Property auction series. Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house near Glasgow, a property in Swindon and revisit a Victorian flat in Dover.
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Since Martin and I have started filming Homes Under The Hammer,
we have seen hundreds of people take the plunge and buy property at auction.
But it can sometimes be a bit of a bumpy ride,
so fasten your seatbelts and join us at the auctions.
This programme isn't just about bricks and mortar.
It's about real people who have a personal tale to tell.
We never know quite how it's going to turn out.
Will it be a dream or a nightmare?
Let's see what's on today's show.
This house in a suburb of Glasgow needs to be thoroughly checked out.
Oh, yes. Buyer beware on this one.
In Swindon, it's all about making the right refurbishment choices.
Why turn your hot property into a hard to sell?
And we revisit this fantastic Victorian flat in Dover,
that we first saw in 2005.
It's crying out, "Restore me to my former glory."
These properties were sold at auction.
We'll find out who bought them and what they paid for them
when they went under the hammer.
Just five miles from Glasgow city centre
is the highly desirable suburb of Milngavie.
With its great shops and excellent school, it appeals to both families and commuters.
Milngavie is also at the start of the West Highland Way,
a 96-mile trail to Fort William, handy if you want to take the dog for a rather long walk!
The property I'm here to see is about 15 minutes' walk from Milngavie high street.
I love the fact there's this nice little green area here.
Lots of ex-local authority houses, including this one, up for auction.
Three bedrooms, guide price 60,000.
Looks all right from the outside. Let's check inside.
Described in the catalogue as a "mid-terrace villa",
this has a well-kept exterior and front garden.
Let's hope that continues inside.
I have to say that £60,000 does sound terribly cheap
for a property in what is a fairly desirable area.
So that does set some alarm bells ringing.
I'll come to that later. What have we got?
Through the front door, it's a nicely-kept property.
Large lounge there. This is the entrance to store hats and coats.
Stairs up to three bedrooms. Quite unusual,
a bathroom and loo downstairs, which isn't ideal.
But hey, through to the kitchen.
This isn't at all bad. The units are a bit tired and dated,
but if you cleaned them up and you were going to rent this out, they'd be serviceable.
I like the design. A breakfast bar, very practical for a family.
A combination boiler, it's all looking good.
I don't like this, the suspended ceiling.
It makes it like an office rather than kitchen,
so you'd want to put track lighting in here or maybe recessed halogens.
That would make a big difference.
All in all, though, I like it.
So far, the house is working quite well.
Although that ground floor bathroom is a bit inconvenient,
it's in pretty good order and just needs updating.
In fact, the only major change would be removing the cladding, that's not to everyone's taste.
Upstairs, there are three decent-sized bedrooms,
all just needing a fairly minor makeover.
So in the surface, all the boxes have a nice big tick.
Everything pretty tickety-boo so far, then.
So why that £60,000 guide price?
Well, that should make you suspicious.
The house actually is non-standard construction.
In fact, in the Housing Defects Act of Scotland,
it's designated as a "defective dwelling". Sounds pretty serious.
What it will impact on is your ability to get a mortgage on this.
There's no immediate signs of any problems,
until you start digging a bit deeper.
Open the cupboards in one of the bedrooms
and that is a fairly nasty crack.
It might not be serious, but it certainly needs checking out.
Oh, yes, buyer beware on this one.
So that was the catch.
The property is made of concrete which can develop structural problems over time.
However, several houses in the area are also of non-standard construction
and there have been very few cases of any major issues arising.
But do your research before taking on one of these.
There's nothing else I can really fault here, and despite the construction issues,
this place doesn't disappoint.
All in all, the property just oozes the feeling of a house
that's really been looked after,
and it's not just inside. In the back garden you can see well-tended lawn,
beautifully manicured plants.
From a positive point of view, having a garden like this is a real selling point for the property.
So lots of positives. A well-looked after exterior
and a clean and tidy interior.
They all add up to a house ready to move into.
But with a low guide price of £60,000, due to non-standard construction,
it's time to ask a local estate agent for his thoughts on the property.
The property was built roughly 60 years ago,
using concrete-reinforced beams.
It is listed as defective.
It's obviously been standing for 60 years
and there's nothing majorly apparent.
There's a survey on the property which gives it a reasonably clean bill of health.
But because the property has been listed as defective, no mortgage lenders will lend on it.
Therefore making it very difficult to find funding for.
The type of construction may be listed as defective,
but this house is not showing any signs of problems.
So how does it measure up otherwise?
Generous proportions throughout.
It should be highly sought after
by many, at an attractive price
and reasonably well maintained throughout.
