Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property by a busy road in Pleasley, Nottinghamshire; a mid-terrace in Poplar, east London; and a house in Carlisle.
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Welcome to Homes Under the Hammer.
Sometimes the property market's quiet.
Other times, it is positively booming.
Either way, you need to know what you're purchasing is going to be a good investment.
Yes. One way to do that is to nip down to the auctions
and buy your home under the hammer.
Well, it doesn't matter what kind of property you're looking for,
you should be able to find it at the auction.
So here's what our buyers spent their money on on today's programme.
In Pleasley, Nottinghamshire, it's back to school
for some driving lessons.
You're right by the side of this fairly busy dual carriageway.
I find a mid-terrace in Poplar, East London, with curve appeal.
I know I get excited, don't I? But look at this curved wall.
That's so nice.
And in Carlisle, there's a house that is clearly not all it is cracked up to be.
But I'd certainly want to hear from a structural engineer before I bought the place.
All of these properties have been sold at auctions
and we will find out who bought them and what they paid for them
-when they went under the hammer.
This is Pleasley in Nottinghamshire, which is close to both Mansfield and Chesterfield.
Coal was king here, but the local colliery closed in the early 1980s.
It's now a scheduled ancient monument and being developed into a mining heritage site.
You can actually see the colliery from the auction lot I'm viewing today.
Unlike many properties in this area,
it wasn't destined to house local miners.
Well, the property I'm here to see was built in the early 1900s
as the home for the headmaster of the local school.
It had a guide price of £60,000, which for a detached,
two-bedroomed house seems quite cheap.
You know what? From the outside,
it looks like you're getting a lot of house for the money.
I think I might have spotted the main reason for that very low guide price.
Well, the one down side as far as I can see with this house
is the fact that you're right by the side of this fairly busy dual carriageway.
So what can you do about that?
Well, first thing of all, there is a wall here,
but it's only - what - four foot high?
So I would straightaway put some kind of extension on this,
You can buy specialist panel that will get rid some of the sound,
but first of all, try garden panels and see what that does.
Make sure you get really big ones and hopefully that'll help.
In fact, you can erect a two-metre
or 6'7" boundary fence
without having to go through planning.
And fencing round the garden, most of which is at the front, will also make it more private.
But back to the property.
So what have we got?
Ooh, quite a nice, impressive kind of entrance here,
stairs up to the bedrooms. Look at this banister.
It doesn't look much at the moment because it's been covered in layers of white paint,
but strip that back - not the easiest of jobs but it would be absolutely beautiful.
A little bit of an entrance here, through to your front sitting room.
I love these big windows.
I have to say, windows potentially equals lots of noise from the road,
but at least somebody's tried to lose that by this double and treble glazing, in fact.
But it's a good size, lots of nice little features left here,
and just straightaway I'm beginning to feel this is a really good, solid house.
Although originally built for the headmaster, in more recent years,
this place housed the local school caretaker.
But when they moved out a year ago,
the house became surplus to requirements.
Funnily enough, the most disappointing room is the kitchen.
I'll come to that. It actually leads off this rear reception room
and maybe that could be a bit of a saviour to us.
But this is the kitchen, not very big at all,
especially if you're going to make this
into the beautiful family home it could become.
The units aren't bad, but... What's the options?
There's a strange little porch area at the back.
I would consider perhaps extending that slightly.
You could do that under permitted development rules
to maybe just extend the kitchen more that way,
take out that window, build a small single-storey extension.
The other option is to somehow integrate this room with that room,
maybe even make that the kitchen and this a utility.
Well, you'd lose a kind of loungey / sitting room area,
but you'd create a nice family living space.
That's what the house needs.
So upstairs, small landing. It's nice to have that anyway.
Then a very large bathroom.
That is suitable for a family. Lovely to see that.
Then just two bedrooms, but they're good-sized.
Double there and a double at the front.
But up here...yeah.
One of the things you'll definitely have to do before long,
central heating because these electric things,
blowers or storage radiators, they need replacing.
Over to the front of the property and...
Well, that's not too good - damp.
However, I don't think it's too serious.
I think it's more likely to be a bit of penetrating damp.
The house possibly not being lived in for a while
and it is actually a solid wall.
It may not look it from the outside, but there's a way of telling
and I'm going to show you.
If you look at the brickwork, if you notice,
the long way the bricks go in there
and the short end-on way the bricks go in.
Look at how many end-on bits there are.
Normally you'd get one at the end, but here they're all over the place.
There's one there. There's one there.
That is the clue that this is a solid wall.
It's called a Flemish design or a Flemish way of construction
and that's your clue and it could lead to damp problems. Just something to be aware of.
In older properties like this, solid walls are common and these are
much more likely to need a damp course
than modern-day cavity walls.
What does a local estate agent think of this place,
that had a guide price of £60,000?
Is it time for lines and detention, or is it top of the class?
There's a quite a lot of ways you could add value.
It requires a general scheme of modernisation -
new kitchen, new bathroom, new central-heating system.
