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.
The only thing you need is to have the finances
to pay for what you bid for.
If you want to buy your home under the hammer, visit the auction rooms.
The important thing about buying at auction
is when the hammer goes down, you've exchanged contracts and the property is yours.
That's why it's vital to know what you're letting yourself in for
and have your finances in place.
So were today's property developers well-prepared or ill-equipped?
'I'm off to a mining village in Merseyside to unearth a property that could be a hidden gem.'
I don't think so.
'My mind's running wild with the possibilities of what could be built here in Dorset.'
You could run your own distillery for personal use. I'd toast to that!
'And in Stoke, a handsome three-bedroomed semi that's definitely not developer-friendly.'
You're pretty much stuck with this layout.
'All of these properties were sold at auction
'and we find out who bought them when they went under the hammer.'
This is St Helens, halfway between Liverpool and Manchester.
It's got canals, it's got parkland. It's a lovely place to live.
What's very interesting as well
is that Beechams opened the world's first medicine factory here in 1859.
That's quite useful because, as you know,
buying property can sometimes be a bit of a headache.
You can always treat that with a spot of retail therapy.
Not only has St Helens got its own shopping centre and retail parks,
it's conveniently located near many important northern destinations.
The house I'm here to see is about a mile and a half outside St Helens town centre
in the residential suburb of Parr.
Most of the houses round here are ex-local authority built
to house miners from Bold Colliery.
The colliery has closed, but maybe the house I'm here to see could be a bit of a diamond in the rough.
Judging by the outside, I don't think so.
Still, with a guide price of a mere £25,000, you've got to go in.
Well, inside, it's pretty bad.
Obviously, major signs of vandalism. The windows have all been broken.
And it's internal. The plasterboard has been taken down, light fittings have been stripped.
Even the electrical sockets have gone. But let's try and look through that.
We've got bedrooms upstairs, obviously, a large through lounge. It's not a bad-sized space.
I must get my developer's hat on. I can see through the mess.
I don't know about a hat. You're going to need rose-tinted spectacles with this kitchen.
It's not a bad space
and, in fact, the units weren't bad before someone decided to smash them to pieces.
But again, let's try and look through this. Kitchen here, you've got your utility area there.
It's a very usable family house once you've sorted it out.
I think I'll just assume there are three reasonable-sized bedrooms and a bathroom.
That's good enough for me.
# Think I'd better leave right now... #
Luckily, our cameraman is braver than me and happy to go up there.
It turns out it's safer than it looks and there are indeed three bedrooms upstairs.
One is fairly large, but the other two are definitely on the small side.
It looks like those vandals were cold.
Not only have they set fire to the place, they've also pinched the boiler.
The bathroom? Well, not much to be salvaged there, but it is a decent size for the house.
Outside, the house comes with a good bit of garden to the front and rear.
It could be worth spending some money on resurfacing the driveway.
You could add a gate, creating your own private parking space right outside your back door.
I know the garden's a mess, but it's actually a good size,
so get a lawn in there, some plants and it's a great family facility.
Something a bit more interesting, though, is the construction of the property.
It is non-standard construction.
It's called Wimpey no-fines - no fines being no sand.
It's made of basically concrete and pebbles.
Insurance companies and mortgage companies don't like non-standard construction,
but this is regarded as not a bad version of non-standard construction and it has some major plus features,
including not being susceptible to damp, so, all in all, that shouldn't put you off.
So what could you do with this property?
Let's see what a local surveyor thinks.
Improvement-wise, the property has been vandalised.
The windows have been broken, the kitchen has been destroyed.
It just wants putting back together.
£5,000 to £10,000 should see it back in reasonable condition.
That five to ten grand could see this place transformed, thanks to a new kitchen,
..some major re-wiring,
oh, and a few floorboards!
You could soon see a return on your investment.
A property like this, it's an ideal rental property.
It's three-bedroomed, semi-detached with a garden front and back.
You'd be looking at a rental value of about £375 per month.
Smashing! It's hard to look beyond the wreckage and see this as a family home,
but if bought for around 25,000 and done up to a good standard, there could be a profit here.
Fully refurbished, if the property was on the open market,
I'd be asking around £65,000.
Well, there's no denying there is a lot of work to do, so possibly not one for a first-timer.
However, intrinsically, it's a good house in a reasonable area.
And remember that guide price - £25,000-plus. It's a good one to go for at the auction.
Lot 112 in St Helens. 20 anywhere?
15? 15 we've got.
20 I've got. 21 I've got.
22 I've got. 23 I need.
24 then...? 25?
