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Hello. Now, bagging a property bargain isn't straightforward,
but that's not saying you can't find any.
No, do your research and it's incredible what opportunities
-there are out there.
-So, where do you start?
Well, one place is your local property auction.
No matter what your budget is, everyone's looking for the
same thing when it comes to property - a good deal.
Mm-hm. Well, it's easier said than done, Dion,
-because we want to know did our buyers achieve that?
-I am curious to find out.
First up in Caldbeck, Cumbria, Jack is a man after my own heart.
-Pub, sport, family.
-Job done. End of interview.
In Stansted, Essex, I'm rather happy with my property find.
Pretty on the outside, not so great on the inside,
but it certainly gets my stamp of approval.
But in Heslington, North Yorkshire, I've come over all gooey.
It's just, straightaway it's one of those houses you just fall in love with, like that!
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.
-Well done, sir.
Today, I'm in Caldbeck, Cumbria,
named after the river that runs through it,
originally called Cold Beck. It's a perfect village for ramblers
and most of the village is in the Lake District National Park.
The property we're here to see is in the corner just there.
It has two bedrooms and a guide price of £125,000 plus.
Now, that's the good news.
The bad news is there is a covenant issue that was mentioned
in the catalogue. Let's get inside, it's a little cold out here.
The covenant which was mentioned in the auction catalogue states
that anyone looking to buy this place must fulfil
a local occupancy clause.
The main reason for a clause like this is to prevent too many
properties being used as holiday homes,
in the hope that more people live in the area all year round.
Even though it's mentioned in the auction catalogue,
a covenant like this does require further research,
so I'll always recommend that you get some legal advice.
Now, OK, get that door sorted, that's the first thing.
Now, as I've come through this door,
I'm getting a really nice sort of cosy feel straightaway, which is really good.
That's your lounge, living area just there.
Nice and bright, nice flooring,
a nice modern wood burner there as well and a big window.
It is a really good feel to this property as I've come in.
This is your dining room and your kitchen.
Again, really well proportioned.
I'm not sure what's going on here with this sort of middle bit
of sort of storage here.
Yes, that's a first for me, but saying that,
this all seems in good condition.
It is a little bit dark, it is a bit dated, you've got dark
work surfaces as well, but it's all usable, it's all keep-able.
See, I made up a new word there, keep-able, but a good kitchen,
nice size dining room and a good lounge. Now, that's a good start.
Basically, it looks like a sound, keep-able property.
Well, as far as the ground floor is concerned anyway.
Hopefully there won't be any skeletons in the cupboard
anywhere else in this house.
OK, upstairs, what have we got?
We have got a bit of storage,
small landing area and the family bathroom, which is
a good size, but they haven't quite used the space to its best.
I'd reconfigure that and put a new suite in there,
but it's a nice size all the same.
Here we've got a little bit more storage there as well.
And two good-size bedrooms.
Really good-size bedrooms actually.
That's a double bedroom there
and this would be the master bedroom with some already fitted
wardrobes, sort of '80s wardrobes.
I'd want to take those out just to create a bit more space.
I haven't seen any central heating, so get that installed and
I'd also get the plumbing and the electrics checked.
I can see a lot more positives than negatives with this property.
For me, it's definitely a thumbs up.
You need to investigate what type of central heating you might be
able to install.
I think it's a fair bet that there won't be a gas supply,
so you need to look at the alternatives.
Is there room to store an oil tank or should you be thinking of
Anyway, my thumbs are still up.
Will a local estate agent also give this the thumbs up?
People could move straight into the property as it is.
They might want to do a new kitchen,
they might want to do a new bathroom, but it isn't necessary.
So we are agreed. It's a thumbs up.
Well, so far.
What about that covenant?
This property does have local occupancy clause over the property,
which basically means that anyone that was to buy the
property has to have lived or worked within the area of the
National Park for more than three years.
So, therefore, it does limit the market.
As regards to rentals,
we're not sure you'd be able to rent this property out.
Which must have a bearing on the price.
Once it's done up, what would its market value be?
With the local occupancy clause,
there is a limit to the marketing of the property, therefore,
you'd probably look to achieve on the open market £180,000.
This is a fantastic location and a nice little house,
but unforeseen things could cost a few quid and that local
covenant may affect interest at the auction house.
Let's see who was interested when it went under the hammer.
Yeah, OK, lot number 10. Caldbeck. 125 is your guide
and the house is subject to local occupancy clause.
OK, 125 is your guide on this one. 125, anyone? 120.
115. Need a bid. 115 with the proxy. At £115,000.
Have it down. 115.
Take it in fives. 115 I'm bid. 120. 125. 130.
130 I'm bid. 135. Here at 130.
131. 132. Shake of the head here at 131.
We're in the market and here to sell it.
£131,000. Be sure. Don't lose it.
First time. Second time, all done?
With the proxy. Well done.
The successful bid was made by proxy,
a process used when a bidder isn't able to attend the auction,
but thankfully the new owners Jane and her son Jack
were able to meet me back at their new £131,000 purchase.
