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It's not just properties in poor condition that end up at the auction.
And in today's market, you might be surprised by what you find.
So, we've trawled the auction catalogues and brought you a selection for today's show.
If you're looking for a quick buy, an auction room can be a great place to start.
When the gavel falls, you know the property is yours, if you come up with the cash.
So let's see what inspired the buyers today on Homes Under The Hammer.
In Crewe, have I sniffed out a bargain or a problem in this property?
When you go round the house, use all your senses. There's definitely a smell of damp.
We return to a story we first showed you five years ago.
There were ambitious plans for this south London property,
and you're going to see the fabulous finished result.
And there's a shop in Basingstoke that's small but beautifully proportioned.
It's not exactly big.
All these properties went to auction. We'll find out who bought them and what they paid
when they went under the hammer.
You've bought it, sir.
For our first property that went to auction, we've come to the market town of Crewe.
Once home to a major railway works, it's now famous for the Bentley cars that are manufactured here.
This is Browning Street, pretty close to the town centre.
Up for auction was a three-bedroom detached house with a guide price of 60,000 quid.
Not bad, and you know what?
It looks all right from the outside.
The condition of the exterior of this Victorian property doesn't look too bad.
It once belonged to the church next door, so I'm praying that it'll be fine when we see the interior.
Once you get in, there's a small hallway leading to a reception room at the front of the house.
So, decent-sized sort of living room.
But something... HE SNIFFS
If you smell - and I've told you about this before -
when you're going around a house, use all your senses.
There's definitely a smell of damp, so that's got me thinking.
And sure enough, down here, underneath the window, yes, that feels damp.
My guess is that the damp-proof course has broken down.
It's not a major issue to sort out - get a firm in here,
they'll do an injection damp-proof course in there for you.
Not hugely expensive, but it's having some knock-on effects,
and you must be careful it's not affected the floorboards if there are any.
The decor is also dated and tired, as an estate agent would say, so a complete overhaul is required.
Through to the rear living room area.
Again, it smells of damp, and all over the walls a lot of signs of that.
Some good things. We have got double glazing, but I reckon when you come to restore this place,
once you start taking the paper off, you'll have lots of plastering to do.
Through into this area here, you've got your kitchen.
Again, it's definitely in need of a bit of tender loving care.
All the units want replacing. The boiler looks reasonably new. Maybe that's another good thing.
But, overall, it's going to take some money to sort this place out, but nothing too major.
The general state of the place inside is pretty good.
The property also comes with some outside space, but that's limited.
Out the back here you'd think that the boundary of the property ended just here.
But a really nice added bonus is that you've got about an extra metre.
It stretches all the way down there, so a real nice thing to have.
There's also this little courtyard.
Clearly in a bit of a state.
But, a bit of local history.
That there, apparently, is an old air raid shelter,
where the kids from the local Sunday school used to go.
One point to note is that the legal pack states that the new owner is responsible
for building and paying for a wall to divide their yard from the church next door.
Also that no building work is allowed on Sundays, so as not to disturb the church service.
That's the sort of crucial information to look out for in a legal pack.
Back inside, it's time to check out the three bedrooms.
Up here it continues to be grimy. But what's the layout?
Well, we've got one bedroom there, bedroom number one.
We've got a bathroom and loo upstairs, always a big bonus.
And then bedroom number two.
"But where's bedroom number three?"
I hear you shout at your television or computer screen.
Well, it's here. Not ideal, you have to walk through bedroom two to get through to bedroom three.
Clearly that's not good at all. So, the alternatives?
The obvious thing is to think about putting a corridor,
partition wall in here separating off the two bedrooms.
The only problem with that,
you're then left with two very small rooms. So, either way,
Well, the house right next door to the church went to auction
guided at £60,000. What does an estate agent
make of its prospects, and is there any other interesting
local information about this property?
The property was originally constructed
as the caretaker's house, and it's unusual in the fact that
it's detached - most of the houses round here are terraced.
It still could be an ideal home for anyone who's got an involvement with the church.
So, if the place was done up, what could its rental value be once modernised?
If this property were to be marketed for rental purposes, as a house,
then I'd be recommending an asking rent of £450 per calendar month.
'How about resale value? Once the property was renovated, how much could it be worth?'
From a resale value point of view,
this property would achieve in the region of £75,000 if left as it was,
and just updated and modernised.
Well, all in all, pretty solid house.
I like the fact it's located so close to the town centre and the fact it's detached is a real bonus.
So, remember, at a guide price of just 60,000 quid.
Let's find out what happened when it went under the hammer.
This is a detached house, it's well located for
the town centre and all the areas of employment.
What shall we say, then, for lot 13? Can I say 50?
45, then? Start me at 45?
Thank you, 45 I'm bid.
50, thank you. At £50,000.
55 is it? I'll take one if it helps.
£51,000. 52? 52.
53, 54, 55, 56.
At £56,000, 57 is it?
