Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Maida Vale, a former stable in Wiltshire and a two-bed semi in Lincolnshire, and find out who bought them at auction.
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Hello. Lucy and I find the world of property absolutely absorbing.
Yes, but in order to do well,
you need to make sure you buy at the right price.
One way you can do that is buying your home under the hammer.
You have to do your homework before you buy at auction
but once that's shown it's the property for you, you could get yourself a bargain.
I wonder if there's any great deals on today's show. Here's what they bought.
I might need a compass in this dark and dingy basement in Maida Vale.
It looks like a bit of a labyrinth.
This former stable in Wiltshire has a very inspiring space.
I would like to stick a huge dining table in here
and have loads of dinner parties.
And in Lincolnshire, this two-bedroom semidetached is oddly appealing.
Likeable, most definitely.
All these properties have been sold at auction
and we'll find out who bought them
and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.
# I love London
# Love the town Look around
# Come along with me through London...#
I'm in Maida Vale, an affluent residential area in West London.
It's got fantastic transport links and great local shops.
Housing-wise, there are many large, late-Victorian and Edwardian mansion flats.
And with Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove just a stone's throw away,
something tells me this is a prime property spot.
So, £50,000 is not going to buy you a lot around here, is it?
Correct, it isn't.
What it does get you is a basement/cellar of this beautiful Victorian building.
Let's take a look inside.
Luckily, there's another entrance up here.
# The other side of London town... #
That auction guide price of £50,000 doesn't buy you easy access.
For now, you have to enter under the stairs and down a rickety wooden staircase.
# Other side of London... #
No wonder I couldn't get through the door, it's piled up with rubbish.
It looks like this place is basically used as a storing ground to dump stuff.
So first thing you notice is not much head height, which is a disappointment,
but I don't know, it looks like a bit of a labyrinth.
# I'm going deeper underground
There's too much panic in this town... #
My first job would be to hire a skip and clear this place out.
And once you've got rid of all the junk,
you'd be even clearer about exactly what you've got down here.
It's about 700 square foot in total.
That is certainly big enough to create a flat.
A few issues to resolve before you do that but hmm...potential.
Potential living accommodation in an area like this is a pretty attractive selling point
for this rather dingy basement that was guided at £50,000.
But something tells me that turning it into residential isn't going to be easy.
Come into this room here
and you start to get an idea of what's going to be involved
in converting this cellar into a habitable space.
In here, you've got a good head height.
To make that liveable, you'll have to have a similar head height
so you'll have to take out a foot of ground.
The bad news is you'll have to do that by hand.
Any heavy machinery in here would create too much vibration -
that'd disturb the foundations, so it has to be done by hand.
You've then got to get rid of all that rubble -
and there will be tonnes of it - out here, again by hand, in sacks.
It's all labour intensive. That costs you lots of money.
That's before you get into the planning issues.
Because in order to convert this storage space into a habitable space,
you'll have to get planning permission.
For that, you'll have to look at what kind of services are running under here,
electric pipes, gas pipes, water mains.
The tube might be quite close. Only kidding!
You've got to do all that before you even start the work.
When it comes to doing the work, all that labour equals money.
It's not a cheap job.
Exciting as it might seem, it's going to cost you a packet.
So this basement conversion won't be straightforward or cheap.
And, before you even start,
you can't assume planning permission will be given!
Whoever bought this property will have to have time, money, know-how
AND the planners on their side.
Plus there are some other matters to deal with.
There are a few legal issues which you're going to have to solve
before you do any work on the basement as well.
Because it's leasehold.
The freehold is owned by the people who own the three flats above.
So you're going to have to get their permission
before you do any works down there and they may or may not give you that permission, so it is a gamble.
Coming up the stairs here, you get to this point
and that is where the basement ends.
There is a garden but that's owned by the flat above.
So with a guide price of £50,000,
we asked a local estate agent to give us his views on the basement.
There's many options in terms of how you transform this space.
There's obviously a lot of work involved either way,
but the real key is to obtain planning
to convert back into residential use.
Excavate down and create possibly a one or a two-bedroom garden flat.
How likely is it that you'd get planning permission to convert?
Whilst there are already a few of these that have been converted
on the street, they are dating back quite a while.
There's no guarantee that the council will reissue for the same permit on this property.
It's a case of putting it through the council.
As long as your neighbours don't object, you should be able to get it.
# In the basement... #
Once converted, would it make a good buy-to-let?
It's a fantastic rental area.
We're talking somewhere in the region of 1,800 per calendar month
for a property like this if converted as a two-double-bedroom.
What could a two-bedroom basement flat be worth around here?
We're looking at somewhere in excess of 400,000,
and then depending on how they arranged the outside access,
quite possibly up to 450, 475.
Well, the cellar is good for nothing other than storage
unless you can get that planning permission for conversion
to a habitable space.
And there's no guarantee you're going to get that, it's a risk.
Let's find out who took the gamble when it went to auction.
The lot was offered later in the day when most bidders had left,
so let's see if someone got a basement bargain.
Right, Lot 75A.
It's a basement premises so who'd like to give me a start on this one?
40, OK. 40,000 I've got.