I've got it. 26?
38 I've got now, sir.
A half. 38 and a half then. It's against you. I'll take 39?
39 I've got.
And a half. 40?
OK, it's with you then, sir, at the back at 39,500.
Are we all done at 39 and a half for the first time?
Second time at 39,500. Third and final time, we're all done...
Local man Mike made the winning bid of £39,500,
£14,500 above the guide price of 25 grand.
Mike is an engineer by trade and has been a property developer for 12 years.
Working alongside him is property manager Lee
who looks after the houses and flats that Mike buys to let.
-What do you know about the area?
-I'm fairly local to the area,
so we've got a good idea of what goes on in the area
and these houses done up are quite decent houses.
-Three-bedroomed and the garden front and rear.
And they're ideal for families.
It's a regeneration area and there's people getting involved, landlords like me and Mike,
hopefully, doing a good service.
'Local regeneration schemes are doing all they can to promote civic pride
'and encourage a strong community spirit.'
They have litter-picking days and next week, they'll go round doing hanging baskets for the old people.
Just getting the kids involved and tenants looking after their properties. That's how it should be.
They get a bit of feedback from us and they approach us to ask our tenants
what their views are on the area and what things they need that would help.
We come up with things like keeping the place tidy,
graffiti getting removed and people looking after their own stock.
Mike, it sounds like you're not just being landlords. You're putting a lot back.
Lee is more than me.
I'm involved in the area and I'd like to see Parr be back to where it was years ago.
Some nice people live round here
and the houses could be made nice again and a nice place to live.
What are you going to do to this place to sort it out?
This will have to be completely gutted,
insulated if necessary,
and just generally smartened up, gardens and the outside.
And just get it back to being a nice house.
'Based on their previous experience, how much do they reckon it would cost
'to do up this house and make it a home?'
We'd probably spend between 10,000 to 12,000 on this property.
It may get to 15, depending when we strip things out.
'Mike and Lee have worked together for ten years and get on very well,
'but they don't always agree, especially about timescales.'
We're looking at about three months' work to be done on this.
-You think it's going to be eight weeks?
-Yes, eight weeks.
Eight to twelve weeks is what it took in the past.
'At least they can smile about it, kind of.
'Even before this work has started, they've already decided on their next move.'
Buying more houses in the area, doing them up and renting them out.
Each property that we do do and move on,
it's another property that's been regenerated and it looks nice.
If we can work our way through the estate like that, we'd be very pleased.
-How much of that is a driver for you?
-A lot of it.
I come to work and I know the people next door and over the road.
There's people passing, "Hi, Lee, how are you?" It's nice.
People saying you're doing a great job.
"More landlords should be like you and Mike." But they're not.
This is the message we're trying to send to other landlords - if we can do it, so can you.
We might not make as much money as quickly as those,
but the houses are a lot nicer and you get a good reputation and we get the right tenants.
There you go - Mike and Lee proving that you can be a successful property investor and landlord
and still put something back into the community. Fantastic stuff.
Still, a lot of challenges with this one. Will they do it to budget and what about that timescale?
Will it be eight weeks or twelve? Find out later.
This is the little village of Powerstock
and with its honey-coloured stone cottages and winding lanes,
it's a perfect rural idyll.
The village is nestled on the edge of the Dorset Downs
and with the coast only 20 minutes' drive away, it's all looking very exciting indeed.
So, if you were looking for a rural location,
this place would be hard to beat.
So, just a short walk from that pretty little village
and I'm here to see our auction lot.
It's a rather strange auction lot - not a house, but a very unusual piece of land.
Land? Well, yes, they don't make it any more, so it's valuable, right?
Well, yes and no.
This piece has a guide price of just £10,000. Now, that lowly amount gives you some idea of its worth.
It doesn't come with planning and the chances of attaining planning permission to build here are nil
because this is grazing land - great for cows and sheep, not so great for property developers though.
Yes, the only sweet smell coming from this patch would be from the perfume of flowers,
rather than any successful development project.
Maybe this land is a very different kind of investment.
So what are your options with this land then?
Well, you could keep a horse here or maybe rent it to a farmer.
Or you could just use this space for your own recreational needs,
somewhere to come and enjoy.
You are in an area of outstanding natural beauty, after all.
Are those views worth £10,000 though?
I'd like to think so.
OK, so there's no doubting this is a beautiful spot, but so what?
There's no development potential here, but it's not the intrinsic value of the land that's important.
It's the value it has to the local area. House prices, after all, are governed by location.
