Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a semi-detached property in Dartford, Kent, a development plot in Derby and a house in Gillingham, Dorset.
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Buying property can be a long process.
-But not when you buy at auction.
-You can have the keys in 28 days!
It can be that quick when you buy your home under the hammer.
Buying at auction can be a gamble, but not if you do your research.
Are the buyers today on a winning streak? Here's what they bought.
'In Dartford, Kent, this semi leaves a lot to be desired.'
It's extremely dated, and the character stops right here!
'We return to Derby where, in 2007, we first saw this development plot.'
It is a bit of a mess.
'I can't quite make up my mind about this place in Gillingham, Dorset.'
So, kitchen...or hovel?
'These properties have been sold.
'We find out who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.'
'This is Gillingham,
'the most northerly town in Dorset.
'The population has grown, as the place is so well connected.
'It's only two hours to London by train,
'and just a few miles from the main trunk road to the rural delights of southwest England.
'The house I'm here to see is easily accessible from the town centre.'
So, Gillingham High Street a few minutes that way.
Shaftesbury is four miles down that road,
and Sturminster Newton, and miles of Dorset countryside, is down there.
The road links are undeniably good, but would you want to live right on them?
This is the house that was up for auction with a guide of £100,000.
Attractive enough from the outside.
In need of some work, for sure. I just hope that double glazing does its job.
# ..On the roundabout of love... #
'It's not love at first sight, with a roundabout on your doorstep.
'The lack of on-street parking doesn't help either.
'Let's hope the inside can stir up some flames of passion.'
# ..I go round and round On the roundabout of love. #
This cottage dates back to the 1850s and, by the looks of things,
I don't think much has been done since then!
You've got these amazing old flagstones.
A little bit of work trying to restore them would bring them back.
You'd need to get working on this woodchip wallpaper all over the walls.
That needs to come off.
If you sand these spindles down, they will look lovely.
And into a room that has been knocked through into one.
You've got a lovely big space.
Unfortunately, these fireplaces are not in keeping
with the period of the property.
But you've got a good room to work with so, loads to do, but you've got a lot of character to play with.
'There is charm, if you can see past the half-finished work here.
'There's a lot of major renovation to be done,
'and I would recommend some new furniture!'
# Excuse me, but I think you've got my chair... #
'And through the back,
'well, a new kitchen wouldn't go amiss either.'
So, kitchen...or hovel?
At the moment, it's more hovel, so what to do?
This wall is to stay. Look at the size of this. It's just huge!
You could bring this kitchen out but I reckon, push out to the back.
With an extension, you'd add living space
and you'd be able to see that garden.
You've gone from hovel to homely.
'Upstairs, a homely feel is needed in the three bedrooms,
'but they are bright and big, with beautiful period features.
'There's also a decent sized bathroom crying out for a makeover.
'I can see so much potential as a rentable property or a terrific family house.
'Downstairs, it looks like someone's already set up home.'
# There's a moose loose aboot this hoose... #
'There are no signs of life today, lucky for me.
'Maybe they're camera shy, or out enjoying the huge garden,
'which comes complete with another building!'
At the back, it's property number two!
Actually, it's just an outbuilding.
I say "just", but look.
It is huge! Perfect for a home office, a studio, a play room.
It's a big bonus.
But let's think.
If there's space for this big building, is there space for another house?
Unfortunately, it's never quite that simple.
There may be room for another property,
but I don't think that means you'd get planning permission.
Mainly because of the lack of parking.
The existing property doesn't have its own space.
The only access would be down that path beside the house next door.
With such limited access,
I think the local council would not look favourably on major work here.
Imagine the hassle involved trying to get materials in the site.
With a guide price of £100,000,
this spacious house with ample garden and outhouse
could make a great project for a motivated buyer.
What does a local property expert
from the auction house who sold it make of it?
The property is in need of total modernisation,
but it retains many of the period features.
So, sympathetically done, it would be a very pretty little house.
'What work exactly could this place benefit from?'
You do need to extend somehow. The kitchen doesn't really exist.
It's really just like a little back corridor.
You would have to bring it out, which could be done very easily.
'That extension to the kitchen would certainly make the property more attractive to a buyer.
'Once done, what could this place sell for?'
I would think the property would be worth in the region of £185,000 to £190,000.
'What if the buyer of this property decided to rent it out?'
