Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a three-bedroom property in Mid Glamorgan, a house in London and an old telephone exchange in Devon.
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It's always exciting opening an auction catalogue.
From bungalows to barns
to beautiful cottages, it's all there.
Look hard enough and you can find just what you're looking for when you buy under the hammer.
These turbulent financial times don't necessarily mean your dreams are on hold.
When your watchwords are budget and save, the auction rooms could be just the place.
So let's see who grabbed a bargain.
'This property in Mid Glamorgan has a rather unruly garden.'
It could do with sorting out. Luckily, they've left a strimmer.
'In London, there are problems cooking up in this kitchen.'
Or should I say lack of it? Just a Belfast sink. I mean, that is it!
'And remember this old telephone exchange in Devon? We return after two years
'to see how it's been completely transformed.'
All these properties have been sold at auction and we'll find out who bought them and for how much.
'The village of Rhydyfelin in South Wales is 10 miles from Cardiff and just 3 miles from Pontypridd.
'Incidentally, it's the home town of the band Lostprophets.
'But let's hope there are no lost profits under these rooftops.'
So I'm here to see
a three-bedroomed mid-link house on a large estate, built in the 1960s,
so architecturally maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but there's this nice little area outside here,
there's a garage, double glazing AND the key point is the guide price was just 54,000 quid.
Let's see what's behind the door.
'All in all, it looks pretty good from the outside. There's an enclosed garden at the back.
'Perfect for barbecues. But what's it like inside?'
So what do you get for £54,000? Well, you might be quite surprised.
Not only do you get the garage, but when you come in, do you know what? It's not bad.
Down here, one big, open-plan living area.
This is the kitchen. Tiled floor is very practical.
The actual units are pretty serviceable, I would say.
You'll have to put in new appliances - a cooker, a hob and an extractor, which was taken,
but it's a nice-sized space. Then you come through this archway to the main living area.
It's big, it's open-plan, it's light, it's airy... Hello!
Light fitting there. Big patio doors out onto the garden.
The garden... What can you say? It's a usable space.
It could do with sorting out. Luckily, someone's left a strimmer.
All in all, pretty good news.
'And that's handy. The grass could do with a good mowing,
'but is the rest of the house trim and tidy?'
So, upstairs no great surprises.
Three bedrooms - two doubles and a single. Bathroom and separate loo.
Do you knock those into one? I'm a fan of keeping them separate.
But in reasonable nick. The whole house, you have to say,
it needs a bit of smartening up, but a lick of paint, new carpets and it's fantastic for rental.
Or a lovely family home. It is what it is. I think it's pretty good.
'The place may be worn and dated, but that shouldn't cost more than a few thousand pounds to sort out.
'I asked a local estate agent along to hear what she thought of the house and the local area.'
It's the upper part of Rhydyfelin,
an ex-local authority estate. Quite a popular location.
You've got the local supermarket, the local shops,
and it's on a bus route. It's a good area.
'So the location gets the thumbs up and it sounds like she thinks the property isn't too shabby.'
There's minimal work that needs to be done. It's purely cosmetic,
and getting it to a standard for renting out or somebody moving in.
'After that work is done, how much could it rent out for?'
Approximately, you'd be looking at £350-£400 per calendar month on this property.
'So if the house went for £54,000, that could mean a great return.
'What if the new buyer decides to sell it on?'
We would achieve £65,000-£70,000 on this property.
'So at a guide price of £54,000 and a couple of thousand to renovate it,
'that could mean a pre-tax profit of £9,000-£14,000.'
So, all in all, a very good property with a very attractive guide price. Let's see who fancied it.
Lot number 18 now, ladies and gentlemen.
Who's going to bid me 50? OK, sir, but it's worth a lot more.
50 I'm bid. Thank you. 2. 52.
4. 54. 6. Thank you. At 56. I should think so. At 56.
At 56. I'll take one if it helps you.
At 56,000. This is no money for it.
At £56,000, shout if I'm missing you. There is the bid.
At 56. 7, thank you. At 57. Fresh bidder. At 57.
58. 9, is it, in the back? 9 in the back.
There's my bid.
At 59,000. Quick, if you want it. There's my bid in the back.
Have you all done, then? At £59,000. In the back of the room. Have you got a number now?
No? All right, I know who it is.
'I'm glad HE does! The winning bidder, somewhere up at the back was local businessman Ian
'who runs Barry Island Pleasure Park.
