Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Derby with some fire damage, a property in Cardiff in need of an update and a quarry in Wadebridge, Cornwall.
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Hello. Despite the property market downturn,
auctions are still a popular place for buyers and sellers in the UK.
That's right. Buyers track down vendors looking for quick sales.
But given that the average auction lot takes just three minutes to sell, you've got to keep your nerve
and your wits about you when you buy your home under the hammer.
We all love a bargain, but none more so than those who buy at auction.
And with a room full of prospective buyers it can get pretty tense in there.
So let's check out the bargains that got snapped up on today's show.
Things are really starting to heat up at this house in Derby.
What is all this black? It looks like there's been some fire damage.
I'll be travelling back in time to this property in Cardiff.
A little bit stuck in the '60s, with the old wood-chip wallpaper and these funny old curtains.
And I'll be in Wadebridge, Cornwall,
trying to dig up some ideas for this old quarry.
What could you do with this apart from having it maybe as a set for a James Bond movie?
All these properties sold at auction.
We'll find out who bought them and what they paid for them.
It's yours, sir. Thank you very much.
The Amber Valley in Derbyshire.
Gorgeous it is, too.
I'm on the outskirts of Westhouses, that's where the property that went up for auction is located.
An ex-miner's cottage, so that sounds very appealing.
'In fact, the whole area around here is an ex-mining community.
'A lot of the properties date from the 1800s, and are old miner's cottages.
'So, with that history in mind, let's see what I can dig up today.'
# Workin' in a coalmine Goin' down, down, down... #
As miner's cottages go, this sounds pretty good.
It's three-bedroomed, end of terrace.
I like that, especially...
when you've got views like that right by the side of it.
But I haven't told you the best bit yet.
The guide price was just 32,000 quid.
'Yes, you heard me right.
'A three-bedroomed house for a guide price of just 32 grand.
'But that lovely red brick exterior hides a possible reason
'why that's such a relatively low price.'
# I'll take you to burn... #
So, for that kind of money, your expectations are set fairly low.
But - you will be surprised, cos straight in here, not a bad-sized sitting room.
The first thing I see is, what's all this black?
It looks like there's been some fire damage.
That could be why it's got such a low price. Stairs going up there.
Before I move on to that, fire damage can cause all sorts of issues, not least the electrics,
the floor joists and all that stuff.
So you want to have that checked out. But it's a good-sized room.
Through into the rear kind of sitting room area...
Kind of strange corridor leading out to the back door,
and this wall, which to me seems a complete waste of a wall.
Get rid of that, increase the size of this room. It's already quite big.
It's got things like a real fire in here, which is nice to see.
But with that wall gone, it would be a great room.
The one letdown, as far as I can see straight away, is this.
The kitchen, and then onwards to the bathroom and loo.
As you can see, in a right old state.
But spend a bit of money, think about reconfiguring a little bit,
and you've got yourself a really great property - for that money!
'Many people would be put off by the amount of dust, dirt and grime,
'and especially that smoke damage in the front rooms.
'But I reckon most of that is superficial, caused by those open fireplaces.'
# Sometimes you just get caught where the smoke blows... #
'Upstairs, I discovered a lot more to get my passion ignited.'
Upstairs, a bit of a surprise.
Three really good-sized bedrooms.
One there, one there and then,
the best of all, this one. Look at the height of the ceilings.
And just the size of the room, really nice.
Lots of light pouring in through the windows.
It looks like it's in a real state, but you know what?
Yeah - the paperwork is a bit shoddy,
but it's not going to take much to sort that out. And at least it's not wood-chip!
'This house has really got me excited.
'Not only has it got plenty of room, lovely views
'and bags of potential, it's also got a tempting guide price
'of just £32,000.'
'But I wondered what a local property expert would make of it,
so I asked the auctioneer who sold it.'
This property is quite unusual,
not in terms of its layout but in terms of what's here now.
It's grubby, it's dirty. It needs refitting.
So, in a sense, it's good auction material.
If you simply renovate what's here, it actually doesn't entail a lot of expenditure.
It doesn't look good, but a lot of it is cosmetic.
It's got potential to it. Clearly, money does need to be spent on it.
You can make it into a perfectly desirable small house, and you can do that at reasonable cost.
With that potential in mind - once work has been done here,
what could it be worth on the resale market?
I don't think on today's market, renovated, you would put this up for sale at a price exceeding £79,950.
That's a decent profit -
depending, of course, on how much was spent here.
It looks like it already has some occupants in the roof.
So, how much would the rest of this property make if rented out?
When renovated, I think this will have a rental value of about £450 a calendar month.
Well, if you don't see this as an appealing proposition, then I ain't taught you nuttin'.
It's a great little house in a good location.
Potential for rental - well, that's brilliant.
A bit of sorting out to do, but overall, for that guide price, an absolute winner.
Let's see who spotted it when it went to the auction.
Lot number 51. Where do you want to be on this, ladies and gentlemen?
36 is bid, by the bar.
At 36,000. 37 at the back.
39. At 39.
40,000 with me on a proxy bid. At 40,000.
41 is bid. At 41, puts the proxy out at 41.
At 41. 42, 44 down the centre.
At 44, 45.