Jack, nice to meet you. I'd like to... Just give us a fist pump instead.
I won't leave you hanging there, Jane. Nice to meet you too.
-What happened here, by the way, before we go any further?
Second shoulder operation after rugby injuries.
-Oh, I see. Full-contact sport.
-Just my kind of geezer. Well done.
-OK, who found this house?
-I think it's actually my dad.
My dad walks the dogs past here every day.
And how did he explain it? How did he make it sound great?
"There's a house for sale." That's it. Simple as that.
-And what is it about the house that you love?
Where it is more than anything.
My family are in the village, Mum and Dad are in the village.
My brother and my nephew are in the village,
so it's just nice to be here. I play cricket here, pub's here -
it's nice to be around in the village.
You just ticked all the boxes there. You know, pub, sport, family.
-Job done. End of interview. THEY LAUGH
Jane, tell us what your input is on this house?
What are you going to do to it?
I'm buying it together with Jack for the time being and then,
eventually, he will buy me out of my share of it.
So to start off with it, we will own it together, but hopefully not for too long.
-Hopefully he'll be able to sort that out fairly soon.
And, Jack, what do you want to do to the house?
Some things will be changed.
Plan on blocking up the doorway there into the kitchen area and
having this is as a separate living room.
Kitchen is going to be painted, new tops, new tiles
and taking out the big glass cupboards that are in the middle of it.
-Apart from that, it's pretty much just aesthetic stuff.
New bathroom, sorry, as well.
Electrics needs doing, plumbing needs doing.
-What's your budget for all that work?
-Well, mine is 10,000.
-I'm not sure what Jack's is.
-OK. That's nice.
Let's talk about your budget.
-What have you got in your budget of 10,000, Jane?
-I have the heating,
new bathroom, general paintwork, tidy up,
refurbish the kitchen really without having to replace the units.
-Hopefully we can do that within the ten.
-I'd like to think so.
-Starter for ten. Jack, your budget please.
-It's very much the same,
but obviously there's a few things I'd like to try and do myself as well.
We've got a lot of friends who are builders, electricians,
and I'd like to try and re-use and buy things from
reclamation yards and stuff like that and try to hopefully
save some money that way as well.
Have you come across any other problems with, you know, purchasing the property?
We were concerned a little bit about the local occupancy covenant
and we are actually, at this present moment in time, sort of talking
about that with the local council, because we do think that probably
that isn't on the property, but we haven't had that confirmed yet.
This is a prime example of the point we always make here on
Homes Under The Hammer - do your research.
Things aren't always as they first seem when it comes to buying a property.
Jane is still investigating, but how do they feel about the fact
that the covenant might not even exist?
We welcome that the property in the village needs to have some
restriction on it, so it wouldn't be a big disappointment,
but it would be nice if it didn't also really, but it's not an issue.
We bought it thinking there was one on it,
-so as far as we're concerned...
-So you're, you're happy to go ahead.
Although this all seems to have been quite an easy buy,
it wasn't such a straightforward decision because of
a couple of issues in the legal pack and that covenant concerned them.
So the decision to actually go through with the proxy bid
was in the balance.
We kind of decided against it,
it wasn't going to happen. I was at work and went off for the day,
planning to work and was busy at work, came back to my phone,
-had a look and I had a message saying we'd got the house.
-So it was all a bit...
-It all happened very quick at the end, but...
Jack, I think you're going to create a really happy home. All the best.
-Mum, fist bump.
So, Jack's parents are just at the end of the road, which is
great news, but new central heating and plumbing is unfortunate,
but that's the gamble you take when buying at auction.
Now, if this place turns out to be outside the covenant boundary,
it will be a great investment.
You can find out how it all turns out later in the programme.
It was back in 2014
when I first took a trip to Stansted Mountfitchet.
# Airport Ooh-ooh... #
And despite being near to Stansted Airport, this is a quiet,
pretty village with great travel links not only for planes, but
also for trains and road links, and to go alongside that trio of
travel options, I also found myself with three property options.
# ..Airport Ooh-ooh
# Airport. #
Just off the main road is this quiet little lane which is only
a couple of minutes' walk from the train station
and perhaps more importantly, the local pub.
But what about the property I'm here to see? Or PROPERTIES should I say?
The guide price was £175,000 and for that you get this
building here - now pay attention - not the one in the middle,
but you do get the one right on the end and one just round the corner.
I'm not going to try and explain any further, I'm going to investigate.
So this lot wasn't straightforward.
There was a brick building at the top of the lane,
a small wooden structure further along the corner and then
opposite that, a detached two-storey building. All three were
commercial properties and the brick building was in a conservation area.
But despite that, it was their residential potential that I was interested in.
Well, this building has a commercial feel to it.
I know it's currently got B1 business use attached
and it feels like you're walking into offices.
Look, you've got strip lighting here,
an office through here with loads of paper, a couple of desks.
At the back here you've got some stairs, which I don't think
comply to building regs judging by the look of them,
and through here another office.
There is no character at all in here.