New bidder at 57.
£58,000. At 58,000.
£59,000, seated left.
New bidder on the back, 59,500.
60 is it? £60,000. Another half. 61?
65? 65. 65,500.
Yes, 66. He's shaking his head now.
The bid's here at £66,000.
Coming back in?
No, shaking his head. Bid's here then at 66. I'm selling at 66 for the first time.
At 66 for the second time.
Third and final time at £66,000?
Your lot, sir, well done.
That successful bid of £66,000 for the house next door to a church
was made by Oliver, who's based in Cheshire.
He's bought the house with his son Adam.
I met up with the father and son team back at their new property to find out their plans.
Adam, Oliver, lovely to meet you both. Congratulations.
Why did you want to buy this house?
It's in the right area, where we'd like to buy.
The guide price was cheap enough, so we thought we'd go for it.
-Tell me about you two.
-I'm a joiner, I work at a joinery manufacturers in Crewe
Monday to Friday, then I tend to do this sort of thing at weekends.
-I work for myself.
I'm a joiner also, but doing building work, extensions and all sorts of building work.
-But it's father and son, right?
Did you inherit this interest in joinery from your dad?
-Yes, Adam used to come to work.
Both my sons used to come to work with me in the school holidays.
Oliver and Adam have been developing houses as a sideline for about three years now.
This will be their fifth project together.
-What do you do with the properties? Hold on to them and rent them?
-We keep hold of them and rent them out.
Yes, they're all rented out.
So, why this one, then? What are you going to do with it?
Hopefully split it into two flats.
Flats? OK. Have you worked out the economics of it?
Yes, obviously it'll cost to turn into flats, but it'll still be paid for quicker doing it that way.
What are you going to do to it?
Well, from the roof downwards, everything will be brand-new.
-How d'you mean?
-Take the roof off, re-slate it.
New plaster, new doors, new windows.
Two new kitchens, two new bathrooms. We're going to turn it into two flats. Everything brand-new.
And how much of the work you actually do yourself?
We normally do all of it. Apart from things that we can't do - electrics,
-The plumbing as well.
-We don't to the plumbing, yes.
But more or less everything else.
Adam has already drawn up some plans for the proposed layout of the two new flats.
So, Adam, talk me through the plans here.
This is the proposed ground floor.
New staircase leading up to upstairs.
-That means you're swapping the stairs from this way to that way?
-A big job?
-But it enables you to achieve what you want?
Not very expensive, because I'll make the staircase myself.
And then the new entrance to the downstairs flat will be via a new front door here.
We've got a new kitchen and bathroom.
-Bedroom is over here, which is quite a good size.
Then this is the first floor now.
We've come up the stairwell into the living room.
Again, it more or less mirrors the downstairs flat.
Kitchen, we've got to build a tiny bit of an extension there.
-How long do you think this will take?
-Four months, maybe five months.
Right. Any idea of roughly how much it's going to cost?
£40,000 - £50,000. Something like that.
-Good luck with it.
Ambitious plans. They've already paid
£66,000 to buy the house, and plan to spend at least £40,000 more converting it.
So, Adam and Oliver have certainly got the experience to take on the project.
But converting it into flats is certainly something I hadn't considered,
and to be honest, I'm not sure the economics stack up.
How are they going to get on? You can find out later in the show.
We're going back in time now to a place we first showed you in 2004.
A time when property prices seemed to just keep on going up.
It was in Streatham, south-west London, and the house had a guide price of £240,000.
Just over a mile away from all the action of Streatham is this really pretty street.
It's Ribblesdale Road, and I'm here to see 115.
Here we are, so far so good. It looks well-maintained from the outside.
But let's hope it doesn't lose its looks once we go in.
And at that guide price of 240,000, it looked good value.
Yes, I'm getting a good feeling about this place.
-And I thought
-had a lot of junk mail!
If you clear it all out of the way, look...
You can see the most beautiful tiles on the floor here.
This is what I love to see.
Well, so far, so good.
Now this is going to be a great living space for somebody.
I love the way that all the old features are still intact, look at that beautiful ceiling rose.
We've got the lovely old, original sash windows.
They look like they're in good condition.
I don't think you'll need to replace those, so you save money there.
And look at this.
Beautiful marble surround fireplace.
Look at these tiles, 6 x 12, these are really unusual.
If you look closely, it's a really romantic scene.
But, if you're looking to save money while you're developing property,
I always say exposing and restoring what you've got can save you a bomb.
Lovely old floorboards down there.
If you sand those up, they'll just come up beautifully.
And also, it'll add value to your property.
At the back of the house there's a large dining room, with doors leading to the back garden.
Then there's a back room that leads into a kitchen, which has definitely seen better days.
Now, people buying property today love to see large open spaces.
This would be great as one big kitchen/diner.
Knock this wall down, but you'd need to comply with building regulations.
