Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Manchester, a one-bedroom top-floor flat in London and a former hairdressing salon in Airdrie.
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Hello! Whether you're looking for a lucrative property development,
or your dream home, you could find it in the auction room.
In these challenging times, there are still bargains to be had
as long as you navigate the pitfalls!
Let us show you the ropes.
A nod of the head, a wave of the catalogue, even a slight wink,
no matter how you get the auctioneer's attention, as long as you bid.
Today, we meet some people who did just that.
Which properties caught their eye? Take a look.
Judging by first impressions of this Manchester house, there's a bit of work to do!
This one-bed top-floor flat in London has a bathroom and a kitchen.
And a very, very big room.
And in Airdrie, this former hairdressing salon
is in serious need of a brush-up and restyle!
You expect some middle-aged lady with a blue rinse to come out of that!
All these properties went to auction.
We find out who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.
This is the town of Middleton, once famous for its silk industry.
Middleton is just five miles from Manchester
but the property I'm here to see could be a world away from that big city.
The property I'm here to see is a three-bed end-of-terrace.
Sounds quite cottagey. Had a guide price of 50,000 quid, and this is it.
Straightaway I'm seeing the rendering outside needs a bit of sorting out.
So it's not a good start. Let's hope it gets better inside.
That's not a good start, is it?
Well... That's the front door! Anyway, put that back.
There we go. Nobody saw that, did they? Not to worry.
Through into the property,
built in the late 1740s, 1800s kind of period.
Interesting entrance hall, a big area.
Quite surprising for what, on the outside, seems like a small cottage.
Stairs up to the bedrooms. Not a bad place for those, though they are quite narrow.
Front living room. Through to the rear of the property.
Still can't get over that door!
Through to the rear, where there's the kitchen, tired and dated.
From the outside, it looks like it might have lots of character
but my concern at this early stage is that a lot of the character has been ripped out.
And you need a new door!
# I hear you knockin'
# But you can't come in #
Just off the kitchen is a spacious rear reception area
with a bonus of patio doors out onto the back garden.
However, it obviously needs redecoration,
new flooring, and the electric heating should be updated.
The front reception room is also a good size, but needs even more care and attention.
Sadly, this isn't some kind of funky wall painting going on here.
This is, actually, as you can see, pretty nasty damp.
Question is, is it rising or penetrating? Coming up or coming through?
Well, the floor is actually pretty solid, so there may not be a damp-proof membrane.
But having seen the state of the gutters outside, I guess it's coming through the walls.
It could be as simple as replacing those gutters
and allowing the house to naturally dry out.
So, lots of work to be done.
And it doesn't end with the ground floor.
So, upstairs, three bedrooms. Surprisingly two really good-sized ones,
one at the front, one at the back, and a smaller box room.
The layout here, though, is crying out for something to be done.
You've got this strange sort of landing here.
It's very much at the expense of the bathroom, which isn't huge.
So I would move this wall maybe out to here, take this wall behind me down,
sacrificing some space in what is already a small bedroom, make it slightly smaller,
so you shift the landing area to here.
It's not ideal cos you're coming straight out of a bedroom down into the stairs. I don't know about that.
But a bit of playing around here would dramatically improve this upstairs space.
-# A change
-A change would do you good
-# Would do you good
-A change would do you good
This is a surprisingly spacious cottage inside.
And there's potential to add even more living space.
The garden is quite large
and there's a substantial section to the side.
That should make it easy to add an extension,
should the necessary planning permissions be approved.
We now interrupt this property item for an urgent road report.
The road outside the property.
It's unadopted. That means the council aren't responsible for its upkeep.
There may not be any lighting or proper drainage
and it's down to the people who live in the road to look after the road.
Any money spent, if you bought that place, you'd be partly responsible for.
Something for your solicitor to check out.
# Arm in arm
# Hand in hand
# We all stand together. #
So, was this property that went to auction guided at £50,000
a good buy?
A local estate agent may have the answer.
The property itself is a very good property. It needs refurbishment.
Once that's done, it'll be very, very desirable
and easy to sell or rent out, whichever one they decide to do.
With a little rejigging upstairs, it could be perfect.
Personally, I wouldn't extend it because of the risk of going over the ceiling price.
And then it's difficult to sell the property so I'd stick with the general layout as it is.
Might this be a property you could let out, and what rent could you achieve?
Basically, the area at the moment, the rental market is booming.
So once this has been refurbished,
it would fetch between 450 and 500 per calendar month.
How about sale value once renovated?
I'd recommend putting it on the market for round about £100,000.
So, a nice enough little property, and I love the location.
Not too much work required to get it sorted out
and I think you'd have a very desirable property to sell on or live in.
Let's see who fancied it when it went under the hammer.
Lot 38. A vacant three-bed terraced property.