46 is bid. 46,500, sir?
47,500? At 47,000.
47,500. 47,500. 48?
47,500 here. 48, a fresh bidder.
And a half again. 50,500.
It's against you at 50,500. 51.
52,500. 53 elsewhere?
At 52,500, then - going once...
going twice... Third time?
Sold at 52,500, thank you.
'That final bid of £52,500 came from Lucy.
'Lucy's a nutritionist for a pet food company, and she bought this house with her builder husband Matt
'to extend their property portfolio.
'They've lived in Derby for 11 years, and have a two-year-old daughter.
'I caught up with Lucy to find out about her renovation plans.'
-Lucy, lovely to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
Before we talk about the house, I've got to say, I understand that your maiden name was Alexander?
-So you were Lucy Alexander?
-I did. I modelled myself right on your co-presenter.
So, have you watched the show?
-Oh, since about day one.
-So we inspired you in some way, did we?
How was the auction?
Nerve-racking. Oh, nerve-racking. Nail-biting.
I've bought horses at auction. That's easy, compared to buying a house.
I think we thought we were going to get it round about the 50 mark, but it went up a bit longer.
So, yeah. Very terrifying.
What do you feel about what you paid?
We're happy. We kind of thought it would go between 50 and 55,
judging by the other properties in the area. So, yeah, we're pleased.
52,500's not too bad.
'It's 20 grand over the guide price, though.
'But, in my opinion, still a great buy at that price.
'However, remember it will need a lot spent on the renovation -
'particularly to sort out that smoke damage.'
What's been damaged, as far as you're aware? Are you concerned?
We're not particularly concerned.
The chap who we bought the house from had actually started to repair
the house, so we know it's in quite good order.
It's just unfortunate that the redecoration needs to occur in the front half of the house.
-It had already started in the back.
So things like the electrics, were they sorted out?
-Yeah, that's all been done.
We're fairly confident.
But you never know what you're going to find until you start these things.
We're not novices, we've done it before.
-How many times have you done it before?
Cos you're talking like you are
Miss Property Developer, really!
It's all a facade.
Thought you were going to say, "Oh, this is our 50th."
This is the second. But we're hoping it's a string of many.
'This may be only Lucy and husband Matt's second property in their portfolio,
'but they sound confident about the plans for the renovation work here.'
Well, I think to start with we're going to get the new doors and windows ordered.
We're going to get this wall out here. Get the gas connected.
Then we're going to have a serious look and see what the roof's like, cos it's not in a great condition.
And order a kitchen and bathroom and then just...go at it, I think.
-That's the idea.
-So what kind of budget have you got set aside?
Well, we reckon 10 to 15's quite safe.
We're hoping 10, but obviously 15 gives you a bit of contingency.
And a timescale for the work?
We hope to have it rented out within,
probably being realistic, about five to six months.
'But that budget and timescale could have been massively affected
'if the property had turned out to be even more damaged than it first looked.
'It didn't help that they hadn't even seen inside the property before they bought it.'
Well, we hadn't actually looked inside this house before we bought it.
-We did read the legal pack.
-But we hadn't looked in because it just happened to catch my eye at work
and we didn't have time before the auction.
So we'd looked at the outside, and we'd spoken to the neighbours.
It was actually a pleasant surprise when we realised how big it was.
-So, who's going to do the work?
-Well, not me, obviously! That's a husband's job.
No, it'll be a team effort. But it'll be weekend working, really, because we both work full time.
Right. But you're not going to get contractors in, it's you and your husband?
-No, it's me and my husband and potentially some family members roped in as and when.
Well, listen, lovely to meet you, Lucy. Good luck with it.
-We'll see how you get on.
-Thank you very much.
So, Lucy's namesake, before she was married, well on her way
to becoming a successful property developer just like OUR Lucy.
A few hurdles in the way with this one, though.
I'm particularly worried about that roof.
Once you start digging into those tiles,
all manner of problems might be unearthed.
How is she going to get on? You can find out later in the show.
This is the River Taff in Cardiff.
OK, so it's not the most picturesque stretch of the river, but it's getting better.
Besides, everybody loves a river view.
And who can argue with only a five-minute walk to the city centre?
'This area of Cardiff is known as Grangetown,
'and it sits downstream from the Millennium Stadium.
'It's had a bad image over the years,
'but it now attracts young professionals,
'as it's so close to town and the fast-redeveloping riverside.'
# I love sitting down by the riverside
# Watching the water go flowing by... #
So, steps from the water is the property I'm here to see.
No river views, but it sounds like quite a stunner.
It's described in the catalogue as a spacious, stone-built house with character.
And so it is.
Wow! It's got six bedrooms and a guide of only 175,000 grand.
I can't wait to explore.
'It's a grand old wedding cake of a building,
'iced with gothic Victorian details, with vast proportions.
'Quite something from the outside, but will the inside be as sweet?'
Now, I know that somebody lived in this house for 30 years,
so I'm expecting dated.
But, you know, sometimes with that you get a house that's untouched.
And by the looks of things, it hasn't been touched.
I mean, look at that beautiful cornicing up there.
Oh, and look!
Now that is amazing!
You know, I'd say that there are Minton tiles all the way down this hallway.