If this land lost its greenfield status to become an industrial site,
what do you think would happen to the house prices nearby?
This land doesn't just come with picture postcard views. It also comes with its very own orchard.
I would definitely have someone come and take a look to identify the trees,
but if they were cider apples, that would be fantastic.
You could run your own mini-distillery for personal use. I'd toast to that!
# I am a cider drinker
# I drinks it all of the day... #
Scrumping aside, is there any way this land can bear fruit?
Or is this just a chance to own your own little bit of England?
What does the local property expert from the auctioneer think?
This piece of ground is going to be of interest
to those people within the village who wish to purchase a bit of ground
for a pony paddock,
somebody perhaps living within the district who wants to buy it,
so that their children or grandchildren can have the use of it.
It's got apple trees, it's south-facing and lots of wildlife,
fauna and flora.
As a place to come and play or laze around, how much would somebody normally have to pay?
The value of ground in this particular area
and a little plot of ground like this is probably about £10,000 an acre.
This is what little plots of ground usually make.
Surely, would-be developers would be trying to buy this prime plot just in case?
To talk about building out in this part of the country
and on this piece of ground, there's more chance of you going to the moon!
So, choices are limited here.
You could use this land for grazing, you could keep a pony on here
or you could simply enjoy owning your own piece of England. Why not?
Something you will never be able to do is build. That is a no-no,
so speculative buyers will not be interested in this one.
Someone was, though, so let's go to auction and see who that was.
We've got a guide of £10,000. Someone like to put me straight in at 10?
10, thank you. At 10,000.
10,000. 12? 12. 14.
16? The lady, thank you.
16. At 16,000 on the aisle.
18? 18 to Stephen on my left.
20? 20. At 20 standing.
At 20. 22.
24? At 24.
26? 26, thank you.
26 with the field sports tie. 28? 28. 28...
All done and sure then?
On my left at £28,000...
-Stephen Jenkins, congratulations.
-Dorset Wildlife Trust.
-Dorset Wildlife Trust. Thank you.
'After a bit more of a fight than I expected, it was the Dorset Wildlife Trust that came out on top.
'For £28,000, they added another 0.7 of an acre
'to the 200,000 acres of Dorset countryside they already own.
'So what made this little bit so special?
'I met up with their chief executive Simon to find out.'
Land like this doesn't come up all the time.
The Dorset Wildlife Trust is always on the lookout for good quality nature reserve material
and land like this which is good for various species, has great plants and wildlife
is a great opportunity for us.
It really is beautiful here. How much research did you do into buying it?
Quite a lot. We have a responsibility to our members who give us the money to buy this sort of land.
We've got a thousand volunteers and out of those thousand volunteers,
we've got a number of real experts on grassland or bats or orchard trees.
They come in and they have a look at the land for us and tell us just how valuable it is for wildlife.
-They tipped you off on this one and said, "Go for it!"
-They did and we did.
'The Trust put out an appeal to their 25,000 members to help purchase this land
'and within two weeks, they got a fantastic £80,000, which is pretty impressive.'
Why are spaces like this so important?
They have such a range of uses.
They're important for the wildlife, as representative areas within Dorset.
We've got to keep different types of habitat and wildlife all around Dorset.
-Who else will be involved in this project with you?
-We have a range of volunteers that we work with,
but with a site like this very close to the village centre,
we hope to draw in the villagers as part of a community plan and that's the exciting thing.
It's not about putting fences around nice bits of Dorset.
It's about pulling people in and letting them share in the environment that we have here.
'One of those involved is Joy, the Trust's People and Wildlife Co-ordinator.
'She encourages local communities to get involved.'
Joy, I know this is really an exciting time for you guys at the Wildlife Trust.
But to me, this just looks like a huge, overgrown field. What is so exciting about you buying this?
It's a lot more than an overgrown field. We've got fantastic old trees which are probably cider apple trees
because a lot of the orchards round here were for cider-making.
We've got a stream and we know there are otters that pass through here.
We want people to enjoy it as well,
so there's a lovely area down there which we can develop for picnic tables to go in,
have an information centre to tell people about what they can see here.
There's a school just round the corner and they can use this as an outdoor classroom.
Imagine seeing the kids' faces coming into something like this!
What are you most looking forward to here?
Getting the local people and communities on board
because it's just fantastic for people to actually think, "Oh, this is a place that we can use,"
whether they want to use it for events, wildlife study or with school groups.
That's really what I enjoy most -
actually enthusing people in their own natural heritage.