Give me 50 and we're away. £50,000.
No less. 50 bid. Thank you. 50,000.
55. Do I see 60?
Lady's bid at 60,000.
Sorry? 60, madam. 62, sir.
At the back. 63. 64.
67. 68, anywhere?
67 seated. 68?
No? 68. New bid. 68,000, then. 69?
70? 70,000 seated, then.
71. 71,000. 72.
72. 72,000. Do you want to come back in? 72,500.
No? At 73,000, then,
for the first time, lady seated.
73,000 for the second time. Are we all done at £73,000?
And with the thumbs up, that final bid of 73,000 came from Barbara,
who's a property developer with 20 years experience and lives in Italy.
She returned there after the auction.
# I'm leavin' on a jet plane
# Don't know when I'll be back again #
Unfortunately, Barbara's flight from Italy back to Manchester
was cancelled due to volcanic ash, so instead,
I met up with her right-hand man in the UK, Peter.
He's worked with Barbara for about three years
and project manages her rental portfolio in this country.
'Peter, good to meet you. Congratulations.'
Tell me why you bought this place.
Barbara said to me a couple of months ago
it's not all buy to rent, right, buy to let.
If she saw something she particularly liked,
then she would go for a buy to sell.
So I said, "Now you've told me that, I'll look at different things."
Peter thought there was something special about this little house.
I saw the house in the brochure and I thought, "That's unusual."
That was my first impression of it.
When I actually came to view it and saw the fields,
the side garden and everything, I thought it was lovely.
-I'd be quite comfortable living here, once it's done up.
-It's really nice.
-It's off the main road.
-It has character.
-It's quite old. One of the first in the area.
It's like me. I'm quite old but I clean up well, scrub up well!
And this will do the same.
Barbara and Peter have set a budget of 15 to £17,000 for the renovation.
They aim to have it completed in eight weeks time.
What are you going to do to it, exactly?
I don't like the top of the stairs where you can walk out of a bedroom and fall down the stairwell.
So we'll be improving that area.
I toyed with the idea of putting the existing bathroom as an en-suite
and then the area on the landing, which is quite large,
and useless, making it into a bathroom.
But it's not necessary.
Brighten the place up, that's what we'll do.
Knock a few walls about, brighten the place up.
New kitchen, new bathroom, new central heating, full central heating.
Clean up the garden.
New windows. It won't look the same next time you come.
I'm getting excited about it already.
Peter really seems to know his stuff and I'm sure he's going to do a great job here.
The only serious niggle is that road outside.
One issue is the unadopted road, isn't it?
-What are your thoughts on that?
I don't think it's an issue at all.
Some unadopted roads are difficult. Pot-holes, and they're a mess.
A menace. This road, I think, doesn't come into that category.
I don't see a problem with the unadopted road.
I don't see it affecting a sale.
But the owner is responsible for a share of what it costs to maintain the road.
That fact should definitely not be ignored by any potential buyer.
But I feel Peter may be right here because the road does look well maintained.
-Congratulations. We look forward to seeing how you get on.
-Thank you, Martin. Nice meeting you.
It seems Peter and Barbara have a great working relationship going on here.
This step away from the buy-to-let market
has obviously set their creative juices flowing.
You can find out how they got on later in the show.
Can't afford leafy West Hampstead? I'm in Kilburn, north-west London,
which could be a very good alternative.
Properties tend to be ten per cent cheaper here.
The average price for a property on this road is £255,000.
So I am delighted to find a property that had a guide price of 200,000.
Now, it's not the entire house, I'm afraid,
it's a studio flat and it's on the third floor.
But it's a flat in an impressive house with a lovely frontage
and those sashed windows complete the effect.
Phew! So I managed those flights of stairs.
Ooh, a nice light space, a fantastic high skylight up there.
Got a bathroom, a kitchen,
and a very, very big room. I like it.
You've got three fabulous windows.
Now, this space is wasted.
I really think what would work here would be if you put a partition wall along here,
a doorway here, come in here, you could call this a separate bedroom. Then you've got a one-bed flat.
That would really increase its saleability
and add a lot of value.
I always like a project that's going to make a healthy return.
By adding a wall and a door,
the new owner could do just that.
The kitchen isn't sparkling, but it's a good size,
and you could think about replacing the doors and worktops.
The bathroom is a decent size.
-..But never have I been so blue...
Well, it may look blue, but it certainly isn't melancholy.
It appears almost new, which is a huge bonus
and will help cut down on the replacement cost of a new suite
plus the labour costs to install it.
It could be just the detail that tips the balance for any investor
tempted by this top-floor flat that went under the hammer guided at £200,000.
Now, here's a little riddle for you.
Nearly everybody has them, but they're not all the same.
