Episode 46 Homes Under the Hammer


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Episode 46

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a three-bed end-of-terrace in Sheffield, a flat in Bayswater, London, and a property in St Helens, Merseyside.


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Transcript


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Hello. Welcome to the show. There's nothing quite like the thrill of the auction room.

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With those fast-paced bids and pounding hearts, it's electric.

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Join us now on the rollercoaster ride that is buying at auction,

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as we follow three properties that went under the hammer.

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Whether it's a flat in Faversham, a semi in Swindon

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or a bolt-hole in Bolton,

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it's probable you'll find what you're looking for at auction.

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Today we'll meet people hoping to have found their perfect property.

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Here's what tickled their fancy.

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In this Sheffield end-terrace, I get rather carried away with the cladding!

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Moving swiftly on!

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Things are looking up for this one-bed flat in west London.

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Oh, wow!

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What a fantastic full-height ceiling!

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And in snowy St Helens, I reckon this three-bed semi could do with a rethink.

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This bathroom isn't really big enough to have a bath in it!

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All these properties were sold at auction. We find out who bought them and what they paid

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-when they went under the hammer.

-Sold. 371. Well bought.

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Mention Sheffield to most people and they'll think of steel.

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But this city has a lot more to offer than just cutlery.

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Recently, it's undergone a major regeneration

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and there are theatres, two universities and many large shopping centres.

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Beighton in Sheffield is a very desirable place to live.

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Great links into the city centre, a nice residential area. This is what I'm here to see.

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It's a three-bed end-of-terrace which went to auction at a guide price of 60,000.

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From outside, it looks in pretty good order.

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So, what have we got?

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Straight through into, I guess, the living room.

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Love the fake stonework on the chimney breast(!)

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Nice little alcoves. Not a bad sized room. Looking at the floorboards,

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they seem to be in reasonable nick, so get those stripped. Stairs.

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Through to a rear sitting room area.

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Moving swiftly on, more fake "rock".

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Nice sized space, though, doors onto the garden.

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Don't tell anybody!

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Through to the kitchen. Yes.

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It's... Oh, look - fake wood, fake brick!

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Fantastic(!)

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In terms of space, it's not bad. The whole place needs a bit of a re-work!

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Well, quite a bit of work to be done here to make it authentic.

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And whilst it's nice to refer to a kitchen as cracking,

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this isn't exactly what I had in mind.

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The house also benefits from outside space and the back looks in fairly decent nick, too.

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The guttering is intact, and although there are a few cracks,

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they don't look too serious.

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At the rear of the property, a really long, thin garden.

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You might look out and think, "Oh, that's nice."

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But until you read the legal pack, which you must always do,

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you don't realise that you are responsible as a new purchaser,

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for rebuilding this wall which is dividing this property from the garden next door.

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As you can see, it's in a right state.

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It's stipulated that whoever buys this has to repair it and within three months.

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Now, repairs to gardens and garden walls are notoriously expensive.

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So that could be a real shock to your budget.

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Apart from the crumbling wall, the house seems reasonably solid.

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On the first floor is a large master bedroom, a smaller second one

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plus a dated bathroom. And up top,

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there's a decent-sized attic bedroom.

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One additional complication to buying this place

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is that it's an ex council house.

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Any purchaser has to cover the legal and surveyor's costs of the council,

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which add up to nine per cent to the final auction value of the property.

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Time for the expert opinion of a local estate agent.

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Great area. Fantastic local schools round here. Fantastic transport links.

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We've got the Sheffield super-tram, a prime selling feature for a lot of properties.

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A lot of clients are looking for that for links into the city centre.

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That will be a great sales tool for getting the property to move.

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It all looks good so far.

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But is it worth the extra expense of sorting out that dodgy garden wall?

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Once it's done and landscaped, there are families either side,

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so it opens the market from first-time buyer to becoming a family house.

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Good schools in the area, so a nice long garden is a good sales feature for the property.

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OK. Time to cut to the chase.

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How much could this end-of-terrace be worth if someone sorts out the wall and renovates the house?

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Depending on the way the market moves over the next few months,

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but at the present time we'd be looking about 95 to 100 on it.

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Once renovated, would this three-bed house be a solid rental investment?

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The rental market is flying. We're desperate for properties.

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This would rent very quickly once it's done to a good finish. We'd hope to achieve 525 to 550 a month.

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Well, not one for a quick profit, this,

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especially when you factor in doing the works in the garden

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and also pay the costs of the seller.

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Still, it's a solid house in a good location.

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Let's see who fancied it when it went under the hammer.

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Very nice end-terrace house. Stone-fronted end-terrace house.

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Lots of potential offered.

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Start me at 60,000, somebody. £60,000. Do I have 60,000?

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50,000? Somebody start me at 50,000. Thank you. £50,000.

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Do we have 52? Thank you. 52 at the back. 54, sir?

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56?

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58.

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60? At the back of the room it's against you. £58,000. We're looking for 60. Thank you.

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62?

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61, then?

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61. Thank you. 62?

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Thank you.

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63? Thank you. New bidder.

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Sat down at £63,000. Done at the back? We're done there.

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No, he's not. At 64,000.

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65. 66.

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67.

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68?

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At £67,000. For the first time at 67.

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The second time at 67,000.

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The third and last time at £67,000.

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Sold. Well done.

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That successful bid of 67,000 came from Paul.

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He's a dentist who bought this place with his long-time friend,

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also called Paul, a quantity surveyor.

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I caught up with both Pauls back at their new purchase

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to find out whether this project would have them smiling or spitting teeth!

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Paul, Paul, good to meet you.

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-Hello.

-How are you?

-Very well, thank you.

-Good.

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Congratulations. Why did you want to buy this place?

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It's a starter project. We haven't done anything like this before.

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It gave us a chance to get to know whether we could work together

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and we didn't want a simple job, we wanted a challenge.

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That's why we came looking for something like this.

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Whose idea was it to take the move from being friends into business partners?

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I suggested it first, but it's something we've talked about over the years.

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It's taken till now for the circumstances to fit together

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that we'd got the time and the inclination to take it on.

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It's a case of see how it goes and if we're still friends at the end of it.

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And take it from there, really.

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So will the friends be smiling broadly at the end of the renovation?

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As this Paul is a quantity surveyor, he knows all about running a project like this.

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Dentist Paul will be taking a back seat because he's more at home with tooth decay than rotting buildings.