Yes, this was a rather characterless two-storey office,
but with some re-jigging of the walls,
it could easily be remade into so much more and it actually offered
some exciting potential, as did the two-room wooden structure opposite,
though this was going to need, well, a lot more imagination to make this a viable living space.
Then, there was the third property,
the red brick building, and the entrance to this was through
a gate and round the back.
Wow, this really is an interesting building.
You've got that lovely red brick on the outside, the weather boarding
on this side and then you get in and it's a right old state.
But this is amazing, because I know this is an old printing press.
But you can see this obviously was a little printing room,
there's remnants of business cards everywhere.
So what can you do in here?
Well, here's a little nugget of information.
This is the only one out of the three that sits within the
conservation area, so if you wanted to make any changes,
you would have to chat to the local conservation officer
and adhere to those regulations,
so that could throw a spanner in the works. I also think...
it's probably single skin, so loads of potential here.
Pretty on the outside, not so great on the inside,
but it certainly gets my stamp of approval.
Well, just when you thought you'd seen it all,
there was an additional room that was an attachment to the old
printing room, which offered even more space.
So lots of buildings, lots of potential, but a whole lot of
work and a bucket-load of imagination was going to be needed.
This was certainly an ambitious project,
but also what an opportunity for someone.
So maybe not surprisingly, when it went to auction,
there was quite a battle and it soon passed
its £175,000 guide price.
No? With you, sir, been there all along. Bid's at £190,000.
Standing at the middle of the room there, at the back.
It's against the two gentlemen here on my left. 190 for the first.
190 for the second. 190 for the third and final time.
Sold. 190. Well bought.
The successful bidder at £190,000 was Paul.
He's a property developer
and his wife Heather is the company secretary.
I met them back at their multifaceted lot to find out more.
-Paul and Heather, congratulations. Well done.
Lovely to meet you both today.
-So you've got three little lots in one here.
So what was it that took your eye, Heather?
Well, it's local, so it's a nice project for us to have on
our doorstep and it just looks something interesting,
something a bit more unusual.
-As it stands, it's a commercial lot really, isn't it?
Did that not put you off on auction day?
I think that's really what kept the price down, to be honest.
There are planning issues, it's a bit of a tight site,
you're on the edge of a conservation area,
but we did our research before we bought the lot and found out what
we could about the site and decided it was worth a go.
So, come on, what are your plans? What are you going to do with these properties?
Well, we hope to do the office into one-bedroom flats,
that should make two very nice properties.
The smaller long building, that will be again a one-bedroom little
house and then with the third corner office, that could be either
commercial or it could still be another one-bedroom dwelling.
They've all got their own services, their own electrics,
sewage, everything, so half the work has been done and the way we looked
at it was as a fallback. If we don't get any residential use,
we'll just restore it, use it commercially and get some income that way.
Heather and Paul had done their research and had lots of options.
At that stage, they proposed a £30,000 budget for each property
conversion. Quite logically,
they've broken the development down into three phases,
with phase one to convert the two-storey office
into two one-bedroom flats.
When we returned ten months later, that work was well under way.
Though it wasn't exactly finished.
Yeah, we've completely stripped it back to a bare shell.
Because it was offices, it had no insulation in it,
it had to be rewired, re-plumbed, all the usual,
but we've had to smash all the floor out, put insulation in,
-new steel across here...
-..pulled walls down.
..and reconfigurated the rooms.
Yeah, the staircase didn't comply, that was at the back, so all
we were left with was the roof and four walls of this building.
The roof was the only bit we didn't have to touch.
With delays sorting out services to the site,
the flat conversion still needed another month or two to finish off,
but they had started on converting the wooden corner building
and planning permission had been granted with new and improved plans.
We're hoping to have two bedrooms in here instead of the
one-bedroom that we first thought.
This was originally going to be a bedroom and a lounge,
and now we're going to turn these two into two bedrooms,
so we have a bedroom and an en suite at this end and then towards the
front, another bedroom and this will then be a lounge, kitchen/diner.
The third brick property
was in the process of getting planning permission
to turn it into a one-bed cottage.
With their plans more crystallised,
they had a better idea now of their costs.
We've set ourselves a target of...
..probably up to 200,000 on the whole project.
And that would be rebuilding that corner store
and virtually rebuilding the red brick building.
So over a doubling of the original budget.
But with an estimated resale value
of £168,000 per flat on the two-storey conversion,
it was a case of speculate to accumulate.
To find out how this complex development is progressing,
you can join us later on in the programme.
Still to come in Heslington, North Yorkshire,
I've come over all peculiar.
It's got so much potential it's, urgh...
And in Stansted, Essex,
we return to find out if Paul and Heather
have been able to turn their trio of commercial properties
into a hat-trick of homes.
The pretty Lake District village of Caldbeck
was where I first saw this solidly built two-bed mid-terrace house,
which was looking a little tired and lacking in the feeling of warmth.
That was, in part, due to no central heating.
But its main potential problem
appeared to be a local occupancy clause,
which prevented it being rented out or sold to anyone outside the area.
Not that either of those were an issue for Jack and his mum Jane,
who jointly bought this house for £131,000.
The plan - to turn it into Jack's new home.
