Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Cornwall, a 50s end-of-terrace in Wiltshire and a property in Swinton, Manchester.
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Hello. More and more people would love to have a property portfolio
and that doesn't have to be as grand as it sounds.
No. Even if you can raise a small sum, you can usually find something to buy.
And then you'll have your foot firmly on the property developing ladder.
But where do you get started? One good place - at the auction.
Well, because of the variety of property on offer,
auctions are an ideal place to go.
If you've done careful research and you've got your finances available,
you should be able to make a success of it.
So what inspired our buyers on today's show?
'In Cornwall, I find a house with an indoor garden.'
More signs of damp. Some very interesting mushroom things going on up there.
'It's a bad skin day for this 50s end-terrace in Wiltshire.'
Most mortgage lenders will regard this as a high-risk investment.
'And near Manchester, there's an intoxicating little number with a £20,000 guide price.'
There's no way it went for anything like as low as that. Or is there?
'All these properties have been sold at auctions and we'll find out who bought them
-'and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.'
'I've come to one of the most beautiful parts of the country, Cornwall,
'a county that usually conjures up images of sandy beaches and lapping sea.
'But I'm as far away from the coastline as you can get here.
'I'm in the town of Bodmin, which is equidistant from the north and south coasts.
'So no paddling for me today, then.
'It may not have the sea, but Bodmin has a busy little town centre
'and good commuter links to Newquay, Truro and Plymouth.'
Just a stone's throw from the centre of Bodmin is the property I'm here to see.
Not ideal that it is on such a busy road,
so double glazing is one of the first things I'll be looking out for.
This is it. I like the stonework on the outside.
Had a guide price of 70,000 quid, three bedrooms, let's take a look.
'From the front, the windows look reasonably new,
'but there really is a constant stream of traffic along here.
'With no front garden, either, you step straight off the pavement into this property,
'so there's nothing out here to buffer the sound.'
So, what's on offer?
Ooh! I love that door. Look at that! That bodes well.
It hasn't been taken away. Maybe there'll be more original features in the property like that glass.
Absolutely gorgeous. Front sitting room there. Big old fireplace.
Not quite as tasteful, I have to say. But play around with that. At least there is an open fire.
You've got your stairs up to your bedrooms. Through to the rear sitting room. Oh, dear.
Not liking the look of that. That's a bit of damp here.
All that paper's come off and it feels really damp on my hand.
Problems around this window which you'd need to sort.
And as usual, I'd be concerned that that's gone down into the floorboards and the joists perhaps.
But let's look at a positive for this room. Lovely fireplace.
# Don't give it away
# Get some cash for your trash, yeah
'So, although you do get a very nice fireplace,
'the main feature of this house is all the stuff that's been left here.
'Remember, when you buy a property at auction,
'you own everything that's left behind inside, as well.'
Ugh. Through to the kitchen, and I really don't like the fact that you come through this little corridor.
It feels very cramped. And when you get in here, the placement of this cupboard doesn't work either,
because it feels very claustrophobic.
The units I would say you could possibly salvage,
but probably best off trying to do something with this.
That is a very strange thing going on there. It takes up such an amount of space
and you've got a utility area beyond there.
Again in here, more signs of damp. Some very interesting mushroomy things going on up there.
Apart from that... Well, no, there is nothing particularly positive to say.
Erm, needs a bit of work.
'Those mushrooms are a sign that damp has been here for a while, which is quite worrying.
'Still, at least they're growing in the kitchen. Mushroom soup, anybody?
'On the up side, you have got space to knock through into the utility area
'and make the kitchen more spacious. I'd try and keep that downstairs loo, though. Always a bonus.'
Well, upstairs you've got bathroom and loo. It looks like the bathroom's had a little bit of work,
but I think you'd probably want to rip it all out and start again.
And there's an interesting landing thing going on here.
Bit of a waste of space. But that is going to be expensive to sort out.
Three bedrooms, though. Fairly small one there.
Second slightly larger one on the other side at the front
and then through to the rear of the property. I suppose this is your master bedroom. Not massive.
Reasonable double. I'm being slightly distracted by...
Over by the window, look. This is actually above that bit of damp downstairs.
I thought downstairs was bad, but...
It's really quite serious.
# Until you came
# It felt like my world was falling apart at the seams
'Anyway, moving on. Unfortunately, the back of the property
'seems to be in keeping with the rest of the place.
'It's fairly tatty and needs some TLC.
'There's a little courtyard and then, separated by a shared pathway,
'there's a small garden. If you can find it, that is.
'So, could you hit the bullseye with this three-bedroom house
'with its guide price of £70,000 plus?
'We asked a local estate agent to tell us more about it.'
The property could certainly benefit from some refreshment.
There has been some upkeep throughout the years, double glazing, gas central heating system.
The property may lend itself to subdivision, with its two accesses.
It's got a front door and there is access through the arch to the side.
'Sticking to the current layout, if the place was renovated to a decent standard,
'what could it sell on or rent out for?'
Resale value with this property would be approximately £125,000.
Once renovated, I'd expect it to achieve a rental income between £550 and £595 a month.
Well, look behind all the clutter and the mess and the damp
and I think there is a fairly pleasant property desperate to get out here.
It is still on the busy main road and it's going to take a lot of money to sort it.
But who fancied the opportunity? Let's find out when it went under the hammer.
I'm going to move on to Bodmin.
A three-bedroom mid-terraced townhouse.