The estate agent reckons the house just needs modernising.
Taking into account its non-standard construction, what resale value could it fetch?
When this property has been upgraded, I feel it should sell
in the region of 90 to £95,000.
I would expect the rental value to be somewhere in the region of 550 to £600 per calendar month.
So, a great little property
that could pretty much be rented out as it is
or moved into straightaway.
If you rent it out, superb rental returns.
The main issue is the non-standard construction.
You need cash to buy this one, and that crack in the wardrobe.
Still, a great one to go for. Let's see who spotted it at the auction.
Lot number 501 is the first one to offer you today.
The opening bid on this property is £45,000.
£45,000. Straight in, two places.
I'll take your bid first, madam.
So I'll take yours at 46 and yours at 47. Is that OK?
£47,000. 48. 49.
50? 50 it is. 51 with the proxy bidder?
Yep? 57. 58.
£60,000. The proxy bidder's out. It's you two at the moment. 60,000. 61. 62.
Is that 63, sir? 63 it is.
64. 65? 65 it is.
66? No. 66,000? 66,000 at the back of the room.
£67,000 on the aisle. 68?
Rolling on now? £68,000. 69?
70,000. 70,000 it is.
Shake of the head.
£70,000. At the back of the room. It's your bid. 70,000.
70,500. New place.
Can I go 72 again? £72,000.
£73,000 here. 74? £74,000 now. 75?
£75,000. Back in at 76.
£76,000 against you, sir. No? Shake of the head.
It's your bid at £76,000. I'll go 500 if it helps you.
77,500. Back in at 78.
80. 80 it is.
Coming back in at 80,500? Yes. 80,500. 81.
82 and a half. 82 and a half it is.
Still going. At £83,000.
85 and a half? Yes, 85 and a half it is.
Lady's bid at £86,000.
86 and a half? I need to hurry you.
It's £86,000. I'm going to sell. At £86,000.
Sold at £86,000. Well done. Congratulations.
That winning bid of 86,000 was made by Alison.
She and her husband, Justin, live in Glasgow.
But up until a year ago, London was their home.
That was where they both learned their property development skills.
I caught up with them to find out what they planned to do here.
-Alison, Justin, lovely to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
-Why did you want to buy this place?
-We bought it as a rental investment.
There's a good rate of return on the property.
-Approximately, we're hoping to get £700 a month.
In rent. So that'll be 8,400 a year.
We paid 86,000 for the house. So that's almost a 10% rental yield.
Going straight into the numbers!
-Wow! That's what it's all about, isn't it?
-That's what it's all about.
Actually, not it's not. There's a fantastic school nearby.
I knew from family who'd researched the area
how much in demand this house was.
-I have a waiting list of people to come and see the property.
-Really? To rent it out already?
Loads of people on email who really want it.
-So it'll get snapped up.
-You're numbers and you're practicalities.
I'm thinking it's a house that someone really wants to live in.
It'll be easy for us to manage.
# That's why I'm easy #
Well, this couple seem pretty clued up.
Justin is a quantity surveyor.
Alison is studying for an MBA and they have a portfolio of six properties in London.
They have background knowledge when it comes to choosing the right property.
It's good to be in control,
but for Justin, that didn't seem to be the case at the auction.
You, I have to say, looked a bit perplexed at what was going on.
I was concerned we'd be there at ten o'clock at night still bidding!
At 150 million!
I just decided that it was mine.
I came to see the house, drove outside it a few times,
and I was going to the auction to buy it.
I knew it was a great deal and I knew the figures were working out.
-So I just went against Justin's word!
We'd agreed a limit and it went a bit beyond that.
But I'm glad we did now.
Alison did the right thing, 100 per cent.
I reckon you said the right thing there, Justin.
But were they worried that the non-standard construction was a drawback?
A lot of houses in this area are of this construction and there doesn't seem to be problems with them.
A lot of the houses are being refurbished by the local authority
and they do regular surveys and that demonstrates that the houses are not going anywhere very fast.
There is a bit of a weird crack in one of the cupboards upstairs.
-Have you seen that?
-What is it? Any ideas?
-No, I'm not worried about that.
-Nothing a bit of filler won't sort out!
Well, they'll need more than one tube to fill that crack!
After doing some all-important research, Alison and Justin are convinced
they've got a sure-fired hit on their hands.
What's the plans for it? What will you do?
As little as possible, Martin!
That's the short answer!
I think we'll just maybe give it a paint job
and then change the carpets.
Alison's brought some of my tools up but that's just a precautionary measure!
We're hoping not to open the tool box at all!
