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Hello. Across the country, it can sometimes be hard finding
a property bargain, but they are out there.
Yeah, getting a good return on your investment requires
research, research, oh, and one more thing, research.
So, where do you start? How about your local property auction?
Now, the stories behind auction buys are often fascinating.
Yeah, why did people choose their properties and what are their plans?
Yeah, well, it's time to find out.
Here are the three properties on today's show.
In the Borrowash, Derbyshire,
this three-bedroom semi's bathroom gets me on my soapbox.
I don't know why, but it just feels wrong!
This three-bed mid-terrace in West Bromwich
has plenty of scope for drying out.
There is a little bit of water.
And we're leaving the best for last
with this quirky house on the Isle of Sheppey.
We've followed it for years now, and it's finally finished.
How he's got up and done it some mornings, I don't know.
-All these properties have been sold at auction.
We'll find out who bought them and what they paid for them
when they went Under The Hammer.
All done, sold.
I'm in the village of the Borrowash wash, in Derbyshire,
a good commutable distance from towns and cities
like Derby and Nottingham.
So, I'm sure this was a very popular lot at auction.
£115,000 plus was the guide price for a three-bed semi.
Let's have a look.
Well, hello. That's a nice start, isn't it?
And my guess is that there was an inner door here
because it's a strange place for a step.
That's been taken away and you've just got this porch area
but it gives a really nice feel
the moment you walk in through that front door.
Really open, lots of light coming in through that window.
So, we like that. Living room there to the left.
Kitchen over there, looks like it's in a bit of a sorry old state,
and then through into your rear sitting room.
Again, a very classic layout for this kind of 1930s property.
So, the first thing I'm looking at is what can we remove,
because by making it more open plan,
we're going to immediately make the property feel a lot bigger.
So, that wall has to go and maybe that wall.
There's a fire breast in the middle.
Oh, knock it all down, make it completely open plan! We love it.
Yeah, all right, I know not everyone loves it.
Maybe you need a separate room that's free from the kids' mess.
I get that.
But this kitchen is tiny, so at the very least,
knocking through to the dining space is a must.
But taking out the chimney breast is a skilled job
because you need to support the chimney up above.
Talking of which...
# Too many walls have been built in between us... #
When you've walked around as many properties as I have over the years,
there are some things which just strike you as being wrong.
Now you may think I'm being completely ridiculous,
but it just seems a bit weird that the bathroom,
although it's upstairs, which is a good thing,
is at the front of the property, and it's got this massive window.
It just... I don't know why, but it just feels wrong.
Now, if you're currently in a house with a bathroom at the front,
at this point shout, "Gobbledygook," at the television.
OK, right, quite a lot of you, then.
Well, anyway, to me, it's in the wrong place.
# Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble
# Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble... #
Something else that shouldn't be here is a large amount of mould,
which can be an indication of a larger issue.
This could just be poor ventilation, though,
which might be easily sorted with a good deep clean.
But it's best to get an expert round to have a butchers
and make sure that you aren't buying a turkey.
OK, lose the turkey music!
-CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYS
Now, there are three bedrooms up here.
One at the front, where it should be,
and the other two are decent-sized and at the back.
Time for a look outside.
A really good tip is to look around the street
and see what other people have done because they've probably
lived here for years and they might have done something
which really enhances the value or usability of their properties.
Well, there's a classic example of that here in the fact that,
as you can see, the next-door neighbours have got their cars
parked on the front of their houses, and certainly,
I don't think you'd be losing too much in terms of amenity space
if you actually did exactly the same here.
You have to take out this wall.
The biggest issue is that you've got to drop the curb,
as you can see with what they've done there.
So basically, the pavement has an edge to it.
You've got to get the council to come along and do that
and you've got to apply for planning permission.
It's not expensive, though.
The whole process is going to cost you about £1,000 as an guesstimate.
But the amount of money it would add to the value of the property
way exceeds that.
# Drop it like it's hot Drop it like it's hot
# Drop it like it's hot... #
Well, despite what it looks like,
I haven't nipped out to the local park.
This is actually the garden of the property
and a little bit overgrown, for sure, but a really nice size.
So strim this back, what a change it would make.
Obviously, a few bits and pieces of maintenance needs to be done.
But while I am out here, I'm just checking,
is there potential for an extension?
Well, glancing as you should, at the neighbouring properties,
that one's got an extension.
The one to the right there has got one, so yes,
there is obviously a precedent set for doing an extension.
It would all come down therefore to what you wanted the house for.
If you were going to live in it, extra space, perhaps.
Financially, does it make sense?
All decisions that will be made basically by the new buyer.
You really do need to decide how much work you want to do
on this property before you bid on it.
We asked along the auctioneer who sold it to give us his thoughts.
If you were to do the job properly here, you have two start with
damp-proofing because there is rising damp in one or two places.
You've got to look at decorating,
you've got to take out one or two old fireplaces.
You've got to refit the kitchen,
shower room really probably needs improving as well.
So, the list begins to be quite lengthy.
So, what do the numbers sound like when crunched?
So, if you renovate this as it is now, the same footprint
and you spend £12,000 to £15,000 on it,
I would say it would have a value of between £155,000 and £160,000,
bearing in mind, of course, it has no off-road parking at the moment,
neither does it have a driveway or garage space.
It also doesn't have an extension.
How much could that change its value?
You could probably push its value up to 175,000, 180,000,
and you'll realise from that equation,
that actually it would cost you more to extend it
than it would put on the value of the property.