Anybody else? How much? 41?
41, OK. 42.
43, 44, 45, 46,
47, 48, 49.
54 on the phone. 54.
55, 56, 57, 58.
Yes, no? 58, 59.
60,000 on the phone.
Yes or no, if not, in the room, on the back.
On my left, the bid is at £59,000 against you on the phone.
59 for the first, 59 for the second,
59 for the third and final time.
We all done? Sold, 59,000.
The successful bid of £59,000 was made by Liz and Anthony.
Liz works in IT sales and Anthony's an electrician.
The couple are very familiar with this basement
because they live right above it in the garden flat.
That's where I met up with them to hear about their plans.
-How are you doing?
-Nice to meet you.
-Hi, I'm Liz.
-Hello, Martin. Come in.
-Bit of a turn-up for the books.
-Anthony and Liz, lovely to meet you both.
What you know about the history of it?
I think originally they were coal sheds of some sort.
It's literally just been lying empty for the last 20 years.
So you knew about it, and were you surprised when it came up for auction?
No, when we first bought the flat six months ago,
we knew about it and we wanted to try and buy it then.
Did it influence your decision to purchase this property
that there was the potential that you might get the downstairs?
It was a benefit but we were quite content on this at the same time.
If we don't get the basement, we don't get the basement.
We can still look into doing extensions out the back.
Now we have the basement, it makes it easier for us
to do extensions because there's no problem with neighbours underneath.
This all makes a lot of sense.
Extending their current home downwards and outwards into their garden
to create a large, split-level flat sounds great.
So, what do they want to do down there?
A spiral staircase somewhere. We're looking at extra bedrooms,
maybe a playroom, maybe a sauna.
-You're shaking your head.
-It'd be perfect for it!
I love the idea of a basement sauna
and, if you've got the space, why not?
But creating extra rooms is going to be hard work.
Talk to me about what you're going to do down there,
specifically in terms of the rooms.
Are you going to take out walls, what?
Yeah, open up a lot of rooms, maybe form a few new rooms.
An extra bedroom or two and then we know we can put
a value on the project we're doing.
-Presumably, a lot of digging out.
More so at the back because we're looking to dig out
to go out into the garden.
The front of it, we could leave some of the rooms there
at their height for storage
-or for the little sauna I was talking about.
If they can avoid changing the height in some rooms,
that'll be a bonus.
Style-wise, they're hoping to introduce
as much light as possible, but why do all this work in the first place?
-Not an easy or cheap thing to do, necessarily, though.
Do you have any idea how much this is going to cost?
We know that the building works, the excavating,
we're looking at about 100,000 for that.
-It's a lot of money.
Because I stay in London, I was born in Central London,
so I want to stay here.
-With a couple of extra bedrooms, there's no reason to go anywhere.
I guess, if you do that, it would probably add
that kind of value to the property, would it?
-Certainly in the long term, yeah.
We'd never be able to afford to buy a four-bed flat in Maida Vale with a garden.
-So what's the project plan?
-How soon do you start
and how long do you think it's going to take?
Over the next month, we'll be getting in touch with architects
and start getting some feedback,
ideas of what we can and can't do and then months after that,
-start going for planning permission.
-People have said to us
that can take six months-ish.
Then you've got to start your building work.
I mean, we may be able to do it quicker.
Six to 12 months would be the start, I imagine,
then as it takes to do the fit-out after that,
it will just come in due time.
Listen, good luck with it all. I hope it turns out how you hope
-and there's a nice end to the story.
Well, there you go. It's really obvious when you think about it.
Liz and Anthony are the perfect people to have bought the basement.
However, they still have challenges ahead of them.
There's no guarantee they're going to get their planning permission
and there is a lot of work to get that place converted.
Find out how they're going to get on later in the show.
I've travelled to Corsham today,
a historic town in the northwest of Wiltshire.
And very grand it is, too.
# Ee, but it's a grand and healthy life... #
The town is said to have thrived on sheep, stone and cloth.
A prosperous wool trade, a limestone quarry
and a thriving spinning and weaving industry
put Corsham firmly on the map.
It also helped pay for some pretty impressive properties too!
# Ee, but it's a grand and healthy life... #
Housed within some of the more modest properties are bookshops,
delis and many more local amenities.
There are also plentiful transport links to Bath and the M4 into London.
A short walk from the town centre,
and I'm here to see today's auction lot.
Now, in such a historical town, you'd assume the property
I was here to see is steeped in history.
Well, it might not look much from the outside
but this used to house the local taxi service.
"That's not very historical," I hear you cry.
Well, it is, actually,
because I'm talking about the days of horse and cart.
If you wanted to go to the train station 100 years ago,
this is where you'd come.
If there was NEIGH taxi, you'd just have to TROT on.
Guide for this lot?
MUSIC: "Galloping Home" by Denis King
OK, the horses may have long since bolted
from this beauty of a property but the look of the stables remains
despite its more recent use as office space over the two storeys.
Well, 1,000 ideas are flashing through my head
what you could use this for.
What an amazing space! It's so much bigger than I thought.
You've got this rather large catslide roof,
which starts off high but it goes right the way down to here,
and I love this original local stone.