What about starting at the guide price? £70,000.
Who's going to have a go at £70,000?
It's always worth a go. No-one bidding on this one? 65 here.
£66,000 on my left.
67, sir. 68. We're rolling now.
68. 69. £70,000.
71. You're in at 71.
71. £75,000 spoken. I'll go to 76 if it makes life easy for you.
78, sir? 78. Are you done?
Last chance at £78,000.
Back in at 79. I need 80 now.
79 and a half. 80. 80 and a half. 81.
500. 83. 500, new place.
£84,000. 500. I need 85.
Have to hurry you. £85,000 it is.
500. Yes or no? 86.
£86,000. Yours at 86.
500 to tempt the room.
Definitely finished on my left.
-Congratulations. Sold to the gentleman next to the lady in red.
Congratulations to you, sir.
'Sales engineer Mark and his wife Debbie bought the property for £86,000.
'I caught up with them to see what it was about this damp and messy house
'that put a smile on their faces.'
Debbie, Mark, lovely to meet you both. Congratulations.
Tell me why you wanted to take on this place.
Well, we think it's a good investment for our future
and hopefully we'll rent it for a few years and it'll accumulate a little bit of value.
-Debbie, what did you think when you first walked in?
-Oh, my God.
-What have I let myself in for?
But I think every house in our married life has been dirty.
We viewed it with the agent when we were looking at another property. We liked it
and put in an offer prior to the auction.
At the 11th hour, they decided that the property had to go to auction.
And did you end up paying less or more?
-We actually paid £1,500 less than we had agreed to pay previously.
-Wow! So that's a good result, then!
-Well, yeah, we liked it.
'Ha-ha! That's what's made them smile.
'That trip to the auction certainly paid off for these two.
'But there's a serious amount of work to be done here.'
So tell me what you're going to do to it to sort it out.
Well, as you can see, virtually everything.
The first thing is to clear it, get it stripped back and then get some guys in to look at the problems,
-work our way through it.
-There is quite a serious potential damp problem.
Well, not potential damp, definitely a damp problem. Do you have any ideas about what's causing that?
We think it's the guttering, which has come away from the roof,
so the water's coming straight down the wall and penetrating through.
-Hopefully that's the main problem.
-Talk me through exactly what you're going to do.
Initially, we were toying with converting it into flats.
But I don't think we will.
The time constraints and the additional costs
doesn't really stack up. It doesn't make a huge difference to the value of the property.
So I think we'll probably leave the layout pretty much as it is.
What about the kitchen? That's one room I think can definitely do with a bit of sorting out.
The kitchen, I'd like to look at knocking out the back wall,
if possible. But it's all down to cost. But it would make it a nice space.
At the moment, it's a little bit disjointed.
'I think that's definitely the right approach for this place - strip it all back.
'They want to keep their costs down, but I think a decent kitchen would be worth investing in
'as it can add a lot more appeal to a property.'
-So what kind of involvement are you going to be having in all this, Debbie?
-I'll be doing the cleaning,
the clearing out, rubbing down, painting. You name it, I'll be doing it.
-So you're both very much involved in a hands-on kind of way.
We're going to have to get a team of builders in, otherwise we'll still be here in two years' time!
So in terms of the costings you've got, what's the budget?
We're hoping to bring it in for about £15,000.
-But until you start getting into it, you don't know what you're going to uncover.
-What about timescales?
We said six months, didn't we?
I think it probably will be. I'd like to do it in a lot less,
-but realistically, probably four to six months.
What kind of experience have you got in property renovation?
No more than DIY skills. But we've been doing our own properties for a lot of years
and there's nothing that I wouldn't have a go at.
'It sounds as though Mark and Debbie make a good team,
'but I'm glad to hear they're getting the builders in to tackle the big jobs.
'Although they're stripping the house right back to its bare bones,
'they're taking care to retain those features which give the place its character.'
All the features we can keep, we'll definitely keep.
-The fireplaces and the stained glass, you've got to keep all those.
Good to hear that and congratulations and good luck with it.
-Look forward to seeing how you get on.
Well, lots of work for Debbie and Mark to do to sort this place out
and the problem with damp is, you really don't know how much damage has been done
until you start hacking off the plaster and looking underneath.
What's there? How will they get on?
You can find out later in the show.
In the Middle Ages, Chippenham was a centre for the wool trade.
Now it's still a popular and lively market town
within the so-called golden belt between London and Bristol.
It's well connected to both the capital and the West Country by rail and the M4 motorway.
The property I'm here to see is just over a mile from here.
'So a short journey from the town centre
'brings me to a quiet tree-lined street on the edge of Chippenham.'
So here it is, a three-bedroom semi with a garage to the front.
And it's got off-road parking.
The guide price, just £55,000.
Now, three-bed semis around here can go for at least three times that amount.
So why the low guide price?
I'm going to go inside and investigate.
'First impressions are that it looks OK and well-maintained from the outside.
'The windows are even double-glazed. So no issues there.'
So what's lying behind this front door? Well, I'm quite excited to find out.
Bit of character in here. I didn't think there would be.
It was built in the 50s, so they've got these lovely old doors.
You've got a rather slim kitchen, but these interesting 50s cabinets.
They're actually worth quite a bit of money. They're not very practical but they look good.
Really nice size lounge. Much bigger than I expected.
A little chimney breast over here. You could put a little fire in there.
But you can see whoever lived here has really taken a lot of care in this place.
