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Property prices go up and down, but one thing that
remains constant is a need for a roof above your head.
Yes, and not only that, if you buy wisely, it can be a great place
to invest your money and you can watch it grow.
Yes, one place to buy a home or an investment is under the hammer.
Well, before you take on a project, it's good to know that you've got the time to devote to it.
You might be surprised, by renovating a property, just how much it can take over your life.
So will today's properties be straightforward or take on a life of their own?
The secret's out in Kent, and this house could be in hot water.
This old boiler has been hiding the original fireplace for years, by the looks of things.
In Stoke-on-Trent, every colour in the rainbow
was used to decorate this place, and it's not to everyone's liking.
Don't do this if you're thinking of decorating your place, will you?
And when we first returned to this farm cottage in Dorset, the extension hadn't even begun.
But now, over a year later, we can show you the fantastic new house.
All of these properties went to auction, and we'll find out who bought them
and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.
It's yours. Well done.
Today, I'm in Cobham in Kent.
It's an area that's got close associations with the Victorian writer Charles Dickens,
who frequently walked to the village from his house at Gad's Hill.
Now, he'd often test his storytelling skills by giving
readings from his latest work here at the Leather Bottle Inn.
The inn actually features in one of Dickens' earliest works, The Pickwick Papers.
You can see why he enjoyed Cobham so much.
And with its 13th-century church and impressive architecture, it still ticks all the right boxes today.
How much would you pay for an attractive semi-detached cottage
situated in a rural location on the outskirts of a much-sought-after village? 600,000?
500,000? 400, perhaps?
Well, today, the cottage I'm here to see was guided at just 145,000.
Let's have a look around.
Well, it's a strange entrance that looks more like it's at the rear of the property.
Considering the cottage is in a conservation area
and has three floors, it's hard to believe the guide price was so low.
The back of the building is very imposing, and there's a large garden.
I was not expecting it to be like this inside!
It's horrendous! Not much in the way of a fitted kitchen.
Got some rather interesting utensils lying around.
But I've got to say, I love this window.
You've got a lovely old sash here, and it'll be as good as new once it's been serviced.
Now, at the back of the property you've got the reception room, a feature fireplace over there
which doesn't really match the period of this property, another great window and, through here,
a second reception room. Now, sadly, there's no back door leading out onto that wonderful garden,
and the only access to it is walking back out through the front door and round the side of the house.
And when you do get out there, the garden of this semi is huge
and the back of the building very impressive.
So what's it like on the first floor?
Upstairs, you've got two rather small bedrooms on this floor.
Now, there's an attic room up these stairs here,
but I'm not going up there, as it's off limits and it's unsafe, although I am told it's a really big space.
Something that's not ideal, though, is you have to walk through here
to get upstairs to it, so some reconfiguring needs to be done.
Now, this is interesting over here.
Have a look. This old boiler has been hiding the original fireplace for years, by the looks of things.
Take that out, relocate it and refurbish this and then
you're well on your way to restoring this old house to its former glory.
In the other bedroom, the fireplace is still visible,
and both rooms retain lots of lovely doors, windows and woodwork.
I think it could be truly glorious once renovated, but there is such a lot of work required.
Downstairs, there are rats living in the bathroom, so they will need to be got rid of.
I'm keen to find out what a local estate agent makes of this cottage
that was guided at just 145,000.
My first impression of the property is there's a lot of work to be done
here, complete refurbishment, electrics, everything.
But then, that's a good thing. You can start from scratch.
You definitely need to here, and that could be what puts people off.
But the neighbouring property is a stunning barn conversion which shows what can be achieved.
Cobham is a highly desirable location. It's semi-rural.
However, the accessibility, with motorway
and the Ebbsfleet international station, will definitely put it on the map.
Well, let's talk numbers. How much could someone make here?
I would expect that after a full refurbishment, you could easily achieve a figure of around 350,000.
The figures are interesting, but there is an awful lot of work
to be done on the building as it stands at the moment.
If you were really ambitious and decided to extend, how much could it then be worth?
I think with extensions,
this property would easily be able to achieve up to 400,000.
Of course, the surrounding countryside will influence any valuation here.
The property requires a whole load of vision.
You have to see past the grime and the lack of amenities and think what it could be like.
Let's see who had that vision as we go to auction.
Lot 42, guided at 145 plus.
Lots of people up there having a look round.
And what may I say? Start me at 140? 140 to start me?
130, then? I'm in your hands.
130 I have. Thank you. 130 I'm bid.
At £130,000, then.
135 is bid. And 140.
145. 145 I have, second row back.
At 145 I'm bid. 150 anywhere?
150 I have.
152. 152 I have, second row back.
152. 155? 155. 156, if it helps. 156.
158. 160. And 162.
At 160,000, then. Being sold for the first time at 160, second row back.
For the second time at 160,000.
Third and final time at 160,000, second row back. Are you all done?