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# You know I can't smile without you. #

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We're doing the planning together, but the actual work and timescales and sub-contractors

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is all Paul's department.

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-Are you happy to hand that over?

-I am indeed. He knows a lot more about it than I do.

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What are you going to do to sort the house out?

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It'll be new kitchen, new bathroom,

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all the walls will be stripped off, get it all replastered.

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New doors, new fittings.

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It really is taking it back to basics. Starting again, really.

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-How much have you set aside to do the work?

-We've set aside £35,000,

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-which hopefully should be easily enough.

-That's a good chunk.

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A good chunk, indeed.

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The boys are putting over eight grand of that into fixing the garden wall.

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That's more than some people's entire renovation budget.

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Bearing in mind the purchase price of 67,000,

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I wonder if there'll be any room left for profit.

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We've not set about it to try and get ourselves into trouble.

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If we break even, we'll be happy because we'll have learnt from the experience.

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If we come in under budget, then fantastic.

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Any surprises in the purchase at all?

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There was the condition that we had to pay the vendor's legal fees, survey fees and searches.

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So that did add about nine per cent to the purchase price.

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-That could catch you out.

-Yes. If you hadn't know about that, it's... Yeah.

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So, on top of the 67,000 that Paul and Paul paid for the end-of-terrace,

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they had to pay an extra £6,000 in fees.

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I do hope they told their wives about all that extra expense!

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We've tried to keep them sort of divorced from it, or we might end up divorced!

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Because, you know,

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they like to...have an opinion!

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-So...

-You're really dancing around the issues, here!

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We are, a bit. We've got to be very careful here!

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Otherwise we might end up living in it!

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In ten or 12 weeks, we might end up living in this place!

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So between you and me, what were the issues? They want to get involved?

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They're concerned about what you're doing?

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-No, they're very supportive of it.

-Yeah.

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It's something we've wanted to do and we've talked about. They consider it our mid-life crisis!

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-They're going to leave us to it!

-Congratulations. Good luck.

-Thank you.

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-We look forward to seeing how it turns out.

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

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So, instead of fast cars or motorbikes,

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Paul and Paul are buying a semi in Sheffield

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to soften the effect of their mid-life crisis!

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You know what, that budget, £8,000 just to sort out the garden,

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that's more than some people would spend sorting the house out as well.

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How are they going to get on? Are they going to spend all that £35,000?

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You can find out later in the show.

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I'm in central London, in Bayswater,

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set between its better-known neighbours Paddington and Notting Hill.

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This really is super-stylish London living.

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As far as houses go, there is nothing quite so grand

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as a row of Regency-style terraces.

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And these do not disappoint.

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Built mid-19th century, they're elegant and bold at the same time,

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with imposing height but delicate ironwork.

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Absolutely beautiful. I love them.

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The property I'm here to see, well, I can't see all of it through this scaffolding,

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and it's sadly not the whole building.

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Although from the guide price of 310,000, you'd be expecting at least a couple of floors.

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But no, sorry to disappoint you.

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It's just a one-bedroom flat!

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The top floor flat is on a 125-year lease.

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Let's hope that when the scaffolding comes off,

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it's every bit as pretty as its neighbours, rather than a renovation nightmare.

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To ensure there are no unforeseen expenses when buying at auction,

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always read the legal pack. If necessary,

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ask questions and get answers before bidding,

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and do check that any work being carried out has already been paid for.

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Inside, the communal area is well-kept and tidy.

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I love these long, curling banisters!

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But what about the flat itself?

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Oh, wow!

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What a fantastic full-height ceiling!

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Look at that lovely brickwork!

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I was not expecting that.

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I know the previous owner got planning permission to have that space

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and I think it's made a huge difference to this room.

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Wow, it's brilliant.

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Now, what is this?

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This is a rather weird space in here.

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I don't think it's a bedroom because it's internal without its own window.

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Now, out here, what a space!

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Look at these beautiful windows with the rooftop views.

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You are a world away from all that crazy madness going on below.

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I've got to say I'm charmed!

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Top-floor flats traditionally have a lower ceiling

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but taking it away to let the sun shine in through the roof windows

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gives this place a more open and spacious feel.

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# Let the sunshine

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# Let the sunshine in

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# The sunshine in. #

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I'm less charmed by the bathroom, with its ramshackle and rusty appearance.

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Could it start a new interior design fad

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for the fashion-conscious folk of London - shabby shabby!

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So this is the kitchen. Of sorts!

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I wouldn't exactly call it fitted. It does need a bit of work.

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And if you did want to go with that whole open-plan thing,

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all you need to do is just pull the blind open!

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And voila! You can see right the way through there!

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So we've seen the bathroom, the lounge, the kitchen.

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Where's the bedroom?

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This is your bedroom. Yes, this!

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It's got a bedroom, but the vendor's plan was to put a mezzanine sleeping area up there

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and have the rest of this space all wonderfully open.

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This kind of living, it's not for everyone. But what's the alternative?

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You could split this room down the middle as it probably once was. Look.

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It would be boxy, you would lose this fantastic openness.

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I've seen a sleeping platform idea in a warehouse before.

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And I think it could work really, really well.

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Unorthodox? Yes.

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Radical? Maybe.

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Exciting? Definitely!

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# Lying there and staring at the ceiling

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# Waiting for a sleepy feeling. #

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While the front may be under wraps,

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at the back there's an open communal garden.

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An oasis of calm in the centre of the city.

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Let's ask a local estate agent for his opinion on this property,

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which had a guide price of 310,000.

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Walking into the flat, my first impression was "Yuk!"

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But having spent a couple of moments looking round it,

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there is huge potential to create something.

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Does the estate agent have any thoughts on creating a mezzanine sleeping area?

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Having looked at the loft space, I don't think it would work very well.

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One, you're cutting into your living area with stairs.

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Two, the construction of the loft means head height would be very restricted.

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If the property was renovated to a high standard,

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and the layout re-jigged to create a one-bedroomed flat,

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what could it be worth if sold on?

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Correctly done, we'd be looking in the high three hundreds.

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375, 385, in that order.

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What about as a rental?

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If this property were to be rented out,

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I'd expect to achieve between 1,500 and £1,600 per calendar month.

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It's not often I view properties in the capital

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quite as central as this.

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Once you get your head around the numbers you're dealing with,

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I reckon there could be some money to be made from this flat.

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Certainly it's an extremely interesting one.

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I wonder who bought this at the auction?

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Who'd like to give me a start on this? OK, we'll start there.