It's in quite good condition considering.
Outside in the garden, straight away I can see there's an oil tank,
so this is obviously oil-fired central heating.
Not to everybody's taste. But a pretty garden. Look at that.
Somebody with green fingers would love to spend hours out there.
So overall, quite a bit of DIY needs to be done in this place.
It's terribly dated. But once done up to a really good standard,
I think it could be quite a cosy home in here.
'Yes, there may be just two main spaces downstairs,
'but when they're a good size lounge and serviceable kitchen with a utility area off it,
'well, I'm encouraged. There's no indication as to why the guide price was just £55,000.
'Maybe upstairs will give me more clues.'
It's actually quite spacious upstairs. You've got two doubles and a single.
But something I have noticed about this house. In every room everywhere, there are these.
Get them down, get rid of them, because they are a fire hazard.
# I'm on fire
'Ceiling tiles aside, upstairs is also in pretty good condition.
'It's all just a bit dated and could do with a spruce up.
'Also, the bathroom only has a shower, no bath.
'But I reckon you could reinstate one in here if that's what you'd prefer.'
Well, this house is OK inside, it just needs a cosmetic overhaul.
So why that low guide price?
Basically, this house is non-traditional construction
which means it's made of pre-cast concrete panels and reinforced with steel
rather than traditional bricks and mortar.
The problem with this type of property is that, over the years, the steel can corrode,
causing these concrete panels to crack.
This means most mortgage lenders will regard this as a high-risk investment.
Most won't lend, and if they do, they expect large deposits.
So because these houses are so hard to get mortgages on,
they're even harder to sell on.
# I've got you
# Under my skin
'The concrete skin on this house was used on over 24,000 houses
'which were built from 1953 onwards.
'It was a time when traditional building materials
'and skilled craftsmen were in short supply
'and concrete was a cheap solution.'
So what are the options here? Do a bit of refurbishment and you could just let this out,
getting a financial return that way. Or you could do remedial work,
basically replacing the exterior concrete panels with a brick skin, like this one over here.
Once done and with the correct certification, you should find it easier to get a mortgage.
'But it doesn't come cheap. It could cost up to £50,000.
'And that's not far short of the guide price for this house.
'So what does a local estate agent think of this property?
'Would it be financially worthwhile doing the remedial work?
'Would it increase the value here?'
The value of the property changes,
but usually it isn't a great increase on value
over the cost of actually doing those repair works.
So I think it's for the buyer that probably thinks they might be in the property for some time.
Or it could be a property that might be poorer condition than this one
where they would be doing quite a comprehensive refurbishment
and therefore there would be more money in it, so to speak.
'What would be the best approach as an investment?
'How could it do on the rental market?'
This property is a good subject for rental
and we would expect it to be between £600 and £625 per calendar month.
'What about the sale value once renovated?'
If it's just the tidy up without the full remedial work,
it'd probably be in the region of £100,000.
If you did the remedial work, then I would expect the value to increase to around £150,000.
So you've got a three-bed semi here with a concrete heart.
Did the non-standard construction put buyers off?
Let's find out when we head to auction.
Number 30, it's non-traditional, we know.
Three-bedroom house. Nice position. Where are we going to start?
£60,000. It's here to be sold.
60 I've got. Thank you very much. We'll go in twos. 62.
64. Got you. 66.
66. Against you. 68, sir, if you like. 68.
And somebody 70 at the back. 2 to you, sir.
72. 74 at the back.
76. 78 at the back if you like. 78, new blood.
78. 79, sir? 79 to you. OK.
I'll take 80 now. 81, sir?
81. And a half, sir.
And 2, sir. 2.
And a half. And 3. Got the hang of it now.
And a half. Yeah. 4.
4. And a half.
She'd love it. And a half.
£85,500 for the first time.
£85,500 for the second time.
-Shan't dwell. £85,500 for the last time.
Your number, sir, is...16.
'John and Lorraine made that successful bid of £85,500.
'They pitched up in their camper van to talk me through
'why they made the big decision to up sticks from Cornwall
'to be close to their family in Chippenham.'
# Closer, closer
We wanted to be in Chippenham to be near our son, who lives here, and the grandchildren.
-Has it been tough on you not being close to them for so many years?
-Yes, we miss out a lot.
Cornwall is quite a distance to just pop in the car and see them
when they're at school, something like that, doing a production.
-We've missed out lots.
-So have you guys sold your house in Cornwall?
-And where are you living at the moment?
-In the camper van.
-For how long?
-About eight weeks, I think.
So you've got this house now. You could move in straight away.
-We're going to park on the drive, live out of the van,
-do the destructive work...
-And then hopefully get some rooms ready,
like the bathroom, kitchen, one room to sleep in, and then take it from there.
# One step at a time, boy, just one step at a time
'So the idea is not to rush this.
'They'll live in the house for a while to get a sense of what they want to do with it.
'But Lorraine does have some plans already.'
-How would you like to improve this house?
-Er, put a patio there.
Patio doors, open it out onto the garden
so that you're sitting around, got a nice view into the garden.
I'd like to extend the kitchen a bit out, perhaps a dining room on the end and the other two rooms.
-But at the moment, it's just thinking about everything.
-And the bathroom.
Would you do the remedial work, like your neighbours, putting on the brick skin?
We're going to think about that. We got in touch with the company that does the bricks,
where they take off the concrete and all the rest of it, so we're looking into that.
-But we may not do it straight away.