What I'm talking about is neighbours.
According to a recent study,
neighbours have a profound effect on property prices.
If they're nice, they can add as much as £5,000.
But if they're bad and antisocial,
they can reduce the price by a whopping 30 grand!
Well, it doesn't appear to be an issue here.
Switched-on buyers are asking about the neighbours during viewings
and many do their own detective work before making an offer.
Sales often collapse because a buyer finds out there are noisy neighbours in the vicinity.
So do your own detective work before the auction wherever possible
as it could pay dividends further down the line.
But there is only so much preparation you can do.
At the end of the day, the market will decide how much the property is worth.
What's the opinion of a local estate agent?
Kilburn is very well served for transport.
We have two tube stations, various buses, and the West End is 15 minutes' car journey.
Great location. What about the flat?
It's a good-sized unit. It would be a lot easier to sell or rent as a one-bedroomed unit.
That could be quite easily achieved.
Leaving the layout as it is and doing a simple refurbishment
means this studio flat guided at 200,000 could resell for about 210 to 215 grand.
Rental value could be around 900 a calendar month.
But what if the new owner were able to turn this into a one bed?
How much could it command in rental then?
Round about 1,100 per calendar month.
How much would that kind of refurbishment affect the sale price?
As a one-bedroom unit, we would put this on the market for £249,000.
It's a studio flat, but a partition wall could make it a one-bedroomed property
and increase its value by as much as £40,000.
I think it's a good one to go for.
Let's see who else thought so as we go to auction.
Lot 75. Of interest to owner-occupiers and rental investors.
A well-located good-sized studio flat.
Someone want to start me at 200?
If not, you tell me. Looking for two. 200,000.
Let's start there. It can only go upwards.
150 I've got. Anybody else for lot 75.
I've got 150,000.
170. 175. 180.
OK. Leave you to it.
It's with you, sir. Bid's at £205,000.
Against the gentleman on my left.
Anybody else for lot 75?
205 for the first.
You said that last time. Right.
It's with you. £207,000 against the gentleman here.
207 for the first.
207 for the second.
207 for the third and final time. All done?
Sold. 207. Well bought.
That successful bid of 207,000 came from Francois.
He's a French architect making a start in property developing.
He's on the lookout for investment properties in the UK's capital city.
I went to the flat to meet him and hear exactly what he had in mind.
-Very nice to meet you today.
-Thank you. Me, too.
-What was it like at the auction for you?
I mean, it was not the first time for me because I used to buy at auction before in France.
But it was still exciting. Because to buy at auction is exciting.
-No, it was great.
-How does it compare, an auction in England, to one in France? The same?
It's quite similar with a few little differences.
But the man talks the same way.
-Whereabouts are you from in France?
-Are you a property developer?
I'm trying. I'm beginning.
I'll start with this one and hope to keep on doing this kind of business.
Why were you attracted to this property?
I wasn't looking in a particular place. I was more looking for a flat that needed modernisation.
I just took the auction catalogue and it brings me here.
I think it's a good location and it has potential.
Not far from the centre, there's a tube near here. I think it can be something great here.
And a fantastic cafe at the end of the road.
-I didn't know that.
-You didn't know?
-I didn't know.
-I had lunch there today.
-We'll have a coffee together! OK!
'Wow! Just a minute into our chat and I've already got a date!
'If Francois is such a fast mover at property developing, he'll definitely be a success!
'But what's his bargain-detecting radar like?'
What was the potential you saw in this flat?
When I came here the first time I was quite surprised because it's a studio
but I thought it can convert into one bedroom easily.
By maybe putting a wall here would be a good way to add value to the flat.
Absolutely. That is exactly what I thought.
-It's almost like a waste, this room.
-It's too big.
-But the bedroom will be probably too small.
but in England I was surprised to see that people live in very small rooms here.
So I think we can do it. If we sell it like a studio, I don't think we can do a profit.
But if we try to do it well and convert it to one bedroom,
I think it has potential.
'Let's hope Francois' grip on property developing
'is as good as his English.
'Not that he'll need it with his team of builders.'
Who are you going to employ to do the work here?
I'm an architect, and my father, who I work with, is also an architect.
We have our own company in Paris.
So we'll bring some people from there and they will do the works.
How long do you think it will take to get this flat up and running?
I don't think there's too much to do. I think about two weeks.
-Not too much, yeah.
So is it going to be stylish? Very chic and French and stylish?
I hope it is!
It's a good place, but it's not South Kensington!
So you cannot do... You have to find a good balance.
No, we'll do something clean, decent and very attractive.
-What's your budget?
£40,000?! That's a really healthy budget!
Yeah, but if you want to do something beautiful,
you have to spend a little bit more money sometimes.
'40,000 does seem a lot to renovate this flat.
