Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Devon, a two-bedroom end-of-terrace house in Surrey and a one-bedroom terraced house in Leeds.
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-Hello and welcome.
-They say every house tells a story
and over the years, Lucy and I have certainly found that to be true.
Oh, yes, there are always tales to tell and secrets to uncover
when you buy your home under the hammer.
At auctions, properties are bought on a buyer-beware basis
so it's up to you to make sure you do all your homework.
Or you could be in for some nasty surprises.
So, how did our buyers get on today? Were they lucky or not?
'Maybe this cottage in Devon belongs on Little Britain.'
Well, I'm six foot and these ceilings certainly aren't.
'In Croydon, it's not just the wall colours that need changing in this end-of-terrace.'
Brown door, brown door, brown door, brown door. They are everywhere!
'And this derelict property in Leeds takes open-plan living to new extremes.'
Not a project for the faint-hearted, this one, but I think there's money to be made here.
'All of these properties went to auction and we'll find out who bought them
'and what they made when they went under the hammer.'
I'm in East Devon in the charming named Newton Poppleford.
The name actually means "new town over a pebbly ford"
because the local name for pebbles is a popple,
and you'll find lots of popple-stone walls all around here.
It's time I pop-pled off to look at the property.
'You'll find Newton Poppleford between Exeter and Sidmouth
'in an area of East Devon designated as of outstanding natural beauty,
'which it certainly is.'
Well, thankfully, the property I'm here to see is befitting of the surroundings.
Grade II listed, three-bedroom character cottage.
It had a guide price of 130,000 quid. This is it.
Well, looks a bit tired on the outside.
Got to see inside, though, haven't we?
'It's in this row of terraced cottages and lets the side down a bit.
'The rendering's dropping off, the windows need replacing
'and the porch gets zero points for character.
'But it is the end of the terrace with its own barn next door.'
Whoa! I'm just looking at the thickness of these walls.
They must be about three feet thick or so.
So my guess is that this is cob construction.
Cob was basically all the old bits of building materials, bits of straw,
bits of donkey poo, all sorts of things. Very good, strong construction
as long as it's kept dry.
Erm, and when it's not, then it does cause all sorts of problems.
The other thing is, it's a specialist thing to sort it out so that could be very expensive.
But straight into the front room and oh, my goodness.
It's a cottage so you expect low ceilings
but this is incredible.
I'm six foot and these ceilings certainly aren't.
# Hey, y'all, I'm still standing tall
'Aside from the height issues, this cottage has plenty of original features
'like the fireplace, windows and timbers,
'plus the original bread oven in the corner of the living room.
'The character and the challenges continue in the dining room,
'although I'm afraid this once cosy kitchen is now hidden under tiles and wood cladding.
'At least the stove is in keeping. But there is a great surprise off the kitchen.
'The space in this undeveloped barn could be converted into a fabulous living space.
'It's full of potential with bags of rustic charm and quirkiness.'
One of the things I love most about old houses like this are the staircases.
More often than not, they seem like they've been bolted on over the years and this is no exception.
Look how fantastically higgledy-piggledy it is.
It starts there, goes up, there's a return there, another one here
and then you've got the bedrooms and the loo going off.
'It would be great to see the two bedrooms upstairs restored to their classic cottage style.
'But the larger third bedroom above the barn is a more intriguing space
'which could make a wonderful master bedroom.'
Like many older properties, this one has been added to over the years
and one of the more recent additions is fairly obnoxious.
It's this lean-to and my guess is that it's not even what you'd class as standard construction.
At a wild stab in the dark, I'd say that was just a wooden frame
which has got plasterboard over the top of it.
You'd think that you could just knock this down and build something a bit more suitable.
However, this place is Grade II listed, so horrible though this is,
you've got to get the approval of the listed buildings people before you knock it down.
'If you did get the approval, the challenge here would be to restore the cottage
'and bring out all the character features inside and out.'
So it's all looking fantastic, if a little bit quirky.
However, there is one major, major negative point to this whole property
and it comes from this brook which trickles innocently at the bottom of the garden.
Unfortunately, around once every ten years,
this brook turns into a raging torrent,
causing the whole of this area to flood.
That includes this property which, in the past,
has had water up to the height of the ceiling in the lounge.
That's not good, especially when it comes to trying to get insurance.
# Although no-one understood
# We were holding back the flood
# Learning how to dance the rain
'Time to see what a local expert from the auction house
'that sold the cottage thinks of this period property.'
I like this property cos it is quite unusual to come back to quite a dated cottage.
There's not many of these around at the moment
and when you come in, you realise there's great potential
to create what would be a stunning family home.
'What about the risk of flooding from the brook at the back?
You might look at making the floors more water-friendly
if it ever did flood again, ie, flagstones or ceramic tiling, that sort of thing.
'The cottage went to auction guided at £130,000.
'So how much could it be worth after a total refurbishment
'that took account of the threat from the brook?'
Once the property is renovated and more flood-friendly,
I think you could achieve somewhere in the region of £275,000.