Sold at 160,000. Well done.
For 160,000, Mark and Cheryl were the very excited successful bidders for the property.
Mark's a breakdown mechanic who gives emergency roadside assistance, and Cheryl's a full-time housewife.
I went to the cottage to meet them, along with their daughter Megan
and Buster the dog to hear about the plans for their new home.
So, guys, what's the story behind you wanting to buy this at auction? Mark?
We'd looked for a couple of years to buy a property in the countryside,
because it's where we wanted to live, and just stumbled across it.
We got a telephone call from my parents, and my dad said,
"Come and have a look, see what you think,"
and it sort of escalated from there. And then we'd got a holiday booked in Cornwall,
so the week that the auction was, we was actually on holiday in Cornwall.
He had to come home early, so I stayed.
-So you stayed on holiday with your fingers crossed and you came back home to bid!
-I felt sick all day.
-Yeah. It was a horrible feeling.
When we got it and he rang me and said, "We've got it,"
I was a bit shell-shocked, and still I can't believe it's really ours and it's going to happen.
Well, you'd better believe it, Cheryl, because there's a lot to be done here.
But their 160,000 has bought them a fantastic opportunity.
They looked beyond the mess and debris and saw the potential here.
When you first looked at this house, what did you think?
I just thought it could be really pretty.
I just sort of knew that it was going to be a state,
but just thought, I can see past this and see that it's just a nice family home.
Big project, but lots of potential.
Did it put you off, though, looking at the state of the house?
No. To be honest, we wasn't interested in the house at all.
What sold it was the back view of the house and the garden.
I'm with you a 100%. I mean, what a garden you've got!
Well, hopefully, one day, yeah.
And how beautiful does it look at the back? You've got those amazing windows.
It just looks stunning.
That's what sold it to us.
Now, one thing I do know is that it's in a conservation area,
-which is fantastic, but you also have to adhere to rules.
What do you know about that, Mark?
We've actually spoken already to the conservation lady, and
she's been out with us and had a quick look round, just to give us some ideas and some feelings of
-what we could and couldn't do, and she's said we couldn't do any of the things we wanted...
..but has then thrown in lots of things that we can do, which were much bigger ideas
-that we hadn't thought of because we didn't think we'd be allowed to...
-So she gave you some ideas.
She's on about big extensions and stuff like that that we'd be allowed to have, and the small stuff that
we thought, like a door opening and bits and pieces, she said no to.
-So we really don't know what we're doing.
-We haven't got any idea what we want!
-So you're completely confused.
Extending at the back might still prove to be an issue,
but they may be able to extend the front of the house. It may not be a bad idea, as it's a bit
of a hotchpotch at the moment and could do with some smartening up.
But how much do they have available to spend here?
Between 20 and 30 we've got to spend.
Ooh! OK, that's not a huge amount to do everything
you need to do, because you need to do everything here, don't you?
Yes. Yeah, we knew we was on a tight budget.
We've spoken to a few builders, painters, decorators,
that sort of thing, and they've suggested that with that figure, we could have it liveable, so...
-But that doesn't count for structural things, taking walls out, extensions.
we hadn't even thought of that, because we didn't think we was allowed to do things like that.
We've really got to walk away, sit down and decide what we're doing and really look at finances.
I tell you what I'd do if I were you. I'd look at second-hand kitchens,
I would be having makeshift kitchens set up so that you haven't spent
a lot of your budget on a kitchen just to then have to knock the wall out and make it bigger anyway.
Yes. Yeah, that's a good idea.
Well, there's not much point in throwing good money after bad,
and it's far better to get their ideas in place first.
Mark's a highly qualified vehicle mechanic,
so he's used to fixing cars, but how will he be at fixing old houses?
Mark and Cheryl are not the only ones looking forward to making this their home.
-Their daughter Megan is really excited, as well.
-You like it?
-The biggest thing with our other house was the fact
the garden was so small, and she wants things like trampolines,
climbing frames, the usual kiddies' things.
She loves the view, because she's got a rocking horse,
so she thinks that she can sit there and pretend that she's galloping across the fields.
Oh, I love it that she can see through all this grim mess!
-She's got the vision, hasn't she?
-She has, yes.
-What about her little dog?
We'll be able to take him for walks forever!
So Megan's already dreaming of galloping across the fields
and taking long walks with Mum, Dad and her dog Buster.
But one thing's for sure - Dad has got a big job on his hands.
So was he alarmed by the scale of the challenge?
Um. It's a big project.
I've not done anything like this,
as grand as this, obviously.
There's going to be lots of people helping me and doing the work for me.
-There is worries, but I'm sure we can overcome them.
-Guys, good luck with this project.
I think you've got a cracking plot here, and all of you are going to have a great time. Well done, Mark.
Mark, Cheryl, Megan and Buster have found their dream home,
but their dream home is currently a nightmare!