It's so nice seeing it with the white painted stone.
It's a fantastic space.
I would love to stick a huge dining table in here
and have loads of dinner parties,
but I suppose it could be a really good room to work in as well.
Lots of opportunities with this space. I really like it.
# I like it, like it
# Come on, come on, come on
# I like it, like it, come on... #
This huge room is fabulous.
I'd love to keep the space as it is and avoid partitioning it.
# I like it, like it, come on
# Come on, come on
# I like it, like it... #
But moving upstairs, things go to the other extreme.
There's just one much smaller room,
accessible from the front reception area.
It's not really working for me but there is some interesting news.
Consent for a change of use has been granted.
It used to have a B1 status.
That's a classification which covers offices and light industry.
Wiltshire Council have given the go-ahead for a live-work unit.
So it's part B1 and part C3.
Now, the C3 classing is for dwelling houses
and so that's definitely residential.
This could be perfect for somebody with a small business
who isn't afraid of, quite literally,
bringing their work home with them.
That planning consent also includes increasing the bedrooms from one to two,
which could be just perfect for someone.
Whenever I look around property, I'm always thinking,
"Now, how can I add value?"
I think I've spotted a way to really up the price of this place.
This auction lot, it sits amongst local residential property.
The council have granted a change of use for part-commercial, part-residential.
What's to stop them granting a complete change of use
to residential in the future?
A two-bedroom house could make as much as £175,000.
That's most definitely something to consider,
especially given the predominantly residential location
this little lot sits in.
There's a parking area right beside the building,
but unfortunately it doesn't come with a private garden.
Having said that, if you're looking for some green space,
there's a cricket club practically next door.
What does the local expert from the auction house that sold it
think of this place with a guide price of 95 grand?
As a commercial unit, I think it works quite well because
of its location to the town centre.
It's very central and there's a lot of space that can be used.
What could this property fetch on the resale market
if the new owner followed the approved plans?
I would say that the resale value is between £130,000 and £150,000.
And if rented out?
If we were to rent the commercial unit out,
I would estimate, as is,
between £5,500 and £6,500 per annum.
If planning were approved to make this completely residential
in the future, the estate agent reckons
that would increase its resale value to around 175 grand.
Worth keeping in mind.
This would work well as a mixed-use unit
but obtaining a wholly residential status, that sees the real return.
The lack of garden could be a deal breaker,
but I think the central location will make up for that.
Let's see who fancied this as we go to auction.
Lot number 17 then, if you will, which is very close to the centre.
Attractive exterior, there we are.
Somebody start me, save my breath, £100,000, somebody.
£100,000, somebody. Yes, £100,000 it is, we'll go in twos.
At £100,000, and two may I say? Two, Sir? £100,000 against you.
The bid's over there, 102? Yes, no?
102, OK. 104. OK, 104.
106 to you, sir, 106.
108. 110 to you, sir? At 108.
110, OK. The bid is there at £110,000.
11, I'll take. The bid is sat down here. At £110,000 it is.
I'll take 11 from anyone.
At £110,000, 11 anybody, please, yes or no?
11, OK. At 11. 111 and 12, sir. At £111,000, 12?
Yes, go on then. 500 then, if you like.
Help you on. No?
500, can't miss it for that at 500. £111,500.
You're both the same at the back there. At 111,500. 12, do you mean?
Yes or no? Otherwise I'm back to here at £111,500.
For the first time. £111,500 for the second time. Last chance.
£111,500, third and last time, you're done.
That successful bid of £111,500 came from Michael,
who was at the auction with his dad.
Michael's a photographer and moved back to this area from London
a year ago after completing his Master's degree.
I met him back at the property to find out more.
# Photographer... #
-Thank you very much.
I love Corsham. It's always a wonderful place to visit for me.
Tell me about this auction purchase
-because you weren't actually bidding on auction day, were you?
-No, I wasn't.
I chickened out at the last minute and my old man did the bidding.
So why did you want it?
Well, I'm a photographer. I've got a current studio that I rent
and I have, over the past year or so, kept my eye half-open
for somewhere I can live and work together.
When this came up with permission, it was commercial,
it came up with permission to change to live-work,
Which for me is perfect, because I can have everything in one place.
There's no commute, I don't have to worry about parking
or driving in, so I wanted somewhere that was central.
Somewhere that people had heard of.
There's good access here, there's good parking outside.
It just seemed to make good business sense, really.
Michael's currently renting a studio nearby
but the lease is up in six weeks.
That can only mean one thing.
The timescale to do the work and move in here will also be six weeks.
At least there are approved plans in place already,
so he can start straight away.
Michael, I know this lot came with planning permission.
Are you going to be sticking with the plans or changing them at all?
No, not sticking with them at all.
The principle of changing it to live-work, yes.
The actual layout, no.
In fact, Michael's going to keep it as a one-bedroom
but will change the configuration,
including the position of the stairs,
to create more space for his photographic studio.
Are you going to need planning permission to do that?
I don't need planning because it's not affecting the exterior of the property at all
but I will need to consult with building regs to make sure
we put the new stairs in at the right angle to conform and tick all the right boxes.
