Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a terraced house in Cardiff, a bungalow in Margate and a period flat in Plymouth. They learn how much each sold for at auction.
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-Hello and welcome.
-For many, buying at auction gives the chance
to get properties that are in need of some work.
People like to put their own stamp and style on their property
and hopefully make a bit of a profit along the way.
And there's much more chance that you might do that when you buy your home under the hammer.
We love the buzz and the excitement in the auction room.
You can almost sense the hope and frustration in the air.
Yes, and you never know what's going to happen until the very last second.
So, what's tempted the buyers on today's programme?
'I'm heading west to see a bizarrely-designed terraced house in Cardiff.'
In all my time on Homes Under The Hammer, I've never seen a layout like this.
'I'm going east to a bungalow by the sea in sunny Margate.'
It's a good thing for me when you get to the front door and you like it already.
'And I'm off to see a period flat in the student area of Plymouth.'
Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! Look at this!
'All these properties have been sold at auction
'and we'll find out who bought them and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.'
It's yours. Thank you.
'I'm in Cardiff, in an area of the city called Splott.
'One of the oldest areas of the capital, it gets its name from the Welsh word for allotments,
'which is exactly what this area used to be before all these houses were built.'
So, what am I here to see? Well, it's a property that's very typical for this part of Wales.
It's a two-bedroom end-terrace at a guide price of £68,000.
Classic for this kind of property, the front leading straight off the pavement. Let's look inside.
'This property hasn't been touched for years,
'but there has been a local regeneration scheme
'which has made the area much more desirable.'
Oh, crikey. Straight away, through the front door, and nicotine staining like you wouldn't believe.
Blimey. And the smell. Not that pleasant, I have to say.
But let's try to focus on the layout. What have we got? Fairly standard layout so far.
Front sitting room area there and then through into a rear sitting room.
Again, really badly nicotine-stained, it's this yellow colour.
You've got a gas fire. Oh, interesting stuff going on there.
Look like somebody's been peeling off the wallpaper to look what's behind.
As far as I can see, nothing too untoward. Not too bad so far.
What is that?
This is really, really weird. In all my time on Homes Under The Hammer, I've never seen a layout like this.
You come out of the rear sitting room
and what do you get? A bathroom.
Perfect. It gets worse, because you go through here into the kitchen.
Not only is it in a dreadful location, it's small.
I mean, to call it a kitchen is a bit of a... Well, it's not, basically.
It's in this lean-to area at the rear of the property and here's the loo, the only one in the house.
So to say this place needs a bit of an interior rework would be a bit of an understatement.
'A bathroom between a kitchen and the living room could make you blush.'
# Don't embarrass me, baby
'If someone wants to make a cup of tea just as you've slipped into the bath,
'they may have to look the other way.'
Strangely, one thing that's not too bad is the position of the stairs.
Don't take up to much of the downstairs, which is good news.
And up here, two reasonable-sized bedrooms.
But let's talk about what we're going to do to sort this out.
Clearly, downstairs is a bit of a disaster,
so maybe think about putting in a two-storey extension.
Certainly, I think there's space out the back there to do that.
You've got the footprint already, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem in terms of planning.
'Despite all the problems, it's an intriguing little property.
'But how did it end up with such a quirky layout?
'I asked a local estate agent to shed some light on the subject.'
This property, when it was originally built,
was designed without a bathroom
and basically had a communal toilet
in the rear garden, which probably served two to four properties.
So that's why the current design of the property is as it is.
'So that explains the unusual layout.
'But what's the best way to improve the place?'
In my opinion, the best way forward on this property
would be to have a good ground-floor extension,
having a bathroom and a kitchen addition to the current layout.
'Sounds like a good plan, but potentially expensive.
'Remember, this property had a guide price of £68,000.
'How much could it be worth once all the improvements are done?'
If this property was renovated to modern-day standards
with a good ground-floor kitchen and bathroom extension,
in my opinion, the value would be £130,000.
'So there is money to be made here, but what about its rental potential?'
The rental expectancy for this particular property
would be £550 per calendar month as a family.
If, however, it was let to three or maybe four professionals on a room-by-room basis,
it could well achieve £750 per calendar month.
'That's between £6,500 and £9,000 a year.
'So both rental and resale are good options.'
All in all, a very interesting little place.
Who went for this quirky little terrace with the odd layout in Splott?
Let's find out as we go to the auction.
'This was one of the last auction lots to be sold
'so by the time it came up, most of the bidders had already called it a day.
'But less competition can mean more chance of getting something at a bargain price.'
Who's got £80,000 for this one? 75 to get on, then.
70. Thank you, sir, I should think so. I knew you were interested.
At 71,000. 2 if you like. 2 is bid.
Your bid, 72,000.
73, thank you. At 73,000.
4 in the back. At £74,000.
5 in front of me. At £75,000, it's yours. Thank you.
'The successful and very quick bid of 75 grand came from optician Mo.