Well, you either love this kind of character property or you don't.
One thing's for sure - whoever takes it on needs to go in with their eyes open
because houses like this throw up all sorts of issues
and then you've got the added complication of that potential flooding.
Still, I don't think that's going to matter a jot to whoever bought it.
They're just going to have fallen in love with it. Let's find out who it was when it went to the auction.
Newton Poppleford, a semi-detached, three-story character cottage
needed refurb and modernisation.
Who's going to say the guide price, 130 in?
120, then. 120 we've got. 120.
At 120. 5 he says. 125.
6. 37. 8.
139 and a half.
140. 140 and a half.
141. 141 and a half.
142. 142 and a half.
143. And a half.
144 and a half. 145.
45 and a half.
46 and a half.
47. And a half.
48. And a half.
48 and a half. 149.
And a half. 49 and a half. 49 and a half.
150. 150 and a half.
151 and a half.
152. And a half.
153. And a half. 153 and a half.
154 and a half. 155. And a half.
155 and a half. Front row has it.
At 155 and a half.
156. 156 once.
At 156, if we're sure and done, last chance, here it goes.
'That final bid of £156,000 was made by John who already lives in the village.
'He's a teacher and also used to run a property maintenance company.
'He has renovated some of his previous homes in the past
'so that experience should come in handy here.
'I met up with him at the cottage to hear about his plans for it.'
John, lovely to meet you. Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.
I think it's just such fantastic value for money. It's a beautiful property, fantastic garden,
decent size rooms, ticked all the boxes, really.
What do you know about the property? Have you seen it in your travels?
-I actually bought it three months ago.
-And I was gazumped on it.
-With a week to exchange, someone came up with a banker's draft and bought it.
She then pulled out because she found out that it flooded
and I went to auction and bought it, as you saw.
So with the normal purchase through private treaty thing?
-That's right. It was coming up for auction and I put in an offer beforehand.
-At what level?
-It was 143,000.
-So you had to pay a bit more.
Quite a lot more, yes, which has put a significant hole in my budget for doing it up.
So, then, the flooding. It was enough to put somebody else off. Why didn't it put you off?
I'm just going to be pragmatic about it.
I think the property represented such good value,
there had to be a downside to it.
And it's flooded six times in the last 60 years,
once every ten years,
I think I can put up with it flooding once every ten years.
# The tide is high but I'm holding on
# I'm going to be your number one
'You've got to admire John's pragmatic attitude.
'He's clearly fallen in love with the place and is prepared to risk the rising waters returning.
'But he had to pay £156,000 at auction,
'£13,000 more than he'd offered three months before when he was gazumped.'
So what are you going to do with it? Cos it's a bit of a labyrinth.
Yeah. That's one of the appeals for me. I really like it like that.
So I'm not going to mess around too much with the layout of the building.
It needs replumbing, rewiring, all the windows need replacing,
-it needs a new kitchen, new bathroom. Enough to keep me busy for a couple of weeks.
-What's your budget?
-It's not going to stretch very far.
-Hm. How are you going to split that up?
I'm going to have to go budget with everything. So budget kitchen, budget bathroom.
-All the windows need replacing and I think I'll have to build those myself.
-Build the windows?
-I've not done it before but it can't be rocket science.
-Are you good at carpentry?
Not too bad. I ran a business doing property maintenance for five years
-so I'm pretty handy.
-What do you do when you're not doing this?
-I'm a teacher.
-Oh, great, what kind?
-I'm a supply teacher, so I teach here, there and everywhere.
So is it for you and your family or...?
-For me and my two boys, yeah.
-Oh, great. How old are they?
-Six and seven.
'Wow, what a great adventure for his two boys.
'An old cottage with a barn, large garden and a stream.'
Let's talk about timescales. How long is it going to take?
It really depends on money, because in supply teaching, you're not guaranteed an income.
-So as and when the money comes in, I'll do a bit more to the house.
-Thanks very much.
-And I look forward to seeing how you get on.
-Excellent. Thank you.
# Although no-one understood
# We were holding back the flood
# Learning how to dance the rain
This place needed somebody who fell in love with it and had a bit of a sense of humour
and thankfully John fulfils both of those criteria.
Find out how he gets on restoring this gorgeous property later in the show.
'I'm in Croydon, Surrey, which is just a 20-minute train journey from Central London.
'Croydon's the hometown of supermodel Kate Moss.
'So will today's lot be a stunner or a catwalk catastrophe?'
So I'm just over a mile from the nearest train station, which is Norwood Junction,
and I'm here to see this two-bedroom end-of-terrace that was built in the early 90s.
It may not be the prettiest property,
it is a bit boxy and plain on the outside,
but I think it could stack up financially.
After all, it did have a guide price at auction of £125,000.
I know similar properties around here have sold for a lot more than that.
I'm going to have a little nose around inside.
'This ex-Housing Association property was described in the auction catalogue
'as "requiring modernisation".