'With Joy's enthusiasm, Simon's support and a range of volunteers and helpers,
'this should be a fantastic community asset.'
That's the thing I really do love about Homes Under The Hammer.
You never know who's going to buy and what they'll do with their purchase.
Who'd have thought that this land would be utilised in such a special way?
I wish Simon and Joy all the luck in making this a huge success.
'Coming up, is this three-bedroomed semi in Stoke a sight for sore eyes?'
I've seen better. I have seen worse!
'We return to Dorset to find out who the new residents of this plot of land are going to be.'
We want to get a few sheep in here to graze.
'But first, does this house in Merseyside meet its new owners' standards?'
We wouldn't expect somebody to live in something we wouldn't live in.
This house on Merseyside was bought at auction for £39,500.
It's in the residential suburb of Parr, a mile and a half from St Helens town centre.
The house is on an estate that was originally built for miners working at the local Bold Colliery.
Since the mines were closed in the late 1980s, the area has gone through some difficult times
and this house was badly vandalised.
Mike bought it and, with the help of property manager Lee, planned to repair the damage and rent it out.
I'd like to see Parr be back to where it was years ago.
Some nice people live round here
and the houses could be made nice again.
# All messed up and no place to go... #
This was all messed up, but that mess is now long gone.
The vandals did a really good job trying to destroy the place.
Now there's been an equally good job putting it all back together.
But where on earth did they start?
We took everything out of the property and started from scratch.
That's new electrics, had it plastered throughout,
new window frames, new doors.
The boiling system needed replacing, all the plumbing.
We took the old kitchen away cos it had been vandalised.
We were going to try and salvage the original kitchen, but that didn't happen,
so we stripped it all out and renewed it.
We've rearranged it in a more practical way.
Originally, the sink and the cooker were along the same wall, making the kitchen feel like a long corridor.
Now the sink has been moved under the window, freeing up more space.
The last time we were here, there was a huge hole in the ceiling
or was that in the upstairs floor?
Well, upstairs was in a bad condition. The floor was in a real mess.
There was no floorboards in and all the plumbing had been ripped out.
We put everything back to how it should be. It's a nice, clean job. I'm quite pleased with it.
The bathroom was non-existent because it had been vandalised and all the things taken out of it.
The worse the condition, the better it is for us. We can just rip everything out and start again.
Mike and Lee have certainly cracked on with this refurbishment.
Upstairs, the real fires, those lit by the vandals, have gone.
All three bedrooms are now restored and looking smart,
as is the outside of the property.
We've put new fences and new gates on the property
which makes it look completely different than before.
Next year, we'll get round to doing all the gardens, so they'll all be nice
and rightly so because it's a nice estate with nice people.
Why can't they have a nice house to live in?
The only thing that's brought some of the houses down is private landlords
because they won't do the jobs that they're supposed to do, in my eyes.
We wouldn't expect somebody to live in something we wouldn't live in.
That's a nice sentiment, but sentiments can prove expensive.
What did they spend here?
I was quite pleasantly surprised about that because we thought it would be about 15,000
and it came in at about 10,500.
The budget is kept down obviously because we do a lot of work ourselves,
so if you had to employ somebody to do what I did and what Mike did, your budget would be a lot more.
They've spent £10,500, £4,500 under budget.
That's not something we often get to say on Homes Under The Hammer.
If I remember rightly, there was a difference of opinion about how long it would take.
It was eight weeks, so we managed to get it done in that time.
We could've done it in eight weeks,
but it probably went to twelve
as we had other jobs running parallel with this one.
Eight weeks, twelve weeks, who's counting? Apparently not those two!
Mike bought the property for £39,500 and they've spent £10,500 so far.
What do two local property experts think of the house now?
It had been vandalised previously. It's all been done very nicely.
The kitchen's been refitted to a good standard. The bathroom again refitted, perfectly serviceable.
It was built as a three-bedroomed family house, which is what it is.
It has a very big garden. It's very good for a family.
The work done here is really good.
The plaster re-finish is practical, as is the laminate flooring.
The kitchen has been done well. It's a nice, open space with lots of room for family living.
There's agreement then that it's a good family home,
but what's the best option here, given current conditions - rental or re-sale?
With the market the way it is, the rental market is very strong. It will rent very easily, rather than sell.
I think it would be better as a rental property. Re-sale in the area isn't as well as it should be.
That's good news for Mike and Lee. They always planned to rent it out.
Now the all-important question - for how much?
If it was to go on the rental market, I would expect to be asking around £450 per calendar month.