'His friend, also called Mo, owns a construction company and is in on the deal.
'Together, they've seen through the property's foibles and reckon they've got a good buy.'
-Mo, Mo, very good to meet you both. Congratulations.
-BOTH: Thank you.
-Tell me about you two. How do you know each other?
-Many years ago.
-Many decades ago.
-Yes. THEY LAUGH
So what made you come up with the idea of linking forces to do a property investment?
Well, my job is in construction. I've got a construction company.
But this is our first joint venture. We've been thinking about it.
Now the construction site is a bit quiet, so we decided to go and do our own development, basically.
-So, why did you want to buy this place?
-I think, for a while, we've been looking around
and we just wanted to grab a piece of the action, buy something together and have a go at it.
This is small enough to kick off and it's safe
-and nothing can go wrong as far as we're concerned.
-Famous last words.
THEY LAUGH Indeed!
-No, I'm sure it'll be fine.
-We are quite happy with the condition.
In fact, this is ideal for us.
'The two friends met when they studied civil engineering together.
'They certainly seem pretty confident in each other's abilities,
'but the place looks pretty challenging to me.'
We've got a couple of plans in mind.
One would be, if we can get planning permission,
to go for a two-storey extension and introduce the bathroom upstairs
-and develop downstairs as an open-plan kitchen and lounge.
The second plan would be maybe just extend further back downstairs
and introduce a larger open-plan lounge, kitchen-diner, with a bathroom on the ground floor.
What do you think the hurdles might be with the two-storey extension? Because that would be ideal.
Ideally, but the obstruction we see where we might be lucky not to have any objection is next-door neighbour.
There might be light obstruction to their building.
But the planner, I'm sure, will advise us on that one.
-But that would be ideal for us, if we can go for double-storey.
'It sounds like they've given it quite a bit of thought already,
'but Mo and Mo have a budget of just £25,000 to do everything.
'How will they manage this renovation between them?'
This is the first joint venture. Mo decided to be hands-on
and be a project manager on this job, so I'm relying on his ability.
-I will be looking over his shoulder from a distance.
We are also hoping to keep the costs down,
because we have some contacts within the industry
and therefore, hopefully, we'll be able to get better prices
for the various aspects of the job
compared to somebody who's completely new to the game
and is just starting off.
-A lot of weight on your shoulders, Mo.
But I'm used to that. Hopefully, we'll be able to tackle the job as a joint venture.
How long do you think it will take?
We are envisaging perhaps around four months at this stage,
to also include the time we need to allow for planning requirements and building regulations.
'So, a £25,000 budget
'with four months to have the property completed and back on the market ready for resale or rental.
'They are really putting themselves under pressure,
'although they seem pretty relaxed about it.'
You two seem to be having really good fun doing this.
-I think so, yes.
-We've always based it on that.
I always said to Mo that, first and foremost, any work we do
should create a fun atmosphere for us
so that we enjoy doing the work
and we take a little bit of pride in the end product.
We're going to make it fun, yes.
You've been chums for how many years?
-Oh, nearly 30 years.
-30 years as friends.
How do you think that's going to work, moving over to a business relationship?
You've got to be careful, obviously. There's got to be a degree of understanding.
I've got a commercial background. I'm more precise.
Everything has to be programmed, monitored, progress and everything else.
But Mo is a bit laidback.
That's why I want to get myself out of the scenario.
He's the project manager, I'm going to hold him accountable at the end of the project.
-There's one thing I'm sure of. At the end of this first project,
-our friendship will be strengthened.
-I'm sure of that.
-I'm sure, as well.
-Good luck with it.
-And we look forward to seeing how you get on.
-Thank you very much.
Well, don't you just love Mo and Mo's enthusiasm? Absolutely infectious.
A few issues to resolve with this place to sort it out.
Will they get that planning permission and how will their friendship survive
the rigours of doing this place up?
You can find out how they get on later in the show.
There's something about the traditional British seaside town
that just warms your heart, even in cold weather like this.
And the southeast coastal town of Margate is no different.
It's suffered a downturn in tourism in recent years,
like many other UK holiday spots,
but money has been heavily invested in the town centre
and rejuvenating that famous old promenade,
so things are moving in the right direction.
'That investment has brought new life to the town.
'Margate is now home to galleries, artist workspaces
'and is fast becoming a more desirable place to live.'
The property I've come to see is a short walk from the seaside
in this no-through road in Westbrook in a suburb of Margate.
I'm told it's got its own little community with independent shops and a villagey vibe,
so this bungalow really fits in.
It's quaint, it's characterful, and it was guided at £150,000 to £160,000.
It's a good thing for me when you get to the front door and you like it already.
Look at this. It's got so much character. And wow!
This is a hallway and a half.
I love bungalows because they offer so much space.
We've got a huge sitting room with a little thirties fireplace.
Another room to the left, I suppose that would be a bedroom. A second bedroom here.