'Well, at least it's already got modern UPVC double glazing
'and I do like the cul-de-sac location.'
Ooh, this is exactly what I was expecting on the inside.
Lots of brown. I don't think that kitchen has been changed since the 90s.
It's probably original. But look at these doors. Typical for somewhere like this.
Quite a boxy house. Cappuccino-coloured walls.
The downside for me is it's rather dark.
I would love to bring more light in here.
One way of doing that, get rid of this old serving hatch, terribly old-fashioned.
You could knock this wall down, then you'd have all the light from the front flooding through here.
But that would mean there's only one room in the whole of the downstairs.
You'd walk in through the front door and straight away be in the kitchen, in the lounge.
So I think you've really got to think about who's going to be living here
and how that person wants to live.
'Overall, this place isn't in too bad shape.
'But as it has not really changed since it was built in the early 90s,
'it feels in need of updating.'
# We're tired of the 90s
# We're tired of the 90s
Well, you've got a really good size garden out here, which is nice to see,
but I am concerned about this uneven patio.
It looks like there's been some movement here
and I think the culprit is, well, it's pretty obvious, these poplar trees. Whoo!
They are so big and look how close they are to the house.
Tree roots can do all sorts of damage to foundations.
Even though this house appears to have no cracks,
I would still get a surveyor in to check it out
and I would certainly talk to the neighbours about cutting those bad boys down.
'The usual recommendation is that poplar trees should be planted at least 20 metres from a building,
'not two metres as they are here.'
# Tall tree
'I just hope the foundations of this house haven't been weakened.
'Upstairs in this two-bedroom house, that went to auction guided at £125,000,
'the second bedroom overlooks that rear garden.
'It's a good size double with useful storage space.'
It is actually bigger than you think upstairs. But look!
Brown door, brown door, brown door, brown door. They are everywhere! They've got to go!
But in here, interestingly, you've got a small bathroom and quite a big upstairs loo.
Now, even though I wouldn't knock through downstairs,
I would definitely knock these through into one big family bathroom.
I think you'd have much more space and it would look so much better.
This is the second bedroom. You can see it needs decorating.
A lot of work needs to be done up here. But it depends what camp you're in.
Man U, Chelsea.
I think I'm going to stay here in this camp. Come on the blues!
'Well, I'm not sure this is a Premiership property.
'I think it's in a league of its own.'
# Blue is the colour
'The goal for any investor would be to try and turn the place around.'
# And winning is our aim
'What does a local estate agent think of this end-of-terrace
'and what refurbishment would he recommend
'if this house is to score on the open market?'
Decoratively, these are easy to work on
because it's not that old as a house, really.
Redec, repaint, fill in all the holes where pictures have been up.
It's got the original kitchen from when it was built.
I would recommend that it not be knocked through because of cooking smells.
They seem to travel everywhere. A lot of people that rent don't like open-plan.
'At least with a hatch, you can shut the door on smells.
'What about the bathroom? Is it worth knocking into one with the loo?
You've got space up in the bathroom to create a nice, really big bathroom.
If it's going to be rented, however, I'd leave it as it is,
separate toilet, separate bathroom.
There's no point wasting the money when you're going to rent the property out.
With regards to the amount that you could get per calendar month, you'd get approximately £850 to £900.
'The property went to auction at a guide price of £125,000.
'So what about the potential resale value once it's done up?'
This property would sell for approximately £180,000.
You'd get offers ranging from 170 to 180 quite easily, I think.
Get this end-of-terrace for the right price
and this plain-Jane property, well, it could make you a pretty packet.
I think it just needs a bit of a makeover.
So who bid and bought this one? Let's head to auction and find out.
We move on to lot 39.
A two-bed end-of-terrace house. We've got a realistic reserve on it.
I'm not going to go below 100.
100. 105 anywhere?
105. 110. 110.
115. 115. 120.
120. 125. 130.
Have a think. 145, first time.
Third and last time if you're all done.
Sold, 145. Well done.
'That final bid of £145,000 was made by Croydon-based couple Sharon and David.
'Sharon's a freelance journalist and her husband David is a chartered surveyor.
'The two-bedroom terrace isn't their first investment property.
'They have three others. But it's their first ever auction buy.
'So they wanted something close to home in an area they're familiar with.
'I met up with them at their new purchase to find out more.'
Guys, congratulations. This is really good news. What's the story behind you wanting to buy this?
We've been looking for a property in Croydon for a few months. This one came up at a previous auction
but we hadn't viewed it because I thought it was too close to the railway line.
But when it didn't sell, we decided to have a look
and then we thought it would be a really good buy.
-Tell me what you do for a living.
-I'm a quantity surveyor
so I've been involved in construction and the industry for many years.
We have done some investment before but from a surveying point of view, I know what I'm looking at.
You do miss things occasionally, but when we saw this, we had a quick look round, damp meter...
We looked at so many horrors, to see this was such a refreshing change because it's all really cosmetic.
What do you do for a living?
I'm a journalist and I've worked all around the profession, really,
from news through to magazine work, editing, online work.
