Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Cornwall, a small property in Hertfordshire and a terraced house in Plymouth.
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Property continues to fascinate people despite the current downturn.
In fact, the market being less bullish means there are bargains out there.
Buying at the right price is vital if you want to see any profit at the end of the day.
And going to the auction is a great way to do that.
-The three properties on today's show are very different.
-But the one thing they have in common
is that the new owners hope they'll be making some money. Let's see what they bought.
'There's love in the air in Cornwall, but you'd better careful.'
This is definitely a property where you must not let your heart rule your head.
'There's one of the smallest properties I've ever seen in Hertfordshire.'
So, let's take a little look around.
There you go. I've done it.
'And I visit a terraced house in Plymouth which is frankly a little confusing.'
This is really, really odd.
'All these properties were sold at auction. We find out who bought them
-'and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.'
-Sir, well done.
'On the outskirts of St Austell, Cornwall, is the pretty village of Bugle.
'That's where today's search has brought me, to an apparently quintessentially Cornish property
'on a fairly busy road.'
Sounded pretty extraordinary in the catalogue.
Two-bedroomed character cottage.
Guide price, £90,000.
And how about that?
'From the outside, it certainly is "whoo-hoo". Picturesque would be one way to describe it.'
You never know with cottages like this whether they're going to be cutesy-wutesy or small and dingy.
In this case, I have to say, it doesn't look quite as big inside as it does from the outside.
Living room with the real fire, then over into this room, which is the main other room downstairs.
Nice to see this. I mean, OK, it's starting to teeter towards cutesy-wutesy.
An old range here. Look at this.
-Whistling kettle. Absolutely fantastic.
-Not very practical but, hey, who cares?
I guess that... I'll just check. Yeah, that is a solid fuel range,
so my guess is, no central heating. Low-ish ceiling.
But strip those beams back, that would be quite nice. Through into the kitchen.
Surprisingly, compared to the rest of the house, this isn't a bad size.
That's because it's built into a bit of an extension.
Not an idea shape, though. And then it gets a little bit worse,
because the only loo in the house is through the kitchen.
So, all in all, it needs reworking, but you haven't got a lot of options in terms of how to rework it.
'But that doesn't have to be negative,
'because there's enough character in here to forgive a multitude of shortcomings.'
So, fairly traditional layout up here. You've got a bedroom over that side.
It's kind of small, it's kind of cute, but it's a cottage. Another one over this side.
Nice floorboards. I'd like to see those stripped back. And these charming little features.
The deep recessed windows. It's a little old cottage, for goodness sake.
Practically, though, you've got that loo downstairs.
Obviously, in an ideal world, you'd want to move that upstairs.
There is a bit of space here. You could possibly contemplate doing something.
I'm not so sure. And is it worth it? It depends how much time you're going to spend here, I guess.
'Is it really worth spending lots of cash just to spend a penny upstairs?
'The new owners would have to decide if they want to pay thousands of pounds just to spend that penny.
'There are two sizeable bedrooms at the moment, and I'd be tempted to leave things as they are.'
One of the big issues with this property becomes apparent when you come out to the front again,
because this area to the side of the property is the only access you've got for a car for the cottage.
And it gets worse, because at the back of the property is another separate property.
And this is shared access to that property, as well.
So, one thing's for certain, before you buy this, you must make sure that you read the legal pack
and that your solicitor checks out exactly who owns and has rights to what.
'That shared access with the salmon-pink property at the back of this house could be a problem.
'What can a local estate agent tell me
'about this lovely little cottage?'
It's a very pretty typical Cornish cottage. It just needs general tidying up, really.
Obviously, redecorating, some new floor coverings,
perhaps changing the kitchen, bathroom, and maybe the layout.
'If the cottage was renovated and brought up to modern standards,
'what could it fetch if sold?'
I would anticipate this going onto the market for £145,000.
'What could it rent for once renovated?'
For rental, we could achieve around £600 per calendar month.
Well, it's certainly cute, but this is definitely a property
where you must not let your heart rule your head.
There are some serious issues, not least the access, noise from the road
and, practically, by the time you get furniture in there,
it is going to be pretty small. Still, I'm sure that somebody will have fallen in love with it
and bought it at the auction. Let's find out who it was.
Two bedrooms, good dimensions,
two reception rooms. It's a nice cottage.
Who's going to say 100? Nice and simple?
90, then. Guide price.
At 90. Thank you, 90. Knew I was serious.
It's not yours any more. 1. 91.
94. 95. 96, then. OK, 96.
And a half. 99.
And a half. 99 and a half. At 99 and a half.
At 99 and a half for lot three.
At 99 and a half once. At 99 and a half twice.
New face says 100. At 100 for the first time.
For the second time.
For the third and last time, make no mistake. All done? Last chance.
Sell at 100. Sir, well done.
'With their bid of £100,000, the new owners of the cottage are Gwen and Arthur.
'They look pretty pleased and pretty surprised to have got it.'
# Surprise, surprise, surprise
'They're a retired couple from Cheshire, and I met them back at their very picturesque new cottage
'to find out their plans.'