Well, I think this house presents
somewhat of a fantastic opportunity, don't you?
Really good size, nice location.
Yeah, great one to go for.
Let's see who agreed when it went under the hammer.
We've got a three-bedroom semidetached house
with scope for extension.
Bid me where you like. 105.
105 I've got, thank you.
Competition is stiff, not only in the room
but also with a telephone bidder.
We rejoin the bidding at £132,500.
132.5, 133, 133.
500 at the back. 134.
134,000 front row bid, out on the phone.
£135,000 for the first time,
third chance, all finished.
Sold at 135 here, thank you.
After a bidding war with a phone bidder, the buyers were Chris
and his wife, Cheryl, getting the semi for £135,000.
Chris has been working as a landlord
and an estate agent for 32 years.
His company has around 57 properties
and Cheryl helps with the design,
so I might even get a few tips from them.
Cheryl, Chris, great to meet you both.
-Good to meet you too, Martin.
-And you, Martin.
Congratulations. Tell me why you wanted to buy this place.
We buy houses and then do them up and then rent them out
-rather than by them up and sell them.
-So we've actually...
There was also, the person that wants to rent this property
was in the room at the time.
-In the auction room.
Yep, he viewed it before we bought it
and he wants to obviously move in,
so he's going to wait the six, eight weeks.
When it's done, he moves in with his family.
He's rented from me before and their landlord is selling,
-so he needs another house.
Yeah, we like the house, we like the road and the area
and he liked the house and the road, so it works perfect.
So, are you going to let him
choose the colours of things that you do and stuff like that?
Good question, Martin.
He wants a long-term let, and the longest let's two years,
but he'll probably stay ten years so he and his wife have already said,
"Can we have a bath in the place?" Cos it's only a shower.
"And could we have some influence on the colours of the walls
"and the carpets cos we want it for a little while?"
So, yeah. In this case, we would, yes.
Sounds like a perfect arrangement.
The tenant gets what they want and Chris and Cheryl
get John and his family as long-term tenants.
As well as following the family's wishes on the decor
and the bathroom, there will be a new kitchen fitted
and it would appear they've given the layout
a bit of thought, but not a lot.
This wall's got to come out, I think, and make it more open plan.
-I think, do you?
Or go the other way, knock the kitchen into the dining room. Maybe.
Yes, and also, there's only one little window in the kitchen,
it's quite small and there's a coal bunker out the back
which will never be used,
so we could push it back. We might make it a better space
because people want more modern kitchens now, don't they?
-That's what everyone likes.
-Don't mind us.
Carry on having your conversations! You carry on, I'll...
Just let me know when you're finished, that's good.
It's a good time to have plans what you're going to do,
in the middle of an interview, absolutely perfect.
Good, I'm glad we've helped in some way. That's good!
-Now you know what he's doing anyway.
-I don't think he knows himself yet, to be honest.
-So, what's the budget for all that?
-25, 30 grand.
We've got our own builders, they'll come in and do it.
And if they say they'll take six weeks, they'll take nine weeks.
So, I think it will take about...
-It can't take longer than ten.
Cos otherwise, they'll have nowhere to live,
so it's got to be a six to eight weeks.
The pressure is on then if tenant John and his family
are not to be homeless.
But I'm wondering about that rising damp issue that the agent raised.
To be honest with you, now is the time to address it
because obviously we're going to be stripping it right back,
stripping the wallpaper off back to the plaster.
I'm hoping it's isolated.
But you've factored that into your budget anyway?
I haven't really, but we basically factor every, about £30,000.
If we get away lightly, it's 25.
If it's going to be 32,
because we're not selling on straightaway, there's enough there.
As long as we make...
If we've got leeway of £10,000 or £20,000 profit,
we know we've bought right then.
Chris is definitely a landlord who looks to the long-term
when it comes to investment, with an eye on big returns.
Every 12 years, property seems to double in value.
So, we would think in 12 years, it might be worth £300,000.
-I think that's what most landlords work on the basis of.
So, that's the exciting thing.
Prices can always go down, of course, as well as up,
but over the long-term, you're probably right.
The best thing to do is if the prices go down,
don't sell cos then it's a paper loss or gain, isn't it?
So, I'm hoping that at the time when we're ready to sell
or when our son inherits it, the prices will be at the right price.
So, that's it.
I think everybody, if they had five properties,
then they could be financially independent cos that'll
give you approximately 30 grand a year income.
So, I think if everybody can do that, it'll be as good as a pension.
-Congratulations. Lovely to meet you both.
-I hope it's a great success.
-I'll forward to seeing how you get on.
Well, some good advice from Chris and Cheryl there.
And they certainly seem to know what they're doing.
What a dream scenario to have the person who's going to rent it
lined up and raring to go
and also going to give some input on what you do.
They don't come along very often, but if you can find them,
boy, are they good news.
How will they get on?
Will it all basically go to plan? You can find out later in the show.
This grand public building is West Bromwich Town Hall.
Completed in 1875, this Grade II listed building
currently serves the town as a popular venue
for a wide variety of events.
Not far from the centre of West Brom
with great road and rail links to Birmingham and Wolverhampton,
both being under 25 minutes away, is the property I'm here to see.
Now, it's a three-bed mid-terrace house, and here it is.
It's not quite the Town Hall,
but what do you expect for a guide price
of in between £29,000 and £34,000?
