Episode 53 Homes Under the Hammer


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Episode 53

Property auction series. Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit an old store in Dorset, a three-bedroom detached house in Hampshire and a commercial property in Kent.


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Despite the doom and gloom, investing in property

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is still a good thing to do.

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But make sure you do your homework.

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Buying under the hammer can be a really good bet.

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If you're looking for variety and good value, the auctions could be for you.

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Here are our properties that lured our buyers on today's show.

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'This old store in Dorset is certainly a blank canvas.'

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We've got one big room with a mezzanine floor above it.

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'In Hampshire, this three-bedroom detached house has made me nostalgic.'

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It so reminds me of my old house. It's bizarre.

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'And a commercial property in Kent with a good frontage, a kitchen

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'and a flat upstairs.'

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It's ticking a few boxes.

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'All have been sold at auction.

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

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This is the pretty market town of Beaminster, north of Bridport in Dorset.

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It's a cute place, partly because it missed out on a railway station,

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so it's pretty much remained as it was.

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Lots of individual little shops. It's lovely.

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As a result, properties round here are very sought-after.

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'It's no surprise that the town centre's a conservation area,

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'as there are 200 listed buildings.

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'It's a perfect corner of England that is important to preserve.'

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This is Shadrack Street, just off the high street in Beaminster,

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which is a good thing as the main road is quite busy.

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A great start cos the property is built out of this gorgeous stone,

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particular to this part of Dorset.

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What was on offer? It's this former store with planning permission

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for conversion to a two-bedroom dwelling.

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Guide price 115,000 quid.

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So, it's a former store room so we shouldn't expect too much.

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We've got this one big room with this mezzanine floor above it.

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Concrete floor.

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It's extremely sloping.

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Digging-out to do there, especially as the garden comes quite high up.

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Which throws up issues with damp.

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So you have to consider things like the damp, digging out the floors,

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putting in services - sewerage, that kind of thing.

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It's not for the faint-hearted but you've got a reasonable canvas

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on which to paint an interesting project.

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'Taking on this conversion might be a tough prospect,

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'but rewards could be worthwhile.

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'The end wall is breeze blocks, which suggests it was larger,

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'but the stone walls are well preserved

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'so it'll be possible to keep some character.

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'It'll be interesting to see if a two-bed dwelling can be fitted.

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'It might be a bit of a squeeze.'

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At the rear, you get a feeling of what you're getting into.

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The property's sandwiched between properties.

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From over there to that skylight.

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The planning permission includes raising the roof by a metre,

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which is very important.

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Especially for getting that second storey.

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It's interesting that was passed because this is a Grade II listed property.

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I wouldn't be that excited

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if it wasn't for the fact that it comes with this gorgeous garden,

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with views to the church and the open fields beyond.

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Glorious.

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'This really has the quaintness of an English country garden.

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'It's the jewel in this property's crown, and unusual to find

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'in a town-centre location.

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'In my opinion, it's what makes this former store worthy of a top-class conversion.

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'But maybe I'm looking at it with rose-tinted glasses?

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'The guide price was £115,000. I asked a local estate agent

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'to find out what she thought of the place.'

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We always get a lot of interest

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in our old character properties in Beaminster.

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Whether in beautiful condition,

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or whether they've got potential, they always create a lot of demand.

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'So far, so good, but there's one big drawback to the potential of this property.'

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You've got limited parking,

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the price you pay for being in a character part of town.

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We've got on-street parking, public car parks within reach,

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it's just not as convenient as having a drive or garage.

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'It might put investors off, despite the charm of the town centre.

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'If a top-rate conversion was done, what could it expect to fetch?'

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A two-bedroom cottage for sale in this area, a stone Grade II listed pretty cottage,

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you're looking at around £250,000.

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And we usually think in terms of around the £700 mark, per month.

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A great opportunity for somebody.

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Not without issues - parking, the conservation area, a listed building.

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But just look around. I'm sure someone was captivated by the potential when it went to auction.

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Our guide is £115,000. Would someone put us straight in at 115,000?

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Thank you. 115,000.

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115 to the front row, or second row. At 115.

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115. I'll go two and then up to 20, if I may.

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117.

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120.

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122.

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124. 125?

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125. At 125.

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126?

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126.

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127.

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127. 128. 128.

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On the right, then. All done?

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At £128,000...

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Congratulations!

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'The successful bidders were former quantity surveyor Steve

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'and Carol, who used to work in the complaints department at the BBC.

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'Uh-oh!

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'They run a B&B in France,

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'but plan to renovate this store as their base in the UK,

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'away from that lovely weather.

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'I met them to find out more.'

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-Lovely to meet you. Congratulations.

-Thank you.

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-Before we go further, who's this?

-Billy.

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He's a fox terrier.

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He's been with us in France for...

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He's 13. Eight years.

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-France? Tell me more.

-Yes. Carol?

-We live in France.

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We moved there permanently ten years ago.

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We moved to what was then our holiday home.

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We just got fed up with everything so we decided to see how we got on.

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-We're still there ten years later.

-Whereabouts?

-In Burgundy.

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-Oh, great.

-We're about 40 minutes from the main wine areas.

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-Are you wine lovers?

-Yes. MARTIN LAUGHS

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Although, since my stroke last year, I've cut down a little bit,

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just to be safe.

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-You had a stroke last year?

-I did. Last May.

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It was quite a bad stroke, but I'm lucky

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because I came out of it.

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Thanks to Carol, because she was there every day.

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Once I'd got my voice back, I was on the road to recovery.

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'It's wonderful to see Steve doing so well.

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'After his stroke, Steve and Carol realised

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'they needed to spend more time in the UK, so went in search of a pied a terre.'

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We were looking for a place that was in the middle of a small town.

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We happen to know Beaminster because we were married here.

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Our parents lived here for quite a while.

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-Married here?

-Yes. In the church down there.

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-The one you can see from the garden?

-Yes.

-Fantastic!