-Arthur, Gwen, lovely to meet you both. Congratulations.
-BOTH: Thank you.
-Why did you choose this particular little place?
-Well, there's a story.
-We didn't come to the auction to buy this property.
We did everything by the book, we did all the legal packs for about three properties.
-Did the viewings.
-And they went first. We got outbid.
-And then this came up.
-We only put the one bid in.
We play a little bit of a game that when we look at the photographs and details in the auction,
-we put our own value on it.
-And say, "That's the target. We'll not go above that."
And for this one, we got it for exactly what we had decided was our limit.
When it went to our price, he just shot his hand up and that was it!
And we had two sleepless nights when we bought it.
-We were worried to death, cos it wasn't what we thought, we hadn't seen it.
Very uncertain whether we'd done the right thing.
Cos, obviously, we hadn't followed the usual pattern of making sure that you view it,
your advice, and others', look at the legal pack,
which we hadn't done either for this particular property.
We'd spent hours and hours looking at all the other details!
'A warning to all potential buyers. Don't do what Gwen and Arthur did,
'which is buy a house without seeing it first.
'They didn't even know where it was!'
-We drove to where we thought the cottage was...
-And it wasn't there.
-Then the panic set in.
-We really were panicked. Weren't we?
We went all around the village and all over the place and we couldn't find it.
I've got this image of you two in your car...
-..driving round, trying to find the house you've just bought!
-I was very nearly in tears.
-We used the SatNav but, for some reason, it didn't find it
and it was taking us to horrible places and we were getting more and more worried.
-But then when we came across the cottage, it was... It was quite a relief, actually.
'Well, the couple have bought the cottage as a second home
'so that Gwen can be closer to her grandchildren.
'What do they think of their purchase now they know it's only got shared access?'
Having been in here now,
having read through the legal pack, what do you think?
Love it. Can't wait to get started.
Yeah, we think it's in a lovely spot when you stand in the garden, apart from the traffic,
but the house is well back from the road. With a bit of double glazing, it don't think it'll be a problem.
We've thought of different things where we could do the drive
and then we thought it could be better done another way.
So we are going to just stay here for a little while and see which is the best way to do it.
The first decision might well be the wrong one, so we'll give it a bit of time.
-But it's definitely got to be done.
-Yes, we need to do something.
Very sensible to wait. I often say to people, don't make any rash decisions,
live with it for a while, the house will tell you what you need to do.
'Good to know they're being a little bit less impulsive now.
'Once the work's complete, Gwen and Arthur will split their time
'between the cottage and their main home in Cheshire.
'They'd better get a move on with the restoration,
'as the grandchildren will be dying to visit,
'especially when they realise there are horses next door.'
We're going to try and keep it as traditional as we can.
One thing we'll look towards is moving the bathroom, which is downstairs, upstairs.
In between the two bedrooms, there's an alcove.
We thought, if we knock that through, we could get a jack-and-jill bathroom there.
'It might be a tight squeeze, but fitting a jack-and-jill shared en suite between the two bedrooms
'sounds like a good plan, though it could be costly.'
-Give me an idea of how much you're going to spend sorting it out.
-Not a lot.
We've set ourselves... We're going to try for £10,000
with another £5,000 as a contingency.
A lot depends on what we find and how much professional help we'll need to get.
'Before retiring, Arthur worked in construction
'and has even built his own house in the past.
'He'll be doing most of the work himself, with some help from his two grownup sons.
'They reckon it'll take about six months to complete the job.'
And we've got a nice feel about this, haven't we?
And can't wait to get stuck in and do it.
So, all in all, you don't have any regrets.
-From the initial shock, it's turned out quite well.
Great! Well, I'm delighted for you, anyway. Glad you found it and you like it.
-Good luck with it all.
-And I look forward to seeing how you get on.
Well, Gwen and Arthur not exactly following the preferred route when it comes to buying property.
It's normally a prerequisite that you at least know where it is,
never mind having not visited it.
It could've gone completely disastrously wrong.
They hadn't even read the legal pack, and with shared access, that is so important.
As it is, hopefully they have got away with it,
but they've still got a lot to discover.
They don't know about the damp and all sorts of things.
You can find out how they get on later in the show.
'We're in Cheshunt in Hertfordshire.
'Talk about well-connected. This place is a commuter's paradise.
'Just 14 miles from London, it seems everyone's in their car and on the move here.'
Today's lot isn't a house!
I'm here on this busy main road to check out an office that's recently been to auction.
It's a detached single-storey office building and it had a guide price of £70,000,
so it's time for me to get to work and check this place out.
'This dinky little building looks in pretty good condition from the outside
'and the off-street parking creates some distance from the busy A-road.'
So, let's take a little look around.
There you go. I've done it.
There's a separate room out the back, a toilet and a kitchen. And you've got this large room here.
The property measures 300 square foot in total
so, as an office space, it's perfectly well presented, it doesn't need much doing to it.
It's all clean and tidy and it has got that fairly new feel to it.
