Episode 29 Homes Under the Hammer


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Episode 29

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Merseyside, a plot of land in Dorset and a three-bedroom semi in Stoke.


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First-time buyers and property veterans all visit auction rooms.

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The only thing you need is to have the finances

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to pay for what you bid for.

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If you want to buy your home under the hammer, visit the auction rooms.

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The important thing about buying at auction

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is when the hammer goes down, you've exchanged contracts and the property is yours.

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That's why it's vital to know what you're letting yourself in for

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and have your finances in place.

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So were today's property developers well-prepared or ill-equipped?

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'I'm off to a mining village in Merseyside to unearth a property that could be a hidden gem.'

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I don't think so.

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'My mind's running wild with the possibilities of what could be built here in Dorset.'

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You could run your own distillery for personal use. I'd toast to that!

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'And in Stoke, a handsome three-bedroomed semi that's definitely not developer-friendly.'

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You're pretty much stuck with this layout.

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'All of these properties were sold at auction

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'and we find out who bought them when they went under the hammer.'

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This is St Helens, halfway between Liverpool and Manchester.

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It's got canals, it's got parkland. It's a lovely place to live.

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What's very interesting as well

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is that Beechams opened the world's first medicine factory here in 1859.

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That's quite useful because, as you know,

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buying property can sometimes be a bit of a headache.

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You can always treat that with a spot of retail therapy.

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Not only has St Helens got its own shopping centre and retail parks,

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it's conveniently located near many important northern destinations.

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The house I'm here to see is about a mile and a half outside St Helens town centre

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in the residential suburb of Parr.

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Most of the houses round here are ex-local authority built

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to house miners from Bold Colliery.

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The colliery has closed, but maybe the house I'm here to see could be a bit of a diamond in the rough.

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Judging by the outside, I don't think so.

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Still, with a guide price of a mere £25,000, you've got to go in.

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Well, inside, it's pretty bad.

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Obviously, major signs of vandalism. The windows have all been broken.

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And it's internal. The plasterboard has been taken down, light fittings have been stripped.

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Even the electrical sockets have gone. But let's try and look through that.

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We've got bedrooms upstairs, obviously, a large through lounge. It's not a bad-sized space.

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I must get my developer's hat on. I can see through the mess.

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I don't know about a hat. You're going to need rose-tinted spectacles with this kitchen.

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It's not a bad space

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and, in fact, the units weren't bad before someone decided to smash them to pieces.

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But again, let's try and look through this. Kitchen here, you've got your utility area there.

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It's a very usable family house once you've sorted it out.

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Upstairs...?

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I think I'll just assume there are three reasonable-sized bedrooms and a bathroom.

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That's good enough for me.

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# Think I'd better leave right now... #

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Luckily, our cameraman is braver than me and happy to go up there.

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It turns out it's safer than it looks and there are indeed three bedrooms upstairs.

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One is fairly large, but the other two are definitely on the small side.

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It looks like those vandals were cold.

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Not only have they set fire to the place, they've also pinched the boiler.

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The bathroom? Well, not much to be salvaged there, but it is a decent size for the house.

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Outside, the house comes with a good bit of garden to the front and rear.

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It could be worth spending some money on resurfacing the driveway.

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You could add a gate, creating your own private parking space right outside your back door.

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I know the garden's a mess, but it's actually a good size,

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so get a lawn in there, some plants and it's a great family facility.

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Something a bit more interesting, though, is the construction of the property.

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It is non-standard construction.

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It's called Wimpey no-fines - no fines being no sand.

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It's made of basically concrete and pebbles.

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Insurance companies and mortgage companies don't like non-standard construction,

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but this is regarded as not a bad version of non-standard construction and it has some major plus features,

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including not being susceptible to damp, so, all in all, that shouldn't put you off.

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So what could you do with this property?

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Let's see what a local surveyor thinks.

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Improvement-wise, the property has been vandalised.

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The windows have been broken, the kitchen has been destroyed.

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It just wants putting back together.

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£5,000 to £10,000 should see it back in reasonable condition.

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That five to ten grand could see this place transformed, thanks to a new kitchen,

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refurbished bathroom...

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..some major re-wiring,

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oh, and a few floorboards!

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You could soon see a return on your investment.

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A property like this, it's an ideal rental property.

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It's three-bedroomed, semi-detached with a garden front and back.

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You'd be looking at a rental value of about £375 per month.

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Smashing! It's hard to look beyond the wreckage and see this as a family home,

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but if bought for around 25,000 and done up to a good standard, there could be a profit here.

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Fully refurbished, if the property was on the open market,

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I'd be asking around £65,000.

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Well, there's no denying there is a lot of work to do, so possibly not one for a first-timer.

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However, intrinsically, it's a good house in a reasonable area.

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And remember that guide price - £25,000-plus. It's a good one to go for at the auction.

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Lot 112 in St Helens. 20 anywhere?

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15? 15 we've got.

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20 I've got. 21 I've got.

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22?

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22 I've got. 23 I need.

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24 then...? 25?

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I've got it. 26?

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27?

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28?

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29?

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30...? 31?

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31. 32?

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33?

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34?

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35...? 6?

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37 then?

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38?

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38 I've got now, sir.

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A half. 38 and a half then. It's against you. I'll take 39?

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39 I've got.

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And a half. 40?

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OK, it's with you then, sir, at the back at 39,500.

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Are we all done at 39 and a half for the first time?