It's absolutely beautiful, although somebody has just sploshed a load of old white paint everywhere.
Now, look at this. The banister, going upstairs.
This newel post is taller than me.
That's a really lovely thing to see.
So far, some gorgeous features.
Let's have a look around in the lounge.
'OK, so the decor hasn't been updated here
in a good 30-odd years, I'd say.
'But the space in these reception rooms is huge,
'and those grand bay windows really make the place bright.
'But I would update this '60s fireplace in here.
'And that goes for the one in the living room
'on the other side of the house, too.
'Through that serving hatch is a disappointing kitchen
'in desperate need of a livening-up.
'As is the ground floor bathroom just down the corridor.
'I'm not sure if that suite is called pea green or avocado -
'but either way, it's really got to go.'
So let's have a look up here on the first floor.
We've got a separate toilet and a bathroom on this sort of half-landing.
And up these stairs, four really, really good-sized bedrooms.
Now, you can see it's a little bit stuck in the '60s
with the old wood-chip wallpaper and these funny old curtains.
'Up here, there are even more of those '60s fireplaces.
'But they aren't the only source of heat,
'as there's central heating throughout.
'So, one less job to tackle.
'Upstairs on the third floor there are two generous double bedrooms.
'However, the old gas lamps suggest there may be more work to do
'under the plaster and wood-chip to update the pipes.
'This could be an amazing family house,
'but you'd need a family the size of the Von Trapps to fill it.
'I'm not sure it would give as good a return if just kept as one unit.'
You know, it's a massive house, in an area that families don't necessarily favour.
So how about turning it into individual letting rooms?
It would then become a house of multiple occupancy, or HMO,
so you would have regulations to adhere to.
But you already have two good-sized bathrooms,
and I think the rental returns could make it really worth your while.
'And if the buyer wanted an even larger project,
'around the back there's a whole yard of extra room.'
So, out the back you've not got so much a rear garden as a collection of garages -
but also the beginnings of an idea.
Just look at the size of next door's extension. It's huge!
I think the real potential here lies in extending the space
and splitting this house into separate flats.
Now, property conversions can be expensive and they can be tricky to plan.
But I reckon you could get as many as five units here with an extension that size.
And, of course, the fact this is an end-of-terrace,
with bags of options for separate access,
means that this house has made your job much, much simpler. I like it.
# That's how you like it, huh That's how you like it, huh... #
'If you think I've written off this house as a single unit, well, you'd be right.
'But what does a local property expert think?
'I asked one along to hear what he thinks the options are here.'
It's a grand old house, it's got lovely features. It's tired.
Obviously in the past it's been occupied as one family unit.
Any prospective buyer of this property has got two main options.
Firstly, to consider the prospect of renovating it to a family home.
But unfortunately, I don't think the resale value would be there.
The greater prospect, and thus where the real capital return will arise, is if it's converted into flats.
'In fact, he doesn't think that even after renovation
'it would sell for much more than its guide price of 175,000.
'So, what could it make if each room were rented out individually?'
I'd predict that the rental market, let's say for room let, would be £250 per room, per calendar month.
For flats, two beds would equate to about £550 per month.
A one bed, at £450 per month.
So, there's excellent potential rental income.
Once a grand home for a family, this house no longer suits its surroundings.
Its days as one dwelling must surely be over.
Time to split it up, and move in those young professionals.
Whoever does that could see a tidy profit.
Let's see who spotted it at the auction.
Lot number 11, what am I bid for this one? Can't I see £170,000?
All right, there's 160. It's a start, sir, but it's not enough.
160. Is that 70? Thank you, madam.
At 170 I'm bid.
All right, 2. Thank you, fresh bidder, 172.
At 172...and 5, if you like now?
At £172,000... 5, can I?
Shout if I'm missing you.
5, thank you, sir. At 175.
At 175,000 there with the catalogue, right in the back.
At 175,000 is your bid.
Are you coming back in as well, sir?
I really thought there'd have been a lot of hands.
Can't I see another one?
The bid is in the back, at £175,000.
Have you done? Is it another one?
It's yours, sir. Thank you very much.
'That successful bid of £175,000 was from Cardiff man Will.
'He works in the building trade,
'and already manages four other properties alongside his brother.
'In fact, we featured Will on the show before, when he bought his first property.
'We caught up with him back at this house to hear about the plans for his latest venture.'
# So have a nice day... #
Will, congratulations. It wasn't hard to spot you at the auction with your superhero T-shirt.
That's me, yeah.
-Are you pleased with your purchase?
-Very pleased. It's a nice big house.
-You jumped in with that price right at the end.
-It was only one bid.
That's all it took. And I was keen to get in at the 175, that was my idea.
After that you've got the stamp duty, the psychological threshold.
-How much more would you have gone?
-I had in my head a figure of 181.
-That was my top.
-So there was a bit more movement in me,
but I was very pleased to have it at the 175.
Although the auctioneer was very keen to get some extra bids out,
he was cajoling the crowd a fair bit.
I was very pleased when no-one else put their hand up.
I know you're no newcomer to this, because Martin's met you before.
That's right, a couple of years ago.
-So you've obviously been very busy.
-I have indeed.
Since then, my brother and I now have four places that we rent out.