We might do a bit in the kitchen, maybe change the kitchen doors.
-If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
How much are you going to spend sorting it out?
We've no budget. I know that's a Homes Under The Hammer no-no!
-Especially for a quantity surveyor!
-Exactly! I know.
Justin says it'll cost what it costs, so...
Probably about up to 5,000, probably.
I don't think we'll even spend that.
-I'm thinking two and a half.
-Congratulations. Good luck with it. Look forward to seeing how you get on.
So, Alison and Justin having a few differences of opinion already
in how much work is going to be done here.
Hope there won't be too many arguments!
And I think they're being a little bit casual about that crack in the cupboard.
How will they get on? You can find out later in the show.
Well, perhaps I'm not seeing it in the best weather,
but could Swindon in Wiltshire be the perfect place to splash out on a property purchase?
A simple glance into a few front gardens will tell you a lot about a place.
Here on Cullen Road, it's looking pretty good.
I've been told there's a real community feel to the area.
And once people move here, they tend to stay.
So it all bodes well for our little semi-detached bungalow
which had a guide price of 135,000.
The front area could do with some sprucing up. A few plants would help.
But there's plenty of off-street parking and a garage,
so along with a good-sized garden complete with greenhouse and shed,
135,000 is not a bad price
for what is an increasingly rare species - a bungalow.
Well, not everybody loves a bungalow
but personally, I do.
Look at this lovely hallway. There's such a lot of space here.
You've got one, two, three bedrooms,
two good-sized doubles and a single,
and through here - whoa!, the carpet's on fire! -
a really nice-sized lounge.
I think the most appealing thing to me here is all the rooms are of a really good size.
OK, they're not bursting with character, but that's something you can add later.
You know, this place isn't unloved, it's just very dated.
And it will need a little bit of work.
# Relight my fire
# Cos I need your love. #
There are no obvious structural changes needed.
All this bungalow really needs is to be sparked back to life
and brought up to date.
Let the sun shine in!
I think you'll agree this is a rather bright room,
not a bad size,
and this house was built in the '50s
so why shouldn't this be here?
In London, in Spitalfields market, in fact,
that would go for a fortune.
A rather old, dated boiler. That will need changing.
Again, look at the electrics. But this is fantastic. My nan used to have one of these in her house.
Look, a little sugar caddy
so you can put your cup of tea underneath that.
It all needs updating, though.
Painting, the kitchen needs to be changed.
But do you know what? I think this house would be fabulous
if you thought about pushing out here. You've got such a big garden out there.
You could have an extension with a nice big breakfast table
so you could eat in here.
To have an extension and add some square footage to this room
would make it perfect. That's what I would do.
So it's out with the old and maybe in with a new extension
and possibly something more.
Next door have extended into the loft,
so immediately it's something to consider.
But does it add up from an investment point of view?
I don't think it does.
Bungalows are popular for a reason
and that's because they don't have any stairs!
Around here, they sell like hotcakes.
By all means extend at the rear and create more downstairs space,
but why turn your hot property into a hard-to-sell?
Perhaps the best approach is outwards rather than upward.
A kitchen extension, or a conservatory, maybe.
Certainly there's enough space
but would any of these be financially worth considering?
What does a local estate agent think?
For the most return on this property,
I would personally keep it as a bungalow.
The reason being that developers no longer tend to build bungalows because of the plot size.
And also it keeps a basis of desirability about it.
Once you take that bungalow status away, it tends to turn people away.
How would this bungalow that was guided at 135,000
fare on the resale market?
If refurbishments were made on the property,
I would expect to revalue the property in the region of 200,000.
Depending on the extension to the rear of the property,
we would expect to increase value by £15,000.
With the cost of building an extension and time delays involved,
it really isn't financially worth doing, and is also unlikely to increase its rental potential.
This particular area and type of property would rent very, very well.
We'd expect to fetch something in the region of £700 per calendar month.
Refurbishment to let out is definitely the way to go here.
The options to extend are only worthwhile pursuing
if this was to be a home, in order to improve your living accommodation
rather than your bank balance.
I think it's pretty safe to say this bungalow is a great bet.
It's got space to extend, there's room to improve
and you can't knock the location,
which is, as we all know, the key to investment.
Let's see who was savvy enough to see its potential at auction.
Move on to number four, a semi-detached bungalow,
needs a bit doing to it, we know.
135. We'll start at the guide of £135,000.
Six I'll take and on we go in twos.
Cullen Road I'm selling. 136 over there. OK. 136.
138. 140 to you, sir. 140.
