Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a semi in Manchester, a house in Derbyshire and a cottage in Wiltshire, and find out who bought them at auction.
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Hello, and welcome to the show. In today's uncertain property market,
it can be difficult to buy your own piece of home heaven.
But large or small, auctions are a great place to start.
Yes, today we're following brave buyers
who've bought their home under the hammer.
Well, if you've decided to take a gamble
and place a bet on property, then auctions could be a place to go.
The auction room is electric, the action, well, it's fast and furious.
Let's see what inspired the buyers on today's show.
I'm in Blackley, Manchester,
where I certainly can't dance on the ceiling of this semi.
..is a bit odd. I can't for the life of me figure out why.
In Derbyshire, the first person I'd call is a kitchen fitter.
Look at this. Look. Whoever fitted this kitchen - urgh! -
didn't do it very well!
And this cottage in Warminster, Wiltshire
has me reaching for the paracetamol.
But that's just a headache in every single sense of the word!
All these properties have been sold at auction,
and we find out who bought them
-and what they paid when they went under the hammer.
There are two types of buyers around the city -
those who like living in a cul-de-sac
and those who like to live where it's busy.
You don't get much busier than this.
Blackley is handy for buses, motorways
and is right on the main artery road into Manchester.
I'm in northern Manchester, on a major bus link into the city centre.
So, what do you reckon it's going to cost you
to buy a three-bed semi-detached, well, exactly here?
Well, I tell you what, how about this place? It was sold at auction.
What do you think the reserve price was?
It was nil. Nada. Nothing.
If you had been the only person in the auction room on that day,
you would have been able to buy this place for £1.
The property was auctioned without a reserve
specifically because of the challenges of renovating it.
A low reserve or one of nothing
brings a lot of interest to the market.
It may seem incredible, but that is just the way that auctions work.
Now, to be absolutely accurate, there was a minimum deposit,
which had to be paid, of 2,500 quid,
but still, that's not much money for a house like this.
Let's find out what that could buy.
Narrow staircase to the bedrooms upstairs.
Down the corridor... looks like it's got central heating, which is good.
Front sitting room there. Nice brick fireplace.
Try and keep that if you can.
And then through a bit of a wiggly corridor to the kitchen.
Now, here's where it starts to go a bit wrong.
Large holes in the floor
and some very nasty-looking cracks up there.
Obviously in need of total refurbishment.
Still, remember how much it was.
O...K! Er, yep, this is the rear sitting room.
Some lovely features here(!) How about this bar? Yes, very 1970s.
Love these lions' heads. Excellent.
And there are other throwbacks to the '70s. A lovely kitchen hatch.
I'm not sure you'd want to keep this.
Maybe take this wall down, create a nice open-plan kitchen/diner.
# You will always find him in the kitchen at parties
# You will always find him in the kitchen at parties... #
This house is such a '70s throwback.
That theme carries on into the hallway and stairs,
with the lovely little features from its original 1930s construction
only just making themselves heard.
Well, upstairs, three good-sized double bedrooms
and a decent-sized bathroom, so that's good news.
Also, some really amazing features. I mean, look at that.
Up there in the attic, there is this incredible arch.
It's actually, I think, the old chimney stacks
from the fireplaces downstairs on either side,
and they form this arch, which goes up into one stack on the roof.
Beautiful. I'd love to see that incorporated to the house somehow.
Maybe create a room up there and strip back that brick.
It would be absolutely beautiful.
But the fact that I can see it,
the fact that there's no ceiling, all over the upstairs here,
is a bit odd. I can't for the life of me figure out why.
# It's a mystery
# Oh, it's a mystery
# I'm still searching for the clue... #
They could have been removed for any number of reasons -
asbestos, pests, some sort of rot.
But whatever the reason, this is a huge job to be carried on.
The bedrooms should be stripped back, plastered and painted and given new windows,
and the banisters all need renovating, too.
Well, everything I've seen so far doesn't particularly worry me.
Yes, there's lots of work to be done,
but it's stuff that you can cope with.
Much more serious is the front of the property itself.
If you look at it from a distance,
it's actually got serious subsidence.
Now, it seems that this corner of the front is actually sinking.
Down there, I reckon that's the culprit,
a drain that looks like it's broken.
It's probably been leaking water into the ground.
That's got very soggy,
so the corner's just sunk into the mud.
That could mean you're going to have to rebuild the whole of the front,
and that is going to cost you a quid or two...
# All the things I could do
# If I had a little money
# It's a rich man's world... #
So, lots of potential, but you'd have to dig deep into your pockets.
Let's see what the local expert from the auction house thinks of it all.
The property's an interesting property built in the 1920s, '30s.
It's got lots of character, lots of challenges for the new owners.
But they can make something really beautiful out of this.
What about the condition of the property?
The renovation job of this house is massive.
There is no stone that will be left unturned.
The front bay is falling away from the house,
so they've got to decide whether to rebuild the bay,
what they do with certain rooms, how they configure the house,
where they put kitchens, bathrooms.
So they've got lots and lots of challenges here,
which could be seen as lots and lots of fun.