So, we filmed with Martin at the first one,
and since then we've had two more and now we have this one.
'And it's not just his property portfolio he's built up since the last time we saw him.'
Life's changed a fair bit since I last met the Homes Under The Hammer team. I have a family now.
-The lady who was my girlfriend the last time is now my fiancee, I'm pleased to say.
And we have a little girl, an addition to the family.
-Skye Elizabeth is now 14 months old.
She's a handful. She's all over the place, running around
and starting to talk now. There's been a lot of change in life.
'Although Skye Elizabeth would have hours of fun playing in such a big house,
'Will doesn't intend to make this property their family home.'
So Will, what sort of ideas have you got for this property?
It lends itself well to being split into flats.
The central staircase up the middle with rooms coming off the side makes it ideal.
But that does take money, obviously.
A quicker solution would be to rent out rooms in the place, which I have done before.
That would bring in some money a bit quicker,
and perhaps we can think about possibly turning it into flats in the future.
Now, that's a house of multiple occupancy,
and you've got lots of regulations to adhere to.
Which sometimes can be quite difficult,
it can prove to be quite a tiresome job.
-I know there's lists and lists of regulations with certain councils.
-I've been in touch with the council.
They've given me a list of what they would require if was to be turned into an HMO.
I'm happy that I can achieve all of those standards, and make it
a nice place to live for a whole bunch of people.
'It sounds like Will really has done his homework -
'always vital when taking on a building like this to turn into an HMO.
'Will estimates the work will take between two and three months, and cost around £10,000 to £15,000.
'He will do most of the work, along with his own team of builders.
'He has a budget of around £15,000.
'Now, I was curious to find out how sympathetic the renovation was going to be
'to those lovely period features.'
Let's talk about the original features. You've got my favourite,
Minton tiles in the hallway. This beautiful cornicing...
-There's cornicing throughout.
-That stunning staircase.
-Please tell me you're keeping them.
-It's all going to go.
No, I'm joking. It's all going to stay.
Listen, you can by all means get rid of these old fireplaces,
but I want to see those beautiful hallway tiles intact.
The tiles will be staying.
Unfortunately, I did have a quick peek under the carpet and they do stop just around the stairs,
so I'm going to have some sort of transition. But I'll certainly keep what I can.
'Mmm - I think I made my feelings clear on that subject.
'But I can't wait to see what Will does with the renovation.'
It's so lovely to catch up with Will - his career is storming along
and the houses are getting bigger and bigger.
I think his ideas for the HMO are sound, but that budget is tight
and he needs to get those rooms filled quick-smart.
Find out how he gets on later on in the programme.
Coming up, I discover some potential at this old quarry in Cornwall.
It's already got planning permission approved - but not for a house.
Back at this house in Cardiff,
the renovation work wasn't as simple as it appeared.
All the roofs were leaking.
There was rot in some of the timbers, which have had to be replaced.
But first - in Derbyshire everybody's been lending a hand.
Amazing what a two-year-old can do with a paintbrush.
We're returning to Derbyshire, to this three-bedroomed ex-miner's cottage.
It sold at auction for £52,500,
and the winning bidders were husband and wife
and part-time property developing team Lucy and Matt.
It needed more than a quick vacuum and once-over with a duster,
but it sounded like Lucy had already been delegating responsibility.
-So who's going to do the work?
-Well, not me, obviously. That's a husband's job.
No, it'll be a team effort. But it'll be weekend working because we both work full-time.
Handily, Matt's day job is as a builder.
So, how did he get on with the work?
We caught up with the project seven months later.
Let's hope it isn't just the seasons that have changed.
Unfortunately, Matt couldn't make it for filming
so it was Lucy, a pet food nutritionist,
who was going to show us if they were barking up the wrong tree
or were they more like cats that got the cream.
So, since you were last here we've completely renovated it
top to bottom on the inside.
We've taken the wall out between the kitchen and the hall.
We've created a small utility room instead of the old kitchen.
We've put in a log burner, full new central heating system, rewired.
Carpets, the lot, really.
New windows as well.
On top of all that, they've ripped out that grimy old bathroom
and fitted a swish modern suite instead.
Baths will certainly will be more pleasant and relaxing now.
Lucy and Matt have a two-year-old daughter.
So, how has this project fitted in around family life
and, of course, their full-time work?
Juggling things to try and get work done at the weekends has been difficult.
But we've got a good support network of mother-in-laws
and things like that. So we've had childcare covered.
Lucy's been up helping as well.
It's amazing what a two-year-old can do with a paintbrush.
Matt has done all the work on the house himself -
with a little help from Lizzie, of course.
So, the budget for the renovation has stayed well within their target.
We said we reckoned between £10,000 - £15,000 spend.
So far we've spent 10, which we're quite pleased at.
But we've still got a little bit to do outside.
We need to do the car parking space, deck the back and guttering.
We've probably got maybe another £1,000 spend, maybe a little bit more.
But we're pleased with how the budget's gone.
All fine on the budget front, then.
But how much value have Lucy and Matt added to the property?
We asked along two local estate agents to tell us what they thought.
Our first impressions of the property,
they've made a good job of it. Nice, neutral colours.
Nice clean kitchen, all very good.