It'll be a good idea to talk to a structural engineer perhaps,
who would calculate the size of the beams that may be required for this job.
Upstairs there are three bedrooms and a bathroom.
Two of the bedrooms are very small and the bathroom with separate toilet isn't exactly huge either
but bedroom one is a different story altogether.
This is a large, bright bedroom.
Another fantastic feature fireplace over there.
You don't even get rooms this big in large detached, Georgian houses.
The good news with that is that you can afford to lose a bit of the bedroom space over here,
continue that staircase up to the loft so you make this a four-bedroomed two-bathroom house.
That can only add value.
Brimming with potential, this house has lovely original features just waiting to be restored.
With a guide price of 240 grand, I think it's a good buy.
You certainly get value for money living in Streatham.
In terms of your living space, you get a bigger house, a bigger plot, a lovely garden like this one.
If you did want to convert the loft, you can see quite a few of the neighbours
have done that, so there shouldn't be any problems there,
but for a guide price of £240,000, you get a lot of house.
I think there's a good level of profit in this one. Let's go to auction.
Here in London, will it be investors or first-timers
looking to buy our Victorian house?
Well, let's see.
We come out to lot 59 to the west of Tooting station,
an attractive terraced house in need of repair.
A cellar and a rear garden. Nice property, offered on behalf of the London Borough of Wandsworth.
Who'd like to start me off at 175 for it?
175, sir. 185, can I see?
185. All right, sir?
Looking for 210. 210 in a new place.
Any further advancing on 2... 215, sir. 220.
Do you want to make it... ? 225. 225.
What's this? 255? 260.
Your bid at £272,000, all right?
£272,000 for the first time.
273 in a new place. 274.
No? It's with you then at £283,000 standing at the back. It's against you sitting down.
Is that a bid? 284.
Would you make it 287,500?
It's with you at 287,500, standing at the back of the room for the first time.
£287,500, for the second and final time.
HE BANGS HAMMER
And with a bid of £287,500, the new owner is property developer Paul.
He actually lives in an identical property only a few doors along, so I met him there for a chat.
-Great to meet you.
-Nice to meet you, too.
-I can't wait to look around.
I can really see why you bid for the property down the road.
Where do you think your passion for property has come from?
I think it started about 1985, somewhere around there.
My mother had a large house, she sold it, there were some funds left.
My brother and I and my sister invested on another property
and we converted it into two flats and we went forward from there.
Paul was responsible for renovating the house he currently lives in,
and the work has been carried out to a very high standard.
He maintained original features where possible,
and has already converted the loft into a spacious double bedroom.
So what did you learn from doing this house that you're not going to do with the house up the road?
I think I'd try and do it all in one go, because I actually lived here at the time,
so I lived in this room and maybe another room and then did the loft, and then moved all my stuff upstairs,
whereas I'd like to get that one finished and move straight in.
Shall we go and have a look at your other property just along the way,
-and see what work you're going to do?
Paul certainly won't have to travel far to keep an eye on how his new property is progressing.
Although it may only be down the road, it's streets apart in condition.
This is the lounge, so let's have a look.
Quite a difference from your lovely warm house up the road!
Are you going to change anything in here?
Er... Yes, slightly, definitely!
I have one wall to come out between the rooms.
I wanted to convert the loft area, definitely get one large bedroom,
maybe two, and an en-suite bathroom
and I'll combine the bathroom upstairs and the separate WC
cos that will give me space to put a shower unit in there.
New kitchen, new bathroom suite, rewiring, central heating. Basically, everything.
Everything you've done to your house up the road.
You've done it once before, how much money do you think
it's going to cost you to do this property?
I've budgeted about 60, but I hope to spend about 50, so I've got a safety margin.
For all the work that Paul wants to do, 50 to 60 grand,
I think it seems a little tight, but looking at his current home, he's obviously done it all before.
Are you going to live here?
I'm not sure.
Ideally I'd like to live here, I'd like to sell my house and move here,
but I don't know, because I'll have two houses. I don't want two houses.
I'll sell one and keep the other one - I'm not sure which one yet.
It depends when it's finished and how I feel.
I can't wait to come back and see what you've done. See you in a few months' time.
Join us later to see why when we first returned, despite all Paul's talents, things were on hold.
I have a main job, and I consider this as a hobby and a lot of people
say I've got an artistic bent, as people refer to, and this is my way of showing that.
Well, delays aren't unusual but stay tuned to see how stunning the house now looks five years later.
Coming up - in Basingstoke, there's not much work required in this former sweet shop.
It's got a big window and it's in reasonable condition. The floor certainly is.
We go back to Streatham, South-west London, to show you how this
property looks now after several years of lavish refurbishment.
It's been well worth the wait.
But first we return to Crewe where hard graft was needed on this house.
The biggest problem we've had here is finding time to come.
Earlier in the programme, back in Crewe, Adam and his dad Oliver paid £66,000 for this detached house.
It was originally the caretaker's house of the neighbouring Methodist Church.