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We thought we'd buy a small cottage, something already done up!

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Something we could go into without much trouble. Then we bought this!

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'Not quite a small cottage you can walk into,

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'but the potential has caught their imagination.

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'They are very excited about the blank canvas.'

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The planning permission is for a two-bedroom dwelling,

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but there's only the two of us.

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We thought we'd have one bedroom and leave the rest for living in.

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The idea is to have, on the ground floor, garage and kitchen-diner.

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Then, upstairs, we plan to put the living room and bedroom, bathroom.

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There's a quirk of this plot that the garden is higher at the back,

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a metre higher than the house.

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So when you've got the living room upstairs,

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it'll be really nice to go from the living room direct into the garden.

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We don't know whether we can do that.

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'They plan to use glass to create a better transition from the living room to the garden.

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'It would be a radical makeover

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'but they do realise there are planning hoops to jump through.

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'They appreciate they're in a conservation area and have a listed building.'

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We're hoping that, if we can make this listed facade correct,

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there might be a little room to manoeuvre on the other side.

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'Luckily, there also seems to be room for manoeuvre on the budget.

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'Steve and Carol are not committing to one, but they estimate the work could cost £60,000 or more.

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'The timescale is a case of when it's ready, it's ready.

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'So, while they're serving croissants to guests in France,

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'how will they track developments in Blighty?'

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We did it the other way round.

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When we renovated our place in France, we were living in the UK.

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We had a staged plan,

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and so we would go over at specific points

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to check work that had been done,

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to check over the next stage of the project.

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And that's the rough idea for this.

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It's one of these things where you have to have a good architect,

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a good builder,

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and hopefully a good client - like we are!

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-I wish you good health.

-Thank you.

-Continue improving. I look forward to seeing how you get on.

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Isn't it interesting the way things turn out?

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Steve and Carol ending up a stone's throw from the church where they were married!

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I believe that this project will help Steve in his recovery from his stroke. We wish him all the best.

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Find out how they get on later in the show.

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This stretch of water is Portsmouth harbour,

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a naval base since the Middle Ages, which has become a busy ferry port.

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I'm on the northwest tip of the harbour,

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between Fareham and Gosport.

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The area is popular with commuters, with excellent road and rail links,

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so it's suburbia - or should that be sea-burbia?

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A few minutes from the water and you could be in any 1930s suburb of any town.

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It's got a mix of housing but the lot I'm here to see might be the best of the bunch.

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It's detached, three bedrooms, and had a guide of £165,000 to £170,000.

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'It looks like a good solid 1930s property, with large bay windows.

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'Separating it from quite a busy road is a long strip of garden.

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'The house next door sold two years ago for £238,000, so it seems a good start.

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'Let's hope that inside is as positive as outside.'

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I'm sure I have said this loads, but I grew up in a house just like this.

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It was almost decorated in the same fashion!

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Needless to say, it needs a modern overhaul. It's terribly dated.

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But you've got some great space. Look at this.

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You could easily fit a downstairs toilet here.

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It would be great to add that.

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I'm not sure what this is, probably covering up a door to the kitchen.

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A really nice sitting room,

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a lovely bay window, which is what these houses are famous for.

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A good space in here. A little fireplace there.

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Overall, it feels clean and very tidy, so a positive start.

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'You can't ask for much more than that.

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'The kitchen is tucked away.

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'It looks like the dining room wall has been knocked through

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'to open things up, so that's another positive note.'

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You've got the loo at the back, but if you put one under the stairs,

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you could turn that into a nice utility space.

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I love this open-plan kitchen.

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It so reminds me of my old house. It's bizarre! It's a great space.

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You've got room to sit down, a big family table.

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I would like to see some folding doors or patio doors

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leading out to the garden.

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It would transform this place. In my opinion, it's this area that needs most attention.

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'Let's talk about that garden.

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'It's a whopper with a double-door garage.

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'Take a peek round the back and there's more.

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'It's bound to be a winner with the families this house appeals to.

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'And we haven't even been upstairs.'

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Call me psychic, but I know we'll have three bedrooms up here,

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one very small, and a decent size bathroom and, ta-da!

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I'm right.

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These were built to a standard design, although they vary in size.

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They do make for a practical family home and are generally well built.

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Although that is damp on the chimney breast.

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It could just be some flashing on the roof but it needs to be fixed.

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Apart from that, no surprises, so good.

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'I'm rather pleased this property's predictable.

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'It's easy to see what needs to be done - scrap the blue bathroom,

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'tear down this wallpaper and drag the place into the 21st century.

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'You may have guessed, I like this house.

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'Yes, it's dated. But dull? No.

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'It had an auction guide price of 165,000 to 170,000.

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'I was keen to see if my enthusiasm was shared by a local estate agent.'

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This is a fantastic home.

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It's perfect for the family buyer. 1930s, so a little bit of character.

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It adds a bit more in comparison to other properties in this area.

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It just needs a little bit of updating,

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a new kitchen and bathroom, and potentially a conservatory.

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Apart from that, I think it's a fairly small job updating.

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'That's good. It should be useable pretty quickly.

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'The estate agent reckons that turning it around to sell would be the best way to make money.

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'So, guided at 165,000 to 170,000,

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'what resale figures are we talking about?'

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In the current market, as it is now,

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anything between 195,000 to 200,000.

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Modernised, properties like this are rare to the market,

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so anywhere up to 235,000.

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'What might the rental return be?'

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If this property was fully updated it would achieve approximately £950 a month.

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When you're looking for an investment, what are you after?

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A highly desirable location, room to improve

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and a guide price low enough to leave room to manoeuvre.

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This has the lot. I wonder whether there was a battle at auction.

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Somebody get me under way.

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160. Do we have an opening bid of 160? Thank you, madam.

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160 we have. I have my opening bid.

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160. Do I have 162? Thank you, sir.

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164, madam? 164, I have.

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166? 166 is bid.

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168? 168, madam. Thank you.