-What is your budget?
-I think we've got to say
it's going to be 15 inside.
And if we clad it,
then we might have to go a lot more.
'Yes, with cladding costs as high as £50,000
'they may have to spend a whole lot more.
'So John may need to keep working for a little longer.'
-John, what do you do?
-I do bespoke leather-bound books.
I work for myself. I don't do massive quantities.
I've done a few fishing books,
I've done a couple of Harry Potter books for JK.
-When you say you do leather books, what do you actually do?
-I take the pages
that are sent to me, I hand sew them,
put them together, wrap them in leather, the boards,
and I do gold tooling on the inside
and raised bands and set caps with gilt edges, everything.
So are you still doing that? And where do you do that?
I do it in a unit in Cornwall at the moment, but there's a tin shed in the garden
and I'm going to be using that. Once we've cleaned it out
and get it set up, cos it is quite dry, that will be the new bindery.
'Actually, that's the perfect solution.
'So for this couple at least, it looks as though,
'despite the type of construction, this house is ideal.'
-Are you guys really excited about this?
-We are in a way.
-It's a rollercoaster.
It's just a rollercoaster at the moment. We're up, we're down.
-It'll be a love-hate relationship.
-Till we get it sorted.
-But we've got to get on with it.
-And then you'll love each other again.
-Without a doubt.
-That was never in doubt.
-We're joined at the hip.
-We've been married 38 years, haven't we?
So you can't really tell the difference, who does what.
John, what are you looking forward to the most here?
I'll be near my son. We'll be able to watch football together, won't we?
-He's just down the road.
-And you'll be looking after all the grandchildren!
-Well, one of them.
-Lots of games, lots of playing.
-Lots of fun.
Do you think you're going to live here for many years?
-This is it. This is our forever home.
-This is it, I think.
-We've got to make it work.
-So you've spent £85,500 really wisely, haven't you?
# This is it
# Oh, this time I know it's the real thing
'So for now, John and Lorraine begin the task
'of turning this house into their home.'
# This is it
For most, this concrete construction would be viewed as a problem property.
But for John and Lorraine, well, it offers an affordable way
for them to buy somewhere to live close to their family.
And compared to a camper van, well, this provides pretty spacious accommodation.
For this lovely couple, it's a home for life. How nice is that?
Join me later in the programme and you can find out how they get on.
'Coming up, in Swinton near Manchester, I meet a house with a fight on its hands.'
Somebody's obviously tried to break in, nick whatever's in here I presume.
'In Wiltshire, Lorraine and John are loving their new home.'
-We couldn't leave it now. It's lovely.
-Well, we could. Someone else would have to finish it.
'But first, we return to Bodmin in Cornwall
'to find out if all that stuff was covering up a house of horrors.'
The real nasties we knew about. The main problem was the damp.
'We're back in Bodmin, slap-bang in the heart of Cornwall,
'to see if sales agent Mark and his wife Debbie
'have managed to dry out a soggy mid-terrace.
'Inside, the house was very dated and neglected.
'Every room had mould of some kind and the building was riddled with damp.
'It was also full of the previous inhabitants' belongings.
'And with only DIY skills, Mark and Debbie knew
'they'd have to draft in professionals to tackle the building's bigger problems.'
To deal with the major work, we'll have to get a team of builders in.
Otherwise we'll still be here in two years' time.
'The couple bought this three-bed mid-terrace for £86,000
'and planned to spend £15,000 on renovation work.
'They thought it would take them between four and six months to get it ready for sale or let.
'We've come back seven months later
'to see if Mark and Debbie have banished the damp and the mould and, of course, all that stuff.'
# Got the love, got the love
'Out front, things are looking good.
'And round the back, it's goodbye to stained and cracked render
'and hello to a spick and span patio and garden.'
# Got the love, got the love
'They've scrubbed, scoured and cleared this house.
# You've got to make it work on you
Well, I think you can see, everything has virtually changed.
Plasterwork, paintwork, just everything.
I think we were lucky, because I had the house surveyed,
so the real nasties we knew about.
And the main problem was the damp caused by the guttering down the back walls and the kitchen.
'Though the kitchen was a dark, narrow and mouldy extension,
'now it's bright, fresh, clean and mould-free.
'I had suggested knocking down a wall or two to open it up as a dining-kitchen,
'but fixing the fabric of this house took all the budget that Mark and Debbie had.'
In this room, we've had a fireplace there, which we took out.
We were going to knock it down, but we found it so expensive,
so we used the space to put a double oven in.
In here, we've boxed the boiler in,
which I thought made a nice little nifty idea.
The toilet, we knocked the wall down and did it better.
Utility room, a better overlooking window.
Tiles right through. Just looking nice.
'The biggest problem with this house, however, was the damp.
'Throughout the back, there was black mould and peeling paper.
# I got a house
# That leaks
To address the damp issues, we had the back of the house hacked off,
re-rendered, and then got it dry.
'Upstairs, some improvements had already been started in the large family bathroom,
'but Mark and Debbie spotted a better layout
'and now the separate shower no longer blocks the small second window.
'The three bedrooms have been reclaimed from under the piles and piles of furniture and knick-knacks
'and, of course, from the damp and mould. True to their word,
'Mark and Debbie have lovingly restored as many of the original features as they could.'
Well, as you can see, we've put in the new Victorian fireplace,
which we picked up online, but it's an original one.
And then completely new ceiling.