Like his dad, Adam is a joiner by trade.
In the past, Oliver has built his own house,
but now he and Adam are building a portfolio of buy-to-let properties.
This is their fifth, which they'd planned to convert into two flats.
Ten months have passed, and we're back in Crewe to see the results.
There's now a wide front door to greet you,
but once you get inside, progress looks to have been a bit slow.
In the front room, the walls have been stripped and filled.
The dining room has been completely replastered.
The kitchen has got all-new appliances.
But upstairs, things have not moved on much at all.
No sign yet of the two flats.
Weren't they planning to get it all done in six months? Why the change of plan?
The original timescale had elapsed, we were going to try to do it in four to five months
but as it happened, we didn't start work here till at least six months after I first drew the plans.
We had another property to finish, time was running out,
money was a bit of a problem, so we just kept it as one nice, big house.
The biggest problem we've had here was finding time to come.
All the work's been done on a Saturday,
and maybe a few days in the week, but not many.
Just so busy with our own jobs, sort of thing,
and perhaps rather doing social activities as opposed to coming here.
Ah, yes, that old problem(!)
Although Adam and Oliver have done a lot of the work themselves, they also
employed experts for the jobs they weren't qualified to do.
The help we've had in is a heating engineer, a plumber, electrician,
we obviously get an electrician to do all that
because that has to be up to regulations, and all the plastering, that has to be done.
About the only things we've had to have done.
Not surprisingly, these two joiners have replaced the doors, the skirting and the architraves.
Now, remember, this former caretaker's house had a covenant
in the legal pack that required the new owner to build a wall between the Methodist church and the back garden.
And a new wall has also been built inside on the first floor.
So to get into bedroom three, which I'm standing in, we had to walk through bedroom two,
so we've built this corridor here, separate door on, so then we just have a little corridor here
and we've got two separate bedrooms, which we obviously think is much better to do it this way.
As you can see, this is a complete new kitchen, new units, new worktops.
There's space for the fridge-freezer here. New oven, new hob.
Electricians put them in for us.
Plumbers helped us with the sink.
Finishing touches now - magnolia walls and white ceilings.
Adam and Oliver paid £66,000 on auction day for the detached house,
which they'd originally planned to convert into two separate flats.
As they have not done this, it's meant much less work, so what effect has that had on the budget?
The flats, we thought, would cost between 40 and 50 grand.
As we haven't done that now, we haven't actually had a budget as such. So we paid 66 for it.
All in, I think we'll have spent 10, 12 grand on it,
-so max is an £80,000 outlay.
I'd be chuffed if we get £90,000 for it in the current market.
Well, this is number five in their property portfolio, all of which are rented out.
So is that still the plan here, now that it's a house rather than two flats?
We might put it on the market for sale, but at the same time see if we can get a tenant in,
and if we get the tenant in first, that's what will happen - it'll stay rented as long as we can.
Time to see what two local estate agents
think of this former caretaker's house next to the church.
I think the workmanship is very good.
I think the property has been well converted.
Obviously there's more work to be done,
so it would be nice to come back and see the finished product.
It was an excellent idea to insert a corridor upstairs,
because it now means that you'll be able to get to
the bathroom without going through a bedroom,
and it adds that extra bedroom facility to the property.
I think, if it's going to be one dwelling, it needs to be three
bedrooms to get the best rental or market return, and I think the three bedrooms are still a good size.
In my opinion, value-wise, I would say it was
a good idea to keep it as a house rather than to try and split it up.
I would have advised them to get permission for two flats.
I think the return would have been somewhat greater than they'll get for one property.
Short-term, they've saved money by not converting the house into flats.
But how much could they expect to get for it?
Once finished, I would expect this property to achieve between £450 to £475 per calendar month.
I'd be asking £500 per calendar month.
That's quite good, isn't it?
Yeah, it is. Very good, actually, yes.
Is the plan still to have a two-pronged attack on the market,
looking for a tenant at the same time as a purchaser?
Well, we'll still do both, try and sell it and rent it out, whatever comes first.
Definitely whatever comes first.
Time to discover what the house could fetch on the open market.
You'll remember that they spent a total of around £78,000 on it,
and would be happy with anything over £90,000.
Once fully fitted out and completed, I would expect this property
to achieve in the region of £95,000 to £100,000 upon the open market.
Resale valuation, once completed, would be around £99,000.
That's a good result.
Quite a bit higher than what we thought.
Yes, maybe £10,000 more.
If we got about 99 for it, yeah, maybe...
I'm happy to take the extra 10,000, though.
And why not?
I love a story with a happy ending.
And the smiles continued, because a tenant did turn up before a buyer one month later.
They've now moved in and are paying 475 quid a calendar month.
Basingstoke in Hampshire. Sometimes known as Doughnut City because of the number of roundabouts there are here.
But it's really well located in terms of transport links.