There is a strong rental market in the area.
I would think a rental value of between 700 and 750 per calendar month would be for this property.
This cottage deserves some love and looking after, and there's room for that important improvement.
Whoever takes this on needs to remember that this road will limit potential, no matter what you do.
Let's see who went for this at the auction.
Someone like to put me straight in
80 is it? 80,000. Thank you. 80,000. Looking for two.
At £80,000. 85. 85.
87. 90,000. 90,000.
98. At 100,000.
112. 112. 112. 114.
On the telephone. 120.
120. Is that a bid, or are you gesturing? 121. 121.
121. On the telephone, then, at 121,000.
You're all out in the room.
-£121,000 on the phone...
Congratulations. 121,000. Thank you.
'That successful bid of 121,000 was a phone bid from Sharon and her partner, Richard.
'Sharon's a chef. Richard is an antiques dealer.
'I met up with them at the house,
'to find out their plans for this dusty old treasure.'
This is really good news. I'm glad you brought your friend.
-This is Sam.
-Hello, Sam. Congratulations.
-You weren't at the auction, were you?
I was at work. Richard did the phone bid and bought the place without me seeing it!
-What?! Did you know he was up to mischief?
-I did. I did.
And I trusted him. I saw it on the Saturday after we'd bought it.
-You were happy for Richard to spend quite a lot of money on a property you'd not seen?
-Not that happy! No.
Richard, why did you want to bid for this property?
We'd been looking for a while and nothing came up.
So we looked around and we viewed it on Wednesday. Sharon was at work.
-WE didn't view it. Richard did.
-I viewed it.
You get that feeling when you walked in, within 30 seconds.
It was a nice place. And telling Sharon this was...
She hadn't seen it but you could tell it was going to be good.
And I'm confident.
Potentially. Fingers crossed.
# Come on and be my little good luck charm
# Uh-huh-huh You sweet delight... #
'Luckily for Richard, when Sharon saw the house
'she fell for its charms, too.'
# ..I want a good luck charm a-hanging on my arm
# To have, to have To hold, to hold
# Tonight. #
Do you feel pleased that Richard went storming ahead and bought this?
-Yes. I am.
-Pleased at the price.
Because we spoke about the price and I said, "No more than 130."
He told me that he was willing to go to 140.
I think I would have strangled him then!
'A lucky escape for Richard.
'Thank goodness the price didn't shoot up.
'They plan either to sell or rent the property -
'once Sharon's approved Richard's plans!'
-You have the vision for this property.
-Sharon has as well.
-Slightly different visions!
-Sharon, what's your vision for this?
We've just... We've already got architect plans drawn up.
I'm not happy with the plans drawn up between Richard and the architect.
I'm coming up with different ideas. Things that don't need doing.
Things that do need doing. It's quite good. We're mulling over it together.
-Are you singing from the same hymn sheet?
-More or less.
-That's a good start.
-There's no major rows.
# I don't care who's wrong or right
# I don't really want to fight no more... #
'Richard and Sharon will be hoping they can reach agreement on what to do
'with all that space at the back.
'The first step would be to apply to extend, but they're also hoping for permission to build a bungalow.
'That could meet with opposition from the planners.
'They're giving themselves only seven months to turn it around.
'Luckily, they're no strangers to differences of opinions.'
-Do you have any idea about budget?
-Between £10,000 and £15,000.
-I'm thinking more than that.
-I'm on your side.
I'm thinking 20 or 30. Yeah.
-You two really are yin and yang!
-But it works!
-It does work.
-I want to do it to a high spec and sell it.
He wants to do that rent it.
I don't want to do it to a high spec and rent it. They're issues we need to resolve.
It's going to be exciting finding out what happens. I'm intrigued.
Sam, I hope you put up with these two! Yes? Good.
It's been lovely meeting you. Good luck.
I think you might need it.
Yin and yang. Chalk and cheese.
There are lots of ways to describe this couple.
Richard's excited, but what about Sharon?
She's closer to the mark on budget, but whose ideas will win the day?
Has antique dealer Richard uncovered a gem or a real red herring?
Find out later in the programme.
'We now go back to a plot of land in Derby,
'which I first visited in 2007.'
I don't know about you,
but when I think about plots of land I think about areas of countryside
or large areas of land between existing buildings.
