Episode 18 Homes Under the Hammer


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Episode 18

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Stoke-on-Trent, a house in Greater London and a property in Wales, and find out how much they sold for at auction.


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When you buy property, make sure you bought wisely.

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It may be difficult to find, but you're looking for value for money.

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One way to find that is at auction.

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From flats to mansions, there's always something on offer at auction.

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Here are the lots that made our buyers put their hands in their pockets.

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'I might have found treasure at the bottom of this garden

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'in Stoke-on-Trent.'

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Ooh, that's exciting.

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'At this house in London, there's a kitchen with layout issues.'

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If I wanted to get the potatoes out, then needed to get in the cupboard!

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'Just outside Tonypandy in Mid Glamorgan, there's a lot that seems too good to be true.'

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Great place to live or to rent out. No-brainer!

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'These properties sold at auction.

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'Find out who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.'

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'Stoke-on-Trent is made up of six older towns

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'which form a linear city 12 miles long.'

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I'm in the Stoke-on-Trent suburb of Penkhull, a very popular place.

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It's got schools, shops and a very fine view over the city.

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'Penkhull was probably the earliest inhabited place

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'in the area we know as the Potteries.

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'The name derives from a Saxon word meaning "wood at the end of a hill."

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'I don't think today's house will be quite that ancient.'

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The property I'm here to see is on a popular residential street.

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It's a mid-terrace Victorian house at a guide price of 60,000 quid.

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We're quite close to the university. We're quite close to the hospital.

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So you've got students and nurses. Rental possibility?

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Let's take a look and find out.

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'You'd be forgiven for thinking this doesn't look anything special,

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'but you know what they say, never judge a book by its cover.'

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Wo! Now, THAT's a surprise.

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Stairs up to the bedrooms.

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Then this massive great living room. Fantastic space!

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Having the stairs open plan really gives a feeling of space.

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Strange little corridor, then into a rear sitting room.

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Again, really good size. Lots of clutter.

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Previous owners' belongings.

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But the house just goes on and on backwards.

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This is the kitchen. It needs a lot of work but in terms of...

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What's gone on with the roof?

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In terms of the actual space, this is great!

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Really surprising.

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# So I thought I'd get a little messy... #

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'Well, great in terms of space, but not in terms of its condition.

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'It looks as though someone started work.

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'The hacked-off plaster suggests there might have been damp issues,

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'but I'm encouraged by what I see.'

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Given the space downstairs, you have great hopes upstairs.

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Actually, it's a bit disappointing. There are only two bedrooms.

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That said, front room extremely big. Second bedroom, a good size.

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Down a corridor, then it starts to get strange.

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Come down into the main bathroom. It's not a bad size.

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There's lots of light. The suite clearly needs to be replaced.

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Big space, and I think it's too big.

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In fact, the whole of this upstairs, to my mind, is just wrong.

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Two massive bedrooms, this bathroom which doesn't quite work.

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I would take out all the dividing walls up here and reconfigure it.

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I'd move this bathroom into the middle and make this a bedroom,

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and that would make much better use of the space.

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# More, more, more

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# How do you like it? How do you like it?

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# More, more, more

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# How do you like it? How do you like it? #

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'It's about catering to the market.

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'This is a prime rental location.

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'Renting each room separately means maximum return.

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'More rooms equal more money. You just figure out how to do it.'

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At the rear of the property, a real surprise!

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An absolutely ginormous long garden!

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So, what could you do with it?

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At some point, there has been a garage here.

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That's because there's access at the back. Fantastic.

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Maybe put the garage back? If you rent this place out, the garden is maybe not brilliant.

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As there's access, is there any chance you'd get planning permission for building another property here?

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Ooh. That's exciting.

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'That could be very sweet.

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'No plans came with the plot and no other properties are built here.

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'It doesn't mean it's a non-starter.

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'A chat with the planning department could be worth it.

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'What does a local property expert think about what's on offer?'

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There's a lot of potential with this property.

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It needs to, obviously, be completely renovated,

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and the rooms need to be reorganised.

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The garden has got great potential to put a garage in,

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car parking.

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You may even get planning permission for another dwelling.

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'So there is, perhaps, potential at the end of the garden.

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'How much would the house alone fetch as a two or three-bedder?'

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Once fully renovated,

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from a sales point of view, for a two-bedroom property,

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I would suggest an asking price of £105,000 to £110,000.

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And a three-bedroom property, £110,000 to £115,000.

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From a rental point of view,

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as a two-bed property, you'd be looking at figures in the region of

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£425 to £450 per calendar month.

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As a three-bedroom property, you'd be looking at £475 to £500 per calendar month.

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So there you go, here is a classic example

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of why you must come and view properties before the auction.

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From the outside, this place doesn't look much at all.

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But you go through the door... Wow! What an amazing little house.

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Who spotted it when it went under the hammer?

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This is a spacious mid-terrace house in need of modernisation.

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45, then. Start me at 45, please, for lot 28?

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45? 45 I'm bid. Thank you. At £45,000. 50 can I say, now?

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At 50, is it? 50. Thank you.

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At £50,000. 55, can I say?

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55 it is. At £55,000. 60 now?

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60.

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At £60,000 on the phone to my left. 65.

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70. 70,000 on the phone.

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75. 80. 80,000. The bid's in the aisle. Are we all done?

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New bidder. 81.

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82. 83.

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84.

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84 and a half.

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85.

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Are you sure? I'm selling for the first time.

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At £85,000 for the second time.

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Third and final time at £85,000...

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Your lot, sir. Well done.

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'For £85,000, 25,000 over the guide price,

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'the two-bed terrace in Penkhull was bought by Mike and Vicky.

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'Vicky works as a nurse, while Mike's a landscape gardener.'

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-Vicky, Mike. Congratulations.

-Thank you.

-Tell me why you wanted to buy this.

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When we arrived, the feeling of open space, the view was just wonderful.

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The off-road parking behind, in the garden, we thought that's a bonus.

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It's really surprising. From the front, it doesn't look like much.

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It's quite big, once you get inside and see the potential.

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We were blown away.

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'This is Mike and Vicky's first property venture.

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'As both work full time,

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'they hope to make it a family project with daughters Lucy and Amy lined up to lend a hand.'

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What about the idea of property development?