It's easy to get to London, Reading and Southampton.
Apart from the usual big high-street shops, the town also
has some charming courtyards where older business properties are in use.
I'm here in Basingstoke to talk business.
I know I normally do,
but in this case it's a retail unit that was up for auction.
It's in this building here. It's ground floor.
It was freehold with vacant possession.
Had a guide price of 20,000 to 25,000 quid.
It seems to make financial sense to me.
Ah, well... CHUCKLES
It's not exactly big.
That could explain the price tag.
It's basically one room. This is it.
Very limited facilities at the back.
You've got a loo, basically,
and a little kitchenette / preparation area there.
Big windows, he says, trying to find something positive.
And it's in reasonable condition.
The floor certainly is, the walls.
A bit of internal messing around with required.
But, overall, I guess one of the positives of it being small
is that you don't have too many square metres
of anything to paint or whatever.
This shop used to be an African artefacts shop,
selling items from that part of the world.
It's now moved out of Basingstoke, which is why this retail opportunity
has become available to another entrepreneur. But a word of caution.
Before you start any business in a premises, you really need
to do your research to find out what might work in the location.
I've come into the neighbouring street
to see what kind of businesses are here.
A real mish-mash.
We've got an Italian restaurant, a pizzeria, a hairdressing salon.
So, it seems like anything might work.
It's currently got planning permission to be A1 use,
which basically means you could have
something like a hairdresser's, a shop, a newsagent's,
maybe an estate agent's.
So what I would do is research what there is demand for
before I opened that shop.
# Oh, there's lots of opportunities... #
The shop is just over 18 square metres.
With a bit of a rejig, this could be a great commercial property,
especially at the guide price of £20,000 to £25,000.
The building work next door is another good sign.
People are clearly investing in the area.
I asked a local expert for the low-down on property in Basingstoke.
Basingstoke is a thriving town.
It's very, very popular in that
it's less than an hour from London for commuters,
but it's also got a lot of modern businesses,
insurance and the like, that have moved into the town
over the last 20 or so years.
Sounds like this place could be a good investment despite being a bit small.
I think this unit is likely to have an appeal
either to a commercial-investor buyer,
somebody who's going to buy it with a view to
tidying it up a bit and then finding a tenant.
Or somebody looking for a starter unit to run their own business,
a hairdresser's or a niche business, something of that nature.
So, the location could suit what's known as a destination business.
That's somewhere people are happy to travel to occasionally
to buy something specific.
But could it be expensive to get the property ready to start trading?
Not going to need a huge amount doing to it.
It looks very ragged and tired, but a good decorate,
tidy up and clean and you'd be surprised how quickly
and cheaply you could turn that into quite an attractive rental proposition.
That's fantastic news.
This would be great for a starter business,
especially if it went for around the guide price.
What sort of rental income could the shop generate?
Rental value on this one,
once it's been tidied up, would be in the region of £5,000, £6,000 per annum.
So, in theory, buying this, doing it up and then renting it out
could produce a good rental income.
What about selling it on?
The resale value on this is going to be driven
by the amount of rent it's achieving.
The way to maximise the potential of this property
would be to tidy it up, find a tenant, perhaps on a five or a ten-year lease,
and then you'd be looking, I would imagine, at achieving
a resale value of something around £50,000, £60,000.
Not much to say about this place
other than the fact that the low guide price
probably meant it was an attractive proposition to a local entrepreneur.
Still, money to be spent to get it up to scratch,
so let's see who fancied it when it went under the hammer.
And 136 now is 6 Queens Parade, New Street in Basingstoke.
It's a vacant freehold retail unit.
Good little lot there. Start me where you will.
Got a guide of 20 to 25 and Anyone going to come in at £20,000?
Your own shop, £20,000.
£20,000, can I say? Give me 18, then?
£18,000 bid I've got. And 20 now do I see?
£20,000, back row.
22? Sir, it's against you. 22? 21?
And 22? And 23?
At £22,000 on the back row I have. 23 I want. 23 by the coffee.
24 in the back row? 24. Thank you.
25? It's here to be sold. 25?
25. And 6? 26?
26. And 7?
No. £26,000 bid I have again to the lady in the back row.
At £26,000 I have. 27 I'm looking for.
If we're all done at £26,000, I will sell for the first time.
Coming in again? £26,000 for the second time.
Third and final time, lady in the back row, all done, £26,000.
And your number, please, is? 8431. Thank you.
That the winning bid of £26,000 came from Anne-Marie,
who knows a great deal about the local area.
I met up with her back at her new shop
to find out the history behind her purchase.
# Working nine to five what a way to make a living... #
-Anne-Marie, lovely to meet you.
-And you, too. Thank you.
Congratulations. Tell me why you wanted to buy this little shop.
Well, it was for two reasons, really.
One was for business, and one was for sentimental.
And I know that's going to sound like a recipe for disaster,
you mustn't let your heart rule your head.