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Second time at 39,500. Third and final time, we're all done...

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Local man Mike made the winning bid of £39,500,

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£14,500 above the guide price of 25 grand.

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Mike is an engineer by trade and has been a property developer for 12 years.

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Working alongside him is property manager Lee

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who looks after the houses and flats that Mike buys to let.

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-What do you know about the area?

-I'm fairly local to the area,

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so we've got a good idea of what goes on in the area

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and these houses done up are quite decent houses.

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-Right.

-Three-bedroomed and the garden front and rear.

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And they're ideal for families.

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It's a regeneration area and there's people getting involved, landlords like me and Mike,

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hopefully, doing a good service.

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'Local regeneration schemes are doing all they can to promote civic pride

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'and encourage a strong community spirit.'

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They have litter-picking days and next week, they'll go round doing hanging baskets for the old people.

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Just getting the kids involved and tenants looking after their properties. That's how it should be.

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They get a bit of feedback from us and they approach us to ask our tenants

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what their views are on the area and what things they need that would help.

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We come up with things like keeping the place tidy,

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graffiti getting removed and people looking after their own stock.

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Mike, it sounds like you're not just being landlords. You're putting a lot back.

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Lee is more than me.

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I'm involved in the area and I'd like to see Parr be back to where it was years ago.

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Some nice people live round here

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and the houses could be made nice again and a nice place to live.

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What are you going to do to this place to sort it out?

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This will have to be completely gutted,

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plastered throughout...

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..central heated,

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insulated if necessary,

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and just generally smartened up, gardens and the outside.

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And just get it back to being a nice house.

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'Based on their previous experience, how much do they reckon it would cost

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'to do up this house and make it a home?'

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We'd probably spend between 10,000 to 12,000 on this property.

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It may get to 15, depending when we strip things out.

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'Mike and Lee have worked together for ten years and get on very well,

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'but they don't always agree, especially about timescales.'

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We're looking at about three months' work to be done on this.

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-Eight weeks.

-You think it's going to be eight weeks?

-Yes, eight weeks.

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Eight to twelve weeks is what it took in the past.

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'At least they can smile about it, kind of.

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'Even before this work has started, they've already decided on their next move.'

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Buying more houses in the area, doing them up and renting them out.

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Each property that we do do and move on,

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it's another property that's been regenerated and it looks nice.

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If we can work our way through the estate like that, we'd be very pleased.

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-How much of that is a driver for you?

-A lot of it.

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I come to work and I know the people next door and over the road.

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There's people passing, "Hi, Lee, how are you?" It's nice.

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People saying you're doing a great job.

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"More landlords should be like you and Mike." But they're not.

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This is the message we're trying to send to other landlords - if we can do it, so can you.

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We might not make as much money as quickly as those,

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but the houses are a lot nicer and you get a good reputation and we get the right tenants.

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There you go - Mike and Lee proving that you can be a successful property investor and landlord

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and still put something back into the community. Fantastic stuff.

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Still, a lot of challenges with this one. Will they do it to budget and what about that timescale?

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Will it be eight weeks or twelve? Find out later.

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This is the little village of Powerstock

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and with its honey-coloured stone cottages and winding lanes,

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it's a perfect rural idyll.

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The village is nestled on the edge of the Dorset Downs

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and with the coast only 20 minutes' drive away, it's all looking very exciting indeed.

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So, if you were looking for a rural location,

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this place would be hard to beat.

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So, just a short walk from that pretty little village

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and I'm here to see our auction lot.

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It's a rather strange auction lot - not a house, but a very unusual piece of land.

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Land? Well, yes, they don't make it any more, so it's valuable, right?

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Well, yes and no.

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This piece has a guide price of just £10,000. Now, that lowly amount gives you some idea of its worth.

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It doesn't come with planning and the chances of attaining planning permission to build here are nil

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because this is grazing land - great for cows and sheep, not so great for property developers though.

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Yes, the only sweet smell coming from this patch would be from the perfume of flowers,

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rather than any successful development project.

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Maybe this land is a very different kind of investment.

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So what are your options with this land then?

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Well, you could keep a horse here or maybe rent it to a farmer.

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Or you could just use this space for your own recreational needs,

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somewhere to come and enjoy.

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You are in an area of outstanding natural beauty, after all.

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Are those views worth £10,000 though?

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I'd like to think so.

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OK, so there's no doubting this is a beautiful spot, but so what?

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There's no development potential here, but it's not the intrinsic value of the land that's important.

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It's the value it has to the local area. House prices, after all, are governed by location.

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If this land lost its greenfield status to become an industrial site,

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what do you think would happen to the house prices nearby?

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This land doesn't just come with picture postcard views. It also comes with its very own orchard.

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I would definitely have someone come and take a look to identify the trees,

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but if they were cider apples, that would be fantastic.

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You could run your own mini-distillery for personal use. I'd toast to that!

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# I am a cider drinker

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# I drinks it all of the day... #

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Scrumping aside, is there any way this land can bear fruit?

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Or is this just a chance to own your own little bit of England?

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What does the local property expert from the auctioneer think?

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This piece of ground is going to be of interest

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to those people within the village who wish to purchase a bit of ground

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for a pony paddock,

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somebody perhaps living within the district who wants to buy it,

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so that their children or grandchildren can have the use of it.

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It's got apple trees, it's south-facing and lots of wildlife,

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fauna and flora.