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250 I've got. 255.

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260.

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265.

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270.

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275.

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280.

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285.

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290. 295.

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300.

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305.

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310.

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No? If not, it's 305 by the door.

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OK. 310 on the phone.

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315 by the door.

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320?

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316, yeah? 316.

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317. 318.

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319.

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With two very determined parties,

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the bidding continued at quite a pace.

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We rejoin the auction action at 365,000.

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365.

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366.

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367. 368.

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369.

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370.

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370. 371.

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372. No?

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Back to you, sir. Bid is £371,000. Anybody else?

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If not, 371 for the first.

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371 for the second.

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371 for the third and final time. All done.

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That successful bid of a whopping 371,000 came from laid-back Essex boy Lucas.

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He hadn't even viewed it before the auction!

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Lucas is a property developer who works with his father,

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mainly on large conversions in his native Essex.

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This is their first foray into the London market.

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So, will this capital investment prove successful?

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Or will it be a disappointment?

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'Lucas, congratulations.'

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What an amazing space. I walked in and thought, "Wow! I love this!"

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-Great flat you've got.

-Yes, beautiful, isn't it?

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Tell me about your background. Are you a property developer?

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Yeah, we usually focus more on Grade II listed buildings.

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That kind of thing. Old manor houses, barn conversions and stuff. But I wanted to come to London.

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-It's a stepping stone.

-What is it about London for you?

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I think it's just the buzz of it. It's so happening and lively.

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It's nice to get out of that scene.

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If you're being honest, do you think you bought this property with you in mind?

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Maybe. Maybe.

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It's a central London pad. I'm getting the vibe you want to be out and about.

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It depends. If we can rent it for the right money, we'll do that.

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Otherwise, it's a nice situation and we're going to work here anyway, so we'll do that.

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It seems lad about town Lucas has been attracted by the bright lights of the big city.

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But he's an experienced developer, so although it's not his "manor"

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he has researched the local property market.

0:20:220:20:25

Tell me what you're going to be doing with this. As it stands, there's no bedroom!

0:20:270:20:31

No, I know.

0:20:310:20:33

We're going to reinstate a bedroom here.

0:20:330:20:37

We're going to keep the whole open-plan effect

0:20:370:20:40

by using a flexi glass.

0:20:400:20:42

You press a button and it turns frosted.

0:20:420:20:44

I've seen that and it is amazing.

0:20:440:20:47

So you're going to reinstate this along here

0:20:470:20:50

where it was once partitioned off.

0:20:500:20:52

Which side is going to be the bedroom?

0:20:520:20:54

The bedroom to the right side and the living space here.

0:20:540:20:58

Then it'll run right through to the kitchen and bathroom which will also be glass doors.

0:20:580:21:03

Lucas, a glass bathroom door? Hold on a minute!

0:21:030:21:06

You'll be able to see straight through!

0:21:060:21:09

Yeah, glass in the bathroom, glass in the kitchen, glass here. It all interlinks.

0:21:090:21:13

But you'll be able to see people!

0:21:130:21:15

-A silhouette of people. You won't actually see through.

-I'm not happy with that!

0:21:150:21:20

-You don't have to live here!

-Will people that want to buy this want to see that?

-It'll be beautiful.

0:21:200:21:25

Lucas certainly has faith that his peep-show bathroom

0:21:250:21:29

will attract the right sort of clientele.

0:21:290:21:32

What does he think about a mezzanine sleeping area?

0:21:320:21:35

What about mezzanine levels? What about adding something up here?

0:21:350:21:41

-Like a sleeping area.

-A sleeping area?

0:21:410:21:44

I wouldn't put my dogs on a mezzanine floor, let alone human beings, to be honest!

0:21:440:21:49

-Really?

-No.

-That surprises me. If it's done correctly,

0:21:490:21:53

it does allow you to then have all the floor space as living space.

0:21:530:21:57

-That just will be for sleeping.

-Yeah, but if I would be happy to do that myself,

0:21:570:22:03

and I definitely wouldn't.

0:22:030:22:05

I wouldn't want to scuttle up to a little hole in the ceiling to go to sleep!

0:22:050:22:09

Lucas knows what he likes, and a mezzanine level is not one of them!

0:22:090:22:13

He has an eight-week schedule from when the work commences. What about budget?

0:22:130:22:18

How much is your work going to cost? What sort of budget do you have in mind?

0:22:180:22:24

When we were working it out,

0:22:240:22:26

we budgeted around - for the total works - about 50,000.

0:22:260:22:31

-Just under 50,000.

-50 grand is a big old budget for a one-bed flat.

0:22:310:22:35

-There isn't that much space here.

-No, but in this kind of location,

0:22:350:22:40

with a flat like this, you need to put the highest spec going.

0:22:400:22:43

Else you won't get the right return.

0:22:430:22:46

-You've got full faith in that.

-Definitely.

-I can't wait to see it!

0:22:460:22:50

Thank you.

0:22:500:22:51

Lucas has far from ordinary plans for this unusual flat.

0:22:530:22:57

But while you may be able to see from one room to another with all that glass,

0:22:570:23:02

I'm worried he'll struggle to see a profit.

0:23:020:23:05

Still, if you fancy a peek at a high-spec flat,

0:23:050:23:08

with transparent bathroom doors,

0:23:080:23:11

join me later in the show.

0:23:110:23:12

Coming up: In St Helen's, this semi is showing its age.

0:23:130:23:17

A bit tired, a bit dated, and it needs to be literally updated.

0:23:170:23:22

In Bayswater, Essex lad Lucas

0:23:230:23:26

has been up with the lark to overhaul this flat.

0:23:260:23:29

Getting up at 4.00am is not me. I'm not a morning person!

0:23:290:23:33

But first, in Sheffield, the two Pauls

0:23:340:23:37

found a handy shortcut in their renovation.

0:23:370:23:40

The plaster didn't take much taking off - it fell off!

0:23:400:23:43

It's time to return to Sheffield.

0:23:480:23:50

I saw this lovely-looking three-bed traditional end-of-terrace,

0:23:550:23:59

with the not-so-lovely interior.

0:23:590:24:02

It did have an exceedingly long back garden, though.

0:24:040:24:09

It was purchased by two friends, both called Paul, for 67,000

0:24:100:24:14

plus 6,000 vendor fees.

0:24:140:24:18

They were first-time developers but long-time buddies.

0:24:180:24:21

It seemed as though they both planned to keep their wives at arm's length for this project!