The colour scheme leaves a lot to be desired, I have to say.
But you've got great ceiling height, as well. It's looking good.
'The bright colours continue in the tiny bathroom
'and even tinier loo next door.
'I'd knock down the adjoining wall straight away.'
The colour schemes really are fantastic.
Of course, a pink kitchen! But you've got to see beyond all of this.
Once you've decorated in here, it would be great. You've got a good size kitchen.
You could even knock out this chimney breast to open it up a bit more.
And you've got a sort of conservatory bolted onto the side.
I think it's only single skin, so you'd need to look into that, and plastic, corrugated roof there.
That would need changing. But you've got a little bit of extra space for the summer months.
And in here, a larder. You could either store your food in there
or knock it out and incorporate the space into the kitchen.
And as far as extending goes, well, I don't think you'll have much luck,
because outside, all there is is a fence.
'What this property doesn't have is a back garden.
'Although there are gardens on both sides, they're not very private.
'On the plus side, there is a garage and off-street parking.
'Just before it went to auction at a guide price of £150,000 to £160,000,
'this place was on the market for 200 grand.
'Let's get the lowdown from a local estate agent.'
The property could be used in many ways.
A home for someone, possibly a holiday home,
because it's so close to the beach.
And there is huge demand for rental here for this type of property.
'That's good to know. So how much could it make if rented out?'
Once renovated, I would recommend a rental income of £750 per calendar month.
'What if the bungalow was done up and put up for sale?'
I would anticipate a resale price of £225,000.
This bungalow needs totally modernising.
A new kitchen, a new bathroom, windows.
The list just goes on and on.
But, bought at the right price, this could be somebody's little holiday hideaway.
Let's see what happened when it went to auction.
150-160, the guide. Start me at 150,000.
140, then, to start.
140 I have. Thank you very much in the door.
145 is bid. And 150.
Is that a bid? 150 I'm bid.
No? 152 at the back.
£152,000 is bid.
154 do I see?
Well, at £152,000 at the very back of the room.
154 I have in a fresh place. 156.
158. 158. 159.
159 is bid. 160 I have.
163. 163. And 164.
164 is bid. 165 I have. 166.
66 is bid. 67.
168 for you. 168 is bid.
170? 170 I have. 172.
172 I'm bid. 172. I shall sell if there's no further advance.
172 at the back of the room. Are you all done?
Sold at £172,000.
# I am the king...
'It was Bill who bought the bungalow for £172,000.
'He's a self-employed plumber and spends his time between jobs backpacking around the world.'
-Bill, congratulations. Well done.
-Why did you want to buy this property in Westbrook?
-Just as an investment.
Somewhere to live and maybe generate an income while I do some travelling.
'Bill likes to keep on the move, so he wants to get in, get started and then sell on at a profit.'
# They call me the wanderer
# Yeah, the wanderer
# I roam around and round and round and round
'He sold his last property three and a half years ago.
'Why did he go for this 1930s bungalow?'
It's got a very nice feel. The rooms are nice sizes and it just felt right.
I've got to say, bungalows do offer a lot more space, don't they?
It's got quite a nice size footprint.
Both the bedrooms are double rooms, which is ideal. The kitchen's a nice size, living room.
-It's just got a nice feeling about it.
-Now, there's no back garden.
Do you think that will be a drawback?
I would imagine it's a retired person's bungalow
at some point in the future
and do they really want a big garden?
You've got a relatively short walk to the beach if you want to walk a dog.
-There's plenty of open space that you can use if you wanted to.
-That is a very valid point.
'Bill's spent 20 years in the plumbing trade. He's built up a lot of contacts and experience
'and will be calling in some favours to help him.'
My skills are going to be needed in here.
-There was lots of dripping taps and noises when I first walked in.
-Yeah, the plumbing is a bit worse for wear.
I will certainly do the bulk of the plumbing work,
decorations, and I've got some friends that have said they'll help out.
Will you be basing yourself here, living here and doing the work at the same time?
Yeah. I've done that several times before with projects for paying customers.
It means I can work till 8 or 9 o'clock in the evening and try and get the job done a bit quicker.
That's music to my ears, a plumber working until 8 o'clock!
-What's going on? Is that what you do?
-I do it quite regularly, yes.
'So what's Bill planning on doing here?'
We'd like to keep the front door. It's quite a nice original feature.
Probably double glaze, certainly rewire, complete re-plumb, kitchen, bathroom.
Maybe take the chimney stack and the chimney breast down to square the kitchen off.
Take the pantry out, also, to make the kitchen a better, useable space.
And then decoration right through and carpets.
-That's quite a long list.
-It's going to be involved.
-What's your budget for the work?
-I'd initially thought 20K,
but I would like to try and come in below that if I can.
'Bill will keep a keen eye on those purse strings
'as he'll need every penny of profit he can get here.'
