Episode 20 Homes Under the Hammer


Episode 20

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Transcript


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-Welcome to the programme.

-We enjoy dabbling in the property market

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AND getting a good deal along the way.

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But it's not always that easy.

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So what can you do to give yourself the best chance of a bargain?

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Buy your home under the hammer!

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In Wales, there's a house

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which could be the perfect long-term investment.

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You know, straight away,

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this place is crying out "rental property" for me.

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What has this one-bedroomed flat in central London got going for it?

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This flat doesn't have views, it doesn't have space,

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it's got no garden.

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These properties went to auction and we'll find out who bought them

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and what they paid for them when they went under the hammer.

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You all done?

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Even on a cold, wet, day like today,

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it's clear that Cardiff has really been transformed by the developers.

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New state-of-the-art buildings are going up all over the place,

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but has this regeneration extended to the city's housing stock?

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Well, this is Donald Street in Roath,

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and 'tis but a short duck's flight from Cardiff city centre.

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What's on offer is something very intriguing.

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It's a mid-terrace, it's got four bedrooms, two reception rooms,

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two loos and a large garden, all for a guide price of £155,000.

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You'd be quackers not to investigate further!

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Well, the first thing you notice about the exterior

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is the very small front area and lack of off-street parking,

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which could be a pain, especially on wet days like this.

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The windows, though, are in reasonable condition

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but a lick of paint wouldn't go amiss.

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So, what's it like inside?

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Well, at first glance, not too bad.

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Pretty stark decoration, but that's easily changed.

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You've got a front sitting room there which I suppose could be another bedroom

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and then through into the most amazing part of this house...

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this massive lounge/kitchen.

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Back there you've got a bathroom and another toilet.

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You know, straight away, this place is crying out "rental property" for me.

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I mean, this would be a fantastic sort of communal area, you've got the four bedrooms, possibly five,

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you're in the right area in terms of student population.

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You know, already I'm saying this would be a great property to feather your nest.

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This layout is all about communal living.

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It's got that large lounge area with a spacious kitchen,

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and although not ideally sited,

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the bathroom is a good size and has a shower.

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It's certainly nice weather for ducks!

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-Anyway, at the rear of the property there is a garden.

-Now that's interesting.

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Well, intrinsically not but I'll explain why in a second.

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First of all, it's nice to see that there is a natural stone wall here, a nice little feature.

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Meanwhile, the garden.

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Well, it depends really on whether or not you are looking at this place as a family home or rental property.

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If you're thinking about it as a family home, the garden is somewhere for the kids to play.

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However, if you're thinking about renting this place out,

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from my experience, people who rent possibly, especially students, don't actually look after gardens,

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so it ends up looking something like this and begins to be a bit of a pain

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in which case, you might think about paving it.

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But I suppose it is a nice thing to have and you can always think about putting a duck pond in!

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Quack, quack!

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There are three... Enough duck puns already!

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..good sized bedrooms upstairs but no bathroom.

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That is reasonably acceptable for a student let,

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but not for a family house,

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so the more I see this place, the more it looks like it used to be student digs.

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Phew! Well, right at the top of the house is the final bedroom...

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an attic room. Now, when I was a student, I had a room just like this.

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I love attic bedrooms. They're great!

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So obviously the whole house has been utilised to the max.

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Nice added bonus...

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the brand-new bed and some of the other furniture looks reasonable.

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You get lots of light coming in through the windows, so all in all, a really nice room

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and from up here you also get to see the fact that the roof looks in really good condition.

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In fact, that is a new extension which was built onto the property so all in all, lots of boxes ticked.

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However, the law has changed in recent years

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and if this property was now to be used as a house of multiple occupancy, or HMO,

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then safety standards would need to be complied with.

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These would include fire doors, integrated smoke alarm systems

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and emergency lighting which can substantially raise the outlay.

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But this is offset by the fact that the more people you can

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let the house to, the greater your rental return.

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Well, this is a great rental property.

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It's in the right area, and it's got the right number of rooms.

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For £155,000, it's a good one to go for. Let's hit the auction.