That kind of thing.
But there's some nice old features to work with, put a modern spin on it and make a really nice house.
Worth a small kitchen extension. Nothing too great
because there's not an enormous outside space and if you do too big an extension
you're just reducing that amount further.
If it's a single storey, under permitted development
you can extend up to four meters at the rear of a detached property
without getting planning permission.
If the property is renovated to a good standard,
I could see this property on the market for £115,000 to £120,000.
Yes, there's a bit of damp to sort out
and yes, the kitchen could do with improving
and yes, in general it needs a bit of a tidying up,
but you've got a lot of house for the money.
Let's see who fancied it when it went under the hammer.
Lot 23, needs a bit of upgrading and improvement, ladies and gentlemen.
Start me where you like. 50.
£50,000, opening bid.
At £50,000, it's a low opener. 51 I've got.
At 51, 52.
52,000. 53 is bid. 54.
At £55,000, a disappointing price.
At 55,500. 56 on this side.
63 is bid.
65, sir. 65,000.
At £65,000, for the first time.
For the second time.
Third and last chance.
Sold at 65,000. Thank you.
The winning bid was made by Nottinghamshire couple
Chris and an extremely relieved Jane.
The husband-and-wife team bought their current house at auction
and this is their second purchase under the hammer.
I met them at the schoolhouse to hear what lessons they'd learnt.
Lovely to meet you both.
-Pleased to meet you.
A lot of house for the money.
Pretty much. What a bargain.
Is it a bargain around these parts or is this the sort of thing...?
It's pretty cheap - two-bed detached house.
You can't get a lot for £65,000.
-No, but it's really nice. Really solid.
-It's a good-built house.
-So why did you want to buy it?
It needed a lot of work doing to it. It suits us down to the ground.
-Tell me a bit more about you two.
-I'm a plumber.
My wife works for the Nottinghamshire Police.
We both like doing renovations.
Our last property was bought at auction and we've done that up.
Now we're selling that
and moving on to pastures new, which is this property.
-Is this for you, then?
-This is where we're going to live, yes.
The fairly busy road - is that an issue?
That's an issue. We're going to put up a six-foot fence
around the perimeter as of tomorrow
and then probably plant it with shrubs to deaden some of the noise.
It's not ideal, but we knew about the road.
Yeah. And you can always contemplate triple glazing.
'In fact, Jane and Chris didn't have plans to start another project so soon.
'They'd just put their bungalow on the market
'and hadn't even started looking, but then they spotted this property
'and managed to view it just three days before the auction.'
Did you start the mortgage process before you went to the auction?
No. Well, pretty much...
We begged, stole and borrowed with me mum and me cousin to do this for the deposit.
The family lent us some, well, all the money for the deposit.
And we rang up and had to do some additional borrowing over the phone
the night before the auction to get the full deposit together,
the 25% deposit for the mortgage and then we went to auction and bought.
You knew when you went to auction you could get a mortgage?
Kind of. The mortgage adviser knew we wanted a mortgage,
-but nothing was carved in stone.
You know that's really dangerous ground you were treading on there?
-Absolutely. We could lose our deposit.
-Yeah and more.
Blimey. Not a good idea, I'd just like to point out.
You need to get your finances in place before you go to the auction.
'Jane and Chris took a financial risk,
'but luckily for them, their mortgage was approved.
'Now they have just got to start the process
'of turning this old schoolmaster's house into a home.'
-What are you planning to do to it?
-I plan to take out this wall,
make it into one large living room, living / dining room,
extend the kitchen, given we get the bungalow sold,
new bathroom and redecorate.
What's the time scale for that in terms of what you are going to do?
A lot of it depends on the sale of the bungalow.
If it sells quickly, six months.
-And if it doesn't?
-A year, maybe.
-So you are reliant on your other place selling?
We have got a very small amount of money to get initial things done,
central heating, boundary fence.
The fence will be started tomorrow. The perimeter fence will probably take me two or three days
and central heating will be in before the end of the week.
What kind of budget have you got for the first part?
-Including putting central heating in?
-It will be tight.
-Best of luck.
Congratulations, you have got a lovely house.
I look forward to seeing how you get on sorting it out.
-Thank you very much, Martin.
-Good luck with it.
Well, Chris and Jane are clearly delighted with their new home
and absolutely quite right they should be.
Still, living in a property while you're doing it up
is never easy and when the budget is so tight,
I wonder if there are going to be difficult times ahead?
I hope not. You can find out how they get on later in the show.
Today's auction lot is in East London
in a place called Poplar, fantastic transport links,
good local amenities and affordable property attracts buyers and investors to this area
and with the average property costing £300,000,
popular Poplar is on my property radar.
# Red alert... #
'With Canary Wharf on the doorstep and fleets of buses available to take you here, there and everywhere,
'why wouldn't you consider this part of East London?'
The guide for today's auction lot was set at £185,000.
So let's have a look at it.
Well, here it is, it is a three-bed property.