My family are in the village. Mum and Dad are in the village.
My brother and my nephew are in the village.
So it's just nice to be here. I play cricket here. The pub's here.
It's nice to be around in the village.
-You just ticked all the boxes there.
# So good for me... #
Yeah, this really was perfect for him.
But having just had a shoulder operation,
doing a degree and working full-time,
Jack was going to get a much-needed helping hand from his mum
and his nearby family and friends.
Armed with a £10,000 budget,
they hope to have it ready for him to move into
in about three months' time.
Now, nearly five months later, we are back.
And isn't it looking smart?
Freshly painted and new bedding plants,
it looks more homely already.
But what's been done on the inside?
In the kitchen, we've changed quite a lot.
We painted all the cupboards and kept the same kitchen carcasses.
New tops. New tiles.
A new dining area.
In the front room, they blocked up one of the doors
to create a more usable space.
They've also put in a sliding door
which, again, is a bit of such a space saver.
An all-important oil central heating system
has been installed, as well.
Upstairs, the major change has been the bathroom.
It did end up being more work due to removing the old bathroom
and finding out the floor was rotten. So we had to replace that.
But I definitely think that that's been worth it.
We're really pleased with the outcome.
That bathroom is really stylish
and much more in keeping with the country cottage look.
The two bedrooms have been spruced up with new paintwork, doors
and the all-important radiators have been fitted.
With the front garden, it's been pretty much completely blitzed
with new sleepers going in, new flowerbeds
and they've all been filled with help from my grandmas.
With the back garden, the main thing
is putting in a dog pen for my dog Doug.
And also tidying up the patio area.
So it's not just Jack that's got a new home.
Doug the dog also has a new pad.
But with Jack busy with a degree and a job, who did all the work here?
We've used a local plumber, electrician and joiner.
But the rest of it, we have actually done ourselves.
We've had help from my other son and my husband
and grannies have got on board, as well. So...
-A real family project.
-Yeah, it has been a family project.
It's been a real big help from my mum being involved in the project.
And she's project led virtually the whole thing.
She's done really, really well. I'm really thankful for that.
Nice one, Mum.
Though it might have been down to Jane
to sort out the day-to-day running of the project,
it was Jack who made his mark on the look and finish of the house.
# Something old
# Something new... #
The dining table is completely made from scratch.
It was an old mangle and I used that as a base for the table.
And then used the top of the mangle as a shelf in the kitchen.
The bed's been completely made from leftover palates
that were going free.
We got a bed frame from the auction for ten quid
and then re-clad it with the palate slats
and made it look the way it does now.
Some people love it and some people really don't like it.
But I'm chuffed to bits with it, so...
It's growing on me.
# I don't want to waste it
# I don't want to waste it
# Don't want to waste it
# I don't want to waste it
# Don't want to waste it now... #
Well, they do say one man's trash is another man's treasure.
He also bought an old sewing cupboard at auction
and used it to disguise the electric meters.
Very neat work there, Jack.
But one of the best finds wasn't a material item.
Regarding the covenant on the property,
we've recently found out that, in fact, that doesn't stand
and there is no covenant.
People, pay attention.
This is a classic case of not just reading the legal pack,
it's about doing your own research.
Jane had her solicitor read the legal pack
and, despite everyone involved thinking there was a covenant,
there was enough doubt in their minds to spur Jane on
to make further enquiries with the council.
That tenacity came up trumps.
Had there been a covenant,
they'd still have bought the property.
But the bonus is, should Jack ever come to sell,
the value could be higher.
Talking of financial matters,
I seem to recall Mum's budget being around £10,000.
How did that go?
We have actually spent 14.
But that does include oil in the oil tank, the carpets on the stairs.
So, yeah, 14,000 altogether.
£14,000 on top of 131 grand purchase price,
takes the total cost of Jack's new home to £145,000.
So is this money well spent?
What do two local property agents think?
It's very modern. It's light and airy.
And what money they have spent, they've spent in the right places.
Beautifully done throughout.
All of the materials,
especially some of the reclaimed timber,
really add to the effect of the property
and keep it in keeping with the village.
So a thumbs up from the agents.
And with the local occupancy clause not affecting the property,
I'm intrigued to know how much
Jack and Jane's investment of £145,000 could be worth now.
The current owner of this property
should expect to achieve somewhere in the region of £200,000.
This property would achieve something in the region
of £200,000 to £215,000.
-That's a lot more than we thought.
-Maybe we should sell it and do it again.
-No. It's not happening!
Yes, a 55,000 to 70,000 pre-tax profit
might be tempting for some, but not Jack.
It's his home in his home village.
So he's not planning on going anywhere soon.
But what's next on their agenda?
Well, I think next for me is just to enjoy what we've done
and enjoy living in it.
I was going to go on holiday.
Heslington in North Yorkshire
benefits from all the joys of Yorkshire village life.
But it also benefits from its proximity to a university
and city amenities.
Well, just two miles from York city centre,
very close by the university, in the little village,
picturesque village of Heslington,
is the property I'm here to see.
