Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a lock house in Hertford, a house in London and a three-bedroom house in Manchester.
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-Welcome to the show.
-We're always being told to save for the future.
That's especially important now
with people looking to supplement their pension
or invest their savings.
Property is an attractive option and you can find it in the auction rooms.
If, like us, you hope property will be a fruitful investment,
you've got to make sure you buy wisely.
That means doing your research, so you know what you're taking on.
So did our buyers find some good deals at the auctions today?
Let's take a look.
In Hertford, a lock house that makes me forget I'm here to work.
How fantastic to sit here on a summer's evening, glass of wine...
In London, I get up close and personal with a house in need of a hug.
Hold me close, don't let me go.
I don't think it's going to make anybody feel sentimental.
And in Higher Blackley in Manchester,
a property served with a slice of romance.
It's like walking into the insides of a fluffed-up wedding cake.
All these properties were sold at auction.
We'll find out who bought them and what they paid
-when they went under the hammer.
I'm in picturesque Hertford in Hertfordshire.
It feels a world away from the centre of London,
which is just 19 miles south, and I couldn't be happier.
One of the things that I love about Homes Under The Hammer
is the variety of property that comes up at the auction.
And today is no exception.
Let me give you some clues.
It's got its own mooring, it's right by the side of the canal...
That's right. It's the old lock-keeper's cottage.
The lock-keeper lucked out, eh? What an impressive house to work from.
Built in the late 1800s and guided at auction at 95,000,
it could easily grace a box of chocolates.
As for the setting, it's just glorious, isn't it?
A truly idyllic spot.
# How lucky can you get? #
So what's in store when you open the door?
Well, it's not quite as cute inside as it is on the outside.
This is one big living room area, I suppose.
Nice it's got an open fire but it's being let down
by the, well, by the wallpaper
and these beams, they just don't particularly work.
But you've got stairs up to the bedrooms there
and then through into this anteroom here
and another slight disappointment, that's the kitchen -
as you can see, absolutely tiny.
So a bit of internal jiggery-pokery required
but something I've just spotted which is much more serious is this,
a fairly nasty crack.
But look at this. I wouldn't mind hazarding a guess
that when this was on display,
that was on there like that, covering up the crack.
So, a tip - if you go in a property, and there's something like this on the wall, take a look behind it
because that is quite serious.
Yes, beware makeshift wall coverings,
as they could be hiding a multitude of sins.
Of course, getting a survey done is a good idea, whenever possible.
This house really does need some serious reconfiguring.
As things stand, it doesn't feel all that homely inside.
The large lounge is pleasant
but the rooms leading off it all feel a bit unnecessary
and I would definitely open the kitchen up by knocking through to this anteroom
to make better use of the space.
Time to head upstairs.
Well, up here, two fairly small bedrooms, so not that interesting.
However, what really is interesting is the history of this place.
There's been a lock-keeper's cottage here since the 1770s.
The original one was knocked down to be replaced by this one in 1887
and what's even more interesting
is that I actually have a list of all the lock keepers
going back to 1773,
when James Shadbolt was paid eight shillings a week
to look after the navigation near Hertford and the upper turnpike.
It goes on, there's another here.
John Smith in 1873, he was a long-time invalid.
His work was done by wife and child.
And it goes all the way up to 1939, when Henry Silver was appointed
on 29th of July and paid 26 shillings a week
and a house and a uniform.
It's not just a house you're buying but a piece of history.
Unfortunately, there's no access by car, only by towpath.
From a practical point of view,
quite apart from lugging shopping bags,
it could make getting tradesmen and materials here for any renovations quite tricky.
And the location isn't recognised by sat nav.
However, it does come with a mooring facility and has a lovely garden.
Well, one of the great joys of owning this house
is the garden that surrounds it.
How fantastic to sit here on a summer's evening,
glass of wine, just watching the world go by.
Unfortunately, the world is going to be watching you as they go by
because this is a public footpath.
It runs right in front of the lock-keeper's cottage here
and it's fairly actively used,
so if it's privacy you're after, this ain't the place for you.
It was the place for someone, though, as it sold at auction.
I wanted to get a local estate agent's take on this house,
guided at 95,000.
It's got a lot of potential. It's a great location,
out here in the middle of nowhere,
but it's also only a five-minute walk from amenities,
so, yeah, I'm impressed in terms of its potential, definitely.
You'd need a new kitchen, a new bathroom.
You'd need to start from scratch. It's quite a big project.
But I still think it's a project that will work for somebody,
providing they don't go too crazy on bath taps and that kind of thing.
Wise words, there. Stick to that budget and never lose sight of the end value.
Speaking of which, how much could someone stand to make?
Rental per calendar month is roughly around £1,200 per month.
And a sell-on value?
When renovated, I would expect around £385,000.
Well, people love finding somewhere different to live
and this place is certainly that.
But it doesn't come without negatives.
I wouldn't like people traipsing right in front of my living room
and you've got access issues coming out of your ears.