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Sir? 170? 170's bid. Your bid, sir. Thank you. 172, madam?

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172, I have. 174?

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174's bid. 176?

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176 against you, seated. 178?

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178, we now have. 180? 180 seated here. 182?

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Shaking your head at me. Give you a one? You're back in. 181.

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182? No? 181,000. Are you all done?

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New bid. 182,000, madam. 182 I have here.

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Looking for 182 and a half. 182,000 I have once.

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182,000 I have twice.

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182,000

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going for the third and final time...

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Your property, madam. 182. Thank you.

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'The last-minute newcomer was Christine, who swept up the lot

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'with her one and only bid of 182,000.

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'She took early retirement from her work in care homes

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'and has turned her hand to investing in buy-to-let properties.

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'I met up with her to find out the plans for this place.'

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Christine, I can't believe the auction! One bid and it's yours.

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-What is it about this property that you love.

-I like that it's detached.

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I like the fact that it's got off-road parking, a double garage,

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it's close to where I live cos I will be on site every day.

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-Are you planning on doing some of the work yourself?

-Lots of the work.

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-Really?

-Oh, yes.

-Tell me your background, then.

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I was in the care home business for 25 years.

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In the course of that, I was always having to do DIY, mend this,

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sink blocked there, somebody's pulled the radiator off.

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Decorating a room once somebody moves out.

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When I gave that up,

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which was in 2006, I sat at home and watched Homes Under The Hammer!

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LAUGHS

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And thought, "I can do that!"

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'Christine's proved it because she now owns and manages

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'three buy-to-lets - I love it when we inspire people!

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'Christine's in the great position of doing this as a hobby.

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'Does she have all the kit?'

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I have my own tool room at home. Everything's hung up on the wall.

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And I know exactly where to put my hands on things.

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Fantastic! So you will be getting stuck in?

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-Absolutely.

-What are you going to start doing?

-The steamer. Oh, yes.

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That is one thing this house definitely needs.

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A steamer! You've got this wallpaper everywhere!

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-It's got to come off.

-Yeah. Ceilings in some of the rooms.

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Until that's off, we can't really see what the plaster's like.

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-Any structural changes here?

-No. Not structural.

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I want to put doors out of the dining room onto a patio.

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I want to relocate the downstairs cloakroom to under there.

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-Fantastic idea!

-And then I want to change that into a utility room.

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'Good to know we're thinking along the same lines.

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'Helping Christine will be her brother, a builder,

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'who will subcontract professionals.

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'They have a ten to 12-week turnaround

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'and a 15 to 20 grand budget.

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'That's provided nothing goes wrong, which leads me on to...'

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The damp on the chimney breast. Could be the flashing.

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That's what I believe it to be, the flashing.

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But we will see!

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-Are you worried about that?

-No.

-Have you had professionals in?

-No.

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-But you are going to?

-Yes. I'm sure that is remedied quite easily.

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-Are you excited?

-I can't wait for you to go and to get my overalls on!

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-Have you got your kit in your car?

-Yes. It's there waiting.

0:22:550:22:59

'Christine must be one of the most enthusiastic people I've met.

0:23:030:23:08

'I don't want to hold her up, but need to know what drives her.'

0:23:080:23:14

It's something that I like to do.

0:23:140:23:17

If one day I think, "I don't want to do it today," I don't have to.

0:23:170:23:22

-But you are supposed to be a retired lady.

-I'm supposed to be. Absolutely.

0:23:220:23:28

-You're certainly not scared of the challenge.

-Good heavens, no!

0:23:280:23:34

Do you find working on your own can be quite lonely?

0:23:340:23:38

No, I love it. I can be, um...

0:23:380:23:41

I can allow my thoughts to just run wild and I love it. LOVE IT!

0:23:410:23:46

I love this house, and Christine, she loves her work.

0:23:510:23:56

I think she's got great plans.

0:23:560:23:58

I hope that damp doesn't do too much damage to her budget.

0:23:580:24:03

Will we find this place transformed?

0:24:030:24:06

Find out what happens later in the show.

0:24:060:24:09

'Coming up, there could be a catch with this commercial property.'

0:24:120:24:17

It's got rising damp halfway up the wall.

0:24:170:24:20

'We return to this detached house to hear about a DIY nightmare.'

0:24:210:24:27

Not only did the wallpaper come off but the plaster came off as well.

0:24:270:24:32

'But first, the pressure was on for this French connection.'

0:24:320:24:36

It's been tricky, not made easier by the fact that we live in France.

0:24:360:24:40

'We've returned to Dorset,

0:24:440:24:47

'where Steve and Carol bought this former store

0:24:470:24:50

'for £128,000 at auction.

0:24:500:24:52

'It had planning permission to convert into a two-bedroom dwelling.

0:24:520:24:58

'They live in France but wanted a pied a terre in the UK

0:24:580:25:02

'after Steve suffered a stroke.

0:25:020:25:04

'For them, the location was perfect.'

0:25:040:25:07

We were married here. My parents lived here for quite a while.

0:25:070:25:13

-Married here?

-Yes. In the church down there.

0:25:130:25:16

-The one you can see from the garden?

-Yes.

-Really?

-Yes.

-Fantastic!

0:25:160:25:20

'The couple planned to convert the store into a single bedroom dwelling

0:25:220:25:28

'by raising the roof a metre and creating two storeys.

0:25:280:25:32

'Downstairs would be a garage and kitchen-diner.

0:25:320:25:36

'Upstairs would be the bedroom, bathroom and living room,

0:25:360:25:40

'with views over the beautiful garden.

0:25:400:25:44

'We returned almost two years later to see how the development went.

0:25:460:25:52

'Quite a lot has changed.

0:25:520:25:55

'Steve and Carol have also bought the cottage next door for 115,000,

0:25:550:26:00

'and incorporated it into their plans,

0:26:000:26:04

'knocking the two buildings into one.

