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Despite the credit crunch people, still want a slice of the property action.
-If you're up for taking the plunge, auctions are a great place to start.
-It can be fraught or fantastic.
Whatever happens, it's fun when you buy your property under the hammer.
Now some properties are very popular at auction. Others go unsold.
The auction room can be a very difficult place to conquer.
Let's take a look at what inspired the buyers on today's show.
This Birmingham semi is pretty derelict, but don't be put off.
A good house. Well, not yet, but it could be.
Four years ago, this house in Kent gave me the heeby jeebies, but see how fabulous it is now.
it's all a bit eerie though. I've got to investigate further.
Obviously some thought has gone into the layout of the rooms in this Devon house.
It's good, but it's not quite fulfilling its true potential to my mind.
All of these properties went to auction and we'll find out
who bought them and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.
No, I'm not in Lapland, although it certainly feels like it today.
I'm actually in Stechford, a suburb of Birmingham about five miles outside the city centre
and I'm here to see a three-bedroomed, semi-detached.
The guide price of £85,000 to £95,000, and you know what
it doesn't look that brilliant from the outside.
No, it's all boarded up and it looks like there is some re-pointing needed on the brick work.
Something tells me that it's only going to get worse inside.
The boarded up door doesn't look too promising.
This building is in a really sorry state.
I'm beginning to think we have a domicile in distress.
Oh, yes, how wise I am. It's dark.
It's dingy. It's cold. Yes, it's a classic, but there you go.
A good layout nevertheless - I like these properties.
You know, you've got an entrance hall here, up to the bedrooms there.
Obviously, it's in a right old state.
The plaster off the walls, but don't worry, you'll probably to have to strip the plaster anyway,
so it's saved you the job. A bit more serious in here though.
This is the front sitting room and as you can see the bay window here.
A lot of water has obviously come in through the roof.
It has gone down into the floorboards.
It has probably rotted the joists and as you can see the windows are in a right old state
and it's obviously so dangerous, they don't want people to go over there and quite rightly so.
So should you be concerned about that?
Well, a bit of work to be done, but then again it wouldn't be at the price it was at the auction
if it wasn't for that and if you can see through that, I don't reckon
that's too big a job and at the end of the day,
it's a good house. Well, not yet,
but it could be.
It goes to show that sometimes it really is worth getting a survey done before the auction.
At least then you won't get a nasty shock about any unforeseen problems after you've bought the property.
Talking of problems this kitchen is extremely run-down.
Apart from being small, it's all in very poor condition.
It might be worth knocking into the sitting room next door to create a large open-planned diner.
And things don't improve on the first floor of this house
that went to auction at a guide price of £85,000.
So upstairs, two good-sized double bedrooms and a single room at the front there.
Sadly, the original fireplace has been ripped out, but in the bathroom some original features do remain.
That bath - although it looks a right state - I reckon you
could have that restored and it's a lovely roll top bath. Fantastic.
Also the loo.
Even that old sink, get that renovated and it adds a bit of charm to the place.
But it's not just the charm you lose upstairs with these broken windows,
the gaps along the outside are losing a lot of heat.
It's freezing in here, it might be warmer outside today.
Well, at the front there is a fairly decent-sized garden,
easily big enough for putting some kind of a driveway giving you off street parking which would be good.
At the back apparently there is a good-sized rear garden, but I can't get to see it.
On a day like today not only would you need
an industrial strimmer to get through there, you'd need a snowplough.
Thanks to our tall cameraman filming out of the unboarded bathroom
window, you can get a good glimpse of the size of the back garden.
it's a wilderness, but very promising.
I invited a local expert from the auction house who sold it to have a look around.
I was keen to find out more about the history of the place that went to auction guided at £85,000.
This particular property has been empty for a good many years and has been offered for sale
by auction by Birmingham City Council who compulsory purchased it under their empty homes
policy they now have.
When people won't do anything or have disappeared, they will buy the property
and then make sure that it's resold on to somebody who will modernise it and turn it back into a useful home.
A requirement of the sale is that it must be refurbished and brought
back into residential use within one year.
A considerable amount of money is needed to do enough work to make it habitable for someone to move in.
But once that's done, how much rent could it earn?
The property, if it was done to a reasonable standard,
I would imagine that a reasonable rental would be something in the region of £500 per calendar month.
After the refurbishment is done how much could it then sell for?
Resale value, if it's done out to a reasonable standard,
I would imagine that £135,000 to £140,000 would be achievable.
Well, I think the weather will have improved a long time before this place is finally sorted out.
It does need a lot of work and internal re-jigging as well,
but it's in a good location and it is a decent property.
So let's see who fancied the challenge when it went under the hammer.
At this auction, the City Council vendors insisted
any purchaser had a bankers draft or building society cheque ready in order to pay a 10% deposit.
Lot 2, a three-bedroom two reception room, semi-detached property,
being sold for Birmingham Council, you have got to have a bankers draft.
At £80,000 to get it started. 75 if we must. 70 sir?
60? OK, £60,000 I'm bid.
At £60,000 I have, is it 70? 65. Do you have a banker's draft, sir?
At 65 and thank you.
Is it 70 now? At 70 I'm bid. At 70 I'm bid, sir, is it 75?
