Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Cheshire, a one-bedroom flat in south west London and a three-bedroom semi-detached property in Derby.
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Hello. In today's uncertain economic climate, it can be difficult to find your house heaven.
Whether they're large or small, auctions are a great place to look.
So today we're following brave buyers who are purchasing their homes under the hammer.
If you're a potential investor and fancy a bet on property, you may end up at the auction.
The atmosphere is electric, the action fast and furious.
So here are the properties that inspired our buyers today.
In Congleton, Cheshire, there's space here for a new build, but there's a problem.
Ideally, you want it to be level.
In Pimlico, south-west London, this one-bed flat may be small, but it has a valuable piece of space.
I didn't expect this - a balcony!
And there's a minor hitch at this three-bed semi-detached in Derby where you could fall INTO space.
Where's the banister?!
All these properties have been sold at auction and we'll find out who bought them and what they paid
-under the hammer.
-It's yours, madam.
Less than an hour away from Manchester is the peaceful Cheshire town of Congleton.
Amongst other things, they make golf balls here,, so will this be a double bogey or a hole in one?
So this is a beautiful part of the country and a very desirable place to live.
Here I am, just two minutes' walk from the centre of Congleton,
and houses round here are lovely and they're quite expensive.
So when you hear about something that came up at the auction with a guide price of £140,000,
it's got to be worth a second look.
However, things aren't quite as good as they first seem because you're not buying a property,
you're buying a bit of land. Worse than that, it's the garden to that house there.
Not very inspiring at first glance. However, I do know something you don't. It's through there.
Because come through here and the plot extends about another, I don't know, 40 or 50 feet.
Now, as you can see, this rear part of the plot is actually extremely hilly,
which does give a few issues. For a building plot, you want it level.
On the other hand, it does give great character to the plot.
# They sold you the view from a hill
# They told you that the view from the hill... #
'The great news about this land is that it has outline planning permission for a dwelling,
'so that guide price of £140,000 makes sense because building plots are rare beasts in this area.'
Before you take on a project like this, you need to consider your finances quite carefully.
If you're after a mortgage, save up a reasonable deposit -
probably 25% for the land and 15% for the cost of the build.
It's also a very specialised area, so there aren't many lenders
and often they'll lend it to you in stages, for instance, when the foundations go in or the roof on.
Speak to a specialist broker. It's something to bear in mind.
'As we all know, borrowing for mortgages isn't so easy now
'and you need funding to buy the plot and also to build on it.
'But why is this garden plot being sold separately when there's a lovely house here already?
'The person to ask is the lady who sold it, Pat.'
I've tried to sell it as a whole and because of the climate at the moment, it wasn't going to go.
So now I did the land and now it's the house.
'Due to the sluggish market, Pat's selling the land and house separately to maximise her return.
'After 40 years, she's decided to downsize to another part of Cheshire
-'but she can't recommend this area highly enough.'
-It's the most delightful place.
I've always been happy here. It's the best place to live in Congleton.
It's three and a half minutes to the town centre and two minutes to the most wonderful countryside.
-What could you ask for more?
-'Pat's passionate about this part of the world and you can see why.
'But will a local estate agent be as keen on the potential of this building plot?'
It's a super plot. You just have to look at the house next door. It's a lovely house.
And it's just the situation and the surroundings. So quiet.
'With the plot guided at 140,000 and build costs for a three or four-bedroom house
'likely to be around £200,000, could that possible total outlay of £340,000
'generate a good profit?'
I would imagine somewhere between £450,000, maybe £500,000.
It depends on the quality of finish and the market at the time.
'That is an encouraging valuation so the prospects here are definitely looking bright.'
The beauty of buying a plot and building your own place on it
is that you end up with exactly what you want and often at a discount from the ready-made price.
So who do you reckon bought this? Was it a developer or a self-builder? Let's find out.
This is an excellent building plot.
Very well situated in the residential locality of Congleton. How much can we say?
140 and away?
140,000. 140. Two and a half.
At 142 and a half. Five, sir? 145.
Seven and a half. At 147 and a half. 150?
Round me up. At 150. At 150,000.
Two and a half on my right. At 152 and a half. 155.
At 155. Yes, sir? 157 and a half. 160.
At 160. At 160,000.
I'll take one if it will help you. 161. 161.
You're not going to miss it for one. 162. At 162.
At 165. 166.
167. 168. At 168, at 168.
At 169. 170. Never finish on a round figure, sir. It's bad policy. Go another one.
At 170,000. And one, sir? 171.