How will they get on turning this from
a rat-infested, derelict building to a warm family country cottage?
You can join me later to see how they get on.
I'm in Hanley, widely regarded as the capital of the six towns that make up the city of Stoke-on-Trent.
It's also the birthplace of EJ Smith, the captain of the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic.
The big question is, will the property I'm here to see
sink without a trace or prove to be plain sailing?
Well, it's a three-bedroom end of terrace at guide price of 39,000 quid, so it's a good start.
It looks as though the original end of terrace could have been extended
at some time, as the door's in the middle of the property.
It means it's one of the largest houses on the street,
where the smaller ones were selling for around £65,000 a couple of years ago.
But, judging by the outside, this place has some problems.
The windows are smashed and the sagging roof will need attention.
So, it's not shipshape.
But that guide price of £39,000 has definitely got me interested.
That's the kind of price you'd expect to pay for a two-up, two-down terrace.
You've got here a lot more. It's almost double-fronted.
You've got a living room and sitting room over that side.
A bit of a storage area there, by the front door.
Over here, another sitting room/living room.
Both of them have got fireplaces.
Strip those back and create a bit of a central feature. That'd be nice.
Stairs up to the bedrooms and then through into
the rear of the property, where you've got your kitchen.
Well, it needs a bit of work. I don't know if these...
These might be serviceable, actually.
But it's not a bad-sized space and someone's obviously been thinking about the renovation process.
Shall we go for the chilli wallpaper, the butterflies or the tulips?
It's a tough call!
Before you can even start to make that decision, you've got some structural issues to check out.
First priorities should be the damp and those nasty cracks.
Maybe then you can deal with the colour schemes in this place.
Someone obviously liked to express themselves.
Just look at the staircase.
The colours are even more vibrant upstairs.
That staircase is just surreal.
Actually, the paint job in general up here doesn't get much better.
This dark blue colour is just so oppressive.
Don't do this if you're thinking about decorating your place, will you?
In fact, in general, upstairs just doesn't work.
There's lots of corridors and stud partition walls.
It makes the whole thing feel cramped when, actually, it's not a bad-sized space.
What we have got is three double bedrooms and a loo and bathroom over there.
Again, the colour scheme doesn't get much better as you walk around.
In fact in some ways it gets worse.
How about this for a choice of colour? Yum(!)
However, on the plus side,
along with the property comes an entire other building
and it's out there.
It's a brick-built warehouse that you can access from the garden or from the road.
A bit of a bonus. And it has a separate electricity and water supply from the main house.
That could be very useful if you wanted to redevelop the site separately.
It gets better because once you get inside this building, it's bigger than it looks from up there.
What it is, currently, is a workshop. It looks like it's just been abandoned.
There's tools all over the place,
it's a good-sized space, especially when you come over here.
Look at the ceiling height. How fantastic is this?
So, what does this bring as an added advantage to this particular auction lot? Well, lots in my mind.
You could keep it like this, you could run it as a commercial unit,
you could rent it out pretty much as it is.
But the key for me is to see if you can get residential permission to build here.
Planning permission for residences, planning permission for houses.
That is where the money is.
I think changing it to residential status could be a real possibility, as this is smack bang
in the middle of a residential area and access is good.
But will a local estate agent share my enthusiasm?
There's a lot on offer here, with a very tempting guide price.
The guide price of this house is £39,000 plus,
which, for the size of property,
along with the workshop, does make very good value.
Well, there's an investment opportunity with the house, but what about developing the workshop?
There would be potential, maybe, to look into obtaining some sort of residential planning permission.
But obviously inquiries would need to be made and it's not been done in the past.
How much could the property be worth if you let the workshop as it is and just renovated the house?
The resale valuation of the property would be in the region of £70,000
as a single unit, including the workshop.
From the research I've done, it seems that this is a pretty good rental area.
So, what would the numbers be if you went down that route?
The rental income for the house would be in the region of £400
per calendar month after, obviously, modernisation.
There would be additional potential to actually let the workshop separately.
I would imagine in the region of £50 per week would be a reasonable income for that type of property.
Well, some interesting decisions to be made here by any investor looking for a challenge.
Well, it was a lot of property for that £39,000 guide price before I discovered the workshop.
But, having seen that, you know what, this was a great opportunity for somebody.
Let's see who spotted it at the auction.
Lot number 29 is a three-bedroomed end terraced house
in a convenient location for the city centre.
It has a substantial brick-built garage-cum-workshop at the back.
So, what shall we say for lot 29?
30,000, surely? It's got to be that?
30 I'm bid, thank you. At 30,000.
I'll take two. 32. Can we say 32?
32, at £32,000.
36? 36. At 38...38,000, 39, is it?
This is a cheap property at £38,000.
Bidder there, 39,000.
No? Shaking his head.
With you, 42,000.
New bidder. 43, 44.
45, 46. 46. 47.
No? At £47,000, the bid is still there.