42 to you, sir. Yeah, 42. 44 to you, sir.
44, sir? At £143,000.
The bid is on the wall. OK. At 143.
144, new blood. 45.
Eight. Nine. 50.
One, two, three,
four, five, six,
At £157,000. The bid's over there at 157. OK? At 157.
57 and a half.
57 and a half. 58.
No? At £160,000 sat down.
Fresh blood in at £160,000.
I'll take half from anybody else. 160 and a half.
One, sir? One. And a half?
And a half.
Two, sir? And a half. No?
At 162. Sat down. Back to where we started.
162 first time.
£162,000 for the second time. 162.
Third and last time. All done at 162.
And your number, sir, is?
Sorry. 22. Thank you very much.
For £162,000, the new owner of this Swindon bungalow
is Mike. He works alongside his partner Lesley as a computer developer
at a research council. They both joined me at the property.
Mike and Lesley, congratulations. Why did you want to buy this house?
I was interested in doing a bit of property development.
From my perspective, it's a career move. Something I could get into and do year after year.
Something to do for ourselves. We've worked for someone else all our lives.
So it's not just about the money here?
-You're happy to use this as a springboard.
-And a learning curve.
-# I'm learning to fly
-Learning to fly
# But I ain't got wings. #
Mike has plenty of enthusiasm,
but not much experience.
He's hoping this bungalow will be the launch pad for his property developing career.
Here you are. You've got the house. It needs a fair bit of work doing.
When and how are you going to find the time to develop this?
Every evening, every weekend.
-Oh, my goodness!
-And all friends and family.
-Everybody is invited!
-So you're hoping to do much of the work yourselves?
Yes, hoping to.
How about things like the electrics, the tiling, the plumbing?
-You're shaking your head!
-Nothing skilled, no.
Right, let's go back again. So you are going to get tradesmen in, then?
We are. There are certain building regulations
which obviously I've been looking over the internet to see what we're able to do.
Things like putting in windows are deemed to be skilled
because of fire regulations and such like.
But tiling and so on, I'd be happy to take on myself
and putting kitchen units together and plumbing the bathroom suite is fine.
Lesley, what are you going to do to bring this up to standard?
I'm going to stay out in the garden, I think!
-I'm happy about that!
-Are you quite a keen gardener?
I've done some gardens up before, and we haven't got one in the flat, so I'm desperate to sit in a garden.
But there's not much sitting about at the moment!
Lesley and Mike live in a rented flat at present,
though I think Lesley would love to live here.
But that doesn't fit in with Mike's very organised plan.
So, Mike, how many hours do you think you've spent poring over the computer, researching?
-Around three to four days.
-Over the last couple of weeks.
What I've done is put together a project plan.
Can I just stop you? The whole time I've been doing Homes under the Hammer,
I have never seen anything so planned out and so worked out specifically as this.
-It's what I do in work.
-Thank you very much.
It's what I do in work. It's a natural progression.
But I wanted to do it to find out how much it will cost per room, from my point of view.
Here it says, "Bedroom one. Clear area. Labour - £5."
Where did you pluck that figure from?
I've done it really per hour.
So I've really tried to work out how many hours I'm going to spend
-on a particular room.
-But you're going to be doing the work here.
-And you're paying yourself £5 to do that.
A huge amount of money, isn't it? I'm not going to retire on those figures!
How many hours have you totted up in total for the work that's needed?
In my time, it's around about 250 hours, something like that.
And how much has your budget got to?
-The entire budget including materials is around £14,000.
I have to be honest with you. You may end up just going like this.
-Throwing it out the window!
-I may do.
But I'm hoping... I'm not really expecting to keep to the pound on it,
but I'm hoping it will give me information on where I've gone wrong, really.
So the next property, I can use that information.
-Good luck with this. I think it's magnificent.
-Great. Thank you.
Mike and Lesley are using this bungalow as a new beginning.
That's great. But will Lesley fall in love with this garden?
And will Mike's budget get thrown out with the bathroom?
Find out what happens here later in the programme.
Coming up: we revisit a Victorian flat in Dover we first saw in 2005.
Even then, it was something special.
What a place! What a place!
Is it the end of the road for Mike's project plan in Swindon?
It was more trouble than it was worth, keeping it up to date all the time.
First, we return to just outside Glasgow to find Alison in her element.
This is my kind of thing. I love being active.
We're back on the outskirts of Glasgow now
and the highly desirable area of Milngavie
where this terraced house sold at auction for 86,000.
Although it was listed as defective due to its non-standard construction,
60 years after it was built, there'd been no problems.
It was built by part-time property developers Alison and her husband Justin.