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What tempted you to do that?

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I'm self-employed, so I was thinking that was something I could do in the winter.

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I do garden maintenance and landscaping.

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So you bought it in the spring!

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Yeah! Should have been a few months earlier but that is the plan.

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-What about you, Vicky?

-I'm a nurse two days a week.

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Then I work with Mike for two days as well, outside in the gardens.

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-Are you going to get involved in the renovation?

-Absolutely.

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I'm not scared of getting my hands dirty.

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What about your daughters? Are they excited?

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Yes. We're encouraged cos they are really motivated.

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'17-year-old Lucy and 13-year-old Amy think they know where they could be most useful.'

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We'll work together because Mum and Dad haven't got much taste!

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No style! It's awful!

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'OK, style gurus, what's the plan for the interior?

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'Wow me. Funky modern colours, feature walls, mirrors?'

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We're going to keep it neutral because Mum and Dad are thinking about renting it.

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You've got to accommodate everyone so we're not allowed to personalise it too much.

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We want to add a bit of a twist.

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-Don't we?

-Yeah. A bit of character.

-Else it's a bit of an empty shell.

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'But before any interior design or painting can take place,

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'the house has to be brought back into shape.'

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What are you going to do?

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We're going to do it all up to let it.

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So total decoration and new windows all through.

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Front door, back door, new bathroom, new kitchen.

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-Then decorate.

-What about the internal layout? Any ideas for that?

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We're taking out the wall of the corridor from the lounge to the kitchen.

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That will take one door of four out of the kitchen

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and give more kitchen space.

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I did think it could be three bedrooms.

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You could move the bathroom into the middle. Any ideas for that?

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We've just seen it as it is and thought, for rental, we'd keep it.

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The expenditure bill's rising very quickly,

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so maybe it might put the budget up too much.

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-What kind of budget have you got?

-About £15,000, give or take.

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'They might need every penny of that.

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'There may be the opportunity to get some extra revenue.'

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-The garden is quite extraordinary.

-It is! It's actually two gardens.

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-They purchased the far end a number of years ago.

-Oh!

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-That was another property.

-It was another property?

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That's why it's such a long garden.

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-The fact there was another property there means you could put another property back.

-I suppose so.

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-It's a building plot.

-It would be small.

-Who cares? A building plot!

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-Could be. Yeah.

-This is not something you considered but...?

-No.

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-We didn't know till we read all the documents.

-The legal pack?

-Yeah.

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'Maybe there IS treasure to be unearthed at the bottom of the garden!'

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# Can you dig it? Oh, yeah... #

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Vicky and Mike have got themselves a great property.

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It's lovely the whole family are involved,

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although I think they really should consider creating an extra bedroom.

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For me, the real joy is to discover there was a house previously at the end of the garden.

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Which turns that into a potential building plot,

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which also turns it into a pot of gold at the end of the garden.

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Find out how they get on later in the show.

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'Our next property is a split personality.

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'It doesn't know if it's here or there.'

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Downham is in Kent, but it's also classed as part of London.

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Look at how close we are to the City.

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That is Canary Wharf! Wow!

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The property is just over here.

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# Take back the city for yourself tonight... #

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'It takes 25 minutes to get from Downham into central London by train

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'from the mainline station at Grove Park.'

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It's on this ex Local Authority estate, a mile from the station.

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It's got three bedrooms. It's end of terrace.

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It had a guide of £120,000 to £125,000.

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I think the property looks pretty good and solid.

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Of course, there's off-street parking, so very promising.

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Let's go inside.

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'Hedge obviously needs a trim!

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'With off-road parking and double glazing in place,

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'the house looks reasonably well maintained.'

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I kind of expected this dated decor on the inside.

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What this house does have is space.

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It feels like a good solid family house.

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I'm not sure about the flock ceiling wallpaper.

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It always worries me. It may be hiding a multitude of sins there.

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I'd get that down.

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You've got two really good rooms.

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There's a lot you could do. I can see a family enjoying this.

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It just needs updating. It's a bit grubby. It needs a clean.

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And it certainly needs a good paint job.

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'So far, it's just cosmetic. Nothing a good makeover can't fix.

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'Then there's the kitchen.'

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Not impressed with this kitchen!

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If you're an air-hostess, it could work. It's very long and narrow.

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There's not much room. This is a three-bedroom family house!

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I don't think you could get more than one person in here.

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If I wanted to get the potatoes out, then needed to get in the cupboard.

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There is just not enough room!

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You could think about knocking through into the reception room.

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Then you'd have the kitchen there

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and the lounge would be far too small at the end there.

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You could think about taking this side of the units out,

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blocking up that door and having one row of units.

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Or there's another solution.

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You could extend out the back, but it's a small garden

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and it would only make that kitchen longer.

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Or extend to the side. The house across the road has done that.

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A two-storey extension, so you gain a bedroom and a bigger kitchen.

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But if you buy this as an investment, you must be careful

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not to exceed the ceiling price of this area.

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Adding an extension may not add up in the short term.

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'If you buy to sell or rent, extensions don't make much sense.

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'They cost too much time and money when you want to turn the property round quickly.

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'If this is to be your home, an extension may be worth it.

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'A two-storey one would increase the size of upstairs and downstairs.'

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Upstairs, there are three bedrooms. You've got a small room,

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enough to get a single bed in, two good sized doubles

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and the family bathroom.

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What I think is impressive is all the rooms are a good square shape.

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You've got built-in storage.

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It needs a bit of work, but upstairs is in pretty good nick.

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'There's tidying-up to do here.

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'The immersion tank should be boxed in or, ideally, moved.

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'The decor needs sprucing up.

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'Pink's fine, but not so attractive to a boy.

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'A more neutral approach would be preferable.

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'The bathroom, actually, is in pretty good shape.

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'For rental, you might not need to change it.

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'What does the local property expert think of this three-bed semi?'

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A bit dated. The kitchen and bathroom a bit untidy.

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Colour schemes are very tired now. Small garden.

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Nice end of the road, quite a pretty tree-lined road. It's got good potential.

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'If you fulfilled its potential, say, by extending,

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'could that pay off for a house guided at £120,000 to £125,000?'

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As a three-bedroom house, refurbished, you're looking in the region of £175,000 to £185,000.

