Episode 45 Homes Under the Hammer


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Episode 45

Property auction series. Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a three-bedroomed terraced house in Derbyshire, an Edwardian house in Croydon and a commercial unit in Ayrshire.


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When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

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Especially in today's property market.

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With prices lower than they have been for years, maybe it's time to buy your home under the hammer.

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Buying property at auction is a low-hassle way of buying.

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-But if you haven't done research, your troubles may have just begun.

-It could be riddled with problems.

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-Or your dream purchase.

-What are the runners and riders on today's show?

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'I go to Chesterfield to see this three-bedroom terraced house.'

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All in all, needs work but not bad.

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'This Edwardian house in Croydon could do with some interior design.'

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There's a lot of wallpaper stripping to do in this house!

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'And what's in store at this commercial unit in Ayrshire?'

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There is nothing supporting those bricks so they could fall down.

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'They have all been sold at auction,

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

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'I'm in Chesterfield in Derbyshire,

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'and I'm here to visit a property just a mile from the town centre.'

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I'm in the residential part of Chesterfield,

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near Queen's Park, with its boating lake and gardens.

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It's a former housing association property, guide price of £48,000.

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It's got double glazing,

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an opportunity to create off-street parking, so, worth a look.

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'To create off-street parking, you need planning permission

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'to get that kerb dropped.

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'If you don't use permeable materials, you'll need planning permission for that.'

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So, £48,000. Not a lot of money for a house. What do you get?

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Doesn't look bad.

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Nice entrance hall. Keep the noise and the cold out.

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Clearly very tired, very dated.

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You'll have to put flooring down.

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The more a house is stripped back, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

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Check there's a damp proof course. Solid floors can give you a problem.

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As living rooms go, not a bad start.

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Then through to the kitchen. It starts to go a bit wrong.

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You've got this little storage area, a pantry or utility room.

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The kitchen itself isn't massive,

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but if you take out that wall you've got a really nice size space.

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You'll have to replace these units. They're not in a brilliant state.

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Create an extra few feet and give a nice central point to the house.

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All in all, needs work but not bad.

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'A rear lobby leads to the back door, storage space and the stairs.

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'Overall, this place could do with a rethink of the layout.'

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Upstairs, what have we got? Bedroom there. Another bedroom.

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Bathroom - good to see upstairs.

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For me, the jewel in this house is the third bedroom.

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It's absolutely enormous. You've got an open fire.

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Big question is, do you keep it as a room like this,

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or put a dividing wall in to create a fourth bedroom?

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That depends on what you use the house for.

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If I was going to live here, I'd have it as my bedroom.

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If I was renting it out, a fourth bedroom would bring in extra income. The choice is yours.

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I asked the auctioneer who sold the property to give me his thoughts.

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It's tired. It's shabby.

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It's obviously been tenanted for some while. A lot is cosmetic.

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'We're looking at kitchen and bathroom refits, upgrading the heating system.

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'It's not going to cost a lot of money.

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'Good news, but would it be easier to sell or rent it out?

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'If this was my property, I would certainly go for the rental market.

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'I don't think there's a lot to be made by a sale.

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'It's a longer-term investment and there's a strong rental market.

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'What would be the financial implications of each?'

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Once renovated, this would have a rental value of £525 to £550 a calendar month.

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'The guide price at auction was £48,000,

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'so how much do similar houses in the area go for?'

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Renovated to a good standard,

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I would say, on today's market, this has a resale value of £90,000.

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So, a pretty solid little property.

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You'd want to put in a new kitchen,

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a new bathroom, maybe sort out off-street parking and rejig the layout,

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then you've got a good family home or a solid rental property.

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Who went for it when it went under the hammer?

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Lot 21 is a double-fronted three-bedroom townhouse.

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At £45,000 opening bid. 46 somewhere else? 45,000 I have.

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46 is bid. 46. 47.

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48.

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49 is bid. 50,000.

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51. 52. 53.

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54. 55. 55,000.

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56. £56,000. I'll take a half if it'll help you.

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At £56,000 first time. Second time.

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Third and last... 56,500. 57?

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57 is bid. 57,500.

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58, sir?

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At £57,500, then, once.

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Twice. Third time.

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It's yours, sir, at £57,500. Thank you.

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'That final bid made by friends Phil and Dave clinched the deal for £57,500.

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'This three-bed terrace marks the beginning of a new business.

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'I met them to find out more.'

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David, Phil, congratulations. Why did you want to buy the house?

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We're hoping to use this to get into property developing.

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We're both thinking we've got a few skills that can help us,

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get a bit of money out of it, maybe, and take us on to our next one.

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We'd both like to make it into a career. Maybe that's further down the line than just today.

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-What do you do?

-I work at a college, head of the construction department.

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-Oh!

-I've got a background as an architect, so...dual skills.

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Very useful. What about you, David?

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I'm a quantity surveyor working in the construction industry.

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Hopefully, I'm going to bring a few skills with budget control and utilise those.

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Sounds like a fantastic pairing! Did you know each other before?

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Yeah, basically, we play poker on a Friday evening.

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-Sorry?

-Poker.

-Cards poker?

-Yeah.

-Right.

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It's about a year and a half, two years ago.

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We happened to get talking. I've wanted to do this for quite a few years.

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I asked Dave if he was interested. And it started there, really.

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MUSIC: "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga

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'Rivals around the table, let's hope they're a winning pair in property development.

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'Did poker prepare them for the tension of an auction?'

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Nerve-racking! More nerve-racking than we thought it was going to be.

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-How did you decide who was going to bid?

-You said, "You're bidding!"

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It was a natural selection process. "It's yours."

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-I liken auctions to a game of poker. You've got to play that game.

-Yes.

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-Did you bring in your poker skills?

-We did have a game plan but the game plan went to pieces.

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'Their game plan was a complex web of strategies,

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'including one of them jumping in at the end with a higher bid.

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'But the excitement got the better of them and their crafty tactics flew out of the window.

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'They even think they were bidding against each other!

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'Why did they go for this house?'