So whoever bought this will have their work cut out.
But will all that fun add up if and when the property is sold on?
If they were putting this on the market,
I would imagine this would sell for about £120,000.
Not bad, especially if it went for £1.
But is this a good rental property?
To rent this out would be popular. I would imagine they'd get
between £550 per calendar month and £600 per calendar month.
Well, no reserve price may seem like an absolute bargain for this,
but what you've got here is a house with serious structural problems
that is going to cost quite a lot of money to sort out.
And what on earth has gone on with the ceiling upstairs?
Let's hope the person who bought it knew the answer
when it went under the hammer.
10,000? First bid.
15,000. Who's going to give me 20?
20. Right, there we go. £20,000 first, then. 25, sir?
25,000. At 25,000. May I say 30?
At £30,000. 35?
35. 35,000. Do I see 40?
40,000. New bid, 40,000, gentleman in the middle.
Do I see 45? 45,000.
At 45, seated.
Do I see 50? At £50,000.
At 50. Do I see 55 anywhere?
It's against you, sir. I've got 55 seated. 60?
At £60,000. 65?
At 60. Give me 61, then.
61. 62. 63. 64.
65. At 65,000. 66.
May I say 67? At 67. 68? At 68,000.
At 69. Round it up?
70? At £70,000, then. At £70,000.
Is anybody going to give me another bid? It's going to be sold. I'll take 500.
At 70,000. 70,500. May I say 71?
At 71,000. 71,500? 71,500. 72? 72.
72,500? No. At 72,000, then, for the first time.
At 72,000 for the second and final time. Are we all done at £72,000?
That's yours, sir. Can I have your paddle number? 889.
It was John and his wife Linda who made the winning bid of 72,000.
John's a plumber by trade,
and he's certainly going to have his work cut out here.
I met up with them back at the house to find out more.
-Thank you very much!
A bit of work to be done.
-I think there's more than "a bit", yes.
It's a great house. Tell me why you wanted to buy it.
I've got a few properties,
and work's been really quiet the past 12 months or so,
so I thought I'd give meself something to do.
-What do you do?
-I'm a plumber by trade, but building work generally.
-So you can turn your hand to most things.
Linda, what's your involvement?
-Well, I'm his wife.
Of course I have lots of involvement there!
Well, I'll help where I can.
I mean, obviously, I'll try
and come in and do lots of knocking plaster off and what have you,
but my bits will be when we're doing
the decorating stage and the gardens,
and I'll have my input then, really.
So, why have you bought it?
It's pointless having money in the bank,
so property's always been the way to go, for me, really.
And the idea is that you do it up and sell it on?
I'll try and sell, but you never know in the market, so I may rent it.
Probably rent it, I think.
For a little while, anyway, until the market picks up.
It's a massive undertaking for the couple,
made slightly easier by the fact they only live a few miles away,
so John won't have to get up too early to be on site.
So, tell me exactly what you're going to do to sort it out.
Oh, start at the top and work down.
New roof, fascias, gutters, window frames.
Depending on the structural engineer, what he says,
possibly drop the front of the house.
-Yeah. It's leaning in two different directions.
Depends what he says.
Whatever the structural engineer says, I'll do.
-When you say "drop", what do you mean?
-The brickwork's falling
-to the right and the left.
-So what will you do?
It might need to come down.
-What, the whole of the front?
-Are you OK about that?
-Yeah. I've done it before, so...
-I might do it again!
-It's a big job!
-It is, it is, but it's got to be done.
John and Linda had viewed it before the auction
and knew what challenges they would face.
Apart from that major work required at the front of the house,
what else do they plan to do?
New window frames, probably a porch,
push the front door forward to give some more room in the hallway,
new kitchen, relocate the kitchen to the back,
and French windows where the kitchen window is now,
and possibly a bedroom in the loft. I'm not sure about that yet.
-Just knock it down and start again?
-I could do.
-We did think about that!
Cheaper! We did think about that, yeah. We did think about that.
-The neighbours wouldn't like it!
-Next door might have a grumble at that!
John's obviously prepared
for the serious issues that have to be tackled here.
But there is one thing that I really wanted to ask them about.
-Why is it open to the loft? I can't figure it out.
-One word -
-Pigeons? What, they've eaten it?!
-No, no, pigeon infestation in the loft.
And I got together with the council and the vendor.
I agreed that it was OK to remove the ceilings
to get rid of the pigeon problem.
So, what had happened?
-Pigeon guano six inches deep through the loft.
-You don't want to work in that. I wouldn't let anybody work in it.
-It was coming down into the bedroom.
-Yeah, you could smell it.
And feathers were coming through. You could hear them cooing.
# Little pigeon, fly away... #
That must have been a relief, to have them out of the way
and be able to start with a clean canvas.
John will do a lot of the work himself - obviously, the plumbing -
but will subcontract the rest.
He hopes to complete this major renovation in about six months.
So, how much is all that going to cost?!
I'm hoping about 30 grand-ish,
but I would imagine another five on top, possibly. 35.
-What, to even do the front?
-Mm, not sure on that.