Two. At 172.
At 172. At 172.
173. Four. 174.
Five, quickly. Five. At 175.
176. Thank you. At 176,500.
At 177. Thank you. At 177,000.
At 177. It's with the gentleman on my left. At 177,000 once.
Twice. The third and final time
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your patience.
'So for £177,000, the new owners of the plot are brothers Jim and Paul.
'They have a farming background, but 14 years ago sold their company
'and moved into full-time developing.'
-Jim, Paul, good to meet you both.
-Nice to meet you.
Tell me why you wanted this plot.
It was just basically where it stood. It's in a nice street, nice outlook.
-And the type of thing we like to build in these sort of areas.
-We like to build? Explain more.
Well, we're a family - two brothers - building outfit.
We like to do one-off houses, basically. Just something that'll hopefully appeal to a nice family.
Something different that they can't replicate on a housing estate or whatever.
-So you take on one project at a time and both work on it?
-More or less,
-apart from electrical and plumbing contractors. And plastering.
We see it from start to finish. James does the design...
-Then we both brick it. We do everything.
-Roof on, all the bits and pieces.
-So you'll meet the person who buys it?
-We give full back-up service.
We'll put a bottle in the fridge for them, et cetera. And a nice card.
# Welcome home
# Welcome... #
'For Jim and Paul, this isn't a case of building quick and moving on.
'It's about taking care and making sure the new owners are happy.'
So how long have you worked together as a building partnership?
14 years as building, but we're a farming family. We've always worked together.
-Fantastic. So you've discovered each other's foibles by now?
-And still finding one or two...
-We fall out every now and then.
So why did you go down this route of small, one-off projects at a time?
Em, not real man managers.
We've done five houses in one year.
But...we're not in it 100% for the money.
We'll just have a nice life and as long as it'll pay all the bills, and leave us a little more,
that's it. Don't want to be a multimillionaire.
-# Who wants to be a millionaire?
-# Have flashy flunkeys everywhere
'It's certainly a refreshing approach, but to continue in business you have to make money
'by investing in the right project. Buying land can be a high-risk, high-reward business.'
Let's talk about the plot you bought. A lot of people will be thinking it's somebody's garden.
Very much so. But it has got the area to build a house of decent family proportions
and with it being an elevated site we can get the height into the house, try to get a third storey in.
And there's different ridge lines to the adjoining properties.
We'll just try to make the best use of this actual location and the siting of it.
'In fact, Jim's designed a three-storey house for this site.
'It features four bedrooms, a family bathroom and two en suites.'
How much is it going to cost to build? And what can it sell for?
The house will be somewhere...
Depending on ground conditions, between 200,000 and 220,000.
-You're spending quite a lot on it.
-Yes. And hopefully we'll sell it for 450,000-460,000.
-Hopefully. So not a great deal of profit in it.
-How long do you think it'll take?
-We'll start in eight months' time
and the whole process, with landscaping, et cetera, 9 months.
-It's going to be a really interesting project. Good luck!
'So with a total investment of around 400,000 and 17 months before they hand over the keys,
'this is a big commitment for the brothers, but they enjoy it.'
Jim and Paul have a great attitude to building. I'm sure it will be very in keeping with the area
and somewhere that will make a fantastic family home.
Still a few hoops to jump through. They need full planning permission.
How will they get on? You can find out later in the show.
'The hustle and bustle of Victoria in central London.
'It's a real hub for transport. Bus, Underground and rail station - you name it, it's all here.'
A short walk from Victoria Tube station in south-west London and I'm here in pretty Pimlico.
This area is known for its grand garden squares and impressive Regency architecture
and it boasts over 350 Grade 2-listed buildings.
'That's a lot of heritage and it's an attractive catch for any auction goer.'
If you can't afford Belgravia and Chelsea, maybe Pimlico is the place for you.
It's considered a cheaper place to buy, much more affordable than its fashionable neighbours.
I'm not sure what your idea of affordable is, but the last flat to sell on this road
went for £800,000.
The flat I'm here to see today had a guide price of 290 grand,
so would you call that a steal? Let's see what you get for that.
'It may seem a lot for a one-bedroom flat, but you do pay a premium for a property like this in London.
'This area has housed some very important people.
'The flat comes with 114 years left on its 125-year lease
'and the way to it is through a bright, but rather cluttered hallway.'
Wow! Now my first impression walking in here is, first of all, that it's terribly grim.