0:24:220:24:28

We've tried to keep them divorced from it, or we might end up divorced!

0:24:280:24:33

This Paul is a quantity surveyor and he was project managing the renovation.

0:24:350:24:40

While this Paul is a dentist who wanted an old wreck to get their teeth stuck into.

0:24:420:24:48

Let's hope they haven't bitten off more than they can chew!

0:24:480:24:52

Five months later, we've returned and it would seem this pair of Pauls' friendship

0:24:540:24:59

has managed to survive the stresses and strains of property renovation.

0:24:590:25:05

Let's take a look inside.

0:25:050:25:07

We did decide very early on in the process that if we were going to do a house in this state

0:25:190:25:24

it had to be down well.

0:25:240:25:26

So neither of us felt we could just patch up as we went along.

0:25:260:25:30

We wanted to strip it back and do the job absolutely perfectly.

0:25:300:25:33

The walls were stripped back to the brick, damp-proofed then plasterboarded and skimmed,

0:25:340:25:39

giving smooth, clean lines.

0:25:390:25:42

The concrete floor in the back reception room was dug out

0:25:420:25:46

and a new wooden floor laid.

0:25:460:25:48

All the plaster came off the walls.

0:25:490:25:52

It didn't take much taking off - it fell off!

0:25:520:25:56

We've really gone through everything, so it's all new.

0:25:560:26:00

The quality craftsmanship of their tradesmen continues in the kitchen.

0:26:020:26:06

We've really taken it back to basics.

0:26:090:26:12

We took all the plaster off the walls, the ceiling down.

0:26:120:26:15

We've taken the existing back door out and infilled that.

0:26:150:26:20

One of the major problems was the floor.

0:26:200:26:23

It was an existing concrete floor and it wasn't very good.

0:26:230:26:27

So we took that out, put a new timber floor in,

0:26:270:26:29

and then once we'd got it back to basics,

0:26:290:26:33

we could put the kitchen in.

0:26:330:26:35

We're really happy with it. We think it looks great.

0:26:350:26:39

In the back garden, the boundary wall was close to collapsing.

0:26:400:26:45

Now cleared of all the outbuildings and debris,

0:26:470:26:50

this garden seems to go on and on.

0:26:500:26:53

It will be a big attraction to a potential purchaser or tenants.

0:26:530:26:57

We're really happy with the way the garden's worked out.

0:26:570:27:01

When we first took the house on we felt intimidated by the length of the garden and the work involved.

0:27:010:27:06

The wall on that side was falling down into the neighbour's garden.

0:27:060:27:10

Then we had the outhouse here which was, again, falling over.

0:27:100:27:14

So a lot of work to be done and we're really pleased with the way it's worked out.

0:27:140:27:19

And on a morning like this, I think it looks fantastic.

0:27:190:27:22

Let's take a look at the once dark and dreary upstairs,

0:27:220:27:26

where there were two bedrooms, a bathroom and an attic conversion.

0:27:260:27:31

The bathroom has been refitted and is looking great.

0:27:350:27:39

Paul and Paul were determined to achieve a high-end finish,

0:27:390:27:43

but has paying so much attention to detail come at a cost?

0:27:430:27:47

The original budget was 35,000.

0:27:470:27:49

We've ended up spending about 32,500 on it.

0:27:490:27:52

We did have to spend more on the floors, taking the floors out.

0:27:520:27:56

But that was offset by the fact we didn't have to rebuild the garden wall

0:27:560:28:00

where we'd expected to have to take the whole wall down.

0:28:000:28:04

Not having to do that has allowed us to come in under budget.

0:28:040:28:07

Under budget they may be,

0:28:070:28:09

but they've gone over their ten-week schedule by two weeks.

0:28:090:28:13

More importantly, are Paul and Paul still best buddies?

0:28:130:28:17

Paul's managed the project and overseen everything.

0:28:170:28:21

We've been absolutely delighted with the way it's gone.

0:28:210:28:24

-We're still speaking!

-Yeah, it's good. Brilliant.

0:28:240:28:28

-And our wives are still speaking to us.

-Yes. Only just, though!

0:28:280:28:32

The pair's total spend on this renovation including purchase price

0:28:320:28:37

is a whopping 105,500.

0:28:370:28:40

I fear they may have hit the ceiling price for houses such as this in this area.

0:28:400:28:45

We have decided we'll probably never make any money out of property

0:28:450:28:49

because we both like to do things absolutely spot on

0:28:490:28:52

and once you start, you can get a bit carried away.

0:28:520:28:56

So the perfectionist Pauls may feel they weren't as financially savvy as they could have been.

0:28:570:29:03

But it's still been a worthwhile exercise and they've done a great job.

0:29:030:29:07

Let's get the opinion of two local estate agents.

0:29:130:29:16

It's a lovely property. Looking from the outside with the double-glazed window, stone-built, it's nice.

0:29:180:29:26

I think they've done an absolutely fantastic job.

0:29:260:29:29

It's a world apart from where it was. The finish is superb.

0:29:290:29:34

Altogether, for the first project, it's a really good job.

0:29:340:29:38

For me, the biggest change is the garden.

0:29:390:29:41

The house looks superb, but the garden is such a dramatic change to what it was.

0:29:410:29:47

It's such a good-sized garden, the position is great,

0:29:470:29:50

with the woodland at the end of the garden, it's a real asset and it makes the property stand out.

0:29:500:29:56

The rental market in the area is strong.

0:29:570:30:00

What do the estate agents believe this property could achieve if let out?

0:30:000:30:04

A property like this, we're looking at renting it out for £550 per calendar month.

0:30:080:30:13

A property for rent in this area of this size and condition,

0:30:130:30:17

we're looking £550 per calendar month.

0:30:170:30:19

Those figures would give Paul and Paul a rental yield of between six and 6.5 per cent,

0:30:190:30:25

which is better than leaving their money in the bank.

0:30:250:30:28

The sell-on market in this area is slow,

0:30:280:30:31

but growing, so what could this place achieve if sold?

0:30:310:30:34

If we put this on the market, we'd be looking on putting it on at £110,000.

0:30:370:30:42

They've done such a good job to the property, the finish is superb. We're looking at £110,000.

0:30:420:30:47

If the house was sold for 110,000, Paul and Paul would make a pre-tax profit

0:30:510:30:57

of just under five grand, minus the usual selling expenses and fees.