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This was the one that we thought, with the skills that we've got, practically and technically,

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with the amount of work, we're both probably capable of doing that work.

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-You mean physically doing it?

-Physically doing it.

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-Tell me what you're going to do.

-First, get it gutted back.

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A lot of plastering. We've got a little bit of damp.

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A few slipped tiles on the roof, but it's predominantly cosmetic.

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We are going to investigate the kitchen.

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There's an opportunity to make the kitchen a little bigger.

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Upstairs, we're looking to create a further bedroom,

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to make it a four-bed property, so we're going to explore the options.

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What will make the three/four bed decision?

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I'll produce the drawings and we'll have a look at the measurements.

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It's simply if the room sizes work, we'll do it.

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If they don't, then maybe an en suite instead.

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'As well as being a poker player, Dave's a quantity surveyor.

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'Will he play his cards close to his chest with their budget?'

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-We're looking at about 15,000...

-Oh, for goodness sake! About 15,000?

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I expected you to say, "£13,741!"

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Certainly not.

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"It ought to be about 10,000. About 15,000."

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The little bit of contingency we've got has made it into a nice round number!

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-What does that buy?

-New kitchen, new bathroom.

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Obviously, in terms of the plaster work, we're probably going to replaster the entire property.

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We're looking to put a new drive in so it gives a bit more kerb appeal

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and off-street parking,

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which is always a bonus.

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-Are you going to have to apply for planning permission?

-We are.

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'They've laid their cards on the table as far as budget is concerned.

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'What about the time scale?'

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We've sort of put something together for eight to ten weeks.

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Maybe. Depending on how much work we can put in.

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A bit of back-up there, if we need to slip a couple of weeks.

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-You're doing this in your spare time?

-Weekends and evenings.

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-What do the family think about this?

-LAUGHS

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They've been very supportive.

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I had to do a bit more convincing. I had a little boy a few weeks ago.

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-A few weeks ago?

-Yes. 18 days today.

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I had to do a bit more persuading that this was the right time.

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She's going to be the changing nappies.

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I've got her to learn how to change a nappy with one hand and use the roller with the other.

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-You're in trouble, you know that?

-Yes. I am.

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-Well done. We look forward to seeing how you get on.

-Thank you very much.

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How will our poker playing chums get on with their first commercial venture together?

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Will it be "straight" forward?

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Will they have a "full house" of people helping them?

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Will it fold and they lose their shirt? Find out later in the show.

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I'm in the borough of Croydon where the Surrey Iron Railway,

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the world's first public railway, opened in 1803.

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It ran from Wandsworth to Croydon, but the horse-drawn service

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ran out of horsepower in 1846 with the advent of the steam train.

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So let's hope I'm on the right track and I don't run out of steam in search of today's property.

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'Nowadays, the transport links are excellent,

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'as you can easily get to the centre of London by train, Tube or bus.

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'So property has solid investment potential.'

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How far does your pound stretch here in suburbia?

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It's a three-bedroom Edwardian mid-terrace property with two reception rooms.

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And, from where I'm standing, looks good value for the £150,000 to £160,000 guide price.

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I grew up in an Edwardian house just like this.

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It always has such a special feeling for me.

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It's a wonderful big hallway but look at that!

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There's a lot of wallpaper stripping to do in this house.

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From the hallway into the sitting room and, again, look at this!

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This has all got to be ripped off. In fact, it's in a right old state!

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You've got floorboards missing. Somebody's pulled out the fireplace.

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I don't know what the story is, but it does need a big tidy-up.

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One you're in this room, I am drawn to this beautiful window area.

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Look! It is really spectacular.

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You've got this arch across it.

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Wonderful little box bay.

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So far, so good.

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'And then there's the kitchen, which could do with an overhaul.

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'It's a reasonable size

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'and would make a great kitchen/breakfast room.'

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Upstairs, you've got three good size bedrooms and a bathroom,

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which is common in properties of this period,

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unlike Victorian terraces which usually have a bathroom downstairs.

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One thing you should know is that only last year,

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estate agents sold two three-bedroom houses like this one on this road

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for £250,000.

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That guide is looking even better now.

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'As auction properties go, this one's pretty good.

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'There's a bit to be done, but not so much

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'that a DIYer couldn't cope with.'

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A bonus of suburban living is the amount of outside space to call your own.

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To the front, you've got the paved area,

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so privacy and noise issues are sorted.

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Then, out back, you've got this!

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Once it's cleaned up, a nice patio area, a bit of garden over the back,

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and this lovely palm tree!

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It is quite private. You're not overlooked, which is great.

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On a day like today, who could ask for more?

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'I invited a local estate agent to tell me what he thought.'

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These properties are 1900s, mostly, around this area.

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Typical three-bedroom houses.

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Three to four bedrooms, rather. These are prime residential roads.

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'What would make this house more appealing to buyers?'

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I'd definitely go for a new kitchen and new bathroom.

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The rest of the house,

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the wallpaper needs to be brought down and reskimmed.

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Just general decor.

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'Once those improvements are done, what sort of return could the new owner get on this place?'

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You're looking at anywhere between £230,000 and £240,000.

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'What could an investor earn on the rental market per calendar month?'

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Rental value would be between £900 and £1,000.

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You get a lot of house for that £150,000 to £160,000 guide price.

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There's the garden, great original features and lots of woodchip!

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There is a bit of work to do, but it's a great investment property

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and, I think, a real family home.

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Let's see who takes the winning bid, as we go to auction.

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So, lot 196. 120, I have. 120.

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130. 140.

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150?

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160.

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165 anywhere? 165, thank you, sir. 167 and a half?

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167 and a half. 170?

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170. 72 and a half?

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172 and a half. 175?

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175. 177 and a half?

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177 and a half.

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Thank you. 180?

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180. 82 and a half?

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First time at 180.

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181. 182? 82. 83?

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84?

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84? 85? First time at 185,000.

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Are you sure? 186.

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187? 187. 188?

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Are you sure? First time at 187,000.