Not necessarily a housing estate like this in Alveston outside Derby.
However, a plot of land is for sale and it's got a guide price of 100,000 quid.
And this is it.
Not much to look at, but with development sites becoming rarer,
especially in residential areas, it's always worth a look.
This is quite interesting.
A plot of land in an area like this would normally come from somebody selling a bit of their garden.
In this case, judging by the fences,
it looks to me like the neighbours have sold various bits of land
to create what is not a bad size space.
It's about 360 square metres.
Level, which is good to see.
Access onto the road, which is really important.
The only issue is, it's a bit of a mess.
'That mess isn't just an eye-sore, it can have a financial impact.
'Dumping charges, removing waste and levelling to accommodate foundations can be expensive.'
You're probably thinking, "Scrappy bit of land between houses in a bit of a mess."
There's a key bit of information which I haven't told you
which makes this plot of land very interesting.
It's got planning permission for three terraced houses.
So let's go through the numbers. The plot of land for £100,000.
You build terraced houses, £40,000 to £50,000 each.
How much are you into it for at that point? 100,000 plus 150.
That's £250,000 you've spent.
I reckon you could sell a terraced house here for 140, 150,000 quid.
So, potentially, this plot of land, scrappy as it may be,
could generate you a profit of... about 200,000 quid!
Interested, all of a sudden?
One thing for sure, I hope whoever buys this saves the bluebells.
Looking at the plans for these three houses,
they would be traditional with generous living spaces.
There's little storage space - a common developer's strategy.
Rooms look bigger when there aren't any cupboards.
Things like this tree stump are going to take quite a lot of effort to get rid of.
You've got to factor that into your costs.
If somebody gets this for anything like the guide price,
they could potentially make a pretty penny. Let's go to the auction.
Lot number 11. An excellent little building site in Alveston.
How much for this one? 100,000 is bid. Thank you.
102. 104. 106.
And eight. 110,000.
22. 124. 26.
32. 134. Try another?
136. 138 is bid.
142. And a half?
And a half. 143 is bid.
And a half. 144.
144. Five hundred? 45.
145. And a half?
Once, twice, third chance.
'And, just like that, the new owner is property developer Simon.
'With over 30 years in the business, he saw the potential of the plans,
'but it doesn't mean he's sticking to them.'
I have a pattern of house, which is a three-bedroom detached house,
with a half-integral garage, parking space next to it,
slightly smaller floor area, not including the garage.
Put the garage on, you've got somewhere to put your car, although most people use them for golf clubs,
I don't know anybody who uses their garage for a car!
-Without a garage, we're suffering from lack of storage.
'The addition of garages does solve that storage problem I mentioned.
'Simon's taken the changes further.
'He proposes three detached houses, which he thinks makes better financial sense.'
I would hope that we'd be selling them for...150, 155,000.
Each. We're going to build them for 50 to 60,000.
-So, 320,000 and hopefully sell them for 450,000.
-So a reasonable profit.
'Although it's a risk, the decision lies with the planners.
'Simon reckons he can make £20,000 more per house than the auctioneer's estimate.
'But that's for terraced properties, not detached ones with parking.
'Simon's been in the developing game for many years.
'In that time, he's seen many changes.'
You have highly qualified plumbers, with certificates at the end of the job.
Highly qualified electricians, with certificates at the end of the job.
There are rules and regulations, what you can and can't do.
The building inspector will be looking for those. So it becomes... It's a lot more complicated.
There are lots of bits and pieces - I could keep you here all day -
which the ordinary person wouldn't know about, which is fine.
Any advice you could give somebody thinking about buying land and building houses?
Come and see me and sell it to me first!
'But when we first returned, one year later,
'it seemed that Simon's piece of land was still...a wasteland.'
We had some small three-bed houses with garages half-built in.
The planners said they wouldn't be happy because we've got gable ends built onto the road.
They wanted the block of three which they had given permission for, so we said OK, we'll go with what's there.
'So why is the plot still empty?'
We were looking to move on site when we'd cleared other sites
and build this out relatively quickly - six to eight months.
Then the market changed so we are thinking, "Let's hesitate a bit."
Frankly, we're still hesitating. We don't know what the market's doing.
We shall be aiming for the first-time buyer
and we think they're going to be hit hardest
by the crisis in credit and the adjustment that the mortgage lenders
are making to their requirements.