Let's get inside and see what you get for your money.
Before I do, off-street parking, good start.
OK, we are straight into the front room area.
Here, I can see, that there, a bit of a crack.
That could be signs of a bit of movement.
Not a good start, looks like there may be a bit of damp as well.
Look at this, looks like an original fireplace as well.
And these original doors, I do like them.
Through a bit of a hallway, another door here.
You've got a bit of storage in there and you can actually see,
if I step back here,
you can actually get these doors back to their former glory,
maybe strip that paint off.
They would look really smart.
Into the second reception room, got a galley kitchen through there,
and at the end of the galley kitchen, you've got the bathroom.
It looks like it all needs replacing.
Get some new floor in, get the walls sorted out,
nice brand-new kitchen and bathroom suite and that will be sorted.
Still haven't seen any central heating as yet.
I've seen a few damp patches.
Old gas fire as well here, that would need to come out.
And I have noticed down here that there is a little bit of water,
which is a little bit worrying.
So, I've seen a few issues that would need to be sorted out
by the professionals.
# All the ducks are swimming in the water... #
The amount of moisture I've found might not be enough for the ducks,
but is more than enough to set my alarm bells ringing.
The lack of central heating obviously doesn't help,
nor does the fact that this house has been empty for quite some time.
Moisture downstairs but what's the situation upstairs?
OK, upstairs, the three bedrooms.
I can see here, this bedroom at the front, it's a double bedroom,
it's a nice sized bedroom.
I can see there's more signs of damp as well.
All over the house, the wallpaper seems to be falling off the walls.
This is a smaller bedroom, more of a single bedroom here.
More of the same on the ceiling as well.
Over the hallway, into what I consider to be the master bedroom.
I think you'd possibly want to
rewire your television cable coming in.
More signs of a damp up there as well.
As I look down there,
those leaves in the guttering won't be helping the issue either.
But I think it's a decent-sized house, some really nice
original features, but it's not without its issues.
The back garden is a reasonable size or will be
when the remains of that shed get cleared away.
Looking back at the house,
I'm surprised to see that the roof appears to be fairly new.
But something else has caught my eye.
Several of the houses have dormer extensions.
Perhaps something for the new owner to consider.
Let's hear what a local property expert says
about this West Bromwich house.
Well, this property, it's in a nice sort of area,
some good homes around it.
It does need some work doing to it,
but on the whole, it's quite a nice house.
To renovate this property fully with a new bathroom, kitchen,
central heating and cosmetic work,
I'd estimate a spend of around £15,000 to £20,000.
The agent estimates that once renovated,
the house could be worth in between 85 and 90 grand
on the sales market
and could achieve a rental of around £550 per calendar month.
But if the new owner added a loft extension,
what could that add to the value of the house?
If the property was to be extended into the loft,
obviously it would depend what sort of accommodation is provided,
but I'd expect it to add a value of maybe £10,000 or £15,000.
This could be a great house.
There's a couple of things in here I really like - the size
and some of the old features.
But there's two things that have got me worried -
the damp and the signs of movement.
Let's see who wasn't worried when it went under the hammer.
Lot 44. Nice three-bedroom mid-terrace house.
Where shall we start, folks?
At 40,000 and thank you. At 40,000, I'm bid.
The West Midlands public seem fairly unenthusiastic
about this lot.
But eventually, two bidders did push the price up gradually.
We rejoin the bidding at 65 grand.
At 65,000 with just the one bid, can I see your number, sir?
Are you listening to some sounds at the same time, sir?
Number 854, on sale to you at 65,000,
for the first time.
He's come back to me at 66. 67, sir? 67.
68? £67,000, we're on sale.
One, two, three.
That's yours, sir. Congratulations.
You can turn the music back on now, sir.
Benjamin, who made the final bid of £67,000,
seemed to be just as interested in his music choices
as his property choices.
I'm a bit surprised he's so relaxed since it was the first time
he'd bought at auction and he paid double the guide price.
So it didn't exactly go for a song.
# Blame it on the music... #
-Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
What made you buy this particular house?
Well, me and my business partner,
we decided to go into some property investment.
We were looking at certain houses which we could achieve, upon sale,
a profit of between 10,000 to 20,000 after the renovation costs
as well as the purchase price.
These were one of the properties in the auction catalogue
that fit the criteria.
Was there anything else in the auction catalogue
-that may have enticed you in?
-Yeah, there was a few.
I was quite surprised because when we got into the auction,
a lot of them were going way above the guide price,
double the guide price.
So, when this one came into budget, no-one else was bidding,
I just decided to take a cheeky bid, yeah.
-Had a hand up thinking shall I or shan't I?
Did you stick to your budget at auction?
-Were you happy with what you paid?
-Yeah, I was happy with what I paid.
We knew that...
I had a quick conversation with him throughout the day
and said that we had to take it up.
-Initially, our budget was 60k.
We took it up by an additional ten to cap it at 70,
but this came under at 67.
-So, yeah, it was good.
-Good man. Did you view the property first?
No, unfortunately not.
OK, you see, normally, that's a yellow card there,
but I'll leave it, don't worry.
Indeed, the reason why was because it was the night before
the auction and we managed to get the legal pack online,
look through it, did the calculations,
see what properties go for around the area.
And you know, it managed to fit the criteria.
So, we just hoped for the best, trusted in God.
And, you know, just put our hand up and got the property in the end.