It does look tired and dated from the outside,
but it does retain those beautiful Victorian features.
There is the original sash windows, you have got exposed brickwork here, really nice to see.
Let's go in and see what it is like on the inside.
'The housing stock in this area is varied
'and you can zip up through the years in one fell swoop,
'from the 1900s to the 1960s, but enough of flower power,
'let's get back to the property I'm actually here to view.'
Well, it's certainly a lot bigger on the inside.
It's quite surprising when you walk through a front door, you never know what you're going to see.
You've got a beautiful big old staircase there.
You can imagine what this will be like once it's painted. It is actually very welcoming.
I know I get excited, don't I? But look at this curved wall.
That's so nice and it looks amazing from out here as well.
This is the lounge.
You've got some interesting cornicing up there, which is quite nice.
I'm not sure about that,
I quite like the exposed brick work on the outside,
but I don't think it looks too hot on the inside.
I did check out that was a flat-roofed area above the bay
so I think a bit of water has been penetrating in through that,
I wouldn't worry too much about it, but I'd get it looked at.
You have this lovely window area.
Maybe you'd need to change these windows because they look old.
But a good room.
I'm sure this house has got a certain amount of character and I want to explore.
# In the sunshine of your love... #
'Its all very yellow here,
'but colours aside, the proportions are cracking
'and these two good-sized reception rooms
'could be knocked together to make a knockout downstairs area.'
There really is such wonderful space everywhere.
You've got lovely large windows in this room,
but no kitchen, which is what I would've expected in here.
You can see there is a really tatty old bathroom here
and it needs loads of attention, but a bit of information for you,
this property has been arranged as two flats,
but it's not been legally converted
so if you wanted to keep the original layout as two flats,
you would have to apply for planning permission.
It will probably be more financially profitable,
but I would love to get my hands on this place and turn it into a family home.
It could look absolutely stunning with the old period features that are left here,
but I know it's not the most lucrative of options.
'There's plenty of unused space outside
'so you could think about extending there
'if you wanted to gain extra room for a ground-floor flat.
'There's a fair-sized garden at the back, but there's one more thing that is well proportioned -
'this imposing wall, it's huge
'but does shield you from the busy A13, so it serves a purpose.
'Back inside and up the yellow stairs to the first floor...'
Aha! So here's the kitchen.
Nothing in this house is where you'd expect it to be.
So let's think about the money aspect.
What kind of return could you expect here?
The big money spinner is of course conversion.
If you were able to obtain permission to legally call these two flats,
then you could sell them on for almost £200,000 apiece.
The less lucrative option, as I said downstairs,
would be to refurbish this and sell on as a three-bed house.
The figures are not as appealing, but there is still money to be made
if you do stick to that strict budget.
'A family home could achieve £300,000 top whack,
'but with a guide price of 185,000,
'your biggest profit here would clearly some from flats.'
# Sunshine came softly through my window today... #
'On this floor, the whacky layout continues
'so leading off from the kitchen, there's the shower room and toilet. Lovely.
'As well as the kitchen with adjoining shower,
'there are two other really good-sized rooms on this level.
'With a guide price of £185,000,
'for a house from which you can see the financial area of the City,
'what does an estate agent make of it?'
The property obviously requires a lot of work,
besides the aesthetics, which need to be addressed
and the layout of the property is not of any use to anyone at the moment.
'What about the fact that this mid-terrace house
'is very nearly two flats, but not quite?'
Because they have had no planning permission when they have converted the units,
in order to have them used as two separate units,
planning permission must first be obtained,
then the building regulations necessary to go with it must also be taken in place.
# And it was all yellow... #
I think you'll agree there is some pluses and minuses with this property.
It's tired and dated, but there's certainly money to be made here,
especially if you're able to secure the planning
for two one-bedroom flats.
Let's see who fancied this opportunity as we go to auction.
So move on to lot 56, mid-terraced two-storey house,
arranged as two non-self-contained flats.
170, 170, right at the back.
170, 175, 180,
185, another spot.
185, 190, 195, 200,
210, 210, 211 anywhere? 211, 212,
215, 216, 217?
218, 219, 220,
221, 221, first time, second time,
223 by the door, yeah?
224 at the back, 225,
226, new spot, 226, 227,
230, 230, 231, 230 at the back.
First time, second time,
third and last time. Have you all done?
'Well, we missed him at the auction,
'but caught up with Steve, the successful bidder at his new purchase.
'He runs his own painting and decorating firm
'and Martin has met him on the show before.
'He purchased a substantial property in Hastings and transformed it.
'Will he perform the same magic on this one?'
Here you are buying another house. It's obviously going well?
It's been going good.
So tell us about why you want to buy this house in Poplar?
When I come round to look at it, it was down as two flats.
But it is sort of illegal, but there is two meters in for each.
I found out it was shared with just the bathroom
and I took a gamble that I would get the planning
so I could make it into two legal one-bedroom luxury flats,
because the profit is a little bit more than keeping it as a three-bedroom.