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Right. We're onto lot 50 now, the extended mid-terraced house,

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potential investment here at 35 Donald Street, Roath, Cardiff.

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Where will you be on that one then?

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160?

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160, I have 160, at 160, thank you.

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At 160. 162.

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162, 164 then, 164, at 164.

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166, 166, 168.

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170 here.

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At 172, 174, 176, 174, 176 then.

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At 174's on the right now, 174.

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You're in line, be careful. At 174.

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At 174, 175 is it? At £174,000 on my right hand side at 174 then.

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At 174 then.

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On my right at 174.

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Can't quite do that. We're extremely close on that.

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Another thousand and we'd be able to put a deal together.

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The house didn't quite make its reserve, but was bought after

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the auction for 175 grand by local electrician, Paul.

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I met him back at the house to find out more.

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-Paul, nice to meet you.

-Hi.

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What happened there, then?

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I thought about all the other properties that were going through as well,

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thought about what I had been thinking about for four years and not having actually done anything.

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I sat in my van then for about 20 minutes and thought about myself and went over the sums that I'd

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been doing and it seemed that it would still work out, just about,

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if I went through with it anyway, so I gave it a go.

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What was it about this house that made you think,

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"This is the one that I'm finally going to have"?

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I viewed a number of properties -

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I think I looked at six - and this one was the best one of them all, by a long way.

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A lot of the others were almost like building sites and I've worked on a number of building sites

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so I didn't really fancy taking a chance or taking a risk

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on looking at or purchasing a house that needed a lot of work.

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-Talk me through the project plan. What's the plan of action?

-I've had a couple of valuations already.

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One of them was £190,000 as it stands,

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and if I do the bathroom and kitchen, that would be £200,000.

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That's not that much more than what I paid for it,

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so I've now been considering talking to others on how much I can rent it out for.

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It's around about £1,000 to £1,200,

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so if I can rent it out for £1,200 here, that would be great.

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It certainly would be a good buy then.

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So it does look like Paul is going down the rental route.

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He's put aside a maximum budget of £10,000

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and in this case, that should be a safe bet,

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which is want you want on your first venture into property developing.

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So what do your friends and family think about the fact that you've finally made the leap?

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So far I haven't told too many of my friends.

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There's only a few who are aware of it but my family, my sister, in particular -

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I've been bending her ear on these things for a long time - she was chuffed to bits with it.

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She was over the moon when she finally knew that I'd done something on it and purchased the property.

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She came to have a look recently as well and she was very impressed with the house.

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Now he can stop bending his sister's ear about making that leap.

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He just needs to get on and do the work.

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Four years of thinking about it, and he's finally bought

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his first investment property,

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but all credit to him, because making that first leap is always the hardest.

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How's he going to get on?

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Well, I reckon he's going to do really well, because this is a great property.

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You can find out how he does with it later in the show.

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For our next property,

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We're in central London in Marylebone.

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It's one of the chicest parts of town,

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loved by both millionaires and celebrities.

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This tucked-away area with a villagey feel

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is home to the likes of Madonna, so I'm expecting something special.

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So, just minutes away from all that excitement is Penfold Place.

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Now remember, this is Central London.

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It's Zone One, and prices are high.

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So when a one-bed flat with a guide price of £155,000 is up for auction,

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it gets the neighbours talking.

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This flat is on the first floor, which means there aren't too many stairs to climb.

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That's good news for buyers, and my legs!

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This is a spacious reception area, which is good because you've got to think about putting a table in here

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and a sofa. What I do like about this space is that it's double aspect,

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which means you have two total different views.

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Now there's no garden, but you have got a nice balcony, which does count for something.

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It's not big enough to recreate the balcony scene from Romeo And Juliet,

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but it is just about big enough for a potted plant or two.

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You'd certainly need some fresh air, because this flat is filthy.

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Sadly, the colour scheme is not from some fancy designer's paint chart.

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That tobacco colour is all genuinely acquired.

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# Smoke gets in your eyes... #

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And I certainly wouldn't fancy a sandwich that had been prepared in here.

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This kitchen is very small and cramped, but I do love the outlook onto that nice shared patio area.

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Be quite nice in the summertime.