Oh, you read the legal packs so that's one thing,
you've definitely got to do that.
-Yeah, I've learned that from you.
-Without a doubt!
So, tell us, what was it about property that enticed you in?
Um, more the returns,
because I know a few people that's gone into it in the past.
It's something in which they have done well over recent years,
so I just said, "It's my time to shine," essentially.
So, what were you doing
before you decided to venture into this property world?
Well, I'm a chartered accountant.
So, day-to-day job is crunching figures and balancing books
and everything else.
So, yeah, my background is in accountancy.
So you know you're going to have to look after the figures
-on these kind of ventures, don't you?
-As long as the numbers make sense.
The numbers must make sense because chartered accountant
Benjamin's business partner Abi is also a chartered accountant.
What's more, Abi has some renovation expertise.
However, Benjamin is going to do the project managing on this one,
so no prizes for guessing what Abi's role's going to be.
He will be watching the figures, essentially.
The budget is where there's things that need to be done
by certain time periods and with certain budgets,
so he'll be watching that side of things.
-So, you'll keep an eye on each other?
-Indeed, yeah, for sure.
# Oh, I've got my eye on you... #
These two accountants had better get their figures right.
No pressure, lads.
So what do Benjamin and Abi's changes add up to?
What we're going to do essentially is take off all the wallpaper,
re-plaster the whole place, decorate and everything else.
We know that there's issues with damp, so we're going to see to that.
Essentially, there is no central heating in the property,
so getting that reinstalled, radiators in every single room.
Completely rip out the bathroom as well as the kitchen,
redo all of that, re-plaster, paint it up and a complete overhaul.
Bit of movement potentially and damp, are they worrying you?
Well, before actually getting a property,
we made a few calls knowing that there was some history
in terms of this being a coal-mining area.
So, we've gone and received some quotes from builders
and seen how much it will be to rectify the situation itself.
The damp side of things doesn't worry me too much.
We've got experienced builders, good builders on hand,
-mates rates as well, so...
-Hope so, they say that now.
I've got to let him sign on the dotted lines, yeah.
But it's not too much of a concern.
How much is your budget?
Well, initially, we said worst-case scenario,
we could spend up to 20 grand to do the whole work.
But after seeing it today, probably go within 15 if you could,
especially if that makes risk.
-I'm sure it's nice if you can come under budget.
But we've got provisions in place.
Just in case we go over,
we've discovered some things along the way because, you know,
we're not going to play naive, that there will be some surprises.
So, we will just see what we can do. But initially, around the 20k mark.
And what's your time scale?
We said if we can get everything completed between four to six weeks.
I'll be here on most evenings as well as weekends.
We'll see what we can do, yeah. But initially, four to six weeks.
Quite a tight timescale? A lot of work to be done front and back.
Absolutely, absolutely. But, you know, I'm a hard worker.
I'll get my hands dirty if necessary and, yeah,
really crack the whip with the builders and everyone else.
Sounds like you've got everything sorted.
Business partner's going to look after the figures.
-You're going to project manage the whole place.
I wish you all the best. Can't wait to see how you get on.
-Cheers, thank you.
Ben and Abi, both trained accountants.
So, the finances should be looked after.
But four to six weeks to get all this work done? I'm not too sure.
You can find out how they get on later in the programme.
Coming up, the conclusion to one couple's long struggle
with this Isle of Sheppey money pit.
Even doing it yourselves, it just runs away with the money.
And we find out how accountant Benjamin
coped with the damp problems on his first renovation in West Bromwich.
Will he stay on budget?
Back now to Borrowash, Derbyshire, where earlier,
this three-bedroom semi sold at auction for 135,000.
So, the first thing I'm looking at is what can we remove?
Because by making it more open plan,
we're going to immediately make the property feel a lot bigger.
So, that wall has to go and maybe that wall,
there's a fire breast in the middle.
Oh, knock it all down, make it completely open plan, we love it!
Someone else who loved it were the new owners, Chris and Cheryl,
who already had a tenant lined up.
They were still making plans, though,
even when I was trying to interview them.
I think, do you?
Or go the other way, knock the kitchen into the dining room, maybe.
And also, there's only one little window in the kitchen,
it's quite small, and there's a coal bunker out the back
which will never be used, so we could push it back.
We might make it a better space,
cos people want more modern kitchens now, don't they?
-That's what everyone likes.
-Don't mind us!
Carry on having your conversations! It's all right, you carry on.
Just let me know when you've finished, that's good.
'Tsk. Well, they've finished now.
'They planned a two-month refurbishment,
'and we're back five months later.
'The coal bunker at the back has given way to this
'The aim, to create a modern kitchen in place of this one.
'Have they succeeded? Well, judge for yourself.'
# Till I found you
# Till I found you... #
The nine-foot extension gives much more space for units
and allows the kitchen to flow into what was the rear reception room.
Now, thanks to the roof windows and French doors,
a much brighter seating and dining area.
For a bit of further explanation, here's Chris.
This is the original kitchen here, this is where it ended
and this was the coal house, a little bit of the coal house.
So, there was a window here and that was the extent of the kitchen.
So, what we wanted to do is open it up,
and so the best way we thought was to take this back.
But obviously, you've still got this long narrow area,
so we decided to make a feature of this wall
which would pull back into here and open this family area up
and then obviously, put the double French doors opening for the summer.
And then these tiles here complement this off-white coloured kitchen
that we've used before in other properties.