At 75 I have now, is it 80.
New bid at 80.
Do you have a draft, sir? You do.
At 80, is it 85, sir? 85. Is it 90?
87 and a half, is it 90 now?
88. 88. Is it 89? 89. Is it 90?
90. 91? is it 91, sir? At 91. 92? No.
at £91,000. New bid at 92, do you have a draft, sir? At 92. Is it 93?
93, you have a draft, sir?
At 93. Is it 94?
94. Is it 5? It's 95. 96, sir?
At 96,000 then.
Once, twice, are we all done? For the third and last time, sir,
this is yours, subject to seeing you draft, give us a wave, sir.
If we can see your number.
Sir, congratulations and the very best of luck with that property.
-Maybe the auctioneer knows something we don't!
But for £96,000 the successful bidders with the necessary bankers draft are friends Andy and Fred.
Andy trained as a surveyor, but spent has spent 20 years working
as an account manager for various companies.
Fred recently sold his plumbing business and has since
purchased three properties that he currently rents out.
Now the friends have decided to team up as developers and this is their first venture.
I met up with them back at the house to find out their plans.
Andy, Fred, congratulations. Tell me why you wanted to buy the house?
It's a project I've been thinking about for some time.
I spoke to Fred a few months ago about looking at something
and we've been looking at the auctions over the past few months
and for some reason this was the one we went for.
Are you novices to all this then?
It's the first time for myself.
First project, but Fred has been involved in a few.
I've done a little bit, yeah, in the past, I've got a couple of houses that I rent out.
I've sold the business and now we've decided to carry on and try and make
a little bit of profit on hopefully an expanding market.
So Fred has experience of refurbishment and his business was in plumbing,
so he has useful knowledge, but Andy's background is in account management, why the career change?
Unfortunately, before Christmas I was made redundant.
Which in a way has been a bit of a god send, because I can dedicate now all of my time, you know, I can get
my hands dirty, roll my sleeves up and get in here, because as you can
see there is a little bit to do and obviously we're going to get
the professionals in to do the major work, but you know, I'm going to turn my hand to what I can.
-You say you haven't done anything quite like this before.
-I've only ever purchased abroad,
which is going through at the moment, completing in Morocco, I bought off plan.
Has it been built?
Yes, it has and we've before over to make sure it has been as well!
-But it's a lovely apartment on the beach, on a marina.
Over the last two-and-a-half years it has gone up in value and I'm going to
sell on straightaway and bring the money back and hopefully get involved in some more projects here.
Buying off plan is a risky business.
You may buy at a reduced price, but before anything has been built.
Thankfully in this case it sounds like Andy is OK, but what about this place?
What's the idea for it then?
Are you going to keep it? Are you going to rent it out or what?
I think the initial plan is to completely gut it and renovate and just hopefully just sell it on.
Tell me what you're going to do to sort this place out.
Every room, the bathroom is as you've seen basically needs totally gutting.
The kitchen needs to be completely refurbed. New floor.
New flooring obviously downstairs.
The bay really needs to be reconstructed which is obvious,
but priority is to get the garden cleared first
and then get the skip in. Obviously clear the site. All the rubbish in.
What do you know about the garden?
Well, as you can see from the property here, you can't really see
anything out of the back, but I thought how can I get round that?
So using the computer and satellite navigation, you can zoom in, down on
the property and you can actually see what you've got out the back.
So the only way you can see the end of your garden is by going online?
-And looking at it from the satellite.
-Yes, from the sky.
Interesting concept, but it was a surprise which I think is a welcome surprise, really.
A good tip there for anyone trying to evaluate a potential plot size.
A lot easier than getting the plans to check them out,
but there are skills you can only pick up, the good old-fashioned way.
So Andy, have you done anything to prepare yourself for this adventure?
Well, I've just enrolled myself on a tiling course.
-Which is a six-week course, every Monday.
Just to try and get myself a skill.
-Really useful. Is that floor tiling and wall tiling?
Going in completely as a novice, and hopefully come out with a skill which will come in useful.
-Any idea how much this is all going to cost?
-Our budget is £25,000,
maybe at a push we may have to go to 30, but we're
hopeful that the 25 will be our limit.
How is it going to work financially?
-Are you both in this 50/50?
-Yes, it's a 50/50 project.
Fred has been very kind to put up the finances so far, because I'm
-sort of reliant on my money coming back in from the Morocco project.
-So the time scale on this is how long?
I think realistically we've got to be talking about four months, but we
want to stick to that quite religiously.
-Well, good luck to you both and we look forward to seeing how you get on.
-Thanks very much.
An interesting challenge here.
This place looks more like the scene of a crime and that normally means keep well away.
Well, Andy and Fred have certainly got the expertise to sort this place
out, especially once Andy has completed his tiling course.
Still, four months is a bit of a tight time scale, but reasonably healthy budget.
You can find out how they get on later in the show.
Now, we're going to revisit a property we first went to in 2006.
Meopham, once claimed to be the largest village in Kent.
Although it does feel rural, it suffers from heavy commuter traffic.
Well, this is the Wrotham Road otherwise known as the A227.
Now, as you can see, it's quite a busy road
and most of the village was actually built alongside this route here.
Up for auction we've this rather sad and lonely looking Victorian house.