However, I'm sure that someone fell in love with it
when it went under the hammer.
To lot 50, now, which is the lock house.
I think we've got some phone bids. I've also got a proxy bid myself.
So over to you. Where would you like to kick off?
How much? 90? 100,000 anywhere?
Got 100. 110.
Bidding on the property was fierce,
with several parties keen to lock down the lock house.
We rejoin the auction as bids reach 265,000.
267. 268. 269.
271, madam? Yeah? 272.
One more crack? You're both sort of very close.
If not, 271. 272 anywhere else?
If not, 271, the first time, second time, third and last time.
Have you all done? GAVEL BANGS
Sold, 271. Well done. Nice-looking property.
The successful bid of £271,000,
£176,000 over the guide price,
came from trainee lawyer Marie.
She was at the auction with her brother Mark.
Marie was bidding on behalf of her dad, Ty,
a retired council worker.
I met father and daughter back at the house to find out more.
-Marie, Ty, good to meet you both.
-What a lovely property you have bought.
-It's gorgeous, isn't it?
Tell me why you wanted to buy it.
Basically, we saw it in the auction catalogue.
I was looking for myself, originally, then we saw it for Dad and Mum -
fell in love with it.
-So you were bidding at the auction...
-..on behalf of...
-Where was Mum and Dad?
-We were in Turkey.
And when did you hear that you'd got it?
My son was on the phone to me
and I was expecting about 1.15 Turkish time,
which is 11.15 London time.
It came about 1.34, about 20 minutes later.
That was the longest wait.
-So you were on the phone back in...?
My brother was telling them what we were bidding.
They were going, "OK, OK, go for it, go for it." Yeah.
Now, it went a lot over the guide price
but I suspect the guide price was probably quite low.
It was ridiculously low.
-I don't know whether they did it deliberately...
-..in order to attract people.
-They do that.
When we came to see the place, there was a traffic jam.
-We couldn't get down to it.
-If they'd priced it at 500,000, nobody would have turned up.
-So why were you so keen to buy it?
-We just love this place.
-Tell me why.
-There's so much potential, so much we can do
and it's so beautiful.
It sure is - or it could be, depending on what they decide to do to the property.
What extensions and improvements are you planning to make?
We're going to renovate it. We're going to enlarge the kitchen.
We're putting a conservatory on the side.
-And leaving the front as it is?
-Exactly as it is.
We're going to change the windows but in the same style.
The main focus will be for us is the balance
and integrity of the building,
so that it's not a stuck-on conservatory - it will match,
with the gable on the side.
I mean, it is so cute, isn't it?
How are you going to expand it without ruining that cuteness?
-We've got some specialist architects coming...
..who are going to advise us.
It's only two bedrooms. Is that big enough?
Another reason we bought it is because we've got mooring rights,
so the next project is to get a barge, Dutch barge,
and convert it into a two or three-bedroom place.
-Right, so you don't have a boat at the moment...
-But we're going to.
Me and my brother and friends will stay on the barge
while Mum and Dad live in the house,
-when we come to visit.
-Oh, wow. How cool is that?
I'll say. What a novel way of extending your living space.
Ty's budget is around £50,000.
He has had a fair amount of renovation experience,
although nothing on this scale or to the standard he's planning
for this retirement pad.
What involvement are you and your brother going to have in the renovation?
I can see us stripping walls, painting, things like that.
Anything to help out - I think that's what we'll do.
-It's a house that you want to get involved in.
-It's gorgeous, you know.
Who'd mind being here? It's nice to get out of the city.
Isn't it just? But the time to relax hasn't come yet.
Ty's aiming to complete the renovation in six months.
This includes the time it takes to get permission from the council
and British Waterways to carry out any works.
The Waterways sold the property on with a covenant in place,
so Ty must contact them before he can proceed with his plans.
Well, congratulations. Well done.
-I'm a little bit jealous but I wish you all the best.
Ty and his family are clearly delighted to have bought this property, and who can blame them?
Find out what they do with it later in the programme.
I've travelled to Plaistow in East London,
a vibrant and well-connected part of the capital.
It's also the birthplace of singer and actor David Essex.
The question is does the auction lot I'm here to see have showbiz quality
and will it have the potential to be turned into a star?
# I'm coming home soon
# I'm going to make you a star. #
If the other properties in the street are anything to go by, maybe...
Or maybe not. Here it is, in all its burnt-out glory.
Look at that! Hold me close, don't let me go.
I don't think it's going to make anybody feel sentimental.
But it was guided at 155,000,
so maybe somebody will want to get up close and personal with this house.
Let's have a look inside this two-bedroom, Victorian property.
There's obviously some fire damage,
although, thankfully, no-one was injured.
But whilst it doesn't look so welcoming from the outside,
appearances can be deceptive.
# Can't judge a book by looking at the cover... #
Well, it's certainly one huge room that you walk into here.
That's because the owner has taken out this wall
and created this rather large, open-plan living space.
You know, you can be in either camp.
You like the big space or you would reinstate the wall
and have two reception rooms.
