Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Cheshire, a property in Gravesend and a flat in Hammersmith, and find out how much they sold for at auction.
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Hello. Welcome to the show!
The auction property market is worth billions of pounds each year.
They're quite big numbers, so don't be put off by that.
No. Auctions are a level playing field. Anyone can take part
as long as you've got the cash and the confidence.
Now, there are property auctions all over the country and throughout the year.
So you're spoilt for choice.
Let's see which properties made their buyers part with their cash on today's show.
In Cheshire, this house may hold the key to finally shutting me up!
And at last! Shutters!
There's a property in Gravesend, Kent, that gives me the chills!
Hold on a minute - there's no radiators in here.
And in Hammersmith, west London,
a flat that can't be your home.
Wow! In English, that means if you buy it, you can't live in it!
All these properties have been sold at auction.
We find out who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.
I'm in the affluent village of Bowdon in Cheshire,
popular with celebrities and some of the north-west's successful entrepreneurs.
Unsurprisingly, it boasts some impressive properties.
The house I'm here to see occupies this corner plot.
And pretty impressive it looks, too.
Three bedrooms. Had a guide price of 300 to 350,000 quid,
which for round here I think is tremendous value for money.
Question is, can the interior match up to the grand exterior?
The house is on a busy main road and sits on a corner plot,
flanked closely by its neighbours.
But I love the look of it and prices here have been static in the last few years,
a good indication of just how desirable this area is.
Great sense of anticipation.
But unfortunately, very disappointing when you come in here.
It's a good-sized space, lots of light pouring in,
but very little character. Lots of woodchip wallpaper.
Big space, though, the main living area here.
Down this corridor, a rear entrance through to a small courtyard.
Then through into the kitchen.
But once again, you expect something grand to match the house.
But fairly standard, run-of-the-mill stuff. It could be so much more.
But the space is quite nice. A family kitchen/dining area here, which is good.
And at last! Shutters! Fantastic!
Some original features!
Maybe all is not lost!
So far, the inside is in need of a good makeover
to help it match the outside.
Upstairs is a bathroom and three good-sized bedrooms,
all of which are crying out for some love and attention.
But this is a house with some hidden depths!
In terms of extending this house,
your options to go either side of it are fairly limited
because it's on this corner plot. However,
great news down here in the cellar. The only issue is the head height.
Ideally, you want this to be about 2.4 metres
to give a feeling of space and loftiness.
That's what the average room is.
This isn't, it's just over six foot. So what are the options?
One thing, which is what someone's been looking at here, is to dig down.
Dig away the floor, thereby giving extra head height.
But that is a very labour-intensive process.
All the muck, dirt, soil, has to be carried out by hand.
So it can be quite expensive and it's worth employing a specialist cellar contractor.
You want the walls damp-proofed, et cetera, et cetera.
And in an old building, you've also got to let it breathe.
So a great property with an unusual but potentially promising way to extend.
And it had a 300 to £350,000 guide price.
We asked a local estate agent
to cast his expert eye over it and give us his thoughts.
The house is located in a conservation area.
Because of that, we'll find it very, very difficult indeed
to get planning permission to alter the external appearance of the property.
However, there's a super basement area
and I think that's the place that will increase the footprint.
If someone were to modernise this place, but leave the basement be,
how much could it be worth?
The house renovated would easily make £500,000.
What impact could converting the cellar have on the sale price?
Assuming a full and complete renovation of the house
embracing the basement conversion,
I would suspect that this house would achieve in the late 500s,
possibly up to 600,000.
And if it were rented out?
A typical rental value for this house
would be in the order of £1,500 per calendar month.
So, a lovely house in a great location with bags of potential.
Especially when it comes to sorting out that cellar!
I'm sure this was a fantastically popular lot
when it went under the hammer!
Now, ladies and gentlemen, lot four.
How much can we say for this?
250. Thank you.
He'll not buy anything, but he'll start me off!
250,000 I've got. Thank you, sir.
260 now. 260.
Bidding continued to inch up for the next ten minutes.
Unusually long for an auction. It finally crept up to £355,000
where we rejoin it.
355? Yes? 355.
355 and a half? Yes.
355 and a half.
At 355 and a half I'm selling once. 356.
At 356. Are you going again? No?
At £356,000, this is not a dear house. You're going again.
356 and a half.
At 356... And 357.
357 and a half?
At £357,000, once. Twice. Third and final time.
At £357,000. Yours.
Successful with his bid of £357,000, was kitchen designer, David.
He was bidding on behalf of his girlfriend, Suzanne.
She had been looking for the perfect property in this area for two years.
She'd finally fallen in love when she found this one
which she plans to renovate with David.