But is there more to this place than this?
'So far, so business-like.
'I can just imagine some budding Alan Sugar entrepreneur planning work domination within these walls.'
But what if you didn't want to run a business?
For those of you who like to speculate to accumulate,
this might be a likely spot to apply for change of use for the building to become residential.
Now, at the moment, it's a bit on the small side for a house,
but what if you were to apply for planning permission to extend this
and therefore make the most of this plot? If you don't mind the busy A10 on your doorstep, that it.
I'm going to take a look at the garden and see if it's possible.
Yes, out here at the rear, there is 65 foot of garden,
which would be enough to extend or rebuild a bungalow using the current footprint as a start
and still have some left over for the garden.
It currently has A2 business use, which means it was a professional office before,
and so would need change of use to residential status.
However, I think, looking at the rest of the area,
there are enough semis and terraces to argue that it is mainly residential around here.
If permission was granted to have a bigger dwelling on this site,
it would make this so much more attractive in terms of investment.
But me, I'd have to wear those earplugs.
# So come on, feel the noise
'There's no denying the sound of that traffic. I'd say this property's one for an investor
'rather than a first-time buyer. But there may be life in this old office yet
'if the application to change its use from business to residential succeeds.
'To get to the bottom of this property conundrum,
'I've asked a local estate agent about the office's potential.'
It's been in an architect's drawing office for the last 30-odd years.
It's not viable as a commercial opportunity
and therefore it needs to go to residential, and that will depend on the local planning authority.
The current value is probably only in the region of £40,000, perhaps £50,000.
With permission to convert it to residential,
I would say that as a plot, it's worth £120,000, in that region.
'So, there's definitely money to be made here if you know what you're doing.
I think, if you did a simple single-storey rear extension on this,
the potential value would be in the region of £215,000.
'And for a investor looking to become a landlord?'
If this was extended, I'd suggest a rental value would be in the region of £1,000 per calendar month.
So, it's a bit of a 50/50 with this one.
On one hand, I think the current building is tiny and it only comes with business use,
so it's got limited potential as it stands.
But on the other hand, it's a decent size plot,
and if you could get planning permission and change of use to build a bungalow on this site,
then you could have a family home.
But maybe, just maybe, that traffic noise would begin to grate.
But that's all speculation. We need to find out what somebody's got in store for this place.
Let's see who bought it and what they want to do with it when it went to auction.
Nice office. You've got car parking in the front.
Highly visible location. You've got potential to do things with this.
50,000 anywhere? 50.
60. 60. 65.
Back to you. 70. 80.
89? 89, well done. It's a good lot, I've seen it. 89. 90?
No? Have a think. If not, £92,000.
First time. 93.
Sorry. 94 between you. 94.
95. 95. 96.
97. 98. 99.
98 with you. First time.
Second time. Third and last time, if you're all done.
'Aram is the office's new owner.
'Originally from Armenia, he's been in the UK for 15 years.
'Until recently, he was the manager of a textiles store,
'but now wants to make his career as a property developer.'
-You've bought yourself an office at the auctions.
-Thank you very much, yes.
-How much research did you do into buying this?
Er, to be honest, not a lot.
I checked on the internet the night before and this came up
and I had only 12 hours before the auction,
so I came down first thing in the morning, had a look around,
and I liked what I saw and I thought, "Yeah" and I went for it.
So, come on, talk to me. What did you like about it and what potential can you see?
Well, it's detached, in a very good condition,
and I think there is potential to extend it at the back of the property,
so to convert into maybe a two-bedroom house or bungalow.
Forgive me, are you missing something? You did notice the big, noisy A10 out the front, surely?
Yeah, I did, but if you look around, there are so many other properties right on the A10,
so I don't think it's a major problem round here.
'Aram's got a good point. Plenty of people do live along this road.
'It is an excellent base for commuting,
'but it all rests on getting planning permission and changing the use to residential.'
Just before I went to the auction, I spoke to the council on the phone
and they said they would be happy.
As soon as I bought the place, I spoke to them in person,
and they confirmed it should be no problem for the application to go through,
-so, fingers crossed, it will go through.
-What would your plan B be?
Well, the plan B is maybe rent it as an office.
But I don't really want to think about plan B, because it should be plan A all the way.
-I don't see no problems.
-OK, it's plan A all the way!
'Aram's so confident he'll get planning permission
'that he's already drawn up plans for his bungalow.'
-It's quite interesting seeing the plans, because the bedroom is going to be here.
Overlooking the road and all the noise.
Do you think that is an ideal place for a bedroom?
Er, ideally no,
but with some work, with some noise-reduction insulation, I think it should be no problem.
'Sounds like Aram's not going to let anything get in his way.
'He's got a budget of £40,000 to do the job and is convinced it's going to be a breeze.'
What sort of building experience have you got?
Very limited, to be honest. But I've got a few good friends
and I think I'll see it through. I don't think there'll be any problems.
-Who's actually going to build it?
-I haven't decided yet.
I might just do it myself with my friends.