And outside, to cure the damp problem we had down this wall,
new fascias, gutterings, and that's really cured the problem.
'Well, it took seven months, but have the couple done enough
'to this mid-terrace to save it from the elements?
'We asked two local property experts for their opinions.'
I think the changes that have been made to the property are superb.
They really have enhanced it, really brought it up to the modern day
but still retained an awful lot of its original character and charm.
I love the mix of the modern with the old. The kitchen and bathroom are fitted to a modern standard.
Very impressed. They've done a wonderful job with the house.
It's important to keep the period features in a house like this.
So many people take them away and destroy the soul of a house.
They've done it well. A lot of people prefer this
to the bland finish, if I dare say, of a lot of modern houses.
'They bought the property for £86,000 and completed the renovation work for £18,000,
'bringing their total outlay to £104,000.
'It's time to find out what the estate agent think it could sell for.'
I would put this property to the market at £129,950
with the stamp duty level of £125,000 in mind.
I think that we would recommend an asking price of £125,000
to take possible offers as low as 120 but no less.
'Those valuations would give them a profit of between £16,000 and just under £26,000
'before costs and expenses.'
That's pretty much where we thought the property would be.
And I'd like to get the 125 for the property if we decide to sell it.
'What do the property experts estimate the rental values are for this terraced house?'
If the property was offered in the rental market,
I think that it would achieve between £600 and £625 per calendar month.
I would expect it to achieve between £585 and £600 per calendar month.
However, it is a particularly nice finish and really up to modern standards,
so could possibly eclipse £600 a month, perhaps £615, £620.
I think that's broadly in line with what we expected for the position of the property.
-So, yeah, it's good. Happy with that.
'But for Mark and Debbie, it's not just about the value they've added to the property.'
I think it's very satisfying to take a property that was in a right old mess
and turn it into something that makes a nice family home.
I agree with that.
'I'm just three miles from Manchester City Centre in the town of Swinton.
'The name is thought to derive from "town of swine".
'So no prizes for guessing that there may have been a pig or two around here at some point.
'There are plenty of shops, two railways stations and motorways just a couple of miles away.'
The property I'm here to see is right opposite the park, which is nice.
Not so potentially good is the fact that you're literally right next to the pub
and on the side of this very busy main road,
so a few issues with noise, for sure.
Still, neither of those things really explain the guide price,
which was just £20,000. For a two-bed terrace?
Sounds ridiculous. It certainly doesn't look too bad from the outside. Let's look inside.
Well, I can see one simple solution to the problem straight away,
and that is put a double-glazed front door in place.
There's double glazing in the rest of the house, which clearly is necessary.
I might even think about treble glazing. But come through there into the main body of the house down here
and you've got a nice big space. Lots of light coming into this room.
It's been knocked through at some stage, so you've got a living/dining room area.
Central heating, that doesn't look too old. So not a bad start. Let's find the kitchen.
# Here in my pocket
# I got the story of the blues
'Did I mention that they were very keen on blue when they painted this house? Perhaps a shade too keen.'
Well, the first thing that strikes you, it doesn't look to be in too bad condition, to be honest.
Nice reasonably new units.
Certainly if you were thinking about renting this place out, perfectly adequate. Just need tidying up.
But I have to say, overriding that, as soon as you come in here, you notice this.
It seems that, well,
the rear door frame has been kicked out.
I say that because I understand this has happened in between exchange of contracts and completion.
Somebody's obviously tried to break in,
nick whatever's in here I presume. An interesting point.
You as the purchaser are responsible for the house from exchange of contracts,
so it's really important, if you do buy a property at auction, that you get insurance on the property
from the moment exchange of contracts takes place. That way they pay for this damage, not you.
# Call the cops
'That is unfortunate. But with every negative, there can be a positive
'and it wouldn't take too much to kick this kitchen back into shape.
'Downstairs, there's a cellar of fairly generous proportions,
'adding further potential to this property. Time for a look upstairs.'
So, upstairs, and the layout pretty much as you might expect.
Toilet and bathroom at the top of the stairs, where it should be.
It looks to be in reasonable condition, so that's good news.
Bit more good news - double bedroom at the back here, which looks to be in good condition.
Nice landing. Big entry up into the loft,
so you might want to investigate whether or not you could expand
or maybe put some kind of an extension up there.
Then through into your second bedroom. Again, a good size.
Again, in good condition, and benefitting from lots of light coming in through the windows.
Of course, there is the problem with the road. But great news.
A lovely view out across to the park.
'It's just so lovely being across from the park, it kind of makes up for the busy road.
'But that about the pub?
'At the back of the property, the garden is right next door to the pub's beer garden.
'You could literally leap over the fence and join your friends for a pint.
'As for the backyard itself, it's a thin strip of land
'which wraps around two sides of the house.
'Clearly this could do with a little extra security to stop any more unwelcome visitors.
'But remember, the guide price for this property was only £20,000 plus.
'Let's see what a local estate agent has to say about it.
'And how accurate was the cheap as chips guide price?'
With the market as it is at the moment, it's a very awkward climate.
Quite possibly if the property's done up to a very high standard,
it may be able to get around £90,000.
But there are properties on side streets which are getting that figure.
So unfortunately, as this is on a main road,
it might only achieve around about 85.
'So you'd only make any money if you did manage to buy it for around that £20,000.
'What about renting it out?'
This property would be popular for the rental market. It would possibly achieve £450 per calendar month.