It had a guide price of £220,000 to £230,000.
It looks dated from the outside, but let's see inside.
Now this is an incredible hallway, lovely and wide.
Lots of light in here. But I've got to say this house does feel soulless.
This is the reception room and look at this wallpaper.
That is so dated. The whole room just feels incredibly old-fashioned.
It smells a little bit damp as well, and there are two rather suspicious holes in the corner.
I would get those looked at.
Now I've got a feeling this may be the kitchen.
it's a rather odd sort of lean-to, pained bright orange, some plumbing for an old sink.
it's all a bit eerie though.
I've got to investigate further.
Also on the ground floor there is this large reception room.
Through the sliding door is what appears to be a second kitchen, complete with a huge ancient boiler
so the heating system will need overhauling.
Now, at the end of this very long corridor,
we have a little toilet, and the only bathroom in the house.
Now, I think this is a lean-to that's been added on a later stage.
If you come down here you can see wonderful
views of the garden and it's almost like having a bath outside.
A bit too exposed for my liking in every sense of the word,
but at least there's a separate loo.
Well, the biggest selling point for this property is the plot that it sits on.
Look at the size of the garden.
it's a quarter of an acre.
You would certainly need a sit on lawn mower here.
I can see a developer coming along and knocking this place down and building not one, but two houses.
Who knows, this place might not be here for too much longer.
The house was in the middle of the green belt, so developing it
wasn't guaranteed and on the first floor, the challenges continued.
So upstairs we've got this really open landing. There are four bedrooms up here.
One to the left, you can see the water tank and the boiler,
you can almost get rid of those and put them somewhere else in the house
and here we have got a really low banister.
That will have to be brought up.
That's incredibly dangerous for kids.
Another bedroom through here, a good size, but my guess is that this box room was actually part of the
landing, because if you go like that that's just a stud wall so I don't think that room was originally here.
And through there we've got a really big double.
So overall, quite spacious upstairs.
From up here, the size of the plot and its potential is clear to see.
Well, this is all really exciting.
The plot alone is a desirable commodity, even though it fronts on to a busy main road.
There is so much you can do with this house, you could extend it.
You could knock it down and have a fabulous new-build.
Either way, I bet they were keen on this one at auction.
Loads of interest in this one. Possible redevelopment potential.
230 anywhere? 230.
230, I'm on the way. It's in the room.
240. 240, 250, 260, 260, sir?
250 there. 260, 270, 280, 290, 290.
310 and 20. 315 can I say?
15 at the back. 315 and 20 your time to come in again now. 320 can I say?
315, right. 320 bid. And 5. 325.
I've got 325 right by the side at the back. And 330 I want.
Are we all done at 325? 330.
And five? 340 and five.
And 5 at the back. At 5 and 50.
350, and 5.
At 5, all the back.
At 355. 360.
And 5. 365. And 70.
370, 365 in the middle I have.
370, I want. The first time at 365, second time at 365. 70 anywhere?
All done at £365,000 bid with you standing in the middle.
Are you happy? At 365, your bid, sir.
All done at 365. It's yours at 365.
So it was Richard and Stephanie who paid £365,000 for that old property in Meopham.
Stephanie is an associate director of an insurance brokers and Richard is currently a stay at home dad.
They live just 20 minutes away and this will be their new family home,
although that was decided quite late in the day.
We were going to the auction to have a look at another property and
just to get a feel for auctions in general.
And when we were on our way, I was looking through the catalogue
and I said, I really like that house, shall we go and have a quick look?
So we came and had a look at the outside, because we couldn't get in, it was too late at that point.
So you didn't even view the interior, you hadn't been inside?
We looked through the windows and letter boxes and stuff.
-And thought, got to have it?
-Yeah, I was jumping up and down
around the garden saying, can we have it? Can we have it?
Yeah, her little face was so, she was so excited.
So we went in and saw some estate agents
and they told us that we wouldn't get it for less than £350,000.
That is what I set my, I thought the limit should be and Steph really
wanted to pay up to £380,000, so we met in the middle.
I didn't want to disappoint her. In the end we went there and bought it.
You're nice. So why did you want this house so much, Steph,
what was it about it?
Well, it's a huge plot and it's got potential to be a nice big family
home and we have a large family and I just thought it would be perfect. It just felt right.
They certainly need a larger house, with the recent arrival of baby Evie they've now got five kids.
Isabel, Olivia, Amy and Jordan - a real Brady Bunch.
Their current four bedroom home is not big enough anymore.
-Well after the auction we came back to view it.
And it started raining and there was a big traffic jam outside and we looked around it and we thought no.
-What have we done?
But we've done it now. We've got to get on with it.
# No regrets now
# They only hurt. #
After spending £365,000,
it would have been an expensive purchase to regret.
I admire their positive attitude,
but what do the kids think of their new home?
-I thought it was a dump.
-Did you think it was a dump?
No, it was just cold and scary.
And what do you think now?
I think this is appalling at the moment, but when we do it up, I think it will be all right.
It is appalling at the moment. Now what about that fantastic garden? Have you got any plans for outside?
Yes! A swimming pool and a gigantic trampoline.
Well, that's the kids ideas sorted out, trampolines and swimming pools,
but what about Mum and Dad's plans?