Michael also has to meet a regulation for a live-work property,
whereby clients must be able to get from outside
to the commercial area without going through the private area.
This means partitioning will be required
and that staircase might cause an issue with space.
Michael also plans to install a new kitchen and bathroom,
so what's his budget?
I'd like to think, this might be hugely optimistic,
if I go over 3,500 for the work, I'll be disappointed.
-I'm going to do a lot of work myself.
-I'm going to be calling in a lot of favours.
-£3,500 for all that work?
There'll be a lot of late nights, a lot of favours called in, a lot of friends.
Here's hoping Michael has a lot of friends.
He'll need them if he's going to complete all this in record time
on a record budget.
# I'll be there for you
# When the rain starts to fall... #
But what about the long-term plan,
the idea of turning it into a purely residential property?
Has Michael ever thought about going down that lucrative road?
I have a feeling, common sense tells me, that if I turn it into
wholly residential, it will be worth more than
-it will as office space.
Because of the way it works, but figures, not really sure.
This is my first property, so I don't know. It's something I have to research.
Michael, I had a chat with a few agents and it will be around £175,000, the current value.
As a residential property? Certainly worth looking into for the future.
Great meeting you. Good luck. I can't wait to see what you do to it when it turns into a studio.
-I'm quite curious, too. Thank you very much.
-Thank you, Michael.
Six weeks and three and a half grand?!
Michael has got his work cut out.
The pressure is most definitely on for him.
He needs to move his business because his lease is up.
You can find out if he manages to move in
and make this home business unit work for him later on the programme.
Coming up - this two-bed in Lincolnshire
has me in a tight squeeze.
Somebody's actually taken part of the bedroom
to create this little corridor.
We return to Wiltshire
to see whether this former stable needed some help from Dad.
My father, who's retired, has spent a lot of time here.
I owe him a great deal of gratitude.
But first, in London,
have they managed to dig their way out of that basement?
It was great to get started but it took a lot longer than we thought.
Time now to return to affluent Maida Vale in West London,
where earlier I met IT salesperson Liz and electrician Anthony.
They were the proud new owners of this rather grotty basement.
# Here I sit in this dark basement
# Where the sun don't ever shine... #
Liz and Anthony bought this huge junk-filled basement area
at auction for £59,000.
They were the ideal couple to buy it because they own the two-bedroom garden flat right on top of it.
They had grand plans to convert it into a liveable space,
join it to their flat above and add an extension, creating one super split-level flat.
A spiral staircase somewhere.
Looking at extra bedrooms, maybe a playroom, maybe a sauna.
-You're shaking your head.
-It'd be perfect for it!
Perfect indeed, but we don't live in a perfect world.
Getting planning permission could be difficult here.
Digging out the basement for extra height would be a major job
and make the whole project very, very expensive.
So, four YEARS later,
has converting this into their dream home been a nightmare?
Out the back, the level we're standing on at the moment
was the level that went right through to the back of the house.
We've dug down about a metre and a half, two metres.
Created a new stairwell that comes out, running on the boundary wall.
Therefore we created a little patio down there
which is a bit more private. It's not quite finished,
but I'd say we're getting there.
The planning permission, we've had to set it back 300mm,
cos they wanted it to look like an extension
rather than part of the original features.
We added 1,000 square foot, just short of.
It's bigger than the actual flat because you've got the extension.
Anthony isn't kidding about the size. Just look inside.
Gone are those oppressively low ceilings and tiny rooms.
In their place, a massive living, dining and kitchen area
that's all opened from front to back and positively filled with light.
So, with a project of this scale, did everything go to plan?
Took us, I think, 18 months to sort out.
The lease for the basement was a different lease to the freehold,
so that took a lot of sorting out.
Then we had to get the design done, be happy with the design.
Planning permission was refused first time, so we had to go back.
Meetings at the council, meetings with the neighbours.
So there was a lot to do.
We've been moved in for two or three weeks now,
-we're not quite finished yet but the first builders were here about a year ago?
It was great to get it started but it took a lot longer than we thought.
Well, as we now know,
it's taken Liz and Anthony four years to get to this point,
and in that time, they've also added two new members to their family.
# Baby, baby, baby
# All right
# Baby, baby, baby
# No, I thought you'd always be mine, mine... #
Georgina is almost two and Alexandra is six months.
When we'd had one baby in the house, pregnant quite quickly
with the second one, I did think,
"Let's just sell this with the planning permission
"and go and get a house that would be much easier
"cos this is going to be quite a tough 12 months."
I'm glad now that we've done it but there were lots of times
we thought, "It'd be so much easier."
But Anthony wanted to project manage it
and we're going to create such a big space.
It's definitely been worth it.
Liz and Anthony's flat upstairs
had two bedrooms but with the addition of the extension,
they've gained a third bedroom and an extra bathroom.
A not-so-spiral staircase has been built to link the two floors
and downstairs, no, not a sauna,
but an extra cloakroom which is more practical for a young family.
Creating such a light and airy space in this basement
must have been quite a challenge.
I'm quite happy with the way it's quite well-lit at the minute. We weren't sure ourselves.
-Until it's dug out, until it's finished and painted, you don't know.