'That was two and a half years ago.
'Join us later in the show to find out if Simon finally managed to put his plan on the land.'
'Coming up, I find this 1930s semi in Dartford, Kent, rather cramped.'
Feels a bit narrow. It's just a bit petite.
'In Derby, Simon reflects on the dilemma of where's best to invest.'
There was a time when I was happy that my money was in land.
'But first, how have Sharon and Richard got along working together?'
Oh, it's been terrible. I could kill him!
'Now, back to Dorset - Gillingham, to be precise.
'This three-bedroom house was bought for 121,000.
'There was a lot to be done inside, and plenty of potential out the back.
'If only new owners Richard and Sharon could agree on the plans.'
We've got architect plans.
And I'm not happy with the plans that have been drawn up between Richard and the architects.
-Are you singing from the same hymn sheet?
-More or less.
-That's a good start!
-There's no major rows. It's discussions.
'Where have those discussions led them?
'Eight months on, we've caught up with them.
'Hopefully, the inside is as smart and appealing as the outside.
'Each room has been lovingly restored
'with replastering, rewiring and redecoration throughout.
'The timber flooring is in keeping
'with those period beams and exposed brickwork.'
# As good as new, my love for you
# And keeping it that way is my intention... #
'They've squeezed a second toilet in on the ground floor, with a shower.
'The old bathroom upstairs has been modernised, and looks terrific.
'The bedrooms have been decorated in a similar style to downstairs,
'with more exposed brickwork and warm flooring.
'That just leaves the kitchen...
'..which has been completely opened out in the extension.'
Originally, I'm standing in the back door.
What you're looking at was the old outbuilding.
We've made the ceiling a lot higher.
Old floorboards going out to the garden.
I was trying to keep an old but contemporary look kitchen
to transform the house, rather than a small cottage, into a family home.
'They couldn't get planning permission for a second property.
'Instead, they've reduced the size of the outhouse.'
It was too close to the cottage.
We had to take some of it down and create the kitchen-diner effect.
We wanted to use it, but it was a single skin, had no foundations.
A lot of it was subsiding.
We didn't want to demolish it, so we saved what we can
and used it to recycle what we can.
Hopefully, the end result looks good.
And kept it so that something can be done with it as an office
or a play room.
To get away from the kids or the kids to get away from the parents!
'Richard did most of the renovation himself,
'with help from family and friends.
'As he's an antiques dealer, he wasn't about to throw any old bits of material away.'
We had a reclamation yard in the back garden for four months!
Richard, being an antique dealer, has to save EVERYTHING,
every little bit of wood, he's pulling back off the fire.
But it's helped us with the budget
because most of those have been incorporated.
The wall, that's all recycled stones and bricks from the outbuilding.
And the flagstones on the patio.
-So quite a lot has been recycled.
'With all that material being recycled,
'it helped them keep within the budget of up to 30,000 - or did it?'
Budget, I think we've probably spent about £65,000.
So an awful lot more than either of us anticipated.
-I wasn't very good at maths at school.
-Neither was I!
'Over double their original estimate!
'Added to their purchase price of 121,000,
'that makes a total outlay of 186,000.
'Will all that work see them clear a decent profit?
'We asked two local experts to tell us their thoughts.'
I think the changes made are absolutely amazing.
They've been done with a huge amount of love and feeling.
It's been every attention to detail
and I think it's a super, super job.
Keeping features like the beams and fireplaces appeals to more people.
There's not many character properties available at the moment.
'They've clearly fallen for the charms of this property,
'so what value will they put on it, first if it was to be rented out?'
I would estimate between 675 and 700 per calendar month.
The rental value for this property would probably be about £800 per calendar month.
We are still wanting to sell, initially.
But, yeah, it's a nice rental income
if we decide to rent and we can't sell.
'Sharon and Richard's plan is to sell, although if they have no luck, they may reconsider.
'What sale price should they look to achieve?'
I would value the property in the region of 170,000 to 180,000.
I would put this property on the market at an asking price of £245,000.
The second one, yes. First one, no.
'Richard and Sharon have done an amazing job, but how did they find working so closely together?'
Oh, it's been terrible! I could kill him!
There's been good days but there's been a few bad days.
We are at each other's throats most the time anyway.
-It's normal for us.