Suzanne, David, good to meet you. Congratulations! Well done on surviving that marathon!
-It was, wasn't it?
-What was it like being in it?
A bit hot under the collar! A bit strange and pressured, but we stayed in there.
-When it started out, you had no idea what would happen.
-We're not familiar with auctions.
-I'd never been to an auction.
-I wanted David to do the bidding.
-Before we went in,
I said to Suzanne what I thought we'd have to go to to get it.
And we weren't very far off on that.
Suzanne, why were you so keen to buy this house?
I went by my instincts. I was very excited about it.
I hadn't felt excited about any house I'd viewed in two years, so I though I'd go for it.
What got you going about this house?
I just could see it having a lot of charm once I'd finished with it.
I liked the look on the outside. It's 150 years old and it looks cute.
There's something about it. I love the brickwork. And I love the area.
Tell me exactly what you're planning to do.
We're going to completely transform the cellars downstairs.
We have two and a half rooms downstairs, and we've found a further room below this kitchen.
-What have you found?
-Once we got the house and we brought a builder down,
they pulled away a wood panel and the whole area was doubled up.
The area under the kitchen has actually already been partly excavated
and hopefully it's not too big a job when you're doing all the work
to almost double the room that was downstairs when we first saw the house.
-What a find that was!
How fantastic. That, as well as the additional room the cellar already offered
means even more for Suzanne to work with down there.
That allows more freedom in what she chooses to do with the rest of the house.
And she's got further plans.
We're going to drop all these walls and have bi-folding glass doors
-so that all you see when you walk in is the courtyard.
So it'll all be open-plan in here?
Open-plan, but it's already open-plan as you walk through the front door.
We'll have a glass door to the kitchen.
Suzanne, convenient to hook up with a kitchen designer!
-Was there a plan there?
-No, absolutely not.
No, no plan. He's just got to prove himself now!
-David, what plans have you got for the kitchen?
-In this case,
I have a very important client. So it's a trickier one.
The main thing is that this window is going to come out
and that's where the bi-folding doors will go across.
So there's a couple of choices. At the end of the day,
in this case, Suzanne makes those decisions. I want her to have the kitchen she wants.
But basically we're going to use this wall for the majority of the kitchen in terms of units.
We have a choice in terms of sink whether we use that window or not.
We'll probably get an island in here. But until we knock the wall down,
and get a feel for it, then we'll sit down and work it out.
There are always options and then it's personal choice.
I'm there to lend a guiding hand.
What kind of budget have you set aside?
-Probably round about 60 to 70,000.
-Including the cellar and everything?
-Mm-hmm. It's a bit of a guideline at the moment.
-Good luck. I look forward to seeing how you get on.
So, will the property turn out to be worth that marathon battle at the auction?
David and Suzanne have certainly got some good ideas.
And discovering that additional bit of cellar
that has to be a great start.
Find out how they get on later in the show.
I'm in Gravesend in Kent, part of the Thames Gateway Redevelopment Zone.
That means it falls within the 70-mile stretch of land from East London
to Kent that's been earmarked for new homes, better infrastructure, new jobs and improved town centres.
It already boasts a high-speed train which transports you into the capital in under 30 minutes
so it's commuter heaven!
You're a couple of miles from the train station here on this 1950s estate.
It's a pleasant suburban spot, nice and green,
it's well-maintained, lovely gardens.
It gives you a positive feel for the place even before we reach the property.
I'm here to see a three-bed house with room for improvement.
Words we like on Homes Under the Hammer!
It doesn't look too terrible from the outside.
Certainly for the guide price of 95 to 105,000.
It's a very solid square box of a property. It's not instantly appealing
with no features to speak of, but I'm hoping a look inside will reveal some great living space.
A lot of brown tones with this house.
Brown front door, brown banisters, brown windows,
which tells me it's quite dark, a bit old-fashioned and needs modernising.
Get the white, bright paint out, I say!
But a very nice hallway. It's nice and wide. Very welcoming.
The kitchen, look, it's incredibly dated. All the units need replacing.
New cooker, new hob, but what I like is the space.
There is a lot you could do in here.
The same could be said of this room. It's dated, but it's spacious.
Lots of opportunity in here.
What you could do is knock down this wall and open up that kitchen.
Put your dining table there, a nice big family space.
But I'm not sure it would be worth spending the money.
And your whole ground floor would be open-plan,
so you can't get away from noise.
But there's a rather big room here.
A three-piece suite in here. It could be the hub of the family space.
Nice and cosy in the winter
You're not overlooked. Lots of mature trees out there.
Once somebody spent a bit of money in here,
you could have a really nice functional family space.