Four-bedroomed listed building, semidetached,
at a guide price of 225,000 quid.
Let's have a look.
That's not a very good start, is it? Let's try around the back.
# I am
# The backdoor man... #
So back entrance, then.
And straightaway, not surprisingly, you're hit by the fact
it obviously could do with a little bit of a tidy up.
Understatements Are Us proudly present...
But, no, you know, what I'm going to start looking at now, then,
is what this could be with a bit of imagination.
And, you know, straightaway, the kitchen area here,
it's not a bad size.
Let's see what else is on offer.
Well, for a start,
you've got an interconnecting lounge and dining room there.
A really nice amount of space.
Lots of light coming in from those original windows.
But on that point, this whole building is listed.
So the cost of doing renovations
suddenly takes on a whole different dimension.
For instance, the windows. You'll have to put back something
which the planners are absolutely happy with,
which will have to be in keeping.
It could be they'll have to be specially-made wooden ones.
So you can imagine the cost of those.
Things like a damp proof coursing, straightaway,
you just feel the whole house is damp.
I know it hasn't been obviously lived in for a while,
but you're going to have to factor that into the equation
and the fact that it's probably got solid walls,
so other ways of damp proofing it, blah, blah, blah... It goes on.
But anyway, it's a nice space.
And then, just more character than you can shake a stick at.
Look at this place.
This room here, I don't know what it was,
but you've got a little range over there. Maybe it was the scullery.
You've got that old sink, beams.
It's just, straightaway,
it's one of those houses you just fall in love with like that.
# Well, fools fall in love
# Just like schoolgirls
# Blinded by rose-coloured dreams... #
Now, I know I'm getting carried away. The work here is extensive.
Woodworm, damp, you name it...
And that's only downstairs.
Well, up here...
it doesn't necessarily get any cleaner.
But I'm struck by things like the floorboards. How amazing are they?
Big, wide. Imagine those stripped back.
The layout's kind of odd.
Four bedrooms. Three there.
They're not a bad size.
And then you come into this. Again, it's a good-sized bathroom.
It needs a bit of a new suite, don't you think?
But then the fourth bedroom is through here...
So...the layout doesn't quite work.
And I think it's one of those situations
you really need to sit down with some graph paper and some cut-outs
and just work on the layout.
But still, it's got so much potential it's, urgh...
# I get so excited, darling
# Just can't help myself... #
As this is a Grade II listed house,
you will need to work closely with the conservation officer
so any potential will be tempered by rules and regulations.
And the same will apply to the potential outside at the back.
Well, at the exterior of the property, a real bonus.
Some fantastic outbuildings.
A beautiful brick building.
I mean, obviously, it'll need of a bit of work.
The other thing to be aware of, though,
is in listed buildings, often the grounds,
in fact always the grounds and any buildings in those grounds,
are also covered by that listing.
But what could you do with this? I mean, wow.
If you could work through it, maybe, I don't know, a granny annexe?
A separate building, somewhere to just play, restore classic cars?
I don't know.
It's just a really fantastic bit of extra space to have!
-# You and me got a whole lotta history...
These buildings span across different eras.
You have an old barn, a stable and a pigsty,
which is just exactly that in name and nature.
But how do you find out if the listing covers these outbuildings?
Easy. Follow our golden rules by reading the legal pack.
Another golden rule is to get plenty of expert opinion,
which is why we've asked along a local estate agent.
What would she do?
If it was my property, I would turn it back into two cottages into the
main house, and out the back I would turn what would have been the
original stable into student accommodation or possibly
holiday lets. That's what I would do.
So, if you followed through that plan for this lot, guided
at 225,000, what kind of values could you expect for the whole site?
Once renovated, if you sold the whole lot you would look in
the region of £800,000 to £900,000.
If you were to rent the whole lot out,
you would be looking at about £2,000 per calendar month.
Well, clearly it's going to take a lot of effort and money to sort this
place out, but one of those projects that would definitely be worth it.
I'm sure somebody fell in love with it.
Let's find out who that was when it went under the hammer.
What a lovely-looking building,
and I'm going to start on the book at 225,000.
230 at the back. I can go 35.
Bid me 40. 240. I can go 245.
Bid me 50.
50. I can go 55.
And 60. And I can go 65. And 70.
Soon, the proxy bid is long surpassed and the battle is
between a phone bidder and a bidder on the left of the room.
We rejoin the bidding at 395,000.
400 I'm bid.
402 and a half?
402 and a half. 5?
It WAS his limit! First time.
Second time at 402,500.
Third and last time at £402,500.
Very well bid. 402,500. Thank you. That was a lovely-looking building.
Paying nearly double the guide price, at £402,500, was Alistair.
He's a GP and a health-policy professional,
so what would he be "prescribing" for this property?
-# Oh, somebody call the house doctor...
-Alistair, great to meet you.
So, when you came to do a health check on this place,
-obviously different criteria applied!
-Just a bit!
It had a good roof. It has four solid walls.
Didn't have much else, but I could afford it, and that was the plan.
-But it turned out to be a bit more complicated.