But I've known this shop all my life.
It was the most wonderful sweet shop right next-door to my dad's chemist.
He rented the shop for many years from the landlord and he lived above
in the maisonette with my mum and my sister.
And then eventually, after about 30 years -
it's a staggering amount of time to rent it,
he was given the chance to buy it.
And now it's still remaining in the family.
-Just to clarify, you own the whole building?
-We do now.
-We didn't before.
-This was the final piece of the jigsaw?
Yes, because it was like owning three legs of it,
but not the fourth one.
When you own the fourth, you can then decide what you do.
So Anne-Marie paid £26,000 for the property
next to her dad's old chemist shop and maisonette.
She currently lets the corner store out to a Caribbean grocery
and owns a number of other properties.
This former sweet shop, was until now,
the only part of this building missing from her collection.
-And you remember it as a sweet shop?
-With all the old-fashioned jars?
For three big, old, brown pennies, the lady would weigh them out
of big jars into a paper bag then
and it would be bursting with gobstoppers
and liquorice bootlaces and bulls-eyes, all manner of things.
For a child, it was absolutely wonderful.
But, unfortunately, because the town has moved two or three streets away
into a great big shopping mall,
it's very difficult for the traders here to survive.
And we thought, well, if we have this small shop as well
and knock the two together,
it could make a very viable proposition for a specialist shop.
And Dorothy, who's next door, she said to me,
"I'm absolutely bursting at the seams for space.
"If ever you get the chance, please take on the shop next door."
So, tell me what you're going to do with it now.
I've had a builder in and he said to me that we could
knock through just on my right here
under the stairs so that there's a sort of thoroughfare for people.
We can't move the stairs because that's part of the flat
and it would be major and not cost-effective.
We're going to keep the little room which is a toilet, but make it a lot smaller.
Then she will be able to come into the stockroom which is behind me.
So you'll get rid of this loo?
Yes. At the moment she hasn't got anywhere for stock.
And that's always been a problem with these shops here.
They are very small.
So, her tenant's grocery store that was struggling for space is now set to expand.
Coming from a retail family, Anne-Marie has lots of tips
to pass on to her tenant, Dorothy, who's looking for that pot of gold.
# Somewhere over the rainbow... #
What kind of budget have you set aside for sorting this place out?
Well, I've been on to the builder and, to do all those things which
I've said and paint it, it's just £2,000.
-Including knocking through?
-You've got a good builder!
Yes, he's wonderful.
He costed it all out for me in the week,
and also to paint outside and paint in here.
And what kind of timescale for sorting it out?
I did speak to the builder, and he thought that a couple of months is fine.
What will be the most exciting thing?
To see it up and running, and all nice and decorated
and knocked through, and I can really be proud of it again, you know?
That means a lot to me, and I think it would mean a lot to my mum and dad,
who unfortunately aren't here now, they've gone to heaven.
So, I feel that they'll be guiding me and hopefully all will be well.
We wish you all the very best.
-Thanks very much.
-A lovely story.
-Nice to talk to you.
# Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue... #
Well, what a lovely story,
and with Ann-Marie's help two shops are going to become one.
Still, I'm a bit concerned about that £2,000 budget -
for two months' work, for a builder?
I don't think so. And these are tough times in the retail world,
so will the new, improved and enlarged shop survive?
You can find out later in the show.
So, have the tides changed for our property purchasers?
Have their experiences been plain sailing?
Did they sink, or did they manage to swim to shore with the profit?
Time now to go back to Streatham
in south west London, to a property we first saw in 2004.
Developer Paul had paid £287,500 for this three bedroom house.
It was only a few doors from where he lived,
and was identical in style and size.
Having refurbished his own house and converted the loft,
he decided it was time to change this place.
But when we first returned, there wasn't a lot of difference.
It's been three months since
you first came here, so during that time we've put in for planning.
We've had various problems with that,
mainly I think on the type of application that was made originally
and the way it was interpreted by the local authority.
Then they wanted some changes in the actual style of the loft,
and so that has basically delayed everything.
So Paul was unable to show us any structural alterations,
but his architect's modified plans had been approved
for the loft conversion and the ground floor.
My plans for the downstairs involved taking out the wall
between the kitchen and the extension
which would be built, so you've got a large area.
The extension will have the whole part of it facing the garden all glazed,
and there would be sky lights in the roof to let in light.
The planned extension sounded fantastic,
it just needed to be built.
It's now five years since our first visit,
and we've come back to see the fabulous house where Paul now lives.
The wait has certainly been work it.
The loft conversion is truly stunning, but we'll see that later.
Because the first impression any visitor gets is downstairs.
Paul's managed to retain a lot of the original features
in the living room, while also totally refurbishing it.
At the back, the extension lets so much light in.
The kitchen and the living area really opens the house out onto the garden.
Up on to the first floor,
the level of finish in the bedrooms is equally impressive.