Ideally, it would be nice to spend a few months every year somewhere nice and warm.
-To be away for the winter would be fantastic.
-So you've bought this property, you want to renovate it,
try and get some cash out of it and then clear off travelling.
And then... yeah, go off and enjoy myself.
'If all goes to plan, Bill will renovate this place within six months and sell it on.
'He'll use some of the profit to go to Australia. But what if things don't go to plan?'
If you can't sell this property and you can't get the value that you want from this property,
what about letting it out? You are in the seaside, summer season, holiday let land.
-Have you thought about that?
-That's not an avenue I'd looked at.
-I hadn't really considered holiday lets. Might be worth looking into.
And it would mean that, possibly, I'd have somewhere to come back to when I've finished my travels.
-Exactly. It's only seasonal but it could work. Are you looking forward to cracking on?
I take real pride in the before and the after. To tear it to bits
and build it back up and see a real difference and a quality finish makes me happy.
Bill, good luck. It's been brilliant meeting you today and I hope it all goes really well
-and it ends up the way you want it to be.
Bill's bought a bungalow and a backpack.
The question is, will this little house give him the chance to spend his winters away
and fund his globe-trotting lifestyle?
You can find out how it goes for him later in the programme.
'Coming up, it might all come tumbling down in Plymouth.'
The ceiling is in a bit of a dicey state, so I won't go into that room.
'Back in Margate, will Bill's bungalow be finished in time for his next adventure?'
There's been a delay on the windows, which put the whole project behind.
'But first, in Cardiff, will there be anything left after this renovation?'
All of a sudden, most of the wall just collapsed.
'We're going back to Cardiff now to catch up with long-time friends and first-time developers Mo and Mo.
'They bought this two-bed end of terrace for 75 grand
'and were pretty confident they were on easy street.'
This is small enough to kick off and it's safe and nothing can go wrong as far as we are concerned.
-Famous last words.
'They wanted to update this unloved property completely.
'They were going to demolish the lean-to that housed the tiny kitchen,
'which, bizarrely, led straight off the bathroom.
'They planned to replace it with a two-storey extension.
'Well, four months later, let's see if it's been as easy as they hoped.
'Mo and Mo have taken a cramped old terraced property
'and transformed it into a modern, spacious and beautiful home.
'The centrepiece is the open-plan kitchen-diner.'
Well, in this area, we had a dilapidated single-storey, single-brick, lean-to extension
which we demolished and created a huge amount of space here
by putting in a nice, spacious kitchen.
The previous kitchen we had here actually was barely 1.5x2.5 metres.
You could hardly even swing a mouse, let alone a cat.
And by making this space so much bigger, that allowed us to put the boiler in a much better position.
And, of course, the bathroom is on this side, at the back of the kitchen,
completely tucked away but, at the same time, very accessible.
'Mo and Mo decided to avoid the rigmarole of applying for planning permission
'and kept their extension to a single storey.
'Under the Permitted Development Scheme,
'with some exception such as listed buildings and conservation areas,
'homeowners can add a single-storey extension of up to three metres depth without planning consent.
'The extension has also allowed the two Mos to open up
'the previously enclosed stairs.'
We had to take the other staircase out, put this new staircase in
and at the bottom, we had a quarter landing with two rises coming down.
We did balustrades and posts
and it really made a feature of the room.
'Upstairs, the two bedrooms have been completely modernised
'and continue the unfussy minimalist theme in the rest of the house.
'But it wasn't as straightforward as they predicted,
'especially when it came to removing the old plaster from the living room walls.'
That was a big shocker for us, because we opted to completely renovate and modernise the house,
so we were hacking off all of the walls.
All of a sudden, most of the wall just collapsed.
And I think it was incredibly lucky that neither of us were on that side where the wall collapsed.
So, of course, we had to replace that with a new wall.
The house is basically completely new, except the bricks and mortar.
The floors, the ceilings, the walls have all been hacked off.
We've put in new ceiling, new plasterboard, new wiring, new plumbing.
Everything. New doors. So there is nothing except mortar and bricks.
'The list just goes on. They've even repainted the outside of the house
'and had a new roof put on.
'They achieved all this within ten weeks of starting.
'But did they manage to do it within their original budget?'
We were, in ball-park figures, considering that we would be spending about £25,000.
But, on closer examination of the figures,
I think we're going to be looking at around £30,000.
'With a purchase price of £75,000, that brings their total spend to £105,000.
'Time to hear from two local property experts
'how much value they've added here.'
What a transformation and a wow factor.
The initial impression did take my breath away.
I'm impressed that they've opened up the staircase.
I think that really works. Great feeling of space
and plenty of opportunity to put furniture in there, leaving all sorts of opportunity for a buyer.
In my opinion, the resale value of this property will be £130,000 to £135,000.
It has that wow factor. The limitation is the fact that it's two bedrooms,
but I do think we can reach the upper end of the optimum.