That might be a good idea if you're planning on letting to tenants.
But one thing I have noticed, which is a big old tick,
the windows are in really good nick.
Seeing those boards outside sometimes frightens you.
You think, "I may need to replace the windows."
But in this case, they're in really good condition,
so, you know, a bit of money saved there.
The kitchen, well, half the ceiling's fallen down.
That really does need a bit of a reconfigure.
But my guess is that most of the damage is upstairs
because it doesn't look too bad down here.
I'm going to go upstairs and check it out. Wish me luck.
Yes, it's certainly in a bad way up here
and you can really smell the burning.
Gosh, it's incredibly shabby
and it needs a lot of attention.
You can see one of the bedrooms there is just falling apart.
All the windowsills have melted.
The second bedroom through here is in a bad way.
I'm not going to venture through there because it's dangerous.
And the bathroom is going to completely need ripping out
and starting over.
One thing's for sure - a structural survey is needed here.
Anyone buying a property should obtain a structural survey before parting with their pennies
but here, it's crucial.
The fire damage may just look superficial to the untrained eye
but could explain all sorts of nasty surprises.
Getting the gas and electrics looked at is an absolute must.
If you're thinking of purchasing something similar,
always get the experts in.
The layout here could benefit from a rejig.
The large bathroom could be made into a third bedroom
but that would mean creating a new bathroom downstairs.
Alternatively and less expensively,
the large lounge could be split in two
to create a downstairs bedroom.
It's great for a property to have possibilities
but it all depends on who's going to live in it.
Now, if you were thinking of letting this,
it's an ideal garden for tenants, as it's paved and low-maintenance.
It's not the biggest outside space
but one way to improve it
would be to have some large doors leading out from the kitchen
where that window is.
Now, after looking around a fire-damaged property all morning,
it's quite nice to get some fresh air.
There was a light drizzle but a rainy day is ideal to view a property,
as it lets you see if the guttering is doing its job or not,
as the case may be.
# Let it rain Let it rain
# Let it rain, rain, rain... #
Looking at this guttering and downpipe,
there's no drain here to collect the rainwater.
But at least there's a slight incline to help the water escape
and flow out into the road
but I can't help think it's far from ideal.
On a rainy day, you don't want a big muddy puddle
right outside your front door.
We asked a local estate agent to dish the dirt
on this fire-damaged property
and its £155,000 guide price.
It needs a little bit of refurbishment!
I think it needs new wiring,
a new central heating system.
I would personally take the whole lot out and start again.
It's got great potential, though. It's a nice family home.
If the purchaser does the required work, what could they sell the house on for?
Approximately £200,000 as a two-bed.
As a three-bed, I would put it on the market for £225,000.
What monthly rental could it earn?
As a two-bed, you'd be looking at a rental income of about £1,000.
As a three-bed, you would be looking at a rental income of about £1,200.
Dangerous, dingy and burnt-out,
this house requires an extensive makeover.
It won't be a cheap job but once renovated, well,
it could be a nice little earner
and so maybe it could be a good rental investment.
Let's find out who agreed with me as we go to auction.
I like this lot.
150, anywhere? Yes? 150.
Thank you. 150. 151.
Have a think. 176 elsewhere?
176? Another 1,000. If not, 175 for the first time.
Second time. Third and last time. Are you all done?
Sold, 175. Well bought.
That successful bid of 175,000 came from entrepreneur Sidney,
who attended the auction with his niece.
He runs and owns a children's nursery
and an ink-cartridge refilling business,
plus he develops property as a sideline
and he's no stranger to this street.
Sidney, congratulations. Great news for you that you managed to secure this on auction day.
Why did you want to buy it?
I bought my first house on this street 11 years ago.
-Yeah. And when I saw it, I thought it would be nice to have this as well.
So is this an identical house to the other one you own?
It is identical but this is a bit bigger.
So what do you want to do with this and why did you want another house?
I want to rent it out, do it up a bit and then rent it out
and just for investment, really, for the future.
-So did you view this property prior to the auction?
Did the fire damage not put you off?
Not really because I sort of saw...
Well, I know how much damage was done. It was kind of cosmetic.
No structural damage.
-So did you get a structural survey before the auction?
-So you could read that and have the safety net of knowing there was nothing wrong with it.
Sidney made the sensible decision to have this surveyed before the auction.
This means he can cost the job properly
and knowing he doesn't have to rectify any serious structural damage
will save him some serious cash.
So what is the big plan? Where are you going to start?
-You've got some work to do before you can let this.
I'm going to start upstairs, stripping the ceiling down,
the plaster of the wall and replastering
and then a partition is coming down here
and obviously the wiring is redone, the plumbing, central heating,
So you're going to partition this room. That's interesting.
That's what my tenants have asked for. I have tenants lined up already.
-So currently it's a two-bedroom property...
..with a bathroom upstairs. Are you keeping that configuration?
For now, I am, because I need to get it done as quickly as possible.
-So that means you'll have two reception rooms downstairs?