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Second time at 187,000.

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Third and last time at £187,000. It's your bid. It's yours.

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'That successful bid of 187,000 came from Les and Belinda.

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'They bought this property to help their 23-year-old daughter, Emma, onto the property ladder.

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'I went to meet Les and Emma.'

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-Congratulations.

-Thank you.

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-I heard that you have looked at this house for the first time today.

-Yeah.

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-You had not seen this house.

-Only from the outside.

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Today, you got the keys. Here.

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-Opened the front door. What did you think?

-Lots of newspapers.

-"What a mess!"

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Pleasantly surprised. It's got loads of potential. Yeah. Very pleased.

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Les, weren't you worried about spending all that money and not going inside?

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To be falling down there has to be something seriously wrong with the houses either side.

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We did poke our heads through the letterbox. It's a nice house.

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The front lounge is very nice. It's got lovely big windows.

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-I'm in two minds whether to keep the windows.

-Let's talk about this.

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-To what?

-A number of houses have all got double glazing.

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This is single glazed and there is an energy efficiency issue.

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I know.

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They're very attractive, so I'm in two minds.

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'What a choice! To be eco-friendly or keep the character?

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'They bought it to put Emma on the first rung of the property ladder.

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'How did they finance it?'

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We realised that Emma couldn't get on the property market.

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We thought that if we borrowed money against our home now, at such low interest rates, for a fixed period,

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during that period, we're hoping to buy a couple of properties,

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doing each up and selling on,

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at the end of which, making her enough to afford a deposit herself

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on a property that she can have.

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That's a great way of looking at it, Les.

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-To borrow money at the moment is cheap.

-Yeah, it is. I'd recommend anybody to give it a go.

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Emma, that is an incredibly generous thing your dad has done for you.

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How do you really feel? It's quite incredible.

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It is. I'm quite flattered.

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But...together, there's enough belief that it would work.

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That it wouldn't be as big a gamble as it seems at the beginning.

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'The budget is up to £30,000 and the planned time scale is six months.

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'Emma will project manage. Les and her brother Jimmy, an apprentice plumber, will do the work.

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'So, what needs to be done?'

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Install a new kitchen. Change the disabled wet room into a bathroom.

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Take out the water heater, so it's a combi-boiler going in.

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-Taking down all the woodchip.

-LES LAUGHS

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Get rid of the Artex ceiling.

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-Your brother, what's his involvement going to be?

-Doing what I say!

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You two must get along swimmingly.

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-No, we have our moments.

-Tell me what he's going to be doing.

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General helping get things prepared for when they've got to plaster.

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He's kind of been roped in without a choice!

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'Hm. It may be time to have a chat with her brother Jimmy to see how he feels.'

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Emma said, "I'm going to tell him what to do and he's going to do it."

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-Is that right?

-Basically, yes.

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-Is she really the boss of this project?

-It's mainly her project so she's going to tell me what to do.

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-How's that going to feel?

-Really hard.

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'He may not be looking forward to being bossed around by his sister,

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'but what does he think about the house?'

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It's a very nice house. I'd love to keep most of its features.

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It's got so many characteristics.

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There's not much to do, just new bathroom, new kitchen.

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Bring it up to date and that's about it.

0:22:360:22:39

'Les and his wife have made a big decision,

0:22:400:22:44

'remortgaging their house to buy this investment property for Emma.

0:22:440:22:50

'They hope that after a couple of properties she'll have enough profit to buy a flat.

0:22:500:22:56

'Was there no other way to do this?'

0:22:560:22:59

I haven't got any other money, other than what's tied up in our home.

0:22:590:23:03

We released some of that to give Emma an opportunity. If it works, it may work for our son as well.

0:23:030:23:10

Emma is a lucky girl to have her whole family working hard for her.

0:23:110:23:16

I fear there may be trouble ahead. Will Emma and Jimmy see eye to eye?

0:23:160:23:21

Will Les follow his heart and keep those original wooden windows

0:23:210:23:26

or opt for energy efficient uPVC ones?

0:23:260:23:29

Stay tuned and you can find out later on.

0:23:290:23:33

'Coming up, the outside of this shop doesn't look bad, but inside...'

0:23:360:23:41

This has been thrown together.

0:23:410:23:43

'We return to Croydon where the new owners have been bagging bargains.'

0:23:440:23:50

There was a sign that said, "Please take me away."

0:23:500:23:54

'But first, it's all been going on in this property in Derbyshire.'

0:23:560:24:01

We've had to take walls down, put walls up.

0:24:010:24:03

MUSIC: "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga

0:24:060:24:10

'Poker-playing pals Phil and Dave are going all-in on a business venture.

0:24:100:24:16

'They bought this three-bedroom house in Chesterfield for £57,500.

0:24:160:24:21

'With backgrounds in construction and quantity surveying, they were confident they could cope.'

0:24:210:24:29

With the skills that we've got, practically and technically,

0:24:290:24:33

with the amount of work, we're both capable of doing that work.

0:24:330:24:38

'Just three months later, let's see if they are all talk and no action.

0:24:380:24:43

'They've transformed the interior, redecorating throughout

0:24:450:24:50

'and adding stylish new features.

0:24:500:24:54

'It looks like there's been some structural work done, too.'

0:24:570:25:02

We've had to take walls down, put walls up.

0:25:050:25:08

We've had plastering to do, a lot of making-good to do.

0:25:080:25:12

We've had new woodwork throughout.

0:25:120:25:15

We've had problems with windows - our fair share of everything.

0:25:150:25:20

It's also had a full rewire, a full central heating system and water system as well.

0:25:200:25:26

Everything's gone on!

0:25:260:25:28

'Good grief! It's been a complete overhaul.

0:25:280:25:32

'Phil and Dave have done a professional job. The kitchen's seen the biggest change.'

0:25:320:25:38

We had some walls in here we had to take down.

0:25:380:25:42

We had one that ran this way, quite a large wall we had to remove.

0:25:420:25:47

We had a second wall that ran down this location that had to come out.