They seemed to know how the numbers should stack up here.
-We're hoping to get £700 a month rent.
So that'll be 8,400 a year.
And we paid 86,000 for the house.
So that's almost a ten per cent rental yield.
Listen to you, going straight into the numbers! Wow!
Only time will tell if this will add up to be a nice little earner.
Eight weeks later and the garden's in bloom.
Let's hope the inside has also blossomed.
Well, that's certainly a lot better.
A fresher and lighter living room.
And the kitchen has had a makeover as well.
Unfortunately, Justin couldn't make it on the day we revisited,
but busy mother-of-two Alison,
who's also studying for a Master's degree in business administration
found time to show us round.
So in this room, we took away the cladding and the false walls
and replastered the walls.
We took away the 1970s fireplace
and replaced it with a modern marble fireplace
and painted it in a neutral tone
to suit most people's tastes, and we're happy that it's nice and light and airy.
Out in the hall, the removal of the alcove
has also created a fresh and spacious feel.
But it was the tired and dated kitchen on the ground floor
that needed the most attention.
We changed the doors in the kitchen and put in nice shiny handles,
and changed the extractor fan, updated the tiling,
painted the kitchen, plastered the ceiling, a pelmet in and a blind.
We never changed the floor, which was a point of contention, but we decided to leave it.
In the downstairs bathroom, a simple paint job and new flooring
have made a more inviting place to enjoy a relaxing soak.
Upstairs, it's just a straightforward redecoration
featuring easy-going neutral colours and new carpets throughout.
The crack is still there, so it looks like Justin didn't get the filler out
but it seems his toolbox did see some action.
All of the toolboxes were out and all the power tools were out.
They've all been used. It was thoroughly enjoyable.
There were no hassles with it, actually. It was fine.
# It's so easy
# To be in love with you, girl. #
So a fuss-free and simple refurbishment,
perfect for Alison, especially with the responsibilities of being a mother,
plus her studies.
In terms of juggling my time, I found it really enjoyable.
I like being busy, so this is my kind of thing.
# Oh, it's so easy... #
Alison and Justin managed to do the job in just six weeks.
That was only a week over their estimated schedule.
How much did the renovation cost?
In the beginning, we didn't have a budget
although our experience subconsciously would tell us not to go over a certain figure.
We came in at around about 5,500
which is something we're quite happy with.
So, including their £86,000 purchase price,
the total outlay on the property comes to about 91,500.
Meanwhile, they'd wasted no time in getting something back on this investment.
The going rate is £700 a month,
so we've managed to secure that no problems.
We've had a lot of interest in the property and we've found a lovely family who are moving in
at the beginning of next month.
Alison and Justin are happy with that £700 a month rent
but could they have got more?
Two local estate agents cast their eyes over the renovation
and tell us what they think.
The work that's been done has been done as simple as possible.
But they have brightened up the kitchen,
added fresh units, changed it to a modern feel.
Downstairs especially they've made some good changes
for reasonable cost, I'd imagine.
I'm relieved to see they haven't spent too much money!
It looks like they've changed the doors, which is sensible,
with a sensible colour.
The lounge, they've got rid of all the old pine,
emulsioned the walls in a good acceptable colour,
and they've changed the fireplace, just perfect.
Now it comes down to the figures.
They've managed to get a rental income of £700 per calendar month
so have they got the best out of the property?
The rental income on this property should be 600 to £625 per calendar month.
On the rental side, I would say it should achieve around about £650 per calendar month.
Well, the house was actually in quite demand.
A quite high demand.
I could have rented it out to several families at 700 a month.
That's a good result for Alison and Justin, giving them an annual yield of 9%.
They've no plans to sell, but bearing in mind it's non-standard construction,
and therefore difficult to get a mortgage for,
the estate agents feel the property could fetch between 90 and £100,000.
So, subtracting their total spend of 91,500,
you could see a profit of £8,500, minus the usual expenses.
But this is a long-term investment for the couple.
For Alison, it's an opportunity to relax a little.
Plans next are just to keep an eye on the market.
No pressure, just to see how things go.
There's a lot going on with our family and studying, work, et cetera.
So no great big plans at the moment!
Back in 2005,
my port of call was in Kent
to see a property strongly associated with the Royal Navy.
One of the advantages of buying property in a place with a strong naval history
is that occasionally you come across property which has those force's connections.
If you don't know why that's significant, wait and see what's up for auction.
It's a two-bedroomed flat, but unlike any two-bedroomed flat you've ever seen before!
It went to auction with a guide price of £70,000-plus.