-And are you going to keep that as two reception rooms?
Well, the tenants can do what they want.
Sidney's in a good position here.
His tenants are ready to move in and pay £1,100 a month in rent.
For now, he's holding off the more pricy idea
of moving the bathroom downstairs
because there's some pressure when it comes to how he financed the property.
The bulk of it is from my savings
and then I got some money from my friends and my wife
and as long as it's all done,
hopefully, remortgage it and give them their money back.
-Are you paying them interest?
-Yes, I agreed 1% interest a month.
-So that is fair.
-And because of that, it's allowed you to buy this property.
So you've got to do it as quick as poss,
-so the pressure is on, financially, for you.
# Cos the heat is on... #
Yes, the heat is on for Sidney.
He's given himself six to eight weeks to get this place up to scratch.
And although he's got eight other properties,
this is his biggest project to date.
# The heat is...
# On... #
I've never done this much work before.
Yeah, this is a major project for me.
-And are you intending on doing the work yourself?
-So you're getting guys in?
-I'll leave it to the professionals.
Well, for an undertaking like this, that's exactly the right decision.
It's not as if he's got plenty of time on his hands.
As well as his property portfolio,
he owns and runs a nursery for under-fives
and has an ink-cartridge refilling franchise.
How do you find the time to keep over everything?
Well, the nursery has got its own manager.
The shop has its own manager as well
and all I do is just, you know, pop in whenever they need me.
-Great job for you.
So are you a busy guy? Are you running around checking everything out?
Yeah, I would say I am fairly busy, yes.
Keeps me out of trouble.
What is your budget? How much money have you got to do the work?
I have got 15-20,000.
-And that's tops?
Sidney, good luck with this project. I hope it's done in time
-and that your tenants are very happy.
-Thank you very much.
Sidney isn't fazed by this job.
In fact, Mr Organised relishes the challenge.
£15-20,000, that is a healthy budget
but will it be enough to overhaul this property
and will he complete it all in just six to eight weeks?
Those tenants are waiting and lined up.
You can find out how he gets on later in the programme.
Coming up, this house in Higher Blackley feels a bit off colour.
But what is that?
I don't like to see any discolouration like that.
In Plaistow, we find out if Sidney kept a close eye on proceedings.
I have to be honest, I wasn't here.
I was away in Japan for most of the project. I was away for a month.
But first, did Ty sink or swim renovating the lock house?
It took nearly 14 months and that cost us a lot of money.
Now we're back in Hertford,
where Ty spent £271,000 on this charming lock-keeper's house.
When I met Ty and his daughter Marie, they were over the moon
about the purchase.
-So why were you so keen to buy it?
-We just love this place.
-Tell me why.
-So much potential, so much we can do
and it's so beautiful.
Ty and his wife bought it to retire to
and planned to renovate it to suit their needs for 50,000
over a six-month period.
So did they manage to unlock the full potential of the lock house?
Well, nearly two years later, we're back to find out.
The inside looks amazing
and green-fingered Ty turned what was just grass
into a breathtaking garden.
And of course, there's that extension.
This is the new kitchen, which has been designed by my wife.
This side used to be the little lean-to
and now this is the shower room.
That's the garden room with the big concertina doors.
This new fireplace we bought
and the new wood stove will be going into it.
This is the area where we'll be spending more time
because you can see the whole garden
and it's absolutely wonderful if the sun is shining.
And they didn't just extend outwards but upwards, too,
where an extra bathroom and bedroom were added,
plus there's now a fabulous bonus area
leading off from the master bedroom.
Well, as you can see, this is the new part
of the extension.
We're very pleased with this.
As you can imagine, on a Sunday morning,
having a coffee, sitting down, reading the paper,
as if the whole sight of The Meads is your garden.
Absolutely wonderful on a sunny day.
You can really tell that Ty and his wife put their hearts and souls
into turning this house into their ideal home.
And they did it without compromising the unmistakable character and charm
this place already had to offer.
It was designed by the architect, basically,
and we had to match everything,
otherwise it won't be uniform and go with the character of the house.
I think it's come out beautifully, particularly the garden room.
Stunning as the house now looks,
many unexpected difficulties have had to be overcome,
including waiting for nesting bats to leave the premises
and getting cement brought to the site by pipeline.
And that's not all.
We had to have three surveys.
It took nearly 14 months and that cost us a lot of money.
We had to liaise with the Environment Agency,
then get permission from British Waterways.
Then we had an ecological survey. We had a tree survey.
Then we had a flood-risk assessment, a soil test.
So all sorts of statutory regulations we had to meet.
These are all things to bear in mind
if you're considering buying a house in need of work
on a lockside location.
The list of regulations that must be met is long
and you should be aware of this before plunging in.
You also need a good dose of patience.
Also worth keeping in mind is that if your property is isolated,
security is key.
Because of the unique location of this house,
as we don't have any neighbours,
we thought it's important that we have a good CCTV camera
covering all the sides of the house.