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As a place to come and play or laze around, how much would somebody normally have to pay?

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The value of ground in this particular area

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and a little plot of ground like this is probably about £10,000 an acre.

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This is what little plots of ground usually make.

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Surely, would-be developers would be trying to buy this prime plot just in case?

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To talk about building out in this part of the country

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and on this piece of ground, there's more chance of you going to the moon!

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So, choices are limited here.

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You could use this land for grazing, you could keep a pony on here

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or you could simply enjoy owning your own piece of England. Why not?

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Something you will never be able to do is build. That is a no-no,

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so speculative buyers will not be interested in this one.

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Someone was, though, so let's go to auction and see who that was.

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0.784 acres.

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We've got a guide of £10,000. Someone like to put me straight in at 10?

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10, thank you. At 10,000.

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10,000. 12? 12. 14.

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16? The lady, thank you.

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16. At 16,000 on the aisle.

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18? 18 to Stephen on my left.

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20? 20. At 20 standing.

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At 20. 22.

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24? At 24.

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24.

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26? 26, thank you.

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26 with the field sports tie. 28? 28. 28...

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All done and sure then?

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On my left at £28,000...

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-Stephen Jenkins, congratulations.

-Dorset Wildlife Trust.

-Dorset Wildlife Trust. Thank you.

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APPLAUSE

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'After a bit more of a fight than I expected, it was the Dorset Wildlife Trust that came out on top.

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'For £28,000, they added another 0.7 of an acre

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'to the 200,000 acres of Dorset countryside they already own.

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'So what made this little bit so special?

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'I met up with their chief executive Simon to find out.'

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Land like this doesn't come up all the time.

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The Dorset Wildlife Trust is always on the lookout for good quality nature reserve material

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and land like this which is good for various species, has great plants and wildlife

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is a great opportunity for us.

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It really is beautiful here. How much research did you do into buying it?

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Quite a lot. We have a responsibility to our members who give us the money to buy this sort of land.

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We've got a thousand volunteers and out of those thousand volunteers,

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we've got a number of real experts on grassland or bats or orchard trees.

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They come in and they have a look at the land for us and tell us just how valuable it is for wildlife.

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-They tipped you off on this one and said, "Go for it!"

-They did and we did.

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'The Trust put out an appeal to their 25,000 members to help purchase this land

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'and within two weeks, they got a fantastic £80,000, which is pretty impressive.'

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Why are spaces like this so important?

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They have such a range of uses.

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They're important for the wildlife, as representative areas within Dorset.

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We've got to keep different types of habitat and wildlife all around Dorset.

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-Who else will be involved in this project with you?

-We have a range of volunteers that we work with,

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but with a site like this very close to the village centre,

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we hope to draw in the villagers as part of a community plan and that's the exciting thing.

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It's not about putting fences around nice bits of Dorset.

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It's about pulling people in and letting them share in the environment that we have here.

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'One of those involved is Joy, the Trust's People and Wildlife Co-ordinator.

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'She encourages local communities to get involved.'

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Joy, I know this is really an exciting time for you guys at the Wildlife Trust.

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But to me, this just looks like a huge, overgrown field. What is so exciting about you buying this?

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It's a lot more than an overgrown field. We've got fantastic old trees which are probably cider apple trees

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because a lot of the orchards round here were for cider-making.

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We've got a stream and we know there are otters that pass through here.

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We want people to enjoy it as well,

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so there's a lovely area down there which we can develop for picnic tables to go in,

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have an information centre to tell people about what they can see here.

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There's a school just round the corner and they can use this as an outdoor classroom.

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Imagine seeing the kids' faces coming into something like this!

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What are you most looking forward to here?

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Getting the local people and communities on board

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because it's just fantastic for people to actually think, "Oh, this is a place that we can use,"

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whether they want to use it for events, wildlife study or with school groups.

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That's really what I enjoy most -

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actually enthusing people in their own natural heritage.

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'With Joy's enthusiasm, Simon's support and a range of volunteers and helpers,

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'this should be a fantastic community asset.'

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That's the thing I really do love about Homes Under The Hammer.

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You never know who's going to buy and what they'll do with their purchase.

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Who'd have thought that this land would be utilised in such a special way?

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I wish Simon and Joy all the luck in making this a huge success.

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'Coming up, is this three-bedroomed semi in Stoke a sight for sore eyes?'

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I've seen better. I have seen worse!

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'We return to Dorset to find out who the new residents of this plot of land are going to be.'

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We want to get a few sheep in here to graze.

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'But first, does this house in Merseyside meet its new owners' standards?'

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We wouldn't expect somebody to live in something we wouldn't live in.

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This house on Merseyside was bought at auction for £39,500.

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It's in the residential suburb of Parr, a mile and a half from St Helens town centre.

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The house is on an estate that was originally built for miners working at the local Bold Colliery.

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Since the mines were closed in the late 1980s, the area has gone through some difficult times

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and this house was badly vandalised.

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Mike bought it and, with the help of property manager Lee, planned to repair the damage and rent it out.

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I'd like to see Parr be back to where it was years ago.

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Some nice people live round here

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and the houses could be made nice again.

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# All messed up and no place to go... #

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This was all messed up, but that mess is now long gone.

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The vandals did a really good job trying to destroy the place.

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Now there's been an equally good job putting it all back together.

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But where on earth did they start?

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We took everything out of the property and started from scratch.