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As an extended four-bedroom, you're looking in the region of £200,000.

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The rental demand here is pretty strong.

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You're looking, if it was modernised to a reasonable standard,

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in the region of £1,100 per calendar month.

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If you made it four bedrooms, it could put it up to £1,200, £1,250.

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'That would be a fantastic yield of over 10%.

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'Rent or resale, there could be a really good return for relatively little effort.'

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This property doesn't need that much work doing to it. The main issue is that tiny kitchen.

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You could extend or just do it up quickly, put it back on the market, make a profit and move on.

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If only property developing was always that easy!

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Let's find out who bid for this at auction.

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A freehold terrace house. All as catalogued. Where are you going to start?

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Can I see 125,000 to start me?

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120, then? 120 I've got. Thank you.

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123? 123. 125?

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125. 127? At £125,000.

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Seven I'm looking for. 127.

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And 30. And two? 132? 132.

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And five? 135.

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And seven? 137? £135,000 I've got.

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137 I'm looking for.

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£135,000 bid I have. Unless I get another one. For the first time.

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£135,000 bid for the second time. Third and final time at £135,000...

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Yours at 135, sir. And the number is A204.

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'At just £10,000 over the top guide price, for £135,000,

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'George is the new owner of this semi in Downham.

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'With his father, Ernie, George joined me to explain what they plan to do with their purchase.'

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-Congratulations.

-Thank you.

-Why did you want to buy this house?

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Well, we wanted an investment and hopefully this will be the one.

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I've done it before and it's something I enjoy.

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-Is this something that you've always done?

-No. No.

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I had a company, which I sold on a couple of years ago.

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Which has made me able to do this.

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-Do you have spare time to do other stuff as well?

-Yeah. Enjoy meself!

-How do you enjoy yourself?

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I spend a lot of time in Spain and thoroughly enjoy my early retirement.

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'Based in England, George, his wife and daughter

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'soak up the Spanish sun as much as they can.

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'George knows he still needs an income so, with his dad, Ernie,

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'he's looking at property development to achieve that.'

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-Ernie, what is your involvement with this?

-I'm a retired electrician.

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I also used to do what we call M&E, mechanical and electrical. Plumbing.

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I can do everything except gas fitting.

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And I'm not a bad carpenter. I've hung doors and that sort of thing.

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And overseeing the building when George isn't around.

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-How involved are you going to be?

-Quite involved.

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I'll certainly do the organising of people,

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whatever work needs doing that we have to get from outside.

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Other than that, decorating

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and most of the handiwork.

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Yeah. I'll be doing that.

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-Who will make sure the contractors turn up?

-Me.

-You'll phone Dad. Dad will make sure...

0:22:090:22:14

It's a bit of a triangle.

0:22:140:22:17

-Yeah. But it worked last time.

-It works.

0:22:170:22:20

When I'm here, it'll be all hands on deck and I'll crack on with it.

0:22:200:22:24

'It's all about finding a work-life balance.

0:22:240:22:28

'It seems that George, with Ernie's help, has got it sussed.

0:22:280:22:32

'But buying houses isn't a hobby. He needs to make it pay.'

0:22:320:22:37

What do you need to do to bring this up to scratch?

0:22:370:22:40

It needs a bit of work. It's mainly cosmetic. The kitchen is very small.

0:22:400:22:46

We intend to fit a new kitchen and remove the back door.

0:22:460:22:51

-And place patio doors in the other room.

-What budget have you got to spend in this property?

0:22:510:22:58

Well, doing the sums, we think between 7,500 to 10,000. Yeah.

0:22:580:23:06

-Have you set yourselves a time limit?

-Y-yes.

0:23:060:23:10

ERNIE CHUCKLES We're hoping eight weeks.

0:23:100:23:13

I want to get it done quickly so I can spend more time in Spain.

0:23:130:23:18

-Having a lovely time with your family!

-Quite right!

0:23:180:23:21

-That's a really nice family way of life.

-Oh, lovely.

0:23:210:23:25

-Ernie, you get to stay with them.

-Exactly, thoroughly enjoy it.

0:23:250:23:29

It's been lovely meeting you and I hope it turns out really well.

0:23:290:23:34

Thank you very much.

0:23:340:23:36

'Before sangria and sunshine, there's painting and sanding!

0:23:360:23:41

'Then the race is on to get to those sun loungers.'

0:23:410:23:45

It's great that the whole family is involved in this project.

0:23:480:23:52

George says he's doing this so he can spend more time in Spain.

0:23:520:23:57

But he could end up spending more time in the UK renovating property.

0:23:570:24:02

Will it mean more paella for George, or will he get delayed in Downham?

0:24:020:24:07

Stay with us and find out what happens.

0:24:070:24:10

'Coming up, in Mid Glamorgan, is it me or are bedrooms getting smaller?'

0:24:110:24:17

Why not call this large cupboard a fourth bedroom(?)

0:24:170:24:21

'We return to Downham to see if George is missing the Spanish sun.'

0:24:220:24:26

I'm not ready to just live in Spain. I've got to have something to do.

0:24:260:24:31

'Back in Staffordshire, who won the battle of the styles?'

0:24:330:24:37

We've proved that Mum and Dad have got taste after all!

0:24:370:24:41

'Near the centre of Stoke-on-Trent in Penkhull,

0:24:430:24:46

'a deceptively spacious two-bed mid-terrace went up for auction.

0:24:460:24:51

'It needed a thorough renovation throughout.

0:24:510:24:54

'There were also layout issues,

0:24:540:24:57

'with odd corridors and a large bathroom but only two bedrooms.

0:24:570:25:01

'It came with a large overgrown garden, a potential building plot.

0:25:010:25:06

'For 85,000, it was bought by landscape gardener Mike and his wife Vicky, who's a nurse.

0:25:060:25:13

'The house was their first property development.'

0:25:130:25:17

# Can you dig it? Oh, yeah... #

0:25:170:25:20

What about the idea of property development? What tempted you to do that?

0:25:230:25:30

I'm self-employed so I was thinking that was something I could do in the winter.

0:25:300:25:36

-So you bought this in the spring!

-Yeah. Should have been a few months earlier, but that is the plan.

0:25:360:25:43

'So Mike had made it hard for himself,

0:25:430:25:46

'working on the house whilst being busy on his full-time job.

