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-Welcome to the programme.
-We enjoy dabbling in the property market
AND getting a good deal along the way.
But it's not always that easy.
So what can you do to give yourself the best chance of a bargain?
Buy your home under the hammer!
In Wales, there's a house
which could be the perfect long-term investment.
You know, straight away,
this place is crying out "rental property" for me.
What has this one-bedroomed flat in central London got going for it?
This flat doesn't have views, it doesn't have space,
it's got no garden.
These properties went to auction and we'll find out who bought them
and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.
You all done?
Even on a cold, wet, day like today,
it's clear that Cardiff has really been transformed by the developers.
New state-of-the-art buildings are going up all over the place,
but has this regeneration extended to the city's housing stock?
Well, this is Donald Street in Roath,
and 'tis but a short duck's flight from Cardiff city centre.
What's on offer is something very intriguing.
It's a mid-terrace, it's got four bedrooms, two reception rooms,
two loos and a large garden, all for a guide price of £155,000.
You'd be quackers not to investigate further!
Well, the first thing you notice about the exterior
is the very small front area and lack of off-street parking,
which could be a pain, especially on wet days like this.
The windows, though, are in reasonable condition
but a lick of paint wouldn't go amiss.
So, what's it like inside?
Well, at first glance, not too bad.
Pretty stark decoration, but that's easily changed.
You've got a front sitting room there which I suppose could be another bedroom
and then through into the most amazing part of this house...
this massive lounge/kitchen.
Back there you've got a bathroom and another toilet.
You know, straight away, this place is crying out "rental property" for me.
I mean, this would be a fantastic sort of communal area, you've got the four bedrooms, possibly five,
you're in the right area in terms of student population.
You know, already I'm saying this would be a great property to feather your nest.
This layout is all about communal living.
It's got that large lounge area with a spacious kitchen,
and although not ideally sited,
the bathroom is a good size and has a shower.
It's certainly nice weather for ducks!
-Anyway, at the rear of the property there is a garden.
-Now that's interesting.
Well, intrinsically not but I'll explain why in a second.
First of all, it's nice to see that there is a natural stone wall here, a nice little feature.
Meanwhile, the garden.
Well, it depends really on whether or not you are looking at this place as a family home or rental property.
If you're thinking about it as a family home, the garden is somewhere for the kids to play.
However, if you're thinking about renting this place out,
from my experience, people who rent possibly, especially students, don't actually look after gardens,
so it ends up looking something like this and begins to be a bit of a pain
in which case, you might think about paving it.
But I suppose it is a nice thing to have and you can always think about putting a duck pond in!
There are three... Enough duck puns already!
..good sized bedrooms upstairs but no bathroom.
That is reasonably acceptable for a student let,
but not for a family house,
so the more I see this place, the more it looks like it used to be student digs.
Phew! Well, right at the top of the house is the final bedroom...
an attic room. Now, when I was a student, I had a room just like this.
I love attic bedrooms. They're great!
So obviously the whole house has been utilised to the max.
Nice added bonus...
the brand-new bed and some of the other furniture looks reasonable.
You get lots of light coming in through the windows, so all in all, a really nice room
and from up here you also get to see the fact that the roof looks in really good condition.
In fact, that is a new extension which was built onto the property so all in all, lots of boxes ticked.
However, the law has changed in recent years
and if this property was now to be used as a house of multiple occupancy, or HMO,
then safety standards would need to be complied with.
These would include fire doors, integrated smoke alarm systems
and emergency lighting which can substantially raise the outlay.
But this is offset by the fact that the more people you can
let the house to, the greater your rental return.
Well, this is a great rental property.
It's in the right area, and it's got the right number of rooms.
For £155,000, it's a good one to go for. Let's hit the auction.
Right. We're onto lot 50 now, the extended mid-terraced house,
potential investment here at 35 Donald Street, Roath, Cardiff.
Where will you be on that one then?
160, I have 160, at 160, thank you.
At 160. 162.
162, 164 then, 164, at 164.
166, 166, 168.
At 172, 174, 176, 174, 176 then.
At 174's on the right now, 174.
You're in line, be careful. At 174.
At 174, 175 is it? At £174,000 on my right hand side at 174 then.
At 174 then.
On my right at 174.
Can't quite do that. We're extremely close on that.
Another thousand and we'd be able to put a deal together.