The benefit of a property like this is that what it may lack in charm
it makes up for in scope to do with what you like.
Clear it out, tidy it up and it'll feel like a brand-new home.
You know, it definitely feels worse up here.
I'm sure it's just cosmetic, but everything needs doing.
Two good-sized bedrooms and a really big bathroom.
This is the smallest room. You could think about moving the bathroom into here
and you have to think about the plumbing, so it's probably not worth it.
Hold on a minute. There's no radiators in here.
I'm sure I saw radiators everywhere downstairs.
Let's have a look and see if...
A-ha! Look! There's none in here.
That is something you could so quickly miss on a viewing.
You really need your wits about you when you view these properties.
You could miss something like that.
First thing I would do once moving in here
would be to get the plumber in and get the heating sorted.
I know there's double glazing, but you'd have been frozen in here judging by recent winters.
In fact, downstairs, there are only two radiators and an electric fire.
So another expense to add.
But if you wanted to take this project on for a profit, what about adding on somewhere else?
The garden is a lovely space. More than that, it's really big.
A proper family size with room for a shed, a trampoline, a paddling pool
and what about an extension?
You could push out to the side, the rear or both
without losing too much outside space.
But financially, I don't think it's really worth it.
In my opinion, let the family who end up living here
add that square footage if they want to.
It saves you doing the spending for little or no added return.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
There's definitely space to go large here, but for your efforts,
I don't think you'd make large profits.
The property had a guide price of between 95 and 105,000.
We asked a local estate agent along for her opinion.
First impressions are that it's a great size,
there's a bit of work to be done, but it's purely cosmetic.
Other than that, a great family home.
How much will it take to spruce it up?
I think you could spend around the ten to £15,000 mark.
No need to be extravagant. It's a normal family home. So 15-ish.
Valuing this property as it is right now
I would say approximately £110,000 to £115,000.
Once fully renovated, I would say that this property is worth
150 to £160,000.
What's the possible return on rental?
Once fully renovated,
this property would achieve £750 per calendar month.
Sometimes, it's good to keep things simple.
At that guide price, I reckon this equation is pretty straightforward.
Nice road, good solid property, not too much to spend
equals good investment. Let's see who agreed at the auction.
What shall we say on that one? Modern-looking house.
Start me where you will. Start me at £100,000.
100,000? Give me 95, then.
95, I'm on the way. I'm obliged.
At 95 I've got. 100 now, do I see? 100, may I say?
At 100. And two.
102 and five.
105 and seven.
And ten. Ten, may I say? 110 anywhere? 107 at the back. 110.
12. 15. 118. 118. 120.
And two. 122. And five.
125, may I say? 125. And seven.
130. 132. 135.
135 I've got. 137, sir?
At 137 I've got. 140 I'm looking for.
If not, at £137,000
for the first time.
£137,000 bid for the second time.
Third and final time if we're all done at 137. Yours at 137.
Soaring above the 95 to £105,000 guide price
with their £137,000 bid
were golf club secretary Dave and his singing teacher wife, Christine.
They're hoping to make this property hit the high notes!
Chris and Dave, lovely to meet you.
You looked very serious while bidding for this at auction!
It was a very serious business, unfortunately!
Being our first one, it was quite serious but it was a real buzz.
Dave, why did you want to buy this? What's the story behind it all?
Unfortunately, Lucy, we've based all our research on Homes Under The Hammer!
-We are sadly big fans of the show.
-I'm happy to hear that.
We've watched it quite a lot. And we thought it would be great to have a go!
So we had a go!
How long did you get to spend in this house before you decided you wanted it?
That intrigues me. People don't spend long enough in properties before buying them!
-We were here for ten minutes.
And did anything go unmissed?
-We didn't know there were no radiators upstairs!
-We didn't notice that.
And coming back now, it's worse than I remember it being.
But it's still cosmetic. Nothing to worry about.
It is cosmetic, but everything needs doing.
Everything needs doing. Everything is dirty.
Everything smells of cigarette smoke and it needs clearing out
What's the plan with this? You're intending to rent?
-I'm glad you said that because you did pay at bit more at auction.
We knew we would because there must have been 20 people here on viewing day.
We knew, especially when there were so many people at the auction,
-we knew we wouldn't get it for a bargain.
-Being at the auction,
we heard other people who were going to bid on it.
We moved - the people behind us were going to bid on it
and we moved seats just before the lot came up to get away from them!
-I didn't want to be bidding over my shoulder.
-Wise move, Dave! I like it!
I've bought cars at auction in the past and I know it's a game.
So we decided to pretend we knew what we were doing!
And why not? Property auctions are often about a bit of bluff and bravado!
