But I've enjoyed it. It's been good.
As it is Grade 2 listed, there were certain things Glyn couldn't change.
Bizarrely, one of them was the 1970s' windows.
But for the interior, that was no great hardship for Glyn.
He was determined to restore it in a traditional manner, but the colour of the house was slightly different.
The outside of the house, it's been a problem,
because...well, the paint hadn't gone quite the same colour as I wanted it to.
The colour I had in mind was more conservative.
But now I see the orange compared to what I wanted and I've learned to live with that.
As with the uncertainty over the colour of the exterior,
he's also unsure what his final budget will turn out to be.
He thinks he's spent around £10,000 but isn't sure.
So does a traditional cottage cut it in the modern property market?
What do two local estate agents think?
Glyn bought The Pippin for £116,000 at auction.
With a budget of around £10,000 plus costs, he's probably spent around 130,000.
So has this labour of love blossomed into a good investment?
I think this property has been restored very well.
He's maintained all the inherent charm and expanded on that, really.
The cottage has been done up with a lot of care
and it shows right the way through.
He's used the plaster, which is a lime-based plaster, which gives a nice feel to it.
It's very cosy. And yes, I think it will be a pleasure to be in here.
Having bought the cottage for 116,000 and with an estimated outlay of no more than 10,000,
has Glyn spent around £130,000 wisely?
I would market this property in the region of 145 to just under 150.
We would be asking for this property a figure of 145,000 with a view to achieve in excess of 140,000.
That could see a profit of £10,000 to £15,000 for Glyn. What does he think about that?
That's about what I was expecting.
Well, a small profit but a fantastic home.
Glyn has put in an awful lot of work to restore the cottage. Has it turned out the way he hoped?
Yes, it's been good fun.
It's the second oldest dwelling in Calne and the most famous of modern times now as well
thanks to your programme, so...
Oh, the power of television!
# Fame, fame, fame, fame, fame
# Fame... #
But famous or not, there's no disguising the fact that Glyn has done a fantastic job here.
The cottage should be set for another 400 years at least.
Who knows? Perhaps we'll be back in another few centuries to see how it fares.
-That's it for today's show.
-Join us next time for more thrills and spills on Homes Under The Hammer.
-See you then.
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Stoke-on-Trent with a tiny kitchen, and a block of bedsits in London. They also revisit a 400-year-old listed house in Wiltshire. 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.