But you have got amazingly high ceilings, views onto the roof terraces,
an old '50s kitchen that looks straight out of a film set,
but some lovely architectural features, deep skirting boards,
and through here another room. It could be the lounge area.
Some good space. I know this flat is 400 square feet and in London it's about price per square foot.
A lot of work needs to be done. You've got a sludgy green ceiling.
It is grim, but do you know what? I love it. And this flat really could be turned around.
'It certainly has potential.
'There's a small, shabby bedroom, but strip the flat to the bone and it's easy to see
'how it could be transformed.'
As you can see, these beautiful sash windows, which I love,
are going to need some attention. But before doing anything, the new owner has to obtain permission
because this is a conservation area.
The Pimlico Conservation area was first designated in 1968,
to protect the 19th-century terraces and squares developed by Sir Thomas Cubitt.
Thomas Cubitt was a prolific builder in London from 1810
until his death in 1855.
He's held in high regard due to his skill and workmanship.
I'm pretty sure it's not Mr Cubitt's fault, but I'm having trouble finding the bathroom!
# Better keep searching Find the place... #
'Surprisingly, the auction catalogue tells me it's on the rear mezzanine level of the communal areas.
Oh, here it is! Not ideal.
It means you've got to run through the communal areas in your towel and shower cap!
And the bathroom needs a lot of work doing to it as well.
What's through here?
You know, I didn't expect this. A balcony! It is rather small,
but any outside space in central London
is a huge bonus. I'm really pleased about this.
'I reckon the new owner will be, too. But not with that bathroom.
'It really does have to go upstairs. I'm sure that with some rejigging
'they'll be able to squeeze in a shower room. The old bathroom could be used as a utility room.
'Bearing in mind the flat was guided at 290,000, let's hear what a local estate agent thinks of it.'
The flat requires complete modernisation. New bathroom, kitchen.
Just completely redoing.
'I second that, but once the kitchen is replaced and the bathroom is relocated,
'how popular would this flat be?'
This would be very easy to market because it's on the first floor, the best floor of any building.
And it's a very desirable one-bedroom flat.
'Let's talk numbers. How much could somebody make here?'
We would expect to achieve somewhere around £1,200 per calendar month.
When renovated, we would expect to put this on the market
There is a strong demand for one-bedroom flats in this area and they do achieve high rents,
but some serious reconfiguring needs to be done before it's ready.
Once the work's been carried out, this could be a good little earner.
Somebody else thought so, too, so let's find out who that was.
Lot 10. First-floor flat. Who wants to start at 250?
250, with you, sitting down. Anyone else?
255. 260. 265.
300? Yeah, 300.
305, with you. New spot. 305.
310. 315. 320.
It's Pimlico! You don't get this stuff. 340?
341? 341? It's a yes or a no.
No? 341 elsewhere? If not, 340 first time. Second time. 341.
343. To you. First time.
Second time. Third and last time. Have you all done?
344 first time. Second time. Third and last time. All done?
344. You got there. Well done.
'That was £54,000 above the guide price
'and the lady who bought the lot was Lucinda.
'She runs a design company and I met her at the flat to find out what plans she has
'for her £344,000 investment.'
-So what brings you to Pimlico?
I know the area quite well. I lived here a couple of years ago.
It's a very good central location and first-floor flats are at a premium.
When we saw it at auction, it was interesting.
-Who were you there with?
-I was there with my mother. We run our family business together.
She's the leader. I say, "Whatever you think!"
We were buying it for our family portfolio, but I also run my own build and design company.
When the family company make purchases, I then refurbish them to the standard I do client work for.
What positive signs do you see? When you walk into a property like this, it's a bit down at heel.
A bit grotty. How can you bring this place back to life?
It's seeing the potential of what is architecturally special
and taking it back to where it was before, to make it feel more loved.
The windows and features are still there. I work on a gut instinct.
We walked in and we saw it and it can be amazing.
'The plan is to take the front partition wall down and create an open-plan kitchen area.
'Lucinda's the right person to see the star potential here.'
# I'm gonna make you a star
# Yeah... #
'The kitchen will become the bedroom and there will be a shower room installed up here.
'The bathroom will become a utility storage room. It all makes sense
'and means Lucinda will have a budget of £15,000-£20,000
'and a realistic timescale of 8-10 weeks for the work.'
Where did you train to do this? Have you been to fashion college?
No, no, I've done it through absolute pure love. I worked for an interior design shop for a long time
and then I started off buying my own flat about four and a half years ago, doing it up, then sold it.
It's continued from there. In 2007 I sold my last development.
At that point, it was a good time to step back.