Christine and Dave do have another property they rent out
but this is the first time they've dipped their toes into renovation.
So what are you going to do and where will you start?
Get rid of everything and start again, basically.
The kitchen and bathroom are disgusting.
The trees at the front need to go.
Why get rid of the trees? That gives you privacy.
-I think it's too dark.
-I think once you've painted this space,
once you've painted the window frames and given yourself some light and airy reflective colour,
you'll be so surprised at how it's not dark.
It depends on the cost. If it's £500 to cut them down, the trees will stay!
And YOU can cut them down!
We're doing nothing. We've decided that.
I believe in getting people to do things who know what they're doing. And we don't know.
So who's going to be doing all the dirty work for you?
I work at the golf club, and so does our builder, our decorator,
our plumber, our gardener.
When the sun's shining there won't be anybody here cos they'll all be playing golf
and when it rains they'll crack on here.
Christine, you'll have to pray for rain, chilly weather,
-so that some of the boys are here.
-Released for renovations only!
It's not often people rely on rain,
but if it doesn't come, this will be a "fairway" to ever getting finished!
Let alone with their four to six week time scale, and that's not all that's ambitious!
-What's your budget?
-We started off thinking it was going to be about 5,000.
-We then raised it up to about eight. So eight to ten.
Wait, I need to go through this with you. That does worry me.
Eight to ten thousand for a new kitchen, new bathroom,
and you've got to pay all your guys.
I run the golf club so if they want a free game in exchange for painting a radiator, then fine!
There's ways round it.
I'm going to hold you to that! I want to know exactly every penny you spend
-because if you do that on that budget, I'll be very impressed.
-So will we!
Let's hope the sun doesn't shine until Christine and Dave's golfing team have finished the work!
Because there is a lot of work to do here and I hope the pair realise this.
Join me later to see if the refurb is below par or a hole in one!
Coming up, this flat in west London turns out to be much less simple than it seemed.
Will they turn it from a no-brainer into a bit of a head-scratcher?
In Kent, did Christine and Dave's hands-off approach pose more questions than answers?
You're wondering how are they doing and would they be finished in time.
But first, did Suzanne manage to make light work of this dark property?
It was like a dungeon down there. It was cold and miserable.
We're back in Bowdon in Cheshire
where Suzanne, who's only recently turned to property developing purchased this period house
It has potential in spades. Holding her hand was boyfriend David
whose job was bound to come in handy.
Suzanne, convenient to hook up with a kitchen designer!
-Was there a plan there?
-No, absolutely not, no.
No plan. He's just got to prove himself now!
20 months later, did David live up to expectations?
And did Suzanne manage to take this tired interior
to a greater place she could call home?
Wow is not the word!
Suzanne has done an absolutely incredible job here.
Every room in the house has been cleared out and transformed
into something stunning and special.
The hidden gem here was the dark and dingy basement
which now looks anything but.
But the heart of the home and the place where David would be put to the test
was the kitchen.
Well, the biggest design decision was actually to use a central island
and to use the bi-folding doors and eliminate
the window and units which were going round in a U-shape up to there.
Once we'd decided that, then everything else fell into place.
Design-wise it all fits together with a beautiful view onto the patio.
David isn't moving in yet
but it sounds like Suzanne would have had a tough job on this mega project without him.
It was great working with David.
He helped me tremendously throughout the whole project.
He was always at the end of the phone when I had problems
which was probably 24/7.
With the kitchen he was very patient
and I absolutely love my kitchen, I really do.
It's exactly what I wanted. Not too many gadgets, not over the top,
not flashy. I love the oak and the simplicity of it.
It works really well and there's lots of storage and it's turned out exactly how I envisaged it.
She certainly needed to be looking through potential goggles when she first saw this place.
It was a very big mess, derelict, smelly.
But it had the most amazing charm when I first approached the house.
The double-fronted Victorian house with a certain charm and I knew when I walked in I wanted to buy it.
But what nobody saw on first viewing was that the cellar had not three but four rooms.
So after lowering the floor to give the extra headroom required,
Suzanne set to work on maximising the space.
It was like a dungeon down there.
It was cold and miserable and the head height was 1,900.
I transformed it to 2.4 metres so it feels very spacey now downstairs.
I've also added side windows to the side elevation of the house
and created a bedroom there which never existed before. It was very exciting!
With all the amazing work done here, was Suzanne able to stick to her timescale?
The timescale was expected to be four months
and it took about ten months from the start of the build to the end of the build,
although it was four or five months to get certain planning permission
with plans drawn up, et cetera, et cetera.
As this property was purchased as a home rather than an investment,
it was well worth taking the extra time to make everything perfect.