'But Francois also has plans for a loft conversion.
'The flat is leasehold, but given that the loft space belongs to the freeholder,
'Francois must get their permission before he extends upwards.
'He may even have to buy out the freeholder.'
-Do you see yourself living in this flat?
-I don't think I will
because I'll be here very little time.
I want to move on, you know. I want to sell it and buy another property.
Maybe bigger, you know?
-Francois, good luck and I hope it goes really well. Thank you.
-Thanks very much, Lucy.
This is Francois' stepping stone
and luckily for him, he's got a team of French builders ready to take this on.
But will they do it in just two weeks?
You can find out how it all goes later in the programme.
Coming up: this former hair salon in Airdrie is curled up and needs a comb out.
But it's the square footage that matters, so for a small property, not bad.
We go back to London to see how Francois from France fared.
I was a bit nervous at the beginning, but it's OK. It went fine.
First, back to Greater Manchester
where things have moved fast.
I was a bit surprised when Barbara turned up and said she'd sold it.
Time now to see what's happened to this house in Middleton, Greater Manchester.
Property developer Barbara paid £73,000 for it at auction.
As a result of the volcanic ash, she'd been unable to fly back and show us the house.
That was left to her project manager Peter,
who she's worked with for three years.
-I'd be quite comfortable living here.
-It's nice, and it's off the main road.
-It's got character.
-It's quite old. One of the first houses in the area.
It's like me. I'm quite old but I clean up well, scrub up well!
Now it's three months later. Barbara has made it back from Italy this time
so now we can meet up with her and Peter.
The tired, grubby property has now been beautifully decorated.
It's not just been a cosmetic makeover.
The layout of the house has also changed.
The bedrooms are slightly larger.
The door into the living room has been moved.
And a conservatory has been added.
Although Barbara has a large portfolio of rental properties,
the plan was to sell this place. Unusually, she found a buyer just as work was beginning.
We wouldn't normally be selling it before we've started the work.
This is a one-off.
I just got a call saying, "Have you got anything in the north?"
I said, "Yes, I happen to have one."
We sent them a few photographs, they came up, the price was right,
so that was it.
I was a bit surprised when Barbara turned up and said she'd sold it,
before I'd got it half done!
But then you have to step back a bit and put client's extras.
They want their own feeling in the house. Put their own stamp on the house.
The house has been fitted out according to the specification of the buyers.
The kitchen reflects their taste.
We had a very long, narrow kitchen here, with not a lot in it.
It wasn't working very well. There wasn't a utility room.
The clients were very happy to open it all up.
They chose slightly different units. A slightly higher spec.
And of course the cooker is rather nice!
Barbara knows about kitchens as she was a top kitchen designer for many years.
She normally does the design for those and the bathrooms of her properties,
as well as the colour schemes.
But this time, the buyer had a big input.
However, the structural work, as ever, was down to Peter.
There's been quite a substantial change up here
because the doorway from this area was too close to the well, the top of the stairs.
The door from this room, this wall was over here.
And what you did was walk past it
then turn left and come into the bedroom to get in there.
A complete waste of that space. So I wanted that space on the landing
as a computer area cum viewing area.
So I pinched some off the room wall
and we then had to put it back by moving that third bedroom back.
To make this as safe as I possibly could,
then we opened it up and put it on a 45 degree angle.
Much safer. That 45 degree angle has really helped.
Now you don't step out of the bedroom straight onto the stairs.
Outside, all the rubbish in the back garden has been cleared.
And on the side, the conservatory is a lovely addition.
The plot looks so much bigger
and this terrible house has been truly transformed.
So, is it now complete?
It's 99 per cent finished.
We had a bit of a problem with the tiler earlier in the week.
He quite severely injured his back
so it was a mad rush yesterday to try and get the grouting done
but unfortunately he couldn't just get on the floor and lay that conservatory floor.
The rotten timbers have been replaced.
New guttering has been installed and the windows replaced throughout.
Those damp problems were tracked down to a leak in the guttering which was easy to fix.
But it all sounds expensive.
So what effect has it had on the budget?
Did they come in under the £18,000 that Peter had projected
or did the new owners fund the extras?
The budget, yes.
We fixed on a budget that we would include on the project.
Then they said, yes, but we want this, this, this and this.
So obviously the budget did go up.
We agreed a figure of 20,000
and that, basically, is what we have spent.
So Barbara and Peter did keep control of the budget
as paying for the extra work was down to the new owners.
Time to see how two property experts familiar with the local market
rate this refurbishment.
It's above what I expected, to be quite honest with you.
It's done to a very good standard. Rent or sell, it'll go no problem.
The property is great. The flow is magnificent. The look is good.
I love the little loft section upstairs on the first floor.
I like what they've done to the kitchen. It's to a high spec.