'Ian got the house for £59,000, just five grand over the guide price. Now, regular viewers
'may recognise Ian as he's been on the show before.
'The last time we met him, he'd started buying property to let.'
It's something I've been looking to get into for quite some time.
'I met up with Ian back at his purchase to see what he thought of his latest deal.'
-Congratulations. Very good to see you again.
Remind me about what's happened since the last time we met.
Em, well, the last time I bought a property in Barry,
which was really the first one, to do up and renovate.
Since then, I've gone to an auction and picked up a couple more. So I'm on a roll, so to speak.
'In fact, this is the sixth property he's bought to let
'and it sounds like he's developed a cavalier approach at auctions.'
I was looking at a completely different property locally in Barry.
Erm, and I purchased that and I was at the auction just looking through the catalogue.
And I saw this one in the catalogue and thought, "Ooh, that looks... That looks quite cheap."
-I've never been to this area before so it was completely blind apart from the photo.
-Well, I just put my hand up and it was mine.
-So you hadn't seen it.
-Had you read the legal pack?
-You're supposed to be a big, grown-up, sensible businessman!
-And there you are
-doing the cardinal sin.
-I know. But sometimes making mistakes is the quickest way to learn.
It can cost you a lot, though!
'Buying blind is a very risky game to play. There could be all sorts of unforeseen problems
'lying behind a perfectly promising exterior, but on this occasion luck was on Ian's side.'
-What did you think when you saw it for the first time?
-I was pleasantly surprised.
It's a nice property for the money I've paid for it, so I'm well pleased.
And the area?
The area was a little bit frightening because just down the road there was three properties boarded up.
I couldn't get my head round why.
So that frightened me a little bit.
But, to be honest, after speaking to the neighbours and people surrounding the area,
it is quite a nice area.
'It turned out they were not boarded up for any more sinister reason than repair work after flooding,
'so again Ian's luck was in. Now that he's seen it, I wondered what he was going to do with it.'
We're looking to put the toilet and bathroom into one, totally re-carpet,
redecorate from top to bottom. A couple of windows need replacing. Central heating needs looked at.
So a complete overhaul, really.
'And it certainly needs it. How much has he set aside to do the work?'
I always put a budget on every property of sort of 10K. You just don't know.
But, realistically, I think this one will be less than five to sort out, but we don't know.
I opened the window earlier on and it's not looking too good, so it'll be changed.
So there's another £1,000 that I didn't bank on.
'Ian only paid £5,000 over the guide price.
'Even if he spends the full budget he's going to realise a very healthy 9% yield
'and he's already got a tenant lined up for it. Will this man's run of luck never end?'
When I came to view the property and collect the keys,
the lady next door said, "My daughter's looking for a property."
So we worked out a rent and, you know, she's moving in.
You must think this property lark is a piece of cake! You buy a place blind and it turns out all right,
your next door neighbour says, "Would you like a tenant?"
It is feeling that way! I keep falling on my feet.
So from that point of view, I'm quite chuffed at the moment.
But I'm sure in the future I will perhaps come a cropper along the line.
-No, hopefully not, but I have had no bad experiences at the moment, so I'm very happy.
-Well, good luck and may that luck continue.
I'll see how you get on. Cheers, Ian.
Today I'm in Enfield, just 12 miles from the centre of London.
It used to be a very small market town and take about a day to travel into the city.
Transport links have much improved since the days of horse and carts
and trains whisk you from here to the centre of town in half an hour.
'The clippety-clop has been replaced by the speedy whoosh of a fast link train
'and Enfield is better for it. Commuters love the accessibility and cheaper house prices.
'According to the Land Registry, the average London property is currently £380,000.
'In Enfield, it's £235,000.'
A short walk from the town and I'm here on Halstead Road to see today's auction lot.
The auction catalogue tells me the house has been in the same ownership for 80 years.
That makes me very excited indeed. I'm imagining it hasn't been renovated much in all that time.
So somebody taking this on can only do one thing - add value.
The guide on this three-bedroom terrace is only £125,000.
'The pebble-dash exterior isn't to everyone's taste, but makes for easy maintenance.
'There are sash windows, but they could do with being spruced up. What's it like on the inside?'
Just as I expected, a right old state!
Things just haven't been touched in years. You only need to look at the electrics. Lovely light switch.
You have this wonderful old cornicing, a lovely fireplace, nice, deep skirting boards.