0:26:040:26:08

'And, after almost two years of planning and work,

0:26:080:26:12

'they have overseen the conversion of a storehouse and an old cottage

0:26:120:26:17

'into a breathtaking contemporary home.

0:26:170:26:22

'The store had been an empty shell but now, on the ground floor,

0:26:240:26:29

'Steve and Carol have created a store room and a garage,

0:26:290:26:33

'a kitchen-diner...

0:26:330:26:36

'..and a living room.'

0:26:370:26:40

Originally, this was a concrete floor.

0:26:410:26:45

So when you first came, this was completely open.

0:26:450:26:50

This is now our ground floor living room.

0:26:500:26:54

There was no window here

0:26:540:26:56

and the rear elevation here has completely changed,

0:26:560:27:00

with a full height oak screen at the back here.

0:27:000:27:04

We've got a door here.

0:27:040:27:06

The only thing really that's original is the stone here.

0:27:060:27:13

'Upstairs, there are two bedrooms, each en suite.

0:27:180:27:23

'And an additional living space.'

0:27:260:27:29

Originally, this room didn't exist because there was no first floor.

0:27:290:27:34

We put the first floor in and raised the roof. This is the old truss.

0:27:340:27:39

It was nice to keep something of the old building.

0:27:390:27:43

That shows how much we went up.

0:27:430:27:45

I love this room.

0:27:450:27:47

It's light. You get a wonderful view onto the garden.

0:27:470:27:51

You just feel it's away from the world although you're in the town.

0:27:510:27:57

'Carol and Steve completely transformed this old property,

0:28:070:28:11

'but it was quite complicated to coordinate.'

0:28:110:28:15

It's been tricky, not made easier by the fact we live in France.

0:28:150:28:20

We relied an awful lot on the architect,

0:28:200:28:24

who supervised the work as well as doing the drawings.

0:28:240:28:29

These days, with the internet, you can send photographs.

0:28:290:28:33

That worked well.

0:28:330:28:35

You can't do it quite the same as if you are there all the time.

0:28:350:28:40

We couldn't have lived in it, anyway, so we had to leave them to get on with it.

0:28:400:28:46

Perhaps they preferred it that way!

0:28:460:28:49

'The whole process was beneficial for Steve's rehabilitation

0:28:520:28:56

'after his stroke.'

0:28:560:28:58

One particular part of this

0:28:580:29:02

is things like using the telephone.

0:29:020:29:06

Two years ago, I found that very difficult.

0:29:060:29:10

Not in front of somebody.

0:29:100:29:12

Talking becomes quite difficult on the phone.

0:29:120:29:16

So you have to really, really concentrate on what you're doing.

0:29:160:29:21

That's one part, a small part, of the recovery process.

0:29:210:29:27

'Steve's recovery is great news and goes to show that having a stroke

0:29:270:29:32

'didn't stop him living his life to the full.

0:29:320:29:36

'The beautiful world Steve and Carol created must have come at a cost.

0:29:400:29:46

'Just how much, they're keeping close to their chest.'

0:29:460:29:50

We always knew it was going to cost quite a bit of money to do the work.

0:29:500:29:55

At the same time, we thought, well, this is a project for us.

0:29:550:30:00

-We tried to keep the budget quite tight and we're happy with the outcome.

-Yeah.

0:30:000:30:07

'They bought the property for 128,000 and the cottage for £115,

0:30:070:30:13

'and spent their estimated budget of £60,000 on the development.

0:30:130:30:18

'That makes a total spend of around £303,000.

0:30:180:30:22

'We asked along two estate agents

0:30:220:30:24

'to hear their views on the changes.'

0:30:240:30:27

'The changes in this barn are phenomenal.

0:30:270:30:31

'Originally, it was one very small, derelict barn.

0:30:310:30:35

'Now it's been incorporated with an adjoining cottage.

0:30:350:30:39

'So it's changed totally.'

0:30:390:30:41

I like the accommodation. It's really quirky.

0:30:410:30:45

I think buyers in general like that sort of thing.

0:30:450:30:49

Having an extra reception upstairs, somebody could make that into a third bedroom, if they wanted to.

0:30:490:30:56

The layout's great. The rooms are really spacious.

0:30:580:31:02

I like the way features have been kept, the old beams.

0:31:020:31:07

It adds a nice feel to the property.

0:31:070:31:10

The garage is a great use of space.

0:31:100:31:12

Parking is a problem, being so close to the centre of the town.

0:31:120:31:17

Parking is definitely an advantage, and the garage, great storage.

0:31:170:31:23

'Steve and Carol don't intend to let the property out,

0:31:250:31:28

'but, as they spend a lot of time in France,

0:31:280:31:32

'renting this as a holiday let could be an option for the future.'

0:31:320:31:36

Holiday cottage wise,

0:31:360:31:38

you're looking in excess of £1,000 a month in the holiday seasons.

0:31:380:31:43

It'd be a very popular holiday let.

0:31:430:31:46

You'd be looking £900 to £1,100 per calendar month at peak season.

0:31:460:31:52

It's quite a good figure.

0:31:520:31:54

It gives you an option if we decided to go that way.

0:31:540:31:58

-It's quite interesting.

-Yes.

0:31:580:32:01

'How much could the property be worth if they were to sell it?'

0:32:010:32:06

I think...market value, currently,

0:32:060:32:09

you'd be looking 270,000 to 310,000.

0:32:090:32:13

If they were to take it to the market, we're probably looking

0:32:130:32:18

at something in the order of £400,000 to £425,000.

0:32:180:32:22

I think that we'd be quite happy, obviously, at the higher valuation.

0:32:220:32:29

We didn't do it to make money but, you know, we're happy.

0:32:290:32:34

'Obviously, for Carol and Steve, this was not about making money,

0:32:340:32:39

'but to create a base in the UK and also help in Steve's recovery.'

0:32:390:32:44

'I'm in the small town of Snodland in Kent on the River Medway,

0:32:490:32:54

'a few miles from Rochester.