And I started working for clients. Now we have an industrious company. 25 builders work for me.
And we keep them working for clients.
'Lucinda thinks a project like this should be a walk in the park for her and her team.
'However, this job could throw up one potential problem.'
We need permission to take that wall down. It's not original. We don't own the freehold,
so we would have to get permission. And that takes a bit of time.
It's not difficult to take it down, but it's asking for permission that will be the most frustrating bit.
It could take us four or five weeks, maybe more, to get that.
'That can be a minefield, but once negotiated, Lucinda plans to strip everything back
'to the bone and restore the flat's character, but with a contemporary edge.'
-What are you most excited about?
-Getting the living space opened up again.
When you see those windows next to each other, you get a feel for it.
It's got a nice view. It looks down onto another street, rather than right opposite a house.
-I love this flat and this area. It's going to be an exciting project for you.
Lucinda is focused and she knows exactly what she wants from this.
Obtaining the freehold permission may hold this job up, of course.
Will she complete it all in just 8-10 weeks? And she thinks it'll be a walk in the park!
You can join us later in the programme to find out if it's true.
'Coming up: in Derby, this three-bed house has a garden that could be a mini-farm.'
There's space for chickens, a vegetable plot, whatever you want.
'In Pimlico, London, did Lucinda control the design of this one-bedroom flat?'
I can't resist a few additions!
'But first, in Congleton, Cheshire, have property-developing brothers Jim and Paul succeeded
'in building a new house in this hilly garden?
'In the attractive Cheshire town of Congleton,
'a pretty rare beast came up for auction - a piece of land with outline planning permission.
'Originally the garden of the adjoining house, it had scope to build a four-bed detached house.
'It was snapped up for £177,000 by property developer brothers Jim and Paul.
'They have a very hands-on approach to the projects they choose.'
See it from start to finish. James does the design...
-Well, we both brick it, do everything.
-Roof on, all the bits and pieces.
'Previously, the brothers had worked on the family farm and switched to working on properties
'14 years ago.
'The Congleton plot was to be their 20th new build.
'Well, nearly 18 months later, have they managed to build the house they hoped for?
'Indeed they have! Where once there was a garage and a garden,
'now there stands a house, blending beautifully with the area.
'As Jim is off working on their next development project, it's down to Paul to tell us how this one went.'
It took nearly a year to get the detailed planning...
..basically for a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-storey house,
three bathrooms, detached garage.
'It took nearly four months longer for planning permission than hoped
'and then nearly a year to build after that.
'But now the house is finished with a large downstairs reception room,
'a spacious and fully-fitted modern kitchen
'and the dining area has patio doors that lead out to a sloping garden, which is now looking great
-'thanks to a mother's touch.'
-The hard landscaping was carried out by my brother and myself,
but then Mother does all the inspiration of the planting.
We helped out on Sundays. Just popped along and carried out orders of where to put things.
'Jim and Paul have made the most of the steep garden and maximised the footprint of the house
'by building up rather than out.
'So onto the first floor where there's a master bedroom with en suite.
'Jim and Paul have been canny. The two other bedrooms on this floor have a shared bathroom,
'accessed by two separate doors.
'This is a Jack and Jill bathroom and is a clever use of space.
'On the top floor, the fourth bedroom is also en suite.
'Jim and Paul do the majority of the work and it seems they can turn their hands to almost anything.'
All the groundworks, all the masonry...
finishings... That's apart from plumbing, electrics, decoration.
But everything else. All-rounders.
Well, I must say I'm impressed.
This is not a small house and there was a lot of groundwork needed before they could start to build.
With the quality of finish Jim and Paul demand, it was never going to be cheap.
Taking our labour cost in, about the £200,000 mark and we've stayed within budget as well.
With a £200,000 budget
and a £177,000 purchase price for the plot, plus costs and fees,
they'll have invested around £380,000.
So has their 18 months of hard work paid off?
What do two local estate agents think of the end result?
It's a very attractive house in an attractive setting,
close to the town centre and open countryside.
The house in terms of family accommodation works extremely well over three floors.
I'm pleased with the property.
I'm pleased with the external finish.
It's very in keeping with the surrounding area.
It's got a good period look to it, including the slate roof.
Internally, it's a good finish.
Everything's done in the right colours and has incorporated good materials
like real oak flooring, granite work surfaces and limestone tiling.
Ideally, they'll sell the house, but what kind of rental return could they get
if they don't sell due to the current tougher market?
For rental, I would suggest in the region of £1,000 per calendar month.