Well, to build as far as we can out the back on two floors and create another, one, two, three bedrooms
and an en suite and take away the little box room at the front and make that a nice big landing.
-What was your budget.
-We've got about 55, £60,000 to build the extension and renovate it.
And Richard, have you got building experience?
Well, I built a two storey extension on our current house.
I turned it into a four-bedroomed house from three.
But that's as far as it goes.
Well, I can't wait for this project to be completed.
How long do you think it will take you before it's done?
-I think it will be a year.
-Well, we're hoping for about nine months, but with the planning
delays and things like that, it will probably be nearer a year.
When we went back eight months later,
the renovation hadn't gone as smoothly as anticipated.
We thought our budget was quite OK, didn't we at the start?
It suddenly dawned on me that we really
didn't have enough money to do it all quickly.
The property needed more time.
Two-and-a-half years in fact.
But we'll show you the finished results later in the show.
Coming up, this Devon house may not look that inspiring, but it has got a secret.
The really exciting thing about this property is out there.
When we last visited this house in Kent, things weren't going too well.
We've really bitten off more than we can chew, haven't we?
But the good news is it's finished and looks amazing!
But first we're returning to Birmingham where there's been a change of career.
Andy has never done a manual job before this and he has really got stuck in.
When we were last in the Stechford area of Birmingham,
Andy and Fred had followed the developers' motto and bought the worst house in the street.
They paid £96,000 for this dangerous and derelict one.
Well, four-and-a-half months later, we've returned to check it out and the transformation is startling.
There are new windows and a door.
Inside, the damp rotten front room that
once resembled the scene of a crime has been repaired and decorated.
The back living room now has that typical newly-decorated magnolia finish.
Let's be honest, there was hardly a kitchen at all, but that's certainly changed now.
As Fred says, the house was in a terrible state.
It was a tip. It was derelict.
It was damp and wet. No heating.
Nobody had lived here, one neighbour said almost 40 years.
Oh, it's a complete transformation.
When we took it over we were in complete darkness, but
as you look around now, it's nice and bright and everything is clean.
I'm really proud of what we've done here to be honest.
Remember, after being made redundant from the corporate world, this was a complete career change for Andy.
Andy has been a big revelation.
I don't want to blow his own trumpet, but he has
never done a manual job before this and he really got stuck in.
It's been great fun. It's something I love doing is when I'm working, you've got to enjoy it as well.
So I think we've bounced off each other quite well.
The two friends did the majority of the labour themselves and it's been tough.
As there was no damp proofing, the old quarry tiles on the ground floor
had to be removed and the earth dug down 16 inches before a new water proof membrane could be laid.
They didn't stop inside.
Once the nettles and rubbish had been cleared at the side
of the house, they could then see the challenge that lay ahead.
Because it was soul-destroying when we first saw the
state of the garden and realised what a massive project we'd got on our hands,
but it's turned out fantastic and we have a lovely vista there almost into a natural wood.
The garden is 300 feet long and clearing it took seven skips, four more than anticipated.
Andy's wife, Tiffany, and Fred's partner, Vicky, all lent a hand.
To start with, Tiffany couldn't believe what lads had bought.
The first time I saw this property, I honestly thought what have they taken on for their first project?
But the boys were happy and as the snow turned to sunshine the house has also blossomed.
# Bring me sunshine.
# In your smile. #
It's been entertaining, amusing. They're like a comedy duo.
# Bring me fun, bring me sunshine
# Bring me love! #
I didn't initially anticipate spending
so much time on the project, but I got stuck in and got interested
and excited by the whole thing. So we've been doing all the manual work ourselves between us.
I have to say now we've finished, it's very rewarding.
Originally, I was going to undertake a six-week tiling course at night school and unfortunately when I went
to the first course the tutor was actually held up by the bad weather and couldn't make it.
The following week we'd all ready started work on the house and I just got stuck into it and I just left it.
When you see the finish achieved in the bathroom, you can see that all turned out well.
As you can see now we've got a very, very nice bright bathroom here.
In the corner here where you had the old wrought iron bath,
we stripped everything out, as you can see we've got a nice,
clean white suite and we're very, very pleased with the outcome.
How much have Andy and Fred spent here on top of the £96,000 they paid on auction day?
The original budget was between 25 and 30, we've actually spent
just over £29,500, give or take a few pounds.
Being made redundant can dent anyone's confidence, but Andy seems
-to have turned adversity to his advantage.
-He's a changed person.
He really is. The difference in him now is unbelievable.
He has thrown himself 100% into this project.
I'm strongly minded now to
continue this as a career going forward working with Fred.
So the two friends will start a new joint venture.
What's the plan now for the house?
We're going to sell it on.
We've had a few really interested viewers and fingers crossed maybe a bid on the table.
Time to get some advice from two local estate agents.
It's a nice house. It's been well done.
I'm almost stunned at the transformation
between when I first saw it to what it is today.
It's a very nice refurb.
It's a fairly standard magnolia all the way through.
It's got a reasonable kitchen, a reasonable bathroom.
The layout of the suite and things like this is good.
I think it's nice, it's bright, airy.
It's everything a growing family would want.
A nice garden, nice size, well laid out.