As a refurbishment to a 100-year-old-property,
this has brought it up to date nicely.
The downstairs layout is very good.
They've moved the kitchen into what was the dining room,
created an open space that they can also eat in, as well as prepare the food.
So it's made a much better, bigger kitchen.
You've still got a good-sized lounge, utility room and bathroom.
The bathroom fixtures are nice. The tiling works well.
The kitchen looks the part, so people coming in will appreciate it.
I like the fact it's located on the end.
You've got the open views out of the window, lovely rural views.
That would be my favourite point of the property.
So, once all the work's finished, what could they sell the place for?
Remember, Lucy and Matt reckon they'll spend around £11,000 on the renovation.
Added to their purchase price of £52,500,
that is a total of around £63,500 invested here.
Looking at sale, it's probably going to fetch somewhere between £75,000 and £80,000.
I would put it on the market at £75,000.
It seems a little bit low.
Obviously, with the property market the way it is,
it's not far off really what we'd expected.
That's one of the reasons why we'll rent it.
That's still a healthy pre-tax profit
of around £11,500 to £16,500 before deductions.
But Lucy and Matt decided to rent it out instead.
What could they earn from that?
On the rental market, I would offer it at £400 per calendar month.
For rental, £395 per month is what they're likely to receive.
I'm quite surprised at that.
We've had quite a few bits of interest already at £550.
Again, with the way the economic market is at the moment, we'll just wait and see.
A shrewd move in these uncertain times.
Once this has been rented, they'll be at auctions looking for their next project.
It sounds like Lucy has certainly got the property developing bug.
We're really pleased.
I think the transformation of the property is amazing.
We love it.
We hope that whoever moves in loves it too.
I'm in Wadebridge, five miles up the River Camel from fashionable Padstow.
It's a pretty little Cornish market town with,
we hope, some interesting property bargains.
Wadebridge is one of north Cornwall's main market towns
and is surrounded by gorgeous countryside.
There's lots of new property development
going on which is always a good sign.
So, although the old bridge crosses the River Camel,
I hope the property I've come to see won't give me the hump.
So, just two minutes' walk outside the town centre, will we find a bargain?
The price is certainly right.
The guide was £28,000.
But the project, and it's a project rather than a property, is rather unusual.
Well, you weren't expecting that, were you?
Who'd have thought you'd find such a lost world behind those metal gates?
In case you hadn't guessed, it is an old quarry.
It's only small, but pretty dramatic.
What could you do with this, apart from having it as a set for a James Bond movie?
Well, you'll be interested to know that it's already got
planning permission approved - but not for a house.
The sun gets blocked out by those high cliff faces.
I wonder if there's any loose rubble up there.
I really don't think this is an ideal place for a house anyway.
I looked at the approved plans
to see what could be built here instead.
The plans that have been approved are for ten lock up garages.
Wait until you see the plans.
Here's the edge of the quarry here and here are the different garages.
You can see there's in total, six smaller ones and four larger ones.
Actually, very clever use of space.
A bit of work required cutting into the rock face here and also here.
But apart from that, really making the most of what space there is.
So, why garages? There's a real demand for them round here.
There's a new development up the road that could use them.
There's a commercial development across the way.
Garages will always be popular,
not only for people to store their cars, but as a place to put junk.
So, garages for storage or cars.
And maybe even workshops.
It's a great idea to be able to help this unused ground
turn over a new leaf and maybe even make some money in the long run.
But is there anything else you could do with this land that would be more fruitful?
So, what could you do with this place?
Well, maybe a house. I don't know.
Would it be to anyone's cup of tea living in a quarry?
Maybe not. How about building some kind of warehouse,
storage facility or something like that?
That is an option. But this idea of garages,
you know what, I think that is the right option.
A garages is going to cost you about £5,000 to build.
So you've got ten garages, that's £50,000.
Let's say you buy this plot for £30,000, that's £80,000.
I reckon around here you'll be able to rent out a garage for, what, £70 a month?
That's over £8,000 a year in rent.
That's over a 10% yield.
Go with garages!
The sums add up perfectly to me.
But what does a local estate agent think?
I asked one along to take a look.
To build a house would be pretty much unfeasible.
You're looking at banks of around 120 feet high surrounding it.
I can't see anybody really wanting to live underneath that.
To make money off this plot I would simply say to build each unit
and either sell them separately, not as one job lot.
Sell them separately in between £6,000 and £9,000
as a maximum price for the larger units.
Or, more advisably, to rent them out on a monthly basis.
How much could those units rent out for?
Remember, the plot has plans for two different-sized garages.
I would estimate the rental figure
to be within the region of about £50 to £70.
£50 for the smaller units, £70 for the larger ones per month.
At first glance, maybe not a project for everyone.
But, you know what, these garages
could surprisingly turn out it be a real money earner.
Big question is, who dug deep in their pockets for this old quarry?
Let's go to the auction.
So, who's going to kick us off?
Who's going to say 20?
We have 20. You're 22. You're 24.
24. 26. 28.
30,000? 30. 31, possibly? That really was your limit, OK.
At 30,000 on my left hand side once, then. Thank you, sir. 32.
33? 33. 33, I've got on my left.
I'll skip by you for a moment. 33.