New bidder. 47,500, 48.
Another half? 50,500.
51? Another half?
52,500. 53? 53.
All right, 53 and a half. Bid's here.
At £53,500, another 500 anywhere else?
Selling it then at 53,500, first time,
53,500 second time, third and final time, all done.
It's yours. Well done.
After that long bidding war, the successful buyers were Craig and Gary, two local builders.
They paid £53,500 for the house and workshop.
The pair met through their girlfriends a year ago
and decided to try their hands at property developing together.
Craig, Gary, good to meet you both.
-That was a bit of a scramble at the end, wasn't it?
-Yes, it was.
-But you were determined to get it.
-And you did. Why did you want to buy this house?
Potential, really, wasn't it?
We viewed the property twice, weren't it?
And come round. We've got plans for converting it into two flats.
And obviously with the warehouse round the back, there's plans
later on to get that into two terraced as well.
So, did you check out the legal pack for this before you bought it?
-No? Because it's quite a complicated property, really, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is.
Was there anything in there that was a problem?
-Have you read it still?
You haven't read the legal pack, still! Oh my goodness.
-It could say "Well, they are going to build a motorway through here in two weeks' time."
I know. We'll probably learn from this lesson.
How many times do I have to say it?
Read the legal pack before the auction!
But Craig and Gary ignored that advice and in fact, still haven't read it.
Rather risky as they bought a house that included
this workshop for which they have got some very big ideas.
So, is the plan to have that as a completely separate dwelling?
-Yes. It's ready to be knocked down anyways.
And what kind of thing would you put in its place? How many storeys?
We would like to think we can put a couple of semi-detached houses in there.
-Depends what they come out with the drawing, you know?
That's where your potential mega profit's going to be, isn't it?
You've thrown yourself into quite a project!
Blimey! For their first project together
they spent £53,500 on this end of terrace and have
ambitious plans to convert it into two flats and, as if
that wasn't enough, they hope to get planning permission to build a pair of semis where the workshop is now.
Well, that's a lot for these two good mates to take on.
They're going to have to put their business heads together to make this happen.
Converting the house will be their first challenge.
So talk me through what you're thinking of doing to it.
Knocking a few walls about, taking the chimney breasts out.
Knocking the walls down, open it up, a couple of extensions on the back.
To make space for bathrooms.
-Just knock it down and start again!
A lot of walls coming down.
Yeah, and making it into two separate flats. Downstairs, upstairs flats.
Give me an idea of how much you think it's going to cost.
Let's take it bit by bit. This first bit here, to get this converted into flats.
15,000 we said, didn't we?
-And then is the plan to sell or rent?
Rent the properties. Yes, rent them out.
And then let's move on to the conversion of the workshop.
Any idea how much that would cost to do what you would like to do in your ideal world?
We're talking in the region of probably between 50,000 - 60,000.
OK, and what would be the plan for those? To sell those or to rent those as well?
Rent them at the moment.
-Wait for the market to pick up, hopefully.
-Wait for the market, yeah.
But out of one property you've generated yourself
maybe four rental properties.
-That's the plan.
Well, they're certainly thinking big,
but even the best-laid plans can hit problems.
So, I've got my fingers crossed for these two friends on their very first development project.
Well, Craig and Gary have certainly got an interesting project to take on for their first joint venture.
But having not read the legal pack, still having not read the legal pack,
a cracked window could be the least of their problems.
Find out how they get on later in the show.
Coming up - more than two years after our first visit
we return to this Dorset cottage and find it transformed into a fabulous luxury home.
Back in Stoke-on-Trent, will this house now be flats - and what about the workshop?
Although it might not look like it, we've done a lot of work to get to this stage.
But first, back in Kent, buying this property was a lovely surprise.
Still, I can't believe it's really ours and it's going to happen.
We return to the Kent village of Cobham now, where Mark and his wife
Cheryl had paid £160,000 for this derelict semi-detached cottage.
It was in a terrible state but they hoped renovation could make it their dream family home.
When you looked at this house, what did you think?
We knew that it was going to be a state but just thought, "Hmm, I can see past this."
And see that it's just a nice family home.
Now, ten and a half months later, the progress is amazing
but there's still a lot to do and the family haven't moved in yet.
When we were here last, the attic room was too dangerous to enter
but now it's safe and been converted into a beautiful master bedroom.
On the first floor, the rear bedroom's been retained with the original fireplace intact.
But the second bedroom that had the hot water tank
has now become the family bathroom, complete with some very high quality fixtures and fittings.
Downstairs on the ground floor, the two back rooms overlooking
the garden have been knocked into one fabulous kitchen-diner.
There are two new skylights and, just like the bathroom,
it's also kitted out with the latest modern units and equipment. But remind us, Mark.
Just how bad was it?
I can't describe what it was like.
It was horrible, dirty, dingy, falling to pieces.
The cellar was all caved in, the loft had half the floor missing.