It's in this Grade II-listed 1850s building.
The property was originally used to accommodate the offices of Dover Castle.
Outside, it doesn't have great kerb appeal as someone's dumped their rubbish on the doorstep.
But don't let that put you off.
Inside, you are in for a treat.
And that's just the front door!
What a place! This is the entrance.
A big entrance hall here. A fireplace there.
Bathroom off there. Two bedrooms which we'll come to later.
Great large space for the kitchen.
But it just goes on. Look at the size of this.
The main living room.
It's like you're in a movie where you've been shrunk! The door is massive.
The ceilings must be 15 or 20 feet high.
Just everything about this room. You can imagine the officers entertaining in this room.
The cornice, this fantastic fireplace.
The invite to the brigadier's dinner party on there.
Then it just gets better.
Fantastic shuttered windows.
..you step out here onto the balcony.
You've got wrought iron and you've got this view, looking out across the English Channel.
What a place! What a place!
It's unbelievable how much space there is in this two-bedroomed flat.
And it looks even bigger because of those high ceilings.
Everywhere you turn, there are great original features.
But these gas fires are definitely not!
And for a property with this much space, I'm surprised to see that the two bedrooms are not big at all.
But with this many reception rooms, there's definitely scope for expansion.
All in all, I love this place.
So what do you reckon?
It's fantastic, isn't it?
It's crying out, "Restore me to my former glory!"
And for a 70 grand asking price,
you've got to go for it.
Let's go to the auction.
Interesting block. Start me where?
We've got 70,000-plus. Anyone in at £70,000?
70,000, can I say? We sold a few of these in the last auction.
They went really well. 70,000 do I see?
£70,000. I'm on the way at £70,000.
And two, now, do I see?
72, do I say? 72, may I say?
In the back corner. 72. 75 now.
75. And 77 in the back.
80 from you, madam. 82 at the back.
85, madam? 85.
And seven, sir. And 90.
92. And five.
And seven. £95,000 to the original bidder.
And seven I'm looking for.
All done at £95,000.
I'll sell at 95 if nobody else comes in.
Second time at 95,000.
Third and final time at £95,000.
Well done, madam. You've bought it at 95. Your number, please?
The new owner of the flat is Linda, who currently lives in London.
I met her back at the property
to find out just why she's decided to buy this flat in Dover.
So what was it that made you want to buy this place,
as if it's not obvious!
Well, I'd already bought the upstairs flat, which was at auction.
-So that was part of the reason.
And I knew that this was coming up for sale
and I thought, "I must have a look at that"
because I knew they had balconies and the view.
And the sea, and lots of things.
It's a beautiful flat.
What originally brought you down to this area?
My cousin lived next door, so she told me when she saw the auction sign.
Cos I'd always said how beautiful her house is.
So that's why I came.
It just feels like home.
# I'm coming home to you
# I'm coming home... #
Well, I can already picture Linda and her cousin
sitting out on the veranda, drinking tea
and having a good old chat.
But that's not part of Linda's immediate plans.
I'll probably have to do this up to let.
Cos I haven't got unlimited resources!
But I'd love to live here eventually.
That's my ideal.
Cos it's so nice.
How will you go about the project? Do it yourself, or get people in?
I have to get people in like electricians.
I'll probably have a new bath suite.
And change the kitchen. And paint it.
And possibly take down the Christmas decorations!
Perhaps. That's not a bad idea!
I'll do some myself,
but I think I'll be having to earn the money to pay for it!
It won't be cheap restoring this place.
So how will Linda be financing the project?
-I cook for photography.
-How do you mean?
-You know, magazines have a picture of food.
Somebody has to do the cooking
and so that's what I do for a living.
-It's something you see all the time, but you never think somebody's got to do it.
I imagine there's lots of skills involved. How does it relate to property?
Well, I've always liked houses.
Always wanted to do up houses. I like doing up old houses.
I haven't done very many!
I talk as though I do them all the time!
I suppose four or five I've done.
Well, that was back in 2005.
When we first went back, four months later,
there wasn't that much progress.
It's sort of started. Very slow work has gone on.
But now, nearly five years later, we returned again.
Join us later in the show to see the magnificent restoration job
Linda has achieved.
All our buyers hope that the journey was worth it
and that they avoided the pitfalls.
Do they have a tale to tell? Let's go back and find out!
In Swindon, Wiltshire, this three-bed bungalow
seemed the ideal starter project
for first-time property developers Mike and Lesley.
They paid 162,000 for it
and it represented a change of direction for them both.
We want to do something for ourselves.
-We've worked for others all our lives.