The house didn't quite make its reserve, but was bought after
the auction for 175 grand by local electrician, Paul.
I met him back at the house to find out more.
-Paul, nice to meet you.
What happened there, then?
I thought about all the other properties that were going through as well,
thought about what I had been thinking about for four years and not having actually done anything.
I sat in my van then for about 20 minutes and thought about myself and went over the sums that I'd
been doing and it seemed that it would still work out, just about,
if I went through with it anyway, so I gave it a go.
What was it about this house that made you think,
"This is the one that I'm finally going to have"?
I viewed a number of properties -
I think I looked at six - and this one was the best one of them all, by a long way.
A lot of the others were almost like building sites and I've worked on a number of building sites
so I didn't really fancy taking a chance or taking a risk
on looking at or purchasing a house that needed a lot of work.
-Talk me through the project plan. What's the plan of action?
-I've had a couple of valuations already.
One of them was £190,000 as it stands,
and if I do the bathroom and kitchen, that would be £200,000.
That's not that much more than what I paid for it,
so I've now been considering talking to others on how much I can rent it out for.
It's around about £1,000 to £1,200,
so if I can rent it out for £1,200 here, that would be great.
It certainly would be a good buy then.
So it does look like Paul is going down the rental route.
He's put aside a maximum budget of £10,000
and in this case, that should be a safe bet,
which is want you want on your first venture into property developing.
So what do your friends and family think about the fact that you've finally made the leap?
So far I haven't told too many of my friends.
There's only a few who are aware of it but my family, my sister, in particular -
I've been bending her ear on these things for a long time - she was chuffed to bits with it.
She was over the moon when she finally knew that I'd done something on it and purchased the property.
She came to have a look recently as well and she was very impressed with the house.
Now he can stop bending his sister's ear about making that leap.
He just needs to get on and do the work.
Four years of thinking about it, and he's finally bought
his first investment property,
but all credit to him, because making that first leap is always the hardest.
How's he going to get on?
Well, I reckon he's going to do really well, because this is a great property.
You can find out how he does with it later in the show.
For our next property,
We're in central London in Marylebone.
It's one of the chicest parts of town,
loved by both millionaires and celebrities.
This tucked-away area with a villagey feel
is home to the likes of Madonna, so I'm expecting something special.
So, just minutes away from all that excitement is Penfold Place.
Now remember, this is Central London.
It's Zone One, and prices are high.
So when a one-bed flat with a guide price of £155,000 is up for auction,
it gets the neighbours talking.
This flat is on the first floor, which means there aren't too many stairs to climb.
That's good news for buyers, and my legs!
This is a spacious reception area, which is good because you've got to think about putting a table in here
and a sofa. What I do like about this space is that it's double aspect,
which means you have two total different views.
Now there's no garden, but you have got a nice balcony, which does count for something.
It's not big enough to recreate the balcony scene from Romeo And Juliet,
but it is just about big enough for a potted plant or two.
You'd certainly need some fresh air, because this flat is filthy.
Sadly, the colour scheme is not from some fancy designer's paint chart.
That tobacco colour is all genuinely acquired.
# Smoke gets in your eyes... #
And I certainly wouldn't fancy a sandwich that had been prepared in here.
This kitchen is very small and cramped, but I do love the outlook onto that nice shared patio area.
Be quite nice in the summertime.
Now this kitchen, in my opinion, needs a minimalist makeover.
Some clever design will certainly make up for the lack of space.
You'll have to continue the clever design theme in the bedroom, too.
It's small, but then, what would you expect in a flat this central?
After all, the location is the main attraction.
This is definitely a fashionable part of town.
But this flat is more decked out in charity-shop attire than haute couture.
This flat doesn't have views, it doesn't have space, it's got no garden,
but it's in central London and it's got a fantastic postcode.
And let's face it, you're a black cab ride away from everything Central London has to offer.
Bond Street, please.
Right, lot 27
is Bowmans Buildings, Penfold Place, Marylebone, London, NW1.
Who'd like to start off on this? I don't know. 200,000?
226 - try and help.
226. 227, sir. 228.
227, with you. 228.
228, new spot.
231. Never stop on 230. 231.
231, well done. 232.
Yes? 233. 234.
250. 251. 251. 252.
251, back with you. 252?
251 - first time, second time, third and last time. Are you all done?