With your busy careers, how do you keep on top of your properties?
-Er, well, we've managed so far, haven't we?
-You fit it in around...
-Weekends and evenings so far.
I'm freelance so I can take some time-outs occasionally.
-And I'm freelance so it's possible to fit it around that.
-Do you have a family?
-Yes, we've got five children.
-What? Five kids?
-Three grown up and two still quite needing us.
It's a great thing to do for us but it's a legacy for the children, as well. That's why we want to do it.
'Blimey! These two have got a lot on their plate.
'And now they've got another property to refurbish, too.
'They built their last home from scratch
'so they definitely have plenty of property experience and expertise.'
-So did you walk in here, David, and look around and know exactly what you were looking at?
I really did. Two bed. Even the size of the bedrooms, I just thought it was great.
And the kitchen is going to be so easy to strip out.
Even the bathroom, it's in good condition. You can leave the suite, change the taps and the boiler.
-But structurally, it's absolutely fine.
-Something that has worried me is looking at those trees
that are slightly hanging over here and the patio outside has been lifted.
Do you think there's been structural movement? There's been movement out there.
Certainly outside, but not with the building. Before the auction, I checked with the building inspector
and he inspected the properties all those years ago and the foundations go down to three metres.
-So I thought, "Great", ticked the box.
-So the movement you can see,
the roots are going around the house but they're not interfering with the building itself.
'Sounds like they've got away with it. But you might not be so lucky if your foundations aren't as deep.
'So always check it out.'
# Tall tree
# Tall tree
-Guys, what are your plans for this?
-I mean, it is just a decorate throughout, flooring throughout.
We're going to knock through from the kitchen into here to let the light through
and upstairs it's just really decorating all three rooms. The only dilemma we had a first
was whether or not we should have a big bathroom or keep it as the bathroom and separate loo,
but we'll probably keep the loo separate because we want to rent it out
-and we figure that sharers will probably like having a separate toilet.
-What's your budget?
Well, £8,500 to £9,000.
A lot of the work we are going to be doing ourselves
and we've got a subcontract plumber. I'd be a lot more if we got a builder in.
-But we're confident with that.
-And how long do you think it's going to take to complete the work?
-This is always the funny thing.
-About eight weeks?
-Eight weeks maximum.
-In eight weeks you think you can be in and out?
-Guys, good luck.
-I can see you're really excited and chomping at the bit. Good luck. Thank you, Sharon. David.
For Sharon and David, this is a pretty straightforward job for them.
They've refurbished properties before and they hope to do this one quite quickly and cheaply.
With the demands of their other jobs, though, and a large family make the schedule slip?
And will they actually knock the kitchen through?
You can find out how they get on later on in the programme.
'Coming up, this house in Leeds just needs a bit of cash thrown at it.'
Spend ten grand on this and it could be a lovely place to live. No, really!
'We return to Croydon where the refurbishment roles have been clearly defined.'
I've been the painting person. I painted pretty much the whole house.
'But first it's back to Devon where if there's no pain, there's no gain.'
To replace all the windows will take many years but we'll get there eventually.
'Time now to return to Newton Poppleford in Devon where John, a teacher,
'bought this characterful Grade II listed building for £156,000.
'It was going to be home for himself and his two boys when they came to stay.
'The cottage needed a full refurbishment and also came with a significant risk of flooding
'due to the brook in the back garden.'
# Although no-one understood
# We were holding back the flood
'However, this didn't put John off.'
It's flooded six times in the last 60 years, once every ten years.
I think I can put up with it flooding once every ten years.
'But it's now 18 months later
'and from the road, the cottage looks very similar.
'But the overgrown back garden has been cleared,
'making the most of the brook and the large plot the cottage sits on.
'John moved in a month after he bought it
'and his sons, Max and Oscar, are frequent visitors.
'Inside, the boys now share a brilliant bedroom.
'And the second bedroom is well on the way to being finished.
'John's also transformed the bathroom with a modern white suite,
'matching the tiling and contrasting with the floor.
'The master bedroom is huge. It now looks more like a luxury hotel suite than a cottage bedroom.
'Downstairs, the original kitchen has been stripped out
'and is on its way to becoming a utility room.
'Although John's concentrated on the first floor, he has installed a new kitchen in the former dining room.'
The ground floor of the property has probably had the least amount of work done to it.
I wanted to get the bedrooms sorted first. Basically, the ground floor has been rewired
and has had central heating put in.
I've converted the barn to my workshop, so that's now up and running and functioning very well.
I've done the boys' bedroom, or one of the boys' bedrooms
and I've done my own bedroom and I've redone the bathroom.
'So the boys are sharing Oscar's room at the moment,
'but will soon have one each.'
I think it's nice. But when we get Max's finished,
that means it'll be mine and I'll have all my stuff there and there's room for everything.
'However, to start with, Dad's new home wasn't that popular.'
My boys thought the place was terrifying. They thought it was really creepy.