This property would achieve around 450, 500 per calendar month in the rental market.
We're very happy with that. We've got a tenant moving in and she's paying 498 a month.
Yeah, that's what we expected.
Mike and Lee are getting a good rental price and a great return while they're at it.
They've spent around £50,000 on the house so far.
What difference have their renovations made to the property's market value?
If the property was on the market, I'd expect to achieve around £60,000.
I would put this property on the market for around 70,000 to 75,000.
We were thinking in the region at the moment of about £65,000.
That's quite a good result. We're made up with that.
The house could be worth more than they imagined.
That's good to hear, but they're not doing it just for the money.
Being locals, they're committed to the area and their tenants.
If you do a house up in the area like this, it's better for the area, it's better for everybody concerned.
-We're glad we've done it and we'll be doing more.
-The next project is the house next door.
This is virtually finished. There's a tenant moving in on Friday.
On Monday, we'll start work on that.
Same procedure - rip everything out and bring it up to scratch like this and get another nice tenant in.
The good news is that the new tenants have now moved into the house and made it a home.
Mike and Lee have started working on the property next door and are looking for more.
They're doing a great job and we wish them every success.
I'm in Trentham on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent.
It's probably most famous in the north-west as home to Trentham Gardens
where I used to go as a child and it's where I learnt to swim.
The big question is, will the property I'm here to see be doggy paddle or front crawl?
And if swimming is not your thing, then this is an ideal area for a walk in the park.
# I keep on walking till the sun comes up
# I keep on walking and the sun comes up
# I keep on walking till the sun comes up
# I keep on walking till the sun comes up... #
Trentham is one of Stoke's more expensive areas and was part of the estate village of Trentham Hall,
a former country seat owned by the Dukes of Sutherland.
The gardens and park still remain, but the grand old house was knocked down long ago.
Hopefully, the property sold at auction has fared a little better and is still standing.
The house I'm here to see is on this cherry tree-lined avenue.
This will be gorgeous in the spring!
The property looks in reasonable nick.
Three bedrooms, semi-detached, had a guide price of 100,000 quid. Let's take a look.
Well, the outside of the house could do with a bit of repair work,
but I think it's mainly cosmetic.
So... Well, that's nice. I like big entrance areas. Look at that!
It really gives the house an open feel straight away.
Stairs up to the bedrooms there, front sitting room here. Doesn't look too bad.
It could do with a new fireplace. Rear living room area - that looks quite nice.
Then through to the kitchen...
Well, it could do with a bit of work.
I've seen better. I have seen worse, it has to be said.
I'd definitely want to get rid of the cooker. The units may be serviceable.
It's not a bad-sized space and, all in all, a good enough start.
At one end of the kitchen, there's a boiler room and walk-in pantry.
These could be knocked through to make a downstairs cloakroom,
a utility room or just to increase the size of the kitchen.
So that rear living room is not a bad-sized room, but that's not the great thing about it.
It's got an open fire, but that's not the great thing about it.
The fantastic thing about it is it's got these patio doors leading out on to the garden,
throwing loads of light into the room.
Outside, more opportunities present themselves
because some neighbouring properties have gone for an extension -
a single-storey extension on the back, a double-storey extension on the side.
Both are ways you could extend this into a considerably-sized family home. It's big enough already.
One great thing it's got already is this - a good-sized rear garden.
The garden obviously needs work, but it's nothing a lawn mower couldn't sort out
which you could keep in this handy garage.
And that long drive means the house could be ideal for a family with more than one car.
Back upstairs, it looks as though the house could do with a bit of care and attention.
So, upstairs, three generously proportioned bedrooms and something that's gone a bit wrong
because you've got the bathroom there, then across this landing area is the loo.
Now, I quite like separate loos. It works very well in a family house,
but a lot of people like to knock them together and clearly you won't be able to do this here.
Unless you consider some major extension, you're going to be stuck with this layout.
It could be expensive knocking down walls and building extensions just to give you an all-in-one bathroom.
The three bedrooms are a good size, but in need of some repair and re-decoration.
There's even a sign of what looks like damp.
That will need to be sorted out.
If you've got a small budget, it's worth doing these jobs before you think about knocking any walls down.
The house went to auction at a guide price of £100,000.
I asked a local estate agent along
to find out how it compares with others in the street.
The majority of houses in Trentham are similar to this property -
three-bedroom semi-detached, three-bedroom detached,
four-bedroom detached, your family type of home.
It's a desirable place to live, but you still get good value for money.