The engineer says it doesn't have to be done,
but, you know, if it does, it does.
-And that would add another...?
-It's scaffolded for the roof anyway,
so you can drop the front at the same time.
Well, congratulations. Thank you for solving my mystery.
-And good luck with it.
-Thank you, Martin. Thank you.
So, finally, the mystery of the upstairs ceiling is solved.
It was pigeons!
Anyway, John and Linda certainly seem under no illusions
about the amount of work it's going to take to sort this out.
But especially if they have to rebuild that front wall,
is their budget going to be enough? I don't think so.
You can see how they get on later in the show.
This is the market town of Belper in Derbyshire.
Belper's cotton mills once churned out cloth and hosiery.
It is even said that Queen Victoria's stockings
and Lord Nelson's vest came from here!
The last mill standing is now a museum
and Belper has become more of a commuter town
for nearby Derby, Nottingham and Manchester.
The property I'm here to see is less than a mile from Belper town centre.
This development behind me was built in the '70s,
and this house here was built around 40 years ago.
I wouldn't describe it as "pretty",
but at least the guide price was attractive.
It was up for auction for £100,000.
Similar properties around here can go for 50 grand more than that,
so this house is exciting me.
But this is not, because it's the only way in, up this steep driveway.
So wish me luck. No bottom shots, please.
# Shake, shake, shake Shake, shake, shake
# Shake your booty... #
'It's a good start as there's double glazing
'and a reasonably-sized garage, though a very steep drive up to it.'
So, the '70s feel is apparent inside as well.
You've got this classic brown staircase here,
the exposed brickwork.
You could get rid of this if you wanted to,
but there's so much you could do to change this room.
You could paint all of that, get rid of this fireplace.
I think the good thing here is there is a chimney breast,
so you can have a focal point.
But what I like about this is the big window here, letting loads of natural light in,
a really big family entertaining space.
So, although the house doesn't tick all the boxes for its beauty prize,
you've got loads of space here, which is a real bonus.
You've got a good size reception room here
and the kitchen. Again, I really like the space.
There's a lot you could do here. You could take this wall down,
open it up, so you've got a nice kitchen diner,
views into the garden.
Look at all this! I love a bit of storage.
Look, one, two, three, four... loads of cupboards!
What you could do is take them out and put all your units along here.
I would block up the side door and put some lovely French doors here,
leading straight out to the garden.
But here's a funny thing - take a look at this.
Whoever fitted this kitchen...
didn't do it very well. You can't quite get into that cupboard!
Definitely needs a bit of a rethink.
But, you know what? It could really work.
'Upstairs are two well-proportioned doubles and a single bedroom,
'all of which could do with redecoration,
'new carpets and general updating.
'The same applies to the bathroom. It's also a bit on the small side,
A bit of a downside to this property is the garden is not huge.
Bit of a postage stamp.
Also, you've got a busy main road behind that wall.
You can really hear the traffic thundering past.
One way to rectify this garden, to make it a bit bigger,
would be to take down this conservatory.
It's not the most attractive of structures,
but I happen to think it's quite useful.
If it were my house, I'd probably keep it there.
It's a good place to store the kids' bikes, painting on a rainy day,
you can hang your washing out.
It just offers another room.
I think I would be inclined to keep something like this.
'Let's get an assessment of this house
'with its guide price of £100,000.
'Who better to ask than the auctioneer who sold it?'
It's quite a standard three bedroom house of the style that was built
back in the '70s.
Straightforward accommodation, not huge, but adequate.
It has actually been quite well maintained - new windows,
fireplace that I'm leaning on.
Kitchen's quite nice, so it's been reasonably kept up-to-date.
'If bought to let, what rent could be achieved here?'
I would say that when this is improved,
although actually there isn't a great deal to do,
the rental value would be around £600 per calendar month.
'And the sale value?'
If you pushed this to its optimum,
I think it would have a value of around £170,000.
The going rate for these sort of properties,
if they're in good order, is somewhere between 165 and 180.
This is slightly smaller than some of the three-bedroom varieties round here,
but that's, I think, where it would be.
This is a hard house to fall in love with.
Personally, I've never been a fan of '70s architecture,
unless you make it really, really modern.
But it is a practical property. It just works.
It's detached, it offers quite a lot of space,
and there's potential to add value by just redecorating
and fitting a new kitchen and bathroom.
So, who bid for it? Let's find out when we head to auction.
Who's got 100,000, for a three-bed detached
in the good residential location of Belper?
100,000 is bid, thank you.
At 100,000, opening bid. 101 somewhere else?
Don't stop yet.
110,000, this side.
No? Is that it? First and last bid.
Yours, sir, thank you, 112.
# You'd better knock... on wood, baby... #
'It was carpenter Chris who made that successful bid of 112,000.
'He, his wife Poppy, and son Harry,
'have recently moved to the area after living in Surrey.
'I met them at the property.'
Guys, congratulations. It's lovely to meet you both today.
Tell me why you wanted to buy this house at auction.
I was made redundant, so we've got a little boy, Harry,
and I'm from Derbyshire originally, just down the road.