0:30:570:31:02

'We've no plans to sell the property, and with the market as it is,'

0:31:040:31:09

I think it's going to be a long-term rental.

0:31:090:31:11

So 110,000 would cover what we've invested in it.

0:31:110:31:15

This renovation has been an invaluable learning experience.

0:31:180:31:22

I'm sure it will be a good long-term investment

0:31:220:31:24

and Paul and Paul can take the lessons learnt onto their next project.

0:31:240:31:28

I think we'd definitely do it again. It's been a good experience.

0:31:310:31:35

You have to go through some pain, but it's worth it.

0:31:350:31:37

It's been a learning curve, quite a steep one, sometimes,

0:31:370:31:42

but it's not been too terrifying and we've enjoyed it and we're still speaking!

0:31:420:31:46

It's good.

0:31:460:31:47

I'm in the former mining area of St Helen's.

0:31:510:31:56

The last mine here closed in the early 1990s.

0:31:560:32:00

But they're not looking to the past, here.

0:32:000:32:03

They're looking very much to the future,

0:32:030:32:06

an attitude epitomised so beautifully in this incredible sculpture

0:32:060:32:11

called Dream.

0:32:110:32:12

This incredible and imposing artwork

0:32:170:32:21

took 120 days to sculpt

0:32:210:32:23

and stands more than 20 feet tall.

0:32:230:32:26

It was commissioned by ex-miners who, far from wanting a mining monument,

0:32:290:32:35

wanted a symbol of both mining heritage and post-industrial transformation,

0:32:350:32:41

moving forward.

0:32:410:32:44

Located midway between Manchester and Liverpool,

0:32:450:32:48

St Helens is a large metropolitan town currently going through significant regeneration.

0:32:480:32:54

So, lots of good things going on in the area.

0:32:560:32:59

Will the property I'm here to see be a dream or a bit of a nightmare?

0:32:590:33:03

It's a three-bed semi-detached. A guide price of 75 to 80,000 quid.

0:33:030:33:07

Nice big garden, nice big corner plot. Let's take a look inside.

0:33:070:33:12

The houses in this area were built in the 1930s

0:33:120:33:16

and are popular with first-time buyers and families.

0:33:160:33:19

What's on offer? A traditional layout, front door,

0:33:220:33:25

stairs facing you up to the bedrooms.

0:33:250:33:29

Into your main living room area.

0:33:290:33:31

Straightaway you can see it's a bit tired and dated.

0:33:310:33:35

It needs to be updated.

0:33:350:33:36

Different wallpaper and so on.

0:33:360:33:39

Then through into what I guess is the dining room area, and off that

0:33:390:33:43

something which is an issue, the kitchen.

0:33:430:33:45

It's not big and if you want this to be a family home,

0:33:450:33:49

I'd try to enhance that by maybe taking out this wall here

0:33:490:33:53

to create a kitchen/ dining room/ family area. That's what this house needs.

0:33:530:33:58

But one good bit of news, patio doors out onto the garden.

0:33:580:34:02

All in all, not bad, is it?

0:34:020:34:04

The back garden is smaller than I expected

0:34:060:34:09

which could put off potential purchasers looking for a family home.

0:34:090:34:13

But I wonder if there's just enough space to extend the kitchen?

0:34:130:34:17

Let's take a look up top.

0:34:190:34:21

So, upstairs and small third bedroom.

0:34:240:34:28

Medium-sized second bedroom, but here's another key room that is way too small - the bathroom.

0:34:280:34:34

The kitchen is too small, this bathroom isn't big enough to have a bath in it.

0:34:340:34:40

So you'd have to spend some money sorting the kitchen and bathroom out.

0:34:400:34:44

But I think you'd recoup any money you put to those rooms

0:34:440:34:48

definitely in terms of sale potential, et cetera.

0:34:480:34:52

In here, the main bedroom. Nice to have the open fire.

0:34:520:34:56

Big windows. Nothing to dislike in here. Just that kitchen and bathroom!

0:34:560:35:00

This property could be a lovely family home.

0:35:020:35:05

The kitchen could be enlarged by adding an extension.

0:35:070:35:11

But the bathroom, or shower room, as it currently is,

0:35:130:35:16

just won't cut it as a family-friendly bathroom.

0:35:160:35:19

We asked a local estate agent for his opinion on this place

0:35:220:35:26

which had a guide price of 75 to 80,000 quid.

0:35:260:35:29

The pros and the cons for the property are

0:35:320:35:36

it's a potentially good family home. Its corner position.

0:35:360:35:40

Off-road parking. Quite a good area. Sought-after area.

0:35:400:35:43

The cons are the small kitchen, small shower room,

0:35:450:35:49

and certain elements of the wiring.

0:35:490:35:52

Any solutions to these layout issues?

0:35:530:35:56

The kitchen, you have two alternatives.

0:35:560:35:59

Either knock the wall out and make it a kitchen/diner

0:35:590:36:02

or you could extend slightly sideways,

0:36:020:36:05

to make it a decent-sized kitchen and keep the two reception rooms.

0:36:050:36:10

The shower room, you've got room to move into the main bedroom

0:36:100:36:14

to make it into a full family bathroom

0:36:140:36:17

because the bedroom is big enough to take a loss.

0:36:170:36:20

If the kitchen was extended and the shower room expanded into the main bedroom,

0:36:220:36:26

what could this property achieve if sold on?

0:36:260:36:29

Once all the work's completed,

0:36:290:36:33

to a high standard,

0:36:330:36:35

between 105 and £110,000.

0:36:350:36:39

How's the local rental market?

0:36:400:36:42

It's quite a good market for rental.

0:36:420:36:46

Rental properties of good calibre internally

0:36:460:36:51

do not take long to rent out at all.

0:36:510:36:53

When the property is renovated and work in the bathroom and kitchen is complete,

0:36:540:36:59

how much could it rent out for?

0:36:590:37:01

Rental value would be between 500 and £525 per calendar month.

0:37:010:37:06

So a nice enough little house with a pretty decent guide price.

0:37:110:37:15

A starter home, a family home, an investment property. It fits all the bills.

0:37:150:37:20

So who bought it when it went under the hammer?

0:37:200:37:23

This auction lot came up fairly late in the day

0:37:260:37:28

which explains why the room was on the quiet side.

0:37:280:37:32

The guide is 75 to 80. Start me at 60,000?

0:37:320:37:35

Anybody bidding in the room over 60?

0:37:350:37:38

Was that 50? I'll take £50,000 as an opening bid.