0:32:540:32:56

'Until the 19th century, it was purely agricultural,

0:32:560:33:00

'then that changed when cement, brick and papermaking industries

0:33:000:33:05

'were introduced.

0:33:050:33:07

'The 12,000 people who live here still call it "the village".'

0:33:070:33:12

Snodland, a good place to invest in property?

0:33:120:33:15

The area is undergoing a ten-year regeneration programme, including 1,000 new houses.

0:33:150:33:21

30 miles from London, eight miles from Maidstone.

0:33:210:33:25

What was up for auction? It's this commercial premises at a guide price of £95,000 to £100,000.

0:33:250:33:31

Let's take a look.

0:33:310:33:33

'This commercial premises was formerly an estate agent's office.

0:33:330:33:39

'From outside, it appears in pretty good nick.'

0:33:390:33:43

What's on offer? Commercial premises. Big frontage!

0:33:430:33:49

It's what you need if you use it as a commercial premises.

0:33:490:33:54

It doesn't smell damp. It looks to be in reasonable condition.

0:33:540:33:58

It's not a bad size space and I like the little areas to put things.

0:33:580:34:03

When you're running a business, you need storage areas.

0:34:030:34:07

You need back office areas. That's here, which is good news.

0:34:070:34:12

You've got this main area, little area, then a kitchen area there.

0:34:120:34:16

All in all, it's ticking a few boxes.

0:34:160:34:20

'With a bit of sprucing up, this could be ready to go for whatever business venture.

0:34:200:34:27

'Below, there is a bonus of a decent sized cellar for storage.

0:34:270:34:32

'That regeneration scheme could mean a lot more passing trade.

0:34:320:34:37

'Let's hope there are no surprises on the first floor,

0:34:370:34:41

'which is accessed through the commercial unit.'

0:34:410:34:45

Upstairs, more really useful space.

0:34:450:34:48

You've got a loo at the back. Smaller room there.

0:34:480:34:53

Then a larger room at the front.

0:34:530:34:56

This has been configured to be additional office space.

0:34:560:35:01

Couple of issues.

0:35:010:35:03

That's quite damp.

0:35:030:35:06

What I reckon is happening, water's going onto the flat roof.

0:35:060:35:10

It's going against the wall.

0:35:100:35:12

You've got rising damp halfway up the wall.

0:35:120:35:16

Get that roof replaced and check the flashings.

0:35:160:35:19

As I said, it's an office at the moment, an additional office.

0:35:190:35:24

How about converting this into a flat?

0:35:240:35:28

I don't think you'd have to do very much configuration.

0:35:280:35:32

Very interesting idea.

0:35:320:35:34

'What makes it more interesting

0:35:350:35:38

'is that next door have already created a separate entrance

0:35:380:35:42

'for their upstairs space,

0:35:420:35:44

'with those steel stairs and access down the alley.

0:35:440:35:48

'So it's a viable option.'

0:35:480:35:51

I know you're thinking, "It's a flat above a shop, Martin!

0:35:530:35:57

"It's a complete nightmare to get finance and planning permission."

0:35:570:36:01

Well, in some cases, possibly so.

0:36:010:36:04

In this instance, it's already had planning permission passed in December 2003.

0:36:040:36:10

That's lapsed but the fact there was permission passed sets a precedent.

0:36:100:36:15

You can probably get it reinstated, which is good news.

0:36:150:36:19

'There could be a lot of extra expense.

0:36:190:36:22

'Central heating would have to be installed,

0:36:220:36:26

'plus a new bathroom suite.

0:36:260:36:28

'But the returns could justify the means.

0:36:280:36:32

'With the property guided at £95,000 to £100,000,

0:36:320:36:36

'it's time to hear the thoughts of a local estate agent.'

0:36:360:36:41

It's an interesting property. It is a period property.

0:36:410:36:45

It's got some original details and a cellar.

0:36:450:36:48

Do you change it to residential? Do you keep it commercial?

0:36:480:36:54

Do you change upstairs to a flat? Let it? Sell it?

0:36:540:36:57

A lot of things can be done with this property.

0:36:570:37:01

'So there are options, but how easy would it be to get change of use?'

0:37:010:37:07

I think there would be a possibility to making the upstairs a flat.

0:37:070:37:12

It would be difficult to sell as only some lenders will lend

0:37:120:37:16

on properties over a commercial property area, as it were.

0:37:160:37:21

But I think you would get permission to change it to a flat to let out.

0:37:210:37:27

'So, barring problems with the change of use,

0:37:270:37:30

'how do the figures for a flat stack up?'

0:37:300:37:34

If you wanted to sell a one or a two-bedroom flat above a shop,

0:37:340:37:38

you'd probably get in the region of 75,000 to 80,000.

0:37:380:37:43

If this was a one-bedroom flat, you could probably achieve

0:37:430:37:47

£350 to £400 a month for it.

0:37:470:37:51

'And for the commercial property downstairs?'

0:37:510:37:55

The going rate, I would say, would be about £4,000 per annum to rent

0:37:550:38:00

a commercial property.

0:38:000:38:03

Selling it, I think it would be in the region of 40,000 to 50,000.

0:38:030:38:07

Lots of options with this one, and money to be made

0:38:110:38:14

if you get planning permission to convert the offices into a flat.

0:38:140:38:19

Who fancied taking a chance when it went under the hammer?

0:38:190:38:23

Lot 44. Let's say 100,000 for it. 100,000 somewhere? £100,000?

0:38:260:38:31

Give me 90. Let's get it on the way. £90,000 bid I have. I'm obliged.

0:38:310:38:37

And three now, do I see?

0:38:370:38:39

93, I'm bid. 95? It's against you.

0:38:390:38:43

95, I am bid. 97, do I say?

0:38:430:38:46

It's against you. 97. Fill it up to 100?

0:38:460:38:49

100. And two?

0:38:490:38:51

102. And five? 105.

0:38:510:38:54

105. And seven? 107, I'm looking for. At £105,000...

0:38:540:38:59

107. I'm obliged.

0:38:590:39:01

Make it ten, sir? Make it ten.