I could rent this property for £1,000 per month.
Fine figure, but we won't let it out. It'll be sold one way or another.
Selling is the plan, so how much could they get back
from a house they've invested around 380,000 in?
I would put the property on the market in the region of £375,000.
I could put this property on the market for £385,000.
Not far away from what I was thinking, so I'm not too disappointed.
Whilst there may not be much or indeed any profit for the brothers,
they have both taken a salary for over a year from the project,
but perhaps more importantly, they have a real passion for what they do.
I'm very happy with the product, so... Yeah, a nice way to make a living.
With Paul just putting the finishing touches to their 20th house, it's then straight on to the next one.
This is Chaddesden, a large suburb of Derby,
known by the locals as Chad.
It once formed part of the grounds and parkland belonging to Chaddesden Hall,
but the land was sold to Derby Council over 80 years ago.
They started building in earnest, so most of the houses round here date from the 1930s to 1960s.
70% of the properties in Chad are semi-detached, so it's no surprise that is what I'm here to see.
But right at the side of the property, good news -
a big bit of land currently used as parking, but I could see an extension or a garage there.
The property itself had a guide price of £62,000, ex-local authority, three bedrooms...
I don't know. It looks pretty good. Let's take a look inside.
Most of the front windows already appear to be double-glazed, so that's another bonus.
So what have we got?
Well, through the front door...
That's a strange place for the staircase. It's like you're coming in at the under-stairs cupboard!
The first thing I notice - where's the blooming banister? That needs to be sorted out.
Let's hope it gets better through here. Actually, it does.
The living room area here, a nice size.
It's in a bit of a state and needs a bit of refurbishment for sure.
I'd probably remove the fireplace and put something more modern in.
You've got a single door out on to the garden.
This is the easiest conversion you can do - just take out these two pillars, nothing structural.
Get rid of those, stick a really nice patio door in there. It makes all the difference to this room.
It's solid, it's big. It gets a big tick.
That might be an odd thing to say when you stumble on a kitchen in a pretty bad state,
but I've seen straight away that the potential here is huge.
You've got these silly cupboards.
And this other cupboard here. Knock all these walls out, create a much nicer kitchen.
Spend a couple of grand on a decent replacement kitchen. You're going to transform this house. Fantastic!
# I've got work to do Got so much work, yeah, yeah... #
Off the kitchen are a couple more storage areas housed in an extension on the side of the property,
which, with a bit of work, could be turned into a useful utility area.
Upstairs, the family bathroom needs a complete overhaul
from new flooring and tiles to an updated suite and shower.
The three bedrooms, which include two doubles and a single, also need redecoration,
new flooring and the whole place needs central heating.
From the main bedroom, you get a good view of perhaps the property's best asset.
At the rear of the property, a real surprise -
lots of space to potentially extend both outwards towards the back and also towards the side.
Your decision there will be - is it worth it?
If you had a big family, maybe, but properties in this area will have a ceiling price,
so make sure you don't overspend on that extension.
The other big surprise is the garden is absolutely fantastic.
I mean, space for chickens, a vegetable plot or whatever you want.
If you're living here, that is a bonus.
But if you're thinking about renting this place out, tenants in my experience don't look after gardens,
so you've got yourself a bit of a question.
In fact, a bit of a thorny question.
Basically, will such a large garden prove a benefit or a potential maintenance nightmare?
The auction guide price for this property was 62,000,
so what does the auctioneer who sold it think of it
and what it has to offer?
Essentially, the whole house wants bringing in to the 21st century.
It needs a refit kitchen, bathroom.
It possibly needs wiring. It needs heating looking at, its decoration.
It's really the whole raft of work.
Extending is a tempting option, but would it be worth it?
One of the benefits of this house is it enjoys a large garden,
so there's ample opportunity for extensions - sideways, backwards, whatever.
However, I would say one needs to be careful how far you take this because it will have a ceiling value.
You could make it into a four-bedroomed house with extensions.
You could put conservatories on. The plot will stand it.
The values in the area probably won't.
If the new owners go down the rental route, how much might they expect to make from this property?
If this was renovated and on the rental market,
I would expect it to achieve probably around £525 a calendar month.
What could the re-sale value be?
Once renovated, it would have a value of towards £100,000. It certainly wouldn't be above that.
I suppose on today's market, 95,000 to 98,000, that sort of window.
Well, what you've got here is a real solid little semi.
It needs updating and I'm not sure you'd get your money back if you did an extension.
Let's see who fancied it when it went under the hammer.