0:25:470:25:52

We had a third wall parallel to this wall, the entrance to the kitchen,

0:25:520:25:59

which had to come down to give us a dining area.

0:25:590:26:02

We're very glad we took it down.

0:26:020:26:05

'Removing those walls has certainly been worth it.

0:26:050:26:10

'There's now a wide open, airy family space.

0:26:100:26:14

'They've taken walls down downstairs.

0:26:170:26:20

'Have they put them up upstairs?'

0:26:200:26:23

One of the significant changes that we made upstairs

0:26:230:26:27

was to convert this bedroom

0:26:270:26:29

into two bedrooms.

0:26:290:26:32

The reason we did that was we felt that would make it more saleable.

0:26:320:26:37

There aren't many four-bedroom properties in this price range.

0:26:370:26:42

We thought that would be attractive for people planning families. It would make it more saleable.

0:26:420:26:48

'Hopefully, converting that bedroom

0:26:480:26:51

'will add value as well as making it more attractive.

0:26:510:26:54

'There are finishing touches to do, but most of the hard graft is done.

0:26:540:27:00

'How have they fitted this around their day jobs?'

0:27:000:27:05

We've worked all the weekends since we got the property,

0:27:050:27:09

and some late evenings.

0:27:090:27:12

It's been worthwhile. We've got the project to where we need it to be.

0:27:120:27:16

'Dave had just become a new dad when he started this venture.'

0:27:160:27:22

It has been difficult. I'd like to have been home a little bit more.

0:27:220:27:27

I've been supported very well, so it's made it easy to do.

0:27:270:27:32

My partner came and gave us a lot of help. She's been very supportive.

0:27:320:27:38

She's been bringing us things when we needed it. It's been fantastic.

0:27:380:27:42

'That kind of support makes all the difference

0:27:420:27:46

'when doing renovations in your spare time.

0:27:460:27:49

'How long has it taken?'

0:27:490:27:51

The aim was three months.

0:27:510:27:53

We're going to slip over by a couple of weeks.

0:27:530:27:57

-But we're roughly on target.

-Yeah. We've had our fair share of problems, which cost us time.

0:27:570:28:04

'The trouble with problems is that they usually cost money too.

0:28:040:28:08

'Replastering was their biggest expense,

0:28:080:28:12

'but they made savings in other areas.'

0:28:120:28:15

The best bargain that we got was the bathroom suite for £89.

0:28:150:28:21

Which was fantastic, cos we'd budgeted quite a bit more for that.

0:28:210:28:26

The kitchen was £1,700, but we budgeted a lot more than that.

0:28:260:28:31

It was over £3,000 in the first instance, so that was good as well.

0:28:310:28:36

'These two seem pretty switched on,

0:28:360:28:39

'but what's been their total spend so far, precisely?'

0:28:390:28:43

£15,715.39p

0:28:450:28:50

We've got another £150, £200 to spend on top of that.

0:28:500:28:54

So we'll be slightly over budget, but we're more than satisfied with the overspend.

0:28:540:29:01

'Phil and Dave are keen poker players and used to play every week.

0:29:010:29:05

'Has there been any time for that since getting into development?'

0:29:050:29:09

We've carried on playing poker, usually on a Friday evening.

0:29:090:29:14

I play twice a week. You play once.

0:29:140:29:17

I've cut my hours back to try and maintain a family balance.

0:29:170:29:22

'So, poker games are still on the go - if less often than before.

0:29:220:29:27

'Phil and Dave have staked around £73,000 on this house so far.

0:29:270:29:34

'Has their gamble paid off?

0:29:340:29:36

'Let's find out what two experts think.'

0:29:360:29:39

It's become a spacious house. They've made four bedrooms.

0:29:390:29:43

It's debatable whether that was good or not.

0:29:430:29:47

They demand more space downstairs

0:29:470:29:50

than just one reception room and a diner-kitchen.

0:29:500:29:54

Overall, the impression of what's been achieved is very positive.

0:29:540:29:58

It's clean. It's well-fitted and should sell OK.

0:29:580:30:02

The standard of finish is OK. They've renovated it quite well.

0:30:020:30:07

It's all double glazed

0:30:070:30:10

and central heated.

0:30:100:30:12

The fourth bedroom makes it ideal for a larger family.

0:30:120:30:16

They haven't put off-road parking in.

0:30:160:30:19

'True, but Phil and Dave are still waiting for planning permission.

0:30:190:30:24

'They've prepared the front garden for the new owner to complete.

0:30:240:30:31

'They bought the property for £57,500 and spent nearly £16,000.

0:30:310:30:37

'That's a total spend of around £73,000, plus fees and expenses.

0:30:370:30:42

'Could they make a profit if they sold the house?'

0:30:420:30:46

Having seen it now, this would probably go on the market

0:30:460:30:51

between 90,000 and 95,000 and I would expect them to get £90,000.

0:30:510:30:56

I would sell this property at between £90,000 and £95,000.

0:30:560:31:00

-We're not going to run into any difficulties on that.

-No.

0:31:000:31:06

Not bad at all, really.

0:31:060:31:08

'If they decided to step into the rental market,

0:31:110:31:15

'what could they expect per calendar month?'

0:31:150:31:20

In terms of rental value, I would say between £525 and £550 a calendar month.

0:31:200:31:26

I would expect to achieve a rental figure of this property of between £500 and £525 per calendar month.

0:31:260:31:34

-It's what we were expecting.

-Yeah.

-Probably about 550, maybe 575.

0:31:340:31:39

But, yeah, we hoped for 550 and we'd be happy with that, really.

0:31:390:31:45

'Since filming, Phil and Dave have put the house on the market for £109,950,

0:31:450:31:52

'with planning permission to lower the kerb.

0:31:520:31:55

'Sounds like they're a winning pair.'

0:31:550:31:58

When it comes to Friday nights, there's no friends in poker.

0:31:580:32:03

We'll stay rivals at poker but, in terms of property,

0:32:030:32:07

-we're on the right track to move forward, aren't we?