-But you've just told me you don't have much building experience.
-I don't, but I will learn.
Nothing scares me. I've got a young family, a little daughter, only one year old,
so I have to try my hardest to make it work.
So, Aram, do you see yourself moving into this building? Are you attached to it already?
To be honest, yes.
The first time I saw the missus, she wasn't happy about it.
She looked around and after five minutes, she changed her tone.
And after ten, she was ready to move in.
Did you not think about asking the missus if she'd like to live here?
Er, I did, but I made a decision as the man of the house
and that's how it's going to be.
So you have taken a gamble on this, cos if the plans don't come through, you'll have to rent it out.
It is a gamble, of course, but fingers crossed, everything will be OK.
And it all happened in a matter of 12 hours. You saw it, you bought it, you've got to go for it now.
Well, sometimes you make your best decisions in impulse. Sometimes this happens.
And most of the time, I do get it right, so let's hope this is one of them.
-Aram, good luck with this project. It's been great meeting you. There's your plans.
So, Aram has two plans for this place.
I really hope he doesn't have to resort to plan B, renting it out as an office,
when the alternative might be for him and his wife to have a home on this site.
Will his new foray into property developing work out?
You can find out how he gets on later in the programme.
'Coming up, the front of this Plymouth terrace might look OK, but it's a different story at the back.'
The rear of the property feels like it's gone horribly wrong.
'It's been non-stop graft in Cheshunt, but is there an end in sight?'
It's been at least 16, 17 hours a day for the past eight weeks.
'And the property experts are blown away by the renovations in Cornwall.'
Rarely do I come into something that I've sold previously and get such a "wow!"
# It's got to be-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee
'We're back to catch up with Arthur and Gwen in Cornwall now.
'They bought this picture-perfect cottage at auction for £100,000,
'but broke just about every rule doing it.'
We had two sleepless nights when we bought it.
-We were worried to death cos it wasn't what we thought, we hadn't seen it or anything.
Obviously, we hadn't followed the usual pattern of making sure you view it, your advice, and others',
look at the legal pack, which we hadn't done, either.
'In fact, when they bought it, they didn't even know where the cottage was.
'I'm sure you'll agree, that was a risk, especially as it shares access with the adjoining cottage.
'Perhaps not quite as perfect as they'd first imagined.'
'Inside, the place needed total renovation.
'They thought it would take six months to do the work,
'but it's actually 14 months since we last saw them.
'I think there's a story to tell here. Let's see what it looks like now.
'The cottage is now picture-perfect inside, too.'
This room is completely different. It's been transformed.
Originally, there was a Rayburn in the fire opening there
and the alcove was completely built in.
The Rayburn has been removed, along with the hearth.
And on this side, there was a wall running right the way through here
and a doorway here into the front door.
It's opened up enormously the space in here
and we're really, really pleased with it.
'The transformation continues in the kitchen and downstairs bathroom,
'where they've added their own personal stamp with some feature wallpaper.'
We picked this, which I think is lovely wallpaper.
We just liked it, both of us.
It probably wouldn't suit everybody, but we love it, so...that's it, it's us.
'It's all smiles now, but the cottage needed a lot more work than Arthur and Gwen could have dreamt.
'The house was riddled with damp in the wood and stonework.
'In short, it's been a nightmare.'
We didn't anticipate the amount of work that we eventually had to do.
Structurally, we've had to do quite a lot.
-Every wall's been down.
-All the internal walls,
at some point, were out and have been rebuilt.
At one point, we finished up with a shell, just four walls,
a staircase running up the middle and nothing else between here and the roof slate.
But... And then we started putting it back together.
'And put it back together they certainly have.
'Ceilings, floorboards and walls have all been removed and replaced.
'Roof timbers have been treated, a damp course injected,
'internal stonework repaired, and it's had a complete rewire.
'The biggest transformation is in the master bedroom, where they've managed to squeeze in
'an en suite shower room into a space just big enough for a cupboard.
'It all looks like an oasis of calm now, but getting to this stage has been quite an emotional journey.'
-It's only in the last couple of days, really...
-That it's felt like a home.
Yeah, it's starting to look like a home again. Actually, we both needed lifting from time to time.
When I've been down, he's been the other way.
-We've been down at different points, so...
-And I've had a few cries.
And I've tried to keep Gwen out of the building when there's been certain things going on.
But, generally, we've worked well together.
'The reason they've been working so hard is so that Gwen can be close to her grandchildren,
'Madeline and George.'
We don't have to drive so far and she can come down to us easily
and we can go over to her easily.
I love the garden because I love running around
and I love it because I like walking about in her house.
'Outside, the list goes on.
'They've repainted the exterior walls, installed new windows, doors, guttering and downpipes,
'replaced the chimney stack and worked on the garden.
'But the hard graft's not over yet. They haven't even started the first job on their original list.'
One of the first jobs we thought we'd do was to arrange better parking,
knock a section of the wall down, form a driveway and a parking area.
But that's had to go because the cost of that has been sunk inside the property.