But the thing that works the best really is the double Velux lights
which match in with all the window and the kitchen,
so it brings natural light in.
In fact, the whole of the back of the house
is now much, much brighter.
And new tiles make a feature of the fireplace in the front reception.
# Till I found you... #
Chris and his builder did discover and cure the damp in the house.
There's no sign of it in the new bathroom, which is still,
to my thinking, in the wrong place.
But at least the toilet isn't in front of the window.
In fact, the new layout is the same
as when the houses were first built, according to Chris.
New paintwork and carpeting make the landing much more lush.
In the master bedroom, the feature fireplace theme continues,
and a Juliet balcony above the single-storey extension
affords great views over the back garden.
The second bedroom is now clean and bright,
also with a feature fireplace.
As you may have guessed,
their tenant, John, has already moved in,
along with his wife, Adele,
and their three-year-old daughter, Lily May.
Finally upstairs, the smallest bedroom is adequate
with a little room even for storage.
But no room in this room for a featured fireplace.
But there was room to add another in the rear seating area,
design features being Cheryl's department.
Each night, Chris and I would sit down and discuss things.
You know, go through the ideas.
The farmhouse door to give it a bit of a nice feel to it.
You know, the lovely slates on the walls to give it a nice, lovely,
cosy but contemporary feel to it, really.
I think it looks amazing.
You know, everyone wants the open-plan living nowadays,
and with the families, it makes everything flow nice and easy.
So, yeah, I'm really pleased, I think it looks fab.
Delays finishing off a commercial property project
meant a later start than originally planned.
The property sat empty after we purchased it at auction
for three weeks.
So, the total timescale was about ten weeks,
almost three months.
But when the four builders were actually working on it
and they were employed by us, it was seven weeks,
so they were able to do what they said.
It just took longer, nearly three months, because we started late.
Did the work mean
the original £25,000 to £30,000 budget was exceeded?
The actual costs were more than we thought,
and it took a little bit longer than we thought.
So, we've probably spent 30,000 to 35,000 on it
rather than 25,000 to 30,000.
But we wanted to make sure all the finishing touches were right,
so we spent the extra money on that.
ime to find out if two local property experts
think Chris and Cheryl's finishing touches are just right.
Let's find out what they thought of the property.
I was quite surprised, really.
The extension has really made the house,
especially with the balcony from the master bedroom
overlooking the fields, very nice touch.
My first impressions of the property are really good, I'm very impressed.
They've gone further than I was expecting.
The extension is a pleasant surprise as well.
Although they're renting out,
would the couple have made a profit had they decided to sell?
They spent a total of 170,000.
I would market this property for £190,000.
If I were to place this on the open market,
I'd recommend an asking price of £189,950.
Not bad, a £20,000 gain.
Enough room for profit, taxes and expenses.
I think that's more than we expected, really,
because I thought it would probably be £175,000.
So, 190, 189, yeah, great. But we're not selling.
OK, we get the picture, but I'm sure you'd like to know
whether they're getting a good rental value.
On the rental market, I would offer this property
at £700 per calendar month.
On the rental market, this is likely to achieve
in the region of £725 per calendar month.
I think the valuers have got it spot on.
I don't think it's a difficult one to value
cos it's a three-bed semi that's been extended a little bit.
So, John's really going to be evicted, cos he pays 625!
He doesn't mean that.
John has been involved on this rather personalised refurbishment
from the get-go.
So, what does he make of his new home?
Chris promised me it would be a really stunning house,
said it would be worth the wait, and it certainly has been.
And my wife and daughter love the house as well.
So, yeah, we're really happy,
we can see ourselves being here for a long time.
So, it's happy landlord, happy tenant, happy families
and happy days.
The Isle of Sheppey in the Thames estuary,
off the North Kent coast, was where I found myself back in April 2014.
I'm just a few hundred yards from the beach
and with this kind of remote location, well, it's hard to believe
you are less than two hours
from Central London by train.
And with such great links to the capital, well,
perhaps we shouldn't be surprised with the average selling price
in this postcode - well, it's been a whopping 23% increase
in the last year.
Suddenly, there seems to be an added appeal to this property
I'm here to see.
Well, here it is. It's a 1930s four-bedroom detached house.
You get a lot of house and garden
for the guide price of £130,000 to £140,000.
I thought the house was big, but it was this huge garden
and private driveway that impressed me the most,
with space off to the side just ripe for development.
Whoa! OK, lots going on the minute you walk into the hallway.
We've got overhead beams, a spiral staircase of sorts.
Behind me, a huge sunny room, which goes into the bay window
at the front, another room to the side here.
You know, I'm not sure about these. Do we like them?
I just think they're always a bit precarious in the middle
of the night when the lights are off and you're trying to come down.
I think I'm more of a traditional stair girl.
And in here, the lounge, wow.
I mean, this really is a cracking space.
Fantastic for entertaining. Sliding doors at the end. And, of course,
with a whole mishmash of characters in this property,
a Gothic fireplace!
I remember thinking I like Gothic architecture,
but I prefer it on churches rather than the living room.
In the bright and airy kitchen
was an added platform booster for the breakfast bar.
Two good size bedrooms and a decent sized bathroom meant downstairs
was done, and I had no option but to brave that big old staircase.
# And I'm running up the spiral staircase
# I can't reach the top
# I'm running up the spiral staircase
# And I'm too scared to stop... #
So upstairs, we have two bedrooms,
one to the front here which is the double
and a rather unusual one here at the back.