Well, clearly the location isn't ideal with the busy road and the proximity to the pub,
but really, there's not that much wrong with this property.
So £20,000 as a guide price?
There's no way it went for anything like as low as that. Or is there?
Let's find out when it went under the hammer.
So, lot number 143 in Swinton.
Vacant two-bedroom end-terrace house.
Start off with 20,000 for it? 20,000. 20 there.
25, then? 25 there.
30 at the back. 35.
40. 45 anywhere?
45, new bidder, right at the back. 50, sir?
50 I've got. 55 at the back. No.
At £50,000. Looking for 55.
55 here. So for the first time at £55,000, then.
56, right at the back. 57 in the aisle.
59 I have. 60 I need, sir. Shaking his head.
It's with you, sir, at £59,000. Centre aisle.
60, he's back. At £60,000 with you, sir, on my left.
First time. Second time. 61.
62, sir? No.
He's walking away. Gentleman centre aisle at £61,000, then.
First time at 61. Second time at 61. Gentleman centre aisle.
-Are we done? Yes, we are.
-It's your property, sir.
'So it sold for £61,000 to Dave, who bought it with a business partner.
'Well, it was always unlikely to go for just £20,000.
'Ex-racing driver Dave has had a varied career,
'from running a gym to his own property business.'
-Dave, lovely to meet you. Congratulations.
-Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.
I was looking for something that was in quite nice condition,
ready to renovate but without too much to do,
and we think we've hit lucky with this one. It's quite nice.
Right. Why this area? Are you familiar with this area?
I do have a bunch of rented properties just about 30 miles away,
so I'm reasonably familiar.
It's the sort of place where you can buy a bargain
and hopefully move it on fairly easily
without getting too involved with great big mortgages.
Down south, where I'm from, everything is £300,000.
Unless you've got a whole bucketload of cash, you can't do this sort of thing.
-So it's a lot easier to do with less money.
-Tell me what you're going to do to it to sort it out.
-I've only seen it briefly this morning. Before that, I only looked through windows.
You could see it was in reasonably good order. It's better than we thought. We hadn't seen the kitchen
and the bathroom, and they're quite decent, so there's a bit less work than we thought, so we're pleased.
-Why didn't you look at it before you bought it?
-It's really time.
It takes me four and a half hours to drive here from my place on a good day.
'Although Dave lives in London, he buys properties around this area and in Burnley
'and gets agents to look after them for him.
'So he tends not to look at them first. Dangerous.
'But surely he read the background information beforehand.'
What about the legal pack? Did you glance through that?
-No. MARTIN GASPS
I was ready to bid for at least six properties that day.
I looked that this one on the way to the auction in the morning.
By the time I got there, there was no time for that.
-There's been no nasty surprises at all.
-It could've been completely different, though.
Oh, yeah. I mean, you have to take a bit of a risk with these things.
If you do everything belt and braces as you go,
it will take you so much time and so much extra money and you'd lose in another way.
But it is something... I wouldn't say don't do it if you're not experienced,
but really make sure you learn about the pitfalls of what can go wrong if you're buying at auction beforehand.
'Wise words from this developer from the Big Smoke.
'So what's on his to-do list to sort out this property?'
Well, it's basically going to be completely redecorated.
The kitchen we're going to smarten up. We're not quite sure how, but the cupboards are in nice condition.
The bathroom is in very good condition. We're not sure about the tile design.
So we're going to think about that. It is very nicely tiled. It just wouldn't be our colour scheme.
So I'm going to get a couple of local agents to see how it would go down here,
my taste might be a little different from down south, and decide whether to do that.
But the rest of it, we'll spruce the property up. We don't understand why we've got damp staining,
because it's too high, in the middle of the house, so it can't be rising damp.
We need to look into that and find out why. It's going to be a light refurb.
-What do you anticipate spending?
-We're hoping to keep it below £5,000.
It's a matter of stripping the wallpaper, re-wallpapering it. We'll do carpets, front door.
-It's not a tremendously big spend.
-So what do you do when you're not doing this kind of thing?
Well, this is what I do with quite a large part of my time.
It's my main way of making money.
'When he's not buying property, former racing driver Dave
'is not exactly reaching for his pipe and slippers.'
I like to do unusual and amusing stunts and stuff.
Like I've got a milk crate.
-A milk crate. What's that?
-Literally a milk crate that they used to deliver milk in.
We put a metal sheet under it with some heat-proofing, attach it to the back of the car, I sit on it
-and I get towed behind that at high speed, like 120 miles an hour.
-On a milk crate?
-On a milk crate. I've been around Brands Hatch in a shopping trolley.
It was a bit of a miracle that we got Brands Hatch to let us to do it.
Brands Hatch own five circuits so we said, "Next year we want to do it on all the circuits".
They said it was too much trouble to organise. We were disappointed.
-We badly wanted to do it. I've still got plans to do some other circuits.
-I still have the trolley.
-Please don't try this at home.
Compared to that, restoring property is going to be a doddle, isn't it?
Well, when you say, "Did I take a risk in buying it?" I have got a bit of a risk-taker in me.
Lovely to talk to you. Good luck with it and we look forward to seeing how you get on.
Well, there you go. It just goes to prove, you never know the characters you are going to meet
on Homes Under The Hammer.
Is David completely off his trolley to buy this place? I don't think so.
You can find out how he gets on restoring it later in the show.
It's time to find out if our plucky buyers have made money from their investments.
Has all their hard work paid off?