'Arthur and Gwen originally had a budget of between £10,000 and £15,000,
'but with all those unforeseen expenses, how much have they actually spent?'
We've certainly blow it, anyway. We haven't done the final analysis yet,
-but we've probably spent double what we originally said.
-Anyway, we're there now, aren't we?
-Yeah. Well, almost.
'Well, it's time for that moment of truth.
'Has Gwen and Arthur's hard work paid off?
'We asked two local property experts to give us the figures.'
Rarely do I come into something that I've sold previously
and get such a "wow" feeling from it.
I think it's a different house.
Upstairs, somehow, they've managed to get a shower room into a space
that you'd hardly put a wardrobe in. It's brilliant engineering.
It's a super cottage.
When I saw the bedroom first time around,
I thought, "OK, you might just get a double bed in it and that's it"
but to have put an en suite in the corner, as they have, it's a work of genius.
'Wow. Praise indeed. Let's hope those glowing reviews will be reflected in the valuations.'
I'd put this house on the market at £159,950
and hope to get somewhere over 150.
I would recommend we put this property on the market at £150,000.
'So, with a purchase price of £100,000, even though they doubled their original budget,
'Arthur and Gwen could be sitting on a potential pre-tax profit of around £20,000.
-It's never been about the money or making a profit, has it?
It's just what we want, what we like and for us to live in.
But it's nice, anyway, just to know that you've not lost money, really.
# It's got to be-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee
'If they chose to, Arthur and Gwen could even rent their cottage out
'for around £600 per calendar month.
'But for them, the effort was all about creating a second home
'where they could relax and enjoy time with their grandchildren.
'Now that it's almost complete, how do they feel about this cottage
'that they rushed into buying before they'd even seen it?'
Now it's actually come to this, we have enjoyed it,
and you think, "We'll never do it again" when you get a bad day,
-I think "Never again!" THEY LAUGH
'For the next property that went under the hammer, I'm in Plymouth
'hoping to see a hot property sailing into view.'
Well, just a few miles outside the city centre is the residential area known as Peverell.
Very popular with families, it's got great amenities, good schools and shops
and its own park. This bit's actually known as Pounds Park.
On a beautiful day like today, it's a great place to be.
Big question is, will the property that was up for auction make our purchaser pounds and pounds?
'These 22 acres are part of Plymouth's Central Park,
'perhaps not quite as impressive as New York's version,
'but it's known as the green lung of Plymouth and is utterly delightful.'
The catalogue states that the property I'm here to see is in popular Peverell,
but that seems to be a bone of contention with people I've spoken to,
because we are just on the fringes of Pennycross, to the north, that is.
But this is it, anyway. Two-bedroom mid-terrace, had a guide price of £80,000.
Supposedly in need of "refreshment" whatever that might mean. Let's have a look.
'From the outside, the house doesn't look in too terrible a state.
'The rendering looks OK and there's double glazing. Round the back, there's off-street parking,
'which will save you battling with your neighbours for a spot in Peverell, or is it Pennycross?'
OK, wherever it's located, what have we got?
A nice little entrance vestibule there, corridor here,
then you've got a lounge there, that's your main front sitting room area.
Good size space for a little terrace. Stairs up to the bedrooms.
Then it gets a bit strange, because look at this little corridor.
And the whole rear of the property has gone horribly wrong.
Through into a kitchen. Again, it's not a bad size space,
but clearly everything in here wants replacing, including that boiler.
Windows are double-glazed with a little bit of a view out into the rear courtyard area.
But I'm thinking things need to be done here.
'Yes, this calls for refreshment all right,
'but there are some fantastic original features which I hope get retained.
'I don't think this property has been inhabited for years.'
# When will I be loved?
'I'm convinced the layout at the rear of the house could be made much more efficient.
'And the problems continue the further you go.'
This is really, really odd. It gets worse and worse.
As you come right to the rear of the property here, you find the loo and bathroom,
the only ones in the property. This doesn't work at all.
So what can you do? Well, until relatively recently, you needed to have a lobby
in between the kitchen and the bathroom. Well, that no longer is the case in building regulations,
so why not take down this big, useless wall here to create one large bathroom area here?
You'd have a door there which goes through to the kitchen, change the back door onto the other wall
so you have it on the wall at the rear which goes into the garden from the kitchen,
makes a much better use of this space. That's what you've got to do.
'Well, considering that you won't actually be changing the location of the bathroom,
'it's quite a lot of jiggery-pokery. But it would get rid of all those useless corridors
'and allow the kitchen to be opened up.'
'The catalogue says two bedrooms, but I wonder what potential there is to change the layout.'
That's nice. I really like windows on stairways. Gives a real feeling of light,
not to mention that fact that it's a lot safer.
You've got this little landing area here, your first bedroom there, it's all pretty tired and dated,
but that isn't too much of an issue. Through to your second bedroom.
This is a really nice size and it's got two separate windows.
Why is that important? Well, I think it opens up some options.
For a start, I don't particularly like the toilet downstairs and some people are a bit fussy about that,
so ideally, you want to bring that upstairs. So, first option, why not put an en suite in here?