0:25:460:25:50

'But the hope was that this would be a family effort,

0:25:500:25:54

'with daughters Amy and Lucy helping on the interior design.'

0:25:540:25:58

We'll work together, cos Mum and Dad haven't really got much taste.

0:25:580:26:02

No style at all. It's awful.

0:26:020:26:04

'Mike and Vicky were to do the donkey work,

0:26:040:26:07

'whilst Amy and Lucy added style.

0:26:070:26:10

'Nearly eight months later, had it all gone to plan?

0:26:100:26:15

'The outside looks fantastic, with a new bay window

0:26:180:26:22

'and double glazing throughout, a new door and fresh paintwork.'

0:26:220:26:27

It's been a lot of hard work and... in an ideal world,

0:26:270:26:32

we wouldn't have bought it when we did. We'd buy it now.

0:26:320:26:35

'But with help from Vicky's sister, all their hard work has paid off,

0:26:350:26:40

'as they transformed this house.

0:26:400:26:43

'Not only has it got that new bay window,

0:26:430:26:46

'but there are now new patio doors leading into the garden.

0:26:460:26:50

'There's also been an alteration in the layout.'

0:26:500:26:53

We've taken out the internal wall that was in the dining room.

0:26:530:26:58

Then blocked off under the stairs

0:26:580:27:01

'That created cupboard space

0:27:010:27:04

'and reduced the number of doors leading off the kitchen,

0:27:040:27:07

'allowing this area to be redesigned.'

0:27:070:27:10

The kitchen was a huge job. It was just to take everything out.

0:27:100:27:15

We took the ceiling down, plaster off the walls, put a damp course in.

0:27:150:27:20

'The kitchen has been completely transformed.

0:27:200:27:24

'That dingy falling down area is now bright and modern.

0:27:240:27:30

'The front bedroom has been redecorated

0:27:300:27:34

'but remains structurally unchanged,

0:27:340:27:36

'whereas they rejigged the layout in the other rooms.'

0:27:360:27:40

This was the original bathroom.

0:27:400:27:42

It was quite lost, so we've turned this into a second bedroom.

0:27:420:27:47

Then, moving on, this is now the third bedroom, a single bedroom.

0:27:470:27:53

Then the internal bathroom is here and it worked really well.

0:27:530:27:58

All the plumbing was quite simple and it's quite effective.

0:27:580:28:03

'Splitting that room is a great idea.

0:28:030:28:06

'Making this a three-bed house turns it into a family home.

0:28:060:28:10

'And what does one of those need? A good garden.

0:28:100:28:14

'With Mike's landscaping skills, it's certainly got that now.'

0:28:140:28:18

The garden, if you can remember, was in a terrible state.

0:28:190:28:24

The soil was up the wall, so a lot of soil has been removed.

0:28:240:28:29

That gave me a good opportunity to do my landscaping skills.

0:28:290:28:35

We put sleepers in here.

0:28:350:28:37

It's blended in quite nicely.

0:28:370:28:40

It's an old property so the railway sleepers blend in well.

0:28:400:28:45

'They seem to have fulfilled the potential

0:28:450:28:49

'and transformed the outside space.

0:28:490:28:51

'But there was also the potential of a building plot at the far end.'

0:28:510:28:56

We've put all of our energies into the house and the garden.

0:28:560:29:02

Now we can think more about what we do with the top of the garden.

0:29:020:29:07

'So, for the time being, it remains useful off-street parking.

0:29:070:29:13

'Something for another day. Maybe a reward for the hard work.'

0:29:130:29:18

'Lucy and Amy were really keen.'

0:29:180:29:20

When we started clearing out the house, they loved it.

0:29:200:29:24

They were moving all the rubbish.

0:29:240:29:27

When it came to the heavy work, I couldn't expect them to help then.

0:29:270:29:32

They sat back a bit.

0:29:320:29:34

They enjoyed seeing it coming on and at various points

0:29:340:29:38

they've come over and seen the plastering and the carpets down.

0:29:380:29:42

Just entering into the whole excitement of it.

0:29:420:29:46

'How do they think their no-style parents have done?'

0:29:460:29:50

-They've done pretty well, actually.

-We've helped along the way.

-We've given them advice.

0:29:520:29:58

They've seen the project come along and they like what we've done,

0:29:580:30:03

the choice of carpets, tiles, kitchen.

0:30:030:30:07

I put me foot down on the kitchen.

0:30:070:30:09

They chose a...ooh, horrible thing.

0:30:090:30:13

It's all been, "Wow!" Perhaps we've proved that Mum and Dad have got taste after all!

0:30:130:30:20

-Yeah(!)

-Don't think so!

0:30:200:30:22

'Well, there may be a difference of opinion on style and taste,

0:30:220:30:27

'but it's a balance between not over-personalising

0:30:270:30:31

'and getting a good finish at reasonable cost.

0:30:310:30:34

'If you're renting it out, you're not turning it into the Ritz.'

0:30:340:30:39

# If you're blue And you don't know

0:30:390:30:41

# Where to go to Why don't you go

0:30:410:30:44

# Where fashion sits

0:30:440:30:47

# Putting on the Ritz... #

0:30:470:30:50

The budget, we have gone over. We'd allowed 15,000.

0:30:500:30:55

We'd got an extra 5,000 as a back-up plan,

0:30:550:30:59

but we've gone through that as well.

0:30:590:31:01

I think, up to press, we stand at about £23,000.

0:31:010:31:06

'The £23,000 budget on top of the £85,000 purchase price

0:31:060:31:11

'plus costs and fees, makes their total outlay £110,000.

0:31:110:31:16

'Is Mike and Vicky's property sideline going to bear fruit?

0:31:160:31:20

'What do two local property experts think?'

0:31:200:31:23

I think they've done a great job. Nice clean lines throughout.

0:31:230:31:28

Neutral colours, great kitchen, good bathroom. Very good job.

0:31:280:31:32

Quality of work is very good. The fireplaces, kitchen, bathroom

0:31:370:31:41

and the garden should make it very easy to sell.

0:31:410:31:45

'Mike and Vicky would prefer to rent the house out.

0:31:450:31:48

'How would their £110,000 investment fare if they put it up for sale?'