-Definitely.

0:32:070:32:11

50 minutes' car or train ride from Glasgow, you find yourself in West Kilbride in Ayrshire.

0:32:170:32:23

This place is famous for Ayrshire potatoes,

0:32:230:32:27

fertilised by seaweed washed up on local shores.

0:32:270:32:30

For that reason, this town's also known as Tatty Toon.

0:32:300:32:35

'It's not just tatties on the menu in West Kilbride.

0:32:370:32:41

'There's a craft and design movement generating a lot of interest.

0:32:410:32:46

'The main objective is to regenerate the town centre.

0:32:460:32:50

'Several empty shops have been converted into studio accommodation

0:32:500:32:55

'and gallery space.'

0:32:550:32:58

So, what was up for auction?

0:32:580:33:00

On the High Street, a commercial premises at a guide price of £25,000 to £30,000.

0:33:000:33:06

Let's take a look inside.

0:33:060:33:08

OK, well, let's start from the outside and work backwards.

0:33:080:33:13

Not a bad frontage.

0:33:130:33:15

Big bit of glass, important, depending on what you're selling.

0:33:150:33:20

Then, basically, one big room.

0:33:200:33:23

Condition? Doesn't look brilliant at first glance.

0:33:240:33:28

But...25,000 to 30,000 quid, remember!

0:33:280:33:32

However, through the back here, it goes decidedly downhill.

0:33:320:33:37

Out here, you just get the feeling this has just been thrown together.

0:33:370:33:42

It feels like it's in a right old state.

0:33:420:33:45

Not least at the back door.

0:33:450:33:48

There's supposed to be a lintel, which would support the wall above.

0:33:480:33:53

There is nothing supporting those bricks and they could fall down.

0:33:530:33:58

'That means, if you don't sort it out, you could be in danger.

0:33:580:34:03

'Time for me to make an exit and look upstairs.

0:34:030:34:06

'This lot hasn't got planning permission for residential status.

0:34:090:34:15

'It does look as though someone may have had the odd nap here.

0:34:150:34:20

'This whole upper floor needs to be altered.

0:34:200:34:24

'Once renovated, this would be an ideal storeroom and staff room

0:34:240:34:28

'with tea-making facilities plus somewhere to freshen up.

0:34:280:34:33

'That's the inside, what there is of it, so let's get some fresh air.'

0:34:350:34:41

Here at the rear,

0:34:410:34:43

maybe there's some light at the end of the scope-for-improvement tunnel for this property.

0:34:430:34:49

Sadly not. You'd like to think you could get access in.

0:34:490:34:54

Maybe the possibility of a flat upstairs.

0:34:540:34:57

Your hopes are going to be dashed.

0:34:570:35:00

All this area out the back? You don't own it. Sorry.

0:35:000:35:04

'There's the possibility of buying it in the future,

0:35:060:35:09

'providing the option of creating a second access.

0:35:090:35:14

'I asked a local estate agent what she thought new owners should do.'

0:35:140:35:19

In my opinion, they should retain it as a commercial unit.

0:35:190:35:24

To spruce up the front shop area,

0:35:240:35:27

retain the upper two rooms as storage units.

0:35:270:35:31

It's a conservation village so we would need to consider how planning

0:35:310:35:36

would look at converting upstairs into residential units.

0:35:360:35:39

I feel they'd be better kept as storeroom areas.

0:35:390:35:43

'The commercial unit, once renovated, would rent for between £3,500 and £4,000 per annum.

0:35:430:35:50

'To build a flat upstairs you'd have to buy the land at the back,

0:35:500:35:56

'get planning permission then build the flat itself.

0:35:560:35:59

'The building had a guide price of £25,000 to £30,000.

0:35:590:36:03

'So, would it be worth the trouble?'

0:36:030:36:06

The market for one-bedroom properties

0:36:060:36:09

can range anywhere from 40,000 upwards.

0:36:090:36:12

'If you can get flats for £40,000, it may not be worth building one above this shop.'

0:36:120:36:18

Realistically, the options for this place are limited.

0:36:180:36:22

Its potential is all down to whoever buys it and what they decide to do.

0:36:220:36:27

It's about research. What is needed in this town?

0:36:270:36:31

Let's see who went for it when it went under the hammer.

0:36:310:36:35

Lot 35. This is a lock-up commercial unit.

0:36:390:36:42

I'm going to start the bidding at £15,000. Any advance at 15? £15,000.

0:36:420:36:49

Any advance at all? £16,000. 17. Anybody else?

0:36:490:36:52

£18,000. £19,000.

0:36:520:36:54

£20,000.

0:36:540:36:56

£21,000. 22. I can go 23.

0:36:560:36:59

£24,000. 25. Here 25. I'll go back to you.

0:36:590:37:03

26 if you want it. 26. 27.

0:37:030:37:06

28? Give you the first chance. I've got 29.

0:37:060:37:09

30, sir? 30. I'm out. £30,000. Go 500. You're out as well.

0:37:090:37:14

Yours at 30 at the moment. Anybody else coming in at £30,000?

0:37:140:37:18

I can go no further. £30,000.

0:37:180:37:20

Sold to you, sir. Your number is...

0:37:200:37:23

'That bid of £30,000 was made by George, a semi-retired chartered accountant.

0:37:230:37:30

'I went to meet him

0:37:300:37:32

'to find out what he had planned for this former clothes shop.'

0:37:320:37:37

-George! Congratulations.

-Thank you.

-Tell me why you wanted this place.

0:37:370:37:42

I'd been looking round for a wee while for the possibility of opening a book shop.

0:37:420:37:48

-Why a book shop?

-Interest in books.

0:37:480:37:51

Independent book shops are great places.

0:37:510:37:55

And books are great things so, hopefully, the market stays.

0:37:550:37:59

-What do you do at the moment?

-I'm more or less retired. I was a chartered accountant.

0:37:590:38:06

Some friends were made redundant and I realised how difficult it was for people to find jobs.