It is a gamble really that I get the planning.
If you don't get planning permission for two flats,
will you be happy to keep this as a family home
-and convert it into a family home?
-That's what we will do.
-It won't be a lucrative, though, will it?
-We'll still make profit on the house...
we'll still the value of return that we wanted.
How much research have you done? Have you spoken to the council?
Have you looked up and down the road to see how many houses have done that?
There is at least five that have been converted. Next door is into one-bedroom flats.
There are three-bedroom houses, four-bedroom houses,
so there is plenty of family houses here anyway,
it is just literally, been in touch with the planning, got to wait about eight weeks.
I only got the keys yesterday for this place so I haven't had drawings made up,
but I come in with the architects and I'm just letting him get on with it.
'And while the plans are being considered by the planners,
'Steve's not planning to let the grass grow under his feet.'
I can't wait, but I'll still be working on it anyway, all the windows can come out.
I have got brickwork to be done, problem with the drain out there,
all the plaster will come off the walls.
Depending on the plans we get back, the chimney stacks will probably go,
if they are in the flats, just to open it all up for everybody.
All floorboards will have to come up.
I have got a little bit of work before we start finishing.
'If it all gets too much, at least he can pop round to his family for a chat and a cuppa.
I did my early schooling in Poplar. I was born up the road, Stepney.
I've got a lot of friends in the area. I lived in Canning Town, over the water there
and Plaistow so basically it is me home.
I'm 49 now. I've lived in the area for 43 years.
-And where are you living now?
So really this is like a homecoming?
I am never away from here, all my family is here,
basically a homecoming, I suppose.
'There really is no place like home,
'especially if you're trying to buy property to make profit.
'Knowledge of an area is worth its weight in gold.'
So tell me what your budget is.
If I convert it into two flats,
the budget for the whole house was 35 just to leave it as a three-bedroom house,
but into flats, extra kitchen, extra bathroom,
it will be knocking on near enough 45.
I'm so excited for you and I can't wait to find out the outcome. Good luck.
-Thank you, Lucy.
Steve has come home.
I always advise people to buy in an area they know well.
Well, I think Steve knows Poplar like the back of his hand.
Is this going to be enough to make it a success though?
How is he going to get on with the planning permission to turn this into flats?
You can find out what happens later in the programme.
'Coming up in Carlisle, is it love at first sight?'
No, it isn't. Look at this!
It is disastrous!
'In popular Poplar, is it tears before sale time for Steve?'
I'm not going to cry about it because at the end of the day, it had to be done.
But first, we return to Nottinghamshire
for some instruction.
I say go for it, but don't just live in it.
We're back in Pleasley, Nottinghamshire to see how plumber Chris and his wife Jane
got on with their ex-schoolhouse by the very busy road.
Is it a teacher's pet or a must try harder?
Inside, the two-bedroomed house was very dated and neglected.
No-one had lived there for a year and it showed -
damp patches, paper peeling off walls,
but there were some good features buried under years of paint.
Chris and Jane had put their previous bungalow on the market
and bought this property before they had even sorted out their finances.
Family lent us some of the money for the deposit, well, all of the money for the deposit and...
-then we went to auction.
-You knew when you went to the auction you couldn't get a mortgage?
Kind of. The mortgage adviser knew we wanted a mortgage,
but nothing was carved in stone.
Blimey. NOT a good idea, I'd just like to point out.
You need to get your finances in place before going to the auction!
The couple had scraped the cash together to buy this two-bedroomed house
for £65,000 and had a very tight cash budget
of £4,000 for refurbishment.
Superman Chris planned to work all day at his job
and every evening and weekend here.
He thought it would take them around three months to finish,
but if they sold their bungalow they'd have more cash to spend here.
We've returned nine months later to see if Chris and Jane
are top of the class or in detention.
Outside, there are great improvements.
The huge trees have gone and the old house is now much more protected
from its A-road neighbour.
And that unwelcoming living room has become the heart of this new home.
It has doubled in size as Chris and Jane have turned two good-sized
downstairs rooms into one huge sitting room-cum-dining room.
In this room, we have, erm...
taken down the main wall, divided it into two rooms.
Good reason is because they built the wall on a timber beam
and over the period of 100 years, the timber had crushed and the wall
had cracked so a necessity, really, of taking down the wall.
We've also bricked up the kitchen doorway to open up
a new doorway in the hallway to lead into the kitchen.
Chris and Jane had planned to build an extension to the kitchen
and although that hasn't happened, they have managed to turn
the galley kitchen into a much more useful space.
We've completely ripped the kitchen out and added new units,
a work surfaces and tiled, moved the washer
and put it to the back of the kitchen, that's more like a bit
of a laundry area so we've got more units in the kitchen area itself.
The refurbishment of this house, depended on Chris and Jane
selling their bungalow, which they failed to do!
It did put us under a reasonable amount of strain.
We'd planned at having free cash to do all the project.
Because we hadn't sold our property that we was in before,
we had to sell the car and sell the caravan
to raise some cash.