The beautiful old sash windows. Lots of lovely untouched gems - I love it.
Into the second reception room and a bit disappointing.
You've got a 1930s fireplace instead of Victorian.
You could think of knocking this wall down to have a through lounge, but that's all personal choice.
And the kitchen...
Or should I say lack of it?
Just a Belfast sink. That is it!
You'd have problems cooking up a nice little feast in here.
'Lack of kitchen amenities is the least of your problems.
'Cracked ceilings, damp walls, bare floorboards and old electrics.
'Altogether, it's one scary challenge for a buyer.'
So upstairs it carries on in the same vein.
You've got bedroom one, two and three.
In here, well, look. It looks to have a very, very bad leak.
That could be down to years of neglect and missing roof tiles.
It's the first thing that needs attention and it could add thousands so beware.
'It's not only the plumbing that needs sorting. All the electrics need replaced.
'So that guide price of £125,000 may be cheap, but the renovation certainly won't be.
'Round the back, one part of the house is in full working order although it's hardly convenient.'
Outside to the only bit of plumbing in the house. Downstairs bathroom? No.
Outside toilet? Oh, yes!
'This may have been the way it was 100 years ago, but sitting outside on the toilet in the cold and dark
'isn't a modern family's preferred way of using the facilities.
'One of those upstairs rooms would be much better suited to a new bathroom suite
'and a lot warmer in the winter.
'There is another great development opportunity behind the house -
'a wild, unkempt garden crying out for a good tidy up.'
In need of some landscaping? Yes, I do think so.
But imagine what this could be. It often amazes me that people think nothing
of spending 10 grand on a kitchen. yet resent spending money on the garden. It really is a feature
and you must make it a selling point. People are impressed by mature shrubbery.
You can add colour with plants in pots. A well-conceived garden can add thousands to the end value
so don't overlook it.
'That old battered conservatory can be flattened and replaced
'as it's an ideal space to enjoy that soon-to-be-perfect garden.
'I wondered what a local estate agent would make of it all.'
It's a great house, actually. There's lots of original features.
The owner's got their work cut out,
but it's a lovely little road and close to the town centre.
It obviously needs the complete works. It needs central heating, it needs a kitchen
and a bathroom of some sort because it doesn't have one at all.
It's got loads of character, a really nice cosy feel. It's a big project, but great potential.
'It will certainly be a big project and it could cost an extra £30,000 to do those renovations.
'Once all the work was done, what could the property go for?'
The property has a ceiling because there is a stamp duty threshold at £250,000.
Even if a property is worth slightly more than that, it's sometimes difficult to get people to pay more.
So that's about the ceiling until the market picks up again.
'The stamp duty rate jumps from 1% to 3% over that ceiling.
'So it would need to sell for a good bit over 250 grand to make it worthwhile for the seller,
'so while it waits for the resale market to become more buoyant, what could it rent for?'
If the property was rented, it's likely to achieve in the region of £950, possibly £1,000 per month.
'So it sounds like it could return healthy profits - almost as healthy as those weeds.'
Lonely house would like to meet new owner. Sense of humour is essential and cash would be good, too.
Let's find out who answered this house's lonely hearts ad as we go to the auction.
The auction room was certainly busy and bidding began in earnest.
130. Yeah? 130.
155. 160. 170.
78, sir. 79?
199. At 200,000.
200. And 1?
201. And 2?
203. 204? 204.
Gentleman with the red jumper round his waist. £205,000.
First time at 205. 206. Back with me down here. 207.
208? You won't let it go, will you? 208?
208. 209? 210.
And 11? And 12?
No. 211 standing.
First time at 211.
Second time at 211. You're going to miss it. Third and last time at 211. 212.
213? 213. 214?
214. And 15. And 16?
And 17. And 18.
No. 221, then.
First time at 221,000. Second time at 221,000. Over here.
Third and last time at £221,000. Last chance.
Sold for £221,000.
'The final bid was from father and son Pat and Joe
'who paid £221,000 - 96 grand over the guide price.
'They're from Ireland and have come to Britain to try property development.
'Unfortunately, Joe couldn't make it today but we have the next best thing - his twin brother Colin!
'All three of them plan to do up the house so I wondered why they were trying their luck over here.'
We decided to come over here and try our hand in England.
We're builders back home in Ireland. Nothing much is happening there, so we thought we'd try this.
Just getting our feet in the door.