Ty and his wife have waited and worked for two years
to get this place right for them
and plan to move in as soon as they've sold their current property.
Their original budget for the work was £50,000
but with everything they've done, it ended up costing more.
Just under 100,000.
Over budget perhaps, but they did build a much larger extension
than originally intended
and, yes, they've still got plans to buy a barge
for their mooring for extra guest rooms.
We invited two local estate agents to the lock house
to hear their opinions on the place.
Very impressed. Much bigger than I anticipated.
The extension really does transform the house
and the roof terrace is another feature I hadn't bargained for,
so quite surprised, pleasantly surprised, I would say, yeah.
First impressions - stunning location, it's a complete one-off
and there's nothing else like this in the area
and the owners have done a fantastic job
of refurbishing and extending the house.
So whilst the renovation may not have been plain sailing,
the agents are agreed that this really is a special place.
It's perfect for Ty and his wife to retire to.
They purchased the property for 271,000
and spent around £100,000 on the renovations,
making their total outlay 371,000.
If they did an about-turn and decided to sell,
what could it be worth?
I would expect this house to achieve in the region of £400-425,000.
I would anticipate an asking price of just under £500,000
and for it to get around that sort of figure for the right buyer,
who wants this kind of lifestyle.
I think it's very good, very good.
But the fact is that
I wanted to keep this place better than we found it
and that's the satisfaction, basically.
Satisfying indeed and those somewhat wide-ranging valuations
would see Ty coming up roses,
with a potential pre-tax profit of between £29,000 and £129,000.
But Ty and his wife have no intention of selling.
All their patience and hard work has paid off
and it sounds like they have truly found the key to their future happiness.
I think the peace and tranquillity
and walking by the towpath and living here
with a lot of space
and I think it's enhanced my life, at least.
I'm in the town of Blackley, which forms part of Greater Manchester.
If you're looking at investing in an area,
it's good to choose somewhere where lots of investment has been put in by other people,
in this case, Higher Blackley, where the council have spent £46 million in recent times,
improving the housing stock and the environment,
planting trees, improving gates and parking and things like that.
So that's a fantastic start for this property.
It's a three-bed, Victorian end of terrace.
It had a guide price of £48,000. Let's take a look inside.
Points for the area and a promising start,
with the auction catalogue stating that the house is double glazed and has central heating.
It looks pretty tidy from the outside.
Let's hope the inside follows suit.
So what have we got?
Oh, nice high ceilings. They're absolutely lovely
and even some of the original coving.
Most of the walls don't look too bad but what is that?
I don't like to see any discolouration like that
on the plaster.
Obviously, some damp issues
and you never know how much damage has been caused to the floorboards and the joists.
Let's see if it gets any better.
# So I thought I'd get a little messy... #
So, a bit of a messy start
and past the stairs, there's a second reception room.
It's slightly less stripped back but could do with redecoration.
So through to the kitchen. Nice grey-tiled floor. We like that.
The room itself, not a bad size and lots of light coming in
but it is going to end up just being a shell
because the units want ripping out and totally replacing.
And you're going to have to do something about all this Artex.
It's like walking into the insides of a fluffed-up wedding cake or something.
It's completely bonkers.
So how do you get rid of it? Well, here's some DIY tips.
You can potentially steam it off with lots of effort.
There are proprietary things you can paint on it to remove it.
The simplest thing is probably just to plaster over the top of it.
Whatever you do, though, if it's old Artex, over 30 years old,
it may well contain asbestos,
so what you mustn't do is sand it or break it.
Either way, it's got to go.
# It's a nice day for a white wedding... #
If you want to marry this property up to modern tastes,
smooth walls and ceilings are the way to go.
They'll be needed throughout,
including in the three good-sized bedrooms.
I'm not really a fan of Artex.
The bathroom's a tad small but overall, for a terraced property,
I'm impressed with the size.
And that matters - believe me!
# It's a nice day to start again. #
Now the property is an end of terrace, which has lots of advantages.
For a start, you get an extra entrance at the side.
You've got no neighbour on this side, so it halves the chance of having noisy neighbours
and you've got extra windows to let more light in, so lots of pros.
The only negatives are that you might have people hanging around here,
people walking past or kids playing ball games against this wall,
but overall, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
But does a local estate agent agree?
The property is in need of renovation.
It's a good size, nice high ceilings, good-sized kitchen
and I think with a little bit of work it should be a very nice family home.
And if that was done, what could the potential value be?
The market's a little bit slow at the moment
but at the right price the property should sell.
I'd value the property at between £70-£75,000.
Perhaps this would be more suitable for the rental market?
If it was my property, I would put it for rent
and then wait for the market to pick up and then possibly sell it.
I'd value this property for rent
at between £450 and £475 per calendar month.
Well, there is a bit of money needing to be spent on this place -
a new kitchen, bathroom, and that damp issue needs to be addressed.
But spend a bit of money and this could be a great little property.
Let's see who agreed when it went under the hammer.
Lot 37. What's this one worth today?