34, sir? 34. 35.
There's a triangle of you. 36, if you like. I'll come back.
How about 36 there?
35 is on my left. 35.
At 35. Half. 35,500, I will in the middle.
At 35... 36. At 36.
36 on my left. 36.
One of two. There's 36.
At 36 on my left, first time.
At 36,500. 36,500. 36,500. 37, sir?
37. At 37. At 37.
At 37. At 37.
At 37. At 37.
Think of all the plans you had.
At 37 on my left once, then.
At 37 twice. At 37.
Half? He does, 37,500. 37,500.
38, sir? 38.
At 38. At 38.
At 38, left has it. At 38 on my left has it, first time.
Second time. Is there another half?
Otherwise 38 is going to go on my left hand side. All done?
Selling then at 38 and done.
38 and done. Thought I heard a voice, but there we go.
At 38 and done at that.
Sir, congratulations. Well done. Sorry gents, hard luck.
That top bid of 38,000 was made by Gerald.
He's a retired local farmer.
I caught up with him back at the quarry to hear about his plans for it.
Gerald, nice to meet you.
-And you, Martin.
-Congratulations, you bought a quarry.
Yes, it looks a bit like that.
Are you into geology, fossils and all that? Not at all.
I'm just a retired pig farmer that decided to take on another kind of challenge, really.
Wow, that's a bit of a shift of job.
Just a bit. Yep. Yep.
I thought, "Well, let's do something
"totally different to stop myself getting bored."
So, I bought a hole in the ground, really. Simple as that.
What was it that appealed about this hole in the ground?
I'd just sold a pig unit and I thought the cash in the bank is, like, 0% interest.
So I thought if I bought a quarry which has planning permission
for garages, then I could possibly let them out
and get ten garages in here.
If you buy a house, you either let the house or you don't.
With garages I can, you know, I spread my risk a bit more, really.
-I like your logic.
That logic has come in handy for those approved plans, as well.
Gerald wants to reapply to the council to make the garages a little bigger.
This would mean more room and maybe make some more money, too.
But as it is surrounded by quarry walls,
I wondered how he was going to find that extra space.
Obviously, this is the gateway.
What I'm hoping to do is to just make these a bit wider,
cut back into the cliff a little more there.
Possibly these just a tiny bit wider that way.
And the same with these, really. Just to kind of...
-Inch them out a bit?
-Inch them out a bit
to give people just a bit more room each side of the car.
But we'd have to keep this turning area so people can drive in,
-back into the turning area.
It's good, though. It makes good use of the space.
Yeah, the architect's done well to fit it in.
Chipping into the quarry wall to get more space is a cracking plan.
But how much of a hit would the budget have to take?
So, what about the cost?
Yeah, we've kind of looked into that just roughly.
-The builder thought about £25,000 for the ten.
-About £2,500 each.
So you're looking at about £60,000 by the time you've finished?
Then we've got to do the site work in the middle.
Another £20,000 on top.
So, how much for the whole thing, including buying it?
Yes, well, you add it up.
38, 48, 58, 63, 73, 83.
Still, get them all rented out at £60 or £80 a month...
-It's still a good return.
-Could come together.
-Who do you suppose will rent these garages?
Just up the road there's quite a big development of
retirement homes, a lot of cottages up the road with no garages.
Some of those might be looking for a garage or storage.
To me, if you're a retired couple in a flat,
the gentleman needs somewhere to go to get away from the wife, really.
You're laughing, but it's true.
You wouldn't want to be shut up with the old woman all day, would you?
He could come down here, he could have a tinker in his garage.
You're providing a social service.
They'll pay me loads of money just to have a shed to go into.
How will you advertise that without the wife
going bonkers when she gets this through the letter box?
Or maybe she'd be happy?
Could be. Get rid of him.
That's a great plan.
Perhaps that Cornish logic is working overtime.
But Gerald does seem to have a good idea of what to do with
the plans and that's vital for his new property developing career.
But does he ever miss life on the farm?
No. My family, my son and daughter, weren't interested in the pigs.
So I said, right, sell that.
-So there's no SOW-er grapes?
-What a tail!
I had to get one in there somehow.
Lovely to talk to you. Good luck.
-I look forward to seeing how it turns out.
Yeah, we will.
So, a very interesting change of direction for Gerald.
But he's right to stick with the idea of putting garages on this plot.
Will it be a pig of a job or will it bring home the bacon?
You can find out later in the show.
Well, time has passed, several months in fact.
Have our new owners realised the hopes for their new homes?
Or have they had to step back and have a radical rethink?
It's time to go back and find out.
We're back in Cardiff, just a short walk down the river
from the Millennium Stadium at this grand old Victorian house.
It was in need of a brisk renovation to drag it out of the last century.
But, with eight great-sized rooms and a massive yard
out the back, this property had plenty of potential.
It was bought at auction for £175,000 by Will, a local property developer.
He was hoping to get a good return for his investment by turning it
into a house of multiple occupancy and renting out all eight rooms.
It can prove to be quite a tiresome job.
There's are lists of regulations with certain councils.
I've been in touch with the council, they've given me a list of
what they would require if it was to be turned into an HMO.