The Victorian fireplaces have been lovingly restored,
and Paul's made one of the rooms into an office.
Paul has moved in and made it home.
He must be very pleased with the results.
Well, the area at the back of the house is very good,
because it's an open space now.
Before you had two rooms which were divided and quite small,
so that's been opened out.
That goes into the extension, and then it also goes into the kitchen,
so there's the equivalent of four rooms made into one area,
which is quite nice.
I kept up part of the original wall to give it
a bit of a break to the area, because I thought that would help.
Paul's managed to create more space in this Victorian house
than the similar property he lived in a few doors away.
He has now sold that one and moved in here to live.
His architect's or original plans for this place were rejected simply because
too much of this house was being modified,
so the changes were scaled back and the plans were approved.
With the planning consent, what we actually went for was the loft conversion and the extension.
The good thing about it is we actually got that, so I was happy about that.
It meant that the side return at the rear of the house could be built on,
right up to the neighbour's boundary.
A party wall agreement was obtained, and then the superb kitchen extension began to take shape.
The kitchen, there was a door here that led into the kitchen, and a window that was outside,
so this would have been the outside of the building.
So you'd come out and go into an outside toilet, so this wall's gone, and this wall's gone.
It's being supported by two RSJs, because it comes back at an angle.
So there's one there and one comes back this way.
There's a skylight that brings light in and there's quite a lot of light coming through here.
Then we put a window in at the end. So I'm really happy with this area, it works well.
It's how I would like to have a kitchen and I think what people would like as well.
I tried to think of what's good space, because one day,
ultimately, you want to sell it or you want to rent it.
Paul runs his own property management company, with buy-to-lets
as well as properties he's refurbished and sold on.
Whether he rents or sells in the future,
I'm sure this loft conversion will prove a big attraction.
This is the converted loft area. I've got some eave storage here, there's a window to the front here, the Velux.
There's a built-in wardrobe here.
It's done as one large area, one large room, I prefer that.
Some people put two rooms in to make a five-bedroom house, but I don't
think there's a market here for five bedrooms, people prefer more space.
Then there's a walk-in bathroom there, en suite with a shower.
The roof's actually a Mansard conversion, so it's not a typical roof like that...
You've got a dormer that comes up at an angle. That was part of the planning, what they wanted.
It's spacious, that's what I like, a lot of brightness in here having the two windows.
There's another window at the side for more lighting, but that's a fire escape.
You have to have that as part of the planning and the building regulations.
When Paul originally bought the place for £287,500 in February 2004,
he had a hunch the area was about to take off.
Since then there has been a credit crunch and a depressed property market.
But there are now clear signs that the area is attracting more businesses and house-hunters.
But how much has Paul spent? Did he manage to stick to his budget?
When I first bought this house I had a budget of between 50-60,000.
I think at the end I came closer to the 60,000, but I don't know
exactly how much, but it was probably around about 60,000.
So, on top of the £287,500 he paid at the auction,
that takes Paul's spend to just under £347,000.
It's been a lengthy project, but he's pleased with the outcome.
As a project and an investment, it's done quite good here, because
the property has improved in price from what I originally paid for it, so that's an investment here.
So when I do sell, I know there's considerable equity in the property,
which I can move on to another property, or remortgage and pull some money out.
Or the alternative is to keep this house and to let it,
because the rental market has improved a lot in the area.
Let's see if Paul's confidence is reflected in the value.
What do two local estate agents think of this property?
I think it's an absolutely lovely family home.
It's been finished to a fantastic standard and it's just perfect
for the market round here.
First impressions of the house - it's fantastic, very beautifully done.
The kitchen extension at the back's a very good job and very clever.
What he's done is use the space really well.
The extension at the back, absolutely superb.
You've got a lovely, big, kitchen family-living space with a formal reception at the front.
The loft conversion's brilliant.
A lot of people with loft conversions try to get too much out of it.
They try to split that room into two rooms then make the rooms too small to be usable.
The loft conversion is superb. It's a nice, big, bright room.
You've got a walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom. I'd like to sleep in here.
Well, a vote of confidence from the agents, but what could it be worth?
Remember, Paul spent £347,000 here.
How much could you sell it for if he put it on the market now?
If I was to put this property up for sale, I would market it at £575,000.
I'd put it onto the market around the £500,000 mark.
Quite a range, I think somewhere between the two, probably about 550.
Price-wise, I'm happy with that.
I thought it'd be around there in a good market, so it's good to see the price has come back.
I've made some money, it's been a good investment, but I thought that when I saw the property,
so I'm glad that I've still managed to make some money.
What about rental income? If Paul did decide to move out and not sell the house,
how much rent could it generate?
For rent, I believe it would achieve around £1,700 per calendar month.
If we were to rent this property, similar properties have rented on
this road from between £2,000 - £2,200 per calendar month.
The rental figures were very good as well, it means there's an option to rent,
because the mortgage is quite low here. So that's an option I may consider.