It was just in disrepair.
Oh, yes it was. Rat-infested with rotten timbers.
But now Cheryl and Mark have breathed new life into this house.
So, who's been doing the work?
We've had two builders in to do all the structural work
but basically, decorating, we've been doing that ourselves.
What about their plan to extend? You may remember they had spoken to the conservation officer
and it sounded promising that they would be allowed to make some increase in the footprint.
Initially we contacted the council and asked for somebody to come out
and give us some advice on doing the house.
We followed their advice to the T and put in for planning permission
and that was unfortunately turned down.
From there, we have sat down with them and they have decided that we can have some
of the extension that we wanted but we'll have to sacrifice one of the buildings that's already there.
So revised plans had to be drawn up.
But how will those impact on the property?
The proposed extension will start here,
and square off to the end of the building.
It will be an exact replica of what's already built there and this will actually house our lounge.
It will be fantastic to have a spacious living area.
It's one thing that the current layout does not feature.
The plans have been submitted and they've now got to wait
three weeks before they hear if they have been successful.
The reckon the building will take a couple of months to complete.
But with the work in the rest of the house progressing well,
what does their daughter, Megan, think of her new home so far?
Just excitement, every time we come over.
She just can't wait to live out here.
It's like home from home.
-Constantly playing in the garden.
-Yeah, it's good.
Smiles all round. It's taken about a year to get to this point and the standard of work is superb.
One important factor though is the budget. So how much have they spent?
Oh, we're up to about 30,000 so far.
Obviously we're not finished but we've gone for a few things that we didn't budget for.
By the time the extension's done,
probably I reckon we'll be up to nearly 50,000.
Time to see if that money has been wisely spent.
Will two local estate agents give this cottage the thumbs up?
The second time back at the property, I was surprised to see such change.
I particularly like the kitchen.
There's space, the way it's been organised is just fantastic.
It's a lovely looking house, it's in a lovely location and as soon as
it's finished I think it's going to be a fantastic home.
The finish is outstanding and there's been no expense spared.
Even down to little details like door hinges, every room has been done to a high standard.
They've really spent money. You can see they're doing it not
to make a profit but to make it their own home.
I love the light fittings.
I love the attention to detail.
They've really done well.
Potential negatives I see here is the lounge.
At the moment it's quite small in comparison to the rest of the property.
But if they get the right planning permission I'm sure it'll make all the difference.
So just how much could the place now be worth?
Remember, the couple paid 160,000 at auction and have spent about £30,000 already.
But Mark sees that stretching to 50 grand if the extension gets
the go-ahead, which would take it to £210,000 in total.
Without the extension I would value this property for £285,000.
If permission was granted for the extension they would exceed £300,000.
As it stands you would sell this house for the order of £250,000.
I think with the extension, £290,000.
On those valuations, even without building the extension,
there could be a £60,000 gross profit before deducting the usual expenses.
And if they did extend that could stretch to 80,000.
They must be delighted.
-That's all right.
I was expecting a little bit more but that's all right at the moment. It's good.
And those are just rewards.
Taking on such a derelict place requires real guts.
They spotted an opportunity and are now creating a fabulous family home.
So, would they tackle another in similar condition?
Mark would do it again but I know I wouldn't.
I've enjoyed what we've done.
We're now returning somewhere we first showed you in 2007.
My next property, the cottage, is sitting on the edge of a working farm.
Originally it was used to house the workers who were employed in the fields.
Now, I do know this house was built in the 1900s.
It looks great on the outside, lovely stonework with brick dressing around the window.
It's got a tiled roof. Beautiful roses around the door.
Look at these. Idyllic, really.
Does it get much better than this?
This cottage went to auction with a very alluring guide price of just £200,000.
From the outside it looks to be in pretty good condition.
Well, it all started really well.
As you walk in here the smell of damp and mustiness just hits you in the face.
I'm wondering whether that's because this cottage has been locked up for quite some time.
I hope it's not going to be a serious problem.
But looking around, it's amazing.
You've got these wonderful old flagstone floors, a fantastic Raeburn here.
My guess is that this is the only source of central heating in the property. I can't see any radiators.
Got a few problems with all the plasterwork coming off the ceiling.
From the dining area straight through into the sitting room,
very cottage-y, small and cosy.
A-ha! There is the culprit of that rotten, musty damp smell.
Take a look at this. Plaster peeling away everywhere.
I presume there isn't a damp-proof course in a cottage of this age.
To get one installed would cost around £1,000.
You've definitely got to do that, whoever takes on this project.
There were plenty of signs of damp here, but also a lot of character.
At the other end of the cottage, behind the dining room,
the units in the kitchen were definitely going to need changing.
They didn't match the period of the property at all.
Upstairs the cottage's character continues.
But so does the damp.
Apart from the bedrooms there's also a bathroom. It's a fair size.
But the huge water tank does take up a lot of space.