There's a bit of an element of risk. It gets the sun at the right time.
When you're living somewhere, it's quite easy to do a kitchen
and have a feel of how it's going to look,
but because this wasn't even a room to start with,
it was quite difficult for us to imagine.
But, yeah, we're really pleased with all the lighting and how it fits.
Anthony and Liz are coy about how much all this has cost,
but we know that they bought the basement for £59,000
and previously estimated around 100,000 for the digging out alone.
So with the extension and high quality of the finish they added,
let's say their total spend will be a very pretty penny.
We asked two local estate agents to give their opinions
on this newly created split-level flat.
I have to say I was amazed.
They've done an incredible job here,
by taking the extension out as far as they have,
and also by creating a patio to this lower ground floor area.
It works really well. I think this sort of property
will be very appealing to buyers in this area.
It gives an alternative.
It's somewhere between buying a house or buying a flat on one level.
It gives you that option with a private outside space, which is always hugely desirable.
The standard of finish is very good. The flooring is excellent.
The lighting and everything works really well.
This sort of property is very much what people are looking for.
It's a very family-orientated space
and it'll work very well for a variety of uses.
There's a dining, living and entertaining area.
What kind of rent could this property earn?
On a rental basis,
I would advise putting this on in the region of £4,250 a month.
It would be very desirable to families in the area,
corporate relocation, embassies, etc.
I'd expect it to let
for between £4,000 and £4,500 per calendar month.
Wow! Yeah, amazing.
Wow. Did you hear that, Georgina? That is big rent.
Georgina looked as pleased as her parents.
What about the resale value?
I think it's such a unique space,
you will always achieve a premium in here.
Gut feel says to me it's around about the £1 million mark.
In the current market, I would expect this property to sell
in the region of 1 million to 1.1 million.
-Pop the corks.
-Yeah, I mean...
that's an amazing transformation. Yeah, it's huge.
Has it been worth it now?
Yeah, I think so.
Did they ever imagine that adding the basement
onto their existing flat would add so much value?
In our heads,
we hadn't thought of it reaching that sort of figure at all.
-Yeah, it's brilliant.
With that kind of resale estimate of around £1 million,
are Liz and Anthony tempted to sell?
Not yet. We're going to live in this and enjoy it for a while.
I think so. We've got the space now.
So are the couple enjoying their new home?
We haven't had time to enjoy it yet, it's only been two or three weeks
but we can see everything's started to slow down a bit
and looking forward to having the time running around with the kids,
makes it all seem worth it.
I'm in Boston, a historic market town in Lincolnshire.
It's home to the largest parish church in England,
known locally as the Stump, but how much cash did the buyer
stump up at auction for the lot I'm visiting?
The property I'm here to see is just ten minutes' walk
from the town centre, down this little lane.
It's actually located right at the end.
Clearly, access is a bit of a problem.
Yep, those with bad reversing or parking skills need not apply.
This is it. Had a guide price of 38 to 42,000 quid.
It looks kind of intriguing from the outside.
Looks like new windows.
Some of the brickwork needs repointing,
but I've got a good feeling about this bit of Boston.
MUSIC: "More Than A Feeling" by Boston
-# More than a feeling
-More than a feeling
# When I see Mary Ann walk away... #
That's not a very good start. Look at that.
Seriously bad damp.
What on earth is causing that?
Have a look if I can see anything out here.
No, There's no immediate, obvious reason why that's like that.
It needs a bit more investigation. We'll look at that a bit more later.
Anyway, the first thing you notice about this room
is it's triangular shaped.
It's narrow at the front and it gets wider. That is really weird
Fireplace, a real one, which is nice to have,
and then you come through to the rear living area
and look how much bigger it is
than it is when you come through the front door.
I actually quite like that.
It's like it fans out to create basically a lot more space,
and this room especially, loads of light pouring in.
I like this, sort of open-plan stairs
up to the bedrooms and the kitchen at the back.
Likeable, most definitely.
The kitchen does look a bit tired and probably needs to be ripped out,
but upstairs, there are two bedrooms.
The first is a good size,
but the second is a funny shape and pretty titchy to boot.
The reason it's so small is that somebody's actually taken
part of the bedroom to create this little corridor,
and it really is horrible. It's dark.
They've tried to put a window in here to give you more light,
but basically, it just doesn't work.
You wind your way down here,
and eventually, you come into the bathroom.
So that clearly doesn't work at all, to my mind.
But I think there's a simple solution,
because if you merely moved the stairs from where they are
to this side of the room downstairs,
you then have the stairs coming up there,
a little landing area, into the bathroom, into the bedroom - bingo!
But don't let's go counting our winnings just yet.
Moving stairs is generally a pretty costly exercise.
You'd have to weigh up whether it was going to be worth your while.
If you were going to rent the property out,
it make more sense to leave it as is.
So, we've decided it's a bit quirky.
Let's look at the property from another point of view.
The guide price - £38,000 to £42,000.
Let's assume you spend towards the top end of that, 42,
you spend about £8,000 doing it up, including fees,
you've got £50,000 invested in this place.
Around here, this kind of property, done up,
is going to get you around £500 a month in rent.