I think we have managed to stay £14,000, £14,500...
Although cash was in short supply, energy and enthusiasm weren't.
The couple tackled all the problems this roadside schoolhouse presented.
Since you were last here, we've completely taken the house back to brick and replastered,
redecorated and completely overhauled the garden.
When we started the property, we moved straight in.
Dust and everything.
I think you've got to have a lot of patience with each other as well.
Which we have, luckily! SHE LAUGHS
-We make a good team.
Upstairs, the bathroom is unrecognisable.
And just how do you do that if you're a bit strapped for cash?
The bath and the shower enclosure,
they're green, they're reused.
The shower enclosure had been in a job I'd done. It'd been in a year
and I took it out and I refitted it here.
The bathroom probably only cost us £500.
It was pretty much brand-new so it seemed a shame to skip it, really.
Canny Chris and Jane have spent their tight budget wisely.
Elsewhere, upstairs, the master bedroom
no longer features mould and damp.
It's now a warm and welcoming retreat,
and the good-sized second bedroom has also had a thorough facelift.
But if anything was going to hamper the sale of this property, it was the outside space.
The house is right beside a busy and noisy road.
In the garden, one of the main things we've done is put a new fence
to the property. It blanks off the road.
We've also taken out a row of conifers
that were literally pulled out
with a van to open up the garden to make it more of a usable area.
We've put a driveway in with limestone chippings
and we've turfed the other part of the garden
to bring it more into the property.
Chris and Jane have begged, borrowed and worked their fingers
to the bone to bring this old schoolhouse back to life.
They bought it for £65,000
and spent £14,500 on refurbishment,
bringing their total outlay to £79,500.
Time to find out what grade two local property experts
will give their work.
First impressions of the property are very good.
It's been finished to a very high standard internally
and a lot of work has been done outside as well.
This property is best suited for the resale market.
If you rent it out,
you could find in six to 12 months' time
that it's not in excellent condition and the finish that you've got now that really adds to the value
might not quite be there.
How much could the property sell for?
Resale, from what I have seen today, I would be looking £110 to £115,000
at this moment in time.
If this property went on the open market, I'd expect it to achieve in the region of £110 to £115,000.
Those valuations would give the couple
a profit of between £30,500 and £35,500
before costs and expenses.
What might they achieve if the property was put up for rent?
From the rental point of view, I would be looking £450 to £475 per calendar month.
I would expect it to achieve in the region of £500 to £550 per calendar month.
-I think we're happy with that.
Since they struggled to finance this one,
what's on their crib sheet for any other property investors?
I say go for it, but just don't live in it.
And make sure you've got the funds to complete the project.
The financial burden can be quite testing
if you've not got the funds.
This is historic Carlisle, with its great medieval fortress,
castle and semi-intact city walls.
This was once the most besieged place in the British Isles.
So will today's property be a secure fortress, or a battle-scarred bomb site?
Well, the property I'm here to see is just a few minutes
from the city centre right on this fairly busy main road,
although you do have a bus route,
obviously which is good news.
It looks reasonably solid from the outside,
maybe not up to medieval standards,
but it's a two-bed terrace with a yard at the back. Let's take a look.
The property went to auction with a guide price of £50,000 to £60,000.
Well, blimey, sticky door and what's more important,
not a double-glazed door, and I doubt...
No, thin double glazing. Clearly with the noise from that road,
the first thing I'd want to do is put a really thick double-glazed door in there
and double-, if not triple-glazing in the windows.
But this is your lounge so again straight off the road there,
lots of wind and noise and cold coming in so that's not ideal.
The room itself is what it is. It's not a bad-sized space, I suppose.
Somebody's gone to a bit of trouble to put a slightly new fire in there,
but I'd rather see an original open fire.
So all in all, let's hope it gets better.
Well, actually, on the surface, it does!
The kitchen, not too bad.
These units were not the most expensive units in the world, but at least they are reasonably new,
and, you know, you could almost live in this.
It's not a bad-sized space either, but it's unusual
that the ceiling is lower than the ceiling in the front room there.
Views out over the rear little courtyard, and then,
as is often the case with these kind of properties,
you come though here, back door there
and then this is your loo and your bath.
This is it.
So in order to access it from the bedrooms, down the stairs,
through the lounge, through the kitchen and here you have it.
Mind you, with this kind of property, it is what you expect,
so it doesn't really matter.
Changing the layout is never easy in these classic two-up, two-down terrace cottages.
The bathroom is already in an extension at the back
of the original property.
From out in the yard you can see work is needed,
but it could be quite pleasant out here if the wall
was re-rendered and the gate replaced.
Upstairs, this house, that went to auction guided at 50,000 to 60,000,
retains the layout of the original two bedrooms.
So upstairs, smaller bedroom at the back
and then a reasonable-sized double bedroom at the front.
So it's all looking pretty good, isn't it?
No, it isn't, look at this!
It is disastrous! This massive crack running up the side of the bedroom.
I bet if I pull some of this, it just continues up.