0:38:060:38:12

I thought maybe I've got the opportunity to create something with a job and why not go for it?

0:38:120:38:19

-So you created it for yourself as a job?

-No. For somebody else.

0:38:190:38:24

-You're not going to run it?

-No. I have somebody to run it, so I'll create a job.

0:38:240:38:29

-Who is this person?

-Well, I have somebody in mind. Yes.

0:38:290:38:33

I'm a member of a writers' cooperative

0:38:330:38:36

and she has lost her job.

0:38:360:38:38

If she still hasn't found employment hopefully she'll agree to be the manageress here.

0:38:380:38:45

-Wow! Does she know?

-Yeah. I've mentioned it to her.

0:38:450:38:49

But on the basis that if she can find something better, go for that.

0:38:490:38:53

If not, here. And if not, I'll have a job for somebody else.

0:38:530:38:58

'That's great that George will be creating a job, but is it really the right financial climate?'

0:38:580:39:05

I just think that in a recession,

0:39:050:39:07

if nobody invests in anything, we won't come out of it.

0:39:070:39:11

If it works, it works. If it doesn't, I'll do something else.

0:39:110:39:15

I love book shops. I could spend hours in a good book shop.

0:39:150:39:20

What are you going to achieve? What's it going to be like inside?

0:39:200:39:24

It will be a general book store. People will be able to order books.

0:39:240:39:29

A personal service, a local book shop like a traditional book shop.

0:39:290:39:35

We'll maybe stock titles that you wouldn't normally find in the mainline book shops.

0:39:350:39:42

'What "volume" of work does George think this property needs

0:39:420:39:46

'before it starts a new "chapter" in its life?'

0:39:460:39:49

In the front, there's not a huge amount.

0:39:490:39:53

Fitting the bookcases is basically it. We'll see when we get in.

0:39:530:39:57

The back will be relined and the ceiling sorted out.

0:39:570:40:01

The lintel will be fixed. Laminate flooring put in, some bookcases.

0:40:010:40:06

There'll be a little area there.

0:40:060:40:08

Possibly for children.

0:40:080:40:11

I don't think fire's a problem. We'll make sure that's an opening door!

0:40:110:40:17

Upstairs, we'll look at later, but potentially open up the front room,

0:40:170:40:22

so it's a bigger area.

0:40:220:40:24

'What about the "novel" idea of turning upstairs into a flat?'

0:40:240:40:28

I don't think it's very likely. You've got problems with access.

0:40:280:40:32

If you wanted access round the back it's difficult

0:40:320:40:36

cos of use of the ground.

0:40:360:40:39

The only real possibility would be to take down the low level bit

0:40:390:40:45

and extend upwards, but we're a conservation area.

0:40:450:40:49

And when you did all that work,

0:40:490:40:51

-I doubt the money would be in the flat.

-It's not worth it.

-I don't think so.

0:40:510:40:57

'I think he's right. The upstairs flat does seem like a fantasy.

0:40:570:41:02

'What's his budget for the book shop?'

0:41:020:41:06

My guess is that the whole thing will cost around 60.

0:41:070:41:11

We spent 30 on the shop so I've got 30 to do the rest.

0:41:110:41:14

'So, £30,000 to purchase the property

0:41:140:41:18

'plus £30,000 to do the renovations and buy the stock.

0:41:180:41:22

'As a literature lover myself, I had another question to ask.'

0:41:220:41:28

What books will you definitely have?

0:41:280:41:30

Oh! That's a good question! LAUGHS

0:41:300:41:33

I'm not really sure. We'll definitely have local authors.

0:41:330:41:38

Scottish interest, something to do with the Clyde coast area.

0:41:380:41:43

We'll definitely have arts and crafts books and we'll have some author events and poetry readings.

0:41:430:41:50

'One of the first events that will need planning is the opening.'

0:41:520:41:57

George's plans are lovely. However, these are tough times for any commercial venture.

0:41:570:42:03

I think speciality shops are better placed and, with what's happening in West Kilbride,

0:42:030:42:09

hopefully, the odds are stacked in George's favour.

0:42:090:42:12

Find out, later in the show.

0:42:120:42:15

The months have slipped by since we last met our intrepid buyers.

0:42:180:42:22

-So, has the restoration been a joy or a chore?

-Let's find out.

0:42:220:42:28

'We're back at this three-bedroom terrace in Croydon.

0:42:300:42:33

'Les and Belinda bought it to help their daughter Emma get a foot on the property ladder.'

0:42:330:42:40

Hoping to buy a couple of properties, doing each up and selling on.

0:42:400:42:46

At the end, making her enough money to afford a deposit herself

0:42:460:42:51

on a property she can have.

0:42:510:42:53

'They paid £187,000, even though they hadn't seen inside.

0:42:530:42:58

'Luckily, most of the work was going to be cosmetic.

0:42:580:43:03

'Les and son Jimmy are in the plumbing trade and hoped to do most themselves.

0:43:030:43:09

'Eight months later, we caught up with them to find out how it went.

0:43:090:43:14

'From the looks of things, Les and Jimmy have been busy.

0:43:170:43:21

'There's a new kitchen with updated appliances and units.

0:43:210:43:25

'New flooring in the dining area, as well as bright modern lighting.

0:43:270:43:33

'Those old windows have been replaced throughout with uPVC ones

0:43:330:43:39

'and every room has been replastered and redecorated.

0:43:390:43:43

'The wet room, suitable for a disabled person, has been replaced

0:43:450:43:50

'with a contemporary suite, new flooring, tiling and a bath.

0:43:500:43:55

'There's a bit of work to do,

0:43:550:43:57

'though the front room is not far off completion.

0:43:570:44:01

'Les is more than happy with that new fireplace - new to HIM.'

0:44:010:44:06

Over here we've got one of our lucky finds,

0:44:060:44:10

something me and my wife picked up.

0:44:100:44:12

We were driving home and my wife spotted it at the side of the road.

0:44:120:44:17

There was a sign on it that said, "Please take me away."

0:44:170:44:22

As you can see, it's a lovely fireplace.