0:37:380:37:41

51 at the table. You're just in my sight there. At 51.

0:37:410:37:45

52.

0:37:450:37:47

53. 54.

0:37:470:37:49

55. 56.

0:37:490:37:51

It's £57,000 at the table.

0:37:510:37:54

58.

0:37:540:37:55

59. It'll be 60. Got £60,000.

0:37:550:37:58

Need 61. Taking 61.

0:37:580:37:59

61. 62.

0:37:590:38:02

63.

0:38:020:38:03

63. Go to 64?

0:38:030:38:05

64. Go 65, sir? Taking £65,000 seated at the table.

0:38:050:38:09

£65,000. What about the phone?

0:38:090:38:12

Out?

0:38:120:38:14

£65,000.

0:38:140:38:15

Are we done?

0:38:150:38:17

And it was Tony who came in with the successful bid of 65,000.

0:38:180:38:24

He's a local builder who has a little history with this house,

0:38:290:38:33

having had a bid rejected when it was up for sale through an estate agent.

0:38:330:38:37

-Tony, lovely to meet you.

-Likewise.

-Congratulations. Why did you want to buy this?

0:38:420:38:46

Well, my mother-in-law lives up the road, and I'm quite familiar with the area.

0:38:460:38:52

We saw this come on the market and we were interested.

0:38:520:38:55

We made an offer and the offer was rejected.

0:38:550:38:57

-What was the offer?

-We offered £70,000.

0:38:570:39:00

You must be happy, then?

0:39:000:39:02

Well, very happy, yeah.

0:39:020:39:05

-Saving yourself 5,000.

-Which will go towards the renovation

0:39:070:39:10

-and a little extension we're hoping to put on the side.

-Right.

0:39:100:39:15

As you've probably seen, the kitchen is a bit too small.

0:39:150:39:18

When we came to look at the property, the options were either to put an extension on

0:39:180:39:24

or to knock the dividing wall between the kitchen and the back living room

0:39:240:39:29

and make a kitchen/diner.

0:39:290:39:32

So we approached the planning department. We thought we might get permitted development

0:39:320:39:37

to just go ahead and do it.

0:39:370:39:39

But apparently with the extension, the projection of it going towards the highway,

0:39:390:39:44

they said we'd need full planning application for it.

0:39:440:39:49

So that's where we are.

0:39:490:39:51

The size of the extension is within permitted development rules.

0:39:550:40:00

However, because Tony's building it facing onto the road,

0:40:000:40:03

at the side of the house rather than the back,

0:40:030:40:06

he will need planning permission.

0:40:060:40:08

What about the bathroom upstairs? It's tiny.

0:40:080:40:11

Yeah, I'm a great believer in having a bath in a bathroom,

0:40:110:40:15

which isn't possible with the size it is at present.

0:40:150:40:19

So we've drawn up plans

0:40:190:40:22

to take the wall down between the bathroom and the front bedroom

0:40:220:40:26

and take 18 inches to two feet off the bedroom

0:40:260:40:32

and make a reasonable sized bathroom.

0:40:320:40:35

-Whoa.

-Again, we've got to find out whether the wall is a structural wall

0:40:350:40:39

because it could be holding up one of the purlins that supports the roof.

0:40:390:40:43

So until we get to that point, we'll know what we've got to do.

0:40:430:40:47

Tony has bought this as a long-term rental property.

0:40:490:40:53

He plans to fit the renovation around his other building contracts

0:40:530:40:57

so there's no fixed schedule here.

0:40:570:40:59

He's set aside a budget of between seven and £10,000 to do the work.

0:40:590:41:04

-Tell me a bit more about you.

-Born and bred in St Helens.

0:41:040:41:08

-I worked down the mines.

-You did?

-I was a coalface electrician

0:41:080:41:13

for 15 years. On two strikes!

0:41:130:41:17

And during the last strike I decided that it was imminent that the pit was going to shut

0:41:170:41:23

so with being an electrician, I started fishing for work.

0:41:230:41:27

I got in with three local builders

0:41:270:41:30

at the time and thought I could do as good if not better a job

0:41:300:41:35

and went into the building game.

0:41:350:41:37

Which I've been doing now for 20-odd years.

0:41:370:41:40

Gosh. What was it like down the mines as an electrician?

0:41:400:41:43

It's a part of my life I'd never change.

0:41:430:41:45

It was the best 14 or 15 years of my life.

0:41:450:41:48

I'll never forget the times I had. A really good atmosphere and camaraderie.

0:41:480:41:54

Tony clearly has fond memories of working down the pit.

0:41:550:41:59

He's seen it all, having endured the strikes of the time.

0:41:590:42:03

His second career as a builder hasn't been without its trials and tribulations,

0:42:030:42:08

with the last recession in the early '90s hitting him hard.

0:42:080:42:13

We nearly lost everything because I was building houses, just around the corner,

0:42:130:42:18

four detached houses.

0:42:180:42:20

And just as they were coming on the market,

0:42:200:42:23

the recession hit us so nobody wanted to buy.

0:42:230:42:27

So then the banks actually pushed me into a corner

0:42:270:42:31

and I nearly lost everything at that time.

0:42:310:42:34

So, again, it's made me a wiser person where property is concerned.

0:42:340:42:39

It's a case of not risking everything

0:42:390:42:42

but just going with what you can afford and not pushing too much.

0:42:420:42:48

-It hasn't put you off but it's made you more cautious.

-It has, yes. Very cautious.

0:42:480:42:53

I'll never risk my home again, which I did at the time.

0:42:530:42:57

I could have lost everything.

0:42:570:42:59

But it made me, like you say, a wiser person where this kind of work is concerned.

0:42:590:43:05

-Great. Congratulations.

-Thank you.

-Good luck. I look forward to seeing how you get on.

-Thank you.

0:43:050:43:11

So, will former coalface electrician Tony

0:43:120:43:17

turn this place into a gold mine or not?

0:43:170:43:20

It's a lot of effort to get that extension on with no guarantee it'll go through planning.

0:43:200:43:26

But you can find out if he turns his dream into a reality

0:43:260:43:30

later in the show.

0:43:300:43:32

When we left our auction aficionados

0:43:340:43:37

they had their fingers crossed and high hopes of success.

0:43:370:43:41

-Have the purchasers been having sleepless nights?

-Let's find out.

0:43:410:43:45

Let's return to the central London area of Bayswater.