Turns out that the guy who owned it had died four and a half,
-now nearly six years ago...
-..without a will...
-..without any family.
And I knocked on the next-door neighbour's door, who
kindly told me what the story was, and we had a discussion,
and I ended up, having talked to councillors and suchlike,
referring it to the Treasury's solicitors,
-and it took about another year after I'd referred it.
So it was an 18-month process before it got to auction.
So, it's almost you assisted it to get to the
-I did a lot of work behind the scenes.
So in lots of ways you were sort of responsible for it actually
-coming to the auction at all.
I did a lot of internet searches, I used some legal skills,
and my solicitor helped me, just advised me what to do.
-You would have been well cheesed off if you hadn't got it.
-Just a bit!
But I didn't expect to get it.
I was hoping they would sell it without going to auction,
given the fact that they wouldn't have known about it otherwise,
but that wasn't the case.
And so it went to auction, and you're sitting there in the
auction thinking, "How am I going to afford this?",
because this property should be a lot more money than it went for.
So it was trying to work out what sort of games could
you play at the auction.
-I use an economic theory called prisoner's dilemma.
So, English auctions, the whole idea of an auction is to suck the
people in to maximise the price. So they go in with a given maximum bid.
I didn't allow the auctioneer to tell me that I had to go up by 5,000
each time, which was what he was going up by,
I changed the increments.
So I went up by, say, seven and a half or 12,000.
And then I backed off at one point and stopped to see whether there
was lots of people still interested.
I realised there wasn't,
but I didn't want the hammer to go down at first call, because then
people still had money and they would go for it
and think they'd have it.
And on the final bid, when he said, "Oh, why not go up by 10,000?",
I went up by five.
The next person went up by five, and then I just went up by two and
a half, which was the only time I'd gone less than 5,000, and I won it.
I've never heard anyone explain such an incredible strategy of
bidding at auction!
I've got to be honest and say he lost me at "prisoner's dilemma".
But his tactic clearly worked.
Now to things I understand much better - houses -
although it doesn't take an expert to see the problems here.
Alistair's first goal is to address the woodworm and damp by
treating the timber, insulating the outside walls and replastering.
After that, he can really begin.
We're going to look at where the kitchen is at the moment.
Downstairs, we're going to push out that wall and square the
property up at the back.
Where the back door is at the moment, take out that,
take out where the coalshed is, make that part of the kitchen.
There's two living rooms. The one that's straight off from the
kitchen, try and make that maybe a formal dining room.
And then, where the other living room is and the room next to it,
where the stairs currently go up,
put an RSJ in and make that one decent-sized living room.
Looking at retaining as much of the ideas of the original
fixtures and fittings, with the windows and suchlike, as possible.
Upstairs, it's rejigging things, as well.
This room here, we could actually change where this door is
so it starts back a bit further.
One of the other bedrooms, we'll look at putting an en-suite in.
Where the current bathroom is,
at the moment it's also a walkway through to another room.
Well, if we put in a wall,
just sort of finishing where the end of the bath is, you can still
retain the bathroom, we've got a landing there for getting upstairs
but we've also then got access to that other bedroom.
Alistair plans to move the stairs to the kitchen area and add
a second flight up to the loft space, where he wants to build
two bedrooms and a Jack-and-Jill bathroom with dormer windows...
if he can meet the criteria of the planners, that is.
That's just the main house,
which he's set a budget of £100,000 for and a timescale of one year.
But we've also got some outbuildings that we could do things with.
And, interestingly, from what we can look at from the legal side
and from the titles and everything,
the curtilage of the original property only includes sort of
one sort of pigsty, which is Grade II listed.
The rest of it, the stables and the barn, are not Grade II listed.
So the ramifications of that mean you could do something with those.
I think the stables we'd like to turn into a house,
and it may be that you actually turn that into a house first, get
out the caravan, because we don't have the Grade II listing.
The brick barn, unfortunately, it basically needs condemning.
It's that unstable.
And we'd be happy to, you know, work with the planners and say
we could maybe use bricks that look like old ones and
suchlike and try and retain that character.
Or use some of those bricks to do the renovations on this place.
Absolutely. So, using common sense and trying to maintain
the ethos of what is there and finish off that courtyard.
So where that pigsty is, which, again, needs condemning,
-then I think we're going to look at maybe putting a garage there.
Possibly with a room above it. I don't know.
And it's just going to be one of those projects that will take
Some of it's going to be done faster than others,
-and some it may take a few years.
-Well, it's really great to meet you.
-Congratulations, and I can't wait to see what you do with it.
Well, it was always going to be a project that needed
a major health check and a big operation to sort it out,
and it has found the perfect purchaser in Dr Alistair.
Lots to do, but he certainly seems to have the right ideas.
How will it all turn out? I can't wait to see.
You can find out later in the show.
Well, that's one of our property renovations,
but we still have two to show you.
Yes, has everything gone smoothly,
or have the plans just been ripped up and rewritten?
Well, hopefully not, Lucy. Let's find out.
Time now to return to Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex to catch up
on a development we've been following for nearly two years.
It was here that we saw not one,
not two but three separate buildings sold at auction as one lot.