0:31:480:31:54

I would put this property on the market for 123,000, looking to achieve 120,000.

0:31:540:32:01

I would put it on the market in the region of 120,000 to 125,000.

0:32:010:32:07

-That's pretty much what we were expecting.

-That sounds pretty good.

0:32:070:32:11

'At present, there isn't a massive mark-up, perhaps 10,000.

0:32:110:32:16

'Long-term, with a building plot to sell on,

0:32:160:32:20

'it should be a sound investment and rental values are more important.'

0:32:200:32:25

This property should realise between £500 and £525 per calendar month.

0:32:250:32:30

From a rental point of view, I would expect £525 per calendar month.

0:32:300:32:35

That's what we expected. Yeah.

0:32:350:32:38

We'll rent it for a number of years then see how the market's going.

0:32:380:32:42

But we're quite happy to rent it.

0:32:420:32:45

'£525 per month rental should mean the house is at tick-over value

0:32:450:32:50

'and able to financially look after itself.

0:32:500:32:53

'Perhaps that would allow the family to do another property.'

0:32:530:32:57

I really enjoyed it. We'd do it again.

0:32:570:32:59

-Not just yet.

-No. Give it 12 months.

-We may be raring to go then.

0:32:590:33:05

-12 months' time. Work on it through winter.

-That'd be the ideal time.

0:33:050:33:10

# ..The seasons turn, turn, turn

0:33:100:33:14

# And a time to every purpose... #

0:33:140:33:17

'They made it hard work for themselves,

0:33:170:33:21

'but they still did a great job.

0:33:210:33:23

'After they've done a few more,

0:33:230:33:26

'they'll be seasoned property developers.'

0:33:260:33:29

Today, I'm in Tonypandy,

0:33:370:33:39

in the former coal mining Mecca of the Rhondda Valley in south Wales.

0:33:390:33:44

It's not a centre for colliers now. Most people go to Cardiff to work.

0:33:440:33:49

But there's a great train link, so what more could you want?

0:33:490:33:54

# ..Gonna get myself Gonna get myself connected... #

0:33:540:33:57

'The coal industry first drew people here.

0:33:570:34:00

'Now it appeals to commuters who work in Cardiff but don't want to live there.'

0:34:000:34:05

A short distance from Tonypandy is Williamstown.

0:34:050:34:09

Not much here apart from a few shops and a hospital,

0:34:090:34:12

with the potential to rent to doctors and nurses.

0:34:120:34:16

The property, well, this is it.

0:34:160:34:19

Three-bed detached house.

0:34:190:34:21

Had a guide price of 59,000 quid. Looks a bit shabby. Let's take a look inside.

0:34:210:34:28

For 59,000 quid, you're probably not expecting much.

0:34:290:34:33

You know what? You're in for a very pleasant surprise.

0:34:330:34:37

In through the front door, then a big open-plan living area.

0:34:370:34:43

Big living room area here, then a dining area at the back,

0:34:430:34:47

which is quite sensibly adjoining the kitchen.

0:34:470:34:50

What a very, very sensible layout!

0:34:500:34:52

It could do with freshening up, but I reckon, a bit of spit and polish,

0:34:520:34:58

you'd sort it out in five minutes.

0:34:580:35:00

Great start! Great start!

0:35:000:35:03

# ..Take it easy

0:35:040:35:08

# For there is nothing that we can do... #

0:35:080:35:11

'With detergent and a bit of elbow grease, and at very little cost,

0:35:110:35:17

'you could sort the downstairs.'

0:35:170:35:20

Upstairs, let's start with the good news - the bathroom!

0:35:210:35:25

A decent size. Doesn't have a shower but you could put one in.

0:35:250:35:30

It starts to go wrong when it comes to the bedrooms.

0:35:300:35:34

There are three, it is true. One at the back, a reasonable sized double.

0:35:340:35:39

One towards the front, bordering on a single, I would say.

0:35:390:35:43

Then this, your classic box room.

0:35:430:35:45

You could just about get maybe a kid's bed in there.

0:35:450:35:50

Really, to call this a bedroom? Bit sneaky.

0:35:500:35:53

Why not call this large cupboard the fourth bedroom, for goodness' sake!

0:35:530:35:58

# Livin' in a cardboard box Livin' in a box! #

0:35:580:36:03

Apart from the "third bedroom" being a box room,

0:36:030:36:08

there's a serviceable bathroom suite, so it could be turned around fast.

0:36:080:36:13

I mentioned good commuter links to Cardiff.

0:36:130:36:16

Unfortunately, one of the main roads is at the rear of the property.

0:36:160:36:20

The house has got double glazing so inside it should be quite quiet.

0:36:200:36:26

-The garden, not ideal.

-TRAFFIC ROARS

0:36:260:36:29

The garden I don't think has been done from when the house was built.

0:36:290:36:33

It's not a bad size space so, apart from the noise, nice to have.

0:36:330:36:39

'The garden is the most neglected part of the property.

0:36:390:36:43

'It could be improved enormously by replacing fencing,

0:36:430:36:47

'mowing the lawn and laying a patio area.

0:36:470:36:50

'The road, if you want to rent this out,

0:36:500:36:53

'that wouldn't be an issue but it might put off buyers.

0:36:530:36:57

'What does a local estate agent make of this house?'

0:36:570:37:01

I was pleasantly surprised seeing the condition of the property.

0:37:010:37:06

The kitchen could do with tidying up.

0:37:060:37:09

And the garden needs work.

0:37:090:37:13

On the whole, the property's in good condition.

0:37:130:37:17

'Sometimes, buying properties in good condition isn't a great idea because it can be hard to add value.

0:37:170:37:24

'So is this house, with a £59,000 guide price, such a property?'

0:37:240:37:29

In its current state, you're looking in the region

0:37:290:37:33

of around £120,000.

0:37:330:37:36

Once it's been renovated, I would expect to market the property for around 130,000.

0:37:360:37:44

'That's amazing! £60,000 to £70,000 above the guide price for not much work.

0:37:440:37:50

'How could it do as a rental property?'

0:37:500:37:53

The rental market is quite good in this area.

0:37:530:37:56

You're looking in the region of around £500 to £550 per calendar month.

0:37:560:38:02

'This ordinary looking house could yield some extraordinary returns.'