0:44:220:44:25

Some of this detail matches some of the detail around the room.

0:44:250:44:32

'Les and Jimmy have been careful to keep as many period features

0:44:320:44:38

'as intact as they possibly can.'

0:44:380:44:41

We've managed to keep the archway and the little decorative pieces.

0:44:410:44:47

We've kept the ceiling roses.

0:44:470:44:50

Any period features, we were trying to keep.

0:44:500:44:54

And the fireplace actually adds to it.

0:44:540:44:57

It was a new feature and it adds to the rest of it.

0:44:570:45:01

'A few weeks from completion, there haven't been any major problems.

0:45:010:45:05

'The only unexpected hiccup was in the bathroom.'

0:45:050:45:09

We had a problem next door with the floor.

0:45:090:45:13

In putting the wet room tray in, they'd cut away part of the floor.

0:45:130:45:18

So we had to replace part of the floor, but nothing serious.

0:45:180:45:23

Nothing scary!

0:45:230:45:25

'Was it tricky for Emma to project manage her dad and her brother?'

0:45:280:45:33

There were odd moments where you had enough of each other and stomped off. Mainly me and Jimmy!

0:45:330:45:39

We're brother and sister so we naturally argue.

0:45:390:45:43

It's not big things. It starts off as a little argument then we wind each other up and have to leave!

0:45:430:45:50

'It's only fair to get Jimmy's side of the story!'

0:45:500:45:55

We had the odd tiffs.

0:45:550:45:57

She wants something done which can't be done at that time.

0:45:570:46:01

Or something which really couldn't be done.

0:46:010:46:05

It's hard to explain it to her cos she's not in the trade.

0:46:050:46:09

She doesn't understand that things need to be done beforehand.

0:46:090:46:14

Yeah, after a little tiff, it's all worked out all right.

0:46:140:46:18

'There may have been the inevitable sibling rivalry,

0:46:180:46:22

'but Emma and the lads have done all the work so far for £10,000,

0:46:220:46:28

'five grand under their budget of £15,000.

0:46:280:46:31

'The skirting, carpets and bay windows still need attention.

0:46:310:46:36

'It sounds like there was the unexpected cost of a new pipe to factor in, too.'

0:46:360:46:42

We'd isolated most of the pipe work and a pipe running up the kitchen wall had a nodule on it.

0:46:420:46:49

We wanted to find out what it was, the gas pipe or the rising main.

0:46:490:46:54

We isolated all we could for the water supply.

0:46:540:46:58

Jimmy kept touching it and I said, "Leave that alone. It's possibly live."

0:46:580:47:04

It may be gas or water. It was an iron pipe.

0:47:040:47:08

He decided to have another play with it and he hit it with a hammer.

0:47:080:47:13

And I knocked the end off this little knobbly thing.

0:47:130:47:17

The water came out and threw him across the room!

0:47:170:47:21

I'm standing with my finger in the hole. Dad's trying to turn it off.

0:47:210:47:25

A bit silly, really.

0:47:250:47:28

Got very wet that day.

0:47:280:47:30

'Well, that'll teach him.

0:47:300:47:33

'We asked two local property experts what they thought of the place.'

0:47:330:47:38

They've done all the right things. Some bedrooms have feature walls.

0:47:430:47:49

They've used wallpaper to bring some personality, but not too much.

0:47:490:47:54

Just the right amount to show people what they could carry on with.

0:47:540:47:58

They've changed all the windows, which is good. The wood flooring.

0:47:580:48:04

Prospective purchasers look for these things.

0:48:040:48:07

They've taken what would have been a small kitchen and made it a useful space.

0:48:070:48:14

It's fantastic. They've used that space wisely.

0:48:140:48:17

It's a very good location and it's done to a very good standard.

0:48:170:48:22

'Remember, they bought the property for £187,000

0:48:220:48:27

'and have spent £10,000 on it.

0:48:270:48:29

'To kick start Emma's savings for her house,

0:48:290:48:33

'it needs to resell for more than £197,000 to make any profit.'

0:48:330:48:38

I think they'll achieve somewhere between £240,000 and £250,000 on the resale.

0:48:380:48:46

The property, once it's finished, is worth between £245,000 to £250,000.

0:48:460:48:53

Very pleased. More than we thought. BOTH LAUGH

0:48:530:48:57

'So, a fantastic potential profit to be had.

0:48:570:49:01

'It looks like that hard work will pay off, despite family tiffs.

0:49:010:49:06

'What's the plan once this is finished?'

0:49:060:49:09

We've got some work to do before we start another property,

0:49:090:49:13

but Emma's going to be looking for the next house.

0:49:130:49:17

Then, hopefully, by the time we end the work we'll be ready to start on her property again.

0:49:170:49:24

Fingers crossed!

0:49:240:49:26

'We're back...'

0:49:280:49:30

# Down main street... #

0:49:300:49:33

'..in West Kilbride, Ayrshire.

0:49:330:49:36

'We've returned to see how this former clothes shop has changed

0:49:370:49:41

'since semi-retired chartered accountant George bought it for £30,000

0:49:410:49:47

'to turn it into a book shop, create a job and help the economy.'

0:49:470:49:52

In a recession, if nobody invests in anything, we're not going to come out of it.

0:49:520:49:58

If it works, it works. If it doesn't, I'll do something else.

0:49:580:50:02

'The front of the shop was in fairly good condition

0:50:020:50:05

'but is now fit for purpose.

0:50:050:50:08

'It's been freshly painted and a new flooring laid.

0:50:080:50:12

'The walls are lined with shelves full of stock.

0:50:120:50:15

'The problem was always going to be the back room.

0:50:150:50:19

'Wow! That's a big improvement!

0:50:260:50:29

'It's been transformed into a children's area.'

0:50:290:50:32

In here, the floor had been brought to the level of the first step.

0:50:320:50:38

So we dropped that down, which made this a proper size doorway.

0:50:380:50:44

That meant we had to create the two steps.

0:50:440:50:47

This was lined with really bad plaster boarding.