'And what a way to get started as they paid £96,000 over the guide price.
'That's seen some of their potential profit flushed away.'
Were you pleased with the price? £221,000. Is that what you expected?
Not as much as that. A little bit less,
but I did like the area and I know it.
'This is Pat's first property in London. He has renovated a flat and a five-bedroom house in Ireland,
'but the latter has been on the market for two years.
'He hopes to do better in London.'
So, Colin, are you as a family going to uproot all of you and move over to England?
Not permanently, but for now to get this place finished
and if this works out, we'll go again because it's lovely over here
and God knows the weather is better!
-Have you left anybody in Ireland?
-Yeah, my wife and the huskies.
-You've got huskies?
-I've got two gorgeous ones. They replaced the twins when they left.
-They are now treated better than we are.
-They do what they're told!
So, you know...you didn't!
'When it comes to building, though, Joe and Colin certainly do what their dad tells them.
'They've been helping him since he renovated the family home and Pat has 20 years' experience.
'How big a job does he think this is?'
We hope to do it in two months. We'll be here six days a week
and I've known from previous experience we work well as a team. Each guy knows what the next will do
and, yeah, I think we'll do it.
'Pat reckons they'll need a budget of £25,000, bringing the total cost of the project to £240,000 -
'just ten grand under the estimated resale value. That's not a massive profit,
'but will give them the start they want.
'Before I let the boys get on, there was one piece of family history I wanted to shed light on.'
-So, Colin, tell me about your background.
-My background would be very different to this.
I was in a band for about maybe three or four years. We were spotted by Louie Walsh.
-We had a couple of singles out.
-So you were a pop star!
-I never looked at myself... And he never!
-Did you have fan mail?
-We had a lot of fans.
-Then you're a pop star.
'So from stage curtains to rather less glamorous ones, I'll catch up with Pat and the twins later
'to find out how they get on.'
Coming up: we'll find out, two years down the line,
how this former telephone exchange in Devon had its cobwebs blown away.
Back in London, have there been more problems than expected?
We had to strip everything back to the brick, which meant all the wiring, plumbing...
But, first, in Wales is Ian's luck still in?
I'm sure in the future I will, perhaps, come a cropper.
'Back in Rhydyfelin, Mid Glamorgan, we catch up with pleasure park owner and local businessman Ian.
'He snapped up this three-bedroom property for £59,000. It needed to be redecorated
'and freshened up, but not much else. Lucky for Ian - he hadn't even seen it before the auction.'
I've never been to this area before, so it was completely blind.
I was at the auction and, well, I just put my hand up and it was mine.
'He managed to get this property for only £5,000 over the guide price.
'We went to see what he'd done with the place since.'
We've decorated right the way through.
We've renewed a couple of the windows and done the kitchen downstairs.
We knocked the toilet into the bathroom so it's all in one
-and just a general paint and decorate.
-'What an improvement.
'Ian has really brightened up the house with modern colours and wallpaper throughout.
'They were chosen specially for his new tenant, the daughter of a neighbour and her two children.'
The tenant has had some input with this particular room.
The colour for the little boy.
And there's pink for the little girl next door.
'They asked him for a door for easy access to the garage and he obliged.
'Ian allowed himself and his team of builders three weeks for the work until the tenant moved in,
-'but during that time he went on holiday.'
-There was a deadline on this project
because we've got a tenant moving in
and, with hindsight, I shouldn't have gone away, but that was an impossibility.
'Without Ian to supervise, the work ran over by a week and could still do with more time.'
The schedule's pretty much there. Another four days would do it.
So an extra 10 days on top of the three weeks.
'Despite that, he's achieved a lot, but perhaps the holiday timing wasn't ideal.'
If I had been hands on with the project,
then it would definitely have been done in those three weeks.
'As you can see from the paint pots and dustsheets, Ian still has a couple of jobs to get finished.'
There's still a few touches.
I wanted to put a patio on the back door. Ran out of time.
-Still got a shower to put in.
-'At least Ian's coming clean about the work he still has to do.
'He'd originally set aside six grand for it, so how much did he end up spending here?'
At the moment, it's just under £2.5K, so I'm very happy with that.
'Including the £59,000 he paid at auction for the house,
'Ian has spent around £61,000. I wondered if the work he'd done here would make its future rosy.
'We asked two local estate agents for their opinion of the standard
'of these renovations.'
Having looked round,
I'm very impressed by the standard of decoration and quality of finish.