I'm happy that I can achieve all of those standards
and make it a nice place to live for a whole bunch of people.
And he's well on the way to achieving that.
Most of the rooms have been replastered and repainted.
Those old floorboards have been ripped up and replaced with new flooring.
Will has even installed replacement windows throughout.
And the whole house has been rewired.
There are still a few rooms that need to be finished.
Some look more like workshops than bedrooms at the moment.
It may seem like it's been a fairly straight-forward renovation,
a quick lick of paint here and some new carpets there,
but it's been a lot more complicated than that.
When you started going into the ceiling and roof spaces,
all the roofs were leaking.
There was rot in some of the timbers which have been replaced.
We had to strip it all out as there was no insulation.
It was freezing cold.
We've had to insulate it which was hard work.
We had to rip everything out, then re-plasterboard it and plaster it.
While doing that we discovered holes in the tiles,
problems with the felt which had to be fixed.
Then we've got the same problem in the bathroom.
When we took off the ceiling there we discovered there was water coming in.
But the ceiling's patched up now and the new suite is in, ready to be decorated.
That landing bathroom and toilet have also been transformed,
with a much more practical shower unit installed and stylish new fittings.
Although everything is plumbed in now,
there was yet another hidden problem in the pipeline for Will.
At the front of the house is a gaping hole
where the Water Board had to come and fit a new pipe.
The old one was lead and was pretty furred up.
We had to put a new water main in to keep the showers and hot water returning.
The mains pipe had to be replaced because it was lead.
And Will only had to pay for a new internal connecting pipe, which cost just 20 quid.
To meet the council's requirements for a house of multiple occupancy,
not only did Will have to make sure there were enough toilets,
basins and showers about the house,
he also had to install safety features such as smoke alarms and escape windows.
He even had to replaster all the ceilings.
Happily, he managed to preserve
as much of that lovely coving as he could.
There are a lot of period features in the house
that I was keen to keep and hang on to.
Things like beautiful coving going round the ceilings.
The beautiful coving becomes a problem
when you need to replaster board ceilings
and plaster over them to meet the HMO licensing regs.
So, I brought in good plasterers.
They know what to do.
They've fed the plaster in as best as they can
so we can keep the original coving, give it a good lick of paint.
It doesn't look too bad.
He's done a great job of retaining the original features.
Hang on, those lovely Minton tiles have been replaced by new tiling.
I'm not happy about that.
Once we peeled back the layers of carpet,
they were all cracked, all uneven, the damp was coming through.
I'm terribly sorry, they have had to go.
OK, then, I'll let you off this time.
Another big change has been in the kitchen which he's turned from
a dark and gloomy room into a modern space.
Welcome to my shiny new kitchen.
We've got to meet rules and regs in the kitchen area as well
to meet HMO licences purposes.
Certain amounts of worktop space needed.
Fridge freezer space. We're lucky on that front -
the previous owners left me one. We have a monster of an oven.
We have to have a certain amount of burners for a certain number of people.
We've even built a new wall. This was only single skin to begin with.
We had to do all sorts of things like that as well.
The one area that hasn't had any attention is out the back.
It's got worse. It's full of rubble from the building work.
But nothing a few trips to the dump won't sort out.
In fact, Will has got a fitting plan for the garage.
I've got a gymnasium in one of my houses that I used to live in.
I'm thinking of installing it in the garage.
Charging membership for the tenants
and perhaps they can use the gym in the garage.
So we've got a few ideas to bounce around.
A gym, what's next?
A sauna and a swimming pool?
Even with all the extra work he's had to do here,
he'll only be a few weeks over his three month schedule when he finishes.
What about the budget?
I had a stab at £10,000 to £15,000, just looking at it.
That has gone up in smoke a wee bit.
You can double the £10,000 and add on a couple on to that.
About £20,000 to £25,000 it will cost when it's all done.
Purely because you don't know what you've got
until you peel back the layers.
There's always problems that need fixing and that can be expensive.
If it does cost £25,000 for the work, on top of the £175,000 he paid
for it, his total spend here will be £200,000.
How good a return could he make here?
We asked a local estate agent along to give us his opinion.
What a transformation. It's fresh.
From the dull, damp airy rooms we had before, we have a freshness.
It's been re-rendered, rewired.
It feels much more homely, as it were.
The standard of the bathroom and kitchen fitments are very good.
Bearing in mind that they'll be geared to the young individual.
There will be wear and tear. But the quality is good, it should be durable.
The fact that the property has been divided into eight rooms,
from his point of view, provides a good rental income.
But I feel, long-term wise, perhaps in the next three to five years,
perhaps to consider a development at the back
and conversion into apartments.
But for the time being, Will is going to rent the rooms out individually.
How much could he charge for each?
In my opinion, if each room was let out per calendar month,
a rental of £300 to £350 could be achieved.
That's a bit more than I tend to charge.
I was thinking of charging £300 to £310.
To go up to £350, that would increase things.
Perhaps we'll have to look into it.
As it turns out, Will decided to stick to his £300 per room
to attract more potential tenants.
He's already managed to fill three of the eight rooms
and is hoping the rest will follow quickly.
For the moment, he's just glad to have more time to spend
with his daughter Skye and fiancee Scarlet.