0:38:020:38:08

It goes to show, £59,000 can buy you a lot of house.

0:38:100:38:15

Not much to do to sort this one out. Great place to live or to rent out.

0:38:150:38:19

No-brainer. Let's see who bought it when it went under the hammer.

0:38:190:38:24

On to the modernised detached house with three bedrooms and gas central heating in the Rhondda.

0:38:290:38:35

I'll take 58 to start me. 58.

0:38:350:38:38

60 on the phone. Thank you.

0:38:380:38:40

You coming in, too, sir? At £60,000 and one if you like.

0:38:400:38:45

One, thank you. 61 I'm bid. Two if you like.

0:38:450:38:48

At 61 down here. Two, can I? Is he coming on the phone?

0:38:480:38:53

Yes or no? 62, thank you.

0:38:530:38:56

At 62, and three is it, down here? At 62... Three, I've seen you.

0:38:560:39:00

63 seated. He's out on the phone.

0:39:000:39:03

Ask him to bid quickly, please. 64 I'm bid on the phone. 64.

0:39:030:39:08

Five if you like. Five is bid.

0:39:080:39:10

At 65,000 seated. 65. Make it six.

0:39:100:39:14

66 on the phone.

0:39:140:39:16

At 66. Don't get driven out, sir.

0:39:160:39:19

At 66. Try another one quickly. At £66,000 on the telephone.

0:39:190:39:24

It's a cheap property at that. Seven.

0:39:240:39:26

At 67. You're both weakening. Quick if you want it on the phone.

0:39:260:39:31

68. 68's on the telephone. I thought you were going to get it.

0:39:310:39:36

At 68,000. And nine will you now? Is that a bid? Nine, thank you.

0:39:360:39:41

70 I'm bid on the telephone. At 70. One, can I?

0:39:410:39:46

One is it? 71 here. At 71,000. They're out on the phone.

0:39:460:39:50

At 71,000. Make it two, surely?

0:39:500:39:54

All right, I'll take the half there.

0:39:540:39:57

At 71 and a half. Two for you, sir? Drive them out!

0:39:570:40:01

72. Thank you. That's the way!

0:40:010:40:04

At 72,000. I told you to go the full one!

0:40:040:40:08

At 72,000. Now it's costing them more.

0:40:080:40:12

Are you coming again? You're out on the phone.

0:40:120:40:15

At £72,000...

0:40:150:40:17

Down here's the buyer. Thank you, sir. Buyer number 10.

0:40:170:40:21

'For £13,000 over the guide price, but still a reasonable £72,000,

0:40:210:40:26

'local couple Mark and Tanya bought this detached three-bed house in Williamstown.

0:40:260:40:33

'This was just the start of what they hope will be a new venture.'

0:40:330:40:38

# ..You wanna be starting something You gotta be starting something... #

0:40:380:40:44

-Congratulations.

-Thank you.

-Tell me why you wanted to buy this.

0:40:440:40:49

The main thing about it was, the way interests are in the bank,

0:40:490:40:55

money not making a thing.

0:40:550:40:57

We've got family involved in property and they advised us to look at investing in property.

0:40:570:41:04

Which is why we've bought this.

0:41:040:41:07

Is this the first one you've bought?

0:41:070:41:09

This WAS the first one we bought.

0:41:090:41:12

-Since then, we've bought other properties.

-How many?

-Four.

0:41:120:41:16

How long ago did you buy this?

0:41:160:41:20

-Er, four weeks.

-In the last four weeks, you bought five properties?

-Yeah.

0:41:200:41:26

'Mark's an engineer, and it seems he and Tanya don't do things by halves.

0:41:260:41:32

'They were advised to invest in property, and boy have they done it!

0:41:320:41:36

'They funded their purchasing spree with a mixture of earnings and savings.'

0:41:360:41:42

-What kind of things have you bought?

-Three-bedroomed, quite close by.

0:41:420:41:47

Terrace.

0:41:470:41:49

The same mid-terrace in Abercynon.

0:41:490:41:53

-We bought these two properties here.

-Two?

0:41:530:41:58

We bought next door as well. LAUGHTER

0:41:580:42:01

Any more houses on the street that we don't know about?

0:42:010:42:05

And we've bought a development site, an old school, to demolish and put new houses on.

0:42:050:42:11

-In four weeks?

-Yeah.

-Hm.

0:42:110:42:15

-Right.

-So that's going to keep us busy!

0:42:150:42:19

-No kidding? So what experience have you got in property development?

-None.

0:42:190:42:25

-None at all?

-None whatsoever. No.

0:42:260:42:29

'They may appear a bit green, but they have family members who are developers, builders and decorators.

0:42:290:42:36

'So they will rely heavily on them.

0:42:360:42:38

'Work will be project managed by Tanya's brother, an experienced developer.

0:42:380:42:44

'In essence, their job is to provide direction, but mainly the funding.'

0:42:440:42:49

So, Tanya, why this house?

0:42:490:42:52

There's not an awful lot to do in it.

0:42:520:42:55

-It's a quick turnaround.

-New kitchen, bathroom.

0:42:550:43:00

-Basically, smarten it up.

-Yeah.

0:43:000:43:03

-What sort of budget have you got?

-We'd like to keep it within 15,000.

0:43:030:43:09

Do you wake up and sort of go, "What?"

0:43:090:43:13

In slight disbelief in what has happened?

0:43:130:43:16

-Don't have time to.

-Not in the mornings. Usually in the evenings.

0:43:160:43:20

"Oh, my God!"

0:43:200:43:23

-Are you enjoying it?

-Yeah.

0:43:230:43:26

# Don't stop me now Cos I'm having a good time

0:43:260:43:29

# Don't stop me now Yes, I'm having a good time

0:43:290:43:32

# I don't want to stop at all... #

0:43:320:43:37

Like the road behind, Tanya and Mark are entering the fast lane of property development.

0:43:370:43:44

I am a bit concerned about the speed with which they're doing it.

0:43:440:43:49

Have they got too many eggs in the property basket? Find out later in the show.

0:43:490:43:53

The clock's been ticking and work should be well under way.

0:43:560:44:00

-Have those piles of bricks and bags of cement gone? Is the paint dry?

-Let's find out.