We thought we'd change our careers,
so Chris decided it was something he'd love to do,
to do property. He's done one before.
So we thought this would be the perfect one, really.
'The family's move north prompted Chris to try his hand
'at property development.
'After being made redundant from her casting job in television,
'Poppy's set up a youth theatre and casting agency.'
Walking around, there's not that much to do.
Yes, it does need updating,
but what are you guys going to do to change this property?
New kitchen and knock right through into the dining room.
Maybe take this wall out behind, so you can see right through,
so it's all open-plan, really.
And just modernise, really.
'As well as the interior changes,
'Chris plans to render the outside front wall
'and put a pitch on the garage and porch as well as move the front door
'from the side to the front'
The front door? Yes, it will look great.
How much expenditure is that going to cost?
Not a lot, really. Just work. It's just knocking a hole,
knocking a hole through and moving it round the side.
-Aesthetically, it'll look better.
-A lot of houses have moved them.
-It looks like there's something missing when it's on the side.
What about that conservatory you've got out the back?
It's not big enough to do anything with,
yet it'd be a shame to knock it down...
And it's quite ugly as well.
Cos there's no glass at the bottom. We're thinking of taking it down
and extending the patio area, so you have a nice seating area outside
and put some French doors on instead.
Tidy up that way.
It's a shame to get rid of an extra room, isn't it?
I really don't know what I'd do. I think I'd probably leave it there.
-We're still like that on it.
-It's not really a room at the moment.
You couldn't put much in it, I suppose. We'll see.
What about the colour schemes at the moment?
Lots of brown wood, brown doors.
-Are you going to be changing that?
We're going to replace the stairs for more modern, square spindles
and tidy that up.
New skirting throughout, and architraves and doors.
'The timescale for the refurbishment is eight to ten weeks.
'Chris will do most of it, apart from the electrics and plumbing.'
What's your budget to spend here?
Hopefully, we might not need to use it,
but it doesn't matter if it goes over a little bit.
Now, because you guys got this at quite a good price,
how much do you intend to sell this for?
Hopefully, put it up for sale about 160.
-So there's a fair bit of profit in it for you?
There's others on the estate up at that price.
And this'll obviously be like a brand-new house,
so this'll be better than the competition, hopefully.
Poppy, how involved are you going to be?
I'll bring him sandwiches and cups of tea.
It's really difficult with Harry.
I like painting, so maybe I'll do a bit of that.
Are you slightly worried about your whole change of job, change of plans,
you've moved from the south to the north,
you have a new career ahead of you.
How do you feel about that challenge?
It's exciting, though, isn't it? If we were ever going to do it,
the time was now to make the jump.
If it doesn't work, you go back to what you were doing before.
Guys, this is a big step for all of you and I really hope it works out.
-Good luck with all of this.
-Lovely to meet you.
'Chris and Poppy made a bold move,
'leaving Surrey and both starting new careers.
'Will they be able to turn this place round in eight to ten weeks?
'Find out whether the couple are in the money or in over their heads later in the show.'
'Coming up, in Wiltshire, I find the low ceilings in this cottage are fine...'
..as long as you spend most of the time...sitting on the floor.
'In Belper, Derbyshire, outside,
'things were back to front for Chris and Poppy.'
The trees were holding the fence up, actually, that was left.
'But first, in Manchester, John and Linda have certainly impressed a local property expert.'
This is probably one of the best refurbishments I've seen.
'Now back to Blackley in Manchester,
'where John, a multi-skilled plumber, and his wife, Linda,
'bought this three-bedroom semi-detached property for £72,000.
'After removing the ceilings to get rid of the pigeon infestation,
'there were still some major problems to fix,
'including the holes in the kitchen floor.
'But it was the front of the house that was the real concern.'
-The brickwork's falling to the right and the left.
-What will you do?
It might need to come down.
-The whole of the front of the house?
-Are you OK about that?
-Done it before, so...
-Might do it again.
'Well, we're back almost a year later, to find out if Linda and John have managed to banish the birds,
'or have the pigeons come home to roost?'
'On the ground floor, they've opened up the whole area,
'leaving one large, interconnected living space.
'Obviously, the kitchen has now moved - but where?'
Yes, the kitchen. We had an existing,
well, a lean-to extension on it, but it was collapsing.
It was about a third the size of this, so we dropped the whole thing.
We reused all the brick from the existing extension
to create the outer skin and the rest is brand-new.
It blends in with the house, really.
Then we put this rather nice kitchen in, but it's not quite finished.
See the handles missing?
'It's very nearly all there.
'They have also created a utility room at the end of the kitchen
'and they didn't stop there, making a new toilet under the stairs.
'Upstairs, they swapped the bathroom with the back bedroom.
'Now it's a spacious room, fitted out with a good quality suite.
'The two bedrooms and old bathroom have been stripped back,
'replastered and decorated.
'They now have a ceiling and, above it,
'there is another small addition.'
We've put a complete new floor in,
because the existing floor wasn't suitable.
The rafters were that big and we put proper joists right through.
It's all re-boarded, skimmed, insulated.