0:50:470:50:52

So we took all that out, relined it and changed the ceiling level,

0:50:520:50:57

to give us better square.

0:50:570:50:59

We fixed a lintel at the back door and put a new door in.

0:50:590:51:04

Now it opens much easier.

0:51:040:51:07

Then kitted this out as a children's area.

0:51:070:51:10

Mainly, this is an area that works really well for children.

0:51:100:51:14

They love coming through.

0:51:140:51:16

'George's dream of owning a book shop is no longer fiction.

0:51:160:51:21

'Less of a dream and more of a nightmare was the upstairs.

0:51:210:51:25

'Even though there's no residential planning permission, someone may have been sleeping here.

0:51:250:51:32

'George has renovated this top floor and turned it into a staff room,

0:51:340:51:38

'including a kitchen.

0:51:380:51:41

'And a shower room.

0:51:410:51:44

'George always planned to create a job for friend Mo, if she wanted it.

0:51:460:51:51

'Like all happy endings, she did.'

0:51:510:51:54

I absolutely love it. I love the connection with the customers.

0:51:540:51:59

It's a friendly village.

0:51:590:52:01

I love sitting in a book shop. It's my passion!

0:52:010:52:05

It's a job that I'm perfectly suited to and I'm happy in.

0:52:050:52:10

Mo has been involved in organising the layout of the whole shop.

0:52:100:52:15

The window displays have been a big part of it. Mo runs the place.

0:52:150:52:21

'As well as selling books,

0:52:210:52:23

'their plan was to make special events a key feature.'

0:52:230:52:27

We have 14 events lined up with novelists and poets.

0:52:270:52:33

Hopefully, they will be well attended.

0:52:330:52:36

'How long has it taken to do the work and get the books flying off those new shelves?'

0:52:380:52:45

We wanted to be open as quickly as possible.

0:52:450:52:48

I got the builder organised quickly

0:52:480:52:50

so it was only nine weeks from getting the keys until we had our opening.

0:52:500:52:56

The opening was by the local MSP. We had an event. That went well.

0:52:560:53:01

We had people reading poetry in the back shop

0:53:010:53:04

who came at one o'clock and didn't leave till after seven at night.

0:53:040:53:09

We put in a lot of work to get open in time, but it was worth it.

0:53:090:53:14

'George bought the shop at auction for 30,000 and had 30 for renovations and stock.

0:53:140:53:21

'A chartered accountant, he probably kept an eye on the other books.'

0:53:210:53:26

We've been pretty close to budget. We've spent more on some areas.

0:53:260:53:31

The total I'd set aside was 60,000, that included kitting out and the stock and the work we wanted to do.

0:53:310:53:39

We've probably come in maybe 10% under budget, so I'm really happy with how everything's worked out.

0:53:390:53:46

'West Kilbride is becoming one of Scotland's premier craft towns.

0:53:460:53:51

'Its regeneration depends on people like George and Mo starting small businesses.

0:53:510:53:57

'To find out if they're heading in the right direction,

0:53:570:54:03

'we invited two local estate agents.'

0:54:030:54:06

My first impressions are that it has been well modernised.

0:54:060:54:10

They have maximised use of the ground floor

0:54:100:54:14

with all of it being given over to retail space.

0:54:140:54:18

All of the ancillary accommodation has been moved upstairs,

0:54:180:54:22

including the store, the staff toilet and kitchen.

0:54:220:54:26

It's all nice modern, freshly decorated.

0:54:260:54:30

with definitely more space in the back of the property,

0:54:300:54:35

where it was more of a dumping area

0:54:350:54:38

than anything worthwhile using for storage space.

0:54:380:54:42

The staircase is narrow and steep and therefore, the first floor

0:54:420:54:46

can only be used as ancillary space and will never be used for retail purposes.

0:54:460:54:53

'That's not a problem for George, as he never intended using upstairs for anything else.

0:54:530:54:59

'He bought the shop for 30,000

0:54:590:55:02

'and spent another £30,000 renovating and buying stock.

0:55:020:55:07

'How much could he sell it for?'

0:55:070:55:10

With good marketing, in favourable market conditions,

0:55:100:55:13

the vendor could expect a price between £35,000 to £40,000.

0:55:130:55:18

We'd be looking to put this on the market at a "offers in the region of" price of £40,000.

0:55:180:55:25

Their value of between 35 and 40, I would have thought it was nearer to the top end of that.

0:55:250:55:32

They've probably been mildly conservative.

0:55:320:55:35

If someone's looking for shop premises, they're not easy to find

0:55:350:55:40

in a location and at a price you want to pay.

0:55:400:55:42

Yeah. About that, I'd be happy with.

0:55:420:55:45

'If George decided he wanted to rent the shop out,

0:55:450:55:50

'how much could he expect it to earn?'

0:55:500:55:54

Subject to favourable leasing terms, a fair rent would be between £3,500 and £4,000 per annum.

0:55:540:56:01

We would rent this out at between £3,600 and £4,200 per annum.

0:56:010:56:08

I suppose, if I wanted to move the shop to somewhere else

0:56:080:56:12

that might be of interest,

0:56:120:56:14

but it's really kind of academic at the moment.

0:56:140:56:18

'This latest chapter in George's life

0:56:210:56:24

'seems to suit him down to the ground.

0:56:240:56:27

'What's next on the agenda for him?'

0:56:270:56:30

Where we go from here? I think we just make this a success.

0:56:300:56:35

Really, we're based in this village, we're going to grow in this village and become a success, I think.

0:56:350:56:43

'Hopefully, this shop will become a best-selling blockbuster.'

0:56:430:56:48

Have today's stories inspired you or put you off?

0:56:490:56:53

More dispatches from the frontline of property developing next time.

0:56:530:56:58

Look forward to seeing you for more Homes Under The Hammer soon.

0:56:580:57:01

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:220:57:24

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a three-bedroomed terraced house in Derbyshire, an Edwardian house in Croydon and a commercial unit in Ayrshire.

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.