They've lawned the majority of it, it's all fenced in.
It will appeal to younger families.
The garden is spectacular. it's very unusual to see a garden of
this particular length and obviously down the bottom you're going to get wildlife and all sorts of things.
Could they get tenants if they decided to rent out the house?
Rental per calendar month, I would imagine that you would be getting around the £500.
I'd happy to rent out as £595 per calendar month.
Yeah, in the area that's about right, but we're not looking to rent at the moment.
We just want to sell on and hopefully if there is some profit in there, take it on to the next one.
Let's hear how much the place is now worth.
Remember, they paid £96,000 at auction and spent under £30,000, making a total of nearly £126,000.
Given the current market conditions, I would recommend a figure of just under £160,000.
I would be happy to put this on the market at £149,950.
Sounds like a potential gross profit of at least £24,000 before the usual selling expenses.
Yeah, that's pretty much as we were hoping for
and indeed what we've got it marketed for at the second.
We've had a lot of fun, a lot of giggles along the way and a fantastic experience.
So they're happy.
# In this world where we live
# There should be more happiness... #
When we first came here, everyone said, "What the hell are you doing?"
I think we've justified the spend on it.
We had a vision for it and if you look at it now,
I think it's all come to plan and we're very pleased with it.
# ..Bring me sunshine Bring me love. #
A wise investment that turned into a nice little earner.
I'm in beautiful Devon, Exmouth to be precise,
at the mouth of the River Exe - surprise, surprise(!)
A lovely place to live, a lovely place to buy property.
It's no surprise there is always demand for property near the coast.
I left the beach and headed into town.
Well, the property I'm here to see is on Park Lane.
But unlike its more glamorous London cousin, this Park Lane has more garages than hotels.
Still, it's just a short walk from the sea front and the town centre
and this is the house I'm here for.
It's a two-bedroom end-of-terrace
at a guide price of £120,000.
Let's take a look inside.
Quite a smart front door, which bodes well.
A little entrance hall here. Nice carpet too. This is looking good.
The front room there looks to be in reasonable condition with sliding doors.
Stairs up to the bedrooms,
then through into the rear kind of dining-room area, I suppose.
Kitchen - it's not big and I'd think about
potentially doing something with this wall.
It feels a bit strange. I don't know why,
but maybe you could do something with the layout.
It looks a bit tired.
You want to spend some money on that for sure, but overall, not bad.
However...the really exciting thing about this property is out there.
It's not this little conservatory, which is useful,
though I do notice it's only got a single skin so you will have some damp issues.
It's not that.
It's not the fact that you've got a garage either. Oh, no.
It is the fact that there is an access at the bottom there,
which makes the whole of this rear of the property
a potential building plot.
Get the right planning permission and this is worth a lot of money.
The guide price of £120,000 doesn't seem to reflect the development opportunity,
just the value of the house itself.
But for developers in search of a speculative investment,
it is bound to generate interest.
So what's on offer up on the first floor?
Well, the bathroom is a very decent size,
big enough for a shower and a bath, which is lovely.
You've got a bedroom here, which is huge. It's got its own sink as well.
Then at the front, another really good-sized double bedroom.
But this place is just crying out for a bit more imaginative use of space up here.
It could easily be a three-bedroomed property, I'm sure. I'm not sure how you'd do it.
You could move the stairs perhaps, jiggle the internal partitions around.
It is good,
but it is not quite fulfilling its true potential to my mind.
I asked a local estate agent to come and look over the property
to give me her views on it.
At the guide price of £120,000,
it would appear good value, but there are issues
including limited accommodation and its rather unusual entrance next to a row of garages.
Park Lane is an unusual road
in that it is between two larger roads of typical Victorian houses.
The kerb appeal of this house is not as attractive as some others.
For buy-to-let investors it's rooms that count,
so how much income could be generated?
If the property were to be renovated and remain as a two-bedroom home,
it would achieve about £750 per calendar month.
If it were to be made into a three-bedroom, it should achieve £800 per calendar month.
What could the potential value be, either as a two-bed house or if it was made into a three-bed?
If the property was not structurally altered in anyway and just kept as it is, but renovated,
in the current market I would recommend an asking price of £175,000.
If it were possible to make a third bedroom,
I would recommend around £190,000.
Of course, the big money here would be if you got planning permission to build a second new property
on the land at the back.
But although you'd gain a house, there is a downside.
If it were possible to put an additional property in the garden,
it would obviously detract from the value of this house
as you would lose the parking.
That would bring the value of this property down to about 150.
However, the new property, if you had a very small two-bedroomed detached property,
assuming you could have some sort of parking, that would be worth about £170 I would say.
There are several options here.
It could be ideal for a developer, or maybe just as a home for someone.
So a nice enough little house, but the icing on the cake for me is that potential building plot at the back.
This really does put this into another league.
Let's see who's spotted the opportunity at the auction.
So it's a two-bedroomed, two-storey, end-of-terrace house for refurb.
It has the longer-than-average garden at the back as you can see,
and a copy of a recent e-mail from a local architect talking about
the possibility of getting... possibly a little unit at the back.
That is the icing on the cake.
It should be 135 every time.
135. Who will kick it off? 130.
130, 132, 132,
134, a nice home.