I think, realistically, you probably would be looking between £130,000 and £135,000.
'If they achieve that figure, the two Mos could pocket a pre-tax profit of £30,000,
'minus the usual selling expenses.
'Are they pleased with the fruits of their labour?'
Very low. Very low.
We expect to sell this house for a minimum of £140,000.
Because not long ago, two or three houses up sold for how much?
I think about £140,000.
£140,000. And it wasn't refurbished to this standard.
'If they're not happy with the resale valuation,
'what about the rental market?'
The rental expectancy for this property would be £600 per calendar month.
'Bearing in mind their total outlay of £105,000,
'that could be a healthy rental yield of between 6 percent and 7 percent.
I agree with their figures. Their figures match up with our expectation.
But that is our plan B
If we do not get what we want to sell it, we might consider plan B.
'Mo and Mo have done a great job with their first renovation project.
'They may be disappointed with the resale valuations,
'but still stand to make a healthy profit.
'After all the hard work, are they still good friends?'
You may remember that we did say that the most important thing for us
was that, on a business front, for us to get to know each other.
-We're still talking.
-And hope to be able to work together. And, yes, we are still talking.
-So that's, I suppose, a big bonus.
# It keeps raining and raining
Well, I'm here in studentville in the area of Plymouth known as Mutley.
I'm here to see a two-bedroom flat. It had a guide price of £65,000.
But in the words of Dastardly and Mutley, the cartoon characters,
-will this place be worth a medal?
-HE IMITATES MUTLEY'S LAUGH
-Let's find out.
'With these two lions standing guard, it's certainly a grand entrance.
'But this is a first-floor flat.
'Will that splendour continue upstairs?'
Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! Look at this!
So unexpected! The height of the ceilings!
Absolutely fantastic. Oh, dear, a few problems with damp there.
It doesn't put me off. I love this place already. Bathroom and toilet on this mezzanine floor.
Up onto a really nice size landing. Two bedrooms. First one there.
Ceiling is in a bit of a dicey state, so I'm not going to go into that room there,
but it's of a similar size to the one next door, so let's have a look in there.
It's actually a really nice size in here, with some original features, like the ceiling rose,
although the ceiling in here also looks like it needs a bit of care
or basically needs replacing.
The room itself, good size. It's got a fire.
Open the fireplace up, make some kind of a feature.
Have this as a bedroom maybe, or a lounge.
The only slight concern, perhaps, is that you're right on a fairly busy junction.
Is that a bad thing? Yes and no.
It means this property is slap-bang in the centre of Mutley,
literally staggering distance from pubs, bars, restaurants.
It's perfect. As locations go, it doesn't get much better than this in Plymouth.
'As well as benefitting from the social scene right on their doorstep,
'the buyer of this flat can relax in the knowledge that the 99-year lease was renewed in 2007.
'If the lease was much less than that,
'the new owner would have to enter into potentially costly negotiations with the freeholder.'
It's so rare in a flat like this to find some of the original features just untouched.
But look at this on the landing here, this beautiful stained-glass window.
I mean, it's absolutely gorgeous.
And complemented by this wallpaper.
Don't get your steam stripper out and take this off.
If you can find some way of restoring it, it's a lovely thing to keep
and just adds in those character features which make this place really stand out.
'As well as dealing with that wallpaper, the light, airy kitchen needs to be completely updated.
'The lounge is a bit on the pokey side,
'but has a lovely fireplace.
'On a practical note, there's a purpose-built fire escape at the back.
'Back inside, the nicotine-stained walls throughout mean lots of hard graft ahead.
'If you can see the beauty behind the smoke screen, there's plenty to get passionate about here.'
# You must realise
# Smoke gets in your eyes
'What does the auctioneer who sold the property
'make of the area and the options for the flat?'
Property prices in Mutley generally hold themselves up quite well,
because so many of them are investment vehicles
and there's such a high demand for rental accommodation here.
'So, Mutley itself sounds like a good area.
'But I want the lowdown on this flat.'
I really, really like this property.
It's got so many angles. It can either be bought and done up and sold on
or lived in by the buyer or it could be, should be, a rent machine,
either as one whole flat, nice and easy,
or two student bedrooms.
'Bearing in mind the auction guide price of £65,000,
'what sort of figure could it reach once restored to its former glory?'
Once renovated, I would think it probably would have a value in the region of about £100,000.
'But surely most buyers will be looking at this as a rental investment.'
The property is a perfect rental unit
and on a rolling 12-month tenancy,
you could expect to get £500 per calendar month, maybe a smidgen more.
On a room-by-room letting basis,
you could probably get £85 or £95 a week for each room,
which would equate to just about £700 per calendar month.
But you might not get 52 weeks a year from a student let.
So, a really nice flat. Yes, it needs a bit of work, but it's got lots going for it.
Good location, so you could potentially rent to students,
or just create something that would be a very desirable place to live.