I wonder if it could be moved.
This is where, to me, it gets a little bit disappointing because
to access bedroom two you have to walk through bedroom one.
Not ideal, is it?
Years ago families would've all lived together in one big space.
Today I think people need a little more privacy.
There is a solution to that.
You could think about creating a corridor from the bathroom
leading all the way through the back of the house to the bedrooms
although that would shunt all the rooms forwards and eat into the space.
Perhaps you may think about developing on a much grander scale.
If so, I have come up with another solution. It's outside.
Let me show you.
You know me, when I put on my developer's hat,
I always like to think about extending and improving any property.
This is the back of the house.
You've got to use your imagination because there isn't much room.
If you chop all this back, you have views of the working farm.
You can even hear the cows.
This is where the development opportunity is.
Subject to planning permission, a double storey extension
would work really well out here.
Therefore you could create extra bedrooms upstairs,
downstairs you could have a huge, big, kitchen area
and walk straight out onto this really pretty, little garden.
This is the kind of property that looks absolutely gorgeous in photographs,
but we all know the reality of the work needed
to make it look beautiful on the inside, as well.
Let's see who wants the challenge in the auction room.
And the cottage went to auction with a guide price of £200,000.
Right. Lot 11 takes us to one of my favourite areas and properties.
Would someone like to put me straight in at 200?
200,000, 200,000, 205, on the aisle.
220 with the proxy bid. At 220.
225 in pink.
230, with the catalogue.
230, 235, 240, with a proxy at 240.
245. 250. At 250. I'll take two.
At 250, 252. Proxy bid's out.
Right at the back. 256. 258.
258,000. 260. 262,
264. 266 at the back, 268.
270. 270. 272,
276. Fresh bidding. 278.
284. I'll take one if it helps you.
At 284. 285.
285. 286. At £286,000.
The successful bid was made by a local land agent.
He was acting for Philippa and her husband David
who own and work on the neighbouring farm.
They bought the cottage as an investment.
I met Philippa there to find out why they had bought it.
I think for the same reason that lots of people would want it,
because it's a lovely, traditional cottage
in a quiet setting in the countryside and there's room to improve it
and it's a really lovely, idyllic property.
So, why is this property important to your farming business?
Farming is 24/7.
You've always got to have somebody available to look after cattle
and sheep and attend to their welfare.
So to have a property where you can have another member
of the family or someone that helps you,
part of your team, or even a tenant who is also
very interested in the farm is really valuable to us.
Have you often looked out onto this cottage, thinking you would like to buy it?
We've always considered that it might become available
and we've hoped that we might be in a position to purchase it, if it did.
Now that Philippa has the keys for this pretty cottage, the hard work is going to start.
I met up with her architect to find out what his plans are for the place.
I've got to say, it's a little bit pinched inside.
You've got the problem of bedroom one going into bedroom two.
How are you going to extend or just make it bigger?
We want to leave the cottage just as it is
so that the character is maintained,
therefore we don't want to alter the elevations.
So, we will still have two bedrooms and the bathroom up there,
but on the ground floor we're looking for a large kitchen
that you can sit in, eat in, live in during the day.
And so that will occupy the main extension in this direction,
leaving the corner where there's no light and views for stairwell,
loo, you know, secondary rooms.
OK, ballpark, how much do you think it's going to cost?
If I was asked to give a budget at this stage,
I would say between £100,000-£150,000. Excluding VAT.
-Are you happy with that?
-Over a long period of time, yes.
And as any farmer knows, you have to be patient
about the delay between sowing and harvesting.
Join us later in the programme,
to see if anything had actually taken root the first time
we returned after one year.
And how the cottage has become a fantastic new home two years later.
Well, the months have passed.
Time to return to our properties to see how they got on.
Will it be a developer's dream or a living nightmare?
Let's find out.
Earlier, and builders Craig and Gary had just paid £53,500
for this large end-of-terrace property,
plus a large workshop behind it in the Stoke-on-Trent town of Hanley.
They had been friends for a year,
but had only just gone into partnership together.
This was their first, and rather ambitious, development.
Initially, the house was to be divided up into two flats
and then they wanted to build two new houses where the workshop was.
What would you put in its place? How many storeys?
We would like to think we can put
-a couple of semi-detached houses in there.
It depends what they come out with at the drawing, you know?
Wow! That's where your potential mega profit is going to be, isn't it?
Five months later, we are back and, oh dear.
That double-fronted house has two more windows boarded up
and the workshop is...still there.
But inside, the colourful interior has had lots of attention.
The walls have been patched up and now look ready to plaster.
But there is still no sign of any building work
to divide the house into the two proposed flats.
And Gary's now busy on another building project.
So, Craig, what's been happening in these last five months?
We decided to keep it as a house.
Because it was too costly to do what we wanted.
It was time as well, to do the actual work.
With us being working in the day,
we only had a certain amount of time to spend on the property.