0:39:010:39:04

And 12? 12? 112? Is that a definite no?

0:39:040:39:09

Is that a yes? It's a yes to a definite no.

0:39:090:39:12

£110,000, I've got. 112 anywhere else?

0:39:120:39:16

Are we all done at £110,000?

0:39:160:39:18

First time at £110,000.

0:39:180:39:21

Second time at £110,000. Third and final time, if you're all done...

0:39:210:39:25

It's yours at 110,000.

0:39:250:39:28

'That winning bidder was Kabel who, with his wife, Rani,

0:39:280:39:32

'got the property for £110,000.

0:39:320:39:36

'That was £10,000 over the top guide price.

0:39:360:39:40

'Rani works part time as a cashier, and Kabel has retired from his newspaper shop, which he rents out.

0:39:400:39:47

'This is their first go at developing.'

0:39:470:39:51

-Good to meet you both. Congratulations.

-Good to meet you.

0:39:510:39:55

Why did you choose this one?

0:39:550:39:57

It just had a feeling.

0:39:570:40:00

It looked clean, solid and it ain't too far from where we live so we took a chance.

0:40:000:40:07

-What was it, Rani, that you liked?

-Something for making money, really.

0:40:070:40:12

LAUGHS

0:40:120:40:14

-What prompted you to do this now?

-I'm bored.

0:40:140:40:18

-You're bored?

-I've got nothing to do all day.

0:40:180:40:21

I've been to lots of auctions.

0:40:210:40:23

She said, "Why don't you buy something?" I said, "I will do, once something hits me."

0:40:230:40:31

We looked at a few properties and this is the best one in the area.

0:40:310:40:36

'Kabel and Rani are not typical developers.

0:40:360:40:40

'Most people buy for investment.

0:40:400:40:43

'Buying because you're bored is rather unusual.

0:40:430:40:47

'This is Kabel and Rani's first development project

0:40:510:40:54

'but they've already got their eye on the way forward.'

0:40:540:40:58

We're going to convert upstairs into a one-bedroom flat.

0:40:580:41:03

Put a staircase outside.

0:41:030:41:05

Do all the necessary work, according to plans.

0:41:050:41:10

-You're going to try and get the plans in place...

-The architect's put plans in two weeks ago.

0:41:100:41:17

He's doing the building regs. We should get it in eight weeks.

0:41:170:41:23

You're going to stick with what...

0:41:230:41:25

We'll stick to plan. If we have to change something, we have to change something.

0:41:250:41:31

Will the plan then be to rent out the flat or to sell it?

0:41:310:41:36

I'll see what it's worth. If I can sell it, I'll sell it.

0:41:360:41:41

If not, let it out.

0:41:410:41:43

'With the uncertain state of the housing market, it's good to see

0:41:430:41:47

'that Kabel and Rani have flexible plans.

0:41:470:41:50

'But wouldn't dealing with a house or flat be more straightforward?'

0:41:560:42:02

I'm buying commercial for reason, you get to rent.

0:42:020:42:06

If I buy a house for the same price, you're not going to get the rent.

0:42:060:42:11

If I can let the flat out and let the shop out,

0:42:110:42:15

I should get double the rent.

0:42:150:42:17

How much is it going to cost you?

0:42:170:42:20

-We've got a figure in mind around about five grand.

-5,000?

0:42:200:42:25

Around about that. Give or take a bit more.

0:42:250:42:28

Whatever it takes to do.

0:42:280:42:30

'The majority of that £5,000 will go on converting and refurbishing the flat upstairs.

0:42:300:42:37

'Kabel doesn't plan to do much with the commercial unit, except install a new kitchen.

0:42:370:42:43

'He'll save on labour costs by doing the work himself with friends.

0:42:430:42:47

'There's Rani, too, of course!'

0:42:470:42:49

-Rani, what are you going to do?

-A bit of painting, a bit of tidying up. That's all, really.

0:42:490:42:56

I can't do much because I had operation. I can't lift heavy stuff so I'll leave it to him.

0:42:560:43:02

'I don't blame you! They've got a schedule of three months.

0:43:020:43:06

'With his mates, Kabel plans to erect that new staircase,

0:43:060:43:10

'remove the existing staircase and install a new kitchen.

0:43:100:43:16

'Let's not forget that new bathroom suite.

0:43:160:43:19

'For a job like this, even on mate's rates,

0:43:190:43:22

'that budget looks like it will be stretched.'

0:43:220:43:26

-All that for five grand?

-It could be more.

-Five to eight.

0:43:260:43:30

My friends think it could be around about that.

0:43:300:43:34

We can't see much more than that.

0:43:340:43:37

-The staircase is going to take a big chunk out of it, £800.

-Wow.

0:43:370:43:43

-Congratulations. I look forward to seeing how you get on.

-Thank you very much. Can't wait.

0:43:430:43:49

A lot of Rani and Kabel's plans depend on getting that change of use reinstated.

0:43:490:43:56

A £5,000 budget to do the conversion of the flat?

0:43:560:43:59

It's going to be tight! Find out how they get on later in the show.

0:43:590:44:04

Time has flown. How have our buyers got on with their properties?

0:44:070:44:12

Let's go back and check out what's happened.

0:44:120:44:15

'Back to Gosport in Hampshire, where property developer Christine

0:44:160:44:21

'bought this three-bed detached house for 182,000.

0:44:210:44:25

'Its condition was perfect for Christine, a former care home owner.

0:44:250:44:30

'She planned to do most of the work, and didn't want to waste any time.'

0:44:300:44:36

-Are you excited?

-I can't wait for you to go and to get my overalls on!

0:44:360:44:40

-Have you got your kit in your car?

-Yes. It's all there waiting.

0:44:400:44:45

'We didn't even get offered a cup of tea!