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Now this kitchen, in my opinion, needs a minimalist makeover.

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Some clever design will certainly make up for the lack of space.

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You'll have to continue the clever design theme in the bedroom, too.

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It's small, but then, what would you expect in a flat this central?

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After all, the location is the main attraction.

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This is definitely a fashionable part of town.

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But this flat is more decked out in charity-shop attire than haute couture.

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This flat doesn't have views, it doesn't have space, it's got no garden,

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but it's in central London and it's got a fantastic postcode.

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And let's face it, you're a black cab ride away from everything Central London has to offer.

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Bond Street, please.

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Right, lot 27

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is Bowmans Buildings, Penfold Place, Marylebone, London, NW1.

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Leasehold flat.

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Who'd like to start off on this? I don't know. 200,000?

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205. 210.

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215. 220.

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225. 230.

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226 - try and help.

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226. 227, sir. 228.

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227, with you. 228.

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228, new spot.

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229.

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230.

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231. Never stop on 230. 231.

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231, well done. 232.

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233.

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Yes? 233. 234.

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235. 236.

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236? 237.

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238.

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238.

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239.

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240.

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241.

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242.

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242. 243.

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244.

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244. 245.

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246.

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246?

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247.

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248.

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248.

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249.

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250. 251. 251. 252.

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251, back with you. 252?

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251 - first time, second time, third and last time. Are you all done?

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Sold - 251. Well done, madam.

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The successful bidder was Chantana.

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But she's just gone over the £250,000 stamp-duty threshold,

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and that's going to hurt.

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I caught up with her back at the flat to find out why she did that.

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Because you paid £1,000 over the £250,000,

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you had to pay eight grand stamp duty.

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Now, how did that make you feel?

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Oh, angry. I was very angry.

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I admit, I didn't prepare well at all.

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-Do you think you paid too much for this flat?

-To be honest, yes, I do.

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I do think I paid over my plan,

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and my experience of the property that I've been looking around,

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I would not have paid more than top price of 230,000.

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-So it's clear to say you just got carried away on auction day?

-Yes.

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But I'm intrigued.

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She's originally from Thailand, so what brought her to the UK?

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I came over when I was a teenager, about 16.

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And I couldn't speak a word of English.

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I was supposed to come here to study English and some short courses like secretarial.

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And somehow or other, I end up living here.

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And in my mind I have this business sense that I want to do something.

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And I heard about buying property a lot and all the time, I wrote back

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to my mum to say, "Oh, why don't we do this, why don't we do that?"

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-Is she helping you to fund a lot of these projects?

-It's her money!

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It's her money! But she opened a bank account here in this country many years now.

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So she has some funds she allows me to have access to. But she trusts my judgment.

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This flat is the latest one that Chantana's mum has provided the funds for.

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I just hope it's worth it.

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What are you going to do in here? What are your plans for this flat?

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I've had a good look now, and I don't think I need to do too much,

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er, apart from interior decoration.

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Certainly, definitely, needs a lot of cleaning and...

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-It sure is dirty.

-Very dirty.

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Whoever lived here before must have been here years and years.

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-And what about the kitchen?

-I think that with a few modernisations

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-and everything, it should bring it up to a good standard, yeah.

-What about your bathroom?

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Bathroom. I like baths, so I'm not going to get rid of the bath.

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But maybe add some sort of shower system in there as well, and again really clean it up.

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# Smoke gets in your eyes. #

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After going well over her budget and with that extra £8,000 in stamp duty,

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I'm guessing Chantana's going to have to keep renovation costs down as much as possible.

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When I saw it, the viewing day,

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I told my mum that, "Mum, you have to spend 20,000."

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But looking at it today,

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-I hope that it will be less.

-I think you could do this on less.

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I don't think that you need to spend 20,000 to bring this up to standard.

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# So I smile and say... #

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You've certainly got a good sense of humour about all of this. I mean, it's quite fun to you, isn't it,

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-buying property and doing them up?

-Yes. I mean, you've done it now.

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What is the point of... You make the best of it, and my instinct hasn't gone wrong so far with property.