But perfection costs money.
The original budget was 60 to 70 and I spent 200,000.
But I got a better spec of house.
Everything that I've put into the house, certainly it's a great investment for me.
We invited two local estate agents along
to hear their thoughts on Suzanne's new home.
I think it's a fantastic house.
The work they've done sets it apart from a lot of other properties in this price range.
I think it's wonderful, having seen what it was like originally.
It's been positively transformed
from a very, rather tired, Victorian house
into a stunning contemporary house and it works really well.
It's very striking and it's quite rare to find a house at this price point
that's been specified to this level.
Suzanne purchased this property at auction for 357,000
and spent £200,000 on the work
taking her total outlay to 557,000.
If she considered selling, would she get her money back?
I would put this on the market for a figure just under £600,000
I would put it on at a figure of around £650,000.
I'm delighted with that. I bought this for my home.
I intend to stay here for a very long time.
I'm really pleased with the valuation.
Those valuations would give Suzanne a potential pre-tax profit
of between 38 and £93,000, minus the usual selling expenses.
And if she was thinking of going down the rental route?
Just under £2,000, at 1,950.
I'd be looking at a rental of £1,950 per calendar month.
That's probably what I'd have guessed it would be. But I don't intend to rent it out!
And I can't blame her.
She really has created something spectacular here.
I wouldn't want to leave it, either, and as they say, there's no place like home!
I love it all.
It absolutely feels like home.
I feel for the last five years I've rented
so I've built this house really.
I've put so much into it, every finest detail,
and so it really does feel like it's mine.
# As the winter winds
# Litter London with lonely hearts
# The warmth in your eyes swept me into your arms. #
This is Hammersmith in west London.
Affluent, desirable, convenient and - you guessed it - expensive!
Still, I reckon if I look hard enough, there may still be a property bargain
lurking under the snow ready to thaw out any frozen bank accounts!
This really is a prime London location.
Hammersmith tube just ten minutes' walk, the river a short stroll
and a Michelin-starred restaurant on your doorstep.
It probably comes as no surprise that property prices round here
may well make you see stars!
£245,000 was the guide price for a one-bed flat in need of work.
The property is on the first floor of this attractive Victorian terrace
on a lovely street just steps from the shops.
But for your 245,000, you don't get any outside space
so it's what's on the inside that counts.
You don't have to venture too far inside
to see that it's in a shoddy old state.
At least things like carpets have been removed so that'll save a bit of time.
A tiny little bathroom definitely in need of a good seeing to.
A good-sized bedroom, although there is only one bedroom.
It would be nice if there was a feature fireplace.
Worse than that, though, is the kitchen.
That is microscopic. But I have a solution to that.
But through into a really good-sized room.
The main living room. Big windows,
lots of light. Again, I'd like to see a feature fireplace. But not a bad-sized space.
The solution to the problem is take out this wall
to create a kitchen/living room area.
That's very acceptable round here. It would totally change the feel of the flat.
It wouldn't be hard to bring this place back to life.
There are a few cracks lurking here and there,
but I think they're most likely to be superficial. However,
as with any purchase, I advise getting a surveyor's expert opinion.
It has wooden floors, so you could sand them down to bring back some character.
Open up that kitchen, put some colour on the walls,
replace the bathroom and it's sorted. That's it, then. Or is it?
So you don't get a garden for your 245,000
but what you do get is that!
It's a loft hatch and above it is a loft.
And that is potential for adding on an extra bedroom.
You'd have to go through planning
and get consent of the freeholder
but by adding an extra bedroom up there,
you could add on about £100,000 to the value of this place.
I think it's worth the effort, don't you?
You wouldn't just be increasing the space.
Making this into a two-bedroom puts it into a whole new league of potential buyers
and appealing to the widest market possible is the key to successful selling.
But just as things are looking up,
the small print rears its ugly head!
You always get that sinking feeling
when you see a clause or a covenant attached to the purchase of a property.
But this one takes the biscuit!
In the auction catalogue, it states that "The seller of this property
"cannot sell the property to a purchaser who intends to occupy it
"as his or her principal home."
Wow! In English, that means if you buy it, you can't live in it.
It's something councils are introducing to do with how they account for the sale.
Whatever the reason, it basically means that whoever buys this
can rent it out,
or if they do it up, they can sell it on to another person
and that clause is then nullified.
Either way, if you missed that,
it would be a very nasty shock.
Well, it's a strange one, but it just goes to show
how important it is to do your research.
And there are more shocks to come.
The service charge for this place is - wait for it - £8,000 a year!
So a whopping £666 a month! I think I need to sit down!
We asked a local estate agent what he thought of this pickle of a property.