Previously commercial premises, they ranged from a former
office, a brick-built workshop to a ramshackle corner building.
But with a chance to convert to residential properties,
there was a wealth of opportunity here.
# Anything could happen, anything could happen
# Anything could... #
And they were bought for £190,000 by property developers Paul and
-We hope to do the office into one-bedroom flats.
The smaller, long building, that will be a one-bedroom little house,
and then, with the third corner, that could be either commercial or
it could still be another one-bedroom dwelling.
Well, you have to admire these two. They weren't afraid of a challenge
and, quite logically, broke the project into three phases.
So, when we first returned ten months later,
we found that the office conversion into flats was well under way
but not fully finished.
The corner plot had the go-ahead as a two-bedroom bungalow,
but it wasn't really out of the ground yet.
So now, a year and ten months since our first visit,
what are we going to find?
At last! That former office block is now
looking like rather top-notch accommodation.
Fitted all the kitchens in, wardrobes in the bedrooms,
all the bathrooms are fitted, tiling, carpets down...
Yeah, so they're nice,
small but nicely finished-off one-bedroom flats.
The one-bed upstairs flat is looking great - so great, in fact,
that both flats are already sold.
But what about the conversion of the corner plot to a two-bed bungalow?
With Heather away, it was down to Paul to update us on the progress.
Yes, erm, this is what was the former corner store.
And we're now standing in the sort of lounge, kitchen area.
But we've designed it with a separate lounge area,
which someone could use as a second bedroom, if they want.
And we tried to make the most of all the high ceilings in this
particular building, so we put the nice roof-light windows in,
let a nice bit of light into the building.
And we've finished it off with a nice kitchen,
again with a nice granite worktop. So a good finish throughout.
Yes, this part of the building is the bedroom.
It's the split-level which is the raised bedroom.
And, again, we've made good use of the high ceilings in here.
And then we've managed to fit in an en suite shower room
at the end here and put in a nice big, wide shower in there.
So that will be nice to complement the bedroom.
Well, this is nearly, but not quite, finished.
But you can see it's going to be a great space.
So what about that third and final property?
The tricky former workshop?
We've now secured planning permission on that to convert it to a one-bedroom bungalow.
But we haven't started that one yet.
We're using that as a storeroom for all the building materials
and we didn't want to really have too much on the go in one hit.
So we want to finish these three first before we start that one.
Well, that's understandable and he's certainly had his hands full
with the first two developments.
I had builders in to do the majority of the overall
building work, but I've done all the finishing off, kitchens,
bathrooms, tiling, decorating, flooring, etc, so...
Yes, it has taken up a lot more of my time than I,
at first, thought it would.
This really has become a labour of love for Paul.
But if it's taken more time and more commitment than
he thought, well, has it taken more money?
We probably spent about 130, £140,000.
By the time we finish the red brick one,
we're probably going to be around the sort of 220, 225 mark,
I would think overall.
£225,000 spend will be more than the £190,000 they paid
for all three buildings.
That would mean Paul and wife Heather will have
invested £415,000 into their three-in-one auction lot.
So will all their hard work pay off?
What do two local property experts think?
My first thoughts on the flats are they've been done to
a really high standard.
Calibre of the kitchen is really high and the standard of the
bathrooms as well.
I noticed the tiles and the fittings have been done to a good standard.
It's very light, it's very airy. The fit is very, very good.
And even the small touches like wardrobes, etc.
He's done very, very well.
Two-bed property which is a bungalow,
really popular in this area.
Done to a really good standard. Really done well with the space.
And the fact that he's incorporated two shower rooms into
the property is fantastic.
In terms of space, you've had to be creative, and creative he's been.
It's a very light and airy proposition and I think it
will make a lovely home for somebody.
Well, OK, let's now talk values.
First, the two one-bed flats.
Ground-floor flat, I would put on the current market at offers in
excess of £195,000.
For the top floor apartment,
you'd be looking at £195,000 to £200,000.
Ground-floor flat, I would market that for £195,000.
And the upper flat, I would market that, again,
I mean, it's better than what we originally expected.
But we have got a couple of buyers in those price brackets
so that's spot on really.
Yes, Paul's selling the flats for £195,000 each which
means he's already recouped 390,000 of his
proposed £415,000 outlay and there's still two buildings to go.
Two-bedroom bungalow, current market,
you'd be looking at a price between £250,000 to £275,000.
The two-bed bungalow, if I was asked to market that,
I would market that at £265,000.
We had got someone interested at 265.
We've just got to get it finished off for them.
The sale price of 265,000 for the bungalow would see this
development already turn a profit to the tune of £240,000.
The agents also thought that once the brick building was complete,
it could command values in the region of 250,000.
Even taking into account build costs,
they stand to make a very healthy profit, all being well.
The whole development may end up taking more than three years.
And Heather and Paul's commitment to the area extends beyond just
the renovation of these three buildings.
We have moved into the village. That's gone really well.
It was only through working here that we discovered the village, really,
and having walked around, you know, use the shops and bars and stuff so...