A three-bedroomed, semi-detached house
on an extremely large plot.
58 to start me? 58? 58,000, thank you.
59 seated. 59.
63? 63 is bid.
At 63. 64?
At £65,000. I'll take 500 quickly from somebody.
At 65,500. 65-5.
66, sir? 66.
70 and a half. 71.
71 and a half. 72.
72 and a half.
73 and a half.
Third time... He's bought it.
'That successful final bid of £78,500 came from Fred.
'After being made redundant from his job as a quantity surveyor,
'he decided to try his hand at property developing.
'I met Fred and his wife Rachel back at the house to discover why they picked this one.'
-Rachel, Fred, lovely to meet you both. Congratulations.
Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.
-Obviously, we've got some spare cash. I'm no longer working. I was made redundant last year.
And Rachel's got a property that she currently rents out, so it was my turn to buy one and rent one out,
which is the intention with this.
-You're the experienced one of the two?
-I don't think so. One tries.
-What one have you got at the moment?
-It was my house before Fred and I got married. I've rented that out.
-You kept it rather than selling it?
-But what spurred this purchase was you got made redundant.
I applied for 20 or 30 jobs, nothing going. QS, so I know the building...
-Quantity surveyor. So I know the building trade.
We got some cash and rather than putting it in the bank and getting nothing out of it,
-we decided to buy a property.
And obviously let it.
Quantity surveyor, that would be an ideal lot of experience to have to undertake what you're going to do.
Yeah, I know probably what I've got myself into.
# Take a deep breath, pick yourself up
# And start all over again... #
'This isn't Fred's first attempt to buy a property at auction.
'He previously attempted two proxy bids, but those weren't successful.
'However, thankfully, his persistence finally paid off.'
So why this house in particular?
It's local authority, well built.
Obviously, it wants updating, but at least it isn't falling down.
The walls are OK, the roofs are OK. Again, it's central heating, kitchen, bathroom, the usual.
-What was it you liked about it, Rachel?
-I came to see it first and didn't actually get to the auction.
But yeah, there's a lot of potential here.
-That's a bit of a long story. She had gone in for a knee operation.
We'd looked at four at this particular auction.
It was a case of, "See you in the morning in the hospital, dear."
I went out, bought a house, came back and said, "We've got a house."
-You got a new house and a new knee!
-Can't leave him for a minute.
'Rachel will leave Fred to do the bulk of the work
'with contractors brought in to do the gas, plumbing and electrics.
'When she's a bit stronger, she will deal with the decorating and that overgrown garden.'
# I beg your pardon
# I never promised you a rose garden... #
'But they shouldn't have a problem keeping tabs on their prospective tenant.'
-He's my son.
-So he's lucky. He's met a nice, young lady with two children.
-And it's just ideal.
-Will he pay you the market rent?
-We'll give him a slight discount.
But he pays on time or he's out.
So he knows that.
Yeah, it should be good.
We're winners all round. We get him out of our house and we get him into a house of ours and paying rent.
-It's turned out perfect. What budget have you got for the work?
-Between 10,000 and 12,000.
-About the same, between 10 and 12 weeks.
-Then think about re-financing and moving on to the next one.
-Is that the plan?
-That's a possibility.
-Congratulations. We look forward to seeing how you get on and I hope your knee gets better.
Well, it's good to see that after the trauma of redundancy,
Fred has picked himself up and he and Rachel are embarking on a property development career.
A great property to start off with. They can do good things here.
And to cap it all, it's also providing a home for their son.
Find out how they get on later.
The moment of reckoning has arrived.
-So has the gamble of our property buyers paid off or have they backed the wrong horse?
-Let's find out.
Back now to Pimlico, south-west London,
where earlier, this one-bed flat sold at auction for 344,000.
Lucinda bought it for her family's property rental business,
but a lot of work had to be done to make it attractive.
Fortunately, Lucinda had a good idea of how to do that.
Make it feel a bit more loved. The windows and the features are very much still there.
I very much work on a gut instinct. We walked in and saw it and thought it could be amazing.
But to be amazing, it would have to include bringing the bathroom from its current location
out on to the communal landing. No easy task considering the space up here.
The plan was for an eight to ten-week turnaround,
but it was nine months later when we returned to see the final transformation.
With the partition wall gone, Lucinda created a spacious, open-plan kitchen,
taking advantage of those huge, beautifully restored sash windows.
At the back, the former kitchen has now become a compact double bedroom,
decorated in neutral colours.
Let's hear from Lucinda about the changes here.