That's £6,000 year on a £50,000 investment.
That is a 12% yield.
That's really good!
-MUSIC: Theme from "Cheers"
-Cheers to that, I'd say.
Done up, this Boston property could really start reaping rewards.
You also get some outside space and a lean-to shed,
which could be pretty useful.
And all for a guide price of £38,000 to £42,000.
It whet my whistle for sure.
Let's hear what a local estate agent thinks.
My first impression of this property is that it's centrally situated,
it has been modernised.
It does want a little bit of updating and renovating,
just to smarten it up.
And what does the expert think the property would fetch
on the rental market?
In good condition, it would bring in around £500 per calendar month.
And the resale market?
Value-wise, at the present,
I would have thought somewhere around £50,000, £55,000.
Well, quirky, cute and a good investment.
Either a lovely place to live or a good rental yield.
Can't go wrong, really.
Let's see who agreed when it went under the hammer.
We move out now to lot number five.
The guide price is £38,000 to £42,000.
Where are you going to start me?
A £30,000 bid there. 35. At 40,000.
40,000, I'm bid.
46,000. 45,500 here in the middle of the room.
Are you going £46,000?
At £45,500, then, for the first time.
Any more bids? 46,000? New bidder.
No? £52,000 I'm bid.
Against the bar at £52,000, then.
Call it up three times at £52,000.
For the first time, for the second, for the third and last time.
Are there any more bids? Thank you, sir.
That successful final bid was placed by Mohammed, who's an eye surgeon.
MUSIC: "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor
Even at £52,000, £10,000 over the upper guide price,
I'd say that, when it comes to a bargain,
Mohammed clearly has the eye of a tiger.
I caught up with him to check out his vision for the property.
-Mohammed, lovely to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
Thank you very much.
Why did you want to buy this quirky house.
To be quite honest, I just stumbled onto it.
I just typed on the internet, "Houses in Boston for sale."
And this came up in an auction site.
And I looked at it and it said, "38 to 42."
I thought, "Yeah, well, if I have to pay 42,
"I'm still quids in," so I rang, and I said, "Can I go and view?"
-He said, "It's too late. The auction's next week."
So the auction was on Tuesday.
I came round on the Thursday, had a look through the windows,
I saw the room on the front fanning out
and I looked through the kitchen
and thought, "Well, it's not a bad kitchen.
"42, what's the worst that's going to happen to it?
"Fall down and I have to rebuild it? I'm still quids in."
Well, it's a risky strategy, but Mohammed does have
a portfolio of properties locally, including a neighbouring one,
so he had some idea of what he was getting into.
But as you well know,
I believe you should always have a good look around the place
before buying it at auction. What does he have planned?
I want to make it...nice, because from experience,
the more the place is cared for and presented properly,
the better the tenants look after it...
-..and the longer they stay. So I'm not going to skimp.
So I'm going to rip that out and obviously take the carpets off,
decoration, and outside, there is pointing.
I am not sure whether it needs a damp-proof course.
So I don't think it's structurally a big do,
so £4,000, £5,000 to £7,000, I think we're all right.
Mohammed's planning to leave the stairs where they are,
but he does have an idea that might work even better.
-I'm intending to open a door in there.
Because there is an annexe at the back,
and put the toilet and shower room,
and maybe to increase its let-ability,
convert this into a bedroom.
So the front would be a bedroom,
so straight away, you have three bedrooms.
A bathroom here to serve that bedroom,
and this may compensate for the odd-looking layout upstairs.
And do you have an idea of what rental you might get for it?
I think, if we're going to convert this into a third bedroom,
I would think we could realise £600, easy.
Sounds like Mohammed has done his homework.
One way that he can keep his budget down to between £5,000 to £7,000
is by calling on his son, Tamim, here on the right, who's a surveyor,
and Tamim's builder colleague, Ross.
But after something I overheard earlier,
I get the impression Mohammed might be a hard taskmaster.
Now, I heard him on the phone to you earlier.
-It's an interesting relationship, isn't it?
-It's a father-son thing.
I respect him. He tells me what I have to do. Standard.
-And you do it.
-And I do it.
And it doesn't just stop at me. He gave Ross what for earlier as well.
-He shouts at you as well?
-Oh, yeah! I get it as well.
You are lucky YOU got here on time!
As soon as the work starts,
my father considers us as employees and not as family.
So we get the job done, we do it properly, we get paid.
-He gets his investment.
-What do you think about this house?
-It's got potential.
There's not a lot to do in terms of the structure of the building,
but it's pretty much cosmetic. Give it a quick turnover,
-hopefully we'll spend within our budget of £5,000.
Yeah. I mean, that's just to be safe, plus the contingency.
What we're planning on doing is obviously
adding another bathroom downstairs
and changing the lounge into a bedroom, hopefully,
and basically getting it as a rental property.
And do you get told off if it's not done right?
Yeah, of course, like any other client would tell you off
if you were underperforming.
-You have to shine like you do with anybody else.
Mohammed would like to turn the property around
in one to two months. He has his own particular way
of making sure that his son, Tamim, gets things just right.
So how are you going to get him motivated to do it?