£40,000? I'm away. 40 bid.
40,000 I have. Do I see 42?
40 I have, 42 I will take. 42 bid.
42 I'm at. Do I see 44? At 44,000. 48?
46. OK. At 46,000, then.
48 anywhere? At 48. Do I see 50?
At £50,000. 50 I'm bid. Do I see 51?
52, anywhere? At 52. 53?
At 53,000. Are we all done?
I'll take a half. At 53 and a half. 53,500. 54?
54 and a half at the back. 55, may I say?
55,000. At 55. At 55,000. Are we all done?
At 55,000 for the first time.
Second time. Third and final time.
At £55,000, it's yours, sir, seated. Not a bad price.
That successful bid of 55,000 was made by property developing husband and wife team Hazel and Andy.
# So happy together... #
-Hazel, Andy, great to meet you both.
-Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.
It was a fantastic opportunity.
Lovely area. Great rental property. Another one to add to our portfolio.
Ooh, portfolio. Tell me more.
Well, portfolio - we've currently got three? Four?
-This is our fourth one.
-You don't know?!
-We bought another one...
-You don't know?!
Is it three, is it four, is it ten?
We bought a fifth one the week after this one,
so we'll be up to five.
# One, two, three, four Tell me that you love me more... #
Let's hope their maths is a bit better when it comes to budgets
but just to clarify, Hazel and Andy have previously renovated three properties,
which they now rent out.
This terraced house was their fourth purchase
and they bought a fifth around the same time,
so they're taking on a double whammy by renovating both properties.
Good going for a couple who have only been playing the property developing game for two years,
since giving up their previous jobs.
-I was in IT and Hazel was a photographer.
-What kind of photography?
-Studio work, lots of kiddies.
-Right. And dogs and...
Everything. And grandmas and things. Yeah, it was all good fun.
So both of you have, what, given up your jobs?
We were living down south. I'm from up north, round the corner from here.
And a mid-life crisis, so we decided to move up north,
sell my business that we had
and we moved up and got into property,
which has always been a passion of mine.
-It's my thing, really.
-Mostly induced by you.
-It's all your fault.
-My fault? Oh, OK.
I was about to say, "What created your mid-life crisis?"
-I've never been accused of bringing on a mid-life crisis.
-It's watching you every morning, you and Lucy.
It's something I've always wanted to get into. It's your fault.
-Were you consulted on this, Andy?
-I was quite happy to join in.
It's a great buzz doing it
and then when you walk out the door
-and you look back at what you've done, it's quite nice.
And having given up the jobs you were doing
and having taken on this, how do you feel?
It's a nice lifestyle, actually.
We just had six weeks where we had nothing to do, no houses.
All of a sudden we've got two now, so we've got six months of work.
What about the timing you've picked to do it?
-It's interesting times in the property world.
It's a brilliant time to buy
and our plan is probably to rent them for ten years
-and then sell to retire, hopefully.
-And so you're very positive about the property market?
-It's the right time for us.
It's the right time to do what we're doing.
So in the last two years, Hazel and Andy have been building up an impressive rental portfolio.
The plan is to hold on to their houses, letting them out for at least ten years.
By then, they're hoping the property market will have improved sufficiently
that they can sell them, releasing enough capital
for them to retire on comfortably.
Sounds like a great plan to me.
But there's some work to do here first.
So what are you going to do to sort it out?
Well, Andy is going to... No. We're going to sort out the damp.
Somebody's lined up for that.
New kitchen, new... Artex of ceilings, removal of.
Plaster everywhere. Skim it over.
New windows - some new windows.
Radiators, cuddly toy - everything, really, you know.
The bathroom, we don't know whether to enlarge that or leave it as it is.
It's a bit small, so we may break into the single bedroom, we may not.
-We're still umming and ahing about that.
And what's the budget?
-Budget. As we think right now, it's about 13 to 15.
-13 to 15, yeah.
-With you doing how much of the work?
-Almost all of it,
-except plastering, damp-proofing - the rest of it is us.
-And do you work on it together?
We tend to go into separate rooms quite often, these days, don't we?
We have different ideas sometimes, so we will work in separate rooms,
but generally we work well together.
What jobs do you both take on or do you share everything?
-Hazel's a better painter than me.
That's probably the bit I like the least.
-I don't think you've ever painted anything.
-I have a bit.
I do the tiling and the plastering. You do the woodwork, don't you?
-I do the dirty stuff, I think.
-You get your hands dirty.
And any of your expertise from your photography time?
Well, you know, I try to put something artistic in
but he stops me - it's all magnolia now.
Sometimes. You never know what's round the corner.
I might be able to use my talents sometime.
So what's the timescale for sorting it?
About three to four months. We've got this second one to get going as well.
So about three to four months.
I look forward to that. And congratulations. Good luck.
-I look forward to seeing how you get on.
-Thanks very much.
Well, Hazel and Andy made a big leap,
giving up their jobs and lives in the south
and moving north to become property developers
but it does seem to be going well so far.