It'd have its own window, ventilation, perfect.
If I was living here, that's what I would do.
If I was renting this place out, then rooms are paramount, so add an extra bedroom.
That gets you an extra £100 a month,
wouldn't cost you much to do, stud partition in here, change the door.
That is the option if you're going to rent the place out. There you go. Problem solved.
'But there are others. The back bedroom has got some serious plaster damage.
'It looks as though damp could be getting in. There are some nasty cracks on the stairs, as well.
'Both need checking out. I asked a local expert to come and take a look
'at the property that went to auction guided at £80,000.'
My first impression of this one is it's a little bit tired,
a bit rough around the edges, needs some TLC.
I definitely would recommend turning it into a three-bedroom, split the bedroom at the front,
and I'd be able to achieve at £5,000 to £8,000 more if it were a three-bedroom property.
'Bearing in mind the house had an auction guide price of £80,000,
'how much could it be worth after a full refurbishment?'
If it were left as a two-bedroom property, I believe I'd be able to achieve £130,000.
'What effect could an extra bedroom have on rental income?'
If this were a two-bedroom property, I believe I could rent this one out for £575 per calendar month.
If I were to rent it out as a three-bedroom property, I could achieve £650 per calendar month.
'So, adding a third bedroom would increase the rental income or the sale value.
'But, of course, any investor would have to factor in the extra impact on their budget.'
Well, it's a house that's in need of some attention.
Let's see who went for it at the auction.
Two-storey, two-bedroom, mid-terrace house for refreshment/updating.
Guide price straight in, 80,000. Don't want to start on less than 80.
Who'll get us going. Lots of interest in 71. 80, thank you.
At 80. At 80. At 80.
Sir, 81. 81.
82. 83. 84. You're in. 84.
Three of you now. 85 where it began.
And 90. 91.
91. And a half, one of you.
91 is sat. 91 and a half. 91 and a half.
At 92. Half. 92 and a half. 93.
At 93. And a half.
94. At 94.
At 94. Half. 95.
Half again. 95 and a half. 96.
96 and a half. 96 and a half.
At 96 and a half.
96 and a half once, then.
At 96 and a half twice.
At 96 and a half.
On my left it is at 96,500.
Sir, yours. 96 and a half.
'That final successful bid of £96,500 was made by Paul.
'I met up with him and his partner Sarah, who's a nurse,
'to hear about their plans to get the place back to good health.
'This is the first house Paul's bought at auction
'and it's the start of a totally new career for him in property development.'
-Sarah, Paul, congratulations.
-Well done. Tell me why you wanted to buy the house.
Well, it's the first project for me since I've been out of work in IT
and it seems to be quite a low-risk property, quite simple, good area for schools.
So it's not too ambitious, something I can turn around quite quickly, make a small profit and get experience.
-Great. So, previously, you were in IT?
-What made the jump into property developing?
I've always dabbled in property. I've always been fascinated by property
and I lost my job and it gave me the push I needed to get involved full-time, so here I am.
-What about you, Sarah? What do you do?
-I'm a nurse.
-And I'm here to support Paul. It's his first project
and I've always been interested in properties myself
and I love interior design, so it's my chance to have my say, just to help you, really.
'Paul was a student in the town and now lives just outside Plymouth, so he knows the area pretty well.
'He's planning to convert the house into a three-bed by dividing that front bedroom.
'What does Sarah think will be the main challenges here?'
I still think one of the big challenges will be the kitchen.
Cos we've got ideas of knocking walls down and things, but it's just maximising that space.
-But it should be nice when it's finished.
-What about the bathroom?
-Will you get rid of the corridor, knock down the wall?
-Yeah. Block up the back door,
take out the partition wall, make it a nice, big bathroom.
Where the sink in the kitchen is, put a single door out into the courtyard.
Any thoughts about moving the bathroom upstairs, put an en suite here?
-You'd lose the extra bedroom.
-I hadn't really.
Anything to do with price, I'm trying to keep the budget quite tight,
and I've got it all costed up to round about £15,000 so far.
-If I do something really funky and swish, it'll compensate for the fact it's downstairs.
-Funky and swish?
-Cheap, funky and swish.
-What does that look like?
Well, it can look very nice. You can get these really trendy designer basins for about £30
-with monobloc taps for the same sort of price.
-The ones that sit on the surface?
Exactly. They look hundreds of pounds, but can cost very little.
-They squirt water all over your trousers.
-Oh, well, possibly so! Possibly so.
'Cheap, funky, swish, but a little damp.
'Mind you, they are going for a seaside theme with the colours and styling, so it may work.'
# Seaside, whenever you stroll along...
-Who's going to do the work?
-I've got a builder lined up to start tomorrow.
-So he's going to do all the skilful stuff.
I'm going to do the non-skilful stuff, like breaking things up, stripping wallpaper, tidying up.
-Ripping up the carpets. And Sarah.
-I've got the steamer.
-Oh, there we go.