We've put this wall in,
with some access for storage right the way round the place.
This is insulated, eight, nine inches deep, really,
which created a problem because it brought the ceiling level down,
which meant the stairs on the plan weren't suitable,
so they had to be replaced
by these paddle stairs - not my favourite, but they do the job.
'The worrying signs at the front of the house,
'where it appeared to be sinking, were not as bad as first thought.
'After a structural engineer examined it,
'John rectified the problems.'
We had to unpin the front corner of the house,
where they had a drainage problem.
They'd rebuilt the front of the house, but not remedied the problem, which was two leaking drains.
We did that, underpinned it and built a porch on it in the end.
'Outside, in the garden, there was also a lot of work to do,
'as Linda explains.'
Outside, my first job was to clear a path through the mud and the weeds,
to enable us to put some building stuff there,
so I spent about two weeks
clearing the weeds and cutting some of the trees back.
Biggest brambles I've ever seen in my life.
We couldn't tell how long the garden was for about two days.
We couldn't see the back fence.
So, it's much improved now. Very different, nice and open.
'The couple's original budget was about £30,000,
'but with all the extra work they've done, including the extension,
'they must've exceeded that.'
It's probably cost an extra five grand, on the insulation, really.
That's not just buying it, that's fitting it as well.
Even the ground floor's done right through now.
Once you change a little part of it, it becomes a renewal, so you have to do the whole floor.
That took a big chunk of the budget.
Probably spend about 40 now.
'Adding that £40,000 to the original purchase price of 72,000
'makes a total of £112,000.
'What do two local estate agents make of this substantial refurbishment?'
They've done an amazing job of it, it's a great size.
They've done a full refurb on the property,
including the attic bedroom,
which, I think, will make it very saleable for a larger family.
The property's absolutely fantastic. The owners have done a superb job.
This is probably one of the best refurbishments I've seen
on a traditional three-bedroom semi-detached house.
'How much would they get if they sold it?
If I was placing this property on the market, I'd be looking to try
sort of, late...£159,950.
I would expect this property to achieve about £140,000.
I'm not surprised by that at all. I think that's about right.
I know similar properties up for similar prices,
so I'm not surprised.
But there might be a prospect to keep and rent it at that price.
'That would give John and Linda a pre-tax profit
'of between £28,000 and £48,000.
'What rental could they expect to achieve?'
This is a very desirable property for rental purposes.
It's a large, family home.
I would think it would achieve around about £600, £650 per calendar month.
Rental valuations in the current market,
I would value this at £650 per calendar month.
-That's what we thought?
-It's about what I thought.
It's in line with our thinking.
'That would mean a yield of around 6.5% to 7%.
'What do they now plan to do with the house?'
We'll probably put it up for sale, I think, first of all.
-See how that goes.
-Try it for a couple of months, I think, on the market.
If that doesn't move, say by Christmas, think about renting.
'How would Linda and John sum up the whole experience?'
It's been an absolute joy.
-We've really enjoyed it, haven't we?
-Yes, we have.
I'm in Wylye, deep in the heart of Wiltshire.
It's got a lovely local pub, there's a cute church,
lots of chocolate box houses. And, yet, you've got the convenience of Warminster and Salisbury close by.
What more could you possibly want?
Oh! How about a house here?
'The village is popular with commuters
'who need the nearby stations and road access,
'but also want the peace and tranquillity of the countryside.
'I can see that once you've moved here, it would be hard to leave.'
Well, being in this part of the country, I'm expecting to find something with a bit of character.
I am not disappointed!
This is a 19th century thatched cottage.
At a guide price of £220,000,
it seems like a lot of property for the money. Let's look inside.
'Thatched cottages aren't everyone's cup of tea,
'due to the maintenance required,
'but they do tend to sell for a premium.
'From the outside, this one's certainly very pretty.
'Time for a nosey about.'
That is ridiculous.
I'm expecting a low ceiling - that's kind of characterful...
But that's just a headache in every single sense of the word!
Seriously, that would put me off buying this place.
That's not just me, it would be a lot of people.
I'm 6' tall, so, I guess if you were going to sell to someone not as tall as me...
But why would you limit your market so much?
Let's try and be a bit positive. Look what someone's done to create more headspace -
they've chiselled through one of these beautiful old beams.
You don't hit your head on this side, as opposed to this side, which you do!
Ha! Good news, though, look over here.
How beautiful is this?!
A fantastic inglenook fireplace.
OK, OK, the cottage is starting to redeem itself.
As long as you spend most of your time...sitting on the floor,
not going to be a problem, is it?
# I'll light the fire
# You place the flowers in the vase that you bought... #
'As much as I would like to sit in front of a roaring fire,
'I've got work to do.
'There's plenty more house to explore.
'One thing worth mentioning is that although this cottage isn't listed,
'it is in a conservation area, so any external or major changes
'would need planning permission.'
Rear sitting room there. Up a few steps, you've got a loo,
access to the rear garden. Then, at last,
through to a room that at least has a bit of head height - the kitchen.