There was nothing done. They were sleeping on the floor and it was a mess.
And think it needs some more work doing at the moment
but when it's finished I think it's going to be brilliant.
'Early on, John converted the barn into his workshop.'
# If I were a carpenter
# And you were a lady
'Has he been busy making those replacement windows?'
So far, I've made one sill and one complete set of windows with a frame.
And, again, it's going to be a labour of love.
To replace all the windows will take me many years, but we'll get there eventually.
'So who's been doing all the work?'
I've done all of the work in the house myself apart from the plastering.
The gas plumbing I didn't do. I called somebody in to do that.
'Of course, John's got lots of experience of property maintenance
'but fitting it in with his supply teaching can't have been easy.'
As far as work goes, I am now building full-time.
I was swapping between teaching and doing building work
and I finally plumped for building.
I think he's done a lot and he's made really good progress.
It's a bit slow starting off, but quality better than speed.
'Doing it yourself can save money, but has John managed to keep his costs under control?
'He's still go lots to do and he budgeted just £20,000 for the whole house.'
My initial estimates were obviously horrendously inaccurate.
I spent a lot more money than that.
I've given up counting. It doesn't matter. It's going to be a family home and that's what's important.
And I'll pay for things as I can afford them.
My boys are desperate to stay here. I thought I'd do another project,
but they've said, "No, we really love this house, we want to stay here" so here we stay.
'Time to hear what two local property experts think
'of the work John's done so far
'and the future prospects for the cottage.'
The work that's been carried out so far has been done
in a very sympathetic manner and made best use of the space.
Overall, the property has had a transformation upstairs
in two or three of the rooms.
Downstairs still needs transformation and I expect to see the same.
The bathroom is now a very attractive feature of the property.
New white suite, slate flooring, separate shower cubicle, all very nice.
The property is located in a flood-risk area so that may put some people off
but, to be honest, where it is and what it is and the standard of the cottage, I would still buy it.
'So what's the property now worth? Remember, John paid £156,000 at auction
'and his budget of £20,000 has already gone
'so he's spent at least £176,000.'
When the property's fully renovated, I would expect to achieve a figure in the region of £225,000.
The likely resale value of the property would be somewhere around £250,000, possibly upwards,
but dependent on him continuing the sort of transformation in the same standard throughout.
'John isn't sure exactly how much he's spent on the renovations so far
'but he estimates that completing the work will cost him around £30,000
'which is £10,000 over his original budget.
'Even with this overspend, based on the valuations,
'he could still stand to make a pre-tax profit of between around £39,000 and £64,000.
'But it seems as though selling isn't on his mind.'
That's pretty much what I expected the resale value would be.
It doesn't really matter very much because the boys want to stay here and I'm very happy here.
It doesn't matter.
'I'm in the Holbeck district of Leeds on the southern edge of the city.'
You certainly can't complain about the closeness to good transport links with this next property.
Right by the side of some of the main roads passing through the centre of Leeds,
walking distance to the city centre and the property I'm here to see is just up that street.
'The Holbeck area is part of an ambitious regeneration scheme run by Leeds Council.
'The majority of houses round here are back-to-back terraces
'which really do have a unique sense of character about them.
'However, in recent years, many of these have fallen into a state of serious disrepair.'
So what do you have to pay to invest in property around here?
Well, the guide price for this one-bedroom terrace
was just 30,000 quid.
But take a look at the outside.
You can see why it was so cheap.
You know what? I don't even think I'm going to go inside.
However, maybe you should. Go on, Lee.
In you go. Go on. Go in! Go in!
In you go! Good boy. That's it.
'Thanks to our intrepid cameraman for so kindly volunteering to show us inside.
'Don't worry, we are rigorous about health and safety checks so he'll be fine.
'As you can see, the place is in a sad state of repair
'and it's really taken the concept of open-plan living a bit too far.
'The layout's slightly unusual with the kitchen overlooking the main road.
'The property's extremely uninviting at the moment and there's zero kerb appeal.
'However, if you can see beyond the smashed glass, missing door and clutter,
'it's not quite as bad as first impressions suggest.
'I reckon the bathroom suite could scrub up quite well
'and I've only spotted this one bit of damp.'
'Now, of course, I wasn't just going to let the cameraman go in and not venture inside myself.'
Normally with a property like this,
the windows and doors would be boarded up.
Somehow, to see them in this state makes it even more dramatic.
But actually it's just a classic case of trying to see through
to what this place could become.
And, believe it or not,
..spend ten grand on this and it'd be a lovely place to live.
'Well, this house requires vision all right and lots of it.
'Once new windows and doors have been installed and the property made watertight,
'you'd then be ready to transform the inside.
'It could prove to be a good time to buy round here
'because the area is set for transformation, as well.'
Like many other parts of Leeds, Holbeck has undergone major regeneration in recent years.
And it's really good to buy in an area where that's happening.
However, when it involves knocking down traditional housing such as terraces like this,
there's part of you that just feels a little tinge of sadness.