With Trentham Gardens not far away, you feel like you can have a touch of the rural life,
yet you're only ten minutes' drive from Stoke city centre.
Does anything stand out about this house?
What I like about this property is its character from the outside.
A little bit of Mock Tudor,
it makes it a little different, a bit more mature.
It sets it apart from its modern counterparts.
Obviously, at the moment, it's not being shown at its best.
There's a lot of cosmetic work to be done, but it's a good, structurally solid property.
The property could do with a bit of work,
but how much do houses on this street go for?
I think the value of this property is somewhere in the region of £160,000 to £165,000.
If the new owner didn't want to sell the house on, would renting be a good option?
The rental value - somewhere between £525 to £550 per calendar month.
Well, a little bit of jiggery-pokery required to sort this place out,
but I think for that £100,000 guide price, this is a cracking property.
It will make a lovely family home or a great investment. Who agreed with me when it went under the hammer?
What shall we say then for Lot 50?
What is it? 95 to start me?
95 I'm bid, front row. At £95,000. 100 can I say?
100, standing right. At 100,000.
121 in the aisle.
130 and a half.
131. 131 and a half.
At 132,000... 132 and a half.
133, sir? No?
132 and a half. The bid's in the aisle then at £132,500, first time...
At 132,500, second time...
Third and final time... 133.
It's with you back right, sir, at £133,000.
Are we all done now? At 133, first time...
133, second time...
Third and final time at 133...
133 and a half.
134. Against you in the aisle, sir.
At £134,000, first time...
Second time. Third and final time at 134...
BANGS GAVEL You bought it, sir. Well done.
'That successful bid of 134,000, over 30% more than the guide price, came from Andy.
'He runs his own company which specialises in laying tarmac surfaces.
'I can see that drive changing.'
# Can you dig it? Oh, yeah
# Can you dig it...? #
'I met him back at his new property.'
-Were you happy with what you paid? It's quite a bit over the guide price.
-I was well happy with it.
I mean, I expected it to go over the guide price.
So how was the auction for you?
It was all right. I bought my own house at auction, so I've had experience of auctions before.
-So you're an auction veteran?
-I wouldn't say that. It's always a little bit nerve-wracking.
So why this particular house?
Because I think Trentham is in an ideal position to rent out
and also it's got potential for us to do things with it, really.
-It's a nice house, isn't it?
-Tell me what you're going to do to it.
-We'll probably put a new kitchen in, alter the bathroom,
then widen the drive and decorate it through.
How are you going to sort the bathroom out? I looked at the loo on the stairs.
I don't know what you can do.
Yeah, that's the question, really.
I was looking into perhaps putting an extension on the one side
and try and make the toilet room slightly bigger and moving the bathroom across.
-Wow, quite a big job, quite a lot of expense!
-And the rest of the house, pretty much as it is?
-Yes, we'll re-wire some rooms and decorate it through.
I've never been in a house with so few plug sockets. There's one plug socket in each bedroom, I think!
'It sounds like a re-wire is a must.
'Andy's not doing the work on his own. His girlfriend is going to lend a professional hand.'
My girlfriend used to work for an interior design firm which did show homes.
-Wow, she must be very excited!
-She's ready to start tomorrow!
What is she going to do? What stage is she going to come in at?
We'll probably together strip all the house out, clean the walls off and what have you,
then she'll do the decorating and oversee some of the work.
'Andy paid £34,000 above the guide price and plans to do some of the work himself.
'Owning a groundworks company means sorting out that drive won't be a problem,
'but he'll have to hire in trades such as electricians and plasterers.'
How much have you set aside for the work?
I was thinking something like 8,000.
-A tight budget.
-Yeah, but we'll be doing a lot of the work ourselves. It'll be mainly materials.
-And in terms of the time it will take?
-Probably about two months.
'Two months sounds quite ambitious, given Andy will be doing his day job at the same time.
'He's optimistic that with the help of his partner and friends in the trade, it is a realistic timeframe.
'His budget is small for a fairly large property, so I'd suggest Andy sticks to a simple renovation
'and puts any ideas of an extension on hold.'
What's the plan after you've done this one?
To rent it out and just watch how it goes.
Do you have any idea of what you might get in terms of rent?
-500 to 550, something like that.
-A decent enough return.
-That's what I was hoping for, yeah.
So, Andy taking on a great little house for his first investment property,
but I am a bit concerned that because he paid so much more than the guide price,
his budget and his margins are going to be very tight.
But it will have a lovely driveway when we come back. Find out how he gets on later in the show.
Well, as the saying goes, some you win, some you lose.