Wouldn't be too difficult. Let's see who fancied it when it went under the hammer.
OK, we're in the city. First-floor flat, makeover needed.
Who's going to say to us 60? 60. 60,000 straight in for lot 72.
60, thank you. 62. 64.
You telling me that's not worth 70? 70. At 70.
Would 1,000 help, perhaps?
71. 72. At 72.
At 72. And a tiny one? 73. He does say 73.
Not even a half?
73 and a half. 75 or 74? 75.
Thank you, sir. 75. At 75.
At 75. At 75 once on the left.
At 75 twice on the left.
At 75, are you sure and done? Here's your last chance. Selling at...
75 and a half.
75 and a half.
76. At 76.
At 76 on my left once.
Oh, please. If you're looking at the face I'm looking at!
At 76 once.
At 76 twice. On the left. It will be sold at 76.
And done at that.
76, gentleman on the left. Thanks for your perseverance.
'After quite a bidding battle, former film cameraman
'and now full-time dad Jonathan won through to become the new owner of the flat.'
# Daddy, daddy cool
'But was paying £11,000 over the guide price a wise move?
'And what does he plan to do with the place?'
-Jonathan, good to meet you.
-Congratulations. Why did you want to buy the flat?
-When I saw it, it was what I was looking for.
I'd seen a good half dozen other flats around Plymouth
and they were small, pokey and didn't need that much doing to them.
-Whereas this one is the complete opposite.
-What's the game plan?
I suppose a way of making money.
Erm, I could rent it, but I'll probably sell it
and have some pleasure in doing it up, because it's a lovely old building.
'Sounds like Jonathan's in love with the place already.
'Does he know what he's letting himself in for?'
Well, for the last three and a half years, I've been a house husband looking after my little boy.
-And he's turned out into a real beautiful chap, of course.
And I was looking for something to get me back out into the real world.
So this is it.
So what was it about this particular flat that you really liked?
It was the fact that it needed so much doing to it and I felt that I would enjoy working in a place
that originally had so much craftsmanship in its construction.
And so it's a restoration project for me, really, that I'll enjoy doing.
Will you be spending your time actually physically doing the work?
Yeah. Because it's very labour intensive, it's a lot of cleaning up,
stripping back, that sort of thing.
Do you have any idea how much it's going to cost to get it back up to scratch?
Well, I thought around £10,000, but it could be a lot more than that.
It depends how much I can do myself.
One of the first things, a gas condensing boiler to be fitted.
Then central heating. I'd like to get some antique radiators,
cos I don't think the modern slim-line version would quite fit.
They wouldn't look right in these spacious rooms. Rebuilding the kitchen, the bathroom,
most of the woodwork stripped right back to the bare wood.
'But it's not just superficial work needed here.
'There could be trouble ahead. Remember, the ceiling in one of the bedrooms has been deemed unsafe.
'Jonathan will have to get stuck in straight away to sort out the water damage.'
There is a bit of a problem with damp, isn't there?
It's rained heavily this morning and I've noticed there's a running water problem in the hallway.
I'll have to get up in the loft and have a look at that as soon as you're gone,
-before the plaster starts falling off.
-How long do you think it's going to take?
-I hope not longer than six months,
but it could go on longer. It doesn't really matter.
-As long as I'm enjoying doing it, I'll just carry on.
-Sounds like it's going to be a labour of love.
-Yeah, you could say that.
-How are you going to bring yourself to sell it?
Erm, because I'm a pragmatist.
-So I can love doing it but I can also love selling it and putting the money in the bank.
-Right. You can be that cut and dried about it?
-Oh, I'm very harsh.
-Are you sure?
-When we come back and it looks beautiful, are you sure?
-Listen, good luck with it all and I look forward to seeing how you get on.
-All the best.
Well, Jonathan certainly seems to have found a property that he genuinely loves
and he's excited about the prospect of doing it up.
The only thing that might happen in those circumstance
is that your budget goes completely out of the window
as you restore intricately all these beautiful period features.
And you've got to remember what you're going to do with it in the end.
If it's profit, you've got to be careful.
Find out how he gets on later in the show.
Finding good tradesmen is the key to getting properties done up to a high standard and on time.
But sometimes people take on a lot of the work themselves to save money.
So have today's buyers been getting stuck in or just stuck? Let's find out.
'We're travelling back to Margate now to catch up with perennial backpacker Bill.
'He bought this bungalow in the Westbrook area of the town.
'A plumber by trade, Bill was going to do everything in between his paid work.
'He certainly had plenty on his hands, as the property was crying out to be completely updated.
'He hoped to make enough to finance his next trip to Australia.'
-Why did you want to buy this property in Westbrook?
-Just as an investment, really.
Somewhere to live and to maybe generate an income while I go off and do some travelling.
'The property is just 400 yards from the beach and very well proportioned.
'Bill paid £172,000 for the bungalow and had a budget of £20,000 to do the renovation.