-So it's not just about money here?
-No, not really.
-You'll use this as a springboard.
-And a learning curve.
-# I'm learning to fly
-Learning to fly
# But I ain't got wings. #
Computer developer Mike was particularly keen to see if property development was the way forward.
He'd done some rigorous preparations.
I've put together a project plan.
I wanted to do it really to see how much per room it costs, from my point of view.
And how accurate I can be.
Well, they do say, "Fail to plan and your plan might fail."
So, had his meticulous work paid off?
Eight months later, we're back.
The outside has really been improved, with a new bay window adding more shape and character.
While inside, the front room is now warm and welcoming.
The whole place looks like a home now.
But I thought this was a development project.
So what's going on?
I always really wanted to move in anyway,
so I persuaded Mike - well, it was Mike's dad, actually!
Between you and my dad, we decided that would be the best course of action,
to move in.
Mike and Lesley were living in a rented flat not far away
but the opportunity to move into a more spacious home with a garden
just seemed too good an opportunity to miss!
So they've now arranged the layout to suit them.
They kept the two big bedrooms as bedrooms but turned the smallest one into a study.
They've put in a brand-new bathroom suite.
And a smart, modern kitchen.
When we first took on the house,
we had an old-style 1950s boiler here.
We took that one out
and put a new heating system actually through into the bathroom.
The other thing we had in the room as well was a corner cupboard.
We took that out and it gave us the chance to put in some double patio doors onto our new patio.
We used to have a porch on the outside of this building
and when we looked at it, we found it was separating from the house,
so we took the whole porch down.
So we continued the process of trying to get the garden in more with the house itself,
and get more involved with the two.
The garden now finishes things off very nicely
and it all adds up to a lovely new home.
But more importantly, do the figures add up,
and match Mike's projections?
# You count the days, but does it all add up to you?
# Does it all add up to you?
# Why we're
# Living by numbers
# Living by numbers. #
I think I was way out, actually!
I think that and the fact that I got builders involved an awful lot more
So generally, I found as I went through
it was more trouble than it was worth, keeping it up to date all the time.
I think my budget went up really in the region of about 20,000.
As more tradesmen were employed than intended, and as it's now to become their home,
the specifications changed.
So the original £14,000 budget went out of the window
along with that carefully calculated project plan!
It isn't just Mike who hasn't spent as much time on the refurbishment as he'd like.
Lesley had another new venture to keep her busy.
We decided that I would go into the cup cake business.
I was going to make cakes from home and sell them,
but then I found a unit in a craft village locally
and I thought it would be an idea to do cup cake decorating for children
so we do workshops and it's really good.
Lesley's business seems to be flying along
while Mike's plan for a property developing career has veered off somewhat.
Does he still have the taste for a new career?
I feel that this particular job gives me an idea
and a better understanding of what to expect in the future.
But it would be nice to take on a property and do it as a commercial venture
and this is in between the two at the moment still.
But if this was a commercial venture, how well would he have done?
They purchased the property for 162,000 and spent £20,000 on the refurbishment.
With costs, the total outlay won't be far off the 185,000 mark.
So how does it stand up as an investment?
It's a very nicely presented property.
It's nice that it's still a bungalow
cos they are becoming a dying breed.
Very nicely presented throughout.
From previous visits, the changes are immense.
It's unrecognisable, to be honest.
It's very, very nice. Very impressed.
I like the kitchen. It's a nice square kitchen
which makes it versatile and the rooms are all of a reasonable size.
They can be used for different things. Overall, very nice.
Positive comments. But has the 185,000 been well invested into their new home?
On the open market, my opinions are a figure in the region of £200,000.
I'd be inclined to market this property initially
somewhere between 195 and 200,000.
I would hope to achieve 190,000-plus.
Right. That's in the region that we'd expected.
So perhaps a 10 to £15,000 profit here,
but if they're not selling this, what will they do next?
I was thinking of another property, actually!
I'd like to have a look at another one fairly soon if I can.
Maybe over the next few months.
If they do make any profit on this property,
that started off as a trial run and ended up as their new home,
then I guess that would just be the cherry on the cake!
It was in 2005
when I first went to this fantastic two-bed Grade II listed Victorian flat in Dover.
Located in a building originally built to accommodate the offices of Dover Castle,
this ground floor garden flat had sadly fallen into a state of disrepair.
But it had lost none of its character or charm.
For home economist Linda, who already owned a one-bed flat in the same block,
this was a must-have purchase.
So, for £95,000 at auction, the flat became hers.
But when we first went back four months later,
there wasn't much progress.