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That's new electrics, had it plastered throughout,

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new window frames, new doors.

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The boiling system needed replacing, all the plumbing.

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We took the old kitchen away cos it had been vandalised.

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We were going to try and salvage the original kitchen, but that didn't happen,

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so we stripped it all out and renewed it.

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We've rearranged it in a more practical way.

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Originally, the sink and the cooker were along the same wall, making the kitchen feel like a long corridor.

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Now the sink has been moved under the window, freeing up more space.

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The last time we were here, there was a huge hole in the ceiling

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or was that in the upstairs floor?

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Well, upstairs was in a bad condition. The floor was in a real mess.

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There was no floorboards in and all the plumbing had been ripped out.

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We put everything back to how it should be. It's a nice, clean job. I'm quite pleased with it.

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The bathroom was non-existent because it had been vandalised and all the things taken out of it.

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The worse the condition, the better it is for us. We can just rip everything out and start again.

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Mike and Lee have certainly cracked on with this refurbishment.

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Upstairs, the real fires, those lit by the vandals, have gone.

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All three bedrooms are now restored and looking smart,

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as is the outside of the property.

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We've put new fences and new gates on the property

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which makes it look completely different than before.

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Next year, we'll get round to doing all the gardens, so they'll all be nice

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and rightly so because it's a nice estate with nice people.

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Why can't they have a nice house to live in?

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The only thing that's brought some of the houses down is private landlords

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because they won't do the jobs that they're supposed to do, in my eyes.

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We wouldn't expect somebody to live in something we wouldn't live in.

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That's a nice sentiment, but sentiments can prove expensive.

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What did they spend here?

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I was quite pleasantly surprised about that because we thought it would be about 15,000

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and it came in at about 10,500.

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The budget is kept down obviously because we do a lot of work ourselves,

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so if you had to employ somebody to do what I did and what Mike did, your budget would be a lot more.

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They've spent £10,500, £4,500 under budget.

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That's not something we often get to say on Homes Under The Hammer.

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If I remember rightly, there was a difference of opinion about how long it would take.

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It was eight weeks, so we managed to get it done in that time.

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We could've done it in eight weeks,

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but it probably went to twelve

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as we had other jobs running parallel with this one.

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Eight weeks, twelve weeks, who's counting? Apparently not those two!

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Mike bought the property for £39,500 and they've spent £10,500 so far.

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What do two local property experts think of the house now?

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It had been vandalised previously. It's all been done very nicely.

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The kitchen's been refitted to a good standard. The bathroom again refitted, perfectly serviceable.

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It was built as a three-bedroomed family house, which is what it is.

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It has a very big garden. It's very good for a family.

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The work done here is really good.

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The plaster re-finish is practical, as is the laminate flooring.

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The kitchen has been done well. It's a nice, open space with lots of room for family living.

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There's agreement then that it's a good family home,

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but what's the best option here, given current conditions - rental or re-sale?

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With the market the way it is, the rental market is very strong. It will rent very easily, rather than sell.

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I think it would be better as a rental property. Re-sale in the area isn't as well as it should be.

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That's good news for Mike and Lee. They always planned to rent it out.

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Now the all-important question - for how much?

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If it was to go on the rental market, I would expect to be asking around £450 per calendar month.

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This property would achieve around 450, 500 per calendar month in the rental market.

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We're very happy with that. We've got a tenant moving in and she's paying 498 a month.

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Yeah, that's what we expected.

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Mike and Lee are getting a good rental price and a great return while they're at it.

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They've spent around £50,000 on the house so far.

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What difference have their renovations made to the property's market value?

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If the property was on the market, I'd expect to achieve around £60,000.

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I would put this property on the market for around 70,000 to 75,000.

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We were thinking in the region at the moment of about £65,000.

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That's quite a good result. We're made up with that.

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The house could be worth more than they imagined.

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That's good to hear, but they're not doing it just for the money.

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Being locals, they're committed to the area and their tenants.

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If you do a house up in the area like this, it's better for the area, it's better for everybody concerned.

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-We're glad we've done it and we'll be doing more.

-The next project is the house next door.

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This is virtually finished. There's a tenant moving in on Friday.

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On Monday, we'll start work on that.

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Same procedure - rip everything out and bring it up to scratch like this and get another nice tenant in.

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The good news is that the new tenants have now moved into the house and made it a home.

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Mike and Lee have started working on the property next door and are looking for more.

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They're doing a great job and we wish them every success.

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I'm in Trentham on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent.

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It's probably most famous in the north-west as home to Trentham Gardens

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where I used to go as a child and it's where I learnt to swim.

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The big question is, will the property I'm here to see be doggy paddle or front crawl?

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And if swimming is not your thing, then this is an ideal area for a walk in the park.

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# I keep on walking till the sun comes up

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# I keep on walking and the sun comes up

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# I keep on walking till the sun comes up

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# I keep on walking till the sun comes up... #

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Trentham is one of Stoke's more expensive areas and was part of the estate village of Trentham Hall,

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a former country seat owned by the Dukes of Sutherland.

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The gardens and park still remain, but the grand old house was knocked down long ago.

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Hopefully, the property sold at auction has fared a little better and is still standing.

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The house I'm here to see is on this cherry tree-lined avenue.

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This will be gorgeous in the spring!

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The property looks in reasonable nick.

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Three bedrooms, semi-detached, had a guide price of 100,000 quid. Let's take a look.