Now, that is very serious.
As you can see, the whole of this wall is separating out from this wall here.
What is going on underneath this property, I do not know.
But I'd certainly want to hear from a structural engineer before I bought the place.
'It could prove to be a costly concern
'if that crack is a sign of major structural problems.
'But if you can get it sorted,
'there doesn't seem to be much else wrong with this place.
'Somebody has already stripped all the wallpaper off in every room.
'Apart from this nasty crack, everywhere else looks pretty good.
'We asked the auctioneer who sold it to take a look around
'and give his verdict on this handy city property.'
I'm pleasantly surprised.
I think it is a property in reasonably good condition.
It needs some home improvements,
but overall it is in reasonable condition.
'Once the house has been refurbished,
'bearing in mind its prime location and the competition around here,
'how much could the house fetch in the current sales market?'
I think in a refurbished condition,
it would be achieve a price of between £75,000 and £80,000.
'What about rental income?'
The potential renal income would be in the region of £395 per calendar month.
'Not a bad return, then,
'considering the guide price of 50,000 to 60,000.'
Well, clearly a house, not without its problems.
You have got the road, that terrible crack,
but still the guide price was pretty reasonable.
So let's see who fancied the opportunity when it went under the hammer.
Right, lot number 22 in your catalogue,
two-bedroom terraced house with gas central heating,
50 to 60 is the last quoted guide. So 50 anywhere?
50 I have in the door. At £50,000.
At 51, I have, 52 may I say?
A shake of the head at 52,
at 51 to my right-hand side.
At 51. Are we all done?
Take a half, sir. Half I've got.
52, shake of the head.
Back with you at 51,500, for the first time.
At 51,500 for the second time. All done?
At 51,500 for the third and final time, are you out?
Sold to the room, the big fella.
'That final successful bid of £51,500
'was made by Martin who lives about six miles away.
'He is a qualified HGV mechanic, but for the last seven years
'has been running his own window-cleaning business.
'I met him back at the property to hear about his plans.'
-Martin, good to meet you.
-Nice to meet you, Martin.
Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.
Basically because the money that was in the bank is not making too much at the minute.
You see a lot of people renting houses out
for, like their pension later on in life
so that's basically me idea, as an investment.
Right. Have you done anything like this before?
-No, this is the first time.
-So why this particular house then?
Just because it goes for the smaller market.
It is not going to be too stupid rental.
Just to go for basic market really.
What do you do when you are not doing this?
I'm actually a window cleaner, I have got me own window cleaning round.
-I was an HGV mechanic before that.
-What took you into window cleaning?
Basically my dad was retiring so his round was up for grabs basically
so I thought I would just try something different.
# What's my life? I'm happy cleaning windows... #
'Martin knows the area well.
'Getting his first investment property so close to town
'and to the bottom of the guide price was a great first step on the property ladder.'
# I'm a working man in my prime
# Cleaning windows... #
Tell me what you're going to do to the house.
I'm going to get new doors, possibly new windows,
I'm going to look to see if there's any damp in the house.
The roof's leaking, so I'm going to have a look at that,
insulation for efficiency,
and also obviously plastering, where it needs done and redecorating.
The back yard needs a new gate on, so I'm going to sort that out.
Cavity in the walls outside as well
and that's about it, I think.
And what about the crack upstairs?
Ah, yes. There's a crack upstairs. I'll get that investigated as well
just to make sure the house isn't moving or anything like that.
What kind of money have you got set aside for doing the work?
Well, I was looking about £5,000,
maybe up to £8,000 if that crack is going to be anything serious.
Well, that crack could add major costs to this renovation,
but surely Martin must have spotted it before he bought it.
So did you come and see the house before you bought it?
Unfortunately, I didn't.
I went to the auction to look at another two different properties
which I was bidding on, so basically I bought this blind,
which I wouldn't advise anybody to do.
An unusual thing to do on your first purchase.
Sometimes people with a lot more experience buy blind - I'd still never recommend it -
but for your first one to buy blind...
How was it when you walked through the door?
I was anxious at first cos I hadn't seen the property,
but as soon as I viewed it, I was fairly happy.
And had you read the legal pack?
I had a quick look, but it was only five minutes
so obviously I couldn't look at it properly.
So tell me what you're going to do next time you buy a house?
I'm certainly going to view it properly first!
Take a bit more... Obviously look at the legal pack a bit better.
It's all a learning experience for us.
Well, the budget's set.
Martin thinks he can still pull the whole thing off in three months
with the help of friends and by picking up valuable tips along the way.
The idea then is to keep it, rent it out or to sell it?
Keep it and to rent it out.
-Congratulations. Good luck. I look forward to seeing how you get on.
-Thank you very much.
Well, it's great that window cleaner Martin has got himself on the property ladder,
however I do think he'll be squeegee-ing the budget a bit
to get all this done for £6,000 - especially that crack.
Will he end up spending a bucket-load of cash?
You can find out later in the show.
Time has passed, money's been spent. Are the results worth it?
Have our buyers got on with the work or let the grass grow under their tootsies?
Let's find out!
We're back in Poplar, East London,
to find out if painter and decorator Steve's mid-terrace
is now a pair of flats or a family home.
And does the sun still shine indoors?
# They call me Mellow Yellow #.
Inside, as well as many shades of yellow,
the house was packed with unique features,
curved walls and cornices galore,
but no one had taken care of it for years and leaky bay windows had left it damp and mouldy.
The property had one kitchen, two bathrooms
and separate meters for power so it was very nearly two flats,
or rather illegally nearly two flats.
No-one had applied for permission to divide it
and that was where the real money lay.
As a house, it would sell for around 300,000.
And as a local boy, Steve knew exactly what the flats could be worth.
It took a gamble that I'd get the planning
so I could make it into two legal one-bedroom luxury flats.
Steve bought it for 230,000
and planned to spend £35,000 on it if he was refurbishing a house
and around 45,000 if he got permission for the flats.
We've come back after three months to see if the planners played along.
How does it look now?
# I'm walking on sunshine
# I'm walking on sunshine
# And don't it feel good... #
The run-down leaky house with its lurid colour scheme
is now a distant memory.
Downstairs, walls have disappeared, bathrooms have gone
and these spacious rooms are now looking their very best.
But come on, Steve, am I looking at two flats or one house?
I got in touch with the council
and they advised us that they would go against it
and even if we did appeal, they would object to it again
because of the developments of flats in the area.
If it's a family home, they want to keep the family homes now
cos there's not enough of 'em about.
We went down that route.
OK, so Steve's ideal development didn't happen,
but he has worked wonders and realised my vision
by turning an unwieldy mess of rooms into this lovely family home.
As you remember, this was just a lounge.
Um... And over there was a shower room, swimming pool area
because of the damp, I suppose,
the fireplaces, one here and one in the bathroom,
we took them right the way up, to the ceiling to the roof.
And basically, this was a bay window,
so I've took it out, put a door in to make it a little bit spacious and a nice design feature,
it's a kitchen to die for,
there's enough there for the street, basically.
There's enough room here for a dining table.
Nice lighting, under-lighting under the pelmets.
To me, I think it works very well.
And I'm pretty proud of it, to be honest with you. There we go.
Steve is right to be proud of his handiwork,
and I think the kitchen is exactly what buyers are seeking.
Outside, he's opened up access to the garden
and made the outside space as fresh, contemporary and welcoming as the indoors,
although sacrifices had to be made to get the layout he wanted downstairs.
As you can see, I've opened it up, it was two reception rooms.
As you come through the door,
a door there, a door with an arch, a bit of wall.
Sorry, Lucy, but it had to go, I know you liked it,
but we're in the 21st century now and this is the way we're going.
I took the banisters out.
Designed this little bit of a feature wall to go up the staircase.
Come over to here, wall's hidden, empty space,
I've opened this up, it's a closet, a little toilet and hand basin and everything in it.
Over here, we had the window.
Took this out, opened it up, made it more spacious with the French doors,
into the garden, and the fireplace, sort of just leave it as it was a little bit drab,
so I opened it up and stuck this shelving unit in.
It's pretty effective to me.
On the other fireplace,
we've got the electric fire, wall-hung fire there.
There's enough space in here to even break it up into two rooms
with your furniture, really,
and like the kitchen, I think it goes well.
I'm well pleased with it.
Before Steve got his hands on it, the only kitchen was upstairs.
By moving the kitchen downstairs, Steve had room to make a large family bathroom up here
and squeeze in an extra bedroom.
That gives the house three good-sized bedrooms, making it ideal for a family.
But with so much building work,
just how close did Steve come to his £35,000 budget?
60. But there we go. That is it.
I'm not going to cry about it, because at the end of the day, it had to be done.
If I didn't spend it, I could never hand it over to anyone,
and there's no way I'm going to do that.
Some of the fittings are a bit more than your high street,
it's what people want, especially in this market.
I want people to go, wow, and when they go, wow,
you know you'll get your money in the end and it'll always come.
Steve bought the property for 230,000
and completed the renovation work for 60,000,
bringing his total outlay to £290,000.
Time to find out what two estate agents think of his handiwork.
The property has undergone a lot of improvements.
Everything from the ground up has been stripped down and put together again.
There are some beautiful open spaces downstairs,
a brand-new beautiful kitchen,
the wooden flooring
and the attention to detail is absolutely paramount.
People in this area are expecting this sort of finish
as they are across most of London, really.
Everyone wants a good finish, so it fits in really well.
High praise indeed from the local experts.
How much do they think the property's worth now?
We would look to begin marketing the property at £350,000.
I believe this property should be marketed at 325,000,
although I would suggest putting it on slightly higher to test the market.
Those valuations would mean a profit of between 35,000 and 60,000 before costs and expenses.
Not bad going for only four months' work.
350 is pushing it a bit.
If I sell it for 330, 335, I'll be happy with it.
10% on top of the purchase price.
The money I spent on it, I will pay myself wages as well,
so profit's profit at the end of the day.
Is painter and decorator Steve tempted to trade in his paintbrushes for a new career in property?
I love it. Basically. Even though I've got my other work,
this is where I want to go, really.
But obviously I can't give up the bread-and-butter work.
As long as you ain't greedy and you enjoy what you're doing, carry on, and I'm going to carry on.
I'd never lose money at it.
So £1 is a profit.
When we were last in Carlisle,
Martin, a self-employed window cleaner, had paid £51,500
for this mid-terraced house that he planned to rent out.
# What's my life
# I'm happy cleaning windows... #
But he broke two of the golden rules of buying at auction.
He hadn't looked around it or read the legal pack,
and the property had a potentially major structural problem.
# I'm a working man in my prime
# Cleaning windows... #
What experience do you have of property renovation?
Not many, really, to be honest.
I'm basically going to use mainly my friends
who have got a lot of trades behind them and watch what they're doing
and try to pick a few things up myself.
And what about the crack upstairs?
I'm going to get that investigated as well just to make sure
the house isn't moving or anything like that.
It's now six weeks later and we meet Martin again back at the property.
The house now has new windows and front door,
plus the tiny garden is ready for planting.
It's a classic terrace,
so you step straight off the street into the living room,
which is now neutrally decorated and boosts a new fire and carpet.
Behind the central staircase is the kitchen where Martin's been able
to keep the original fittings.
I had a new ceiling fitted,
new plastered walls,
new windows, new lino on the floor,
painted, spent a bit of time cleaning the kitchen units up,
saved a bit of money by doing that and not having to replace the kitchen
and I'm just very pleased how it's turned out.
On this, his first property development,
Martin enlisted a lot of help from his friends and family.
Behind the kitchen in the extension is the back door
and the bathroom which, like the kitchen,
was in pretty good condition.
So it only needed a good clean and some new flooring,
but what about the gaping hole in the in the front bedroom?
How big a problem did that prove to be?
There was a crack in the bigger bedroom upstairs.
I got a builder to come and have a look at it.
He said there was nothing to be concerned about
so I just filled it in with a bit of cement and it was OK.
Excellent news. It looks like Martin's got away with his gamble
of buying a place without seeing it first.
The second rear bedroom has lost the cupboard
that boxed in the boiler, but it has gained a new window
and been replastered, decorated and carpeted.
So what's gone on at the back?
Basically, we've had the roof repaired.
We've also had new windows fitted, the gutters cleaned out,
also had the walls painted,
levelled off because there was glass in the top of the walls,
cleaned the post,
and a new gate fitted.
I'm very pleased how the rear yard is looking now.
OK, the walls are a bit rough, but what a difference
a splash of paint and a basic gate from a superstore have made.
What about Martin's five-to-eight-grand budget
that was to cover the potential problem of that crack?
We spent £6,500, obviously with help of friends and family,
just to keep costs down a little bit.
Window cleaner Martin helped with the new window installation
and the decorating and he's been watching his mates
and picking up skills to take forward to his future projects.
Time to hear what two local property experts make
of Martin's first buy-to-let.
Having looked round the property, they've done a good refurb of it.
It's a good size.
There's a nice kitchen and the bathroom
and a good-size yard at the back as well. It's good.
I particularly like the light, airy feel to it.
He's kept it minimalistic and it's a good job.
What valuation would the experts now put on the house?
Martin paid £51,500 at auction and has spent 6,500,
so is it worth more than 58 grand?
I think this property could resell for £75,000.
The property will resale at £75,000.
That would generate a gross profit of 17,000
before the usual selling expenses.
Very happy with that price, roughly what I was thinking.
Yeah, I'm more than happy about that.
Would Martin now consider selling?
No, I'm doing it for the long-term, for rental purposes.
OK, so what about rental income?
The property would rent at £400 per calendar month.
I think this property could rent for £400 per calendar month.
Well, I've got £400 a month. That sounds bang on as well.
I've found a nice young little couple
that are going to rent the property.
My mum's a taxi driver and she had this young couple in her taxi
and they were looking for a new place to move to, and my mother gave them
my number and they've just got in touch and it went from there.
Well done, Mum. Never miss an opportunity to find a tenant.
This window cleaner-cum-rookie property developer
looks like he's cleaned up here.
Now he's got a foot on the property ladder, what next?
I would like to get a portfolio,
if everything works out for us. I'm certainly going to try.
There's another one on next month
so I'm planning on going to that one again.
Hopefully, fingers crossed, I'll get another property
and it'll go as good as this one.
Well, that's it for now.
Join us next time for more auction action on Homes Under the Hammer.
-Look forward to seeing you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Email [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property by a busy road in Pleasley, Nottinghamshire; a mid-terrace in Poplar, east London; and a house in Carlisle. All of these properties have been sold at auction; Martin and Lucy find out who bought them and what they paid when they went under the hammer.