First impressions are it needs a bit of work. It's very well located.
It's an affluent part of London.
You'd see houses for a family in the region of £1.2 million.
You'd also see first-time buyer flats at around £250,000.
Such as this one with its guide price of 245,000.
The potential here is that you would extend up into the loft,
create a new top floor.
If you were lucky enough to incorporate a bathroom,
you could get a good two-bed, two-bathroom property.
How could these changes affect the figures?
Value today, you'd be looking in the region of £250,000 in current condition.
If it was upgraded as a one-bedroom I'd expect to achieve in the region of £300,000.
As a two-bedroom, I'd look to achieve £450,000.
Wow, that's some jump!
What about rental figures?
You'd be able to rent this out for 1,200 to £1,300 per calendar month.
If this property came to the market as a two-bed,
I'd see it achieving £1,600 per calendar month.
Well, this is a classic auction property.
It teases you with an attractive guide price and the promise of quick profit
but scratch the surface and it's not quite that simple.
That restrictive clause and the huge service charge
turn it from a no-brainer into a bit of a head-scratcher.
Still, I think there are profits to be made.
Let's see who fancied it when it went under the hammer.
Where would you like to start?
200. Thanks(!) 205.
Yeah? 227? MOUTHS
Bidding continued apace for this particular property.
We rejoin as it reached 276,000.
279 sitting down.
279 first time. Second time.
Third and last time. Have you all done?
Sold 279. Well bought.
Successful with their £279,000 bid
were local married couple John and Lisa.
Since we know this place can't be for them to move into,
I was keen to find out why they wanted to get their hands on it.
-John, Lisa. Lovely to meet you. Thanks for coming out in the cold!
-It sure is!
-Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.
-This is a first one for us.
I've done it for a living for 20 years and Lisa wanted to do something with me.
-So I said, "Why not do something together and go to the auction?"
-What do you do when you're not doing this?
-Look after the kids. Three of those.
Bit busy. Also I was a freelance journalist and I've taken time out to spend with the kids.
And I help John with his business, so bits and pieces, really.
-You like the idea of property developing?
-Now the kids are a bit older
and I've watched John do what he's doing
and watching TV programmes that are all the rage,
I thought, "Maybe it's something I can learn about and get into."
Tell me more about what you do, John.
I build houses for very rich people.
A couple I've just built in Hampstead, one just sold for 44 million!
Yes! 15,000 square feet and the most expensive house in Hampstead.
We built another one in St John's Wood that just sold for 31 million.
So I'm pretty good at what I do - I hope I am, anyway -
so I'm downgrading to this one-bedroom flat
and hopefully it won't be too much hassle!
So, yeah, it's exciting. I'm looking forward to it
and it's for ourselves, so I don't have to answer to clients or anything.
That's the key to this project for John and Lisa. Something small
in relative terms for them to get stuck into.
But when it came to auction day, it very nearly wasn't this place.
I had a budget at a point of where I wasn't going to go over.
It was 280,000.
-That's what the budget was.
That's what the budget was. So everything we'd looked at previously went over by ten, 20%
than anything we'd done.
So I wasn't expecting to win it. When we did, I was shocked!
And I had to go and write a cheque out as well!
It was first-time nerves and it was adrenaline.
It was very good, very exciting.
Yeah, very happy.
So let's talk about the potential for this place. The numbers, the profit.
It really is extraordinary, isn't it?
Apparently, a one-bed sells at quite a good price
but it really leaps up if you can turn it into a two-bed.
That's the reason why we thought this would be perfect. Two-bed really adds value to it.
It certainly does.
John and Lisa plan to convert that fantastic loft space
into a second bedroom and bathroom and bring the rest of the property up to date
with a few original features thrown in. I like the sound of that.
Their provisional budget is £53,000.
They aim to complete the work in under four months then sell the property on.
But there's one last thing that's bothering me.
Now, there is a big service charge, isn't there?
A lot of that was to do with the roof,
which was a pretty high price to replace the roof.
So we were aware of that and we can do it cheaper.
-It's not cheaper.
With the loft conversion, half the room is a mansard
so it's going to be renewed anyway.
-The front half is shared costs with below.
-That should cut most of the service charge anyway.
Also I've spoken to the owner below
and we're going to approach to buy the freehold as well.
So to sell the property with the freehold is more attractive, bringing more buyers in.
The council is going to give us a price.
They seem to have covered every angle.
Isn't it great when you've got an expert on hand?
With John's experience,
I think giving this place the high-tech and high-spec finish it deserves
won't be a problem.
But will they sort out the issues regarding the service charge
and will they manage to sell in this frosty climate?
Find out later in the show.