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Well, the outside of the house could do with a bit of repair work,

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but I think it's mainly cosmetic.

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So... Well, that's nice. I like big entrance areas. Look at that!

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It really gives the house an open feel straight away.

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Stairs up to the bedrooms there, front sitting room here. Doesn't look too bad.

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It could do with a new fireplace. Rear living room area - that looks quite nice.

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Then through to the kitchen...

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Well, it could do with a bit of work.

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I've seen better. I have seen worse, it has to be said.

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I'd definitely want to get rid of the cooker. The units may be serviceable.

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It's not a bad-sized space and, all in all, a good enough start.

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At one end of the kitchen, there's a boiler room and walk-in pantry.

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These could be knocked through to make a downstairs cloakroom,

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a utility room or just to increase the size of the kitchen.

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So that rear living room is not a bad-sized room, but that's not the great thing about it.

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It's got an open fire, but that's not the great thing about it.

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The fantastic thing about it is it's got these patio doors leading out on to the garden,

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throwing loads of light into the room.

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Outside, more opportunities present themselves

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because some neighbouring properties have gone for an extension -

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a single-storey extension on the back, a double-storey extension on the side.

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Both are ways you could extend this into a considerably-sized family home. It's big enough already.

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One great thing it's got already is this - a good-sized rear garden.

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The garden obviously needs work, but it's nothing a lawn mower couldn't sort out

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which you could keep in this handy garage.

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And that long drive means the house could be ideal for a family with more than one car.

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Back upstairs, it looks as though the house could do with a bit of care and attention.

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So, upstairs, three generously proportioned bedrooms and something that's gone a bit wrong

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because you've got the bathroom there, then across this landing area is the loo.

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Now, I quite like separate loos. It works very well in a family house,

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but a lot of people like to knock them together and clearly you won't be able to do this here.

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Unless you consider some major extension, you're going to be stuck with this layout.

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It could be expensive knocking down walls and building extensions just to give you an all-in-one bathroom.

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The three bedrooms are a good size, but in need of some repair and re-decoration.

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There's even a sign of what looks like damp.

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That will need to be sorted out.

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If you've got a small budget, it's worth doing these jobs before you think about knocking any walls down.

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The house went to auction at a guide price of £100,000.

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I asked a local estate agent along

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to find out how it compares with others in the street.

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The majority of houses in Trentham are similar to this property -

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three-bedroom semi-detached, three-bedroom detached,

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four-bedroom detached, your family type of home.

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It's a desirable place to live, but you still get good value for money.

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With Trentham Gardens not far away, you feel like you can have a touch of the rural life,

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yet you're only ten minutes' drive from Stoke city centre.

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Does anything stand out about this house?

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What I like about this property is its character from the outside.

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A little bit of Mock Tudor,

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it makes it a little different, a bit more mature.

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It sets it apart from its modern counterparts.

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Obviously, at the moment, it's not being shown at its best.

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There's a lot of cosmetic work to be done, but it's a good, structurally solid property.

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The property could do with a bit of work,

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but how much do houses on this street go for?

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Once renovated,

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I think the value of this property is somewhere in the region of £160,000 to £165,000.

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If the new owner didn't want to sell the house on, would renting be a good option?

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The rental value - somewhere between £525 to £550 per calendar month.

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Well, a little bit of jiggery-pokery required to sort this place out,

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but I think for that £100,000 guide price, this is a cracking property.

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It will make a lovely family home or a great investment. Who agreed with me when it went under the hammer?

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What shall we say then for Lot 50?

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What is it? 95 to start me?

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95 I'm bid, front row. At £95,000. 100 can I say?

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100, standing right. At 100,000.

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105? 105.

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110.

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115? 115.

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120.

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121 in the aisle.

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122. 123.

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124. 125.

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126. 127.

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128. 129.

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130.

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130 and a half.

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131. 131 and a half.

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132.

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At 132,000... 132 and a half.

0:37:220:37:26

133, sir? No?

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132 and a half. The bid's in the aisle then at £132,500, first time...

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At 132,500, second time...

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Third and final time... 133.

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133,000.

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It's with you back right, sir, at £133,000.

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Are we all done now? At 133, first time...

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133, second time...

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Third and final time at 133...

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133 and a half.

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134. Against you in the aisle, sir.

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At £134,000, first time...

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Second time. Third and final time at 134...

0:38:080:38:13

BANGS GAVEL You bought it, sir. Well done.

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'That successful bid of 134,000, over 30% more than the guide price, came from Andy.

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'He runs his own company which specialises in laying tarmac surfaces.

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'I can see that drive changing.'

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# Can you dig it? Oh, yeah

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# Can you dig it...? #

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'I met him back at his new property.'

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-Were you happy with what you paid? It's quite a bit over the guide price.

-I was well happy with it.

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I mean, I expected it to go over the guide price.

0:38:490:38:53

So how was the auction for you?

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It was all right. I bought my own house at auction, so I've had experience of auctions before.

0:38:550:39:01

-So you're an auction veteran?

-I wouldn't say that. It's always a little bit nerve-wracking.

0:39:010:39:07

So why this particular house?

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Because I think Trentham is in an ideal position to rent out

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and also it's got potential for us to do things with it, really.

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-It's a nice house, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:39:190:39:21

-Tell me what you're going to do to it.

-We'll probably put a new kitchen in, alter the bathroom,

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then widen the drive and decorate it through.