It wasn't possible for us to do, really.
So the plans for the flats have been shelved
and the house was now just going to be refurbished.
OK, this was one of the three bedrooms.
As you can see we have stripped the walls
like we have done in many of the other rooms.
Although it might not look like it,
we've done a lot of work to get to this stage.
We've got the sockets in,
basically, left in the flooring that we found at the floor level was dropping in this corner
and what we wanted to do was take back all the boards
and re-floor to get the floor level.
Unfortunately, we didn't get time to get the flooring stripped back
and re-levelled off which someone else is going to have to do.
Hang on a minute. It sounds like the plans have changed again.
For some reason Craig and Gary have decided
to leave the floorboards even though they have done a lot of other work up here.
OK, so this is the bathroom.
Originally, there was a sink here, bath over there, toilet was here.
What we wanted to do was create a bit more space.
As you can see, we have started to retile.
We have done the electrics and the plumbing.
It's just a shame that we couldn't finish
what we anticipated doing in this room.
There's no flat conversion and Gary's working on another job.
It seems their first joint project isn't going too well.
As we were on our way through the project,
I came down with a back injury which has put the job,
over the last two to three months, on hold, really.
Me and my work partner decided to sit down
and have a chat about what we were going to do with the property,
so we decided to put it back into the auction
to try to get back what we paid.
Oh, no! What bad luck.
Craig's injury has meant they both decided to back out
of their first development project.
But at what cost?
We bought it at the auction for £53,500.
When we took it back to the auction, we got 53,000.
We knew we had made a loss on it, but it's only a small amount
and it's a lesson that we'll learn in the future.
What about the workshop? What's the story there?
Workshop's currently as it was, basically, because of time.
We didn't have time to work on the outbuilding.
Craig's already said they made a loss of £500 on the auction sale,
and that's not counting the cost of work on the property
which is now just money down the drain.
With the materials that we've spent and the bathroom, tiles,
electrical equipment, probably...
..500, something like that.
Let's see if two local estate agents can give Craig and Gary
any good news as the lads are looking at an overall loss of around £1,000.
My first impressions are that there is a lot of potential with it,
quite a large end terrace.
A lot of the hard work has been started, but a lot of work still required.
They have done what most people would do
which is a general strip out, start with the kitchen.
There's still quite a bit of work to do.
It's obviously a work-in-progress.
If they had carried on continuing to turn it into flats,
long-term, the investment would have been better,
the potential income would have been more from renting.
But the outlay to renovate it in the first place
is more than keeping it as a terraced house.
Sadly, the rental income's of no consequence now for Craig and Gary,
but what about the resale value of the house and the workshop?
How much could the property be worth if they had managed to finish the work?
Fully renovated as a house,
I'd imagine this could be worth somewhere around £60,000-£65,000.
Fully renovated, the resale value of this property would be around £55,000.
Based on an average figure of around 60,000,
would that have given them the return they had hoped for
if they had managed to finish the work and then sell?
Fully renovated, £60,000.
It's not a big return on what we would have invested in the property.
The refurbishment is now on hold and it's up to the new owners
to consider because Craig and Gary returned to the auction
and sold for £53,000. Was that a fair price?
In the property's current condition, its value is closer to £45,000.
So, how does that make you feel, Craig?
Yeah, shocked, really.
I suppose the current market is,
it's probably what it's valued at.
So I suppose putting it back into the auction
and getting 53,000 was a good result, at the end of the day.
Earlier in the programme, we reminded you about this
classic, country cottage with roses round the door
that we first visited in 2007.
It's in the lovely hamlet of Huntingford near Gillingham
in Dorset and had been bought for £286,000 by Philippa.
She and her husband owned the neighbouring farm
and acquired the cottage to make sure they had control
of the land and possibly to house their farm workers.
But when we pulled on our wellies
and returned 12 months later it hadn't progressed much at all.
Not surprising, because whenever planning permission
is required there are usually delays.
But some work outside had been completed.
We've put in a new access, which involved taking down
the old farm buildings which were in a really poor state
and we've now submitted and been successful in obtaining planning consent
to extend the property and improve what's already here.
Whilst they waited for planning permission to be granted,
inside, some work had begun.
The old plaster had been removed, ready for the damp-proof treatment.
And the final drawing showed exactly how the cottage would change.
We've demolished the kitchen and in its place
there is an extension allowed here.
The back door comes in off where the farmyard was
into a utility area and a nice south-facing kitchen.
Now, another 12 months later,
we returned to see the fabulous new property where
Philippa's daughter Alison is living until she goes to university.
It's been two years since the hammer fell at auction,
but the wait has definitely been worth it.
The cottage has been sympathetically extended
at 90 degrees to the original property.
The bricks, stones and roof tiles all match beautifully.
Inside the original cottage, what was the dining room
has been refurbished in a classic country style.
And on the other side of the chimney, is the sitting room.