0:43:460:43:49

I met developer Lucas who'd travelled from Essex to the bright lights of the big city

0:43:530:43:58

to get involved in the London property market.

0:43:580:44:01

He'd purchased a top-floor one-bed flat in this Regency-style terrace

0:44:030:44:08

for 371,000.

0:44:080:44:11

Lucas was intent on transforming the flat from shabby chic to uber-trendy,

0:44:120:44:18

although I wasn't so sure about his plans for a peep-show bathroom.

0:44:180:44:23

The living space here, then it'll run through to the kitchen and bathroom

0:44:230:44:27

which will also be glass doors.

0:44:270:44:29

Lucas, a glass bathroom door?! Hold on a minute!

0:44:290:44:32

You'll be able to see straight through!

0:44:320:44:35

I can't wait to see if Lucas has transformed this flat from filthy

0:44:350:44:39

to fantastic!

0:44:390:44:40

Four months later, we've come back to see what he's done.

0:44:400:44:44

The scaffolding is down and the exterior looks great.

0:44:440:44:48

But has Lucas managed to match this with his work on the interior?

0:44:480:44:53

Well, it's looking fantastic, Lucas!

0:44:590:45:01

You've certainly succeeded in impressing me!

0:45:010:45:04

The first thing we did was take all the ceilings down. That was a major bit.

0:45:070:45:11

After we'd ripped everything out, we looked at loads of ways to lay out the room

0:45:110:45:16

but this was the best way to maximise the space.

0:45:160:45:19

And despite Lucas being dead set against it,

0:45:190:45:23

what is this I spy?

0:45:230:45:24

A mezzanine floor?

0:45:240:45:26

It's classed as storage, but because of the roof light

0:45:290:45:33

and the staircase, it's quite a cosy little spot. So it's also an extra bit of living space.

0:45:330:45:38

It's not as roomy as I imagined, but it's snug.

0:45:390:45:43

I do like the stylish design of the space-saver staircase

0:45:430:45:46

and the steel support beams have been encased in oak.

0:45:460:45:51

However, I'm disappointed that Lucas's plan

0:45:530:45:56

for a push-button frosted glass panel wall between the living room and bedroom

0:45:560:46:00

never came to fruition.

0:46:000:46:03

I had an interior designer look at the flat.

0:46:030:46:05

She thought we should just put a sliding door for space

0:46:050:46:09

and, to be fair, it worked out better.

0:46:090:46:12

Not only look-wise, but also financially, too.

0:46:120:46:15

Lucas had under-floor heating installed, which will keep your tootsies toasty.

0:46:160:46:21

His team of tradesmen have completed the work to an excellent standard.

0:46:230:46:27

Let's take a look in the kitchen.

0:46:270:46:29

I worked with a designer on the kitchen so we could maximise the space

0:46:380:46:42

to utilise everything in the best way.

0:46:420:46:44

So we came up with integrating the washing machine, dishwasher, all into the actual worktop,

0:46:440:46:50

underneath this granite.

0:46:500:46:52

Compact it may be, but it's certainly chic and sleek.

0:46:530:46:57

I'm sure Lucas won't let me down when it comes to the bathroom.

0:46:590:47:02

To think only a short while ago, this flat had a bucket for a sink!

0:47:090:47:15

And what about the bathroom door?

0:47:150:47:17

Well, he's gone with glass. A little too revealing for me, I'm afraid, Lucas!

0:47:170:47:22

The transformation was completed in only two months, bang on schedule and under budget.

0:47:250:47:31

The renovation cost 35,000, rather than the 50 grand Lucas had set aside.

0:47:310:47:36

Of course, he has also benefitted from the exterior's rejuvenation

0:47:390:47:43

which was paid for and begun before he purchased this property.

0:47:430:47:46

We didn't mean to, but we timed it perfectly, really.

0:47:480:47:51

We started the flat as they were renovating the outside of the building and repainting it.

0:47:510:47:56

One troublesome aspect has been the commute for Lucas and his team of tradesmen

0:47:570:48:01

from their Essex base.

0:48:010:48:03

We've been coming up here at four in the morning, feeling sorry for the neighbours,

0:48:030:48:09

but to avoid the traffic from Essex to get here. It's been quite a slog.

0:48:090:48:13

Getting up at 4.00am is not me. I'm not a morning person!

0:48:130:48:17

Have the early rises put Lucas off further property purchases in London?

0:48:170:48:22

I'd definitely work again in London.

0:48:220:48:25

If I found the right place again, 100 per cent.

0:48:250:48:27

Lucas's total spend on this development

0:48:290:48:32

was 406,000.

0:48:320:48:34

We asked two local estate agents to cast their eyes over the finished product.

0:48:370:48:43

Walking in, I'm thinking, "Wow, what a transformation!"

0:48:430:48:47

You walk in and it hits you as something that's modern,

0:48:470:48:50

it feels light and spacious and has that "wow-ness" about it

0:48:500:48:54

which is well appreciated in this area.

0:48:540:48:57

I think it's been refurbished exceptionally well.

0:48:570:49:00

They've take the basics of the flat and enhanced it with the finish

0:49:000:49:04

and the fittings they've put in with the wood floors, the kitchen and bathroom.

0:49:040:49:08

The layout is logical. Due to the size of the property, you don't have a huge choice of layout.

0:49:080:49:14

He's used the space supremely well.

0:49:140:49:16

Keeping in mind Lucas's spend on the purchase

0:49:180:49:22

plus the renovation, totalling £406,000,

0:49:220:49:26

how much could it sell for now?

0:49:260:49:28

I think the resale value of the property is between 450 and £475,000.

0:49:280:49:34

When the property comes to the market, I'd expect it to achieve in the region of 475 to 500,000.

0:49:340:49:41

That's what I expected really.

0:49:410:49:43

Well, he seems happy with that.

0:49:430:49:45

If Lucas were to sell up now, he could be looking at a pre-tax profit

0:49:450:49:49

of anything between 44 and £94,000, minus selling expenses.

0:49:490:49:55

But that was never the plan. How will he fare if he goes with his gut

0:49:550:49:58

and takes the rental option?

0:49:580:50:01

I'd expect the property to achieve a rental income of £2,200 per month.

0:50:010:50:07

I think the rental value of this property is between

0:50:070:50:10

1,950 and £2,250 per calendar month.

0:50:100:50:15

That upper valuation of £2,250 per month would give Lucas a healthy yield

0:50:150:50:21

of just over 6.5 per cent.