Yeah, we moved in almost a year ago now
into a bungalow that needs loads of work as well
so that'll be my next project.
Time to make our way back now to Heslington in North Yorkshire,
where earlier on, I had the pleasure of looking around this
four-bedroomed, semidetached, Grade II listed building
that had a guide price of £225,000.
And, straightaway, not surprisingly,
you're hit by the fact it's obviously in need of a bit of a tidy-up.
This property had been sitting empty for some time and was clearly
in need of a major restoration.
But, I was hooked.
It's just straightaway,
it's one of those houses you just fall in love with like that.
# Hey now, hey now, hey now, hey now
# It's finger pop popping time. #
Out the back, and this property kept on giving.
With a stable,
and even a pigsty.
Undoubtedly a beast of a property but plenty of people were
willing to tame it on auction day.
It sold for £402,500.
Nearly double the guide price.
It was finally brought by Alistair, a health professional, who had
been the one to spot the uninhabited house.
It was his detective work that resulted in it being sold in
auction on behalf of the Crown.
Now he finally had it, he planned to turn it into
a family home for himself to live in.
Adding an extra two bedrooms and the loft, so turning it into
a six-bedroomed house - planning approval dependent.
Outside, he planned to convert the outbuildings into
possibly another house and maybe a garage.
But with a budget for the main house of 100,000, and a timescale of
one year, he had no illusions of how long the entire project could take.
It's just going to be one of those projects that will take a while.
Some of it's going to be done faster than others and some
of it may take a few years.
Well, we've come back some 16 months later and on the surface,
not a lot has changed.
# We've only just begun
# To live
# White lace and promises. #
It turns out Alistair spent a lot of time just making this
We've dropped the ceilings, we found that at least three of the
ceilings were contaminated with asbestos and had surveys done.
So then we used asbestos removal experts to do that safely.
Because there is vermin in the...
had been in the property.
We managed to ensure that all the vermin was killed off.
On any ceilings that didn't have asbestos, we also dropped...
We removed all the pipework and all the electrics because, again,
they were unsafe.
And, from that, we have found out quite a lot more about the
property which then led us on further directions,
helping us develop the place.
As well as all that,
Alistair found out that damp was rife throughout the property
and would need major work to get it fixed.
On a positive note, though, he has been busy outside.
Again, making the outbuildings safe.
As well as knocking down the old pigsty which was deemed
Of course, that does mean he's encroaching on his
neighbour's property a little.
Still, I shouldn't think it matters seeing as Alistair is the one
that owns it.
# Turn and face the strange
# Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. #
Talk about being in the right place at the right time,
back in May 2015, the two-bed semi attached to
Alistair's original property was put up for sale at auction.
And Alistair was lucky enough to buy it for 173,000.
Things have changed
with the intention of where we're going with the property.
Mainly because we've bought the next-door property and that's
actually reinforced the feeling that this should be a family home.
And made it feel that we can achieve that much better.
We've actually changed what we're doing with the barn.
We're not actually sure what we're going to do with the barn but
it's very unlikely that we're going to turn it into
a separate house for a different family.
I think it's been very challenging but we've actually developed
some really good plans.
We've got real good expertise that have gone into that.
We've got a really good understanding of what the structural issues are with the house.
We've actually had, for health and safety reasons, to do
a lot of the preparation work already.
And although we've found that challenging,
we're actually very much already at the stage where once we've got the
building regs through, it's all systems go.
So, at the moment, the plans are to turn the two properties into
a single, detached, five-bedroom property.
Possibly with a sixth bedroom joined to the house via the barn outside.
You can see from the plans here that Alistair hopes to build
a high-end, beautifully finished family home.
So far, he's spent around 25,000 making all the buildings safe
inside and out.
But his total budget has gone from 100,000 to, wait for it, £250,000.
And his timescale has also, understandably, changed.
It's taken him a year to get to this point and he's hoping it will
be another 18 months to get the property ready to move into.
So this is clearly a huge project and very exciting too.
But Alistair could potentially be
investing in the region of £825,000.
So having looked at his plans and checked the site itself,
would two local estate agents think it a wise investment?
I have seen his future plans, they look exactly what I would
hope somebody would do with the potential of this plot
cos it's a lovely big plot and would make a future family home.
The whole concept of everything that he's doing is really, really high.
I'd be really excited to come back and see it as a completed article.
I'll second that. It seems we're all excited to have the plans but I'd love to hear what
they think the property Alistair plans to create will be worth.
It would be in the region of one million to 1.2 million.
I believe the marketing figure for this property will be
between 1.2 to £1.3 million.
That top figure of 1.3 million would mean
a pre-tax profit of just under 474,000.
We were pleasantly surprised with the sales figures.
It was what we were hoping and believing that maybe we would
be able to get.
But now the difficulty is going to be achieving that.
So we've got the plans but it now really gives us the focus to actually make sure
we deliver to the highest standards.
Well, I can't wait to see the finished result.
Well, the auction action never stops. It is all year round.
And we never stop either. There's always plenty to follow.
Yes, so join us here next time for more Homes Under The Hammer.