-We get through it.
We get the job done. It works.
-All you have to do is work in separate parts of the house.
-Then it sort of flows...
'This is Dartford, which is one of those in-between areas.
'Is it Kent or is it London?
'You could say it has the best of both worlds,
'with access via the A2 to the capital, great train links
'as well as edging nearer to that Kent countryside.
'The property I'm here to see lies on a suburban street
'and is a typical 1930s semi-detached - good and solid.'
You couldn't get much nearer to the bus stop than this!
Make up your mind if that is a pro or a con but the house is here.
It's got three bedrooms and a guide price of 175,000 to 185,000.
'There is space for off-road parking at the front -
'that is if you need a car, when buses pull up right outside.'
You can see from the outside, this house has got some character.
I'm partial to a bit of stained glass!
I do like the look of that, but it's quite small in here.
It needs lots of work. Kitchen here.
There's not enough room for a downstairs loo, which is a shame.
This house just needs renovating.
It's extremely dated, and the character stops right here!
A funny old fireplace.
The previous owners have chosen to open this wall up,
knock this wall down, and not the kitchen wall.
This would be the one I would take down to have a big kitchen-dining space.
You could fit a large table and chairs here,
but you'd have to keep going round into the kitchen and back.
Not to my taste... But something that's not good is THAT!
Look at the size of that crack!
I would definitely get that looked at.
Overall, this house, a bit on the small side. It feels a bit narrow.
It's just a bit petite.
'This place feels bigger on the outside than it does on the inside.'
# Reet petite
# The finest girl you ever wanna meet... #
'You know the drill. Bring it up to date by lightening and brightening to give it that feeling of space.
'There's bringing up to date to be done upstairs,
'with a very old bathroom suite, dated built-in cupboards
'and more of those worrying cracks in the front and back bedrooms.
'But on a positive note, this semi has two very decent doubles
'and the box room is big enough for a baby's room or a study.
'To make this a proper family home, more space needs to be found.'
A look on the council's website brings up a comprehensive document
on alterations, additions and extensions, and it's good news for anybody interested in this house.
The information states you can push out up to three metres at the back
without applying for planning permission.
Extend out here and increase your kitchen and living room. Great.
However, I think that's selling this house a bit short.
I reckon if you're going to go halfway, why not go the whole hog?
Well, you can see the major work going on behind me.
A quick walk down the road proves the opportunities for extending are greater than just a few metres.
Half these houses have a double-storey side extension,
which would add a bedroom and increase the living space.
You would need planning permission but it would be hard to refuse,
looking at the precedent set in this road.
It could add 50k to the value of this house.
All I can say is, "Go for it!"
'It's amazing how properties have been extended, literally pushing up against each other.
'It may not look attractive, but may mean that petite house
'could be a thing of the past.
'With a guide price of between 175,000 and 185,000,
'it's time to find out from a local estate agent the pros and cons.'
It's actually not in too bad a condition.
Outside, it doesn't need much done. It just needs fixing up inside.
This could be a really nice family property.
New kitchen, new bathroom and complete redecoration.
It would be a very popular house for anybody in the area.
You could make this really nice for between 20,000 to 25,000.
'Once renovated, how would the figures stack up for this property?'
Doing it up to its maximum potential between 240,000 and 250,000.
'What if it was made into a four or five-bed house?'
If you put a large extension on,
you could maximise a value in this road around about 300,000.
This house needs more than tender loving care. It needs totally renovating and restoring.
It also represents an opportunity to extend and make a decent home
into a highly desirable place to live.
Let's see who spotted this at auction.
Start me at 170? 170. I'm on the way.
170,000. Now 175?
175 at the back I've got.
177? 177. And 180.
At the back if you like. 180 I've got.
And two? It's against you. 182? 182 over on my right-hand side.
185, if you like. And 188, now make it?
188 with the cap. 190?
190? Having a think about it. He says yes. And two?
92. And five?
And make it 200? Get there first. 200,000?
198 he's saying. 198 I've got.
Yours at 200 now, I think. He says yes.
202 now? He's shaking his head. At £200,000 I'm bid for the first time. Anybody else can join in.
It's in the room to sell for the first time. 200,000 for the second time.
200 for the third and final time...
Ooh, you ARE just in time.
202. At 202 now, on the right-hand side by the door.
204? 204, he says yes.