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How are you going to sort the bathroom out? I looked at the loo on the stairs.

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I don't know what you can do.

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Yeah, that's the question, really.

0:39:390:39:41

I was looking into perhaps putting an extension on the one side

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and try and make the toilet room slightly bigger and moving the bathroom across.

0:39:450:39:50

-Wow, quite a big job, quite a lot of expense!

-Yeah.

0:39:500:39:54

-And the rest of the house, pretty much as it is?

-Yes, we'll re-wire some rooms and decorate it through.

0:39:540:40:01

I've never been in a house with so few plug sockets. There's one plug socket in each bedroom, I think!

0:40:010:40:07

'It sounds like a re-wire is a must.

0:40:110:40:13

'Andy's not doing the work on his own. His girlfriend is going to lend a professional hand.'

0:40:130:40:19

My girlfriend used to work for an interior design firm which did show homes.

0:40:190:40:25

-Wow, she must be very excited!

-She's ready to start tomorrow!

0:40:250:40:29

What is she going to do? What stage is she going to come in at?

0:40:290:40:34

We'll probably together strip all the house out, clean the walls off and what have you,

0:40:340:40:39

then she'll do the decorating and oversee some of the work.

0:40:390:40:43

'Andy paid £34,000 above the guide price and plans to do some of the work himself.

0:40:450:40:51

'Owning a groundworks company means sorting out that drive won't be a problem,

0:40:510:40:56

'but he'll have to hire in trades such as electricians and plasterers.'

0:40:560:41:01

How much have you set aside for the work?

0:41:010:41:04

I was thinking something like 8,000.

0:41:040:41:07

-A tight budget.

-Yeah, but we'll be doing a lot of the work ourselves. It'll be mainly materials.

-Right.

0:41:070:41:14

-And in terms of the time it will take?

-Probably about two months.

0:41:140:41:18

'Two months sounds quite ambitious, given Andy will be doing his day job at the same time.

0:41:180:41:24

'He's optimistic that with the help of his partner and friends in the trade, it is a realistic timeframe.

0:41:240:41:31

'His budget is small for a fairly large property, so I'd suggest Andy sticks to a simple renovation

0:41:310:41:37

'and puts any ideas of an extension on hold.'

0:41:370:41:41

What's the plan after you've done this one?

0:41:410:41:44

To rent it out and just watch how it goes.

0:41:440:41:47

Do you have any idea of what you might get in terms of rent?

0:41:470:41:52

-500 to 550, something like that.

-A decent enough return.

-That's what I was hoping for, yeah.

0:41:520:41:58

So, Andy taking on a great little house for his first investment property,

0:41:590:42:04

but I am a bit concerned that because he paid so much more than the guide price,

0:42:040:42:09

his budget and his margins are going to be very tight.

0:42:090:42:12

But it will have a lovely driveway when we come back. Find out how he gets on later in the show.

0:42:120:42:18

Well, as the saying goes, some you win, some you lose.

0:42:220:42:26

-So were the buyers successful or did their gamble not pay off?

-Let's find out.

0:42:260:42:32

Every now and again, a surprise lot comes up at auction

0:42:320:42:36

that inspires a very different kind of purchaser to bid,

0:42:360:42:40

not the property developers, builders or first-time buyers we usually come across on this show.

0:42:400:42:46

And so it was with Lot 23E in June 2008 -

0:42:460:42:50

0.7 acres of land just outside the village of Powerstock in gorgeous rural Dorset.

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This land was sold for £28,000 to a local wildlife trust.

0:42:560:43:01

They had definite plans for this small addition

0:43:010:43:05

to the 200,000 acres they already maintained.

0:43:050:43:08

With a site like this which is very close to the village centre,

0:43:080:43:13

we hope to draw in the villagers as part of a community plan and that's the exciting thing.

0:43:130:43:18

It's not about putting little fences around nice bits of Dorset.

0:43:180:43:22

It's about pulling people in to let them share in the environment here.

0:43:220:43:27

So the seasons rolled on and ten months later, we've returned

0:43:270:43:32

to see if this idyllic piece of land with its stream and apple trees has blossomed even further.

0:43:320:43:38

The apple trees have emerged from their previous tangled scrub.

0:43:390:43:44

And there is subtle land management taking place

0:43:500:43:54

as the Trust's People and Wildlife Co-ordinator Joy explains.

0:43:540:43:58

Some of the trees like this one here were totally covered in brambles.

0:44:000:44:05

It kills the branches and the tree is suffering quite a bit.

0:44:050:44:09

We've cleared the bramble patches away and given the trees a longer life span

0:44:090:44:14

than they would have had otherwise and hopefully more flowers will grow up around the trees.

0:44:140:44:20

I've put some wild flower mix down there, so in June, it'll be more interesting than a pile of brambles.

0:44:200:44:27

So far, the clearance and maintenance of the site has been carried out

0:44:280:44:33

by a willing bunch of volunteers, but there are plans afoot to get some additional animal help.

0:44:330:44:39

We've put a sheep fence round as we want to get a few sheep in here to graze the grass down.

0:44:390:44:44

That's really good for wild flowers, so they'll be in here for a few weeks later on in the summer.

0:44:440:44:50

We've cleared the stream off a bit as that will encourage more things to take advantage of the stream.

0:44:500:44:57

We've had a bench donated by a family whose mother lived virtually all her life in the village. That's lovely.