The changes they have made are very nice. It was purely cosmetic.
They've made a very good job.
'I wouldn't have knocked the toilet into the bathroom.'
I'd have kept them separate.
I don't think there's anything different that should have been done to this property.
'Well, what a glowing report. What do they think Ian could rent this property out for?'
In this area, I'd expect a property of this quality to let for
the region of £450-£475 per calendar month.
This is a good rental area. There's quite a good demand for properties like this.
I would say that you could achieve between £450 and £500 per month.
I think that's about right and, yeah,
the person that I've got coming in is paying 495,
so I would say that the two estimates there are in line, really.
'That could be a fantastic yield of 9.75%
'so he's hit the nail on the head with his rental price.
'With all that new decor and improvements, how much could the house now sell for?'
I'd value it in the region of £69,000-£72,000.
We would market it at £70,000-£75,000 and estimate to achieve about £72,500.
I'm very, very pleased actually with that valuation.
The lady next to us said that hers was valued very similar to that,
but I'm not looking to sell, just rent.
'It's good to know that if he did sell it, he could make a great pre-tax profit of 11 grand.
'Not bad for one month's work. Ian's been really lucky, as he bought it without seeing it.
'Will he take that risk again?'
I'm not sure. I don't think I would buy blind in the future.
And I definitely won't be going on holiday again when we get a project together
that needs to be done very quickly. Time is money.
'And let's hope he finally gets round to cutting that grass.'
'In the autumn of 2007, a stroll down this Devon lane
'brought me to an engaging little property
'that really wasn't too dear.'
Well, views of Devon don't get much better than that.
The rolling hills, the sea in the distance. I'm right in the middle of the countryside
and it is a gorgeous area, so property prices around here are indeed extremely expensive.
So if I said there was a property up for auction with a guide of £25,000,
oh, yes, you'd be interested. And that's it.
It doesn't look too bad from the outside, does it? But there's a catch.
'You'll need to hang on - I'll explain when I get inside.
'Outside, the windows are boarded up or smashed, but the roof looks in good condition.
'The setting is glorious and this building is well connected.
'So what's on the inside behind that door? Just putting you through.'
This is it. Basically, it's a room.
It is, in fact, the old telephone exchange. Why on earth you would need one here I have no idea.
There must be about three houses.
But it's a building, so it starts to get exciting. That view is extraordinary.
So what shall we do? Massive glass front in there or put some eco-friendly house on the plot?
A kitchen that looks over the view? It would be fantastic.
But the planners say absolutely not. This has to stay exactly like it is and you can't live here.
Basically... it's quite an expensive shed.
'The former telephone exchange went to auction with a guide price of £25,000.
'Any investor hoping to convince the planners to allow the slightest change in use will face
'a very difficult challenge.
'But there is some good news. The property comes with permitted development rights
'which allow the owners to do various things for 28 days a year.'
The planning, as it stands, would allow you to spend 28 nights here.
So maybe you could put bunk beds in there, you could use this as a hideaway,
a retreat away from the rat race.
But it's just crying out, this rear wall, for windows in there looking out at that view.
'You might think it was worth £25,000 for the view alone,
'but without windows on that side and little hope of planning permission,
'it was a case of standing outside and looking across the valley
'and possibly just using the former exchange as a shelter if it rained.'
Well, before you engage your brain and think about ringing the changes on this one,
you might as well forget it. This is never going to be anything other than what it is.
Still, somebody at the auction bought it. Let's find out who.
OK, we have the former telephone exchange. What can I tell you?
It's a nice little square plot,
virtually square plot up on the hills, woodland behind you,
looking estuary towards. Fantastic spot. A little hideaway.
Someone's going to surely say to me £30,000.
How about 25, then, cos you know it won't make that? Just put your hand up. 25.
We do have... Wendy, ask him if he'll do the decent thing and offer us 25 to get going.
Thank you. 25 I've got. We're away.
25 I've got. At 25.
At 25,000. 26. 27 in the middle. Wendy, 28 or not?
32? 32 I've got.
Oh. 33. 34 or not?
34? 34. 35.
35. Fresh bid. 35. 36 or not?
36. At 36.
At £36,000, then.
At £36,000 once. You're going to miss it for 500 quid? Seriously?
36 and a half. 37? 37.
At 37 I've got. At 37. 37 and a half.
37 and a half. 38.
38. At 38.
At 38. 38 and a half.