Unfortunately, this is probably the room with the least character,
but I reckon with a really nice, handmade kitchen in here,
you'd at least have a room...
where you didn't have to be ducking all the time.
'In the rear extension out back, there's a separate boiler room or airing cupboard,
'which might be better used as something else.
'Great to have a downstairs loo, and having a shower is a bonus,
'though that depends what's lurking upstairs.
'I hope there's a decent bathroom.'
So, upstairs, bedroom there, bedroom there.
A few hidden hazards, a step where you're not expecting it.
The whole place has got hazards,
places you can bang your head, trip up. It all adds to the character,
but what was it in olden days? Were they just shorter?
Did I eat too many breakfast cereals as a child, so I'm abnormally tall?
Anyway, bedrooms, bedrooms.
Bathroom here, looks in reasonable nick.
'The bathroom's nice enough, but needs freshening up.
'And then into the decent-size master bedroom,
'with windows at the front and rear giving lovely views over the garden.
'This English country garden comes complete with a shed and apple tree.
'The garden is level... with the back windowsill,
'so, to give more light into that room,
'the ground should be landscaped back.
'Although this cottage is charming and has lots of rooms inside,
'the low ceilings are a concern. There is potential here, though.
'We asked a local estate agent to give his verdict on this property,
'guided at £220,000.'
The first thing is it's very deceptive.
It looks like a traditional, rambling cottage.
Actually, there's a lot of room, a lovely big sitting room here,
with an inglenook fireplace.
The kitchen and dining room,
there's potential there, good size dining room.
And, for a cottage, the bedrooms are sensible.
I think each will take a double bed.
And plenty of potential to rearrange that, as well.
'Let's talk resale values.'
The property, as it stands,
I would suggest the open market value
to be in the region of £225,000 to £235,000.
As a refurbished property,
I think it could comfortably make £300,000 to £315,000.
'That would be a fantastic profit,
'obviously depending on how much was spent doing it up.
'What rent could it achieve?'
I would anticipate a rental value of £800 to £850 per calendar month.
Well, if it's character you're after,
this place has it by the bucket-load.
But, with that character, comes potential for huge expense,
one of those things that could just eat up the money.
I'd have a real issue with those low ceilings.
I'm sure they were throwing their hands in the air at the auction.
Let's find out who was successful when it went under the hammer.
Pretty village, pretty cottage.
Roof is done, the most important thing, being thatched.
There we are. 200?
170, if you like.
170. £170,000, I'm bid, I'll take five to get on.
175, 180, to you.
185. 190, 190,
to the lady at £190,000, sat down.
It's against you over there. I'll take five.
Or two and a half, if you like?
Yes or no, otherwise £190,000 to you.
For the first time, I shan't dwell.
£190,000, then, for the second time.
And £190,000, third and last time, you're done at 1-9-0.
'Catherine is the happy new owner of the cottage,
'especially as she got it for £190,000,
'30,000 under the guide price.
'She has just returned from two years working abroad.
'I met her in the garden to find out her plans for the place.'
I'm glad to see you're not super tall!
I know, some of those ceilings in the property are quite low. It's OK for me.
Is that why you bought it?
No, not at all.
I bought it because I thought it would be a good value property
in terms of the amount of property you get for the price,
particularly in this area. I was looking to buy here
and it's just what I wanted.
I wanted a chocolate box type property. They don't normally come up at auction, so I was really lucky.
What are you going to do to it?
I've got a lot of plans and ideas and I'm getting some architects and builders in,
because I want to do more to the property than just redecorating.
There's a lot of things that, structurally,
might need to be looked at, in particular the back garden here,
and the way it's built up against the back wall.
I want to make sure it's something that is OK to leave
or, possibly, to lower that down by about three feet,
to get it level with the back of the property.
Then looking at getting rid of the back extension,
possibly putting a dining conservatory on as well.
So there's a lot of work I want to do.
'If Catherine could lower the ground at the back,
'that would definitely help the light situation.
'She also plans to move the kitchen.'
-Why would you do that?
-To bring the kitchen into the centre of the home,
because entertaining, for me and my friends and family,
is really important. I really like the kitchen diner concept.
At the moment, the kitchen and dining room are separated
and I'd like to see if I could bring that into the main house.
So, quite a lot you're planning to do.
There is a lot and I think I'm going to have to break it down into phases one and two.
Phase one being getting the property into a state I can move into,
and live in, and phase two, possibly in four to five years' time
of adding a dining conservatory extension onto it.
'What's the budget for these ambitious plans for a phased refurbishment?'
I've had people have a look at it.
What I've done is give them a budget and asked them whether what I want is achievable within it.
What we're going to look at is them telling me what they can do in that budget -
-about £40,000 to £50,000.
See what they can achieve with that.
I'll get as much done as I can and that that I can't do now,
hopefully in five or six years,
once I've saved more money, we can do phase two.
'It's Catherine's own project,
'but she has had help with planning from friends and family,
'in particular, her mum.'
She's very good at visualising projects and she's done quite a lot of these projects herself,
so she's drawn up some architectural designs,
'which have been really helpful going to architects and builders,
'trying to describe to them'
-what I want to have as a finished product. She's been great.