Sold - 251. Well done, madam.
The successful bidder was Chantana.
But she's just gone over the £250,000 stamp-duty threshold,
and that's going to hurt.
I caught up with her back at the flat to find out why she did that.
Because you paid £1,000 over the £250,000,
you had to pay eight grand stamp duty.
Now, how did that make you feel?
Oh, angry. I was very angry.
I admit, I didn't prepare well at all.
-Do you think you paid too much for this flat?
-To be honest, yes, I do.
I do think I paid over my plan,
and my experience of the property that I've been looking around,
I would not have paid more than top price of 230,000.
-So it's clear to say you just got carried away on auction day?
But I'm intrigued.
She's originally from Thailand, so what brought her to the UK?
I came over when I was a teenager, about 16.
And I couldn't speak a word of English.
I was supposed to come here to study English and some short courses like secretarial.
And somehow or other, I end up living here.
And in my mind I have this business sense that I want to do something.
And I heard about buying property a lot and all the time, I wrote back
to my mum to say, "Oh, why don't we do this, why don't we do that?"
-Is she helping you to fund a lot of these projects?
-It's her money!
It's her money! But she opened a bank account here in this country many years now.
So she has some funds she allows me to have access to. But she trusts my judgment.
This flat is the latest one that Chantana's mum has provided the funds for.
I just hope it's worth it.
What are you going to do in here? What are your plans for this flat?
I've had a good look now, and I don't think I need to do too much,
er, apart from interior decoration.
Certainly, definitely, needs a lot of cleaning and...
-It sure is dirty.
Whoever lived here before must have been here years and years.
-And what about the kitchen?
-I think that with a few modernisations
-and everything, it should bring it up to a good standard, yeah.
-What about your bathroom?
Bathroom. I like baths, so I'm not going to get rid of the bath.
But maybe add some sort of shower system in there as well, and again really clean it up.
# Smoke gets in your eyes. #
After going well over her budget and with that extra £8,000 in stamp duty,
I'm guessing Chantana's going to have to keep renovation costs down as much as possible.
When I saw it, the viewing day,
I told my mum that, "Mum, you have to spend 20,000."
But looking at it today,
-I hope that it will be less.
-I think you could do this on less.
I don't think that you need to spend 20,000 to bring this up to standard.
# So I smile and say... #
You've certainly got a good sense of humour about all of this. I mean, it's quite fun to you, isn't it,
-buying property and doing them up?
-Yes. I mean, you've done it now.
What is the point of... You make the best of it, and my instinct hasn't gone wrong so far with property.
# Smoke gets in your eyes. #
Chantana didn't play the auction game very carefully, and got stung for that 3% stamp duty.
But she did remember the first rule of property developing - location.
Well, it's been some time now since we last saw those properties.
There should have been some work done but you never know.
Things don't always go to plan.
Let's see what's in store for our buyers.
Back in Cardiff, local electrician Paul had bought this four-bedroom terraced house for 175 grand.
He'd spent four years measuring up the pros and cons of property developing.
Well, just eight weeks later, had Paul been wise to put pen to paper?
The outside's looking spick and span, with fresh paintwork.
And the garden has emerged from that tangled mess, complete with patio area.
That kitchen/diner has been transformed with new carpets,
fresh paint and a fantastic kitchen suite.
The kitchen has been OK.
The problems that we faced in here,
the sink that was a problem to position first of all with the appliances, with the washing machine.
There was also a problem with the cornering as well, with the worktop.
It's worked out quite well in that area, where there was a fair few cuts to be made,
and there was also an issue with the extractor fan that we couldn't extract out
onto an external wall, so we had to take it through the ceiling void, and then obviously
the set-up with the positions for the integrated appliances, and that seems to be working out
quite well too, so a lot of them are integrated, as you can see, and I'm quite happy with all of that.
It looks pretty good. I'm pleased.
Elsewhere, there have been less dramatic but equally effective changes,
which have transformed the rather old, shabby condition of the house into something bright and modern.
As he paid 175 grand at auction,
Paul was conscious that he needed to keep his costs down if he was to see any profit at all.
The original budget for the house was £5,000 on the kitchen and carpets
and I've spent about £5,000 now.
He's done a great job of keeping those costs under control,
but what does he now plan to do with the property?
My plan for this house now, as originally, is to sell it.