0:44:460:44:49

'All that enthusiasm made us keen to return three months later

0:44:490:44:54

'to find out if Christine had taken care of this home.'

0:44:540:44:59

It was very old-fashioned.

0:45:160:45:19

There was a breakfast bar here,

0:45:190:45:22

a stand-alone oven there

0:45:220:45:24

and just a basic cupboard with one above over there.

0:45:240:45:29

The whole lot was ripped out.

0:45:290:45:32

This area here was widened a little bit.

0:45:320:45:36

So there was another beam put in there for the strength.

0:45:360:45:40

Neutral coloured kitchen with integrated appliances,

0:45:400:45:44

and now we have a breakfast bar as well.

0:45:440:45:48

I also, for an extra touch, put plinth lights around the bottom.

0:45:480:45:52

And I'm thrilled with the results.

0:45:520:45:55

'It's a very stylish kitchen.

0:45:550:45:59

'Christine also turned the loo into a utility area,

0:45:590:46:03

'installing the new closet under the stairs.

0:46:030:46:07

'The house demonstrates a high standard of finish,

0:46:070:46:11

'with a contemporary bathroom suite upstairs.

0:46:110:46:14

'The predominantly neutral decor

0:46:140:46:17

'with accent walls helps to make the house saleable.

0:46:170:46:20

'But getting here wasn't straightforward.'

0:46:200:46:24

I went out to my van and got the steamer.

0:46:240:46:27

I was excited and wanted to get the wallpaper off.

0:46:270:46:31

It didn't happen the way I'd planned.

0:46:310:46:33

Not only did the wallpaper come off,

0:46:330:46:36

but the plaster came off as well.

0:46:360:46:39

Once the top plaster had come off, the bottom was in such a state

0:46:390:46:44

that it came off and we were back to brickwork.

0:46:440:46:48

So we had three skipfuls of brick and rubble. It was quite horrendous.

0:46:480:46:54

'Not a great start.

0:46:540:46:56

'That led to the unplanned total rewiring of the house.

0:46:560:47:00

'Fortunately, the potential damp problem

0:47:000:47:04

'had already been fixed by the previous owner.

0:47:040:47:08

'With that dealt with, it's easier to focus on the good points.

0:47:080:47:12

'The new back doors lead to one of the biggest pluses.'

0:47:120:47:16

I've loved the transformation of the garden,

0:47:180:47:22

the transformation of the garage.

0:47:220:47:24

When you go right to the back of the garden, it used to be a wilderness.

0:47:240:47:29

I've now done that into what I think is a barbecue area.

0:47:290:47:35

The greenhouse I've used.

0:47:350:47:38

I've brought on seeds. They're all now in the garden.

0:47:380:47:42

There's now tomatoes growing and runner beans.

0:47:420:47:46

Back to the good life!

0:47:460:47:49

'There's enough room behind the garage to run a smallholding,

0:47:490:47:53

'so the good life could be possible, but it's certainly not been simple.'

0:47:530:47:59

I have been here, it feels like 24/7.

0:47:590:48:03

I have devoted a lot of time.

0:48:030:48:06

I've done the decorating, the paint work, the garden.

0:48:060:48:11

I went home every night shattered, filthy, longing to get into a hot bath, but I've loved every minute!

0:48:110:48:19

'I reckon all that hard graft has paid off.

0:48:190:48:22

'With the help of her brother, Andy, Christine has a finished product,

0:48:220:48:28

'bang-on the schedule of 12 weeks.

0:48:280:48:31

'So what about her 15 to 20 grand budget?'

0:48:310:48:35

Oh, dear! LAUGHS

0:48:360:48:39

I've come in at 22.

0:48:390:48:41

But it's because I put the integrated appliances in

0:48:410:48:46

and because of the replastering, but I'm still happy.

0:48:460:48:50

'Added to the £182,000 purchase price, the £22,000 renovation budget

0:48:510:48:59

'means Christine's total spend is about £204,000.

0:48:590:49:03

'So, will the house prove a good investment?

0:49:030:49:07

'We asked two local estate agents what they thought.'

0:49:070:49:11

'I think they've done a good job.

0:49:110:49:13

'They've made it nice and clean, contemporary.

0:49:130:49:16

'The floral prints work very well.'

0:49:160:49:20

They've opened up the space between the kitchen and dining room.

0:49:200:49:25

The bedrooms will work well with the new bathroom.

0:49:250:49:28

The big tiles are very popular. Good choice. They've done OK.

0:49:280:49:33

'She's done a nice job inside and outside. The garden looks superb.'

0:49:330:49:38

The kitchen and bathroom fittings are neutral, which people like.

0:49:380:49:43

'Plenty of garden space, both front and back.

0:49:430:49:47

'Plenty of room for children.

0:49:470:49:49

'You can put an extension on the back.'

0:49:490:49:52

There's a garage and a vegetable plot, which is very popular.

0:49:520:49:57

'Will the resale price be equally attractive?

0:49:570:50:00

'Christine plans to sell.

0:50:000:50:03

'With the total spend at £204,000,

0:50:030:50:06

'will the valuations mean she'll be sitting pretty?'

0:50:060:50:10

I would expect it to achieve in the region of 220,000 to 225,000.

0:50:100:50:16

I would put the property on the market for £230,000 to £235,000.

0:50:160:50:21

LAUGHS I love the 235!

0:50:210:50:24

But I'd be happy with either.

0:50:240:50:28

Yeah. That's OK.

0:50:280:50:29

'That top figure could mean a pre-tax profit of £31,000.

0:50:290:50:35

'Pretty good going for 12 weeks' work.

0:50:350:50:38

'If she decides not to sell,

0:50:380:50:40

'there could be a rental income of £900 per calendar month.

0:50:400:50:45

'After the excitement of this renovation,

0:50:450:50:48

'does Christine plan to take some gardening leave?'

0:50:480:50:52

A rest then, hopefully, when I've sold this, on to the next project.