-So were the buyers successful or did their gamble not pay off?
-Let's find out.
Every now and again, a surprise lot comes up at auction
that inspires a very different kind of purchaser to bid,
not the property developers, builders or first-time buyers we usually come across on this show.
And so it was with Lot 23E in June 2008 -
0.7 acres of land just outside the village of Powerstock in gorgeous rural Dorset.
This land was sold for £28,000 to a local wildlife trust.
They had definite plans for this small addition
to the 200,000 acres they already maintained.
With a site like this which is very close to the village centre,
we hope to draw in the villagers as part of a community plan and that's the exciting thing.
It's not about putting little fences around nice bits of Dorset.
It's about pulling people in to let them share in the environment here.
So the seasons rolled on and ten months later, we've returned
to see if this idyllic piece of land with its stream and apple trees has blossomed even further.
The apple trees have emerged from their previous tangled scrub.
And there is subtle land management taking place
as the Trust's People and Wildlife Co-ordinator Joy explains.
Some of the trees like this one here were totally covered in brambles.
It kills the branches and the tree is suffering quite a bit.
We've cleared the bramble patches away and given the trees a longer life span
than they would have had otherwise and hopefully more flowers will grow up around the trees.
I've put some wild flower mix down there, so in June, it'll be more interesting than a pile of brambles.
So far, the clearance and maintenance of the site has been carried out
by a willing bunch of volunteers, but there are plans afoot to get some additional animal help.
We've put a sheep fence round as we want to get a few sheep in here to graze the grass down.
That's really good for wild flowers, so they'll be in here for a few weeks later on in the summer.
We've cleared the stream off a bit as that will encourage more things to take advantage of the stream.
We've had a bench donated by a family whose mother lived virtually all her life in the village. That's lovely.
Already this is showing what a diverse and interesting habitat this is
for all kinds of plants and creatures.
It might not be a home for people, but it's just teeming with wildlife who have taken up residence here.
That in turn attracts people in as Tony, the chairman of the Trust, explains.
It's a wonderful area for the community to come and visit.
There is open access whilst before probably they wouldn't be able to come here.
They can enjoy it peacefully and look at the wildlife
and it's our job to interpret and explain to people what wildlife is there.
There is an enormous number of little beasties like beetles, as well as the birds and the flowers.
And it's the local community and especially the schools that they try to get on board.
The children are going to come along a bit later
and we hope they'll look on this place as an outdoor classroom and use it in the future
because the school is just down the lane, so it's very handy for them.
We've had some locals turn up to help clear the brambles and clearing the fence line for the fence.
We've got some locals coming along to help this afternoon with the activities, so it's been great.
And today is Apple Blossom Day for the orchard.
It's a chance for both the Trust and the community to get together and celebrate the arrival of spring.
So as the children continue to get the wildlife bug,
will there be a net profit in their outside classroom?
We asked a local property expert along with his dog to find out.
This land is absolutely enchanting.
It's the typical little old orchard that typifies the area,
for which there is a growing need and a growing resurgence.
This clearly isn't about profit, but with the £28,000 to buy the land being donated by the members
and the £2,000 spent, have they used their members' money carefully?
On the market, this land could be worth in the region of £30,000.
-Priceless, really, isn't it?
-It is, Joy.
-You can't put a price on something like this.
It really is a very long-term project.
The Trust hopes to keep the land in perpetuity, but there are still plenty of tasks to get on with.
Well, I hope that in the future, the village will continue to enjoy it.
I hope the school will be able to use it as an outdoor classroom for all sorts of cross-curricular activities
and that it will go on from strength to strength.
Hear, hear! I think that's all I can say.
This little bit of Dorset may never be home for people,
but it will be a home for a diverse range of wildlife and an outside classroom for the local school.
It just goes to show that you don't always need financial returns to make a rewarding investment.
This three-bedroomed, semi-detached house in Stoke was bought at auction for 134,000 quid.
It's in a popular residential location
and was in need of modernisation and improvement.
Its new owner Andy had a few decisions to make.
I was looking into perhaps putting an extension on one side and trying to make the toilet room slightly bigger
and moving the bathroom across.
I can see why he wanted to make that toilet room bigger,
but joining it to the bathroom wasn't going to be easy with that stairwell in the way.
I'm not sure how he's done it, but it's...
# All right now
# Baby, it's all right now... #
It's pretty all right in other areas of the house too...
..though it's not quite finished yet.
He's obviously been busy and created some valuable extra space, so how has he done it?