0:44:570:45:04

Already this is showing what a diverse and interesting habitat this is

0:45:040:45:10

for all kinds of plants and creatures.

0:45:100:45:13

It might not be a home for people, but it's just teeming with wildlife who have taken up residence here.

0:45:130:45:19

That in turn attracts people in as Tony, the chairman of the Trust, explains.

0:45:190:45:24

It's a wonderful area for the community to come and visit.

0:45:240:45:28

There is open access whilst before probably they wouldn't be able to come here.

0:45:280:45:34

They can enjoy it peacefully and look at the wildlife

0:45:340:45:38

and it's our job to interpret and explain to people what wildlife is there.

0:45:380:45:43

There is an enormous number of little beasties like beetles, as well as the birds and the flowers.

0:45:430:45:49

And it's the local community and especially the schools that they try to get on board.

0:45:490:45:55

The children are going to come along a bit later

0:45:550:45:58

and we hope they'll look on this place as an outdoor classroom and use it in the future

0:45:580:46:03

because the school is just down the lane, so it's very handy for them.

0:46:030:46:08

We've had some locals turn up to help clear the brambles and clearing the fence line for the fence.

0:46:080:46:14

We've got some locals coming along to help this afternoon with the activities, so it's been great.

0:46:140:46:21

And today is Apple Blossom Day for the orchard.

0:46:210:46:24

It's a chance for both the Trust and the community to get together and celebrate the arrival of spring.

0:46:240:46:30

So as the children continue to get the wildlife bug,

0:46:420:46:46

will there be a net profit in their outside classroom?

0:46:460:46:50

We asked a local property expert along with his dog to find out.

0:46:500:46:55

This land is absolutely enchanting.

0:46:570:47:00

It's the typical little old orchard that typifies the area,

0:47:000:47:06

for which there is a growing need and a growing resurgence.

0:47:060:47:11

This clearly isn't about profit, but with the £28,000 to buy the land being donated by the members

0:47:110:47:18

and the £2,000 spent, have they used their members' money carefully?

0:47:180:47:22

On the market, this land could be worth in the region of £30,000.

0:47:230:47:28

-Priceless, really, isn't it?

-It is, Joy.

-You can't put a price on something like this.

0:47:280:47:33

It really is a very long-term project.

0:47:330:47:36

The Trust hopes to keep the land in perpetuity, but there are still plenty of tasks to get on with.

0:47:360:47:43

Well, I hope that in the future, the village will continue to enjoy it.

0:47:430:47:48

I hope the school will be able to use it as an outdoor classroom for all sorts of cross-curricular activities

0:47:480:47:54

and that it will go on from strength to strength.

0:47:540:47:58

Hear, hear! I think that's all I can say.

0:47:580:48:01

This little bit of Dorset may never be home for people,

0:48:010:48:05

but it will be a home for a diverse range of wildlife and an outside classroom for the local school.

0:48:050:48:12

It just goes to show that you don't always need financial returns to make a rewarding investment.

0:48:120:48:18

This three-bedroomed, semi-detached house in Stoke was bought at auction for 134,000 quid.

0:48:260:48:32

It's in a popular residential location

0:48:330:48:37

and was in need of modernisation and improvement.

0:48:370:48:41

Its new owner Andy had a few decisions to make.

0:48:410:48:45

I was looking into perhaps putting an extension on one side and trying to make the toilet room slightly bigger

0:48:460:48:52

and moving the bathroom across.

0:48:520:48:55

I can see why he wanted to make that toilet room bigger,

0:48:550:48:59

but joining it to the bathroom wasn't going to be easy with that stairwell in the way.

0:48:590:49:04

I'm not sure how he's done it, but it's...

0:49:040:49:07

# All right now

0:49:070:49:11

# Baby, it's all right now... #

0:49:110:49:15

It's pretty all right in other areas of the house too...

0:49:150:49:19

..though it's not quite finished yet.

0:49:210:49:24

He's obviously been busy and created some valuable extra space, so how has he done it?

0:49:240:49:30

OK, so one of the biggest and first jobs we did to the house when we first started

0:49:340:49:40

was to remove all the existing stairs and take the bathroom out.

0:49:400:49:44

There was a small toilet room to the top of the stairs.

0:49:440:49:48

We demolished all that and that gave us room for a bigger bathroom.

0:49:480:49:52

That's clever. Andy first thought he'd have to build an extension to make room for a bigger bathroom.

0:49:520:49:58

Instead, he's removed the old stairwell that divided the upstairs landing in the middle,

0:49:580:50:04

separating the toilet and bathroom.

0:50:040:50:06

He's then rebuilt the staircase, taking space from what was the kitchen pantry and boiler room.

0:50:060:50:12

Moving the stairs aside like this has created enough room upstairs

0:50:120:50:17

for that all-important bigger bathroom and toilet with shower cubicle.

0:50:170:50:22

That's not all. There's now space under the stairwell for an added bonus.

0:50:220:50:27

We weren't sure how it would work, but I'm glad we altered the stairs

0:50:270:50:32

because it's given us an extra room downstairs and a nice bathroom.

0:50:320:50:36

As I said, that's clever.

0:50:360:50:38

Since Andy's gone to all the trouble of moving those stairs, it seems rude not to use them.

0:50:380:50:44

Let's look at the upstairs bedrooms.