I've done my best to have a work life balance, I have my little family now.
In a few weeks we will have slowed things down,
have a few days off and spend some quality time together.
Back in Cornwall, this old quarry was sold at auction for £38,000.
Gerald, a retired pig farmer, bought it with a view to investing
in property rather than leaving his money in the piggy bank.
That's a bit of a shift of job!
Just a bit. Yep. I thought, well, let's do something totally different
to stop myself getting bored.
So, I bought a hole in the ground really.
That hole in the ground had approved planning permission
for ten lock up garages,
which Gerald hoped would bring him a good rental return
once he'd built them, of course.
After nine months, it's been a great success.
Not only has he built all ten garages,
but Gerald has also opened up more opportunities for renting them
by making them higher spec.
I went back to the planners and said I'd like to
put up rather better than bog standard pre-cast concrete garages.
They said, "That's fine, but I'm afraid you have to pay another £1,005"
for us to consider it, which I've done.
Then they gave me the planning, so then we could get going on the site, really.
These high spec garages are made of breeze block,
not pre-fabricated concrete.
They are each slightly wider and deeper than the original plans.
The entrance gates and each individual garage door are electric.
In fact, there's even an electricity supply in each one.
There was also some extra work to do on the drainage outside
to meet the planner's requirements.
They wanted the water retained in the site somehow,
if possible, otherwise I had to go into the main drains
which would cost quite a bit of money.
So we raised the site 600ml and managed to bring
the rubble in and level the site up so that the drains,
you can see in the middle, the soak away is underneath the whole site.
So, the water disappears within itself, really.
So, any rain will be easily drained away.
But what if the rain fall is too heavy or, even worse, that riverbank bursts?
Gerald has the answer for that too.
This is Gerald's folly, really.
What happened was the council, to give the planning permission,
said that they wanted an escape ramp built to escape to nowhere!
But what is it, if the town floods,
people can come out of their garages
and walk up here to wait to be rescued.
So, everybody that comes here says, what is this?
And that's what it is. They wouldn't give us...
They won't sign the site off until this was up and built,
because everything they do in Wadebridge now,
they're worried about floods in perhaps 200 years time.
So, hopefully, my garages will still be here in 200 years time!
Well, better safe than sorry.
Even with that extra work, his build expenses have only overflowed by £1,000.
His build cost was £46,000.
So added to the £38,000 he paid at auction,
his total spend here has been about £84,000.
But how long has the project taken to complete?
The planning was about two and a half months.
Then, of course, like when I bought it,
by the time we got everything sorted out,
the building took about four and a half.
So, seven and a half months in total, really.
From start to finish.
Several local people said we can't believe how quick you've built them.
But it seemed quite a while to me when I was paying a builder, I can tell you!
The locals weren't just quick to spot the work going on.
They also inundated Gerald with inquiries,
some from up to 20 miles away.
So it didn't take long to start filling up those garages.
No. I was going to have a big splash,
I thought, in the local paper and advertise them.
But I put a board up on the front of the site just saying garages to rent.
And, amazingly, I soon had quite a list of people interested.
And at the moment I've got all ten let,
the last one is being taken tomorrow.
I've got a waiting list, still getting people ringing and inquiring.
Mostly, I don't think many will be used for cars as such.
I think, perhaps, less than half.
The others for storage.
I think there's a couple have got soft top cars which wanted to put them in.
Soft top car storage!
Well, with our weather in Britain,
I reckon that's a guaranteed year round income for Gerald!
With all the work complete and all the garages rented,
I asked along two property experts
to give their verdicts on Gerald's efforts.
The garages have been built to a good standard,
the electric gate is good.
It makes it more secure.
And the electric doors give it that little extra something.
I like what the gentleman has constructed here.
The development has come along well.
They are attractive garages, as attractive as a garage can be.
The specification of the garages is spot on, actually.
You can tell they're new. You can tell they're secure.
The fact that the garages do have power,
lighting, electric doors, it does seem like they've gone to town
on the actual construction and elements that they put into the property.
I would probably say it may be a bit overkill.
So what are the best options here,
is it better to rent the garages out or sell them?
The most profit, as a long-term investment, is going to be renting.
If you were to sell them, I would recommend selling them individually.
I would expect between £10,000 and £12,000 depending on the size of each garage.
For the foreseeable future, Gerald will be renting the garages out
for between £60 and £74 per calendar month,
depending on the size of the garage.
What do the experts make of those figures?
The rental figure I think could be achieved
per month per garage could be £60 to £70.
You're probably looking somewhere between
£60 and £75 per calendar month.
Multiply those valuations by the ten garages and you get an annual
rental income of between at least £6,000 and £7,500. Not bad at all.
It seems this project, his first as a property developer,
has worked out well.
-So, what's next for Gerald?
-A holiday next, perhaps!
But, no, I think if I could find a site,
you know, in the right place at the right price,
yeah, I would like to have another little go.
Maybe the start of something bigger.
I don't know.
So, there's a taster of what it's like to buy your home under the hammer.
And we'll be hot on the heels
of more brave auction buyers for you next time.
-We'll see you then. Goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Derby with some fire damage, a property in Cardiff in need of an update and a quarry in Wadebridge, Cornwall.
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.