136. What can you get in Exmouth for that, not far from the beach?
138. 140? Thank you, 140.
At 140, at 140... 145, 145.
I've got 146 there
and I think you said a half, 146 and a half.
At 146 and a half, 147.
147 and a half. 148, 148 and a half.
149, 149 and a half.
At 149 and a half once,
at 149 and a half twice.
At 149 and a half, are you sure and done? Here goes
at 149 and a half.
The successful bid of £149,500 came from Hexa who was at the auction with her partner Alan.
Originally from Germany, Hexa is a tennis coach and they both now live in Exmouth.
This property is her investment, but Alan is going to work on it.
He is a builder by trade and a project manager, and has developed flats for himself in the past.
I met up with him to find out their plans.
Alan, lovely to meet you. Congratulations.
Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.
It was part investment.
Part...just to see what we could do - project manage etcetera.
First job for Hexa.
Does Hexa have property experience?
Yes, in Germany, but not in England
because she moved over four years ago so it is the first one from auction
and it is the first one she actually bought.
So how involved were you in the decision to buy this property?
It was 50/50 all the way.
We saw the guide and we had a quick look literally for ten minutes when we came to view the property.
It was an open house.
Hexa and Alan could prove a great team for this project.
They hope to get planning permission to build on the plot out the back.
But first things first, what are their ideas for the house?
What will you do to sort this place out?
I'd like to take down this wall so it opens up the kitchen a bit more, a nice big entrance to the kitchen,
so it would look more like a bigger galley kitchen than a small narrow one.
Stick a new boiler in.
Stick a second skin in the conservatory to stop any damp coming through
and move the main stairs to the side of the building instead of coming up the middle.
Is that a big job, to move the stairs?
Not a very big job, about a week's work for me and the carpenter to move them.
And then upstairs?
Upstairs basically keep it as it is, tidy it up, rewire it, new radiators, etc.
We're allowing about £15,000 on the spend to do it all.
So the idea being to do what when it is finished? Rent it?
Either rent it or sell it. We won't know until we're finished.
Alan is an experienced builder, confident to tackle most things.
Hexa paid £149,500 for this, her first development venture,
and she looks to have bought one with added potential.
So how important was the plot of land to you?
Not that important really because I know the house would sell for £175,000
cos there's a house across the road for sale for £175,000.
It is two-bedroom with a small garage, but we've got the big double garage
with the extra bit of land for the extra parking,
so we've got three, four parking spaces now.
-And the potential building plot is a bonus on top of that.
-Yes, big bonus
because potentially it is like £50,000 or £60,000 sat there,
once outline planning permission has been granted.
-So is that what you'll do, apply for planning permission?
Is the idea to sell them separately?
I'm not sure yet. We might build it ourselves and sell them together.
What kind of a timescale have you got for this and sorting out the land?
The main house, six weeks.
Outside could take three or four months with planning,
but we'll see how it goes and tidy it up for the time being
so we can use the driveway and the garage for the time being.
So is Hexa going to be involved in this at all?
Not actually working-wise, because she is pregnant.
She won't do any manual work, just paperwork.
Listen, good luck with it all. We look forward to seeing how you get on.
Well, Alan is certainly a good guy to guide you through a project like this,
and I'm sure he'll have no problem turning it around in that six-week timescale.
The big question is, will they manage to get planning permission for the plot at the back?
You can find out later in the show.
So, did our fearless developers emerge victorious?
-Or did they flounder in the shallow end of the property developing pool?
-Oh, let's find out.
We now return to Meopham in Kent where in 2006,
Richard and Stephanie had paid £365,000 for this tired old property.
As they have five children, they had outgrown their old four-bedroom house.
They plan to make this a five-bedroom family home and add an extension at the back.
With their £60,000 budget, it all looked fairly straightforward,
but when we first came back to check on their progress,
the project had become much bigger than they expected.
-We've really bitten off
more than we can chew and because we're relying on family and friends
to do the majority of the work, it is taking forever.
Getting planning permission took six months
because the existing extensions at the back turned out to be illegal.
This meant the couple could only extend by 30% of the original house.
Also, it will have to remain just a four-bedroom home
because of the green-belt restrictions,
but Richard and Stephanie aren't too worried, they're just pleased to have finally started work.
Well, as you can see, we're standing in front of the footings for the extension.
The old lean-to was knocked down as you can see.
There will be French doors here leading on to a patio area.
Double sliding sash windows overlooking the garden from the kitchen.
The return for the galleried landing will just be up here
and there will be the family bathroom and the fourth double bedroom above that.
The house had been rewired, replastered and had new windows put in at the front.
It was still a few weeks before they could move in, but that didn't bother their five children.
Now the trampoline is up, they're over the moon.
That's all that is really important to them, the trampoline.
# Well, jump
# Might as well jump... #
One area of the house that nobody should have been jumping in was the front room.
Remember those mysterious holes in the floor?
It turns out it was because the floors were rotten and I had to replace the floors.
Initially, they were both unsure about buying it,
so ten months on, do they have any regrets?
I think Richard's had some regrets with the amount of work involved,
but I personally haven't.
I'm really pleased that we got it
and I can still see it being what we wanted it to be.
Well, it took some time, but three and a half years later,
since Richard and Stephanie bought it at auction,
the work is now finished.
