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With the ups and downs of the property market,
you need to trust your instincts when buying.
And nowhere is this more true than in the auction room.
So join us now as we try to take the lottery out of property
under the hammer.
Buying at auction doesn't have to be a scary experience.
If you do your research and you stick to your limit, you can bid with confidence.
We'll be meeting some buyers today. How did they get on?
Did they bag a bargain or get more than they bargained for?
Let's take a look at what they bought.
I'm in Devon and trying to get an angle on this terraced property.
Those stairs definitely don't look right at all.
We revisit this cracking flat in London.
Straight in the front door and already, that is not looking good.
And I'm North Lanarkshire, near Airdrie,
to see this big bungalow.
I just can't get my head round this place.
It's almost like it's too big for its own good.
All these properties were sold at auction.
We'll find out who bought them and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.
I'm in Plymouth, a city widely known for its maritime history,
from early explorers such as Sir Francis Drake
through centuries of worldwide trade and as a base for the Royal Navy.
The city's sea-related industry may have declined over the past 50 years,
but it continues to be proud of its seafaring traditions.
The house I'm here to see is not far from the docks
and a short walk from Plymouth city centre.
At a guide price of 65,000 quid, a three-bed, mid-terrace,
let's take a look.
These tightly packed terraces were built around the turn of the last century.
Due to the naval base,
the city suffered greatly from Luftwaffe bombing raids
during World War Two.
Let's take a look inside.
Well, it's a fairly standard layout, as to be expected.
Living room there at the front.
Clearly, total refurbishment required.
Rear living room there and then...
definitely don't look right.
It's like they're completely on an angle.
You know those fairground rides where you can go on the attraction
and everything sort of moves around and they have wonky stairs?
It's almost like... Well, it's like that.
Which you don't really want.
# Welcome to the house of fun Now I've come of age
# Welcome to the house of fun. #
That wonky staircase has all the tell-tale signs of subsidence
and something tells me there are more surprises in store
on the first floor.
Back downstairs, however, the rear reception room, like the front one,
is a good size
but there is no central heating.
Now on to the hub of every home.
The kitchen itself is not actually that bad.
The choice of these light-coloured units
really makes a dark space feel not as oppressive as it might.
So that's pretty serviceable. You could leave that as it is.
One thing that you definitely need to sort out, however, is this.
It's the only bathroom and loo in the building,
it's right at the back here,
and as you can see, it is dingy, dark, horrible, yuck.
And, yeah, this definitely needs work.
Outside in the back garden, there's room to extend the house out and up,
perhaps creating an upstairs bathroom.
So the stairs make me seasick and the bathroom is far from shipshape
but now it's time for the uncharted waters of upstairs.
This property has three double bedrooms.
The electrics need modernisation, however there is double glazing throughout.
For all the severe slopes, I see no serious structural damage here.
If the subsidence is historic and the ground around the foundations has stabilised,
then the house shouldn't need underpinning.
Let's hope so, as that can be extremely costly,
disruptive and time consuming.
Well, it's not just the doorframes and the stairs and the doors that are all skewwhiff,
in fact most of the floors are also on a bit of a slope.
The big question is, is it historical or not?
I reckon it is, in which case it might not be a problem,
if you like your house on a slope.
I invited along the auctioneer who sold the property
to give us his slant on it.
It's slightly quirky.
It's straight lines were adjusted by the German air force
on a Tuesday night in 1943.
But it's got a lot of character as a result.
It's a bit wonky and some of the doorways, you look twice at them, and the stairs,
but I think that's the charm of the place.
'Mm. If the buyer were to move the bathroom upstairs,
'it could reduce the number of bedrooms.
'If this was done, what would the sell-on value be?'
A two-bedroom version of the house with the bathroom upstairs,
would probably be worth something in the region of £120,000.
If you rebuilt the bathroom, kept it downstairs,
put a lobby between the kitchen and it,
you'd be pushing on towards £130,000
but I don't think you'd quite get that.
And rental income?
Rental value as a two-bedroomed house with the bathroom upstairs
would be in the region of £500 per calendar month
and if you kept the bathroom at the back
and had three bedrooms upstairs,
you could tiptoe towards £550 per calendar month.
So after doing the sums,
it seems the new owner would be slightly better off
keeping the three bedrooms and having a downstairs bathroom.
Well, ideal if you're looking for a fairground ride
rather than a property.
Joking apart though, that staircase and the rest of it does need a bit of sorting out.
Still, it was a good price and a good location,
so who had the stomach for this one when it went to the auction?
Who'll give me 65 to start me off?
65 straight in. Nice and simple.
Nobody want to start at 65 for the house?
Thank you, sir. He's away.
60 on the right. That was close. I'll give a single if it'll help. 61.