# Cry no more tears
# Make the song sing your troubles away
'Sometimes you can't stand in the way of progress.
'The Holbeck regeneration scheme aims to preserve the area's unique character,
'combining the architecture of some of the old buildings with contemporary developments.
'What does a local estate agent think of this property
'that went for auction at just £30,000?'
Structurally, it seems quite stable.
So it's mainly internally. It needs a complete refurb, new kitchen,
bathroom, double glazing, central heating, redecoration.
I think it's a good investment for a buy-to-let developer. We could rent this out
for £325 to £350 a month.
'Once the house has some windows, a door, a new kitchen, a bathroom, well, the list just goes on and on,
'but how much could it be worth?'
I think, realistically, we'd be looking to price this at £49,995.
# I'm looking through the window
Well, not a project for the faint-hearted, this one,
but I think there's money to be made here.
Let's see who fancied it at the auction.
'This lot came up later in the day,
'which explains why the room's quieter now.'
Lot number 47.
A vacant one-bedroom back-to-back terraced house.
Guide price £30,000. Where do you want start the bidding?
£30,000? 25? Yep.
Straight in at 25. I'll take a half. 25 and a half.
New bidder, 25 and a half. 26. 26.
And a half. 27.
And a half. 28.
And a half.
New bidder, 28 and a half.
29. And a half.
Yep. 30. No. 30, I'll take your bid. 30.
And a half?
Anywhere else at £30,500?
First time, then, at £30,000.
Third and final time, if you're all finished, at 30,000.
-Thank you very much.
'The final bid was made by Bal who works full-time as a project manager for the National Grid.'
# We'll always be together
# Together in electric dreams
'Bal also has numerous buy-to-let properties in Leeds.
'His son, Randip, is helping out with this project
'and is keen to dip his toe into the world of property development.
'I met up with them outside the house to find out about their plans.'
-Bal, Randip, lovely to meet you both. Congratulations.
-Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.
-Er, it was a good price and it's close to the city centre.
I've bought a few properties in this area before and that's why I went for it.
Obviously, from the outside, and when you go inside,
-it's a mess, isn't it? Are you not worried about that at all?
I've done these things before.
-I've got a team of builders and they'll clear it for me.
-So it doesn't bother you at all?
When you're looking at a property, how do you see through its current state?
I look beyond the work. I see the structure. I can see how I can turn this into a good living property.
-Randip, what's your involvement?
-I'm trying to follow in my dad's footsteps.
I'm keen to move into investment, particularly in property,
-so I'm just learning the ropes from my father.
-So is this the first one you've been actively involved in?
I've been shadowing my dad for quite some time now
but it's the first property I've seen in this sort of state, so it's interesting to see how it turns out.
-What were your first impressions?
-Bit of work to be done.
'I'll say! New windows, new door, new bathroom, new kitchen, new everything, in fact.
'And one large skip required.'
So what's the plan for this place?
Er, the first thing, we're going to get rid of all the rubbish and then make it secure
with the new windows so that people can work inside.
Once that's done, we'll move in and then do all the central heating,
new kitchen, new bathroom, make it really nice and neat.
-And my plan is to rent it once it's all done.
-So what's the budget for the work?
-Anything between £12,000 and £13,000.
-Six to eight weeks.
-So pretty quick, then.
-And really turn it around.
That's right. That's the plan. I've got the builders and everybody lined up and they're keen to start work.
What do you think the biggest challenge ahead is?
-No. It's just a normal house and just replace everything.
-It's a normal house without any windows in a complete state!
Yeah, I think there's a lot of work
but we've done it before and it'll be another job.
'What a learning curve for Randip.
'This father and son duo have quite a task ahead of them here.'
What's your involvement going to be, Randip?
Well, I'm going to help my dad project-manage just clearing it out, doing the electrics, the windows.
-Are you going to be hands-on?
-Not hands-on in terms of getting the rubbish out,
more in terms of coordinating the builders and the electricians and the gas companies
-to make sure they do what they need to do.
-How many times have you done this?
-I've got 14 or 15.
-In Leeds or...?
-Yeah, in Leeds.
-Do you still get excited by doing up property?
-Oh, yes, I do.
It's the sort of thing I've been doing for many years.
You see something like this, very derelict, and you bring it into good condition, it gives me satisfaction.
I'll improve the area and it's another house for somebody to live in.
And once you've finished this project, what next?
We're already looking for the next one. I've got quite a bit of time off work now
to spend time in Leeds looking around,
hence my involvement here to see what needs to be done
and maybe, in the future, do this myself without my dad's help.
-Congratulations. Good luck with it.
-We look forward to seeing how you transform this place.
Well, to most people, sorting out a house like this would be a real challenge,
but to Bal and Randip, nothing seems to be too much of an issue.
However, properties do tend to have a habit of coming up with unexpected problems.
How are they going to get on? You can find out later in the show.
Transforming a property from a worn-out shell into a home
can be rewarding and profitable.
But how did today's buyers get on with what they bought? Let's find out.