'Six and a half months into the project, has he finished the refurbishment
'and booked his flight to Australia?'
'Well, it seems his wings have been clipped for the moment,
'as the work is still progressing.
'But Bill's aiming for a high-end finish in the bungalow, as you can see in the kitchen.'
A lot of work happened in the kitchen. The chimney breast has come down.
The door has moved from this unit area to there.
We've fitted a nice, new kitchen.
We've installed a new window and the nice new oak worktops
with the drainer grooves routed into the top.
It's had five coats of oil so far.
'Bill's really tried to make the most of the space here.
'By moving the kitchen doorway, he's been able to increase the size of the bathroom.
'And with a slight reconfiguration of the tiny separate toilet,
'he's creating an en suite wet room off one of the bedrooms.
'One of the improvements that really helps transform the house
'are the custom-made windows.'
As part of the double-glazing project for the building,
we've redone both bay windows in the bedrooms,
which had been done not extremely well in the past,
by including the glazed side panels on both windows.
'And it's the windows that have caused the biggest headache of the whole project so far.'
The windows were promised in four to six weeks.
But they actually took eight before they arrived
and one of the windows had been forgotten, which took another three weeks.
So big delay on the windows, which kind of put the whole project behind.
'Apart from the stresses of the renovation, is he happy with how it's all coming together?'
The vision I had in my head is beginning to materialise.
Although, it kind of does change along the way.
And, unfortunately, nobody else is privy to the information that's in there,
and it kind of infuriates me at times when people aren't working towards your vision.
But they can't see it, so how can they?
'The lean-to outside has been re-roofed
'and the entire property rewired and re-plumbed.
'Bill's going to owe his friends quite a few drinks by the time he's finished the bungalow.'
I've roped in various different friends at various points throughout the project
to come down and just give us a hand with lifting and carrying,
certainly the decorating.
A young friend of mine has done quite a bit of the decorating.
I've not really picked up a paint brush
The bulk of the carpentry, the new doors and stuff, I had to get someone in for.
The plastering, contractors, the electrics, contractors.
But all of the demolition and plasterboarding the new ceilings
has kind of been done by myself.
'Bill's no stranger to roughing it, as his passion is backpacking.
'His living arrangements have been pretty flexible
'whilst he's been working on the bungalow or his plumbing jobs.'
I've stayed at my mum's, I've stayed here on many occasions.
If I'm working away, then I'll stay at my girlfriend's house,
or anyone that will put me up.
If I happen to be working in an empty house, then there's always a sleeping bag and an air bed in the van
and as long as I can get some shut-eye, then I'm happy.
'So far, Bill's managed to keep within his budget of £20,000.
'But he's still got to buy and fit a combi-boiler.
'Then he's going to add the latest of mod-cons, heated skirting boards instead of radiators.'
I think another couple of months should see it finished.
I think, if I could get a four-week solid time period
with all the materials on site and not having to go and do any work,
then I could be finished in that time.
But, realistically, I think probably,
allowing for the fact that I've got to go to work, probably another three months.
'After six and a half months on the project,
'Bill's spent £190,000,
'including that £172,000 purchase price.
'He reckons completing the work will cost another five grand,
'taking his total outlay to £195,000.
'Has it been a good investment? Let's get the lowdown from two local estate agents.'
My first impression of the house is it's a very nice finish.
It's a very contemporary, minimalistic sort of feel
and I think it's very high standard and very well done.
The biggest selling point of this property, in my opinion,
would be the location. Also, the lovely kitchen.
The size of the kitchen, I think, will be the main selling point.
'So far, so good. But has Bill added value?
'What could it sell for in a finished state?'
I feel the current value would be £250,000.
When completed, I would recommend marketing this property at £250,000.
'Bill's still got to finish here, but it looks like he could clean up
'with a pre-tax profit of around 55 grand!'
That's fantastic. A lot more than I anticipated.
Makes all those late nights worthwhile. Fantastic!
'And there's more good news if Bill were to decide to rent the property out.'
I would recommend a rental of £700 per calendar month.
I feel the rental value will be roughly around £700 per calendar month.
Interesting. I don't think I'd like to go the rental route, but it's nice to know.
'So does that mean Bill will be putting it on the market as soon as he's finished
'so he can go globe-trotting again?'
I think I'm going to move in, certainly for the short term,
see what the area's like,
how nice it is to be here,
and if I can generate some local work so I don't need to keep commuting
then I would like to stay. But I do want to do some more travelling, as well,
so I don't think it'll be a forever home.
But certainly for a minimum of six months, maybe a couple of years.
'We're back in Plymouth to catch up with full-time dad Jonathan.
'He purchased this first-floor flat in the Mutley area of the city.
'The property needed a lot of work, but had oodles of potential.
'Jonathan paid £76,000 for it and it was obviously going to be a labour of love.'
-Tell me why you wanted to buy the flat.