There's been plenty of time for our buyers to have started work on their properties.
But have they actually done anything
or have they been beset by problems?
Time is money. Have they made any or just lost out?
Let's go back and find out.
We're going back to Gravesend in Kent
where golf club secretary David and singing teacher wife Christine
purchased this three-bed semi for 137,000.
This was going to be their first development project.
But they'd taken tips from a very reliable source!
We've based all our research on Homes Under The Hammer
-because we are sadly big fans of the show.
-I'm happy to hear that!
We've watched it quite a lot and we thought it would be great to have a go.
So we had a go!
Hopefully, they were watching carefully!
This property may have been good and solid,
but inside it required everything from new heating to desperately needed decor.
So have they done it all in the three months since we last saw them?
After clearing everything out of the property,
Christine and David re-plumbed, rewired,
sorted out the windows and radiators and decorated it from top to toe.
We all know that two of the major selling features of a property
are the kitchen and bathroom. So what did they do with those?
So everything here needed replacing. The cupboards were really awful. So everything was ripped out.
Then we decided what to replace it with.
It's easier to keep things where they are, like the sink and the plumbing, as much as possible.
Our builder selected the best units he could.
They're good strong units that will hopefully last for ever.
So it was a case of getting rid of all the rubbish,
tiling it and painting it so it's lighter and brighter. Good flooring.
We're really pleased with the results.
I'm not surprised. This looks so much fresher than before.
Let's hope the bathroom follows suit!
We've done a few things in here.
We stripped all the old suite out
and gone for a nice plain white neutral suite.
Took the shower cabinet out, which was disgusting, and replaced with an on-the-wall shower.
New tiling, accent tiles on the walls. Towel rail.
New flooring. It looks a million times better.
Dave and Christine have also tidied up the back garden
by painting the fences, repairing parts of the patio
and trimming the lawn.
In the front garden, I liked the fact that the trees gave privacy.
But David thought they made the property too dark.
Lucy suggested we keep the trees.
We were going to get rid of them to bring more light in.
But it was a couple of days' work and a four-figure sum to get rid of them.
We decided that wasn't cost-effective.
Especially given their planned budget
of just eight to 10,000,
which as I told them at the time was mighty ambitious!
About 12.5 in total, it's cost us.
We could have spent a lot more, but we've tried to do the house to a budget.
We've done the minimum, but to a good standard.
It looks great. So much better now.
We're quite pleased with the results.
They'd also hoped to get the work completed in six weeks.
It's taken a couple of months from start to finish.
It wasn't helped by the fact that a lot of our guys went on a golfing holiday for a week!
But once back, they had renewed enthusiasm
and they got on and got the job done in a reasonable frame of time.
It took a little bit longer than we anticipated.
Christine and David decided that as novices, they'd best leave the work to the experts
which occasionally was a challenge in itself!
You're always wondering how they're getting on, whether they'll be finished in time.
Not worried, but it's always on your mind.
It's been funny for me working at the golf club and seeing our builders turning up to play golf
and I'm, "Is that the time? Have you finished?"
But I never said it because I know they've done a day's work first.
They've gone that bit further and done that bit extra for us.
We'll use them again.
It sounds to me like the project has been a success overall.
We invited two estate agents to look at the property
and give us their take on it.
The main changes to this property since I saw it last
is that they've decorated throughout,
put in new kitchen, new bathroom, new carpets, so it's all refreshed.
Good first impressions.
Nice new carpet throughout, neutral walls.
A nice dining space and living room.
A good area close to local schools and shops.
Not too far away from Ebbsfleet, so it's 20 minutes into London, which is really popular.
Christine and David paid 137,000 at the auction
and the work set them back a further £12,500
making their total outlay £149,500.
Would they make their money back if they decided to sell?
I would say the resale value in the current market would be around £160,000
The resale value of this property would be £180,000.
-It's about what we thought.
We were looking at, at the time we bought it, about three months ago,
that when it was done up we thought about 170, didn't we, to sell.
We paid a bit more at the auction than we intended to, but that's fine. Pleased with that.
After spending a total of £149,500,
Christine and Dave could be looking at a pre-tax profit
of between 10,500 and £30,500,
minus the usual selling expenses.
The plan here was never to sell, though.
It was to refurbish, then rent it out.
I think the rental value of this property is around 750 to £800 per calendar month.
We would rent this property at £800 per calendar month.
That's pretty much what we were expecting.
But after it had all been done and I asked an estate agent to look at renting it,
he thought about 800, so we put it up for 850 and got 825.
-So we're really pleased.
So the house is already rented. At £825 per calendar month,
it's giving them a rental yield of over 6.5 per cent.