Be careful of the sloping ceilings, of course,
because there are loads of them, here as well.
But you know, it's very angular, it's a bit awkward
and you've got your beams back upstairs as well.
Now through here, this is quite funny
because there's the shower, but you have to go round here
to get over it to the loo and the bidet and here we are again.
It's great, isn't it?
I mean, why would you just put a shower there,
in the middle of the room, like a telephone box?
Not the best use of space.
I kept thinking about the use of a large outside space too.
Hmm, I like this house, I think.
It's in decent condition and there are lots of options.
Take a look out here.
Now, in addition to the space at the front,
that is quite a sizeable garden,
and the detached garage, which also belongs to the property as well,
you could see this garden out here as an opportunity
to just extend and go crazy.
You could even think about extending upwards
and sorting out all those space problems upstairs.
But if I was feeling in a really sledgehammer happy kind of mood,
you could just knock down this garage
and completely create a decent building plot!
How about that?
It's all worth thinking about if you want to
wring as much potential profit from this auction lot.
The couple who could see the potential were retired builder Derek
and his wife, Lorna.
I met Lorna back at the house.
-Thank you, thank you.
-Wow, this is such an unusual house.
-I know, I know.
Tell me what attracted you to it?
We saw it in the auction catalogue.
-My husband wanted to look, I didn't want to look.
I thought it was a bit far out, but then I said, "OK, we'll come,"
and just sort of fell in love with it.
-So, where were you based originally?
-At the moment, we're in Dover.
Prior to that, we were in France, and prior to that, Spain.
Prior to that, Lincolnshire, where we had a pub.
Prior to Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Northampton.
-I think we're a bit nomadic.
-And like a challenge.
-Well, you've certainly got a challenge here.
-Yes, very much so.
# They call me the wanderer
# Yeah, the wanderer
# I roam around, around, around... #
Lorna and Derek have certainly done some wandering.
But was this quirky house going to be the one
that would break their nomadic natures?
So, it was obviously love at first sight for you.
But is this going to be a home that you're going to
live in yourselves or more of a project?
Primarily for us, we would do it with us in mind.
But bear in mind that if we need to sell it,
we can't do anything too drastic.
Erm, the kitchen we're planning to open right up
and have a big kitchen day room.
And possibly make the lounge
into a dining area one end because it's huge.
I mean, it is huge. And then it's a bathroom downstairs
and two bedrooms downstairs.
Both have got a sink in, which is a bit odd,
but at least you've got water and drainage in different parts
of the house so you're not limited as to where you can put things.
So, we might change the layout of the bedrooms and the bathroom.
And upstairs, clearly we've got to do something with that bathroom.
-And that bedroom with all those sloping ceilings everywhere!
You won't want to get up in the night and bang your head.
Yeah, I think we're not sure if we're going to reconfigure upstairs.
We haven't decided on that one yet.
It's plenty big enough for us. And I think even for a family,
it's big enough.
Erm, we are thinking of possibly applying for permission
on a building plot.
So, Lorna, what sort of budget have you got to spend here?
-We're thinking 40.
-We paid 158.
And we don't really want to spend any more than 200,000.
40,000 was a healthy budget, and with a relaxed 12-month timescale,
the work should have been possible, especially as Derek
was a retired builder and the couple weren't wasting any time.
The plan is that we're going to have a bed
delivered in a couple of days' time
and we're going to camp here two or three days a week to make a start.
-It's going to be fun!
-And then... I know!
And then we'll move, we'll sell our house where we are,
put it on the market, and when that sells, we'll move over.
Lorna, I've loved meeting you today.
Good luck with this project
and I cannot wait to see how you tackle the inside of that house.
-Thanks so much.
12 months later,
we returned to see
if the quirky house had become a home.
Well, it looked like it to me.
Lorna took us through the changes in the kitchen/dining area.
Erm, I would say this room is the major change.
If you remember, here we had a raised area,
so basically, the kitchen was just this square.
We just put a new floor down,
we were going to do a utility area there,
but I felt it was going to encroach on the lovely space.
And so, we've gone for integrated units, hidden everything away
and managed to keep the room as one.
There was a new focal point to the kitchen - an island!
We did this because this obviously is structural.
And we had to work with it,
so I wanted an island because it's nice for me to work
and someone's sat there having a glass of wine chatting.
It's just a lovely space
and it's my favourite room in the house, I would say.
The lounge focal point was much less imposing.
The fireplace, we just had to live with it. It was quite a large room.
To be honest, I was struggling to how I was going to furnish it,
but that problem didn't arise
because we stole the end of it to replace the fourth bedroom.
If you're confused, like I was, well, Lorna went on to explain.
There were two bedrooms downstairs, one of which
we stole to make a bathroom, so then we've taken the end
of the lounge and made it into the replacement bedroom, if you like.
This room is more or less as it was,
with the exception of the bay window, which we've replaced.
All the windows have been replaced in the house now.
Another window here which gives you a double aspect.
Upstairs remained unfinished, but they had plans to renovate
two existing bedrooms and the phone box shower en suite.
But the access to upstairs had certainly changed.
Those dreaded metal spiral stairs had gone.
The spiral staircase, it was a no-no from day one.
We realised we'd have to replace it.
Not as easy as one would think because of the nature
of the shape of the stairwell, it was very difficult.
The guy that did it did an amazing job.