-And I'm hoping to get my work done within a couple of weeks and leave him to it.
-What's the timescale?
-He says eight to ten weeks.
It's the first time I've used him, gives me a good impression, but you never know.
He does plastering, builds houses, everything. And he seems to have good references,
-so fingers crossed, he'll do a good job.
-Right. So what next?
Cos it's a student town, big houses where you can rent out the rooms are popular
and quite lucrative. I've got one of those already and I'm hoping to buy a second.
So I'd like to roll the profits forward into buying a house to let out room by room,
but also do this kind of thing and do a self-build, get a plot of land and do a small development project.
-Well, good luck with this one.
-I hope it's a success for you.
# Seaside rendezvous, give us a kiss
Well, Sarah and Paul have certainly got some good ideas for this place,
but there's a lot of work to sort it out and I hope that Paul's hunch about the builder is correct.
Join us later in the show to find out what funky, swish and cheap looks like. See you later.
Doing up a property can be time-consuming and expensive.
-So, have our new buyers stuck to their plans and their budgets?
-Let's find out.
'We're back on the road now to catch up with Aram in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.
'He bought this tiny office building on a busy main road for £98,000.
'His plan was to change it into a home for himself and his young family.
'But, surprisingly, buying it was a last-minute decision.'
Well, sometimes you make your best decisions in impulse.
And most of the time, I do get it right, so let's hope this is one of them.
'The property has a long garden at the back, but Aram's master plan would be a non-starter
'if he didn't get planning permission to extend
'and change the office from business use to residential.
'Aram's had nine months to put his plans into action. Let's see how he's getting on.
'Well, it seems he must have got his planning permission.
'And although the place isn't finished, it's not very office-like any more.'
This was the end wall for the original building.
We extended the house seven metres towards the garden.
And I'm really pleased with the result.
# Hard work
Most people would've walked away from this little office,
'but Aram saw the potential and came up with a plan to turn it into a two-bedroom bungalow.'
The planning permission took a good couple of months to come through.
Originally, we asked for nine metres extension, but we were granted only seven,
which is still OK, a little bit smallish, but it's still OK.
Out front, we have our main bedroom for us.
A bit smaller one for Lily, my little daughter.
And we've got a bathroom and a toilet over there
and around here, we're going to have our open-plan lounge and kitchen.
'Aram had around £40,000 to convert this into his family home.
'The work he's taken on here has been pretty extensive.
'Has he managed to stick to his original budget?'
Well, we've spent, er, all-in with the fees, the work, everything,
it comes to about £75,000 to £80,000.
'Aram's doubled his original budget.
'Building materials cost more than he expected
'and there were unforeseen charges payable to the local authority
'as part of the planning application to change the building's use.
'Those amounted to £3,000 per bedroom. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.'
The problem is the foundations.
We dug up the foundation all around the perimeter
and the last four metres were a bit soft,
so because of that, we had to pile foundation the whole extension.
And the piling cost quite a lot.
'The house is right next to some undeveloped woodland,
'so Aram had to put down deeper and stronger pile foundations
'to make sure his new extension was secure.
'He also had to do a lot of work on the property's drains.
'In fact, he's been working all hours just to get the project this far.'
It was eight start till one, two, three, four, five in the morning, it depends.
But it's been at least 16, 17 hours a day
for the past eight weeks.
It's been hard work, a long road, but it's definitely worth it. It is good.
I think it'll be a nice little house for us.
# Don't worry
'Thankfully for Aram, he's not had to do all the work himself,
'as he had a lot of help from his father-in-law and family friends.
'But he'd been living dangerously, because he did not tell his wife before he actually bought the place!
'How does she feel now that it's starting to take shape?'
Initially, she wasn't very keen on the whole idea.
She couldn't see it, imagine it.
But now she thinks it's all coming together and, yeah, she loves it.
'Phew! That's a relief! Aram's paid £98,000 for the property
'and spent another £80,000 converting it,
'making a total of £178,000.
'Has he invested wisely? Time for some expert opinion.'
The positives really are that it's a bungalow.
I think it's unfortunate that it is on the A10, the main road.
But bungalows are few and far between,
so there is always a demand for detached bungalows.
He's done very well in doing the alterations. I'd have done certain things differently,
but I think he's made an excellent job of what he's got here.
'What could this former office turned family home sell for?'
I think you could put this on the market for between £225,000 and £230,000.
I would recommend that the owner puts this on at just under £230,000.
Well, I think it's quite low, because just round the corner,
there's a two-bed bungalow for 275 on the market as we speak.
But I think, to be fair, about the 250 mark is about the right price for it.
'The estate agent valuations could still see Aram pocket a pre-tax profit of £47,000 to £52,000,
'minus the usual selling expenses.
'But what if he decided to become a landlord and rent the property out instead?'
I think this could rent out for somewhere between £850 and £950 per month.
Between £850 and £900 per calendar month in rental terms.
Well, that sounds quite all right,
but it really is going to make no difference to us
because we're going to move in and live here as a family. It's our family home.