At 62. 63.
66 I've got. He's in at 66. You can't go wrong. 66 I've got.
At 66. At 66.
At 66 for the first time, then.
At 66 for the second time.
66 and a half was just sat. Forgive me.
66 and a half. 67. There's three of you, you see.
67 and a half? 67 and a half. And sat is giving me 68.
68 and a half, to be fair?
70? Or... Thank you, sir. 70. There we go.
At 70. At 70.
At 70. Looking at the back wall now.
70 and a half. 70 and a half. At 70 and a half.
71. At 71. At 71.
At 71, the first time. You're in, sir.
At 71 second time.
At 71 and out.
The successful bidder was Andrew.
If he wanted all the fun of the fair, he certainly has it,
but is this a house of fun or a house of horror?
Andrew paid £71,000 for this property.
He lives and works in London as a painter and decorator
but he's originally from Plymouth, so knows the area well.
-Good to meet you.
-Good to meet you.
-You've got yourself a wonky house.
Yeah but it's not that bad.
What did you think of it when you first saw it?
It's what I was expecting.
-You can see from the outside, it's pitching.
But a bit more pitching inside.
-Right. When did you first see it?
When I came in a minute ago. I seen it from the outside before.
-But you hadn't seen inside?
-Until ten minutes ago?
-Wow. You seem remarkably cool and relaxed and...
It's not that bad.
MARTIN CHUCKLES Right, yeah.
Andrew is obviously not scared of a challenge
and this house will certainly provide that.
Attempting to straighten the slants will require major building work.
Andrew will have to raise the floor level and drop the ceiling height.
So what are you going to do about the wonkiness?
-I'll leave some of it. It's...
-It adds character, perhaps?
I'm glad to see that you're so positive about it.
It's a nice-sized place. There's nothing wrong with it being a bit wonky.
-It's just a bit different.
Depends. If you was as old as this, you'd be a bit wonky,
so you've got to look at it that way.
I like your attitude. Absolutely.
Andrew has a positive attitude towards his new investment
and has the skills for this renovation.
He's a painter and decorator and also has building experience,
plus a plumbing qualification.
Friends and family in the building trade will be helping him, too.
My brother, he'll be doing that back addition.
That'll be knocked down, new bathroom and then go from there.
Ceilings dropped, rewire, central heating -
-it's all got to be done.
-At least it's double glazed, most of it, except the back part.
So it's not that bad.
I love this guy's optimism!
He's been living and working in London for 23 years
but he'll stay with his brother in their home city of Plymouth
while carrying out the work.
-So how are you going to do this when you live in London?
-If there's no work up there, I'll do this.
-How much are you going to spend sorting it out?
I reckon it's going to cost about 15 grand.
So you've got a reasonable budget. How long will it take?
Erm, about eight weeks.
-Any idea how much you might get for it, rented?
-I'll get 650 a month.
Oh, right, OK. That's a good return, then.
-Good luck sorting it out and I look forward to seeing how you get on.
Well, Andrew seems remarkably unfazed by the state of the house,
given that he's literally just seen it for the first time.
Just as well, really, because he has bought it, so it is too late.
Still, he's got 15 grand to sort it out.
Will it be enough? Will he get bored with the quirkiness?
You can find out later in the show.
It was back in the year 2007
when I took a stroll through an up and coming area of London.
According to Land Registry figures,
the average property price in Camden is £472,000.
The lot up for auction today isn't anywhere near that figure.
In fact, it's for a very modest £175,000.
Now, that's got you interested, hasn't it?
Especially when you look around
and you see all these wonderful, grand houses
in a lovely street like this.
Let's have a look at the property.
This property sits in a lovely, leafy part of Camden
and feels a million miles away from the famous weekend market and bars there.
In fact, you're just a short walk from all that Camden offers.
Straight in the front door and already, that is not looking good.
This crack doesn't bode well.
Communal areas can tell you a lot about a property
and I've noticed a big crack on the outside wall.
Oh, well. Onwards and upwards.
Now, I've conquered all those stairs,
let's take a little look around this flat.
Now, what's in here?
The bathroom is looking like the most uninviting place to wash, let me tell you.
There's a big ladder hanging from the ceiling up there
and in here, you've got the reception room.
Now, it's got sloping floors
but it does have a really nice feature fireplace, saying that.
The kitchen is at the back there
and in here is the reception room.
It faces the front of the property.
Sadly, there's not a period Victorian fireplace in here,
just this old, grey, tiled one.
It has got lovely old original sash windows, though.
Once refurbished, they would look really nice.
But everywhere I'm looking, there's cracks.
The skirting board down here is coming away.
And up here, there's a half-inch gap in the wall. Look at that.
It's as though this house is falling down.