39 or not?
39. At 39.
At 39. Half. 39 and a half.
39 and a half.
40 she goes. At 40.
At 40. I'm looking for a half.
40 I've got.
First time. Serious now.
Second time. At £40,000, you're sure and done?
Last chance. Being sold at £40,000.
-Your bidder, Wendy.
-'How appropriate! This former telephone exchange was bought by a telephone bidder.
'I met up with Beatrice at her purchase.
'In the past, she's worked as a hairdresser on a cruise ship, run a rest home and developed properties.
'Maybe she now fancies being a telephone operator.'
-We didn't see you at the auction.
-You didn't. I was unable to go.
I had an operation on my foot, had my foot in a plaster.
I'd read all about it and I'd been out walking and seen it.
When I saw it in the catalogue, I thought I'd make a call.
-So why did you buy it?
-Because this is my dream.
A sanctuary, a little bolt hole. It's something really nice.
-What do you know about the area?
-I do walk a lot in this area.
I'm walking most weekends.
And I would like to come and overnight here, bring the dog, do some walking, bring friends round.
Perhaps have a log burner in there and just not spoil the environment but be part of it. It'd be lovely.
'Beatrice paid £40,000 for the telephone exchange.
'Not surprisingly, it's the location she fell for.
'Simply using the building as a place to sleep overnight could prove a problem,
'but what an outlook.'
-That's the best bit - the view.
-There are no windows.
I would just adore some windows to look at the view and I'm sure you could tidy up the trees a bit
so you could look out and still see the view without damaging the trees. I'm sure you could.
-But that means putting windows in.
-It does and I would need planning permission for that.
'Beatrice is under no illusions about the planning application.
'She's spoken to the council and it doesn't sound promising.'
-What do you know about the planning restrictions?
-They're going to be very difficult, they are.
They wouldn't really like any changes at all and they don't really want anybody staying.
I'm told if I could further the tourism industry, I might have more of a chance.
I'm thinking of opening the smallest B&B in the area!
'I THINK she's joking! But maybe a business use could unlock the potential.'
-What are you going to do with it?
-I decided I must track down a local architect. I'm not local.
I brought him out. He didn't say what my friends have said, "You must be mad." He really liked it.
What does he think you can do?
He thinks because I work that I could possibly have it as a work office.
But I don't want to work until I am 100. So I could then say, "I don't want to work any more,
"so now may I take up residency?"
-It would be a really long-term thing.
-Planning permission by stealth.
'I've got my doubts that would get the result Beatrice is after, but her architect is on the case.'
So talk me through the project plan.
Well, the project plan is that a proper plan will be submitted through the right channels
by the architect who knows what he's doing. I don't.
And he said I must be prepared that they will turn it down
and we could appeal and find out what they would allow and it could be a few months...a year, possibly.
But this is my long-term - I don't ever want to let go of this.
I don't. This is for me. So if it takes a long time, it doesn't matter.
-It sounds like you've found something that's a bit of a dream.
-Oh, it is.
'Well, back in 2007 it seemed a very distant and unlikely dream,
'but as you'll see later in the programme, occasionally, dreams do come true.'
Some time has passed since we met the buyers of our second property.
-Have things gone according to plan or were those plans ripped up?
-Let's find out.
'Back in Enfield, London, Pat and his twin sons, Colin and Joe bought this mid-terrace,
'three-bedroom house at auction for £221,000 - £96,000 over the guide price.
'They're builders by trade and they would need those skills to fix up this neglected property,
'but Pat was confident the work would be done quickly.'
We hope two months. We'll be here six days a week.
'But in those two months, they had a lot to do.
'The whole place needed redecorated, a new kitchen and an inside toilet would be an improvement, too.
'We've returned to meet Pat and Colin at the house. They're still some way from the finish line
'and have gone over the original schedule by another month.
'Sounds like they had a bigger job than they first thought.'
Everything had to be done in this house, unfortunately. We had to strip everything back to the brick,
which meant all the wiring had to be done, plumbing, everything else.
'So that old, worn floor has been ripped out and replaced with beautiful wooden flooring.
'All those old rotting windows have gone, too, so no more nasty draughts on chilly nights.
'As you can see, the house is still a building site,
'but all it needs is decoration. The cracks have been filled and the wiring installed,
'so it's not far from finished. Colin explained the major structural changes in the front room.'
We've divided this room here. These two rooms, there was obviously an original wall here.