206? That's another shake of the head. First time at £204,000.
Second time at 204. Third and final time, we've been there before.
-204,000. It's yours, sir, for 204.
'That successful bid of £204,000 was made by Mark.
'He was an instrument engineer for a pharmaceutical company
'but after renovating a couple of properties, he hopes to turn developing into a new career.
'I met him at the house to hear about his plans.'
-Why did you want to buy this house?
Because of the area. I don't live far away.
Don't have to travel to work and it's got potential.
-Always helps when you know a road.
-Yeah, I know the area.
-So tell me about yourself. What have you been doing?
-For 26 years, I've been an instrument engineer.
For a pharmaceutical company.
And also done some properties, going back ten years and five years.
-You're now doing this full time?
-Yeah, cos I've been made redundant.
'Sadly, that's a familiar story nowadays.
'A lifetime's dedication to a job over in a blink of an eye.
'Luckily for Mark, he's enjoyed his two property projects and done well.
'So this is an obvious step. Is it also obvious what needs to be done here?'
Well, the one next door has been extended.
And it would match up with next door so, basically, what they've done.
-What about going out the back?
-Yeah, just single storey at the back.
Hopefully add space in the kitchen and dining area.
-To the side, possibly add a bedroom.
-Will it have that open-plan feel?
-What about upstairs?
That's a bit trickier, that layout.
You've got stairs in the way. I've done sketches.
I've still not finalised it but, yeah, I want to extend,
an en suite, another bedroom possibly, bigger master bedroom.
-The bathroom will probably be bigger and an en suite.
'Mark's aiming for a solid and sizeable four-bedroom family house.
'He hopes to get it done in six months, which sounds reasonable.
'He could see a substantial profit if he keeps his costs low, and that could be down to experience.'
-So, hold on, Mark. Can you build?
-Well, I have a builder friend.
-And he'll help you!
-No. I'm going to employ him.
He's going to hopefully teach me as well, as we go.
That's an incredible learning curve. Do you feel confident doing that?
I've done courses already.
I've done plastering, which was paid for by my company as retraining.
So you feel knowledgeable and able to take on a project like this?
It's going to be a learning curve with the building bit, but I'm quite happy.
'There's a big difference between renovating and building.
'Mark's also been on an electrician's course,
'so hopefully he won't feel like a fish out of water.'
# I'm working on a dream... #
'Mark has had a survey and those cracks are historical movement, so that's good news.
'Unfortunately, financing the purchase hasn't gone smoothly.
'Mark had difficulty borrowing the money he needs from the bank.
'That left him with a tight budget of £50,000 to do the renovation,
'and that includes doing a big portion of the labour himself.'
-I feel you'll do a really good job.
-I'll give it me best shot.
-I'm really excited to see how it turns out.
Mark has had a tough time, and financing this purchase has been a nightmare.
This man needs some luck. I think it could be just the project he needs.
You can find out how it all pans out later in the programme.
Time has passed since we saw those properties.
-Will they look as good as new?
'Earlier in the programme, we went back in time, into 2007, when we first met Simon,
'a property developer.
'He had bought this plot of land in Alveston, Derby,
'It came with planning permission for three terraced houses.
'Although Simon had wanted to implement his own design for three detached houses,
'he went with the approved plans.
'But when we first returned in 2008, there was still no development.'
We were looking to move on site when we cleared other sites and build this out.
Then the market changed so we are thinking, "Let's hesitate a bit."
Frankly, we're still hesitating. We don't know what the market's doing.
'Three years after our first visit, we've returned for a second time
'to see whether Simon has finally got the plan on the land.
'Outside and in, the development is still a work in progress.
'For Simon, the conditions to go ahead were finally right.
'He's followed the original plans
'for developing a mini terrace of three three-bedroom houses.'
We were watching the market. We thought it had bottomed out summer of last year.
Which meant that in 2011, hopefully,
it will start to slowly pick up.
We are at the bottom end, on starter homes,
which we think will be the piece that picks up first.
We gave ourselves six to eight months and here we are towards finish stage.
'The houses are all in various states of completion.
'The right-hand house has just been plastered.
'The middle house is mostly fitted, but waiting for painting.
'The last one, on the left, is nearly 100% done,
'just a few finishing touches needed.'