0:44:000:44:06

'Back in Downham, not far from the City of London,

0:44:080:44:11

'a promising three-bed terrace property was bought for £135,000 by George.

0:44:110:44:17

'With his father, Ernie, he planned to do a quick refurbishment,

0:44:170:44:21

'then sell the house on so that he could continue his leisurely lifestyle.'

0:44:210:44:27

-Do you have spare time to do other stuff?

-Yeah. Enjoy meself.

0:44:320:44:36

-How do you enjoy yourself?

-I spend a lot of time in Spain.

0:44:360:44:41

Yeah, I thoroughly enjoy my early retirement.

0:44:410:44:45

'George owned a road-marking business but sold it a few years ago.

0:44:450:44:49

'Now the family divide their time between the UK and Spain.

0:44:490:44:54

'In order to fund the family's time in the Spanish sun, he needs his purchases to pay their way.

0:44:540:45:00

'Two months later, we're back to see if this one has done that.

0:45:000:45:05

'The front has been spruced up, as has the back patio area.

0:45:050:45:10

'There's been a bit of musical doors,

0:45:150:45:18

'with the kitchen door blocked up and patio doors put in.

0:45:180:45:22

'The laminate floors have given way to carpet

0:45:250:45:28

'and there's fresh decor throughout.

0:45:280:45:31

'The kitchen hasn't been enlarged, but it's bright and updated.'

0:45:330:45:38

With the kitchen, even though it was quite small,

0:45:380:45:41

we decided not to knock through to the other room.

0:45:410:45:46

We took all the units out, removed the door,

0:45:460:45:51

and we changed...

0:45:510:45:53

Obviously, put new lighter units in,

0:45:530:45:58

a nice bright cooker and hood.

0:45:580:46:01

We believe it turned out very well.

0:46:010:46:04

'Downstairs is ready to go. What about upstairs?

0:46:040:46:08

'It's been a case of giving a more uniform look to all three bedrooms.

0:46:110:46:17

'The orientation of the bath has been changed, along with the suite,

0:46:250:46:30

'so George has been busy.'

0:46:300:46:33

The role I've played is, I've, basically, put me hand to everything that's been doing.

0:46:330:46:40

And also a supervisory role.

0:46:400:46:43

My wife, again, she's got her hands dirty and done very well.

0:46:430:46:48

So has my daughter, Becky.

0:46:480:46:51

Sandra has been watching the pennies and I've been spending them.

0:46:510:46:57

'The other key family member on this project was George's father, Ernie.'

0:46:570:47:02

He was an electrical engineer when he worked.

0:47:020:47:06

So, yes, lots of advice and he's been ever so good with helping out.

0:47:060:47:12

There's not been a cross word and it's been enjoyable.

0:47:120:47:16

We've had a great time. Looking forward to the next project.

0:47:160:47:21

'George seems to have relished doing the work on this house.

0:47:210:47:25

'Surely, he'd rather have been relaxing by the pool in Spain?'

0:47:250:47:30

When I initially went to Spain,

0:47:300:47:33

I thought I'd be more comfortable than I am.

0:47:330:47:38

But now it's actually a reality, it's...

0:47:380:47:41

I couldn't point a finger at what I'm missing,

0:47:410:47:46

but I'm not ready to just live in Spain.

0:47:460:47:49

I've got to have something to do.

0:47:490:47:52

'It's not just something to do. George also needs some income.

0:47:520:47:56

'So he has to make his purchases work hard for him,

0:47:560:48:01

'bringing in a decent return.'

0:48:010:48:03

We've done very well with the budget. A shade under 9,000 we've spent.

0:48:030:48:10

Which is good but, again, my wife's got an eye for a bargain!

0:48:100:48:14

She's done well and looked around,

0:48:140:48:17

and we found some lovely things at very good prices.

0:48:170:48:21

'He paid 135,000 at auction and had a £9,000 budget.

0:48:210:48:27

'That takes his outlay, along with costs and fees, to nearly £150,000.

0:48:270:48:32

'So, will it be paella and sangria or fish and chips on the menu?

0:48:320:48:37

'What do two local estate agents think?'

0:48:370:48:39

It's changed a lot. It's much more practical now.

0:48:390:48:44

The door being lost from the kitchen, it's much more useable.

0:48:440:48:48

If I'm brutally honest, I'm a little disappointed

0:48:480:48:51

there's no tiles in the kitchen or bathroom

0:48:510:48:54

to give it that bit extra finish.

0:48:540:48:57

The property's been done to a very good standard.

0:49:010:49:05

It's got a contemporary feel and it will appeal to a good range within the market.

0:49:050:49:11

'In an ideal world, George would sell this property and move on.

0:49:110:49:16

'In a slow-moving market, he may have to rent it out.'

0:49:160:49:20

For rental, I'd expect it to achieve £1,000 to £1,100 per calendar month.

0:49:200:49:26

You're looking between £950 and £1,000 per calendar month rental.

0:49:260:49:31

That's what I expected on a rental value,

0:49:310:49:35

but we're probably favouring to sell.

0:49:350:49:38

'So, could a quick resale bring in a decent return, bearing in mind

0:49:380:49:43

'that George spent close to 150,000 bringing this house up to date?'

0:49:430:49:49

I would put it on the market in the region of £200,000.

0:49:490:49:53

Putting the property up for sale on the open market, it would fetch between £200,000 and £205,000.

0:49:530:49:59

'A potential £50,000 pre-tax profit for just over eight weeks of effort. Nice work if you can get it!'

0:49:590:50:07

205 would be very nice! Thank you very much.

0:50:070:50:11

'This has turned out really well for George.

0:50:110:50:14

'Rent or sell, there's a more than decent financial return.

0:50:140:50:18

'So, is the plan to continue mixing work, rest and play?'

0:50:180:50:24

Yeah. In the future, I'd like to come back,

0:50:280:50:32

just do a project for a few weeks, and then go back to Spain...

0:50:320:50:37

LAUGHING: ..top up me tan!

0:50:370:50:39

# I'm gonna soak up the sun I'm gonna tell everyone... #

0:50:400:50:47

'I'm sure once he's topped up his tan,

0:50:470:50:50

'he'll be back over here to do more property developing in the future.'

0:50:500:50:56

'With Cardiff booming in recent years,

0:50:590:51:02

'there's been a knock-on effect on outlying towns and villages.