It's load-bearing, so we had to put in a girder to carry it. It came out very nice.
We had the option of putting in double doors.
If need be in the future, they can do that themselves.
It's still two rooms, but gives the impression of one room. We're really happy with the end result.
'And they've also tackled that outdated toilet situation.'
We finally have a bathroom inside. Upstairs we divided a room. There were three bedrooms.
We divided one room into two and got a bathroom in. It's fine.
It's not a waste of space. It worked out very well.
'So the bathroom is in place, which is more than can be said for the other facilities.
'They haven't had time to fix up the kitchen yet because of one unforeseen problem
'that was a major drain on their time.'
We hadn't intended doing the roof, but it had to be done.
We didn't see it at first, but when we got up there it had to be done.
'So in the end, the whole roof had to be retiled.
'The extra time spent on the roof plus the extra time to replace all those windows meant
'the work took longer than expected.'
It was going to be two months. Unfortunately, with the roof having to be done
and the windows delaying us, we would have had the kitchen units in and it would be painted,
but these things happen in building. You have to go with the flow and make the most of it.
'They're certainly making the most of this property. The garden was a great space, too, but wasted.
'But they have now cleared it, so it's ready for landscaping.
'There was also a battered old conservatory which they've ripped out for more garden room.
'The original budget was £25,000, but with the extra expense,
'Pat reckons they'll probably end up spending 30 grand. He was meant to be staying with the boys in London
'to do the work. Unfortunately, he caught flu and had to take it easy, so Colin was left to oversee.
'He's more than happy with the result.'
It was a huge challenge for him because he was really on his own.
He did a fantastic job money-wise and work-wise.
'This was their first renovation outside Ireland. Has it paid off?
'We asked two local experts for their opinions.'
I think my impressions of the property are really good.
He's opened it all up.
And the arrangement upstairs with the bathroom is very good.
Having a look around, the property has great potential.
Love the layout downstairs. The through lounge is lovely and then down into the kitchen,
which will work really well.
'Despite the fact it's unfinished, they see the property's potential.
'So what do they think it could sell for on the open market?'
I think when the work's all done, the property is going to resale for £275,000-£280,000.
And if it was mine, I'd try for £285,000.
I would put this property on the open market for £285,000.
That's pretty good. That's more or less what we had anticipated.
'In total, the boys would have spent £251,000 here.
'So that's a great profit of 34 grand.
'What could it earn if rented out?'
If they went for the rental option, it's likely to rent for in the region of £1,100-£1,200 per calendar month.
I would put this property up for rent for £1,100-£1,200 per month.
'That's an impressive yield of 9.5%, but would that be enough to tempt him to rent it out instead?'
With what we've invested, it definitely is a good return.
So, yeah, we might. We'll see how the sales go.
But we might rent it for a year or two. It's an option. We'll see what happens when it's finished.
'They might even be able to afford to sort out the back garden
'as they have at the front.
'Pat seems confident about handing over the reins to Colin for the next one.'
He's proved he can do it here. He doesn't need me any more. The world is his oyster!
'Property development is quite a departure from Colin's previous career in pop music.
-'Is he hooked on houses now?'
-I will definitely stay at this and get a couple of years out of it.
We tried the music earlier on and had a lot of fun doing it, had a couple of singles out,
so I imagine I'll stay at what we're doing now. I'm really enjoying it.
It's great fun. Every day is different, every month is.
Yeah, just keep going. You never know what the future might bring.
'It sounds like Colin is more than happy to progress from boy band to builder.'
'It was the autumn of 2007 when I first ventured
'into the lovely rural location of Mamhead near Exeter in Devon.
'The setting was the biggest issue with getting this telephone exchange connected back to modern life.
'Planners weren't keen on any kind of residential dwelling here,
'but, undaunted, businesswoman Beatrice decided that £40,000 seemed well worth paying
'just to own such a tranquil spot.
'At first that was all she was going to get.
'Initially, she got her wires crossed with her architect by going for a work/living space,
'which was rejected by planners.
'But when we last saw Beatrice in 2008, she'd just had good news.'
On Tuesday I got a phone call to say that, verbally,
they've given me planning permission for holiday use
and it would be made official - when the notice has been on the outside of the building for eight weeks,
then I will get it in writing.
'So after a year of planning limbo, Beatrice was given the green light for holiday lets.
'Finally, the derelict exchange could be taken off hold and Beatrice could ring the changes.