But her passion for the project remained undimmed.
I think it's so nice, it's so good.
I feel it was kind of built for me!
But I just feel at home here.
Now, five years on, we've returned.
And what a transformation it is!
The original splendour is now back
and this has become Linda's new home.
She's beautifully restored and expertly repaired the whole flat.
And yet she's also managed to put her own stamp on the place,
making structural changes to enhance the space.
You can see that in the way she's tackled the kitchen.
It was quite a dark room,
and so I had to make a hole here.
Actually, I was away when it was done.
The builder just did it.
And inside the wall was sawdust and planks.
That's what this wall is!
And it was such a fantastic difference
in the light
in this room.
I had a fitted kitchen put in, which he did.
And I just didn't like it.
Cos you couldn't see what I'd bought the house for.
So after a while, I just gradually had it taken away.
That desire to have a more traditional style
continues in the bathroom.
No power showers here for Linda.
It's a classic look mixed with a practical approach
that combines both old and new very well.
And that method continues with the bedrooms.
Firstly, it was a two-bedroomed flat.
And it took me a long time to realise that actually,
I had to take down the partition!
I just couldn't fit the beds in. It seemed wrong.
So now it's one bedroom, but a nice, big, big bedroom.
Although normally you wouldn't reduce the number of bedrooms,
here, it works really well,
creating one fantastic room where before there were two awkward spaces.
Not only does it work better for the flat, more importantly it's right for Linda.
It's good that it's taken time,
because you have a chance for it to evolve
rather than making quite major mistakes!
One area where you can't rush things is a garden.
This one has gone from looking like a campsite in the wilderness
to cleared scrub land...
and now a spectacular patio and terrace.
It also allows access to a fabulous communal facility.
It's pretty special, really.
And I suppose that's why Victoria Park is so called,
because all this is part of the address, that we can use.
It's absolutely fantastic!
It's really... It's very, very special.
With all this on her doorstep,
you can understand why Linda was so keen to buy the ground floor garden flat.
She bought it for £95,000 at auction,
and so far thinks she's spent between 30 and £35,000.
But this wasn't the only flat in the block.
So as she'd already bought the one-bed first floor flat for £72,000 at auction,
she decided not to stop there.
Well, I bought the top three flats from the developer
who was bidding against me in the auction,
and I bought the basement flat with a friend.
But there was a lot to do on the three top flats.
And I had a terrific builder to help me.
Wow! So, since we last saw her in 2005,
Linda has bought the entire building!
That's six flats across five floors including the basement flat which she co-owns with a friend.
Buying and completely renovating it all has cost around £750,000.
We were keen to pop upstairs to the one-bed flat on the first floor
to get an idea of what the other flats are like.
As you see, she continues to renovate and refurbish
But has Linda's heart ruled her head
when it comes to financial matters?
She's spent an estimated £750,000 on the whole building.
But will the ground floor flat she lives in give us a clue as to whether she's made a profit?
This one has cost around 130,000 to buy and restore.
What does a local estate agent think?
It's a lovely, spacious flat.
Incredibly high ceilings, a host of period features.
Lovely garden, outlook. It's an absolutely stunning property.
But fantastic as it is,
is it worth the 130,000 Linda invested here?
The property in the current market conditions,
and it is presented to a very nice standard,
we feel it would be on the open market at £125,000.
It's gone.... It's lower. It's lower than when I bought it.
But I can't see myself selling.
So her flat alone isn't really a money spinner.
But remember, she does own, or co-own, the other five flats too,
that's two two-bed flats and four one-bed flats.
Linda's total investment is around 750,000.
Judging by the quality of the flats she's viewed here,
the estate agent reckons the whole building
could be worth around just 720,000 if sold as individual flats.
What does Linda think about that?
I've probably spent a bit more than that!
I bought the top flats at the height of the boom.
So it wasn't a very sensible way of buying a house.
If this project was just about money,
then at present you could say it was not that successful.
But this is about so much more.
It's about preserving a piece of history,
and restoring a lovely building.
Most importantly of all for Linda,
it was to create a fabulous home.
It's the best house I've ever been in.
It's the space and the air and the place.
It's very, very nice.
It really means such a lot to have a home you love being in.
It means everything, really.
So it looks like Linda's love affair with this building continues.
And it's not hard to see why!
That's it for today's show.
But there are plenty more buyers where they came from.
So for your chance to follow what happens to them, join us next time
-for more Homes under the Hammer.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house near Glasgow, a property in Swindon and revisit a Victorian flat in Dover.
All of these properties were sold at auction, and Martin and Lucy find out who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.