We've seen the damp plaster disappear.
It's now dried out, been re-plastered and decorated.
The impressive new wing of the property is accessed
through this hall which leads to a stunning new kitchen and dining room.
Very bright, very modern and very attractive.
It's been a lovely project.
It's been very easy to manage because it's on the doorstep.
That makes a huge difference. We've had a great team of builders.
Fantastic, skilled craftsmen.
Really good stonemasons which have done justice
to the stonework and the brickwork and matched it with the old,
which I think has been a good result.
The house has got lots of character.
But we've managed to incorporate a lot more light into the new part.
From the outside,
it looks very similar in terms of its architectural features.
Apart from the kitchen and hall, a utility room and cloakroom
have been built on the ground floor of the new extension.
And it's not just Philippa's daughter who's making it her home.
You may remember one reason for buying the cottage was to
be able to offer local accommodation to their farm workers.
So did that happen?
The situation that we have now
is that we have a young member of the family
who has his own agricultural engineering business
and he is operating that alongside his commitment to the farming here.
And so he's using this as his home,
and it's also available for other members of the family as required.
Upstairs, access to the bathroom and the two bedrooms
used to be via the front of the cottage.
But now the stairs lead to a new corridor at the back.
This leads first of all to a lovely new bathroom.
Next door, along the corridor,
the first bedroom also looks out onto the front of the cottage.
Plus there's a double-aspect, second bedroom on the corner.
But if you turn left at the top of the stairs into the new extension,
the landing leads into a new master bedroom with an en suite.
Again, the light floods in and as Philippa explains,
getting light into the extension was a prime concern.
Well, here we are at the join between the old and the new.
The key thing was to get the roof pitches the same
so that it all flows on.
We've got brick dressings which copy the brick dressings around the windows here.
And, um...then we had a slight test as to how we link
because it was at a point where the house had no natural light at all.
It was a really dark corner.
And so John the architect, who you met before,
had the idea that we had this glazed L that joined the two.
It worked really well.
We've changed it from being quite a modern, contrasting
design of window to something that's more traditional
and in keeping with what we've got here.
It's never easy to blend the old and the new,
but I reckon they have managed it very well here.
Creating this fabulous kitchen is a real bonus.
At the point where the original cottage joins the new extension
some other walls needed to be removed.
This room has changed because you've now got a front door
which is not so much a front door,
just an access that comes into this room.
There was a wall there and you went through
to a little back hall and the staircase, which has been removed.
So, that space has been joined into this room to make it bigger.
And then here we took the old range out
which was past its renovation point, so that had to go, I'm afraid.
And we just kept an open fireplace here.
We found this chunk of oak
which we've managed to put in, which is old enough
to look as if it's been there longer than it has.
Philippa's team have been able to restore
some of the original sash windows, but the new ones blend in really well.
Two years ago, Philippa and her husband
paid £286,000 at auction for the cottage.
But how much has this impressive refurbishment and building project cost?
We ended up spending 160,000.
A lot more, probably, was spent outside.
You can underestimate things like
putting in a drive and a road and fencing.
They are always things that you don't budget for.
Let's see if two local property experts
will think that money's been well spent.
It's not so much kerb appeal as field appeal here.
But what's the first impression they get from the cottage?
Very good use of natural stone.
The external side looks good.
Internally, it's finished well.
I saw the property last year,
I'm very impressed with what Philippa's done here.
They've made excellent use of the country position and the windows
looking over the countryside and the farmland adjoining.
I think the way they have done the design has been imaginative.
It's a good use of space.
You've got a big kitchen which is important
because most people live in the kitchen.
All that you want in a nice, cosy, comfortable cottage.
The quality of workmanship's excellent and the stonework facing
outside and some of the internal fittings are very good.
How much is the cottage now likely to be worth?
Don't forget they have spent £160,000 on the project
on top of the £286,000 purchase price, making a total of £446,000.
As of today's date, I'd put a value of £415,000 on the cottage.
I reckon on a guide price of £425,000.
So, no financial profit at the moment,
but the reason Philippa and her husband bought the cottage
was to own the land adjacent to their farm.
So it wasn't just a money-making exercise.
Those valuations are about right in the ballpark market that we are in today.
If we had to stick it on the market tomorrow,
I am confident that whoever is the optimist at 425
is where I'd go with my instruction.
It's taken over two years from the hammer falling
to completing this beautiful house.
Has the wait been worth it?
I think you have to have staying power with these things.
There's always a moment when you doubt the sense of what you do,
in all sorts of situations.
But I'm really glad we've done it.
It's been a nice project.
We've been lucky with the site, we've been lucky with
the people who helped us and no, we're chuffed.
That's it for today's properties.
Have they inspired you to do the groundwork
and build the foundations for your own property portfolio?
Or if you just like watching other people do it
then tune in next time for more Homes Under The Hammer.
-See you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd