Episode 70 Homes Under the Hammer


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Episode 70

Property auction series. Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Cheshire, a Grade II listed house in Wiltshire and a property in Cornwall.


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-Welcome to the show.

-Even in today's turbulent times,

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bricks and mortar can make a very wise and safe investment.

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One place to make a property purchase is in the auction room.

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When you buy at auction, the property is yours on the fall of the hammer.

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It's a great way to buy, but do not forget to get buildings insurance.

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You are legally liable and responsible for the property

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from exchange of contracts, though you haven't completed, so what tempted the buyers on today's show?

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'I'm in Sandbach, Cheshire, to see a property with a guide price that suggests a mystery.'

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Well, maybe upstairs hides the clue.

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'East Dean in Wiltshire is where I'll find out who wants to get away from it all and if they succeed.'

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Not everybody's idea of a country retreat.

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'And in Penryn, Cornwall, will a former B&B book a refurbishment for itself?'

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This place has got some good options.

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'All these properties have been sold at auction and we find out who bought them and how much they paid

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-'when they went under the hammer.'

-Sold to you, sir.

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Let's turn the clock back to 2009 when I first visited a property

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in the pleasant, historic market town of Sandbach in Cheshire.

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Initially, it had been quite puzzling.

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Sandbach is a terribly nice place to live, surrounded by the Cheshire countryside.

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I used to cycle all round here on my bike.

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But I'm a little bit perplexed cos I'm here to see this.

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It's a two-bedroomed end of terrace. It had a guide price of 180,000 quid.

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I don't care how good it is inside. That's a lot of money for a terrace.

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# It's gonna take money

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# A whole lot of spending money

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# It's gonna take plenty of money... #

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The average price for a two-bed terrace on this street is 170,000,

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so £10,000 less than the guide price was for this property.

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Let's investigate why.

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Well, nothing too spectacular so far. Bit of a dark and dingy entrance.

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The front sitting room has some nice floorboards, an open fire which is good to see.

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Stairs up to your bedrooms there.

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Through into the rear living room area... Now, this is nice.

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A big stone fireplace, that's lovely. Not quite worth the money on its own though, I have to say!

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A larder there - useful sort of storage space.

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And maybe the kitchen holds the key.

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It's through here.

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Well, I guess if it had some hand-made, bespoke kitchen units,

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we could see the value, but nope.

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At the end there is the bathroom and the loo.

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No whirlpool bath in there. It's got me flummoxed!

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So why was the guide price 180,000? Hmm, the plot thickens!

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Perhaps this mystery calls for Sherlock Holmes. Pun, of course, intended!

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# It's a mystery

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# Oh, it's a mystery

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# I'm still searching

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# For the clue

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# Is it a mystery... #

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Well, maybe upstairs hides the clue.

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What have we got? Fairly standard layout - bedroom on that side and over here to another bedroom.

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Good-sized doubles, but nothing spectacular at all.

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In reasonable condition. The whole house is in reasonable condition.

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That's the answer.

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# Into the great wide open

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# Under them skies of blue... #

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As you may have guessed, the reason this place had such a high guide price was not the house itself.

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It's the plot of land that's right behind it.

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It is absolutely ginormous.

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Look, it stretches all the way back there.

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That in itself wouldn't necessarily up the value. Well, only a small amount.

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What's key is that this plot of land has outline planning permission for the building of two houses.

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Well, judging by the size, I reckon you could get even more on here.

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So that is a potential windfall, absolutely fantastic.

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The only fly in the ointment is it hasn't got official approval for an access road down the side.

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But that is not a big issue. This is a big money-making opportunity. Kerching!

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Let's face it. Now the mystery was solved,

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that guide price of 180,000 seemed like a bargain.

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Well, the house itself then is fairly cute,

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but of course, the pot of gold in this instance is that building plot which is the garden.

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Fantastic opportunity. Let's see who spotted it at the auction.

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So what shall we say for Lot 10,

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end terrace house with a building plot for two?

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150,000 I'm bid. Standing right at 150,000, opening bid.

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160 can I say?

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At 150... You're saying 155, sir?

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At 155, the bid is seated.

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At 155.

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160?

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At 155. Looking for 160 now.

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New bidder, 160.

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At 160. 165?

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165.

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At 165.

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170, is it? 170.

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175? You're saying 1?

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At 171. 172?

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At 171. 172.

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173. 174.

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175.

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176.

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177. 178.

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179. 180?

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The bid's seated at 179.

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Against you standing at 179.

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A half you're saying? 179 and a half.

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I think he's waning.

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180. At 180. Another half?

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At £180,000, I'm selling it then.

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First time, 180.

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Second time.

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Third and final time at 180. Are we all done?

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You've bought it, sir. Well done.

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'Sandbach residents Chris and his wife Carolyn were the successful bidders.

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'The former hoteliers and restaurant owners are now embarking on a property developing career.

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'I caught up with Carolyn back at the house.'

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-Carolyn, lovely to meet you.

-Nice to meet you.

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I think I know why you wanted to buy this - it's out the back, but why did you want to buy the house?

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The house has a lot of potential for extension.

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-It's just two bedrooms at the moment, two reception and a very peculiar kitchen.

-Yes!

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And a bathroom. With the extra space on the side,

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we can obviously extend to the side, make it three-bedroom, bathroom, en-suite upstairs

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and an extra garage and downstairs room.

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-Tell me more about you.

-About 13 years ago, we bought an old property and doubled its size.

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That became our family home.

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From then, we've done bits and pieces.

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-Just last year, we bought a property for my son to live in at university.

-Oh, great.

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We extended that to four bedrooms instead of three.

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But in terms of pure investment and development projects, is this something you've done before?

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No, not pure investment or development, no.

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'Carolyn was slightly jumping in at the deep end, but I didn't think she'd be out of her depth.

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'She planned to renovate the house in 12 months with a budget of 40 grand for the job,

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'but while she had big plans for the place,

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'Carolyn knew it was outside where the big bucks would be made.'

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Talk me through what you'd like to do with this.

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It's got outline planning permission for two properties.

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That's right. When we came to have a look, we thought that there was definitely potential

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for at least four properties on.

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-Well, I'll show you the plan.

-OK.

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They just gave them outline planning for two,

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but we feel if you come in and round and on to the plot from this position here,

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you can fit two properties there and then two here at least.

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-Have you spoken to the planners to get an idea of whether or not that would be approved?

-No, not yet.

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We've instructed the architects. They had a look round and don't see any problem with what we're suggesting.

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As a first development project, this is a big thing, building houses from scratch. How do you feel about that?

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We wouldn't build them ourselves. We want to get full planning permission and sell the plot on to builders.

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-Oh, wow!

-Yeah.

-So keep the house...?

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Yes, and do that up. Within six months, get full planning permission for the land and sell it on.

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-Right. Why not do it yourself?

-Um...no. We're not builders.

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-You can employ builders.

-We'd rather have the quick turnaround.

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'That was in June 2009.

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'When we first returned 14 months later,

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'Carolyn was true to her word with a new extension added to the side.'

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Well, as you can see, we built a two-storey extension.

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We've got a garage and dining room on the ground floor and an extra bedroom, a bathroom and en-suite

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on the floor above. I'm really pleased with the results. It's made the house into a family home.

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The inside of the cottage had two very tired and dated rooms,

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but the front living room had lost that brick fireplace and a stylish fire was now in its place.

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The whole house had been rewired and had new windows fitted.

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A fabulous new kitchen had been installed in one of the former reception rooms.

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All in all, it was a lovely family home, but it was outside that was crucial, so how had that progressed?

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We were thrilled when we took it to the architect and he started working on it

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because everything fitted in perfectly,

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so we thought there'd be no problem with getting the planning permission.

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But there was a problem. Remember, the outline planning permission was for two detached houses.

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Carolyn's application for four semi-detached properties was initially rejected,

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but after an appeal and various committee hearings, the planners gave the go-ahead.

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Although the plan to sell the existing house remained the same,

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Carolyn and her husband Chris's idea for the building plot had changed.

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We were intending to sell the land on to a builder,

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but we had so many traumas getting the planning permission through

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that we feel really attached to the land now, so we'll build on it ourselves.

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Well, that was 11 months ago.

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Stay with us till later in the show to find out if the couple's decision to do the build themselves

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went as smoothly as they hoped.

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Today's property search finds me in a rural village location -

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East Dean in Wiltshire.

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It's a pretty spot, just over 12 miles from the cathedral city of Salisbury.

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Today's property is impressive. It's a two-bedroom cottage built in the 1800s.

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It's Grade 2 listed and it's in a conservation area.

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With those credentials, it has to be expensive, right?

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Well, no, the guide was set at a very modest £135,000 to £140,000.

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You can see it's got character and I've been told this front door hasn't been opened in ten years.

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I won't start messing with it now. I'll look for the side entrance.

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No amount of knocking will open this door, but it wouldn't take much to reinstate it as the front entrance,

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much more inviting than having to gain access round the back.

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# A change will do you good... #

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Things have been let go here.

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There are signs of moss on the roof, the windows are in a bad state of repair

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and the paintwork and exteriors are crumbling away.

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This little cottage is in need of some serious TLC.

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You know, it's quite eerie inside here.

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It's dark, cold, damp and it's dirty,

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but it still manages to have that old-world charm.

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This kitchen is tiny. It could really do with being extended out this way to improve its size.

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But don't forget, this building is listed, so all improvements have to be approved first.

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These two little cottages were originally for the cooks and the gardeners of East Dean House

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which is a rather grand property just up the road.

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I don't think much has been done to this place over the years, but it's still got beautiful metal windows.

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The electrics, I would say, are completely old and antiquated.

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You can see those plug sockets and light switches.

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My nose tells me there is a definite damp problem inside.

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Look at these walls - wet to the touch. All the wallpaper just comes off.

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I've got to say as well, I feel a little claustrophobic inside. Let's see if it feels any bigger upstairs.

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Well...

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Hmm, no.

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It's small and cramped.

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I would seriously think about having just one large bedroom up here.

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I know that would reduce the cottage from a two-bedroom to a one-bedroom,

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but I think it would make it much more accommodating and, as a result, much more desirable.

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You could also think about an extension, but that's a more radical decision.

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And anything you do must be OK'd by the Listed Building Consent and the conservation bodies.

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It hasn't been lived in for some considerable time and there are tell-tale signs of that.

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Time to wipe away those cobwebs and head outside to what is an extensive garden.

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If you were to extend, you wouldn't miss any space.

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It's semi-rural and there are things you come to expect.

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Peace and quiet? I don't think so.

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There's a train at the end of the garden!

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And it's also on a very fast...

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..country road!

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Thus shattering the illusion of what one expects from a semi-rural location!

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I'm afraid you don't get that here, but what you do get is a rather lovely and characterful cottage.

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Bearing in mind its guide price of between 135,000 and 140,000,

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we invited a local estate agent to view it.

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My first impressions of the house,

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it's a lovely, old, character cottage in need of complete renovation.

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I'm certainly with you there.

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The remedial works needed on this little cottage are extensive.

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Personally, I think the bathroom's got to remain on the first floor.

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I think possibly a two-storey extension would put you in a position

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where you could retain the bathroom on the first floor,

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albeit you are restricted on the planning permission you will get in this area.

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The estate agent believes this house needs an extension,

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but is dubious about obtaining planning permission for that.

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That doesn't bode well for the new owner who would consider adding to this small cottage.

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Once renovated, I would put this property on the market at £250,000.

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And what's the monthly rental value?

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I would look to rent this property at around £1,000 per calendar month.

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If the owner was to extend, how much could he add to those values?

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I think if the property was extended into a three-bedroom, semi-detached property,

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I think you're looking at more £300,000.

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This is a really lovely old cottage with heaps of character,

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but it's sandwiched between a noisy road and a railway track -

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not everybody's idea of a country retreat.

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But somebody did fall in love with its charms. Let's see who that was at auction.

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This is presently a two-bed, semi-detached house.

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It requires extensive renovation and improvement

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and I'm going to start the bidding.

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Somebody open the bidding for me at just 125,000?

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These opportunities don't come up too often.

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125 I have straight away on my left-hand side.

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Now I need somebody at 126.

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Madam, 126. I've got my two bidders.

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126. 127. 128?

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128. And 9? 129.

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Back at 130, madam? 130's bid.

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131.

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132? 132.

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And 3? 133.

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134? 134.

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135? 135 here on the left.

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Back at 136? No? Shake of the head. With you at 135.

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I need 136,000 from someone fresh.

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136 I do have. New bidder, sir. All on this side of the room now.

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137? 137.

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And 8? 138.

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139's bid here.

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140? 140 to the left.

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141 here to the front.

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142's bid. And 3?

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143 here. And 4 bid.

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145? Thank you.

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146? 146 directly there.

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147, sir? 147. No, he's shaking his head. It's with you at 147.

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Still an incredible buy, I think.

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147,000 then I have here once.

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147,000 twice.

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147,000 for the third and final time.

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Your property, 7017. Congratulations.

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'The successful bidder was Jeff who's only too familiar with the road and railway

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'because he already lives next door.

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'He's a post-graduate dean who teaches other doctors.

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'I went to visit him to find out more about his plans for his new property.'

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I've had the property next door

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for nearly 30 years now

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and there was a chance to buy it about 28 years ago.

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I'm very glad it never came through because I think it would have crucified me financially.

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It seemed the sort of place that would go together very well.

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It makes a lovely property - four bedrooms, rather than two and a half. I never thought any more about it.

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Then when my neighbours sadly died, I realised it was going to come on the market

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and I looked out for the sale.

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'Subject to planning permission,

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'Jeff will set about turning these cottages into one large detached property.

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'It's a Grade 2 listed building, so he'll have to obtain the necessary consent before starting any work.'

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What are your plans with this house?

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I wouldn't wish to do very much, just to have access from one to the other. I don't want to make major changes.

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It would really be something... a doorway through in the kitchen.

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I love old buildings. I spent a lot of time working next door and I don't want to do anything to change it.

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So how long do you see this taking?

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I'm in no rush. I live next door.

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I don't have to get it ready to move into it. I can do it at leisure over the next few months and years,

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but it goes into years, not months.

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Jeff, how much money have you got to spend to turn this place into what you want to have it as?

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Well, I'm hopeless at budgeting.

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Plus, there's no rush to do it.

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I'd sort of see it as a continuing, trickle expense in some ways.

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But I have put aside about 15,000 to get certain jobs done.

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You may look at it with more skilled eyes than me,

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but there aren't things that need an enormous expense - yes, bathroom and kitchen stuff.

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If I knock it through, I've got some kitchen next door

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and I won't have the most elaborate bathroom up there.

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I'm going to put a nice shower in and the other stuff, but that's not that expensive.

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'Treating damp and rewiring and re-plumbing is though, Jeff.

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'Whilst a relaxed outlook can be good, I worry that Jeff may be a tad too relaxed.

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'Does his profession hold any clues to his laid-back approach?'

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I have been a consultant neurologist, but I've stopped clinical practice now

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and now I work as an associate post-graduate dean

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which is an administrative job, but it is involved

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with training doctors once qualified from medical school up to becoming consultants.

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'So Jeff is able to keep on top of the fast pace of work which bodes well for this undertaking,

0:22:120:22:18

'so is he worried about anything at all here?'

0:22:180:22:21

It's a solid building, there's nothing major that needs doing.

0:22:230:22:27

It's really a lot of hard work and mostly cosmetic.

0:22:270:22:31

I can see it. It's going to be a four-bedroomed house, two bathrooms, two front rooms

0:22:310:22:37

and a kitchen with a kitchen-dining room. It's mostly cosmetic and decoration.

0:22:370:22:42

If the worst comes to the worst and people come and stay, I'll give them the keys to next door.

0:22:420:22:47

-They'll have their separate wing for their guest quarters.

-Semi-detached.

0:22:470:22:51

-Guest quarters to the left, please.

-Exactly.

0:22:510:22:54

That could happen. They could say, "No, it's got to stay as it is."

0:22:540:22:59

That doesn't worry me unduly because it's a short walk as you found yourself.

0:22:590:23:04

It would be a nuisance, but not the worst thing in the world.

0:23:040:23:07

-I think your guests would rather like that.

-They might like the privacy.

0:23:070:23:12

-Jeff, good luck. You've got a lot of hard and exciting times ahead. Well done.

-Thank you very much indeed.

0:23:120:23:18

# I wanna see a change in you... #

0:23:180:23:20

Jeff's house, Jeff's new house.

0:23:200:23:23

Knock the internal wall down and it becomes Jeff's home.

0:23:230:23:27

Everything, of course, is subject to planning and if nothing is approved,

0:23:270:23:31

he'll have a very beautiful garden and a separate wing for his family and friends to stay in.

0:23:310:23:37

Find out if he's got luck on his side later on in the programme.

0:23:370:23:40

'In Penryn, Cornwall, can this old B&B improve upon its star rating?'

0:23:410:23:47

One, maybe one and a half stars?

0:23:480:23:51

'Back in East Dean, Wiltshire, do Jeff's figures add up?'

0:23:510:23:56

I never really budgeted because of not having to finish it.

0:23:580:24:01

'First, we return to Sandbach, Cheshire, where things may not have entirely gone to plan.'

0:24:030:24:08

I just couldn't understand what the problem was.

0:24:080:24:11

Earlier in the show, we were at a property I first visited back in September 2009.

0:24:160:24:21

It was in Sandbach, Cheshire, where I met Carolyn.

0:24:210:24:26

Along with her husband Chris, she bought this property for 180,000.

0:24:260:24:31

For a tired two-bedroom cottage, that was a lot of money,

0:24:310:24:34

but what they had really paid for was out back.

0:24:340:24:39

This large plot of land was the real gold mine.

0:24:390:24:42

The plan was to renovate the house, then sell the plot on with planning permission for four houses.

0:24:420:24:49

When we first returned in August 2010, Carolyn had done a great job with the first part of her plan,

0:24:490:24:55

but the selling the plot part...?

0:24:550:24:58

We were intending to sell the land on to a builder,

0:24:590:25:03

but we had so many traumas getting the planning permission through

0:25:030:25:07

that we feel really attached to the land now, so we're going to build on it ourselves.

0:25:070:25:12

After all those problems with planning permission, some would have sold the plot on,

0:25:120:25:17

but it seems like Carolyn and her husband are made of sterner stuff.

0:25:170:25:21

So 11 months later, we returned to see if they finally got what was on the plan on to the land.

0:25:210:25:27

And after owning the land for just over two years, they finally got the build they wanted -

0:25:350:25:41

two sets of semi-detached, brand-spanking-new houses.

0:25:410:25:45

Carolyn returned to show us around.

0:25:470:25:49

So when we were talking to the architect about the designs of the houses,

0:25:490:25:55

he suggested that we could have the lounge open-plan up to the stairs,

0:25:550:26:00

but we thought that might make the room quite cold,

0:26:000:26:04

and if we had it enclosed, we could have an under-stair cupboard which would be quite useful.

0:26:040:26:10

But we decided to go open-plan in terms of the arch between the lounge and the kitchen-diner

0:26:100:26:15

to make it a little bit more open and more inviting.

0:26:150:26:19

In terms of the kitchens, we were pleased to be able to buy British.

0:26:190:26:23

In the one kitchen we have here, we went for oak with travertine tiles.

0:26:230:26:28

We had to have a cloakroom downstairs because that's the planning requirements now.

0:26:280:26:33

All four semi-detached houses follow the same layout downstairs and up

0:26:330:26:38

with two bedrooms - one large and a single.

0:26:380:26:41

And there's also a good-sized bathroom.

0:26:410:26:44

Out back, there's a spacious garden, ready to be softened up with some planting.

0:26:480:26:54

So what plans does Carolyn have for the two developments?

0:26:540:26:58

So we're renting out these two houses and we're putting these two houses on the market for sale.

0:27:000:27:06

As you can see from the plot, we've got enough room for off-street parking for two cars each house,

0:27:060:27:12

as well as the gardens.

0:27:120:27:14

Lots of parking, good-sized gardens

0:27:140:27:18

and decent-sized new builds,

0:27:180:27:20

so everything sitting together perfectly.

0:27:200:27:23

It was such a relief when the planning permission came through.

0:27:230:27:27

We couldn't understand how it could be refused because it was an absolutely perfect layout.

0:27:270:27:33

We just couldn't understand what the problem was.

0:27:330:27:36

They've certainly got the most out of the land here.

0:27:380:27:42

You reach the new development by the access road at the side of the original house they bought

0:27:420:27:47

and redeveloped over a year ago.

0:27:470:27:49

My husband actually project-managed the whole job and the two of us were involved in all the decision-making.

0:27:490:27:56

Anything that needed choosing, like the bricks, we made the decision on.

0:27:560:28:01

Being first-timers, I reckon they were wise

0:28:010:28:04

to stick with the tried and trusted builder to get the site developed.

0:28:040:28:09

Apart from the planning problems, this has been a pretty pain-free experience.

0:28:090:28:14

We're really happy that we didn't sell the land on to a builder. We're so pleased with the end result

0:28:140:28:20

and the fact we've got two houses to rent out. I'm really pleased with the decision.

0:28:200:28:25

Carolyn originally estimated it would cost between £140,000 and £160,000

0:28:270:28:33

to build the four houses,

0:28:330:28:35

but the final cost came in at 268,000.

0:28:350:28:39

220 was devoted to the build, while the remaining 48,000 was spent on clearing the site,

0:28:390:28:46

laying the car park and connecting the services.

0:28:460:28:50

Is she pleased with the final result?

0:28:500:28:54

I've very proud of the way the properties fit into the close and the way they look.

0:28:540:28:59

A number of the neighbours have congratulated us and thanked us for making this site really attractive.

0:28:590:29:06

Time to see what two local estate agents make of Carolyn's new build

0:29:080:29:13

and whether that £268,000 outlay was a wise investment.

0:29:130:29:17

My first impressions of the house are it's been built very well, it fits in well with the close

0:29:170:29:23

and the other properties around here. The specification is very good.

0:29:230:29:29

I'm impressed. I'm surprised at the positioning

0:29:300:29:33

on the site and how well they look. They fit in well for this type of property, really.

0:29:330:29:40

'I particularly like the modern concept, the contemporary design, they've fitted them out well.'

0:29:410:29:47

Neutral colours, decoration-wise. Very good.

0:29:470:29:51

'The layout is excellent. The lounge is a good size. The dining room feeds off the kitchen.

0:29:510:29:57

'Patio doors are really nice.'

0:29:570:30:00

The two bedrooms are a good size.

0:30:000:30:02

So the estate agents seem happy, but do they think it will cover Carolyn's £268,000 costs?

0:30:030:30:11

Remember, there are two houses for sale so what price could they achieve?

0:30:110:30:16

I think the resale value on these properties would be around £145,000 to £150,000.

0:30:160:30:22

I think the resale value will be £130,000 to £135,000.

0:30:220:30:28

Gosh, that's quite a big range, isn't it, between the two?

0:30:280:30:32

We've got them on at £149,950 at the moment. As close as we could get to that would be lovely.

0:30:320:30:38

If Carolyn achieves her sale price, the two prices could fetch just under £300,000,

0:30:400:30:45

giving her and her husband a possible pre-tax profit of £32,000.

0:30:450:30:51

There are also another two houses on part of the plot, which she rents out. What should they achieve?

0:30:510:30:57

I think the rental value would be around £550 per calendar month.

0:31:000:31:06

Rental value for this type of property currently is £525-£550 per calendar month.

0:31:060:31:13

We're renting two out at the moment for 550, so that's what I expected.

0:31:130:31:18

That rental income could mean an annual yield of around 10% - that's a result.

0:31:180:31:24

But the real achievement here is how Carolyn and her husband, first-time developers,

0:31:240:31:30

not only extended and fully renovated their property, but also built four new homes.

0:31:300:31:37

They've passed the developing test with flying colours.

0:31:370:31:41

Well, we feel this whole experience has been quite a success.

0:31:410:31:46

We really enjoyed it, apart from the trauma of the planning permission,

0:31:460:31:50

but once we got that it's all been quite plain sailing.

0:31:500:31:54

Up until now, Penryn in Cornwall has perhaps lived in the shadow of its better-known neighbour Falmouth,

0:31:570:32:04

but the last 10 years has seen the arrival of Tremough Campus,

0:32:040:32:08

home to the Combined Universities of Cornwall.

0:32:080:32:11

With Penryn throwing off its "second fiddle to Falmouth" reputation,

0:32:110:32:16

maybe now is the time to invest here. I'm told the property I am here to see

0:32:160:32:22

would be a staggering £50,000 more expensive in Falmouth.

0:32:220:32:26

You certainly seem to be getting a lot for your money. This is it - a former B&B, guide price £295,000.

0:32:260:32:34

Looks all right. Let's take a look inside.

0:32:340:32:37

I'm told this is a lovely spot, raised above the town with views of the water.

0:32:370:32:43

That may be so, but right now it's a bit of a white-out,

0:32:430:32:47

which almost hides the fact that next door, with access past the property is a scrap metal yard.

0:32:470:32:55

Not exactly what you're after at a rural B&B.

0:32:550:32:59

Still, there's no sense in shying away from the reality.

0:32:590:33:04

Let's hope inside is a little more enticing.

0:33:040:33:07

A strange little entrance vestibule there! I suppose it keeps the noise and the cold out.

0:33:070:33:14

But it doesn't quite work. Anyway, into this front little reception room here.

0:33:140:33:20

Stairs up to your bedrooms on this side of the house. Little room there, through a dark corridor

0:33:200:33:26

into the main living room. The old wood-burning stove - we like that.

0:33:260:33:32

And a few clues as to which part of the house it is. It says Private.

0:33:320:33:37

I reckon this is where the people who lived in the property lived

0:33:370:33:41

and then we move into a separate part of the house. It seems to have a different feel.

0:33:410:33:47

It's where the guests would be. Stairs up to the bedrooms there

0:33:470:33:51

then this little living room area here with its own door.

0:33:510:33:56

Really nice that it's divided up and you can retain your own privacy.

0:33:560:34:01

In fact, I think this room was the breakfast room,

0:34:020:34:07

perfectly adequate for the three B&B bedrooms that are on offer.

0:34:070:34:11

There's a main kitchen - a bit elongated, but big enough to fry large amounts of bacon and eggs.

0:34:110:34:16

And there's a very useful separate utility area at the end.

0:34:160:34:21

The general feel of the place is rather characterless and a little tired,

0:34:210:34:26

although the bones are there. Now how are the guest bedrooms?

0:34:260:34:31

Ah, there you are. Well...what have we got?

0:34:310:34:34

Let's pretend we're a hotel inspector. How would we view this room?

0:34:340:34:40

Well...it's not exactly huge. You'd get a double bed in here and there wouldn't be a lot of space.

0:34:400:34:47

It looks a bit tired and dated

0:34:470:34:50

and there are a few shabby bits and pieces here.

0:34:510:34:55

This doesn't work. Not at all desirable.

0:34:550:34:58

Looks like some damp in the corner.

0:34:580:35:02

Because we're at the rear, no views of the sea, which is a shame.

0:35:020:35:07

So that's not too sparkling. Maybe it improves in the en suite.

0:35:070:35:12

Em, well...sadly not.

0:35:120:35:15

In hotels or guest houses or B&Bs, I really love having a bath.

0:35:150:35:20

In this case there's only a shower so that's a negative for me.

0:35:200:35:24

And it's just, again, little touches. Look.

0:35:240:35:28

Cracked tiles. It doesn't give a very good impression.

0:35:280:35:32

If I was to rate it, well, I reckon it's one, maybe one-and-a-half stars?

0:35:320:35:38

If you've got small rooms like these, you need to make them sparkly

0:35:380:35:43

and extra attractive to impress.

0:35:430:35:45

At the moment, they're a bit dull and dated,

0:35:450:35:48

but with a little imagination you could make them 4-star spaces. And the layout works well.

0:35:480:35:55

So what to do with this place? I'd like to walk while I mull over the options.

0:35:550:36:01

How about renting it out to students? Not as daft as it sounds.

0:36:010:36:05

There's a huge demand for student accommodation and, let's say, 7 students paying £70 a week.

0:36:050:36:11

That's around £2,000 a month, £24,000 a year. A good return.

0:36:110:36:16

You could turn it back into a beautiful family home. Nice place to live.

0:36:160:36:21

Or how about keeping it as a bed and breakfast? For some people, it's a really nice lifestyle.

0:36:210:36:27

You live in one part, rent out the rest. Let's say you got £50-£60 a night, bed and breakfast.

0:36:270:36:35

Over a year, if you were fully booked, that would give you around £65,000 before taxes

0:36:350:36:41

and all those other costs. So, all in all, this place has got some good options.

0:36:410:36:48

It also had a guide price of £295,000. We asked a local estate agent for his thoughts.

0:36:480:36:54

It could lend itself to so many uses. You could run it as a B&B.

0:36:570:37:01

Or a beautiful family home - nice garden. Or the student market.

0:37:010:37:06

What's the value of the property if developed as a family home?

0:37:060:37:11

As a family home, you're probably looking somewhere in the region of £340,000-£350,000.

0:37:110:37:17

And if you were to rent the place out as a whole?

0:37:170:37:21

As it currently stands, you're looking somewhere in the region of £1,150 per calendar month.

0:37:210:37:29

Once you've done all the modernisation, you could be looking in the region of £1,350.

0:37:290:37:34

Well, this is interesting. Options galore and all of them exciting.

0:37:360:37:41

It's many people's dream to own a house in a beautiful place like this and then rent part of it out

0:37:410:37:47

to bring in some cash. Fantastic. Let's see who snapped it up when it went under the hammer.

0:37:470:37:54

Lot number 8.

0:37:540:37:57

I would like to start here

0:37:570:37:59

at around about 270.

0:37:590:38:02

And 270,000, then. At 270.

0:38:020:38:05

At the back. 272. I was just going to take his bid, but I'll take yours at 272.

0:38:050:38:11

Now may I say 275? At 275.

0:38:110:38:15

280 on the left.

0:38:150:38:17

285.

0:38:170:38:19

290? 290. 292.

0:38:190:38:23

294?

0:38:230:38:25

294. No? I'll take the one. 295. 295 on the left.

0:38:250:38:31

296 now.

0:38:310:38:33

£296,000.

0:38:330:38:35

No? At 296. I'll call it for the first, for the second and for the third and final time

0:38:350:38:43

at £296,000. It is sold to you on the telephone.

0:38:430:38:48

With their successful bid of £296,000, it was husband and wife Kevin and Sasha.

0:38:480:38:55

It's been a busy time for the local couple as only three weeks ago Sasha had their first child,

0:38:550:39:01

baby Thomas. It seems a family connection has drawn them to this property.

0:39:010:39:06

Kevin, Sasha, lovely to meet you. Congratulations. Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.

0:39:060:39:12

It used to be in our family. It was my gran's house.

0:39:120:39:16

And the family owned the business down at the bottom and both houses.

0:39:160:39:21

So have you been watching it?

0:39:210:39:24

A little bit, yeah. It's been on the market since July, so we've been watching it.

0:39:240:39:30

It started on the market for 375, which we felt was too expensive

0:39:300:39:34

and then we were lucky to get it at auction for 296.

0:39:340:39:38

A good decision, to be sure! It's times like this when auctions pay dividends.

0:39:380:39:44

A place is only worth what someone will pay for it on the day.

0:39:440:39:48

Kevin's training to be a seaman at Trinity House. He does three weeks on the ship and three weeks off,

0:39:480:39:55

so he'll be able to lend a hand during his downtime. And Sasha's dad has been invaluable,

0:39:550:40:00

putting in the investment for them and he'll also help out.

0:40:000:40:04

So tell me more about the plans.

0:40:040:40:07

To come in on Thursday and paint the whole house throughout.

0:40:070:40:11

There are plans eventually to move the septic tank and put it in the field and move the road away,

0:40:110:40:19

so the lorries will no longer go right outside the front door.

0:40:190:40:25

So it's really at the moment just a good lick of paint and giving it some modern decor

0:40:250:40:31

-so we can get open for July.

-Then the idea is to run it as a B&B?

-That's right, yes.

0:40:310:40:37

Now running a B&B is a time-consuming operation. Are you looking forward to it?

0:40:370:40:43

Yes! Yes.

0:40:430:40:46

-It's something we can both get stuck into when I'm on my time off.

-And we'll get help in.

0:40:460:40:51

For when he's away. Cos I think I'll be hard-pushed with baby and the B&B on my own!

0:40:510:40:58

-That is a point. You had a baby how long ago?

-Three weeks ago.

0:40:580:41:02

-And at the auction you were very pregnant.

-I had about 5 days to go. I think they were all a bit concerned

0:41:020:41:09

that the baby might come!

0:41:090:41:12

-Looking after a young baby and a new business - quite a lot on your plate.

-But we like that.

0:41:120:41:19

No one could accuse them of taking time out.

0:41:190:41:22

Thomas is enough to keep them busy all by himself.

0:41:220:41:26

The pair have £8,000-£10,000 to spend on getting the B&B up and running,

0:41:260:41:31

which, if they keep it simple, should be ample.

0:41:310:41:35

They hope to get £50-£60 per room a night, which I reckon is also easily achievable.

0:41:350:41:41

It's all becoming clear, including the weather.

0:41:410:41:45

So what do you see for the future?

0:41:460:41:48

To live here indefinitely. You don't know if 10 years down the line you might want something bigger.

0:41:480:41:55

It's really hard to say. Kevin's at the start of his career at Trinity.

0:41:550:42:00

I've also done quite high-powered sales jobs so I'm looking more to take the back seat

0:42:000:42:05

and let the man bring in a bit more money!

0:42:050:42:09

-And bringing up Thomas.

-Yeah. And look forward to bringing up Thomas.

0:42:090:42:13

It's a nice area. There's lots of walks.

0:42:130:42:17

There's lots of times I can have with Thomas out on the boat and bring Sasha out as well

0:42:170:42:23

-so we can have more days out on the boat.

-I hope you clean it first!

0:42:230:42:28

So your quality of life will be really lovely, actually.

0:42:280:42:32

Yeah. That's what it's all about. Dad's put us in a lovely position to enjoy life with our son.

0:42:320:42:39

-I wish you all the best. Congratulations.

-Cheers.

0:42:390:42:43

Well, I'm glad that Kevin and Sasha like having a lot on their plate

0:42:440:42:49

because I think they may have, with the new family and this exciting project.

0:42:490:42:55

Still, it'll be wonderful to see how they transform this

0:42:550:42:59

and you can find out how they get on with their Cornish B&B later.

0:42:590:43:04

There's no doubt that property developing is unpredictable

0:43:070:43:11

-and so you should expect the unexpected.

-So will we encounter a Hammer House of Horrors today?

0:43:110:43:18

Let's find out.

0:43:180:43:20

Time to revisit the village of East Dean in Wiltshire, where Jeff had grand designs

0:43:240:43:31

right next door. He managed to purchase his neighbour's cottage

0:43:310:43:36

for £147,000, after the property had lain empty for over a year.

0:43:360:43:42

His plan was to turn the two adjoining cottages into one, providing him with double the space

0:43:440:43:50

and a considerable garden.

0:43:500:43:52

The property does have a busy main road at the front

0:43:540:43:59

and a train line at the rear.

0:43:590:44:02

But Jeff is well used to both as he's lived in the adjacent property for over 30 years.

0:44:020:44:08

I'm in no rush. I live next door. I don't have to get it ready to move in to it.

0:44:080:44:14

I can do it at leisure over the next few months and years. It'll be years!

0:44:140:44:19

# Time is on my side... #

0:44:190:44:23

Jeff's prediction of years did prove to be extremely accurate as we return two years later

0:44:230:44:31

to see how he's getting on.

0:44:310:44:34

It's been stripped right down, all the wood replaced,

0:44:390:44:44

all the electricity taken out, all the water taken out.

0:44:440:44:48

Carpets, furniture, everything stripped back. Completely replastered, dry lined all round.

0:44:480:44:54

And now I'm beginning to put it back together. Still a long way to go, but a huge amount, really,

0:44:540:45:00

and a huge amount in the garden, maintaining it, getting rid of dead wood, a caravan, trimming trees.

0:45:000:45:07

A huge amount done, but a fair bit still to do.

0:45:070:45:12

It's very much a work in progress. As yet, Jeff hasn't applied for planning permission

0:45:120:45:17

to knock through to create one big home. In the meantime, it remains two separate houses.

0:45:170:45:23

So what's the timescale now?

0:45:230:45:25

I had hoped that a year after getting this place, we'd have running water upstairs and would be

0:45:250:45:32

at least able to sleep upstairs. That hasn't happened. I had running water and flushed the toilet once

0:45:320:45:40

but we're only now having the toilet installed. Somebody will sleep in here by the end of the summer.

0:45:400:45:47

That's two years to get to that point, but that's doing it myself

0:45:470:45:51

and I think now if I had the right tradespeople doing it, the right specialists doing it,

0:45:510:45:59

it's probably a fortnight's work.

0:45:590:46:01

Jeff does have the luxury of having his comfortable home next door and was never in a rush,

0:46:030:46:10

so having done the work himself, I think he's done rather well.

0:46:100:46:14

This was the kitchen. I don't really remember what it was like because it was a long time ago.

0:46:180:46:24

There were green-painted cupboards with the doors falling off.

0:46:240:46:29

Took everything out, replastered the walls, insulated the outside ones.

0:46:290:46:34

Brand-new window. That's the only major woodwork done by somebody else.

0:46:340:46:38

That's done. I'm not sure at the moment what it's going to be. It can be transformed to a kitchen,

0:46:380:46:44

but if I get permission I'll put a doorway through here to join the two cottages.

0:46:440:46:50

Gives plenty of wall-hanging space.

0:46:500:46:52

Jeff was well aware that the building was Grade 2-listed.

0:46:540:46:58

Any structural changes would require planning permission. Although he has not yet sought consent,

0:46:580:47:05

he's confident it will be granted. His intention is still to make the two houses into one.

0:47:050:47:11

So what about his outlay on the project?

0:47:110:47:15

I find that very difficult to answer because I never really budgeted because of not having to finish it.

0:47:150:47:22

So far, I've probably spent about... I don't know. I mean, £10,000, £15,000. I haven't kept real track.

0:47:220:47:29

I hope to do it for £20,000.

0:47:290:47:32

Jeff bought the property for £147,000 and is currently within his £20,000 budget

0:47:330:47:40

with work left to do.

0:47:400:47:43

We invited two local property experts to provide a professional appraisal of Jeff's handiwork.

0:47:470:47:54

It's a very nice cottage.

0:47:550:47:57

Great area. Super garden as well. I know it's work in progress,

0:47:570:48:02

but with it all being finished, it'll be lovely. Great location.

0:48:020:48:07

'I think it's charming. This is the sort of thing that would attract a young professional couple maybe'

0:48:070:48:14

who are working not necessarily just here, but in Eastleigh

0:48:140:48:20

or Southampton. Or maybe commute up from London.

0:48:200:48:24

Does the proximity of the house to a busy road and railway line affect the value?

0:48:240:48:30

Railway - you can't ignore it, but over time you'd get used to it.

0:48:310:48:36

You compensate that with the garden, which outweighs it.

0:48:360:48:40

The road, again you've got to consider you've got to get to places.

0:48:400:48:44

It's not a main road, but it will take traffic through the village.

0:48:440:48:48

Again, not too much of a problem.

0:48:480:48:51

So what could the value of the property be as it stands as a semi-detached?

0:48:510:48:57

In terms of a completed project,

0:48:580:49:00

I would recommend an asking price or guide price in the region of £185,000-£200,000.

0:49:000:49:07

I could put this on the market for £195,000.

0:49:070:49:12

So if Jeff were to spend all his budget of £20,000, added to the purchase price of £147,000,

0:49:120:49:19

he could stand to make a pre-tax profit of £18,000-£33,000.

0:49:190:49:25

And if Jeff were to complete the project and open an access from one to the other

0:49:280:49:33

and create one four-bedroom house, what difference would this make to the value?

0:49:330:49:39

In my view, you could put it on the market for £450,000.

0:49:400:49:46

In terms of resale, if it was one house, I would recommend a figure in excess of £400,000 as appropriate.

0:49:460:49:52

400-450. I'm pleased with that because I thought they might be worth less

0:49:520:49:58

as a single house than two.

0:49:580:50:00

So Jeff's bought the house next door to create one large home.

0:50:020:50:07

Although it's still a work in progress, he's taken a great deal of satisfaction from doing the work.