-Well, kick his backside, I suppose!
-That usually works.
Yeah, he has to obey! It's a cultural thing.
Well, surgeon Mohammed certainly seems
to have eyed up a bargain with this place.
But will son, Tamim, share his clear vision
and get this place sorted for just £5,000?
If not, well, I wouldn't like to be in his shoes!
Join us later in the show to see how it turns out.
-Months have gone by since we last saw those properties.
Do they look any different? Has the work been done?
I think we should go back and find out.
Time now to head back to Corsham in Wiltshire,
where earlier we met Michael, a photographer,
originally from this area.
He bought this property at auction for £111,500.
It was sold with planning permission already approved
for a two-bedroom live-work unit.
The only question was, would Michael stick to the existing plans?
No. I'm not sticking with them at all.
The principle of changing it to live-work, yes.
The actual layout, no.
Michael's plans were to keep the property as a one-bedroom
and change the configuration,
including the position of the stairs,
to make more space for his photographic studio.
The extra space he would gain by not creating that second bedroom
suited his needs much better.
But with a timescale of only six weeks
and a budget of just £3,500,
would he really be able to turn this around in a flash?
We've returned 11 weeks later to see
if he's had a negative experience or made it picture-perfect.
# Girls on film... #
Well, from the outside, it appears nothing has changed,
but it's inside that we really want to see.
# Girls on film
# Girls on film
# Girls on film
# Girls on film... #
On the ground floor, it's stayed basically the same.
The studio hasn't changed at all. It's the same layout.
In the front, the old cottage part of the property,
which will be my drawing room/kitchen,
we've put a wall in, which has divided the hallway
and the main entrance to the property from the residential part,
because when it's dual-use, you need a way of getting clients
from the outside to the commercial part
without going through the residential part,
so that required a wall to go up to make a hallway.
But other than that, other than moving the stairs,
because they had such a big footprint,
moved them across to the studio, so we've got more floor space,
again, to put the kitchen downstairs.
The actual layout hasn't changed very much,
because it was quite close to what I wanted. Which was nice.
So the front reception area that had access to the bedroom above
is now the kitchen with no stairwell,
whilst in the studio, a new staircase leads to the bedroom.
Well, this is one of the parts I'm most pleased with,
the whole staircase and the gallery.
It's turned out really well. It was my brother's idea
to have a landing area up here,
and I'm pleased that we made the effort to put it in,
for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it gives a nice landing area outside my bedroom
at the top of the stairs.
Secondly, it's a place that conceivably clients could sit
when they're waiting. It keeps them out of my way on the studio floor.
It also gives me the opportunity of shooting from up here.
So I've got an elevated position onto the studio floor, which comes in handy.
Let's have a look at that bedroom now.
# Girls on film
# Girls on film. #
OK, so not quite a cosy nook yet,
but moving the stairs has freed up some valuable extra space for Michael.
And he's managed to squeeze an en suite in here too.
What else is there still to do, apart from moving in, of course?
Mainly final things, so, it's cosmetic things.
Final brush of paint, filling holes, finishing off the kitchen, bits and pieces like that.
Nothing structural. The dirty work is done.
And then, I think, several months of hoovering to get rid of all the dust!
Which is everywhere.
# Another one bites the dust. #
Michael hoped to do the renovation for just £3,500.
Has he managed that?
Give or take a few pounds, £5,500 we spent.
So very slightly over what I originally thought,
but that doesn't surprise me at all,
because it was a very ambitious budget.
But the main thing is I've saved a lot of money.
I've been working full-time, but also here whenever I can.
My father, who's retired, has spent a lot of time here.
I owe him a great deal of gratitude!
That's still pretty good going.
Add that £5,500 to his purchase price of £111,500,
and you get a total outlay of £117,000.
So what's it now worth?
We asked two local estate agents to look around and give us their views.
I'm quite impressed, actually.
It's an interesting property, full of character, obviously.
Plenty of natural light. It's a little bit limiting,
perhaps, for the accommodation side of things.
Great for a single person, but I think the workspace is pretty good.
It's not finished, but what I like about it is the element of space.
It's very light and airy.
It's got a warehouse feel. It's a period property,
so it's going to appeal to quite a few people. Good location as well.
What could this property make if resold?
Once complete, as a live-work one-bed unit,
I think the value of the property would be in the region of £130,000.
If I put this property on the market, I would expect a value
somewhere in the region of £125,000 to £145,000.
I'm obviously very pleased, because that's more than I paid for it,
so immediately that's a step in the right direction.
Obviously, as I'm intending to live here,
I haven't given much thought
to resale value or what it's going to earn me,
but it's obviously always nice to know that you
immediately gain something on a property.
That's a potential profit of between £8,000 and £28,000,
minus the usual taxes and expenses.
So what about the rental value as a work-live unit?
I think you would be looking to achieve
somewhere in the region of £5,500 to £6,000 per annum
as a one-bedroom property.
I think it would rent for something in the region
of £6,000 to £7,000 per annum. It's in a very good, central location.
It's nice to hear that I can make some money if I needed to
or if my situation changed. So again, very pleased.
So a potential rental yield of between 4% and 6%. Not bad.