Lorna's husband, Derek, a retired builder,
had tackled most of the rest of the work,
but would there be enough budget left to finish?
My God, the budget.
Oops, yep. It was a raw nerve.
Yes, I said 40,000,
I think that could have been wishful thinking again.
We're 50% up on that. It's about 60, but that does include
all the materials we have outside to do all the patio areas outside.
We've already bought all the stuff for upstairs, or in the bathroom.
Hopefully 60,000 will do it.
But the budget cloud had a potential silver lining,
they'd gained planning permission
to build a three-bedroom chalet bungalow in place of the garage.
So, we're hoping to perhaps build that ourselves
or get a price for it from a builder to do it.
We haven't really decided as yet.
Back in May 2015, Derek and Lorna had a total spend of 218,000.
They had just valued the existing property,
that's with the upstairs unfinished and the patios to be done,
at between £260,000 to £270,000.
Going with the top figure, that's a gain in value of £52,000.
But would they be able to finish the upstairs
without any further spend?
Or would they go ahead with the chalet bungalow
in place of the garage?
You can find out later on in the programme.
Well, we've seen how one property turned out,
but what about the other two?
Yes, was it cruise control or rocky road?
I think it's time we found out.
Time to head back to West Brom and this three-bed mid-terrace,
which had one or two areas of concern for me
when I saw it earlier.
That there, bit of a crack. That could be signs of a bit of movement.
Not a good start, looks like there may be a bit of damp as well.
Look at this, looks like an original fireplace as well.
There was no central heating
and the property had been unoccupied for some time.
But that didn't put off London-based
chartered accountant Benjamin,
who along with his business partner Abi, paid £67,000
in order to renovate and resell this new asset.
What was it about property that enticed you in, then?
-Erm, more the returns.
Because I know few people that's gone into it in the past
and it's something in which they have done well over recent years.
So, I just said, "It's my time to shine," essentially.
Over the years, this house must have seen many owners,
who would have loved it at the time.
Which is a roundabout way of me introducing
the concept of lovers into the story,
probably because they've got to play a piece of music
that wouldn't have worked otherwise.
# All the lovers... #
See? Told you.
# That have gone before
# They don't compare
# To you... #
This kitchen may be narrow and long,
but this galley is fully featured, bright and tastefully tiled.
The bathroom is fitted to the highest standards
and, like all rooms in the house, has been taken back to the brick.
For a first-time renovation, what's Benjamin's account of the results?
Just the comparison of how it was before to how it is now
and how it's all come about is a very good feeling.
After a structural engineer's report,
a section of the cracked front wall
was taken down and rebuilt inside and out.
Let's go upstairs.
# And I'll take you there I'll take you higher! #
No, thanks. I've got bad knees, Kylie.
# All the lovers
# That have gone before
# They don't compare
# To you... #
By keeping the bathroom downstairs,
all three bedrooms remained a decent size.
The faulty gutters were attended to, and the misalignment of doors
were responsible for much of the damp problems.
How did Benjamin get involved?
I was here maybe every other day,
but it was difficult
but I took on the role of doing the project managing
and doing the...running the whole show.
It was challenging at first,
but over time, the journey became easier.
One of the things we discussed was a possible loft conversion,
so why didn't they go ahead with that?
Because it was a quick flip in terms of a project.
We didn't want to do too much
and we were aware that there's a ceiling price in the area,
so instead, we decided to go for a higher spec internally.
Taking the ceiling price into account is really important.
It's too easy to get carried away and spend more than you can recoup.
You have to consider not just the money
but the time needed for structural changes.
For these things, partners have to communicate.
We always consulted each other before making a final decision.
I would get his expertise because he's been in the industry
for a long time and this is something I'm very new to,
being my first project.
The plan was for a four to six week timescale.
But how long did it actually take?
We came in at eight weeks, but in between, there was
some seasonal holidays as well where the builders and other tradespeople
took some time off. So, yeah, eight weeks we managed to do it in.
You'd expect two accountants to get the numbers right.
They had 15 to 20 grand in the budget.
Now, don't disappoint me, Benjamin.
We came in just under 15,000, all inclusive of renovation costs
and fees as well.
I knew you wouldn't let me down.
So, when it came to spending your money instead of counting
someone else's, how did that feel?
It's a wonderful feeling,
knowing that if you put your mind to it, hard work and dedication,
that you can achieve results, so it's a fantastic feeling.
Time for reckoning now.
We've invited two local estate agents along to view the house,
give us some opinions and reveal the bottom line.
It's a very nice house,
it's clearly been done to a particularly high standard.
Gone back to the brick on a lot of it by the looks of it,
re-plastered, new heating, new windows, that sort of thing.
That's the sort of thing people will be looking for,
something that doesn't need any work in the current market,
something they can move straight into, very well presented.
It's got obviously two reception rooms,
it's got a lovely kitchen and brand-new bathroom
and three good-sized bedrooms.
Good to go, really.
This project was always aimed at the resale market.
So, let's see if Benjamin and Abi have made a profit or loss.
They spent £67,000 at auction, a further 15 grand in refurbishment.
That's a total of £82,000.
So, what's it worth now?
A property like this would probably achieve somewhere
between £120,000 and £125,000
and pretty close to the asking price, I would expect,
due to its condition.
I value the property to go on the market at £125,000.
Erm, yeah, it's in the ballpark of what we anticipated.
Just under the stamp duty threshold. So, yeah, it's pretty good.
Good point, Benjamin.