0:50:070:50:13

Overall, what are his final thoughts on the project?

0:50:130:50:18

It's been enjoyable, but difficult.

0:50:180:50:21

And I was quite well prepared from having had 20, 30 years' experience on the other side.

0:50:210:50:28

The most nerve-racking bit was the auction. I'm not sure I'd want to go through that again,

0:50:280:50:34

particularly when it's a property I really, really wanted because it was joined to the other one.

0:50:340:50:40

We're back beside the seaside in Penryn, Cornwall,

0:50:430:50:46

to find out how Sasha, Kevin and baby Thomas are getting on

0:50:460:50:51

with their plans to reopen this B&B, purchased for £296,000.

0:50:510:50:55

Sasha's dad, who owns the nearby scrap yard, helped with finance.

0:50:590:51:03

And that's not the only family tie with this property.

0:51:030:51:07

It used to be in our family.

0:51:070:51:09

It was my gran's house.

0:51:090:51:12

It got sold out of the family about eight years ago and we decided we'd like to buy it back as a B&B.

0:51:120:51:19

Sasha and Kevin's idea of returning this property to a business could be a good one.

0:51:210:51:27

Kevin's job allows plenty of time to help out.

0:51:270:51:30

As the property's been vacant for some time, the interior is clearly in need of refurbishment.

0:51:300:51:36

The exterior benefits from sea views, but did have the road,

0:51:360:51:41

which takes heavy industrial traffic to the scrap yard next door, running by the property.

0:51:410:51:46

Sasha and Kevin bought the house for £296,000 and plan to spend

0:51:460:51:52

£8,000-£10,000 getting the bed and breakfast up and running.

0:51:520:51:56

They'd hoped to have the work completed in 3-4 months, ready to open for the summer season,

0:51:560:52:03

so did Sasha, Kevin and baby Thomas manage to complete their renovations

0:52:030:52:09

and are they open for business or are their plans all at sea?

0:52:090:52:14

We've come back four months later to find out.

0:52:140:52:18

Not only has the weather brightened, but so too has the building.

0:52:210:52:25

A lick of paint and the addition of floral displays really helps to give a more inviting feel.

0:52:250:52:31

Inside, gone are the overpowering colours, replaced by a cool, fresh decor.

0:52:310:52:38

The family living space is now a comfortable environment in which to spend time.

0:52:410:52:48

The transformation is impressive, but how was it for the family

0:52:570:53:02

and did the project run on time?

0:53:020:53:06

Much better than we'd hoped, really. We kept to schedule for three months

0:53:060:53:10

and we've started taking business.

0:53:100:53:13

The transformation continues upstairs with all three guest bedrooms looking ship-shape.

0:53:150:53:22

The bathrooms also have a refreshing feel about them.

0:53:220:53:26

In this room, we started off by choosing the wallpaper. We then decorated the whole bedroom,

0:53:270:53:34

had new carpet fitted, chose some furniture, new beds,

0:53:340:53:39

chose the bedding and then we added mirrors, the incidentals for a guest room, such as TVs,

0:53:390:53:46

and your guest trays with tea and coffee.

0:53:460:53:50

And then the final touch was the pictures.

0:53:500:53:53

The original budget for the project was £8,000-£10,000.

0:53:550:53:59

So have Sasha and Kevin managed to trim the main sails and stick to it or have they pushed the boat out?

0:54:010:54:09

I'm not sure how much my dad wanted to spend,

0:54:110:54:15

but as we did more, he saw that we need this and we need that

0:54:150:54:20

so I think we've pushed the boat out a little bit. We have spent about £30,000.

0:54:200:54:25

But I think you can see that it's been money well spent.

0:54:250:54:30

The couple bought the place for £296,000 and have spent a further £30,000 on refurbishment,

0:54:310:54:38

making a total outlay of £326,000.

0:54:380:54:42

We invited two local property experts to see if this money was well invested.

0:54:430:54:49

Since the new owners have been in, they've gone from top to bottom.

0:54:490:54:55

It looks a lot brighter. It's a very contemporary feeling. They've done a very good job.

0:54:550:55:01

The owner's done a very good job of turning the accommodation round

0:55:010:55:06

to make a very attractive property.

0:55:060:55:08

From a resale point of view, the thing that holds it back is the access road out the front.

0:55:080:55:14

It is very close to the front. If it can be moved to allow a little bit of space, that enhances its potential.

0:55:140:55:22

So what value would the experts put on the property now that the work is complete?

0:55:220:55:28

As a purely residential property, we're looking somewhere in the region of £350,000-£360,000.

0:55:280:55:35

If it came back to the open market today, we'd be looking to put a price on at £350,000-£370,000.

0:55:350:55:42

So that's a potential pre-tax profit of £24,000 and £44,000

0:55:420:55:47

before the usual selling expenses are deducted.

0:55:470:55:51

That's really good. That's a quick return on investment in only three months.

0:55:510:55:57

Fantastic.

0:55:570:55:59

While baby Thomas takes a relaxed approach to all the changes,

0:55:590:56:04

might the couple be tempted to put it back on the market?

0:56:040:56:09

-No.

-No.

-No, we're going to crack on with our B&B.

0:56:090:56:14

Sasha and Kevin have taken the opportunity not only to invest in the family history,

0:56:190:56:25

but also to allow themselves to start a bed and breakfast.

0:56:250:56:30

Charging £68 for a double and £46.50 for a single guest, this offers them a healthy return.

0:56:300:56:36

And they can spend more time together as a family.

0:56:360:56:41

The property is now ship-shape and their future looks bright.

0:56:410:56:45

-What would their advice to others in the same boat be?

-Go for it!

0:56:450:56:50

-We hope you've enjoyed the highs and lows of today's show.

-Until the next time, cheerio.

-Goodbye.

0:56:530:57:00

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011

0:57:160:57:21

Email [email protected]

0:57:210:57:24

Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Cheshire, a Grade II listed house in Wiltshire and a property in Cornwall. 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.