They have transformed the run-down property
into a grand detached country residence.
Even though they were restricted in the size of the extension they could build,
they have managed to create a well-balanced looking house.
Inside, Stephanie's preparation work has paid dividends
in the living room.
The other room at the front is now a family area-cum-dining room.
It flows right through to the back into the extension, where
a beautiful kitchen has been installed.
A bit different to the old extension,
and fortunately the bathroom is no longer downstairs either.
It has been moved to the first floor
where a passage off the galleried landing leads
to the new double-aspect bedroom built into the extension.
Stephanie and Richard's master bedroom at the front
is now en suite,
but it is downstairs in the new extension
where the layout change is most evident.
Well, this is where the house used to finish, just this doorway here. We knocked down the old lean-to.
That enabled us to put, I think it was about 580 square foot on the side of the house.
Brought it out as far as we could to the boundary.
We've got a double bedroom upstairs.
The bathroom above here, downstairs loo, utility cupboard.
It is all underfloor heating. Everywhere there is a slate floor.
The kitchen, we're happy with the layout. It is nice and airy.
You've got two windows at the back
and it's nice to watch the kids playing in the garden.
They've created a great family home.
Their son Jordan, who is now 18, has moved out.
His two younger sisters share one bedroom
while the two older ones have one each.
How long have they been living here?
We moved in about 18 months ago.
Primarily to speed things up, really, so we could work on it
for more of the day because we were just fitting it in around work and school.
So we thought if we lived here we would get it done more quickly and it was a big mistake.
Yeah, we done nothing. We just lived here and we got used to living with all the mess.
I suppose it helped us decide what we wanted to do with it.
Yeah, we realised we should have made the kitchen the living room and this the kitchen.
Well, that's often the case, but I reckon there is still plenty of flexibility in this house.
That snug room at the back is a great place to escape for some peace and quiet.
After their time off, they started work with a vengeance about a year ago.
They worked through, room by room, until they eventually got it finished.
Up on the first floor they have ended up with three bedrooms, one en suite, plus a family bathroom.
At the back, the bedroom where the old
immersion tank was is now a single bedroom overlooking the back garden.
The front fourth bedroom is a large double, shared by two of the girls.
When we first bought it, I was a bit scared of it, but now I really love it.
My mum and dad have done a really good job in putting the house
together and now it's a beautiful home to live in.
Everyone seems happy.
This room and the snug were one room and we decided to put the wall up
and make it into two rooms and that really works for me.
The kids have their TV space and we've got somewhere quiet to escape.
With four younger sisters, I'm sure 18-year-old Jordan is delighted with the room when he comes to stay.
Creating this family house has required lots of help
from friends and family, but the majority of the work was down to Richard.
We've saved a lot of money on labour because Richard
has done the work himself, so what we've saved on labour...
We could spend on fixtures and fittings, like all the underfloor heating
and all the slate everywhere downstairs and stuff.
But it's made the job three times longer.
Yes, but the wait has been worth it.
I really like my room, but I also quite like the back room
because it is a nice relaxing place to be in when you want to be quiet.
I like my bedroom a lot because I think it is quite a nice size.
I like my room and the dining room.
I'm really proud of it.
I stand across the other side of the road every now and again and look at front.
Especially since I done the drive and I walk down the other end of the garden and
look at it from the back and I can sit there for ten minutes thinking I'm pleased with myself for that.
And so you should be. It is a really lovely family home with a massive garden.
It's really big compared to the old garden that we had.
You enjoy it because your rabbits can fit here.
It has been a long project, but with no labour charges, how has the budget fared?
How much did they have to spend on top of the £365,000 they paid at auction?
Our original budget was £60,000, and I think we've pretty much
-brought it in spot-on.
-It is more or less.
Yeah, we might have spent 65.
We've come to the end of it and you can see what we've achieved.
-It was worthwhile.
-Definitely, and a good reason to celebrate
because not only has the house changed, but the family has too.
Isabel was just a two-year-old tot when we first met,
and now it is her sixth birthday.
# Happy birthday, Isabel Happy birthday to you. #
Time to hear what two local estate agents think of the place now.
The way that the building flows from room to room, it is extremely good.
The reception as you come into the kitchen is done extremely well, and
also the continuation of the flooring in the tile slating is very good.
Initially when I turned up and looked at the outside I thought
wow, it has been nicely refurbished.
The standard of finish is very good.
I think the owners have done a great job in improving the property throughout.
The bedroom space suits the current family and the main bedroom
has an en suite which is essential in a property of this size.
The bedroom space, the nice thing about it, they are all in proportion.
They are not the largest bedrooms, but at least proportionally-wise, they are good sizes.
The standard of work is probably some of the best that I've ever seen.
The front porch particularly has been done extremely well.
Well, it is over three and a half years since they paid £365,000 at the auction.
In that time, they've spent £65,000 on the refurbishment,
making the total spend £430,000.
How much is the property now worth?
If we were to market the property for sale today then we
would be recommending a marketing price in the region of £575,000.
If I had to put the property on the market today the value would be £550,000.
The first valuation of £575,000 would represent a maximum pre-tax
profit of £145,000 before deducting selling expenses.