The bigger and brighter picture is that this property
still offers bags of potential to add more value
if Michael's circumstances change in the future.
It could be converted into a two-bed live-work unit
or perhaps become purely residential.
For now, it suits Michael down to the ground.
I'm really looking forward to moving in.
I've spent so much time here, I've become very familiar with the place,
so I think the transition will be more or less painless. I hope!
Just finishing off and very much looking forward to it.
Back now to Boston in Lincolnshire to check on progress
at this two-bedroom semi.
Eye surgeon Mohammed bought it at auction for £52,000
to add to his buy-to-let portfolio.
The property had a very peculiar layout,
but with his surveyor son, Tamim,
and his builder, Ross, taking charge of the renovation,
Mohammed had a clear vision of how to make things work.
-I am intending to open a door in there...
..because there's an annexe at the back
and put the toilet and a shower room.
So, have a downstairs toilet and an upstairs toilet.
4.5 months after our first visit, Mohammed's back
with his wife and business partner, Isla,
to show us how they've got on.
# Whoa, whoa, whoa
# When your world is full of strange arrangements
# There's one thing Yes, one thing that turns this
# Grey sky to blue
# That's the look, that's the look
# The look of love
# That's the look, that's the look
# The look of love... #
Well, the main change here is that we broke the wall,
because there was a space for an outside toilet on the outside.
Nowadays, that's not the done thing
for going out in the middle of the night
and using an outside toilet,
so I thought the drainage, the structure is there,
all I needed was just to make a hole in that wall,
and I think that was the piece de resistance,
because I thought, I've gained another facility
and we have a toilet and a nice shower room with an electric shower.
Well, that's not entirely it,
because upstairs had a bit of a rejig, too.
# The look of love
# Is in your eyes... #
The awkward corridor has gone
and the funny little bedroom is now an ensuite master bedroom.
The other bedroom remains as was, but made over.
Isla explains the logic.
Our long-term let aim was a small family,
we didn't feel it would be too much of an issue for them to either
share the big bathroom, or if they want to have a bit of independence,
to use the bathroom from the downstairs.
Hopefully it's the right decision.
We'll wait to see what happens, but if it was me,
I know that I'd rather have it this way than a corridor
and a bedroom you can't use.
I can see the thinking there.
So how does this husband-and-wife team work,
and what role does Isla play?
It was the first time we'd ever bought at auction,
but he does have a portfolio of properties
which he has on a buy-to-let basis,
so he will do all the buying, basically,
and I'll deal with all the admin,
so the maintenance issues for the tenants, the tenancy agreements...
..the accounts, things like that. That's how we work.
He's definitely the decision-maker,
and I just pick up all the tabs and the paperwork at the end of it.
Mohammed also owns one of the neighbouring properties,
and he has made an opening in the wall
and given the furnished property a bit more garden,
which is a nice touch.
So, in the grand scheme of things, how do they feel it's all gone?
The refurb has... There's been good aspects
and things I've been not entirely happy with, if I'm honest.
This particular bathroom - great. Removing the wall - fantastic.
Just the finish, the finish I'm not quite happy with,
but as I say, I'm assured that will be met very soon.
There's still that bit of damp in the sitting room to sort out,
and one or two bits and bobs besides.
But I'm sure Mohammed will make sure it's all shipshape in no time.
At 4.5 months, the timescale has more than doubled,
but what about that estimated £5,000 to £7,000 budget?
Well, obviously, not according to plan!
Because the conversion at the back cost more than what we thought,
because the roof and the tiles and the joists.
There were a lot of things needing to change,
so we have spent £9,500.
Added to his purchase price of 52,000,
Mohammed's total outlay comes in at £61,500.
We asked two estate agents to look around the property
and give us their thoughts.
I was very impressed with what had been done in the last few months.
I think it's more attractive, it's going to have an attraction
to first-time buyers, renters, all sorts of people,
but it's all fresh and clean and seems more spacious.
The living space in the property is very good, actually, yeah.
Good-sized living rooms,
particularly nice-sized dining room, so it's pretty good. Yeah.
What do they think the place might fetch if sold on?
Remember, Mohammed's total spend here is around £61,500.
In my opinion, on the open market at the moment,
the property's likely to achieve somewhere in the region of £75,000.
I would expect it to achieve about £80,000.
Pleasantly surprised, actually.
-It's more than I thought.
Well, it's auctions from now on!
But Mohammed has always seen this property as a buy-to-let,
so what might it fetch on the rental market?
If the property was on the rental market at the moment,
rental market is quite good, but for a property of this size,
you'd be looking at anywhere between
£425 to maybe £460 per calendar month.
I would expect it to achieve £525 per calendar month.
Yeah, that's fantastic news. That's very good.
A rental of £525 per month could secure Mohammed a yield of
over 10% before fees and expenses, which is really very good indeed.
So is Mohammed happy to continue working with Isla?
She's been good.
I'll keep her!
Well, we hope you enjoyed watching
and perhaps learnt some lessons along the way.
-And we look forward to seeing you next time. Goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Maida Vale, a former stable in Wiltshire and a two-bed semi in Lincolnshire. 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.