I need to investigate further.
There are cracks in every corner of this flat, in every room.
-# Shaking all over... #
-The kitchen, the rear reception room,
and in here, as I suspected - look, more cracks.
I'm just wondering if the root of this problem lies out there.
70% of all subsidence cases are caused by thirsty tree roots
and so I always make a point of seeing how close they are to a property.
Now, a rough rule of thumb
is that a 15-foot tree should be at least 15 feet away from the house.
That said, it's not actually a precise science.
The best thing in this case would be to seek out advice.
Whoever buys this, will need a full and detailed surveyor's report.
Rush into this purchase
and you could find yourself with a hefty underpinning bill.
That's an expensive exercise.
The cost of underpinning an average house
can cost up to £12,000,
so always get professional advice if you're not sure about a crack.
It seems we all want more space to live.
If you can't find the additional room you need
by reconfiguring the current layout,
the next most cost-effective option is to convert the loft.
Now, loft conversions vary in cost according to size and complexity
but as a rough guide, having your loft converted or extended
would usually cost between £20,000 to £70,000.
That initial layout will certainly add more value to your property,
so it's something to consider here.
One thing's for sure - you've certainly got the space
but of course, you will need permission.
But another setback for the flat is the lease.
It's only 56 years, which is short,
and could certainly put off a lot of buyers.
But the £175,000 guide price reflected that this flat was far from perfect
and would need a lot of work to bring it up to scratch.
This lot isn't for the faint-hearted.
There's a lot to contend with.
There's a short lease
and there are serious cracks that need addressing.
But I do really love the location
and if you're looking for a buy to let, you'll never be short on tenants.
Let's go to the auction.
All right, lot 8. Who'd like to kick off on this one?
I don't know, a flat in Camden. £200,000?
It must be worth 200 all day long.
If not, you tell me. Where do you wish to start?
171. 175, yes?
191, sitting down.
192. 193, madam, at the back. New spot.
200. 205, madam?
212. Right at the back. 213.
214, madam? 215.
236? 235 at the back.
First time, second time
third and last time.
Have you all...?
Are you sure? 237.
First time, second time, third and last time. Have you all done?
Sold. 237. Well done, madam. You got there.
That successful final bid of 237,000 was made by Kate,
who's an editor of feature films.
Along with her husband Peter, a television producer,
this creative couple have a job on their hands
to make this flat a blockbuster rather than a disaster movie.
-So had you viewed this property prior to auction?
-And you hadn't, Peter?
-I'd not seen it till today.
So how were you describing this to your husband?
Er, well, I...
tried to leave out some of the cracks.
Although Peter wasn't at the auction
and hadn't seen the house until today,
he's very excited by the legal pack.
He has studied it as thoroughly as one of his scripts.
The fantastic thing about auctions is you do get this wonderful pack
and in this wonderful pack, amongst stuff about the lease and bits and bobs,
was a huge great thick survey somebody had had done,
I think it was the outgoing person,
so we could see there's a solution, there's pages of solutions.
Kate, why do you think it was a risk worth taking?
Well, really because it's in Camden. I mean, it's really a very good area.
And if we just solve some of the problems, the flat will be very valuable.
It's a house that's divided into flats,
so it's in the interests of all the people to fix structural stuff.
It has to get fixed somehow.
What's your budget for the work you need to do here?
Well, I think it'll be about 20,000, hopefully less than that.
But me and the chap underneath are going to want to move quite quickly,
which is why we're prepared to put our own money in and sort it out afterwards.
If the cracks affect the whole property,
then the costs could be very high
and they're not even sure what's causing them.
# You don't know what's going on... #
Maybe the clues lie in the photographs
that Peter has studied from the legal pack.
His knowledge of the area goes back many years.
I think it's really interesting that you lived in this area in the '60s.
How has it changed, do you think?
Well, yes, I was a student
and I lived in a bedsit at the top of a house
further down the hill.
So it's quite amusing to be in a place here that, curiously, hasn't changed much.
This is very much like the crummy bedsit I was living in in the '60s.
For the last few years, Kate has been developing properties in between her feature films
and has nearly finished a refurbishment of another place in Tottenham.
Peter, do you share Kate's love and passion of property?
I suppose in a different way.
She's the speculator and the risk-taker.
I'm the boring, hang on a minute, what about this, read the small print...
What we both enjoy is taking really clapped-out,
useless, rubbish properties
and putting them back into circulation
so people can actually live in them.
OK, we make a bit of money and we sell it and we move on
but this place is uninhabitable at the minute
and one hopes that in a few months' time somebody will be living in it.
Well, that was in October 2007.
When we first went back one year later,
it was still a long way from anyone wanting to live there.
Serious structural work was underway
to rectify the cracks on the whole building
and the flat itself was in a bit of a state.
Kate was planning a complete layout change,
including building into the loft space
but the light at the end of the tunnel still seemed a long way off.
# Lights go out
# Walls come tumbling down... #
I'm sure my vision will be realised in six months because it's got to be.
It's got to go forward. We can't leave it like this, can we?
It's a wreck!
It certainly was a wreck
but join us later in the show to see how it's finally gone
from disaster zone to desirable dwelling.
# ..and systems fall Cos unity is powerful... #
Coming up, I'm excited about this beat-up and broken down bungalow
in North Lanarkshire.
What does it cry out to me? Building plot.
Now it's getting interesting.
We revisit this renovation in Camden
to find out if it all ended in tears.
Nice to know that if you stick at it, usually there's a happy ending.
But first, we're back in Plymouth
to hear what lessons Andrew's learned about buying at auction.
Have a look at it first. As simple as that.
Let's return to the south Devon coast.
And this quirky little terrace in Plymouth.
# Welcome to the house of fun Now I've come of age
# Welcome to the house of fun. #
The house was purchased for £71,000 by painter and decorator Andrew,
who got a bit of a surprise when he first entered.
-When did you first see it?
-Literally a minute ago.
It's not that bad.
The property suffered from historic subsidence
but Andrew had a positive attitude
and was keen to meet the challenges of this house head on.
There were two good-sized reception rooms...
a kitchen and downstairs toilet and shower room,
all positively pleading for a makeover.
Upstairs, there were three bedrooms.
Well, now we're back, four months later,
to see if Andrew levelled out those leans
and straightened up the slopes.
# Fix me up
# In the middle of the morning, evening
# Oh, baby, fix me up
# Ooh, I want my healing. #
Well, yes, Andrew has lifted the floors and dropped the ceilings,
creating strong straight lines.
The result is an old property that looks like new.
I've totally gutted it.
Dropped the ceilings, obviously had to level the floors,
hacked the walls off because there was damp,
so I sorted all that out.
Obviously, basically doing that and then putting it back together again.
# Fix me up... #
I'm quite happy with it because it's done properly.
I've done it as if I'm going to live in it, which I'm not.
The once tired and tatty reception rooms
have been rejuvenated and now feel bright and cheery.
In the entrance hall, Andrew used steel beams
to correct the listing staircase.
We've used steel supports, put directly under the stairs
and another here to hold the landing.
So we ripped out all the timbers
and then forced the staircase to square it all off
and then put new timbers in, levelled the floors
and it's turned out all right.
# Yo, baby, fix me up. #
Andrew has certainly worked hard to achieve these outstanding results.
I'm extremely impressed
and can't wait to see how he's transformed this bathroom.
# Yo, baby, fix me up. #
Oh, well. I guess Andrew's been busy elsewhere.
He's knocked down the old bathroom and is rebuilding it from scratch.
No time for cat naps, there's the kitchen to finish as well.
In fact, the kitchen's been gutted and is being completely refurbished.
The kitchen will be done next week,
so, like, say next week, into the week after,
and then once the back's built up, we can install the bathroom
and put a floor in and then that'll be done.
Then decorating the outside, so we're looking at three or four weeks.
Andrew is already five weeks over his eight-week schedule
but he has also been working in London during that time.
And I expect that with the amount of work undertaken
he's spent more than his £15,000 budget.
I've spent about 20,000
and by the time it's finished it'll be about 30.
So I just hope I get a return.
By the time Andrew has finished,
he expects to have spent a total of £101,000,
buying and renovating the place.
I invited along two local property experts
to give us their opinion.
I'm very impressed with the property.
It's been done to a very high standard, with newly fitted carpets,
and it will look fantastic when completed.
My first thoughts are that it's brightened up, it's clean
and the tilt has been taken out
and he's made a nice job of levelling out the floors
and a new modern covering.
What would be the main attraction of this property to would-be buyers?
The best selling point for this property is the size.
You've got three good-sized double bedrooms,
as well as two fantastic reception spaces downstairs.
It's a very good size for a young family
and it's in very close proximity to Devonport dockyard
and will attract people in the forces.
The property's going to appeal to people
who would like a three-bedroomed house,
can't really afford it
but because the bathroom's downstairs,
this three-bedroom house is about the price of a two-bedroom house.
The layout is what you expect with this style of property.
Some people will see a disadvantage with the bathroom being downstairs
but the majority of people expect that with this style of property.
Once renovated, what sort of rental income could this place generate?
When completed, I would value the property for £575 per calendar month.
Most people wanting to rent the property out
would pay £525 per calendar month because the bathroom's downstairs.
If it didn't bother them,
they might just stretch to £550 per calendar month.
Those figures would give Andrew an annual yield of between 5% and 7%
but he believes that if he let the house out, he could earn more.
That's the going if you was doing it through an agent
but if I'd done it, I would have done it through the council
and you get 640 to 650 a month at the moment.
Letting out the house through the council could be a good plan
but Andrew wants to finish the work and put it back on the market.
When finished, he will have spent a total of £101,000,
so what would its value be if sold?
When completed, I would value the property for £120,000.
When the house is fully completed,
it's value will be in the region of £120,000, maybe £125,000.
That would give Andrew a pre-tax profit of between £19-24,000,
minus the usual selling expenses, of course.
So does he feel like the cat that got the cream
or he is a sourpuss?
Well, I'm happy. That's not that bad.
It's expected, it's in the range.
So, yeah, not bad at all.
What lessons has he learnt from buying this property at auction?
Have a look at it first.
As simple as that. Have a good look at it first next time
and know what you're buying.
I'm in a small town called Plains in central Scotland,
which lies on a main commuter route for Edinburgh and Glasgow.
I'm here to see a five-bedroom, detached, chalet-style bungalow.
That's it. The guide price of 110-120,000 quid.
Good news that it's set back from the road
but do those boarded-up windows mean there are set-backs to discover
There is a sweeping driveway
but the bungalow has certainly not been well-maintained.
# I'm a big mess
# I'm in a really big mess. #
So through the fairly impressive double-doored entrance
into an equally impressive entrance hall.
Not what you expect in a bungalow like this.
Leading off it, two huge great rooms, living room on that side.
I say living room but it's got a sink unit, which is strange -
obviously converted into a bedroom at some point.
Living room on that side.
The corridor goes on to a rear area here,
which is again, a huge amount of space.
It's probably a waste of space.
Stairs up to the dormer rooms there.
Another bedroom or rear sitting room there.
I mean, it's immense for a bungalow.
# A big, big mess He was all mixed up in a big mess. #
Along with the three main rooms, there's also a kitchen
and a bathroom to the rear.
This bungalow just seems to go on and on - it's huge!
Well, upstairs, this expansive bungalow just continues.
Three bedrooms. You've got a bathroom with a loo there.
I mean, it's just extraordinary.
A bit strange in this room, one of the dormer bedrooms.
This is a stud partition wall that's been put in
but it just divides what was just one huge window.
Not really ideal.
But not as serious as this. Look at the floor here.
Obviously, there's been some kind of a water penetration problem through the ceiling,
probably a tile missing.
It's come down into here and caused serious problems with the floor.
That's not very good.
That clearly needs to be sorted out.
So all in all, I just can't quite get my head round this place.
It's like... It's almost like it's too big for its own good.
MUSIC: ROCK AND ROLL
So, huge bungalow which probably means small garden, right?
Wrong. It's absolutely massive.
It stretches all the way back to that wall.
What does it cry out to me? Building plot.
You've got access at the side, a flat area of land
and enough space to build something without affecting the bungalow.
Now it's getting interesting.
This bungalow has real development potential, despite being beat-up
and broken down.
It had a guide price of £110-£120,000.
I asked a local estate agent for some background.
In its previous life, it was used as a multi-occupancy
for the residential sector,
people who were coming out of care,
the next stage to come into the community.
That explains why there is a washbasin in every room.
But how much work needs to be done
to get this place back in peak condition?
To bring the house up to a good standard, there's a bit of damp.
There's leaks from the roof.
The kitchen and the bathroom will require refitting
and the heating system to be upgraded.
What could it sell for?
If you were using the place as a family home
after the property had been renovated,
the property would realise in the region of £210-220,000.
What about rental income?
It would achieve in the region of £800 per calendar month
Well, it's not often I'm flummoxed by a property
but I don't admitting that I am in this instance.
What would you do with this place? I really don't know.
Let's go back to some basics. It's a big property on a big plot of land,
therefore it's got to be worth that guide price.
Let's see who agreed with me when it went under the hammer.
Bit of interest before the auction on this
and I've got a proxy bid for someone who couldn't be here.
I'm going to start the bidding with the proxy bidder at £100,000.
What better place to start? I'm looking for just 101 in the room.
101, I've got a bid. 101 in front of me. 102. 103, then?
103. It's with the proxy bidder.
104. £104,000. 105?
106? 106 it is.
106. 107? Yes. 107,000.
108, sir? 108.
111? 111 it is.
Are you out? You are.
113. Just you and me at the moment, sir. 113.
114. 114. It's with the proxy bidder.
115,000. You'll be relieved, sir, the proxy bidder's out.
It's your bid at £115,000.
£115,000. Are we all done, then? At 115. I'm going to sell.
Sold. 115. Congratulations, sir.
The successful bid of 115,000 came from Rana and his wife Shabana.
Rana, who owns three grocery shops, will be renovating the property,
along with his brother-in-law, Sharaz.
-Sharaz, Rana, lovely to meet you. Congratulations.
Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.
Well, we saw loads of potential in this premises.
We saw it just prior to the auction
and a fair amount of space, the rooms are quite large
and, yeah, definitely.
Quite a challenge but looking to go ahead and take up this challenge.
-So what was it about the house that you liked?
-The size of it.
As I say, it's potentially got five bedrooms.
The amount of land that comes with it, there's space for a number of vehicles at the back.
It's a fair distance away from the main road,
so that was certainly something that we were quite interested in.
Rana, what do you do when you're not doing this?
I am a shop-keeper.
-You like this house?
-I like the house.
It's big... Big rooms and big grounds.
So who were you at the auction with, Rana?
-Me and my wife.
And why isn't she here today?
-My wife is pregnant.
Yes. We already have four children, baby girls.
Oh, lovely. Fantastic.
As Rana is working with his wife Shabana's brother, Sharaz,
this renovation is a real family affair.
Rana and Shabana already have four little girls.
It's no wonder they were attracted to this spacious bungalow.
But what do they plan to do with it once they've done it up?
Will it be their new family home?
I couldn't get my head around what to do with it.
Are you keeping it as it is with these massive rooms?
We will be more or less keeping it the way it is with these rooms.
We actually have a few ideas and we were thinking along the lines of bed and breakfast,
turning it into a bed and breakfast,
do we want to rent it out, as in...
certain rooms, rent out each room to lodgers individually.
Er... But I think we've, you know...
Once we've got the main work out of the way,
then it's something that we can think harder about -
what do we want to do with it?
Undertaking a renovation on this scale
without a clear idea of what it's going to be
could be a massive folly.
When I saw the plot of land at the back,
I thought, maybe build another house there.
That's something, depending on the budget, you know...
We have got a certain amount of money put aside for it
in terms of what we're going to use for development.
I don't think it'll cover building another house at the back, Martin,
but you never know - we'll see in future.
What is the budget? How much money have you got to spend?
And how long do you think it will take?
Nearly three, two months.
-Two or three months? And you're doing a lot of the work?
-Do you enjoy that?
-I do enjoy that.
-I like it.
And so how are you going to share the jobs between you?
I'm going to do administration work in terms of contacting agencies,
so I'm going to be project managing, in a sense.
Rana's going to be doing the bulk of it, the heavy-duty stuff.
-And when it comes to small detail, I think I'll be popping in.
You leave him to a project and hopefully, within a few months...
Well, most of the time, it gets done.
He's the type of man that, yeah, leave him to it
and he'll get it done, eventually.
-Are you excited about it?
Life isn't life without challenges, so, you know, erm...
Yeah, it's a challenge. It's quite a big challenge.
It's something big we've taken on but I think we can tackle it.
-Congratulations. Well done.
-Thank you very much.
-Good luck with it.
-Thanks very much.
Well, Sharaz and Rana have got themselves a big project here
and I just hope that budget of 20 grand
is going to be enough to sort it out.
Are they maximising its potential? Well, I'm not so sure.
But you can see how they get on later in the show.
Well, time has flown since we last saw our plucky buyers.
But have they been firing on all cylinders?
Let's go back and find out.
# Camden Town... #
We've back to Camden in northwest London now,
where in 2007, I first came across
this cracking top-floor, one-bedroom flat.
Part-time developer Kate and her husband Peter bought it
Kate's a feature film editor, while Peter is a TV producer,
so they were hoping to make a blockbuster out of this place.
But the whole building had major structural issues,
which weren't going to be solved easily.
And when we returned a year later,
it looked like Kate's latest showpiece
hadn't made it to its premiere.
Apart from the scaffolding outside,
the interior dividing walls and ceilings had also come down.
But it seemed all that structural work had presented the couple with a great opportunity.
It was riddled with cracks.
in the front of the building and the back of the building
and that was probably reflected in the price.
It's a slightly cooperative venture because the other residents
wanted that work to be done.
So the deal was, we took advantage of the fact
that it was going to have to have some sort of strapping and beams to hold the house together,
to contribute a fair amount extra and go that extra step and have the loft conversion.
Adding a loft extension is a good way to add value here
but with a year of slow progress,
Kate was determined to get something out of this place
in the next six months.
I'm sure my vision will be realised in six months
because it's got to be.
What can we do? It's got to go forward. We can't leave it like this.
I mean, it's a wreck.
Well, that was in 2008.
One year and ten months later,
we return to the welcome sight of all that scaffolding gone
What a difference. From gutted shell to a contemporary London apartment.
At the front, there's a spacious, open-plan living room and kitchen.
And at the back, a spacious bedroom, complete with its own shower.
It's been a long process getting here
and we met up again with Kate and Peter
to see how the project finally turned out.
Peter talked us through one of the major changes.
Well, this is where the disgusting little, tiny separate kitchen was.
So we've had that wall gone.
New kitchen put in, little island unit, which is nice.
New ceiling, because of doing the loft, with the downlighters.
Kept the original windows, refurbished them because they're nice.
So we like it but the tenants do as well, so we're happy.
In the hall, there's a communal toilet
but more importantly, stairs leading up to that value-adding second bedroom.
Again, it's a good size
and also has the benefit of its own en-suite facilities.
The entire flat is certainly very different from its original state.
Although the work was necessary,
it seems that it wasn't subsidence that was causing the cracks
and peeling walls.
It turned out it was the upper walls parting company with the side walls,
which is possibly due to the effect of bombing, years and years ago.
The consensus was that they weren't getting any worse,
so the steel beams went in and clamped that all together
and the walls stripped down and built back up again.
That's all done and we got a certificate.
That's what everybody in the house was really happy with.
They couldn't sell their flats because nothing was mortgageable.
But now that's fixed and it's all done,
so the house is a better house than it was.
So everyone in the property seems to have come out ahead.
The other flat owners now have more desirable properties,
due to the work started by Kate and Peter
and the couple have finally got a top-notch two-bedroom flat.
The only drawback now was that 56-year lease.
But again, they had something up their sleeves.
The lease appeared to be short
but actually, we always had a share of the freehold.
It meant that we could just go to solicitors
and write ourselves a new lease, which we've done.
-So all the flats...
-All have new leases.
-We've all signed ourselves 999-year leases...
-So actually that was a false alarm because...
And I knew that I had the freehold when I bought it,
so it wasn't really a short lease.
-But if people saw 25-year lease...
-If people didn't investigate it...
But we read the small print and thought, "We'll be all right."
It's a great example of why it's so important to do your research
when buying a property.
The flat was finished ten months ago and is now tenanted
and is proudly paying its way.
So was the experience a happy one?
I'm pretty happy with the rent, you know.
Apart from that, I'm happy we actually got it finished.
There were times, I think when you last came here,
there were moments when it didn't... We weren't sure.
No, I think I was always sure we'd finish it
but I'm glad we have.
A lot of that time was taken with getting planning permission for the loft extension,
plus neighbours agreeing to the RSJ steel beams needed
to hold the building together.
You look back and think, "Crikey, this has taken two years."
But a lot of time, nothing was happening.
You buy it and all the excitement
and then there'd be a substantial period of time
when it lay dormant and you'd be drawing up plans and discussing it.
Then there'd be a burst of activity when beams and things come in
and then it all goes dormant.
Before you know it, another six months has gone by.
Then you get the fixes, plus we both have full-time jobs,
-so time does slither by...
-..without you realising it.
# Slip slidin' away
# Slip -slidin' away
# You know the nearer your destination
# The more you're slip slidin' away. #
But did Peter and Kate let the budget slip away from them?
Remember, they bought the flat for 237,000
and had estimated a shared cost for the structural repairs of 22 grand.
Their budget for the renovation was £20,000,
so they expected a total investment of 279,000.
Their final bill was in fact 310 grand,
making an overspend of 31,000.
But when you consider the nature of the job and the loft extension,
that wasn't bad going at all.
But was it a good investment?
We asked two local estate agents what they thought
of Kate and Peter's work.
It's a very nice flat. I like it a lot.
It's over two floors, very spacious, been done to a high spec.
It's a good location, very convenient for everything.
All I've seen is pretty beautiful.
I can see she choose the right colour in each room,
which is really nice, makes the rooms spacious.
She's done beautiful, amazing work and I have to admit that.
The estate agents also felt that the loft conversion certainly upped the value of the flat.
So after a total outlay of 310,000,
what sort of resale value could it achieve?
I would value this property for £350,000.
I would value this property at, or put it on the market at, 365,000.
Mm, yes, it's good, it's good,
but I don't think I'll be selling it straightaway. I'll wait a while.
So if they wanted to, they could make a pre-tax profit of £55,000.
But for now, they've chosen the rental option.
So are they getting the best out of this place?
You would be able to rent this property for 1,600, at least, per month.
For rentals for this flat, you're probably looking in the region of 1,500 to 1,600,
maybe a little bit more, per calendar month.
Erm, I'm getting more rent than that.
-So we'll keep quiet about that.
Slightly. A little bit more.
In fact, they're getting £1,700 per calendar month,
so no wonder they're smiling.
I reckon that despite the slow progress with this project,
Kate and Peter have ended up with a final cut that they're right to be delighted with.
Nice to know that if you stick at it, there usually is a happy ending,
if you're prepared to have the ups and downs in between.
Yes. I wouldn't use money that you might need in a hurry.
Remember this property in Plains, near Airdrie?
The bungalow was big. Very big.
It had two reception rooms,
two bedrooms and a kitchen downstairs.
Then there were three bedrooms in the dormer conversion,
plus a huge garden.
The bungalow was bought for £115,000 by Rana.
He and his wife Shabana's new property was not the only reason
they had smiles on their faces.
-So who were you at the auction with, Rana?
-Me and my wife.
-And why isn't she here today?
-My wife is pregnant.
Rana and his brother-in-law Sharaz hope to have the work complete
in just three months,
possibly to become a new family home for Rana and Shabana's new baby,
plus their four daughters.
# Baby, baby, baby, oh... #
Four months later, we're back
and the happy couple are the proud parents of baby boy Ses.
Oh, my boy!
Although the couple had toyed with different options for the property,
with five children to look after,
they have made up their mind what to do with this bungalow.
# I thought you'd always be mine, mine
# Baby, baby, baby, oh
# Like baby, baby, baby, no
# Like baby, baby, baby, oh... #
We are having five children now, so we could do with the five bedrooms.
The house was coming on quite nicely
and I thought, "I think I'll just start living here myself."
Initially, we thought about renting it out
but then you think, a house this size,
who's going to really rent it out?
I mean, like, two-bedroom, three-bedroom houses go quickly
but a five bedroom, it takes a bit longer.
So we've just decided to live in it, really, to move in ourselves.
The family plan to move in here in two weeks' time
and Rana has had to work hard to ensure that it will be ready.
When we did buy the house, the windows were boarded up,
so we've had the windows put in.
The boiler was missing, so we had a boiler fitted.
Just a few of the ceilings need plastering.
And there were lots of burst pipes.
There were just leakages all over, really.
There must have been at least a dozen.
So that was a bit of a shock, you know.
You fix one then there's something else
from somewhere up in the ceiling, some more water leaking,
and so we just had to get them fixed.
Rana employed a team of tradesmen to carry out the majority of the building work,
while he concentrated on the garden.
Upstairs, Rana has kept the every-so-slightly odd room layout,
with a partition wall cutting across the dormer window.
What do Rana and Shabana's girls think of what's to be their new home?
They like all the big rooms. There's a lot of space to run around in.
They have their own bedrooms.
At the moment, they need to share
but now they can have their own rooms and they're really happy.
They can't wait to move.
# Oh, girls just wanna have fun
# Girls, they wanna
# Wanna have fun, girls
# Wanna have... #
How has Rana enjoyed the renovation?
'He enjoys doing this sort of work, so he's had a great time.'
Even now he looks at auction properties,
if there's anything else that he likes,
so he'll carry on.
Keeping a family of five children fed and watered
means that the kitchen is vitally important for Shabana.
Well, the kitchen, we've just given it a good clean
and we've added a dryer
and we've also added a breakfast bar,
so the children can just have their meals here
and so it's easy to clean up, really,
and leaves the rest of the house tidy.
The work has taken slightly longer than Rana's three-month schedule
but has he kept to his £20,000 budget?
We sort of estimated it would cost about 20,000
but we went over that slightly.
About 23 I think we've ended up spending
and probably, we'll still carry on spending a bit more
because Rana likes expensive chandeliers and stuff.
So far, the couple have spent a total of £138,000
buying and renovating their new home.
We asked two local property experts to give us their opinion.
'The living space is superb downstairs.'
All the rooms are nice and bright and airy
and it offers good family accommodation.
The reception rooms are good sizes, good family accommodation.
It's what you'd be looking for in a house of this size and type.
I have reservations about the bedrooms in the roof space.
They're very unusual shapes.
Putting beds into them will be difficult.
They're really for single beds, not double beds.
You get a good-sized bedroom downstairs
but upstairs, there's something to be said about them.
They could be better.
Rana and Shabana have no plans to sell or rent out their home
for the foreseeable future
but what do the estate agents believe it could achieve
if they were to put it on the market?
In the current market, we would expect to achieve something in the region of £180-185,000.
If I was to put the property up for sale, I would say £180,000.
Those valuations could give them a pre-tax profit
of at least £42,000, minus the usual selling expenses.
So are they looking forward to moving in?
Very much, yes. We can't wait to move in
and start living here and make it as a home.
-Yeah, so just can't wait.
No wonder, because it looks like they've finally found
their perfect family home.
That's all for now. Join us next time for more brave bidders
buying their Homes Under The Hammer.
-See you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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