Because the property's value is below the current stamp duty
threshold of 125 grand of England, Wales and Northern Ireland,
the buyer would have no initial stamp duty costs,
which of course, increases the attractiveness of the property.
So, those figures would give a decent pre-tax profit
of around £43,000.
What's the formula going forward?
As long as the numbers make sense
and there's enough profit in there for us
after all costs have been taken into consideration,
to the realistic sales price, it's a good investment, yeah.
Spoken like a true accountant,
and the chaps are just finishing their second property.
This time, it's a bit closer to home, in Essex.
Earlier on the Isle of Sheppey off the North Kent coast,
we were catching up on the unfolding story of a quirky
detached house bought by Lorna and Derek.
We saw how they gradually changed their house
since 2014 over the best part of a year.
In 2015, the downstairs was complete,
leaving the upstairs rooms for later.
They'd hoped to do the lot for 40,000.
But when we saw them at this stage, they'd spent 60 grand.
But that did include materials to finish the job, or so they'd hoped.
It was up to Derek the builder to make it all happen.
But the big news when we last saw them
in May 2015 was that they had planning permission
to demolish the garage and build a three-bedroom chalet bungalow.
We're back, ten months later, to see how they got on.
It would be difficult for the front bedroom's colour scheme
not to be much more neutral.
With luxury carpeting in the bedrooms,
it's an improvement worth shouting from the rooftops.
# You got me singing, baby
# Doo-doo, doo-doo doo! Doo-doo, doo-doo doo doo!
# Doo-doo, doo-doo doo! #
The rear master bedroom with an en-suite shower thrown in
has had a matching treatment.
If you don't like square walls or ceilings,
this room is right up your street.
It clearly would take a great deal of vision to spot
the potential in a room as challenging as this one.
# I knew it right from the start
# You're some kind of heaven That's all that I need... #
The entrance to the en-suite is now much more user-friendly
than its former incarnation.
Here's Lorna to explain how the telephone box
became an unobtainable number.
Erm, quite a lot's changed in here.
Where I am now, there was the telephone box
which was the walk-in shower.
We now have a nice, big, open shower.
We've put a bit more light in here
in so much as we've put a skylight in.
And you can just see the sea, if you stand up where I am now.
All we have now is just the sink and the loo, just a nice simple
but functional bathroom.
With the bidet gone and the space now clear,
it's a much better arrangement.
And the tiled floor here shows how Derek has been spending his time.
As does the new raised patio area to the front of the house.
The back patio too has been totally redone.
# Some kind of heaven! #
All in all, quite a workload for Derek to take on.
How he's got up and done it some mornings, I don't know.
But he's done it and he has actually said that this is his last project.
Well, it's almost two years since embarking on the venture,
but now that it's finished, what's the best bit?
It's nice to get up in the mornings now and say, "What shall we do?"
rather than, "What do we have to do?"
Oh, dear. It seems this renovation has taken its toll.
Moving on, the initial budget at the outset was £40,000.
This had increased to 60,000 last time we visited.
How's the budget now?
It's about 68.
Erm, I don't really know where it's gone, quite frankly.
But even doing it yourselves, it just runs away with the money.
We have had a fence put out the front and the patio's all been done
and the bathroom, and it just...just disappears.
I don't know, Lorna. I can see where the money's gone.
You and Derek have created a lovely house, and that reminds me,
what about the plans for the three-bedroom chalet bungalow
on the site of the garage?
We've decided not to build
because we don't really want to invest our time or money in it.
So, now we're thinking of marketing the house with a building plot.
Well, who better to tell us
if that's a good idea than two local estate agents?
We've invited them along to view all that's on offer
and give us their views and valuations.
So, selling the bungalow
with the building plot,
I'd put a figure of £350,000 to £360,000.
The value I would place on this property with the plot included
would be in the region of £350,000.
At the top valuation, Lorna and Derek would have achieved
an increase in value of £134,000 after deducting their costs.
However, the agents both advised that selling the house
and plot combined would only appeal to a very niche market.
So, it looks like a plan B is needed.
Plan B, if it doesn't sell,
then we will sell the building plot off and then
we will remain here until such times as somebody has built,
because in our opinion, people don't...
perhaps wouldn't be interested in the house
not knowing what's going to be built next door.
That's just our take on it, anyway.
And both our agents agree with that take on it.
So, what would the plot with planning permission
be worth on its own?
If they were just to sell the building plot on its own,
I would expect anything from
£70,000 to £75,000 to be achievable.
The building plot next door, currently as it stands,
would be in the region as a value of around about £60,000 to £65,000.
We have actually had a valuation from another agent,
and it's been a lot higher.
Hmm, but it's a strategy that has its own risks.
The purchaser of the plot may not be in a rush to develop it
and that would mean living next to a building site
when work does commence.
And having lived in one for nearly two years,
it would not be an option I'd rush to take.
So, has Lorna got any words of wisdom for any novices
wanting to go down the renovation route?
It's not an easy road, but at the end of the day,
the more you can do yourself,
obviously the better financially it is,
although we seem to have spent far more than we'd anticipated.
But that's the story of our lives, unfortunately.
Well, here's hoping that Lorna and Derek sell soon
and find somewhere ready to move into
for the next leg of their nomadic lifestyle.
Well, the auction action goes on all year round.
Yep, and we'll be there to follow the stories.
Yeah, so join us next time for Homes Under The Hammer. Goodbye.