0:50:440:50:47

# All right now Baby, it's all right... #

0:50:470:50:50

Other than a bit of decorating to finish off, the house is looking great

0:50:500:50:56

and Andy has given new life to old character features, stripping the original doors back to the wood.

0:50:560:51:02

# All right now Baby, it's all right... #

0:51:020:51:06

And there's no longer just one main socket per room.

0:51:060:51:11

We've completely re-wired the house

0:51:110:51:13

and obviously incorporated sockets and TV aerial sockets and things like that extra.

0:51:130:51:19

Downstairs has also had a bit of a facelift.

0:51:200:51:24

In the front reception room, the 1970s gas fire has been replaced

0:51:240:51:28

with something that not only has a grate, but also looks great.

0:51:280:51:32

To keep the heat from that new fire in, the old bay window has been double-glazed.

0:51:330:51:39

The carpets, not to everyone's tastes, have been ripped up

0:51:420:51:47

and the floorboards sanded to create a smart, new floor.

0:51:470:51:51

The back reception room feels light and airy with its open outlook on to the garden.

0:51:520:51:59

The kitchen no longer looks like a period piece.

0:52:000:52:04

Andy must have had a lot of help getting this all done.

0:52:090:52:12

I've pretty much done the demolition work, clearing the site...

0:52:130:52:18

..the landscaping and the driveway, the fencing,

0:52:190:52:24

then we've done all the other odd jobs,

0:52:240:52:27

other than the plastering and the electrical work and the plumbing.

0:52:270:52:31

Andy mentioned the driveway.

0:52:320:52:34

Since he runs his own groundworks company specialising in tarmacking, it should be top-notch.

0:52:340:52:40

As you can see, we've resurfaced the drive.

0:52:440:52:49

We've put these stone edgings around the outside, widened the entrance,

0:52:490:52:53

so we can get two cars on if I rent it out to a family

0:52:530:52:57

and sort of gravelled the front,

0:52:570:52:59

built a brick pillar on the left-hand side,

0:52:590:53:03

and then re-done the fence.

0:53:030:53:06

The back garden has been tidied up as well.

0:53:060:53:09

It's now a large, open area and ideal for families with children.

0:53:110:53:17

Andy hoped to carry out the work in two months with a budget of £8,000. How's that gone?

0:53:180:53:24

We've been working on this project for about four months,

0:53:250:53:29

but really probably two months of that has been solid work.

0:53:290:53:34

The rest I've been busy doing my groundwork.

0:53:340:53:39

My original budget of 8,000 got altered when I decided to do the extra work inside

0:53:390:53:44

and I wasn't really budgeting for any fees

0:53:440:53:48

which probably brings us up to around about 15,000 and I think I'll finish the project at about 16,000.

0:53:480:53:54

Roughly twice the time and twice the cost, but to be fair, it's looking twice as good.

0:53:540:54:00

Things seem to be going smoothly for Andy, but has he added value?

0:54:050:54:09

We invited two local estate agents to take a look around.

0:54:100:54:14

Trentham is quite well sought after,

0:54:190:54:21

good high schools and infrastructure links.

0:54:210:54:24

It's a three-bedroom, semi-detached house. It's had a reasonable re-fit.

0:54:240:54:29

A new kitchen and bathroom have gone in. Good features have been retained.

0:54:290:54:33

They've kept some original doors, the original flooring in the hall and it keeps the character of the building.

0:54:330:54:40

They've opened the grounds up and made it a family-orientated garden.

0:54:400:54:44

My first impression of the property, the owner has done a fantastic job.

0:54:440:54:49

The main features I like are the fireplaces, the original doors,

0:54:490:54:55

the floorboards and also the fact that he's utilised the downstairs WC and the upstairs bathroom.

0:54:550:55:01

Moving the staircase was very worthwhile. The internal layout of the property is very good.

0:55:010:55:06

And he's utilised all the space very well.

0:55:060:55:10

Andy bought this property with the sole intention of letting it out.

0:55:110:55:16

So how much rent could he get?

0:55:190:55:22

I'd place a rental of £650 per calendar month on this property.

0:55:220:55:27

I would look to put this property on the market for £625 per calendar month.

0:55:270:55:32

Yeah, if I got 600 to 650, I'd be happy at that.

0:55:320:55:36

That's a yield of around 5% which isn't great,

0:55:370:55:41

but in this climate, if you're getting back more than you're putting in, that's good.

0:55:410:55:48

If Andy decides to sell, how much should he be asking for?

0:55:480:55:53

I'd put this property on the market at £174,950.

0:55:530:55:57

The re-sale price for this property would be £179,950.

0:55:570:56:02

That's a pre-tax profit of around £25,000 to £30,000,

0:56:030:56:08

minus usual deductions.

0:56:080:56:11

Is Andy still happy?

0:56:110:56:13

Originally, I wasn't expecting it to be that high,

0:56:130:56:17

but talking to the neighbours and different people,

0:56:170:56:21

realising what the area is capable of

0:56:210:56:25

and we've obviously done more work to the house, so I was hoping for 180,000.

0:56:250:56:30

Whatever Andy does with the property, he's certainly shown he had the drive to get the job done.

0:56:300:56:37

We hope you've picked up plenty of useful hints and tips today.

0:56:380:56:42

-There'll be more handy home-buyer advice next time on Homes Under The Hammer.

-See you then.

-Goodbye.

0:56:420:56:48

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Merseyside, a plot of land in Dorset and a three bedroom semi in Stoke.

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.