'Back now to Croydon in Surrey where husband and wife team David and Sharon
'paid £145,000 for this 1990s two-bed end-of-terrace.
'It was to add to their buy-to-let portfolio.'
# We're tied to the 90s
# In the middle, I'm terribly frightened
'David's a surveyor and Sharon's a journalist.
'They planned to refurbish and then rent the place out, but there was a potential problem outside.'
Something that has worried me is looking at those trees that hang over and the patio has been lifted.
-Do you think there's any structural movement?
-There's certainly movement outside but not with the building.
The roots are going around the house but they're not interfering with the building.
'Well, three months had passed when me met up again with the couple back at the property.
'The rear garden has been cleared back
'and now those three trees don't look quite so threatening as they've lost their leaves.
'Inside, the kitchen units have been replaced and a new boiler's been installed.
'That wall with the hatch is history.
'As doors now separate the enlarged kitchen-diner from the living room.
'High-quality flooring has been laid and the neutral decor really opens the space up.
'Upstairs, the two bedrooms have been decorated to a high standard in neutral colours.
'Complemented by the curtains.
'The separate bathroom and loo have been knocked into one
'and partly refitted.'
In the bathroom, people think it's a new bath
but we've kept the existing bath,
got rid of and replaced the bath panel with something much nicer, new flooring down,
the suite is partly replaced and we fully tiled and it's made a world of difference.
We also put in a high-level window.
'The finish upstairs is excellent.
'Those dated brown doors have gone
'and the laminate floor David put down looks so much smarter.
'But it's downstairs that has seen the major change.'
The first thing we did was demolish the partition and put this wall up here with nice new doors.
This is where the partition was demolished. There was a cupboard here,
access from the hall, which was just a cloak cupboard, demolished that to open up the space right behind me
and then stripped the kitchen out, put a new kitchen in, new worktops
and got this large space for the dining area,
so you've got a kitchen-dining area which you can close off.
'Simply sliding the wall down a few metres has transformed the place
'and created two far more practical living spaces.
'Now anyone in the kitchen can look through the house out onto the garden. But what about the trees?'
Since we were last here, I've spoken to three tree surgeons.
It is possible to top those sorts of trees
but it just really encourages them to grow more madly and they're already tall enough.
'So they've left the trees and replaced some of the slabs.
'David has laid some decking. But who tackled the rest of the work?'
We got a subcontract plumber, he was very good. And we project-managed that, if you like.
But the rest of the work, we've done all of it ourselves.
I've been the painting person. I painted pretty much the whole house.
David has done all of the carpentry and joinery work, fitting the kitchen.
One of the things I really like about the house is the staircase that David has done.
We thought we might do stair carpet, but stair carpet does wear out,
so we decided we'd laminate the stairs, but he's also done oak edges and it really does look impressive.
'Did they manage to keep to the budget they'd set of £8,500 to £9,000?'
We've spent about £8,750. We've got a few minor bills, 30, 40 quid to add up.
The major purchases were things like the flooring and the boiler.
'Time to see how two local property experts
'rate the finish and rental potential here.'
They've used every available space positively.
They kitchen is a very good size kitchen.
The reception area is a very good size.
Very well done up toilet and bathroom. Good size bedrooms.
Knocking a toilet and bathroom together creates a lot of space
so you've got a luxurious bathroom now. Very comfortable.
They've done a very good job of the property, they've used very good materials, very well presented.
Nothing against the property.
The standard of finish is excellent, really well presented, the materials used are very good.
Some clever changes to the property. Really good, decent job.
'How much is the property now worth? Remember, they paid £145,000 at auction
'and their budget is almost £9,000,
'meaning a total outlay of £154,000. So, are they in profit?'
The property will sell for around £215,000 to £220,000.
We would market this property at £219,950.
'That valuation range of £215,000 to £220,000
'would generate a gross profit, before the usual selling expenses,
'of £61,000 to £66,000.
'Could those figures change their plans? Might they sell now?'
No, we don't want to sell it because we know the rental market here.
There's a lot of demand for properties that are high-spec,
so I think it's one to hang on to.
This property will rent for around £925 per calendar month.
On the rental market, we would hope to achieve around the £900 per calendar month mark.
It's a bit better than I expected.
Yeah, I always thought £900 to £950,
because I do watch what happens in the local market really closely
and I know of others that have rented not has high spec as this
-and they've been about that price, haven't they?
'So these two part-time property developers add another property
'to their growing portfolio.
'But can they see themselves giving up their day jobs and making a career change?'
Yeah, it's definitely our ambition to become full-time property developers
and it's an achievable ambition. This is just a stepping stone to it. Definitely.
What I'm really pleased about is that we saw a sad, dark little house that we could see had a lot of potential
and I think we've really brought that out of it and I think it'll make a lovely home for somebody.
'Time now to go back to Leeds where earlier in the programme
'Bal bought this derelict one-bedroom end-of-terrace property for £30,000.
'Bal's a project manager for the National Grid
'and his son, Randip, was helping out with the project.