However, taking on two properties at the same time
is a challenge for anybody.
How are they going to get on? Find out later in the show.
Well, doing up a property always seems to take longer than you think.
There are all sorts of reasons why delays can happen.
Have they stood still or have they raced ahead?
Let's go back and find out.
We go back to Plaistow now,
where entrepreneur and experienced property developer Sidney purchased
this two-bedroom mid-terrace at an auction for 175,000.
But this house had been burnt, quite literally,
so it was going to take more than a lick of paint to bring it back to life.
But local lad Sidney wasn't fazed by the fire damage.
-Did the fire damage not put you off?
-Not really. It was kind of cosmetic.
No structural damage.
-So did you get a structural survey before the auction?
-So you could read through that and you had the safety net of knowing there was nothing wrong with it.
So he did his homework before the purchase
but how did he do after? We've come back three months later
to see if his plans have been brought to life.
The fire damage was so bad upstairs
that the only room we could view first time round was the bathroom.
That has now been turned into an en-suite bedroom.
The two original bedrooms have been reinstated
and Sidney even managed to squeeze an additional loo into one of them.
So the family bathroom must be downstairs - but where?
What was one large living space has now been split into two,
creating a dining room and living room,
which is currently set up as an additional bedroom.
To the rear of the property and not part of the original plan
is an extension.
This allows for the small kitchen to be extended
and the family bathroom, which leads off it, to be a decent size.
We have actually had an extension to the back.
Because this used to be the back wall.
We have a family bathroom back there.
And then just changed the layout of the kitchen.
It used to be like a U-shaped kitchen.
Now we've put units on either side of it
and the layout of the kitchen makes it much bigger.
And I think the extension has added value to the property
and also made it a lot more lettable.
So did adding extra space mean more money and more problems?
The main problem we had with the extension was
during the groundworks, the foundation bit of it,
we discovered a lot of the drainage was not what we were expecting.
So that delayed us a bit and it cost a considerable amount of money more
than we budgeted for it.
Sidney aimed to finish in six weeks
but at 12 weeks, the work's nearly complete,
apart from some drainage issues that are still being addressed.
His original budget was 15-20k.
We ended up spending £34,000.
About 16,000 of that was the extension.
And then every other thing came pretty much in to budget.
It's been three months from start to finish,
a bit longer than we anticipated
but you can never plan these things.
It's good to see a developer this unflappable.
Presumably he was keeping a close eye on the renovation
as it was being done.
I have to be honest, I was away in Japan during most of the project.
I was away for a month and my builder, sort of...
We stayed in touch by Skype and phone
and he sort of did it all when I was away.
It's great that Sidney was able to leave this place in safe hands while he was away.
If you plan to do a renovation,
getting people you trust to do the work is key
to getting it right with minimal stress.
With a property like this, you don't need to let the damage put you off,
particularly if you do as Sidney did and get a structural survey first.
Right, here we had most of the cosmetic smoke damage.
The smoke damage did look at lot worse than it was
because everything was blackened.
Most of the electrical appliances melted from the heat.
I'm sure that put a lot of people off at the auction
but having surveyed it with a surveyor,
we sort of discovered that it was mainly cosmetic
and most of the work that had to be done was really the plaster,
which was old and flaking, so we had to remove the plaster
and then replaster and reskim and redecorate.
The benefit of having to rip everything out and start again
is that this house feels like a brand-new home.
We asked two local estate agents to cast their expert eyes over it.
I'm very impressed with what's been done at the property.
When I came previously, I didn't even go upstairs
because of the problems that were up there.
I'm very impressed with the standard that it's been done to
and how it's turned out with the extension.
I like the use of the space, especially with the extension.
It allows you to optimise the bedroom space upstairs.
I think where they've cut in with the en-suite
and the WC upstairs, as well,
takes away the fact that the bathroom is now on the ground floor.
With Sidney purchasing the property for 175,000
and spending £34,000 on the work,
his total outlay is £209,000.
He already has tenants in and they're paying £1,300 a month.
Thanks to that extension, this is £200 more than originally agreed
and gives him a rental yield of around 7.5%.
However, if he were to consider selling...
I would put this property on the market for £240,000.
I would put it on the market for £275,000
and expect to achieve a figure very close to that.
Well, I think more the 240,000 mark, yes,
that's what I had in mind.
Looking at other properties in the area, I think 240 is reasonable, yes.
But if I can achieve 275, that's even better.
With those prices, the property could generate a pre-tax profit
of between 31,000 and 66,000, minus expenses.
But with tenants in and Sidney happy with the finished product,
it doesn't sound like selling is on the horizon.
No, I don't think this is the right market to sell.
I'm going to keep hold of it. I'm not a seller, I'm a keeper.
Now we're returning to Higher Blackley in Greater Manchester.
Here, property developing husband and wife Hazel and Andy
purchased this three-bedroom end-of-terrace house at auction for £55,000.
They claimed that they didn't only have themselves to blame for this.
-It's all your fault.