'We catch up with her now 18 months after she first bought it and, boy, what a transformation.
'She's wrung every last drop of potential out of it.'
What I want is I want it to be I'm here in a beautiful area and I want to be IN that area.
As soon as the sun comes out, as soon as it's tolerable at all,
I want that whole wall to disappear and I want to be inside outside.
And I want to feel a feeling that you flow through the building.
You can flow through the outside space and come back in again.
I'm afraid when I was asked about colours, it's just got to be white. It brings the light in.
Well, here's my kitchen, just the way I thought it would be.
This is the only extension, really, apart from the little bathroom. It's made it grow a weenie bit.
This is the living area. I've got wonderful views, I've got the woodburner, just as I dreamed.
And I've got the wet room here and then we go on to the bedroom and the view here as well.
'It hardly seems possible that this holiday cottage could have been created from essentially one room.
'There's tremendous attention to detail. Beatrice even travelled miles to get the perfect basin.
'And it's not just the looks that she went the extra distance.'
When I did a recce, I walked the whole area, a nine-mile radius of this area.
I know every transport cafe, every fish and chip shop, every nice restaurant and pub.
I've put details here for visitors. But I also found, to my amazement,
-that this is the area where all the disabled walking is.
-'With this in mind,
'Beatrice made her holiday home disabled-friendly, installing a wet room, ramp and special pathway.'
I particularly wanted to get the disabled access in. I want everybody to enjoy this view.
I'm thrilled we got this window in. It was not on the original plan.
The view there is just as lovely as the other views.
We can come round here and if we open up these doors we can see that view there
which is just absolutely fantastic. It's just lovely.
I knew this would be lovely, but it's twice as good as I thought.
'She's really done a fantastic job with such a small area,
'but it isn't just the space that was limiting.'
The planning quite clearly states that I must promote the tourist industry and make sure that it's let
as regularly as possible. It's not let all the time, so I get use too.
But it is the Mamhead village councillors I have to thank for being here.
They sent a letter on my behalf saying they'd really like someone here because it had been vandalised
and they were sick of it.
'This is one holiday home the locals really wanted.
'Their goodwill has helped Beatrice fulfil the building potential
'along with a lot of input from her architect and her builder, Preston.'
When I first saw the plans, I thought it's not worth doing and she's a bit mad to have bought it,
but after two or three weeks, I've realised it's really good
and she can make a nice holiday place. She done well on it.
'As he created this dream holiday home for her, Preston will also get the benefits for a while himself.'
I spoke to Beatrice and she said she will let me stay here for a week, free of charge.
'Preston might get a free week's holiday, but for Beatrice, realising this amazing transformation
'was anything but free.'
I think my end budget, when I'm absolutely finished,
will be £41,000. And I am now ready, with all the things that are in,
to spend the first weekend here.
'The initial purchase price of £40,000, her spend of £41,000, plus fees and planning costs
'adds up to a total outlay of around £85,000 for Beatrice.
'So how successfully has she rung the changes here? We asked along a lettings agent
'and the auctioneer who sold it.'
It's the most unbelievable creation
of what I sold to what it could be.
My first impressions are the situation and the view,
out across the valley to the sea. Lovely area.
Nice space, very compact.
Easily sellable and rentable as a holiday cottage.
I'd sleep in a septic tank if this was my view and my surrounds. It's just a fantastic spot.
'First and foremost, this is a holiday cottage. How much rental per week could it achieve?'
Peak price per week, I'd say £300-£350.
Peak season rent per week would be about £500.
'Based on that higher estimate and 40% occupancy, that could be an annual return of over £10,000.
'How does Beatrice feel about that?'
I'm not a great doubter, but that sounds a great deal of money for a very tiny property.
'Those are pretty impressive rental figures. How does it stack up on the resale market?
The resale price today would be in the region of £130,000-£140,000.
That's absolutely marvellous.
I'm just so thrilled with it.
'It may have been a long, drawn-out process, but it paid off for her.'
It's come absolutely spot-on to what I dreamed of.
It's all turned out more than perfect. I wouldn't change a thing.
'Beatrice's story just goes to prove that sometimes you don't need to pay telephone number prices
'for dreams to come true.'
We've proved that even the smallest project has tales to tell.
So join us for more surprising stories next time.
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2010
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a three-bedroom property in Mid Glamorgan, a house in London and an old telephone exchange in Devon.
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.