Yes, time has passed. Let's go back and see what their properties look like now.
'We're back in Chippenham, Wiltshire to find out if book-binder John and his wife Lorraine
'have turned this concrete-covered semi into their new home.
'And did the move to be nearer to their children and grandchildren work out for them?
'Inside, the house was stuck in the 1950s.
'I liked some of the original doors and kitchen fittings,
'but not the polystyrene tiles on every single ceiling. A safety risk, apart from anything else.
'Outside, however, lay the biggest problem.
'A concrete skin was a cheap solution to post-war building.
'But it means that it's hard to get a mortgage. Removing it would cost around £50,000.
'Quite a dilemma for our home-buyers.'
We're going to think about it. We got in touch with a company that does the bricks,
you know, the full thing where they take off the concrete.
So we're looking into that. But we may not do it straight away.
'John and Lorraine bought the house for £85,500
'and plan to spend £15,000 on refurbishing the interior.
'They reckoned it would take them six months. We returned nine months later,
'to see if it's camping, glamping, or homestay.'
# Let's take it nice and easy
# It's gonna be so easy
'Well, the camper van is still there,
'and outside, the green painted concrete cladding is very much in evidence.
'Inside, however, there's a brand new bathroom.'
# What's your hurry
-# Relax and don't you worry
-'But it's not as far on as I hoped it would be.
'So, did the bespoke book-binder get into a bit of a bind himself?'
Well, we're partially living here, and we're partially living in Cornwall at the moment.
We are having to go down and bind the books down there when they come in, which is taking up a lot of time.
So we've had to do all that, so things have fallen out of schedule.
But hey, that's life, isn't it?
# Cos nice and easy
# Does it every time
'Well, that explains it. The book-binder had tomes to take care of,
'so their home slipped down the list of priorities.'
-We've just got to make it a bit more liveable.
-We couldn't leave it now. It's lovely.
Well, we could. Someone else would have to finish it.
'Since John and Lorraine plan to live here, they're in no particular race to get the house finished.
'They'd rather do it right than do it twice.
'There are huge implications for some of their decisions, so best not to rush them.'
We need to sort out the fireplace. We are thinking about putting a log burner in.
But we've had quotes for air heating and everything, really.
So it's making the big decisions next.
At the moment, everything is liveable. It works.
So why fix it if it's working?
'But the couple have not been sitting around binding books in Cornwall all that time.'
# Good times
Right, what we had to do in here was strip all the wallpaper off
and then have the ceiling done. We had a brand new ceiling put in.
Once we got the paper off, we realised that the walls were really bad,
so we had to fill, sand it right down, take it right back,
and then we could get it ready for wallpapering, wallpapered, brand new carpet.
And that's it. And we're hoping the whole house will look like this.
# Good times, good times, good times
'Upstairs, the three bedrooms are now smart, clean and ready to finish.
'I like John and Lorraine's attitude. It's very laid-back.
'But perhaps camper van living has made them a little bit too laid-back.'
Well, we were in within six weeks, which is what we planned, albeit camping out in here.
-We're still camping out here. We bring the mattress in out of the van. We camp in here.
We've got to be honest, we don't know when we'll be fully moved in.
Obviously, this has got to be done, the hall has to be done before we can start.
I mean, there's no point bringing all the stuff in and working round it.
-It would be pointless, wouldn't it?
-Yes, it's nice not having to move things around rooms.
So we think another couple of weeks and we'll be bringing our things up.
-Well, no, after the road trip.
-Oh, yeah, road trip.
# Don't fence me in
'So it's the lure of the open road which is making the schedule slip.
'But when you're in control of your own timetable
'and you don't mind roughing it a bit, your priorities change.'
I think the garden has taken up a bit of time.
We tried to resist the garden but we had to get out there. It was lovely.
We have put quite a few plants in the garden.
# Good life
# Full of fun seems to be the ideal
'The reason John and Lorraine came to Wiltshire was to be close to their family.'
-Very nice. It's lovely. It's wonderful.
-Yeah, we see them.
And Chippenham is great fun. We've always got festivals, lovely folk festivals,
so our social life and family life has taken precedence over the house, to be honest.
'But they have done quite a lot of work to the place. And I'm sure they'll finish it.
'How's the budget been going?'
-It's gone well, hasn't it?
-Yeah, we haven't spent £5,000.
And we've kept the other ten for the heating.
-So, we've still got a lot to play with.
We look for bargains. But who doesn't in the modern world?
-The bathroom suite we bought with taps, everything, all the fittings, everything.
-It was ex-display.
-150 quid. So we did quite well.
-Free delivery, as well. Not bad.
'John and Lorraine bought the house for £85,500,
'and so far, have only spent £5,000 on refurbishment.
'Bringing their total outlay to £90,500. It's time to find out
'what two local property experts think of their work so far.'
After having a look at the property, there are some good selling points.
I really like the sitting room. It's an excellent size.
I like the way it has an aspect onto the garden, which is also nice.
Yeah. Lots of good things.
Bedrooms and bathroom, absolutely fantastic. Bathroom a big improvement on what it was before.
Very nice finish in the bedrooms. So, yeah, good work so far.
What they're doing here to enhance the value
and make a comfortable home is spot on, really.
I don't think there's anything vastly that they can do to enhance the value.
Obviously, with it being non-traditional construction,
the brickwork skin is the thing that will change the value. But that comes at considerable cost, as well.