So this is the original doorway into the flat, and then this is the new doorway that we created.
When you come through the doorway, there's a small entrance hall
with three doors off it - one into the bedroom,
one into the new shower room and one into the kitchen and sitting room that had a partition wall between it.
Lucinda has made this space work by niftily relocating the front door
from the side of the landing to the front and running a new entrance hall through the old bedroom.
Just stealing some space from the living room and bedroom
has helped create a stylish new shower room.
It's 100% more practical now.
And back on the landing.
So this was the old bathroom that was separate from the flat
and now we've turned it into a utility/study area.
The washing machine can go under there, the boiler's in that cupboard
and there's a small desk you could use to work from.
Then out here was the original roof terrace. We've put some pebbles down.
In the summer, you could put a table or some pots and plants outside.
Back inside, from top to bottom, wall to wall,
everything has been rebuilt, rewired and re-plumbed.
New solid wood flooring gives a warm feeling throughout.
Lucinda now has a stylish new flat for her portfolio with no expense spared on the finish.
I think it's very important in terms of look, if you're renting a flat out, to keep it quite neutral,
but the rents are quite expensive round here, so people expect something a little bit different
and I can't resist putting a few additions in,
but equally, it's not where I'm living, so it's important that you keep it very blank canvas,
that people can have their own touches on it.
The bedroom is the most neutral here,
but the rest of the flat more than makes up for it.
Although the renovation didn't cause any problems, it did take time to kick-start the project.
To do all the changes, because it's a leasehold flat, we have to write to the freeholder
and ask to be granted what's called a licence to alter.
That did take some time as you've got to submit the plans,
it goes backwards and forwards and you're dealing with various people,
but we got that eventually and they were quite accommodating.
It just took a bit longer than we might have liked, but these things happen.
As well as a licence for alteration, Lucinda also had to get planning permission for the changes,
then the work had to be checked to comply with building regulations.
This is all time-consuming, which explains why it took nine months to complete this project.
The guys have probably not always been here as much as they should
cos we've had to move them around if we have other maintenance callouts
or if a flat becomes vacant and we want to get a new tenant in there, they go and redecorate,
but labour-wise, it's only taken three months, which I'm pleased with
because when we decided to play around with the layout, it took a bit more work than we anticipated.
But with such a long overrun, the budget only stretched
from the original £15,000 to £20,000 up to £23,000.
£1,000 of that was for the licence for alterations needed to re-jig the layout here.
That takes Lucinda's total outlay to 367,000.
So will this flat recoup that?
To find out, we asked two local estate agents what they thought of the renovation.
My first impression when I came through the door was this is a very contemporary apartment.
It's obviously been very well planned.
The owner has given considerable thought
to the way it all works and comes together.
The property is in exceptional condition. It's light, spacious
and it retains the character of a period conversion.
The fact that we've also got a separate study
or utility leading to a terrace at the back is really wonderful.
Buyers are going to love that.
With Pimlico being a very desirable area, how do the figures stack up?
Remember, Lucinda's total spend on the flat is £367,000,
so what could a re-sale achieve?
I think a suitable re-sale value for this property would be £395,000.
I would say the re-sale value is £400,000.
That's where we thought we would come in, so we'd aim to put it on the market at 400 to 410
with a view to taking 395 to 400, so we're pleased with that.
That could give Lucinda a possible pre-tax profit of between 28,000 and 33,000,
but the aim is long-term for the flat, so how do the rental figures stack up?
I think a suitable rental value for this property would be £1,625 per calendar month.
The rental value per calendar month would be £1,750.
Both those returns would give Lucinda an annual rental yield of between 5 and 6%.
So which is it to be? Re-sale or rental?
We're definitely going to hold on to it for a bit and rent it out and see where we are in a few years.
With such an obvious passion for property and design, what does the future hold for Lucinda?
Keep working in property. I love working for my clients, doing design work and building work for them.
I love working with my family and our family business, so keep on going with those and see what's next.
We return now to Chaddesden, Derby,
where this semi-detached sold at auction for £78,500.
Fred and Rachel hoped this would be the start of a new chapter in their lives
after quantity surveyor Fred was made redundant.
We got some cash and rather than putting it in the bank and getting nothing out of it,
-we decided to buy a property.
And obviously let it.
So, a quantity surveyor, that would be an ideal lot of experience to undertake what you're going to do.
I know probably what I've got myself into.
# Time for a change... #
Well, did they manage to remain so upbeat throughout this renovation?
We're back three months later to see how they got on.