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# Smoke gets in your eyes. #

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Chantana didn't play the auction game very carefully, and got stung for that 3% stamp duty.

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But she did remember the first rule of property developing - location.

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Well, it's been some time now since we last saw those properties.

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There should have been some work done but you never know.

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Things don't always go to plan.

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Let's see what's in store for our buyers.

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Back in Cardiff, local electrician Paul had bought this four-bedroom terraced house for 175 grand.

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He'd spent four years measuring up the pros and cons of property developing.

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Well, just eight weeks later, had Paul been wise to put pen to paper?

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The outside's looking spick and span, with fresh paintwork.

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And the garden has emerged from that tangled mess, complete with patio area.

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Inside, wow!

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That kitchen/diner has been transformed with new carpets,

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fresh paint and a fantastic kitchen suite.

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The kitchen has been OK.

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The problems that we faced in here,

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the sink that was a problem to position first of all with the appliances, with the washing machine.

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There was also a problem with the cornering as well, with the worktop.

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It's worked out quite well in that area, where there was a fair few cuts to be made,

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and there was also an issue with the extractor fan that we couldn't extract out

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onto an external wall, so we had to take it through the ceiling void, and then obviously

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the set-up with the positions for the integrated appliances, and that seems to be working out

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quite well too, so a lot of them are integrated, as you can see, and I'm quite happy with all of that.

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It looks pretty good. I'm pleased.

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Elsewhere, there have been less dramatic but equally effective changes,

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which have transformed the rather old, shabby condition of the house into something bright and modern.

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As he paid 175 grand at auction,

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Paul was conscious that he needed to keep his costs down if he was to see any profit at all.

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The original budget for the house was £5,000 on the kitchen and carpets

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and I've spent about £5,000 now.

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He's done a great job of keeping those costs under control,

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but what does he now plan to do with the property?

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My plan for this house now, as originally, is to sell it.

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I did consider renting it out but then finding out

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a bit more information on HMO, I decided to stick with the same plan

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of just renovating and reselling, putting it straight back on the market.

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Having an HMO, or House Of Multiple Occupancy,

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is a way of maximising rental income,

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but there are rigid guidelines you have to follow to comply with the rules for these,

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such as alarm systems and emergency lighting.

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The cost and time involved meant that

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Paul decided it wasn't worth doing, so was that the right decision?

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Time to ask the agents.

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If I was looking to sell this property on

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in its current condition,

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I would suggest it going on the open market

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for sale at around £199,000.

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That could mean a £10,000-15,000 profit for just six weeks' work,

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but should he have invested that money into converting the house into an HMO and rented it out?

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If he'd gone down the HMO route,

0:21:240:21:26

then you would have been able to have effectively let out

0:21:260:21:29

four to five bedrooms here,

0:21:290:21:31

each giving £225 per calendar month return, which would have been £1,250 per month.

0:21:310:21:37

With that potential whopping rent of over £1,200 per month,

0:21:370:21:42

does he regret not going down that route?

0:21:420:21:45

I didn't really feel that it was worth my while doing that.

0:21:450:21:48

Well, for a first-time project, I think Paul's right to take the money and run.

0:21:480:21:53

I'm pretty thrilled when I think about what I've achieved in the time.

0:22:000:22:04

I wish I had done this when I was old enough to get a mortgage,

0:22:050:22:09

which would have been five, ten years ago.

0:22:090:22:12

Yes, but the important thing is he's done it now,

0:22:120:22:14

and overall, I think he's made all the right calls!

0:22:140:22:17

Back to central London now and that one-bedroom flat in Marylebone.

0:22:270:22:32

When it went to auction, property developer Chantana

0:22:320:22:36

paid way over the guide price when she bought it for £251,000.

0:22:360:22:42

Now I feel much happier, now that it's done and looks totally different.

0:22:420:22:48

Chantana has used a number of builders for her projects in the past,

0:22:500:22:54

but decided to go with a new one on this flat.

0:22:540:22:56

So, how did that work out?

0:22:560:22:59

Overall I am happy, very happy, actually.

0:22:590:23:02

He rewired everything for me as well and replumbed everything.