It feels already like a home
and we're going to be living here as a nice family together,
so it's going to be happy times for us.
'Back now to Plymouth where, earlier in the programme,
'Paul paid £96,500 for this two-bed mid-terrace.
'Although he had some property-developing experience, it was his first purchase
'since leaving his IT job and going full-time into property development.
'His partner, Susan, is a nurse and she was going to look after the design.
'Paul hoped to sell once he'd added a third bedroom
'and rearranged the layout downstairs, but didn't see that as a problem.'
If we do something really funky and swish, it should compensate for the fact that it's downstairs.
You can get these trendy designer basins for about £30 with monobloc taps for the same sort of price.
You mean the ones that sit on the surface?
Yeah, exactly. They look hundreds of pounds, but can cost very little.
'Well, time to see the results.
'Three months had passed when we met Paul and Sarah back at the property
'to see just how swish it had become.
'Well, it's not that funky in the front reception room yet.
'The plaster's been touched up and the room looks ready to decorate and that's about it.
'The hallway's not too swish, either.
'But, as promised, the rear layout has changed.
'The corridor's gone and the bathroom's gained extra space.
'Plus, a shower.
'And I think I'm safe, I don't think my trousers will get soaked by that basin. Phew!
'Yes, what an improvement it was to be able to remove that lobby between the kitchen and the bathroom
'now that the building regulations have changed. And as Paul explains,
'just repositioning the entrance to the kitchen also made a big difference.'
Well, what we've done with the kitchen is to reduce this wall here back to the position it's in now.
It was originally round about there.
So it creates a lot more floor space to open up the kitchen for tables and chairs.
There was a side door off the bathroom. That's been blocked up. The back door's been installed there.
There will be a glass panel in the lower half of the door to produce more light into the kitchen
and just create a bigger sense of space and make it nice and airy.
'So, the layout downstairs is sorted.
'But what about upstairs, where they'd hoped to add a third bedroom? How did that go?'
Well, we had to have some careful thought about it, because there was one big room at the front
and there's this room back here, so we were trying to plan as best we could to get three rooms out of it.
There was a doorway here. We moved it to the left so we could get a single bed in,
otherwise it would've been an awkward layout inside. This room,
the doorway originally was here and to make a third room, we had to move that wall back slightly,
so this room is slightly smaller than it was originally.
'So, the back bedroom's been reduced in size and its door moved.
'All this to allow a new door to be made for one of the two rooms,
'which have been created from the large original front room.
'So it looks like Paul's gut feeling was right when he picked his builder.
'From the back bedroom, you get a great view of the changes they made at the rear.'
The back garden, originally, the back wall had an up-and-over garage door
with a corrugated plastic roof forming a car port.
So we've removed the garage door, put some decking down,
renewed the fence panels and the only thing we've got to do now is paint the gates
and put some gravel down and it should look quite pretty.
'I like the look they've created out here.
'How much did Paul have to spend on top of the £96,500 he paid at the auction?'
I wanted to spend about £15,000.
I've spent probably about 18.
'Is the intention still to sell?'
Yeah, still as planned originally,
we thought we'd buy it, do it up and sell it on and that's what we're hoping to do.
'Let's hear what two local property experts think of it.'
It's a lovely family home, it's got lots of nice features, it's nice and clean and tidy,
it's got three bedrooms, a nicely fitted kitchen and bathroom
and an enclosed courtyard, so I think it's a great buy for someone.
The bathroom is of a high specification
and the kitchen is a good size and nicely done, as well.
Nice neutral decor throughout and very well presented.
'Once the property has been finished off, how much rental income could it generate?'
Rental per calendar month, I'd say in the region of £650.
If I were to rent this property out, I'd rent it out for £575 per calendar month.
'What does Paul think of those valuations?'
Yeah, I think £600 is realistic, possibly £650 would be a good figure.
'Remember, Paul has always planned to sell.
'He paid £96,500 at the auction and his budget has stretched to £18,000,
'making a total of about £114,500. How much is the house now worth?'
If I was to put this property on the market, I'd put it on for £140,000.
I'd look to market this property at £135,000.
'That range of valuations, between £135,000 and £140,000,
'would produce a gross profit, before the usual selling expenses,
'of £20,500 to £25,500. What's the verdict on that, Paul?'
If I get 140, I'll be very pleased. 135, I'll be disappointed.
If I got halfway in between, I'd probably be reasonably happy.
'Well, along with Sarah's design input and her hard graft,
'Paul's first full-time developing project looks to be a success providing he finds a buyer.
'So, what will this development double act take from the project?'
I think it's been quite an exciting project.
It hasn't really been stressful. It's been interesting and it's quite a good learning curve.
No major glitches, it's all gone pretty smoothly, we've worked really well together.
That's part of the pleasure. It's not only about money, it's enjoying what you do.
We have to sell it, get the money for the next one.
That's it for now. We'll have more intriguing properties for you next time.
-Make sure you join us then for more Homes Under The Hammer.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Cornwall, a small property in Hertfordshire and a terraced house in Plymouth. 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.