The kitchen we put on the front of the house,
so whoever's working in it gets a view of what's going on outside,
people coming and going.
We've made it pale to reflect light.
It has soft-close doors and drawers, built-in cooker, hood and hob.
We have a space for a washing machine and a dishwasher or fridge.
And we left a space there for a fridge-freezer.
Through into the living room.
We've got a good selection of power points and TV, computer points.
Back door there, out into a small garden, nice quiet space.
'When it comes to space, you would think that the end houses had most.
'Internally, it's a different story.
'Because the upstairs bedroom of the middle house extends over a passage,
'there's more floor space, which is an added bonus.'
Because we have this extra space,
we decided it would sell at the same price as the outside properties.
Centre properties are usually a bit less, but we've kept them the same.
'But something that didn't exist on the plans was a downstairs loo.
'That is now necessary in new-builds to comply with building regulations on access for the disabled.
'Simon's now happy that his proposed dwellings weren't given approval.'
Going with the original plans was, without a doubt, the best thing.
These will be not as expensive as detached houses and I think that's where we are with the market.
'For everyone involved in the housing market,
'the last four years have been tough, and Simon's no exception.'
There was a time when I was happy that my money was in land and not in the banks.
They looked as if they were all going to fall down.
Then it gets a bit frustrating that you're having to sit about and wait.
# So tired, tired of waiting
# Tired of waiting for you... #
'It may have been a long wait, but has it paid off?
'Building the three terraced house development cost Simon between 140,000 and 150,000.
'Add to that the 146,000 he paid for the land in 2007,
'and his total outlay is up to about 296,000
'plus office overheads and expenses.
'Has it all been worth it?
'We asked two local estate agents
'what they thought of Simon's investment.'
I think the houses that have been built are the right ones. He's made good use of space.
They've got a reasonable frontage to them, decent plot.
I think they're very nice.
From the original plans, the final build and detail is very good.
It will suit first-time buyers or young couples.
The finish to the property is good.
One or two touches need to be completed -
floor coverings, tiling - then that will finish the picture.
The particular thing I like on the specification,
I do like the modern kitchens and bathrooms,
particularly touches with the soft-close doors and integrated appliances. He's done very well.
'That will be music to Simon's ears, but there's one small drawback.'
The only thing that would put people off,
particularly second-time buyers, might be the third bedroom.
It is a bit on the small side.
'How much could these houses sell for?'
Given market conditions, I'd put these houses on the market between £105,000 and £110,000.
Each one of these properties would do well to achieve above £110,000.
I'd be interested to see where in this area
there's a new three-bed property with a 10-year NHBC guarantee,
parking space, central heating, all the lot, for 105,000.
By the end of the year they'll be a lot more than that.
'Simon clearly thinks the properties are worth more than this if sold.
'Just in case he holds on to them, what rental income could he expect?'
I'd be looking in the region of £450, £475 per calendar month.
Looking at rental, each one is likely to realise about £495 a calendar month.
'At those rental figures, Simon could get an annual yield of just under 6%.
'Hopefully, he will get the return he believes the houses deserve.
'With the project nearing completion, even after four years,
'he's enjoyed the ups and downs of this development.'
We've been blessed by good neighbours. It's a nice quiet area. There's been no aggravation.
So, yes. It's what I do. It's what I enjoy doing, which is why I do it.
'Earlier, we were in Dartford, in Kent,
'where I met Mark, who bought this typical 1930s semi for £204,000.
'He had renovated properties before but after being made redundant
'he decided to take on a big project with the aim of adding an extension to the side and back.
'Was his experience up to the task?'
-Well, I have a builder friend.
-And he'll help you!
I'm going to employ him and he's going to hopefully teach me as well, as we go.
-That's an incredible learning curve.
-It's a learning curve with the building bit, but I'm happy.
'Mark was certainly up for the challenge.
'Ten months later, we went back to see if he'd reached the top of that learning curve.
'From outside, it seems Mark did get his planning permission,
'though the work is still on-going.
'Round the back, Mark has also got his single-storey extension...
'..which houses a brand-new open-plan kitchen!
'The living room is a larger, more comfortable area,
'so it really has been all change.'
What I'm standing in now was the original kitchen.
There was a door across the hallway.
There was a window where this door is.
There was a door onto the driveway, which is the new bathroom.
Coming through here is the new extension with the kitchen.