I did consider renting it out but then finding out
a bit more information on HMO, I decided to stick with the same plan
of just renovating and reselling, putting it straight back on the market.
Having an HMO, or House Of Multiple Occupancy,
is a way of maximising rental income,
but there are rigid guidelines you have to follow to comply with the rules for these,
such as alarm systems and emergency lighting.
The cost and time involved meant that
Paul decided it wasn't worth doing, so was that the right decision?
Time to ask the agents.
If I was looking to sell this property on
in its current condition,
I would suggest it going on the open market
for sale at around £199,000.
That could mean a £10,000-15,000 profit for just six weeks' work,
but should he have invested that money into converting the house into an HMO and rented it out?
If he'd gone down the HMO route,
then you would have been able to have effectively let out
four to five bedrooms here,
each giving £225 per calendar month return, which would have been £1,250 per month.
With that potential whopping rent of over £1,200 per month,
does he regret not going down that route?
I didn't really feel that it was worth my while doing that.
Well, for a first-time project, I think Paul's right to take the money and run.
I'm pretty thrilled when I think about what I've achieved in the time.
I wish I had done this when I was old enough to get a mortgage,
which would have been five, ten years ago.
Yes, but the important thing is he's done it now,
and overall, I think he's made all the right calls!
Back to central London now and that one-bedroom flat in Marylebone.
When it went to auction, property developer Chantana
paid way over the guide price when she bought it for £251,000.
Now I feel much happier, now that it's done and looks totally different.
Chantana has used a number of builders for her projects in the past,
but decided to go with a new one on this flat.
So, how did that work out?
Overall I am happy, very happy, actually.
He rewired everything for me as well and replumbed everything.
And I had the floor insulated.
This was a... I keep, you know, pressing on about that.
I'm worried about the neighbour below.
Fitting sound insulation to the floors and ceilings of flats like this
is certainly a good idea, especially if you are thinking of renting the property out.
What other changes has Chantana made?
We practically ripped everything out. The last tenants smoked a lot.
All the nicotine was on the wall.
So there was nothing usable.
There was no cupboards or anything anywhere.
We fitted a new cooker and a new oven. I bought these brand new.
New sink, cupboard, fridge and the radiator as well as the boiler.
The new fixtures and fittings in this kitchen are definitely a vast improvement,
but I do wonder why Chantana has gone for that white hob on the cooker.
Surely stainless steel would have been a much better match.
And what about that manky, old bathroom?
We ripped out the whole bathroom and tiled it up, right to the ceiling.
Put the new bath, new basin, new toilet
and new radiator behind the door as well.
I criticised the builder, who put the basin a little bit too big.
Because the room is small, but at least we tiled all the way
up to the ceiling, hoping it would make the room a little bit taller.
She's right, that wash basin is a bit too big for this room.
I do wonder if tiling all the way up to the ceiling was the right way to go.
It makes the room feel taller, but maybe also a bit narrower.
A mirror on one wall would help.
In order to make sure that this place gets the best start possible,
Chantana has a plan up her sleeve.
I'm going to invite a monk, when everything fitted, furniture and all that.
Invite a monk round to do some prayer, chanting,
and sprinkle some holy water all round the flat.
Just to bless the flat.
This is what we always do in Thailand, in the Buddhist,
you know, system...
You feel better to live in a house after it's been blessed.
But will it take more than a monk's blessing for Chantana to make money?
Going over the stamp duty threshold means that she's spent nearly 259 grand on buying this place.
The renovations have cost her around 13,000, making a total of £272,000.
So, was it all worthwhile?
Time to ask the estate agents.
What's the resale value likely to be?
I would place a value on this property of around £265-270,000.
Based on properties that have sold around here,
I would put it on for just under 300.
Just under 300.
Wow, I'm impressed.
Hold on there, Chantana, because if the lower valuation
of 265-270,000 is closer, you could end up actually losing money.
So, what's next for Chantana?
Now that this builder has impressed me, I might have another project further.
But I promise not to go mad in the auction!
Buying at auction is a real rollercoaster ride.
But one thing for sure, you're guaranteed excitement
when you go a property auction.
So join us next time for more thrills and spills under the hammer.
-See you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Email [email protected]
Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander visit a property in Wales that has lots of potential for a long term investment and a one bedroom flat in London. Find out who buys them and what they pay when the properties go under the hammer.