-Will she be involved as you go along?
I'm going to keep her informed, but she's not running this project.
It's certainly my own, but she's got a keen interest in it.
Good luck with it all. Delighted for you.
-Thank you very much.
-Much happiness in your new home.
Well, Catherine has got herself a bargain
and I like her way of negotiating with the builders,
But my concern is that this place,
being a character property of this age,
could turn into a money pit.
You never know.
You can find out how she gets on later in the show.
The moment of reckoning has arrived.
So, have our property gambles paid off
or have our buyers backed the wrong horse?
Let's find out.
'Now back to Belper, in Derbyshire, where Chris and his wife, Poppy,
'bought this three-bedroom house for £112,000.
'The couple had recently moved to the area with their son, Harry.
'Chris, a carpenter, was getting into property development,
'starting with updating this '70s house.'
We thought we'd change our careers,
so Chris decided it was something he'd love to do,
do property. He's done one before.
So we thought this would be the perfect one.
'We're back eight weeks later to meet Chris, Poppy and Harry
'to find out if this '70s throwback has been brought up to date.'
'The exterior looks great, with some work gone into repositioning that front door
'and the garage roof now has an added pitch.
'As for the inside...
'..well, it's bye-bye '70s.
'The stairs have been replaced
'and, apart from the obvious new fireplace and the plastering,
'there seems to be a bigger entrance to the dining room.'
Came into here, removed this wall and doorway,
so it flowed right through.
Then we came into the - this was the dining room -
removed the wall from the kitchen, to make a kitchen diner.
Put in a breakfast bar. We spent an extra bit of money on the kitchen,
just to make it look a bit smarter. We're quite pleased with it.
'They had planned to remove the small conservatory at the back,
'but it appears to still be there.
'Did they take my advice?'
Um...she said it was a great extra piece of space for a family.
And I thought it was quite ugly, so we were going to get rid,
but we didn't. We agreed with her in the end.
It was all right, once it was cleaned up.
'And what's happened upstairs?'
The main things we've done up here
is replace this full-length old cupboard door
with a new door and frame,
to match the rest of the doors on the landing.
New handrail and spindles.
Fitted a new bathroom and really just decorated
and kept it all neutral, bright and fresh.
'Apart from that new fitted bathroom,
'all the bedrooms have been freshened up.
'Time to look at the garden.'
SONG: "Match Of The Day" Theme
'OK, so it's not a big garden to you and me,
'but big enough for Harry.
'But where have the trees gone?'
They were really big and tangled in the fence.
The fence was all broken.
The trees were holding the fence up, actually, that was left.
So we got the saw out and cut them down,
cut them into logs and gave them away.
'What was Poppy's role during the refurbishment?
I came every day to drop some sandwiches off and then I left.
I did a bit of painting, and that was it, really.
'It's hard with Harry,
'cos there's so many tools around it's quite dangerous.'
So, that's my excuse!
'Did this development throw up any unforeseen issues?'
The porch... As we were cutting a new front door,
onto the front,
the wall that was remaining gave way.
we took it all out and rebuilt it.
So, that was the unexpected part of it.
'Their initial budget for the refurbishment was £8,000.
'Have they kept to this?'
I think by the time we've finished everything, with the gardens,
it'll be...nearly ten.
The extra cost came from putting a slightly more expensive kitchen than I was going to.
There was extra skips that we didn't anticipate,
for the amount of rubbish that we had.
And some extra labour costs I hadn't anticipated either,
because I was going to do most of it myself,
but I got some extra labour in to help,
so that's where the extra money went, really.
'When added to the purchase price of £112,000,
'that makes a total outlay of £122,000.
'We invited two local estate agents to give us their opinions.'
I think it's a lovely property.
I like the layout, it's a good location.
Some of the choices they've made are very good, the kitchen and bathroom.
Generally, very positive.
The work the owner has done here has cleaned it up very well.
The new roof on the garage is a practical step forward.
The replacement kitchen and bathroom make it up to date.
One thing I do like is they've taken the wall out
between the lounge and kitchen, which really opens it up.
It gives that open-plan feeling which is popular.
'What rent could be achieved here?
The property will return about £600 per calendar month on the rental market.
This property I would put on the rental market for £595 per calendar month.
-I'd imagine that would be...
-We hadn't really thought about rental.
-We're never going to rent it out. It's nice to know.
'But what they're really interested in is those sale valuations.'
Putting it on the open market for sale,
I'd be looking at offers of £160,000.
It ought to be marketed at between £150,000 and £160,000,
depending upon the time available.
Yeah, that's exactly what we anticipated, really.
There's a few on the estate going for that price.
So, we thought if we were the same price, but we were all renovated,
it puts us ahead of the game, hopefully.
'That sounds pretty good, giving them a pre-tax profit
'of between £28,000 and £38,000.
'When this project's completed, what do the couple plan to do next?
Hopefully, as soon as we get this up for sale, start looking for the next one, and carry on.
-Maybe look before.
'Back now to Wylye in Wiltshire,
'where Catherine bought this scenic cottage for 190,000.