0:51:020:51:06

'Places once dominated by the coal industry are commuter belt areas.

0:51:060:51:11

'One such place is Williamstown, just outside Tonypandy,

0:51:110:51:15

'where a three-bed detached house went up for auction.

0:51:150:51:19

'I say three-bed, but the third bedroom

0:51:190:51:22

'was not much more than a box room.

0:51:220:51:25

'However, it was in pretty good order.

0:51:250:51:28

'Local couple Mark and Tanya snapped it up for £72,000

0:51:280:51:34

'as part of what was becoming a property spending spree.'

0:51:340:51:38

Is this the first one you've bought?

0:51:380:51:40

This WAS the first one we bought.

0:51:400:51:43

-Since then, we've bought other properties.

-How many?

-Four.

0:51:430:51:47

How long ago did you buy this, roughly?

0:51:470:51:51

Er...four weeks.

0:51:510:51:53

-In the last four weeks, you've bought five properties?

-Yeah.

0:51:530:51:57

# Can't help myself... #

0:51:570:51:59

'Five properties in four weeks! That's going some!

0:51:590:52:03

'Mark's an engineer and neither he nor Tanya had developing experience.

0:52:030:52:09

'On the face of it, buying property like it was going out of fashion seemed a bit rash.

0:52:090:52:16

'But they had family members in the building trade,

0:52:160:52:19

'and Tanya's brother's an experienced developer.

0:52:190:52:23

'They were able to act predominantly as investors, and relax while the work was being done.

0:52:230:52:30

'Two months later, we're back to see if it has been that straightforward.

0:52:300:52:35

'At the front, the uncared-for look is now gone.

0:52:400:52:44

'With the ramshackle fence removed, there's off-street parking.'

0:52:440:52:51

# ..Take it easy

0:52:510:52:53

# For there is nothing that we can do... #

0:52:530:52:57

'Inside, fitting carpets has helped the flow of the rooms.

0:52:570:53:01

'How much involvement did Mike and Tanya have?'

0:53:010:53:06

We didn't seem to do a lot.

0:53:060:53:09

When I say we didn't seem to do a lot,

0:53:090:53:12

the ground work and the professional work, we had contractors in.

0:53:120:53:17

We had our brother-in-law, who property managed it.

0:53:170:53:20

He did a lot of the running around.

0:53:200:53:23

'They may not have carried out the work,

0:53:230:53:26

'but there have been significant changes, especially in the kitchen.

0:53:260:53:31

'Upstairs, there have been no layout alterations.

0:53:310:53:35

'It's been a case of tidying up, skimming a few ceilings

0:53:350:53:39

'and giving them a lick of paint.

0:53:390:53:41

'The bathroom has undergone the greatest transformation.

0:53:410:53:47

'Outside, the garden has been sorted out, creating a more useable space.'

0:53:470:53:52

# ..Relax, take it easy... #

0:53:520:53:56

When we bought the property, it was all overgrown,

0:53:560:54:00

lots of rubbish we had to clear away.

0:54:000:54:04

We've laid the patio and the lawn,

0:54:040:54:07

put a shingle path and a nice edging.

0:54:070:54:10

We've also renewed the fencing.

0:54:100:54:13

We've tried to keep it as maintenance-free as possible.

0:54:130:54:17

'This place is ready to rent or, ideally, sell.

0:54:170:54:20

'It's one of their portfolio,

0:54:200:54:23

'which includes a youth club and the house next door to this one.

0:54:230:54:28

'How's progress on their other purchases?'

0:54:280:54:31

One of them, we're just renting it out now.

0:54:310:54:34

The youth club property, we had to wait for reports,

0:54:340:54:38

so we were held up on that.

0:54:380:54:41

And there's another two properties being worked on at the moment.

0:54:410:54:46

'The work on these properties may be done by Tanya's brother,

0:54:460:54:51

'but they're the ones providing the money.

0:54:510:54:54

'Clearly, it's a costly time for them.'

0:54:540:54:57

We honestly thought it was going to be between eight and 12.

0:54:570:55:01

We've actually spent 13 and a half

0:55:010:55:05

but, all in all, I think we've spent well.

0:55:050:55:08

'£13,500 spent on top of the £72,000 purchase price

0:55:100:55:14

'with costs, will take their outlay to around £90,000.

0:55:140:55:20

'Has this, their first investment, got them off to a good start?'

0:55:200:55:25

The finish is pretty good. A good quality kitchen.

0:55:250:55:29

A pretty basic bathroom,

0:55:290:55:31

but suitable for the purpose of selling or renting the property.

0:55:310:55:37

It's a great standard.

0:55:400:55:42

They've put the work and money in. It'll help sell the property well.

0:55:420:55:46

'Favourable comments but, for Mark and Tanya,

0:55:460:55:49

'this is very much an investment and they need to see some return on their £90,000.'

0:55:490:55:56

I would recommend putting it on the market for £140,000.

0:55:560:56:00

I would put it on the market at 135,000,

0:56:000:56:04

to look at offers for £130,000.

0:56:040:56:07

-Yes.

-That's good.

-Pleased with that. Yeah, nice turnaround.

0:56:070:56:12

'No wonder they're pleased!

0:56:120:56:14

'That could be a £40,000 or £50,000 pre-tax profit. How would it fare as a rental?'

0:56:140:56:19

I would expect to achieve around about £500 per calendar month.

0:56:190:56:24

-Yeah.

-That's good.

-Very good. Pleased.

0:56:240:56:27

'£6,000 a year return on a £90,000 investment is a yield of just under 7%.

0:56:290:56:36

'If they did have to rent it out, it should pay its way.

0:56:360:56:40

'How do they feel about their new venture?'

0:56:400:56:44

We seem to have come out of it OK, so it's quite pleasing.

0:56:440:56:48

If we sell it, it'll be good money we get!

0:56:480:56:52

Join us next time, for more brave buyers trying to make a killing or just finding somewhere to live.

0:56:530:57:00

Looking forward to seeing you then. Goodbye.

0:57:000:57:02

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:200:57:23

E-mail [email protected]

0:57:230:57:26

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Stoke-on-Trent, a house in Greater London and a property in Wales. All of these properties have been sold at auction; Martin and Lucy find out who bought them, and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.