The conservatory was necessary as there wasn't loads of living space downstairs.
It's an extra reception room which is always a positive thing.
Barbara has numerous other buy-to-let properties
and although this one has now been sold, how much income could it have produced?
Looking into it, between 450 and £500 per calendar month.
The rental market is booming at the moment.
A very high demand. I'd expect it to achieve between 450 and £500 per calendar month.
I think £500 per calendar month would be fine.
That's the norm around here.
But we weren't going to let this particular property.
No, this one's a buy-to-sell.
Barbara paid £73,000 at the auction,
and has spent just over £20,000 on it.
That makes £93,000 in total. So how much is the property now worth?
I'd recommend putting the property on the market for £129,500
with a view to achieving about 125,000.
Initially I considered to market it between 110 and 115,
but because of the standard and how well it is done, I would probably go to 120 to £125,000.
But Barbara had a buyer from the start who bought the house for 120,000.
So she's made a pre-tax profit of about 27,000.
Not quite as high as she might have got, but is she happy with it?
It's about what we imagined, in actual fact.
So we had foreseen around about that figure.
Well, sounds like another successful venture for this development double-act.
Are they up for another one?
Yes, we'll do it again. We've had fun.
In doing so, they've converted this into a beautiful house.
This is Airdrie, 15 miles east of Scotland's great city of Glasgow.
Today I've come to this commuter town to see a commercial property.
Right in the centre of Airdrie, near the train station, is the property I'm here to see.
A very interesting one, this one.
It's a former hairdresser's.
Until recently, it was on the market for £100,000 but how times have changed,
because at a recent auction, it was guided at just 55,000.
Sounds like a snip to me!
# Got a devil's haircut in my mind
# Got a devil's haircut in my mind #
Well, it may sound like a bit of a snip, but it's actually a bit of a tip!
It's been lying empty for well over two years
and is clearly falling into disrepair.
So it will take some imagination to visualise what's possible here.
What have we got? Well, one big space, really.
It's dark and dingy but that's partly because the windows are boarded up.
There's been a lot of vandalism, which is not good to see.
But overall not a bad-sized space.
Look at this!
You expect some middle-aged lady with a blue rinse to come out of that!
The old hairdryer. But something that's more serious -
look at that - mould on the chair. That shows how damp it is in here
and if you smell it, there's definitely a smell of damp.
But in terms of space, it's not bad. Very flexible as well.
All these are stud partition walls, so you can take those out.
Overall, as with normal commercial properties, it's the square footage that matters.
So for a small property, not bad.
In fact, there's about 671 square feet of floor space,
approximately the size of a two-bed flat.
Behind the main room are a small kitchenette and loo.
But back here there are no windows at all, so it's pretty dingy.
And that damp problem is all too obvious.
The place hasn't been used for a while and we are below ground level
so you might expect a bit of damp.
But nothing like this. That is an indication of much more serious problems.
I'd want this place checked out by an expert, for sure.
The renovation budget seems to be rising as much as that damp.
Because getting that sorted could be rather costly.
I'm starting to wonder what this space has got going for it,
even at that relatively low £55,000 guide price.
Time to head outside and see it in the context of its surroundings.
For a commercial property, the location couldn't get much better.
Look around. You've got all sorts of shops, restaurants, bars.
Absolutely perfect. And the hairdresser's is on the crossroads
of a busy main road.
So as far as I'm concerned, the location for this place is definitely a highlight.
OK. The location seems good.
But what are the possibilities here?
The property has Class 1 usage, which basically means you can sell goods from it
or run it as a hairdresser's or maybe a dry cleaner's.
It's a fairly broad class of use. To change it would require a lot of planning permission.
Still, if you don't fancy running it as a shop yourself, think about the rent.
I reckon this place could generate £15,000 a year.
Now it's got you thinking!
So, even if you aren't a dab hand with the scissors and hair gel,
it looks like you could still make money from this place
after a full makeover, of course.
What does a local estate agent, who previously marketed the premises for rental, make of the area
and the property's potential?
The premises are in the heart of Airdrie town centre.
A secondary location.
We believe that this shop could trade as a hairdresser
or beauty therapist, or alternatively,
anyone could get a change of use on it.
It would make an excellent Class 2 premises, if used as an office.
So how much could it achieve if rented out?
We were initially marketing this premises for a rent of £15,000 per annum.
However, we didn't generate any interest at that level
so we reduced it to 12,500.
We went under offer twice, however no-one bit the bait.
Oh, dear. It really needs that face-lift.
How much would it take to get the place spruced up?
My estimate for repairs would be 30 or £40,000
to bring the premises up to decent specification again.
40 grand. Added to the guide price of 55,000, that's £95,000
before any business can even start operating here.
I'm beginning to see why this place has been empty for so long.
Well, as an investment, this certainly isn't cut and dried.
You'd have to work quite hard to make it a "perm"-anent success!
But if you're thinking about renting this place out, then it could have "fringe" benefits!
Let's see who agreed with me at the auction.
So we move straight on to lot 14.
A vacant retail premises.
Can we start the bidding for this? I'm looking for 50,000 to start.
40 I have. 42.
I'll take one.
59? 59 I have. 60? 60 I have. 61.
66. 67. 68.
69. 70. 71.
71 I have. 72?
Not at that?
72,000 I have. I'm looking for 73.
Are we all done at 72,000?
Thank you. 74. 75.
Not at that. It was a single strike.
74,000 I have. Going once.
Yes. 74 going twice.
Third and final time. Sold to the gentleman in the window.
Thank you very much.
The winning bid of £74,000 came from Asif, a local developer.
He specialises in commercial property
so I can see why this one appealed.
I met him to find out what his plans are
to enhance this former salon's subterranean charms!
Asif, lovely to meet you. Congratulations. Why did you want to buy this place?
In this particular property I'm looking to do a fast food franchise.
Why have you gone down the route of putting a fast food outlet in here?
When I was looking at it before I even bought the premises,
I ran it past this particular franchise and they said, "That's OK. We like the site.
"We're nearby other food outlets that we want to be next to."
They're ready to say, "OK if we can get Class 3, which is hot food, planning consent
"then we're fine. We're OK to roll with it."
So property developer Asif's plan is to lease the premises out
to a fast food franchise.
A Class 3 business licence allows food and drink to be sold and consumed here
but there's a major sticking point.
The property is in the basement and currently has no extraction flue.
Without that, a Class 3 simply won't be granted.
Asif's certainly got some food for thought here.
-How will you resolve the issue of the extractor fan?
-Hopefully, the architect is going to come up with some ideas.
Once we've got him in, hopefully he can recommend where we can make a hole for the extraction.
And then just take it from there.
That's a very basic, but potentially quite fundamental problem.
Yes, if we don't get the planning, then we're basically back to the drawing board.
So, yeah, it's very crucial that we do get the planning.
-Wow! So quite a lot riding on this, then?
That's the way I've always done it! Hope for the best.
The other side of it is, the fallback is to just renovate it.
It needs work done. Then hopefully look for a tenant on it.
It's good that Asif has a back-up plan. But renting this place out won't be easy either.
Due to economic conditions, the streets round here are full of unlet premises.
And he'll need to spend a bit to bring it up to rentable standard.
So what actually are you going to do with the place?
Well, basically paint it all. Anything that needs to be replastered, they'll do that.
Clean the floor, take out all the rubbish,
and basically make it, for people to come and view it, a cleaner place.
So how much are you going to have to spend just to get it smartened up?
There's a bit of damp in the corner of one of the toilets
so that all needs to be investigated.
We reckon about ten to £15,000 to bring it back to its original state.
That's just to get it to a point where somebody can walk around and say...
-It needs that amount of work.
If you were to rent it out, any idea of how much you might get?
We're looking at approximately 12,000 per annum.
-So it's a pretty good return, yeah.
In general, how is the commercial market?
It's like everywhere else.
The residential and the commercial markets were both affected with the whole economy, the credit crunch.
So yeah, it's difficult times!
Yeah, but it should be OK. By the time we get this up and running
I think we'll see a turn and we should get good rent for it,
if it's the case that we rent out to somebody else.
Good luck with it all. I look forward to seeing how you get on.
Thanks very much! See you soon.
Well, it strikes me that Asif has a few hoops to jump through
before he turns this purchase into a success.
Will this old hairdresser's turn out to be a cut above the rest
or does Asif have some close shaves ahead?
You can find out later in the show.
Well, our would-be property sharks were certainly eager beavers when we left them.
Did they grab the bull by the horns?
Let's go back and find out.
'We're back in Kilburn, north-west London.
'Francois, a French architect working in London,
'bought this studio flat at auction for 207,000.
'He wants to do some property developing on the side.
'This was Francois' first property purchase in the UK, but already he was thinking the same way as me.'
So, what was the potential you saw in this flat?
When I came the first time, I was quite surprised because it's a studio
but I thought we can convert it into one bedroom easily
-by maybe putting a wall here. Find a way to add value to the flat.
That's exactly what I thought.
-It takes two, baby
-It takes two, baby
-Me and you.
A plan was hatched to convert the large living space
into a sitting room and a bedroom.
And also to bring the kitchen and bathroom up to scratch.
We've come back a month later to see how Francois got on.
The living area has indeed been turned into two rooms
with a partition wall dividing the area.
So here is the living room.
As you see, it's big enough for a living room. What we've done
is decorated everything.
We've put in a new wood floor.
I know you love carpet in England but we're used to this kind of floor in France.
We brought this material over from France
and we've put it in quite quickly.
And painting the window to make it look new and that's it.
The bedroom. It's a compact bedroom.
But if you look here, I think it's big enough to sleep
and have everything you need in a bedroom.
We've put here a sliding door to save space.
You have heating here, electricity here, even a window.
So I think that's everything.
Words like "compact" and "bijou" spring to mind.
But Francois has used the space well
and there is enough room for a double bed.
Moving from the front rooms to the bathroom,
and Francois' team have repainted the blue bathroom
in a more neutral tone.
The kitchen has been cleaned up and is now just awaiting the appliances.
So plenty has been done
but Francois has another idea for creating more space
and potentially more profit.
For this flat, we've done the first set of work.
And now we want to do a loft conversion.
For this kind of work, we will need planning permission
because we're going up.
And so we're dealing now with the landlord
and the council to make it possible to do it.
As the flat is leasehold,
Francois needs permission from the freeholder and the council before he can convert the loft.
If he gets the consents, what will he put up there?
We're going to add a new bedroom here in the roof space.
There are neighbours here who've done it before.
So I think if the landlord agrees,
I think we'll do it.
Remember, Francois had set a generous budget of 40,000
for the refurbishment of the flat and also to extend into the loft if he were able to.
So how much has he spent so far?
We've spent about roughly £20,000. Something like this.
Because we've brought workers here, we've brought new wood.
We've made a new partition
to split the main room.
So it was not a big deal. It was roughly 20,000.
For that budget, all the walls have been replastered
and the windows repaired.
Not only were the trades people brought over from his dad's building company,
but also the materials.
Francois reckoned it would be more cost effective than sourcing everything in the UK.
So 20,000 spent on the renovation
leaves a further 20 grand in the pot for his loft conversion
should he get the go-ahead.
The timescale of two weeks was spot on.
We wanted it to be quick because we don't want to stay too long.
What we'll do now is try to sell it
and, we hope, quickly.
To do something else, to buy another flat and move on, you know.
So, as Francois bought the top floor flat at auction for 207,000
and has so far spent £20,000 on the refurbishment,
that makes a total outlay of 227,000 at present.
He's also set aside another £20,000 for the loft conversion.
But has this added value? We asked two estate agents for their opinions.
I think he's done a very good job.
He's turned it from a studio into a one-bed.
If it was me, I would have continued the work on into the kitchen. But overall, a very good job.
Very good. He's done very well.
He's converted it from a studio to a one-bedroomed flat.
But it's still got the space. It's very good.
The conversion to a one-bed flat seems popular, but how does that affect the value?
If I was putting this on the market at the moment,
I'd put it around the 225 to £230,000 mark.
I'd be able to sell it on for £240,000.
Yeah, I'm a bit disappointed because I believed more than 250.
But, you know, this is the price.
It depends if you're in a rush or not.
Me, I'm in a rush, so maybe I will accept this kind of offer.
But if someone has more time,
maybe they can wait and ask for a price more expensive.
Even though Francois doesn't want to let it out,
how much do the estate agents think it could rent for?
At the moment, I'd put this on the market between 950 and £1,000 per calendar month.
Yes, you can achieve £950 per month.
A yield of around five per cent. Better than leaving the money in the bank.
This is a good yield.
If you make the percentage, it's a good yield for this kind of flat.
But for me, I'm not interested in renting a property.
One thing that could come to Francois' rescue
is the possibility of converting the loft into another bedroom
and even an en-suite. How would this affect the valuations?
If this is converted to a two-bed flat,
I'd be able to sell it on for £320,000.
The comparables that we have show that two-bedroomed properties in the area
sell for between 325 and 360,000.
I would put that in that category. Around 330 to 340,000, once the work has been done.
Yes, I think this is a big opportunity for this flat.
That's why I'm really interested in this idea
and I really want the landlord to give me the consent.
-Please, please, please, please...
Well, we hope his prayers are answered,
because doing the loft conversion looks like the best way to maximise the profit here.
Francois is soon going to find out
whether the freeholder will allow him to sell the loft space
for a percentage of the property's new value as a two-bed.
So, what does Francois think of his first UK project?
For me, buying here in London, it was the first project for me.
It was something new. So I was nervous at the beginning
but I think it's OK. It went fine
and I hope from this one I will learn the lessons for the next one.
We've returned to Airdrie in north Lanarkshire
where local property developer Asif bought this basement commercial property at auction for 74,000.
He wanted to change it from being a hairdresser's to a hot food outlet.
But as it was in the basement, that presented one very significant stumbling block.
There was no obvious place for an extractor fan
and planning would depend on that.