-I suppose £575,000 is a fair price.
-I find that quite comforting.
Shall we sell it?
No! Can we just enjoy for a bit first?
Definitely. A family home like this is priceless.
So are Richard and Stephanie pleased they took on such an ambitious project?
-Yeah, it was absolutely worth it.
The kids love it here. We have a beautiful garden.
A nice-looking house. It is nice to live here.
It is all our own work. It is exactly as we wanted it to be and we got there in the end.
Yeah, and everybody says how nice it looks.
So, yeah, it is something to be proud of.
Earlier in the programme, we were in Devon, where Hexa had bought this Exmouth semi for £149,500.
Her partner Alan is a builder and a project manager.
He was going to oversee the refurbishment because
tennis coach Hexa, originally from Germany,
was expecting their first child.
The house had separate access at the rear.
They had their fingers crossed that one day they might be able to build
another house on the plot subject to obtaining planning permission.
Well, two months later, we met up again with Alan, Hexa and baby Max to see how the refurbishment
had progressed and whether Alan was successful with the planning application.
Well, outside there are some new steps.
Upstairs, although the bathroom looked fine,
the layout and the suite have changed, but it is downstairs
where the major transformation has taken place.
The two rooms there are now one and at the back, the kitchen has had a first-class makeover.
It has all been possible thanks to Alan moving the staircase, as he explains.
Well, the stairs were originally coming up the centre of the room
with a small 2'6" passageway with two separate rooms.
So we decided to apply to planning control to get it all moved.
We stuck a new steel in.
We moved the stairs against the side of the building
so it's opened up the room
so we can get more space into the room and more light.
Instead of going up the stairs and turning into each bedroom, you come
up the stairs on to a landing which gives you more space, so a bit more light down the stairs.
So they kept just two bedrooms, but they are a good size,
even though the back one was modified slightly
to accommodate the new layout of the stairs and landing.
So the main house is coming on very well, but have they had any more thoughts about the plot at the rear?
The plans we've got are for a three-bedroomed dwelling at
rear of the property, all open-plan like the one we've got at moment.
We're 80% there and hopefully, we'll get a three-bedroom dwelling with a garage on the side.
These are sketch designs which you provisionally submit to the council
and hopefully we should hear back within two to three weeks on yes or no.
It is a waiting game to see if the plans will be accepted.
But how much have they had to spend so far on the current house
on top of the £149,500 it cost on auction day?
My original budget was around £15,000.
It has gone to about £22,000 at the moment, but I'm happy with that
because I'm looking at the house as a whole and I know there is a bit of profit in there now.
For tennis coach Hexa, the only racket now
is coming from new baby Max, but what are their plans?
Well, me and Hexa, we have some options open to us.
One is we move in together, live here while we build the dwelling at the back and maybe move into
the three-bedroom dwelling. If not, we sell them both,
move somewhere else and buy another project.
Time to see what two local estate agents make of the house
and the potential profit
if they did manage to build another at the back.
Super job. They've modernised it.
It is a 1920s semi.
Refurbished throughout and presented in good order.
It is very different to when I came before.
They've done a really good job,
opened it all up and it is a very modern pad now.
It is a very good standard of finish,
it is magnolia paint throughout, light colours.
Good finish, wouldn't change it. It's great.
Moving the stairs, initially I would have thought not, but now that I've seen it done,
it works really well and gives a lot more space.
This could be a great step on the property ladder for Hexa.
Remember, she paid £149,500 at auction
and has spent £22,000 on it, making a total of £171,500.
So how much is the house now worth and what about a three-bed at
the back if they get planning permission?
Should this property come onto the market in today's climate
without any future development, the current property would be in the region of £175,000.
Should another property be built, then the value of this one would
go down slightly to around about the 165 mark. I would guesstimate,
having seen the plans, that that property would be valued
in the region of about 190 to 200.
In my opinion, the property would be worth, as it is, with the garage
between 175 and 180.
If the garage were to be lost and the new building built,
I would suggest 165 to £170,000, and the new property,
which I believe is going to be a three-bedroom property with a garage
could be as much as £190,000.
If they are successful in getting planning permission,
the combined value of the new-build and this house would be about £350,000.
That's £184,000 more than they paid, but of course that would be significantly reduced
with the cost of the new-build and of course, selling expenses.
But if they don't get planning permission there is only about £4,000 gross profit here.
We guessed that was the value when we bought it originally.
We're not going to make a fortune. We thought we'd break even, but now we've got the land,
it's a lot better. Extra money. Very happy.
What about the rental here?
This property, if it were to be rented would achieve around
750 per calendar month and rent very easily.
The three-bedroom, when it is built, could be as much as 850, 875 per calendar month.
This would probably rent out in the region of
625 per calendar month,
with the other property renting out probably closer to 725.
Well, that is actually more than we thought.
-Yeah, we thought around £525.
-So we have to think again.
We have to re-think what we're going to do.
Decisions, decisions, new baby and maybe a new house.
So are they happy about the way things have turned out?
Our first development, and it went really well.
It was hard work for you.
But it is really good.
Well, teamwork is always a winning formula on Homes Under The Hammer.
Not enough for you? Well, there's plenty more.
Join us next time for more Homes Under The Hammer.
-We will see you then.
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