I think it's fair to say this place is looking completely different.
Fred and Rachel have freshened up the living room with neutral colours and a lovely set of patio doors.
Everything in the kitchen needed to be addressed and it certainly has been.
A new fitted kitchen has been installed with just some tiling to do.
The storage area to the side of the kitchen has been spruced up,
ready for use as a great-sized pantry.
The kitchen is completely different.
Round about here, we had an outside...downstairs toilet
and then there was another little room here.
We decided that we'd like to open it up to make the kitchen a good-sized space.
And then in the other room, we've made a utility and it all flows through.
Upstairs, the landing has really benefited from a new carpet and a neutral paint job.
All three of the bedrooms look cleaner and fresher
with a lick of paint and new carpeting.
The bathroom needed some serious TLC and although they're not quite finished yet,
this room in particular took a lot of effort.
When we started to strip it out, the floorboards were rotten
and obviously got to be completely replaced,
so we treated most of the joists, replaced a couple of them and replaced the floorboarding
before we could even start refurbishing the bathroom.
The garden was overgrown and in need of a major clear-out.
Although there is landscaping still to do, all those sheds have been pulled down
which gives a more spacious feel.
When we first came and saw how big the garden was, there was aviaries and sheds,
we thought, "This is going to take quite a long time."
And we decided that we would have a bonfire party.
We invited friends and family to come up.
And they thought they were coming for food and drink
and we ended up knocking all the sheds down.
After we'd done that, we realised that the garden went on at least another five or six foot.
At least Fred and Rachel managed to make a really hard task an enjoyable social occasion,
but the renovation hasn't always been fun.
When we fetched up the carpet, there was another carpet underneath,
then there was lino and then there was a line of nails, then there was another line of nails.
It was literally in every bedroom, down in the living room.
The stairs were dreadful. It was nail after nail after staple,
so yeah, I did get a little bit fed up of those.
It took us the best part of nearly three weeks to strip out what was actually here.
Yeah, that was a bit of a shocker. It was worse than we anticipated, but we're nearly there.
Rachel and Fred originally allocated 10 to 12 weeks to do all the work
and didn't manage to start straight away, but when they eventually got stuck in,
it took eight weeks of hard graft to get the house into its current state.
We literally worked seven days a week, some days up to 12 hours,
so over a period of about eight weeks, I didn't have a day off.
-I've had three or four days off.
-I got fed up of you and told you to have one or two days off.
-So I did.
-So she did.
Fred estimated that their budget for the renovation was 10,000 to 12,000,
so with some finishing and tiling still to do, how much have they spent?
At the end of the day, we've probably spent around 13,500.
The bathroom floor had to be replaced which was an unknown. All the walls have had to be re-plastered.
And some of the original plastic windows that we've retained did need a certain amount of refurbishment,
so we'll go from 12 to 13 and a half.
I think we got away...not light, but not too bad, to be honest.
They paid £78,500 at auction
and spent a further £13,500 on it,
making a total of £92,000 spent so far,
so have they added much value here?
We asked two local property experts for their thoughts.
Second time in, total transformation,
but anything was better than what you had before.
It's looking very good, clean, tidy, refitted and what you'd expect.
First impressions are good.
The owners have spent a lot of time and effort in improving the property
and making it nice and neutral for somebody to move into.
How much could this fetch on the rental market?
The rental value of the property is about £500 a calendar month.
The rental valuation on the property would be £495 per calendar month.
Yes, we're happy with that.
We've got it let at 500, so they're right on the button with that. Really pleased.
By keeping it in the family, as their tenant is Rachel's son,
they can keep a close eye on their investment.
But should they ever decide to sell,
the estate agents reckon a re-sale could fetch between £110,000 and £120,000.
That would mean a possible pre-tax profit of between 18,000 and 28,000 quid.
Pleasantly surprised with that. We thought round about the 110.
But there again, we didn't buy it to make a gain immediately.
We bought it to rent out, so the signs are good there. I'm really pleased with that.
Now that the end's in sight for the renovation,
are Fred and Rachel planning another visit to an auction?
We'd do it again. At times, it's been humorous.
At times, it's been disappointing.
But generally, the experience has been very good and the rewards... Yeah, very positive.
-And the fact that we work together.
Whether you're an old hand at property developing or a novice, join us next time
-for more stories from the auctions.
-We'll see you soon for more Homes Under The Hammer.
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2011
Email [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Cheshire, a one-bedroom flat in south west London and a three-bedroom semi-detached property in Derby. 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.