I may re-mortgage, pull some money out, and keep the property. That's another option.
All in all, it's been a good adventure, being somewhere and having a house done, then move here.
I'm very happy with it, the whole thing has been a good experience.
A bit slow at the beginning, but I'm happy with it overall.
We're going back to Basingstoke now, where, earlier in the programme,
Anne-Marie had paid £26,000 for this empty shop next door to one she already owned.
She has several other properties in her portfolio, but this shop had special significance.
# Sweets for my sweet
# Sugar for my honey... #
I'd known this shop all my life.
It was the most wonderful sweetshop, next door to my dad's chemist's.
And he lived above, in the maisonette.
Anne-Marie planned to knock a hole in the wall between what was once the sweetshop,
and her dad's former chemist, to give her Caribbean grocery tenant more space.
Well, two-and-a-half months later, this building now looks so vibrant,
it's more like the Caribbean than Basingstoke!
Remember how it was? It was all a horrible, drab brown colour.
All the glass was broken, the door was broken.
And it really was not inviting at all.
You could not possibly expect passers-by to want to go into the shop.
So now we've made it these lovely sunny colours, that we hope represents the Caribbean.
And we can be seen, actually, from miles away!
It's certainly colourful!
It would be very hard to miss this.
What about the inside?
Has the conversion worked?
Well, here we are, in the nice little space we've knocked through,
so that the customers can have a walkway and go from one place to the other.
And also, Dorothy can have her till.
Then over here, we've put a door on to what was the old toilet facilities.
And we've made a nice little stockroom in there for her.
Then over here, as you can see, this lovely area is in a beautiful
yellow colour to represent the sunny colours, we hope, of the Caribbean.
Apart from sentimental reasons, Anne-Marie bought the former sweetshop to try and reverse
a decline in local shopping since her dad ran the chemist's here.
Building work had to take place only on Sundays, when the shop was closed, but now it's finished.
All that's missing is the stock and displays.
So, did Anne-Marie stick to her ambitions £2,000 budget, which included that sunny paint job?
Yes, we stuck to the original budget.
And we're really pleased about that.
And it's all thanks, really, to the builder because they really kept us to it.
And that's very important, I think, because it can eat into your profit.
You will remember that at the auction, Anne-Marie paid £26,000 for the former sweetshop.
She's had the usual legal expenses, but has only had to spend £2,000 converting it.
Time to see how two commercial property experts,
familiar with the local market, will rate this retail opportunity.
If this retail unit was kept as a single unit, it's a small unit, it's
a fringe location, I would say there would be an limited number of uses.
Having the two units together, is a big benefit for the street because it has tidied up the corner.
So there's a nice transition between the residential and the retail element of the town.
Externally, she has certainly improved the appearance of the shop.
She has made made the whole parade look a bit more vibrant.
It will help when they finish the residential development next door.
The whole place will look a lot better then.
The way that the unit has been incorporated into the main unit here,
I think could be quite easily reversible.
So it does give her flexibility at a later date if she wants to let the two units separately.
Anne-Marie's sentimental purchase is now producing an extra £1,500 a year income.
But is that a fair rent?
How much would the experts suggest?
As a single unit, I would estimate the rental to be in the order of about £2000 - £2,500 per annum.
As a single unit, I would probably think she should get about £80 per week.
It would probably give her about £240 a month.
So between £2,500 - £3,000 a year.
So, could a bit more income be coming Anne-Marie's way?
Oh, that's marvellous. Absolutely marvellous, yes.
We have already settled a rent of £30 a week, which is £1,500 a year.
And, I can't really go back on my word, and I wouldn't want to.
But I'll keep it in mind, obviously, maybe if Dorothy goes or even in years to come.
Taking that long-term view is sensible.
But what about the value of the shop now?
Has it increased since she bought it at the auction?
At retail for the single unit, reinstated to its original size,
I would estimate the value to be £26,000.
She paid about £26,000 for it.
I think she'd probably get certainly that, maybe a little bit more.
No profit, then, but it was already a bit of a bargain.
Yes. Well, I was very pleased, because it was on at 50,000 in the beginning, two or three years ago.
And we felt that that was really far too much.
And so that's really vindicated that.
It's quite nice to know that an expert has thought that as well.
Anne-Marie's determined to fight for small shopkeepers in the local area and maintain her family's commercial
interests that started all those years ago with her dad's chemist's.
I'm absolutely delighted. And I know that he would be too.
After all, he was here for so long, and living above, and we're carrying on the tradition.
We can't get beaten, you know, we must keep going on.
Mustn't let all these big moguls and big companies which are gobbling everybody up. We must keep going.
You know, we are a little force. We must keep going. Off we go!
For more auction room action, join us next time on Homes Under The Hammer.
-We'll see you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Crewe, the finished result of a house they first saw in 2005 in south London and a shop in Basingstoke. All of these properties have been sold at auction and we'll find out who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.