'After a period working abroad, she was going to make this her new home.
'She planned to do the work in two phases and hoped to make a new kitchen-dining area.
'She was dealing with her builders in a unique way.
What I've done is given them a budget and asked them whether what I want is achievable within that budget.
Really, what we're going to look at is them telling me what they can do.
About £40,000 to £50,000.
'It's now three years since we saw Catherine and her thatched cottage.
'Let's see how she got on.'
'She's managed to create that all-important extra headroom by raising the ceiling.
'Now it's an easy stroll into the lounge,
'with the lovely inglenook fireplace.
'And there's a newly-created window seat.'
Here, in the lounge, I've made a lot of significant changes.
The most obvious one here is this new beam,
which we've put in to replace the old beam that was cut in half.
It was also supported by a pillar or beam itself.
We've taken that all out and raised the ceiling.
We've kept some of the old beams from the hallway.
They've been put back in here to create that character.
It now creates a room that's got character,
it's a more functional space, but it's cosy as well.
'Continuing on the ground floor,
'the dining room now has French windows looking out onto the garden.
'Heading through to the kitchen, it has been completely changed around
'with French windows installed
'as well as a brand-new range cooker taking centre stage.'
The kitchen itself is not yet complete.
There's quite a few things that need to be done to the kitchen, to get it finished.
The granite surface needs to be put in and there'll be an alcove built
over the AGA, with another original beam from the cottage.
But the room itself really came out of the redesign of that room,
in terms of knocking through what was a very thick wall with a small window
and creating a large patio door type area,
with lots of light coming into it,
which then floods that area with light,
so it makes it a really bright, practical kitchen.
'Next door to the kitchen is the new utility area and a new toilet.
'Does upstairs match the ground floor for surprises?'
Up on the first floor, we opened up each of the bedrooms,
so they are all vaulted up to the beams,
so you can see some of the rafters.
I also included an en-suite bathroom to the master bedroom
and we levelled out the floors upstairs
so it creates a much better flow upstairs as well.
'Big changes in the bathroom, with a stylish new suite and redecoration.
'The other two bedrooms look more spacious too,
'with that added ceiling height.
'Let's take a look outside.'
Outside here, the garden's been completely re-landscaped.
It was about three to four feet higher in this particular area,
with the utility area coming out onto quite a dank, dingy decking area.
That's all been reduced down by three to four feet,
creating a patio area for entertaining
and the steps leading up to the garden,
which is on the same level as before.
The only thing that hasn't changed is my thinking stool - a tree stump,
which I used to sit on during the renovation
and just look at the cottage, out the way of the builders,
and make sure it was being developed into a cottage just perfect for me.
'And I think Catherine missed telling us about something new.'
I've installed, as part of the garden renovations, a treat for myself,
which is a hot tub, which I know that my mother finds particularly ghastly!
But, actually, it's a fantastic thing to have,
to come home from a hard day's work and sit in the hot tub
and shake the stress away.
'And, if all those bubbles weren't enough,
'she's left something else for a future owner.'
During the renovation, we put a time capsule into one of the cottage walls
which incorporates some history of the cottage I found out in the library
and a bit about myself and what we've done.
That was wrapped up with a bottle of wine for the finder
and put into one of the walls whilst it was being renovated.
'Originally, Catherine planned to renovate the cottage in two phases,
'with a budget of £40,000 for phase one.
'Did she stick to that plan?'
In the end, after quite a considerable period of looking at what I wanted to achieve,
I realised that, in order to get it to a standard
where I didn't feel I had to do any more work in the near future,
I realised it would cost a lot more money.
So, I released some finances and increased the budget to £100,000,
which actually includes everything.
It also includes a lot of the things I've put in
that I wouldn't have done had I not been coming to live in the cottage myself.
'Adding that combined phased total to her purchase price of £190,000
'makes her total outlay £290,000.
'We invited two local property experts
'to give their opinion on the revamped cottage.'
Impressions are very good. I think it's an absolutely superb cottage.
The renovation has been done to a high standard.
It's very, very well done.
In terms of the finish, the white walls give it a very clean...
The best thing about the property is the beams,
bringing out all that character and exposing that. It looks brilliant.
'What would they value it at now?'
I would recommend an asking price for the property of £395,000.
If I was to market this property,
I would place a value of £350,000 on it.
Wow! That's really... I'm pleased with that,
though I have to bear in mind that I never did this for any profit at all.
It has been done for me to live in,
so I've done it to the standard I wanted.
I've spent a lot of money on things I wouldn't have done had I been just wanting to sell it on.
'That would give Catherine a pre-tax profit
'of between £60,000 and £105,000.
'With the cottage going to be her home for the next few years,
'would she consider another such project in the future?'
One day, I probably will sell, and I would be tempted to buy another property and do it up,
cos I have enjoyed doing this. So, one day, yes.
Whether you're a seasoned property developer or a novice,
do join us next time for more auction stories.
We'll see you then for more Homes Under The Hammer.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a semi in Manchester, a house in Derbyshire and a cottage in Wiltshire. 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.