OK, so one of the biggest and first jobs we did to the house when we first started
was to remove all the existing stairs and take the bathroom out.
There was a small toilet room to the top of the stairs.
We demolished all that and that gave us room for a bigger bathroom.
That's clever. Andy first thought he'd have to build an extension to make room for a bigger bathroom.
Instead, he's removed the old stairwell that divided the upstairs landing in the middle,
separating the toilet and bathroom.
He's then rebuilt the staircase, taking space from what was the kitchen pantry and boiler room.
Moving the stairs aside like this has created enough room upstairs
for that all-important bigger bathroom and toilet with shower cubicle.
That's not all. There's now space under the stairwell for an added bonus.
We weren't sure how it would work, but I'm glad we altered the stairs
because it's given us an extra room downstairs and a nice bathroom.
As I said, that's clever.
Since Andy's gone to all the trouble of moving those stairs, it seems rude not to use them.
Let's look at the upstairs bedrooms.
# All right now Baby, it's all right... #
Other than a bit of decorating to finish off, the house is looking great
and Andy has given new life to old character features, stripping the original doors back to the wood.
# All right now Baby, it's all right... #
And there's no longer just one main socket per room.
We've completely re-wired the house
and obviously incorporated sockets and TV aerial sockets and things like that extra.
Downstairs has also had a bit of a facelift.
In the front reception room, the 1970s gas fire has been replaced
with something that not only has a grate, but also looks great.
To keep the heat from that new fire in, the old bay window has been double-glazed.
The carpets, not to everyone's tastes, have been ripped up
and the floorboards sanded to create a smart, new floor.
The back reception room feels light and airy with its open outlook on to the garden.
The kitchen no longer looks like a period piece.
Andy must have had a lot of help getting this all done.
I've pretty much done the demolition work, clearing the site...
..the landscaping and the driveway, the fencing,
then we've done all the other odd jobs,
other than the plastering and the electrical work and the plumbing.
Andy mentioned the driveway.
Since he runs his own groundworks company specialising in tarmacking, it should be top-notch.
As you can see, we've resurfaced the drive.
We've put these stone edgings around the outside, widened the entrance,
so we can get two cars on if I rent it out to a family
and sort of gravelled the front,
built a brick pillar on the left-hand side,
and then re-done the fence.
The back garden has been tidied up as well.
It's now a large, open area and ideal for families with children.
Andy hoped to carry out the work in two months with a budget of £8,000. How's that gone?
We've been working on this project for about four months,
but really probably two months of that has been solid work.
The rest I've been busy doing my groundwork.
My original budget of 8,000 got altered when I decided to do the extra work inside
and I wasn't really budgeting for any fees
which probably brings us up to around about 15,000 and I think I'll finish the project at about 16,000.
Roughly twice the time and twice the cost, but to be fair, it's looking twice as good.
Things seem to be going smoothly for Andy, but has he added value?
We invited two local estate agents to take a look around.
Trentham is quite well sought after,
good high schools and infrastructure links.
It's a three-bedroom, semi-detached house. It's had a reasonable re-fit.
A new kitchen and bathroom have gone in. Good features have been retained.
They've kept some original doors, the original flooring in the hall and it keeps the character of the building.
They've opened the grounds up and made it a family-orientated garden.
My first impression of the property, the owner has done a fantastic job.
The main features I like are the fireplaces, the original doors,
the floorboards and also the fact that he's utilised the downstairs WC and the upstairs bathroom.
Moving the staircase was very worthwhile. The internal layout of the property is very good.
And he's utilised all the space very well.
Andy bought this property with the sole intention of letting it out.
So how much rent could he get?
I'd place a rental of £650 per calendar month on this property.
I would look to put this property on the market for £625 per calendar month.
Yeah, if I got 600 to 650, I'd be happy at that.
That's a yield of around 5% which isn't great,
but in this climate, if you're getting back more than you're putting in, that's good.
If Andy decides to sell, how much should he be asking for?
I'd put this property on the market at £174,950.
The re-sale price for this property would be £179,950.
That's a pre-tax profit of around £25,000 to £30,000,
minus usual deductions.
Is Andy still happy?
Originally, I wasn't expecting it to be that high,
but talking to the neighbours and different people,
realising what the area is capable of
and we've obviously done more work to the house, so I was hoping for 180,000.
Whatever Andy does with the property, he's certainly shown he had the drive to get the job done.
We hope you've picked up plenty of useful hints and tips today.
-There'll be more handy home-buyer advice next time on Homes Under The Hammer.
-See you then.
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.