-How will you resolve the issue of the extractor?
-Hopefully, the architect will come up with some ideas.
So once we've got him in,
he'll be able to recommend where we can make a hole for the extraction.
And then just take it from there.
That's a very basic, but potentially quite fundamental problem.
Yeah. If we don't get the planning, then we're basically back to the drawing board, I'd say.
Apart from planning permission, the work on the property was straightforward.
Sort out the damp and tidy up.
We've come back one year later to see how Asif got on.
Well, the interior has certainly been cleaned up
and the big windows allow plenty of light into the premises.
A large room at the back has been created by moving the loo to the middle of the property.
And judging by the sign outside this former salon,
the extractor issue has been sorted.
So it was a case of "hair today, food tomorrow".
Waiting for planning permission, however, was a nail-biting time.
If we hadn't got the planning, then we were thinking what we were going to do with the property.
With the economy as it is,
it was actually a frightening moment.
I phoned on the day of the committee
and they basically said that it's been approved
and I was ecstatic, so I thought, "Yes! Great!" It was great news.
I'm intrigued. How did the architect find a solution to the extractor issue?
Yes, around the back here were wash-hand basins, as it was a hairdresser.
So we've left the drainage points because this is going to be the kitchen.
They can suit themselves as to where they want drainage points.
Also, the extraction for the kitchen is going to be from here.
There's going to be extraction, as on the plans, from here
all the way along the rear of the property and out the back above the eaves.
So, with planning in place, the property would be much more attractive to prospective tenants.
But has the rest of the work been straightforward?
It wasn't plain sailing. Properties for renovation are never plain sailing!
But we overcame the problems that we had. We had plastering problems and damp issues.
Because this property is under road level,
you find that the water penetrates one of the walls.
We managed to rectify that problem by injecting a damp proof course.
So, all damp-proofed below and the sides.
But what about from above?
Upstairs drainage, they had a problem to the rear of the store.
It leaked and flooded part of this building.
But we managed to clean that up thankfully that's been rectified.
How did that affect the original budget of ten to 15,000?
We managed - we've got stuff to finish - but we managed to spend about £12,000.
So we're still within budget.
Obviously Asif's original timescale of 12 weeks for the renovation has gone way over.
But as this property is just one of many in his company's portfolio,
it hasn't really impacted on him financially.
Asif bought it for 74,000
and has spent 12 grand so far on the renovation.
That makes a total outlay of 86,000. But has this refurbishment done enough?
We asked two local estate agents for their appraisals.
Now we're back at the property a year later,
fairly minimal improvements have been made. It's purely aesthetic.
Walls have been painted, windows repaired.
The property now has the added benefit of Class 3 consent
which will add to the marketability of it.
This property would appeal to existing local traders
in the hot food industry.
I doubt it would be of interest to any national retailers for that purpose,
due to the fact that it is a basement.
First impressions is it's a good town centre location, but the downside, it's in a basement.
They may well look at this for a company operating a takeaway business.
It would appeal to somebody from the local market
and may appeal to larger companies with a takeaway consent.
What do they estimate the current resale value of the property would be with its hot food consent?
Remember, Asif has spent about 86,000 here.
If this was sold on the open market in its present condition,
I believe it would attract an offer in the region of £80,000.
I would expect this property to achieve around about £100,000.
Oh, very good.
Obviously, the second one which is 100.
Having bought it and what we've spent, we'd actually make money on it in that case.
So I'm happy with that if it went for the 100.
However, we're not wanting to sell at present.
We just want to let it, so that's good news.
What about those all-important rental figures?
If this property was let on the open rental market,
I believe it would achieve a rental figure of about 10,000 to £12,000 per annum.
I would expect it to achieve a rent probably of about £12,000 a year.
10,000, 12,000 from both surveyors for letting. That's great,
considering we're looking for 12,000 and hopefully that's the price we'll get.
So I'm quite happy with that. We're in the ballpark figure the surveyors have said.
Asif has had a tenancy offer from a national fast food chain
and hopes to conclude the deal within the next two months.
If it goes ahead, he'll get a rental income of £12,000 a year,
meaning a yield of nearly 14 per cent.
Asif seems to know what to do to attract tenants.
But would he take on something like this again?
I wouldn't want to take another gamble like this,
because of the way the market is.
There's not a lot of tenants coming through simply because nobody's got any money to invest.
So it's great news that we managed to get the hot food and now we have a tenant interested.
So I'm delighted with that. That's great.
I'm not surprised, because Asif's vision for this former hairdressing salon looks to have been satisfied,
hopefully exactly what the customers will feel when they come in for hot food.
From perfect homes to shrewd investments.
Join us next time for more auction room drama.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Manchester, a one-bedroom flat in London and a former hairdressing salon in Airdrie. 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.