-It's watching you every morning, you and Lucy. It's all your fault.
Sorry about that! So the pressure was on.
The house needed the damp to be dealt with and some serious redecoration.
We've come to visit the property-passionate pair
three months on to see if they've turned this place around.
Well, it certainly looks like it.
They've said adios to the Artex, thank goodness,
and this now looks much more like a modern ideal home from top to bottom.
The three bedrooms upstairs have all been redecorated in neutral tones
and the small bathroom looks better with the addition of a new suite.
Downstairs, both reception rooms have benefited from a much-needed makeover.
But what about that kitchen?
It had lots of Artex, so we had to overboard all the walls
and also the ceiling, and it was all plastered then.
We also had a major issue with lots of pipework to the boiler
and we decided to box it in and we boxed in the boiler,
because that's one of my pet hates, boilers and pipes and things,
so we got rid of that.
We then purchased a lovely kitchen
from a DIY store that was actually closing down.
So we got a fantastic deal on it.
We've left a space for a washing machine and a tumble dryer.
Lots of work surface.
We had lots of lovely red tiles chosen by Andy.
Just something to add a bit of a sparkle to the kitchen.
And here we are, all finished and ready to go.
And it's certainly a huge improvement.
Last time we saw it, the garden was messy and overgrown
but no longer.
Firstly, we have repainted all the windowsills
and we've restained the hardwood frames.
We've repainted all the pipework
and put up a couple of hanging baskets here.
We also then went on to jet-wash all of the concrete slab we have here.
And then over here, we've had four tonne of stones delivered,
all HIAB-ed in,
just slice the bottom of the bag and whoosh, it all came zooming out.
Then we just had to rake it into place.
And it's perfect for tenants,
although some people would prefer raking a nice green lawn.
But the place certainly is looking a lot rosier, both outside and in.
Hazel and Andy's timescale for completing this project
was three to four months and they've nearly finished in just three.
Not surprising, given how much time they've spent here.
24-7. We might as well have moved in. We were here every day.
When the builders were first on site,
we've got another property that we bought a week after this one,
so we went and started prepping the other property.
So they were on site for the first three weeks or so, weren't they,
and then we've been here every day.
And night and weekend.
And they weren't the only ones
who have had a hand in making this place a home.
The day after you came last time, it was my birthday that weekend,
so I had a party and it was a stripping party.
So I got the whole family and friends in with a wallpaper scraper and a steamer
and let loose, so it was great fun.
So they came and helped us get it all stripped down,
stripped out the kitchen and the laminate flooring, so that was good.
Where was my invite, then?!
Roping in family and friends can be a great way to save some cash.
Hazel and Andy's long-term plan is
to sell the properties they currently rent out in ten years' time to fund their retirement,
so keeping their eyes on the numbers is vital.
# You can leave your hat on... #
Their original budget for the work was between £13-£15,000.
We've actually come in at nine and a half,
which is fantastic.
Plus legals, it will be about £10,500 in total.
So we're really pleased with that. It's probably one of the best budget ones we've done, really.
We have a spreadsheet now. As and when we spend stuff, we put that on there.
We can see which part of the budget it's coming out of,
which room it was for, all that sort of stuff.
It just gives you an excellent idea of where you're going.
Even part-way through the build, you can still see what you're doing.
With the house looking great and the work done on time and under budget,
it's time to ask two local property experts for their thoughts.
I think they've done a fantastic job.
A massive improvement.
You know that you're going to move in now without any problems.
The property is ready to move into.
It's brand-newly decorated, new carpets, new flooring, new kitchen,
new bathroom - ready to move into. It's superb.
Surely that can only mean good news about the potential profit here.
Many of its neighbours on the market, being two-bedroomed,
are on the market at around £80,000.
This one being three-bedroomed, I would expect a little bit more,
I would put this property on the market for offers over £80,000.
Hazel and Andy purchased this place for £55,000
and spent £10,500 on the work and legal fees.
With that total spend of £65,500,
they could be looking at a pre-tax profit
of between £14,500 and £18,500, minus expenses.
-Not great but to us it doesn't matter right now.
We've got a ten-year plan.
Come back in ten years and we'll tell you if we got 85 or...
More, hopefully, in ten years' time.
In keeping with their ten-year plan,
they want to rent this out and have already lined up a tenant.
What would the experts suggest they charge?
A nice big three-bed like this in this area
will go for £575 per calendar month.
I would estimate its rental value to be £550 to £570 per calendar month.
That's good. We were thinking close to that.
We've just reached just over 10%, which is fantastic.
We normally would go for 8-10%, so, yeah, it's just right for us.
And any last words of wisdom for budding property developers?
I'd advise them to do research, check out property prices
and rental values, etc.
It's just buying the right property at the right price in the right location every time.
And hear-hear to all of that.
We'll have lots more tales of thrills and spills from the auction rooms for you next time.
-So make sure you keep watching Homes Under The Hammer.
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a lock house in Hertford, a house in London and a three-bedroom house in Manchester. 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.