Christine and David have already bought their next property,
so it seems they've been bitten by the development bug!
This has worked out really well. We're pleased with the results.
-We've learned a lot.
-Learned loads of lessons.
Hopefully next time we'll make less mistakes. You never know.
Time to head back to affluent Hammersmith, west London,
where husband and wife John and Lisa purchased this one-bed first-floor flat for 279,000.
Small change compared to some prices in London.
I build houses for very rich people.
One I built in Hampstead has just sold for 44 million!
Yes! 15,000 square feet and the most expensive house in Hampstead!
So, working on a somewhat smaller scale here,
they set themselves the challenge of taking this place from tired to top-drawer.
We've come back six months on to find out how they've fared.
The property had a tiny kitchen and a wall begging to be knocked down, which they did.
The last time when you were here, you might remember there was a wall here, with a tiny kitchen.
So we've knocked the wall down
and it's really opened it up.
It's opened up the living area and made it look much more homely.
but still homely and a nice place to be rather than cramped. So it's lovely. I'm pleased with it.
But the biggest task here was to take the dark and dingy loft
and turn it into something special.
And it's a job very well done, by the look of things.
It's worked out really well, actually.
We didn't realise it was going to come to this size.
We've got double doors here and to get the ceiling height, we dropped the floor
to give more ceiling height.
We managed to get the en-suite shower and toilet in as well.
A big bonus, actually.
It's looking very fresh and a lot better than we originally thought.
Great as it looks and positive as he sounds now,
there was a nasty shock in store for them not long after completing on the flat.
We did have a bit of a problem.
We were talking about perhaps buying the freehold.
The people downstairs were interested as well.
Then we discovered that the loft didn't actually belong to us!
So that was a bit of a shock, to say the least!
I phoned to ask the solicitor why he didn't tell us!
Anyway, the demise of the loft we now own. We had to pay the council for the demise.
All in, they wanted an extra 30,000 on top of what we paid for the flat.
It was a shock.
We're the only ones up here and who else is going to use it?
But we were more cross that the solicitor didn't pick it up.
And a bit upset when he said, "You should have known, surely?"
You sort of think, "Well, no! We're asking your advice."
But we thought there's no point in worrying about it. We just had to get on.
We needed to do it as quickly as possible. And that's what we did.
That's the spirit! But there's definitely a lesson to be learned.
When purchasing a property, it's dangerous to assume anything.
Make sure you check the small print and if you're unsure of anything, ask questions.
Lisa had been hoping to take the reins here,
but you know what they say about the best-laid plans!
I was going to do a lot more than I did, but I got two new jobs come up
which I didn't want to turn down.
So I went on to do my own work
and left John to it cos he knows what he's doing!
-I'll do the next one!
-I don't know about that!
Surprises aside, it's good to hear they're not put off taking a property plunge again.
Their aim was a four-month timescale
and after two months to resolve the issues with the loft and to get planning permission,
the work did, in fact, take four months to complete.
But what about that £53,000 budget?
We've done well. Apart from the demise for the loft,
which was obviously 30,000,
the full conversion comes to 45,000, so we're 8,000 under budget.
We asked two estate agents to come to the property and give their assessment
on whether the couple will make their money back.
First impressions are good.
It's light, bright, a new finish.
They've done well with the space that they have.
It was a good idea to do the loft conversion to utilise the space
in the roof.
It will increase the overall square footage of the property as well as the value.
John and Lisa are undecided whether they should rent or sell.
What returns could they see for each option?
If you put this property on the rentals market, you'd achieve between 16 and £1,700 per month.
I'd expect this to achieve for rentals around £1,600 a month.
-Yes, that's the feedback we've been having.
A couple of people have said it could be more.
So we're fairly happy with that.
They purchased the property for 279,000 plus £30,000 to buy the loft.
With the work costing £45,000, that's a total spend of 354,000.
What could they make if they decided to sell?
This would achieve in the region of £400,000.
If you put this up for sale, you'd expect to achieve between 460 and £470,000.
-That's a big difference.
The offers that we've had are in the middle of that, anyway.
-It's about right.
I don't think that we would hold out for 460 or 470 if we're definitely going to sell.
But it's nice to know.
But also to have that middle ground as well is fine.
So they could be looking at a pre-tax profit
of anywhere between 46 and £116,000,
minus the usual selling expenses.
No wonder they're happy.
Would their top tip for success be team work?
-She does the research, I do the building. Works perfectly.
-No, we've had a good time together.
That's it for now. We'll have more auction stories to warn or inspire you next time!
-Make sure you join us then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Cheshire, a property in Gravesend, Kent and a flat in Hammersmith, west London. 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.