0:50:520:50:58

'Earlier, we were in Snodland, in Kent, where Kabel and Rani

0:51:020:51:07

'bought this commercial property for 110,000.

0:51:070:51:10

'Kabel splashed out on this because he wanted something to do

0:51:100:51:15

'and always fancied developing.

0:51:150:51:18

'They plan to convert the first floor into a one-bed flat

0:51:180:51:21

'and keep the ground floor as commercial premises.

0:51:210:51:26

'Well, that was six months ago.

0:51:270:51:30

'The office space is pretty unchanged.

0:51:300:51:33

'So, what's happened upstairs?'

0:51:330:51:36

I'll tell you what we haven't done! That's simpler!

0:51:360:51:40

We done everything.

0:51:400:51:42

'The most striking change is the use of the staircase landing.

0:51:450:51:49

'It now has a contemporary galley style kitchen.

0:51:490:51:53

'The old loo area has a new bathroom suite.

0:51:560:52:00

'And the bedrooms have been redecorated.

0:52:030:52:07

'If you're wondering how to get in, go out the back,

0:52:070:52:11

'and you'll see a new staircase, giving the flat private access.

0:52:110:52:15

'So far, so very good.'

0:52:150:52:19

It took us a bit longer than we thought it was going to

0:52:190:52:23

and it's cost us more, so it's just a learning curve, this first one.

0:52:230:52:29

Cos we didn't plan it, it went on and on.

0:52:290:52:33

It took longer than we thought, that was the hardest part.

0:52:330:52:38

'Some of that time had been eaten up applying for planning permission

0:52:380:52:43

'to change upstairs to residential.

0:52:430:52:46

'The flat also needed replastering, rewiring, plumbing and new windows.

0:52:460:52:51

'What really set Kabel back was something he hadn't expected.'

0:52:510:52:56

Planning permission wasn't too bad. Took six weeks.

0:52:570:53:01

It's the building regs which were more than we thought they'd be.

0:53:010:53:06

The building inspector's been very good.

0:53:060:53:09

We didn't know the building regs before we bought it.

0:53:090:53:14

'Keeping the office space meant providing a disabled toilet,

0:53:140:53:18

'one of the necessary building regulations he hadn't bargained for.

0:53:180:53:23

'Making sure everything passed extended the schedule from four to six months.

0:53:230:53:29

'The budget was hit

0:53:290:53:31

'because Kabel made a "back of an envelope" estimate of just £5,000.'

0:53:310:53:38

It's gone more above.

0:53:380:53:40

It's gone to about, all told, I think we'll be about 25.

0:53:400:53:44

It's 24 at the moment. I've got £1,000 to spend on it.

0:53:440:53:48

Bits and pieces.

0:53:480:53:50

'On top of the £110,000 he paid, Kabel's total spend will now be about £135,000.

0:53:500:53:58

'It's lucky that a lot of work was done by friends and Rani,

0:53:580:54:02

'or the final bill could have been higher

0:54:020:54:05

'and any profits flushed away.

0:54:050:54:08

'Remember, Kabel has spent £135,000.

0:54:120:54:15

'So, we asked two local estate agents

0:54:150:54:18

'if they thought he'd got the best out of his investment.'

0:54:180:54:25

The quality of work looks good, particularly in the flat.

0:54:250:54:30

They're more advanced there. They've really made the best of the space.

0:54:300:54:36

You go through the kitchen to the lounge

0:54:360:54:39

or lounge-bedroom, that was very imaginative.

0:54:390:54:43

The flat is lovely. There's two wonderful original fireplaces.

0:54:430:54:48

One in the bedroom, one in the lounge.

0:54:480:54:51

The way they're decorating is really good. Really nice.

0:54:510:54:55

'So, the flat gets the thumbs-up.

0:54:550:54:57

'With the commercial space below, who would this property appeal to?'

0:54:570:55:02

It might be somebody who wants the retail

0:55:020:55:06

and living accommodation above, that is possible.

0:55:060:55:10

Or someone might just want the shop and not need accommodation.

0:55:100:55:15

They may then let out the flat to cover their costs of starting a business.

0:55:150:55:21

Should they wish to sell, it would have to be as a whole.

0:55:210:55:26

The retail outlet with the self-contained flat

0:55:260:55:31

would reach a figure of £150,000.

0:55:310:55:34

The resale value for the property would be in the region of £150,000.

0:55:340:55:39

'With Kabel's total spend estimated at £135,000,

0:55:390:55:44

'that could mean a pre-tax profit of 15,000.

0:55:440:55:48

'That's disappointing for him. So, how about the rental figures?'

0:55:480:55:52

Should you rent out the property,

0:55:520:55:55

the retail outlet should achieve around £6,000 per annum,

0:55:550:56:00

and the self-contained flat should reach £550 per calendar month.

0:56:000:56:07

I think the rental on the flat would be in the region of £450 a month.

0:56:070:56:13

The rental on the retail premises, approximately £6,000 a year.

0:56:130:56:19

'That rental income

0:56:190:56:21

'could give Kabel a healthy annual yield of just over 9%.

0:56:210:56:25

'Is that better news?'

0:56:250:56:27

That's good.

0:56:280:56:30

'Kabel's first dip into developing hasn't gone as well as he'd hoped,

0:56:300:56:35

'but it hasn't put him off and has shown him

0:56:350:56:39

'the importance of research and planning.

0:56:390:56:42

'So, where does he go from here?'

0:56:420:56:45

Put this on the market. If I can't sell it, I'll have to rent it out.

0:56:450:56:50

A house, a flat or a bit of land, we'll have lots more things for you next time on Homes Under The Hammer.

0:56:520:56:58

-Make sure you join us then.

-Goodbye for now.

-Goodbye.

0:56:580:57:02

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:230:57:25

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit an old store in Dorset, a three bedroom detached house in Hampshire and a commercial property in Kent.

All of these properties have been sold at auction; Martin and Lucy find out who bought them, and what they paid when they went under the hammer.