0:50:210:50:23

The work he's done here is amazing,

0:50:230:50:26

especially for the first dip of his toe into the London market. Will he go back to an auction for more?

0:50:260:50:32

There's a few auctions we're looking at which we'll be heading back to.

0:50:320:50:36

So it seems as though London will definitely be calling again soon

0:50:360:50:40

for Lucas.

0:50:400:50:42

Let's return to this three-bedroomed house in St Helens, Merseyside.

0:50:450:50:51

While cosmetically outdated, the property was structurally sound.

0:50:510:50:57

But the teeny-tiny kitchen and pokey little shower room

0:50:590:51:02

could limit the value of the house

0:51:020:51:04

in an area that's popular with families.

0:51:040:51:07

It was purchased at auction by builder and property developer Tony for 65,000.

0:51:090:51:15

He believed he'd bagged a bargain as he'd offered to buy it previously

0:51:150:51:20

when it was up for sale through an estate agent.

0:51:200:51:23

-We made an offer which was rejected.

-What was the offer?

-£70,000.

0:51:240:51:29

-Right. You must be happy, then?

-Well, very happy, yeah!

0:51:290:51:35

Well, straight out of the starting gate, that's a £5,000 saving by purchasing at auction.

0:51:350:51:41

To transform the cramped kitchen,

0:51:440:51:47

Tony planned to build an extension. But he would need planning permission because it faced the road

0:51:470:51:52

so it fell outside permitted development rules.

0:51:520:51:55

Well, three months later, we're back.

0:51:580:52:00

It would appear Tony has been successful with his planning application.

0:52:000:52:05

Let's take a peek inside.

0:52:060:52:08

As you can see in here, even though we've only doubled the size of the kitchen,

0:52:110:52:18

it looks treble the size.

0:52:180:52:20

The way the kitchen was before, it might have been modern units,

0:52:200:52:23

but you couldn't swing a cat in it.

0:52:230:52:25

We put brand new kitchen units in, new hob, hood and oven.

0:52:250:52:31

A tiled floor,

0:52:310:52:33

down-lighters, and it is a brand-new kitchen.

0:52:330:52:38

It's very pleasing.

0:52:380:52:40

The extension has enlarged the floor space

0:52:420:52:45

and with a dining area alongside,

0:52:450:52:47

Tony has created a family-friendly living and dining area.

0:52:470:52:51

In the front reception room, he's stripped the wallpaper,

0:52:510:52:55

replastered the walls and applied two-tone decoration in a modern style.

0:52:550:53:00

He's been working on this project between building contracts.

0:53:020:53:05

In the past four months, he's spent a total of ten weeks on the renovation

0:53:050:53:09

with only a few finishing touches left to do.

0:53:090:53:12

I didn't really do anything for the first month or two

0:53:120:53:16

because I've had other commitments with my work.

0:53:160:53:18

So it was the odd Saturday that we came in doing bits and pieces.

0:53:180:53:23

But we started properly when my last job finished.

0:53:230:53:28

But we've been very busy. We've damp-coursed the full property.

0:53:280:53:32

I've rewired the property.

0:53:320:53:35

So really it's been a full project.

0:53:350:53:37

Tony needed to enlarge the shower room to create a family-sized bathroom

0:53:370:53:43

so he planned to grab space from the master bedroom.

0:53:430:53:46

We decided originally that we couldn't get a bath into the bathroom.

0:53:520:53:57

Only a shower was in here when we bought it.

0:53:570:53:59

But as you see, we've taken part of the main bedroom off, about two feet, if that.

0:53:590:54:06

But it's allowed us to put a bath in, a shower in, and it's opened up the bathroom completely.

0:54:060:54:12

I'm very pleased with the way it's turned out.

0:54:120:54:14

It's smashing. Yes, very pleased with it.

0:54:140:54:18

So quality craftsmanship in the bathroom. Although the master bedroom is smaller,

0:54:220:54:28

I reckon it was a sacrifice worth making.

0:54:280:54:30

Decoration-wise, the bedrooms have been given a fresh coat of paint

0:54:330:54:37

which is all they needed.

0:54:370:54:39

After all, Tony did have quite a tight budget here.

0:54:390:54:43

Original budget, I think I said between seven and £10,000.

0:54:440:54:48

And I've virtually fallen in line with the 10,000.

0:54:490:54:54

It's thereabouts. Maybe a bit under, a bit over.

0:54:540:54:57

Tony's total spend on this property, including his purchase price,

0:54:570:55:01

is 75,000.

0:55:010:55:04

The good news is that he's already let it out.

0:55:040:55:07

Let's ask two local estate agents, including the one who viewed it previously,

0:55:100:55:14

for their opinions and to find out how much rent Tony is charging.

0:55:140:55:19

It's been modified mainly as I recommended, really.

0:55:190:55:24

The decoration is OK. It's good for tenanting purposes.

0:55:250:55:31

I'd say he's done quite a good job with the property.

0:55:310:55:33

It's great. I like what they've done with the kitchen.

0:55:330:55:37

That will appeal to the family market. It's a good-sized plot

0:55:370:55:40

on the corner of the road. It's an ideal family home.

0:55:400:55:44

What could this property achieve if sold?

0:55:460:55:48

There have been several transactions round here, up to a sale price of £106,000.

0:55:500:55:55

That would be a maximum resale value for this property as well.

0:55:550:55:59

In today's sales market I would be confident in selling this property for 130,000.

0:55:590:56:04

Quite a difference in valuations.

0:56:060:56:08

Those figures would give Tony a pre-tax profit

0:56:080:56:11

of between 31 and £55,000.

0:56:110:56:14

He has already let this house out.

0:56:140:56:16

But let's hear what it might have achieved on the rental market.

0:56:160:56:20

In today's market, I would expect this to command about £600 per calendar month.

0:56:220:56:28

Properties in this area are between 500 and 550 per calendar month.

0:56:280:56:35

Tony has rented the house out for £520 a month, and he's quite happy with that.

0:56:370:56:42

So, would he go to another auction soon?

0:56:420:56:45

I think I've done enough now

0:56:450:56:47

and I'm turning grey as well, so I think that's it for me now!

0:56:470:56:51

That's it for today's show. Join us again for more thrilling auction action.

0:56:540:56:58

-See you soon!

-Bye!

-Bye!

0:56:580:57:00

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:210:57:24

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a three-bed end-of-terrace in Sheffield, a flat in Bayswater, London, and a property in St Helens, Merseyside. 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.