If these vendors are really looking for a home, they may not choose to do that.
'What value could this property have without doing the brick skin?'
Realistic sales price without the remedial work done I would estimate to be in the region of £100,000.
I would expect the sale value of this property without the brick skin
to be in the region of £95,000 to £100,000.
And with the brick skin, between £140,000 and £150,000.
'Those estimates mean John and Lorraine could make a profit
'of between just £4,500 and £9,500 before costs and expenses.'
-That's all right. That's more than what we paid for it.
I think we've got a lovely house for that price, haven't we?
-So there's no temptation there at all.
'What do they think of their very first time bidding at an auction?'
-This was a real bargain for us.
-I wouldn't do it again.
-Steep learning curve.
'We're back in Swinton near Manchester
'to see how crate-racing, stunt driver Dave is getting on
'with that end-of-terrace with its adjacent beer garden.
'Inside, the two-bedroom house was very dated and neglected.
'Every room needed redecoration. But although the kitchen had been under attack, the units had survived
'and Dave was not convinced that he needed to refit the kitchen and bathroom.'
The kitchen we're going to smarten up. Not quite sure how, but the cupboards are in nice condition.
The bathroom is in very good condition, we're not sure about the tile design.
-So we'll think about that.
-'Dave and his business partner bought this two-bedroom end-terrace
'for £61,000 and plan to spend £5,000 on redecorating.
'He thought it would take about a month.
'We've come back three months later to see if Dave has been intoxicated with the house
'or by the pub next door.
'Downstairs, Dave has banished the blues from the sitting room.
'This spacious room is now calm and welcoming.
'And all it took was a new carpet, some plaster and a lick of paint.
'True to his word, Dave's kept as much as he could throughout the house.'
The whole fireplace surround we kept the same.
But we've changed the fire and updated it to a modern-looking fire.
And just cleaned it up, really, because we like the surround and that.
And it just brings the room a little bit more up-to-date.
'I'm a fan of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" principle,
'but I would've refreshed the kitchen with new tiles and possibly a worktop,
'even if I kept the units.
'Upstairs, the two good-sized bedrooms are now less dated.
'Throughout the house there is a warm, neutral tone,
'which replaces the chill of the previous cold blue colour scheme.'
Well, before, it was very dated.
We haven't changed much, except for really the decor.
The bathroom is the same, the kitchen is the same, we haven't knocked down any walls or put any up.
It's really trying to change the look with the colour of the decorating,
putting some nicer carpets down, cos they were pretty horrible.
And just really spruce it up. Make it look like a nice, cared-for house.
# If it's good enough for you
# It's good enough for me
'The bathroom has a new tiled floor. But apart from that, it has stayed exactly the same.'
# If it's good enough for you
# It's good enough for me
'But Dave has spent cash on the fabric. Although it's mainly outside that has benefited.
'The whole of the exterior has been painted. And there's new guttering and a new front door.
'Dave even painted the next door neighbours' house for a really low rate,
'just to improve his own kerb appeal.
'But what about the other neighbour, the one with the beer garden?'
Well, we had a few minor problems, not in the house,
but my workman who was going to be up here working for me,
he does like his drink, and the pub is really nice and friendly. He spent pretty much all the time in the pub,
and he made some great friends but I didn't get any work done.
'But luckily for Dave, the publican's daughter had a builder for a boyfriend,
'and Mike was available to take over the work.'
I like to get on with work. I'm an early bird.
I like to get up early. I like to get my job done
so the client is happy with what I've done in that day.
I eat a lot, really. And go for a pint after work.
The pub is a distraction, as far as the price of the property.
It's not a good thing to have a pub next door. It's not noisy, the pub, you don't get any trouble.
It's such a friendly community here. I think a lot of people would be very happy here.
It's such a nice little house to live in.
'Dave and his business partner bought the property for £61,000
'and completed the renovation work for £5,000, bringing the total outlay to £66,000.
'Dave was keen to sell it on. So we asked two local property experts
'to give us their opinions.'
Finish-wise, if he was going to put some students in here for letting,
then, yes, it would be perfect.
But to sell on, he would need to touch it up a bit more.
Basically, I think everything has been done to a minimum standard.
I think the kitchen and the bathroom, in particular, are fairly dated.
I think, probably, for a first-time buyer,
they'd be looking at doing those things as a minimum.
'Not an over-enthusiastic response from the estate agents, then.
'So what do they think the property could sell for?'
If this property was being offered for sale,
I would envisage a maximum price of £75,000.
I could put this on the market for £75,000.
'Those valuations would give Dave and his partner a profit of £9,000
'before costs and expenses.'
OK. That's not very good, is it?
Not as much as we wanted.
'What about the rental values for the property?'
I think the maximum at the moment would be £450 per calendar month.
If this property was to be let,
I envisage that we'd achieve £475 per calendar month.
That's not bad. That's what we expected, although our first preference is to sell it.
It's going to be very easy to let. I've got a queue of people who would like to let it.
'So, since Dave may need to put his plans for a quick sale on hold,
'has he had his fingers burnt buying property up north?'
Not every one can work out exactly the way you want them.
And I think it'll be a very good rented property, anyway. In the long-term, I think it's a winner.
Well, we hope you've enjoyed the programme and perhaps got some inspiration from our buyers.
Yes, we will see you next time for more property updates from the front line.
-See you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a house in Cornwall, a 50s end-of-terrace in Wiltshire and a property in Swinton, Manchester.
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.