'They certainly didn't seem intimidated by the task ahead.'
-It's a mess, isn't it? Are you not worried about that at all?
I've done these things before. I've got a team of builders and they'll clear it for me.
'There were stairs in the kitchen leading down to the cellar
'but it was far too dangerous to go down there.
'And there was a yard to the side but, like the property, that was in a right old state, as well.
'Well, it's now just eight weeks later and we meet up with the developing duo again.
'The derelict pile of bricks once more looks like a house.
'What a difference a front door and windows make.
'Inside, the living room's been cleared out and the walls replastered and decorated.
'Central heating's been installed, plus a wall-mounted fire.
'The refit in the kitchen is equally impressive.
'The old units were ripped out, walls plastered and tiled and new appliances plumbed in.'
Before, this kitchen was an absolute wreck.
So we started off by taking out all the old units, or what was left of them,
replacing them with brand new units,
doing complete flooring, completely tiled the side of the kitchen
and we've put in a number of goods, so the cooker,
the washing machine and the fridge.
We've then finished off by putting blinds on the kitchen and the boiler's in the kitchen.
'Upstairs in the bedroom, they've retained the original wardrobe
'and new carpets have gone down.
'It's actually a good sized room now you can see it.
'And a white suite has been put into the bathroom
'along with laminate flooring, a radiator and a window.
'This two-up two-down is once again ready to live in.
'Bal took on a beast and it looks like he's won.'
This property was a derelict property, just a shell, and nobody could live in this house.
So we've done everything in here. As you can see, brand new windows, new kitchen,
new bathroom, did the brickwork outside,
so I've brought this property into a sort of state which people can live in, which I'm quite proud of.
'Absolutely. On this first joint project with his dad,
'Bal's son Randip has seen a total transformation.'
I came into it not owning any property so for me to see how this has come along is fantastic.
The number of people involved in making it into a home.
Two months ago, this was a bombsite. Now it's somewhere that someone can live.
'The outside needed attention from top to bottom.
'A team of builders had to repair the roof. But what about the yard next door?'
The wall wasn't fit. We actually got a letter from the council deeming it to be unsafe.
So the first thing we had to do was make sure that structurally it was secure and safe.
We then bricked the wall up, took out all the rubbish,
made it look nice and neat and put concrete over the entire yard, as well.
'The cellar, which wasn't safe to see when we first visited,
'has had the brickwork repaired,
'been checked for damp and given a lick of paint.
'The kitchen and bathroom have been the biggest expense. But how much has all the work cost?
'Did Bal manage to stick to his budget?'
I think I said between £12,000 and £13,000
and the actual budget is £12,850.
'Time to get some valuations from two local property experts.'
I think he's done a good job. It's unrecognisable from before,
which it needed to be. It's nice and neutral and modern
and ready for somebody to move straight into.
I think the work looks very professional.
It looks very clean. You can see yourself living here.
Obviously, it's a one-bedroom back-to-back so it is what it is.
It will only appeal to a certain client.
It won't appeal to families, et cetera.
It's part of the regeneration part of Leeds. It's also really close to the city centre,
so you have lots of people living in this area working in the city but paying less.
'What's the house now worth? Remember, Bal paid £30,000 at auction
'and has spent £12,850 on it including labour,
'making a total outlay of £42,850.
'So, how much could it achieve?'
To sell the property, I'd look to market this at £44,950.
In its current condition, I would value this property at £55,000.
'Those two very different valuations of £44,950 and £55,000
'would give Bal and Randip pre-tax profits
'of between around £2,000 and £12,000,
'minus the usual selling expenses, of course.
'So, might they be tempted to sell?'
The plan is actually to let it
and then maybe later on see if the market picks up,
maybe we'll consider selling it, but at the moment, definitely rent it.
In my opinion, I'd look to put this to the rental market at £325 per calendar month.
I would value this for £395 per calendar month.
'Is that the sort of income they'd hoped to achieve?'
I think that's good. We always calculate and prepare for the worst
so 325 is definitely something we've considered.
If we get 395 then fantastic, but 325, we'll be happy with that.
'So good news all round on those rental figures.
'It certainly seems as though Randip has been bitten by the property developing bug.'
I've taken a lot of confidence from being involved in this project,
so much so that I'm in the process of buying my own property.
So that's the level of confidence that I've gained from this experience.
'What about dad? Is he ready to buy again?'
Yes, I think if I get the opportunity, we'll do some more.
But at the moment I just want to have a break.
'And the good news is that Bal and Randip have now managed to rent the property out.
'Their tenant is paying £425 per calendar month,
'exceeding their earlier expectations. So well done to them.'
Well, whether you're a seasoned professional or a property novice,
there are always lessons to be learned buying property at auction.
-So join us next time for more auction action on Homes Under The Hammer.
-See you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Devon, a two-bedroom end-of-terrace house in Surrey and a one-bedroom terraced house in Leeds. All of these properties have been sold at auction, and Martin and Lucy find out who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.