Dining area, and an extension back from the dining area,
leading out through the French doors
onto the new decking.
'The side and rear extension has done an amazing job of opening up the ground floor.
'But it does seem odd because, besides that bathroom in the middle,
'there's also a shower room at the front.
'Is there a third bathroom upstairs?'
There was a bathroom here. A door here with a bathroom here.
That's been changed to a toilet
and extended to make the fourth bedroom.
The small bedroom, which was quite small, has been extended as well, to open it out.
These two bedrooms have stayed the same.
'That side extension has made this a great family four-bedroom house.
'But, and it's a big but, the lack of a bathroom up here is a major drawback.'
The decision to put a bathroom downstairs was purely because it had to be ventilated.
You cannot have an inhabited room ventilated. It has to have windows.
The only one you can is a bathroom.
It was decided that the bedrooms would go upstairs with a toilet.
'Not being able to put a bedroom on the ground floor
'affected Mark's plans, but he's gone ahead and, layout aside,
'he's now got a good-looking property on his hands.
'The garden was a struggle,
'with Mark digging up the fish pond and removing 15 tonnes of concrete.
'But the hard work wasn't just on the physical side.'
It has been a bit stressful and a lot more work than I anticipated.
I had done similar work, but not on this scale.
The financial side's been pretty stressful.
At the start, when I couldn't raise funds to do the extension, that was a big problem.
'To raise the money, Mark had to take an unusual course of action.'
To get the last part of the finance, I had to make the house let-able.
I had to "tosh the house over" first before I could borrow the money.
So I had to make it presentable and let-able.
'Mark had to do a good renovation job to convince the money people
'that he could rebuild and renovate all over again.'
# Go back, Jack, and do it again... #
'But having to go through that and trying to get planning permission
'meant that Mark's original schedule of six months slipped to ten months,
'with the actual rebuilding taking eight months of that.
'As we know, in property development, time is money.'
I said initially that I was thinking it would come in about 50,000.
My actual budget started at about 60-something thousand.
And I would say, now, it's probably up to about 70-something thousand, in the low 70s.
'Add that to Mark's purchase price of 204,000
'and that takes his total spend to at least 274,000.
'The house looks good,
'but I'm worried that the outlay and standard
'is pushing up against the ceiling price for houses in this area.'
For letting, it's probably too far. But for sale, it's probably OK.
Because things have changed,
I've now decided to let it so I can have a breathing space
and have a look at the financial situation in this country, which is very big as to what I do next.
'Hopefully, Mark will make the right decision.
'We asked two local estate agents
'what they thought of his £274,000 investment.'
It is finished off to a nice standard. It's on its way.
I'm sure when he finishes it's going to be a great family home.
First impressions is specification is good. The kitchen works well.
The units and sanitary ware in the bathroom is all good quality.
That's a plus.
'There's no doubting the standard of finish but is the layout a problem?'
The fourth bedroom adds value. You're likely to achieve a better price.
It's just the layout, how it's been extended,
isn't as ideal as it could be.
Most families would want a first-floor bathroom.
'Will that affect the value?
'Mark has spent a good £274,000, so what could a resale achieve?'
Under the current climate, we would suggest a marketing price in the region of £270,000 to £285,000.
I would put it on the open market between £270,000 to £290,000.
Yeah, I've seen houses go for more in this road, in the past.
But I'm not selling anyway, so...!
'Both estate agents thought that with the lettings market buoyant,
'Mark was making the right decision to rent, so what could he achieve?'
If the property was to come to the market today, we would suggest
a rental price in the region of £1,300 to £1,400 per calendar month.
I would value the property to put on the market between £1,300 and £1,400 per calendar month.
That's in the middle of the ranges that I've been given already.
That's about right. Yeah.
'If Mark got that upper £1,400 rental income,
'he could earn a yield of just over 6%,
'which might make the lack of clear sale profit easier to bear.
'Although the path wasn't smooth, Mark's positive about the experience.'
I've definitely learned a lot.
I've enjoyed a hell of a lot of it, and glad to see the back of it!
So all of them, yeah.
We'll be back with more properties to whet your appetite.
-We hope we've given you an insight into the auction world on Homes Under The Hammer. Goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a semi-detached property in Dartford, Kent, a development plot in Derby and a house in Gillingham, Dorset. 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.