-As soon as I saw it, I thought it was what I was looking for.
It was the fact that it needed so much doing to it. So it's a restoration project for me, really.
'He certainly had his work cut out. Water was coming in through the roof
'and running down the wall in the hallway.
'The ceiling in one of the bedrooms was unsafe
'and the rest of the flat needed to be completely renovated.
'Jonathan had a budget of just £10,000 to do everything.
'How's he getting on nine months after we first met him?
'Although he's not quite finished, Jonathan's really excelled himself.
'He's taken a dilapidated flat and created a unique home,
'preserving many of the original features.
'He's gone to great lengths to painstakingly restore the beautiful frame on this stained-glass window.'
There was a point where I wished I hadn't started. I did try a heat gun very gently around the frame,
but I did manage to crack that piece of glass there.
In quite an attractive way, but I didn't really want to do any more cracks,
so after that, it was just scrape.
I did try paint stripper, but that didn't seem to have any effect on these old layers of paint.
So it was just scraping, really.
'In the kitchen, Jonathan's installed a combi-boiler
'and replaced all the units, to turn it into a family-friendly breakfast room.
'He's made the best use of the small bathroom
by fitting a space-saving suite and a combined bath and shower.'
The bathroom was, by far, the hardest part. I thought I'd never get out of there.
I was just chipping away at the wall, I was trying to make that bath fit, learning how to do plumbing.
It was a lot of work, it went on for a long time and I wasn't getting much fulfilment from it.
So by the time I'd finished the bathroom, I was glad to be out of there and didn't look back.
'When Jonathan bought the flat, the ceiling in one of the bedrooms was unsafe.
'He's restored it and made the cornices into one of the many lovely original features of the property.
'Jonathan's loving restoration continued with the original fireplaces,
'which add character to each bedroom.'
I used some products that I just had lying around
and it said on the box, "Useful for cleaning old tiles," so I thought I'd try it
and it cleaned the tiles up very nicely.
And once I'd painted the mantelpiece,
it came up quite well, so I'm quite pleased.
'Jonathan's installed some reproduction radiators
'in keeping with the character of the property.
'He's also restored the original embossed wallpaper.
'Although he still needs to carpet throughout and finish the living room,
'the flat is well on its way to completion.'
I'm going to have a little holiday now, because I'm knackered.
But after that, I should think about a month or so and I should have it finished.
'Jonathan's done most of the renovation work himself,
'with some help from professionals on jobs like the electrics and plumbing.
'His budget was £10,000. Did he keep to it?'
Because I've decided to have carpets down throughout, that's going to add quite a lot,
so it'll be getting up towards £15,000.
'But will this labour of love pay off?
'With a renovation budget of £15,000,
'plus the purchase price of £76,000,
'Jonathan's invested a grand total of £91,000 here.
'Has he added value?
'We asked two local property experts to give us their opinions.'
Every home should have something that's quite special about it.
This flat has got a really nice feel to it
because of the way the rooms are organised.
It's huge, there's lots of character,
you couldn't put it in a more convenient location
and strangely, somehow, even though kind of a busy road junction,
you don't know it.
The highest value, because it really is so nice, is as someone's home.
And if that's the ultimate buyer, you're probably looking at £100,000 being the end value,
maybe just a little bit extra
if we find someone who truly appreciates the originality of the character.
I would value the flat at £110,000.
Maybe, in a really good market, £115,000, cos it has got a special feel.
'How does Jonathan feel about these figures?'
Really depressed. That's a lot less than what I thought.
Erm, I don't know if that includes carpets and finishing,
cos it has still got to be finished, but that's quite a bit less than I'd imagined, so that's bad news.
'It's not as much as Jonathan was hoping for,
'but those valuations could give him a pre-tax profit of between £9,000 and £24,000,
'minus the usual selling fees, of course.
'But in an area like Mutley, so close to Plymouth University and the city centre,
'he could always choose to rent it out.'
As an assured short-hold tenancy rent machine, you could expect to let the flat out
at about £550 per calendar month.
If you were looking toward student lets to increase your income,
you'd be looking at probably, for an academic year, 44, 45 weeks,
you're probably looking at £90 per week per room, maybe £95.
'That could mean an annual income of up to £8,500, a very solid yield of around ten percent.'
So I'll probably rent it, at the moment, and wait for the prices to go back up.
'I think Jonathan's done pretty well with this, his first investment property.
'But profit margins weren't the only reason he undertook this project.'
It's been very satisfying working in this environment where I've been restoring these old features.
Cos the place was in such a bad condition when I bought it,
but it just needed a little bit of loving hard work, loving labour,
to put it right again and to make it into a nice, comfortable, solid home.
That's it for today's show. Make sure you join us next time
-for more properties going under the hammer.
-See you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a terraced house in Cardiff, a bungalow in Margate and a period flat in Plymouth. All of these properties have been sold at auction, and Martin and Lucy find out who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.