0:23:020:23:07

And I had the floor insulated.

0:23:070:23:08

This was a... I keep, you know, pressing on about that.

0:23:080:23:12

I'm worried about the neighbour below.

0:23:120:23:14

Fitting sound insulation to the floors and ceilings of flats like this

0:23:140:23:18

is certainly a good idea, especially if you are thinking of renting the property out.

0:23:180:23:23

What other changes has Chantana made?

0:23:230:23:26

We practically ripped everything out. The last tenants smoked a lot.

0:23:260:23:32

All the nicotine was on the wall.

0:23:320:23:34

Smelly, dirty.

0:23:340:23:35

So there was nothing usable.

0:23:350:23:37

There was no cupboards or anything anywhere.

0:23:370:23:39

We fitted a new cooker and a new oven. I bought these brand new.

0:23:390:23:44

New sink, cupboard, fridge and the radiator as well as the boiler.

0:23:440:23:50

The new fixtures and fittings in this kitchen are definitely a vast improvement,

0:23:500:23:55

but I do wonder why Chantana has gone for that white hob on the cooker.

0:23:550:24:00

Surely stainless steel would have been a much better match.

0:24:000:24:04

And what about that manky, old bathroom?

0:24:040:24:07

We ripped out the whole bathroom and tiled it up, right to the ceiling.

0:24:090:24:15

Put the new bath, new basin, new toilet

0:24:150:24:19

and new radiator behind the door as well.

0:24:190:24:24

I criticised the builder, who put the basin a little bit too big.

0:24:240:24:28

Because the room is small, but at least we tiled all the way

0:24:280:24:32

up to the ceiling, hoping it would make the room a little bit taller.

0:24:320:24:36

She's right, that wash basin is a bit too big for this room.

0:24:360:24:40

I do wonder if tiling all the way up to the ceiling was the right way to go.

0:24:400:24:44

It makes the room feel taller, but maybe also a bit narrower.

0:24:440:24:48

A mirror on one wall would help.

0:24:480:24:51

In order to make sure that this place gets the best start possible,

0:24:510:24:56

Chantana has a plan up her sleeve.

0:24:560:24:59

I'm going to invite a monk, when everything fitted, furniture and all that.

0:24:590:25:04

Invite a monk round to do some prayer, chanting,

0:25:040:25:09

and sprinkle some holy water all round the flat.

0:25:090:25:13

Just to bless the flat.

0:25:130:25:14

This is what we always do in Thailand, in the Buddhist,

0:25:140:25:18

you know, system...

0:25:180:25:22

You feel better to live in a house after it's been blessed.

0:25:220:25:25

But will it take more than a monk's blessing for Chantana to make money?

0:25:290:25:35

Going over the stamp duty threshold means that she's spent nearly 259 grand on buying this place.

0:25:350:25:42

The renovations have cost her around 13,000, making a total of £272,000.

0:25:430:25:51

So, was it all worthwhile?

0:25:510:25:52

Time to ask the estate agents.

0:25:520:25:54

What's the resale value likely to be?

0:26:100:26:13

I would place a value on this property of around £265-270,000.

0:26:130:26:18

Based on properties that have sold around here,

0:26:180:26:21

I would put it on for just under 300.

0:26:210:26:23

Oh, really?

0:26:230:26:25

Just under 300.

0:26:250:26:27

Wow, I'm impressed.

0:26:270:26:28

Hold on there, Chantana, because if the lower valuation

0:26:280:26:33

of 265-270,000 is closer, you could end up actually losing money.

0:26:330:26:39

So, what's next for Chantana?

0:26:400:26:43

Now that this builder has impressed me, I might have another project further.

0:26:440:26:50

-Hopefully.

-Really?

0:26:500:26:52

But I promise not to go mad in the auction!

0:26:520:26:56

Buying at auction is a real rollercoaster ride.

0:26:580:27:01

But one thing for sure, you're guaranteed excitement

0:27:010:27:04

when you go a property auction.

0:27:040:27:05

So join us next time for more thrills and spills under the hammer.

0:27:050:27:09

-See you then.

-Goodbye.

0:27:090:27:11

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:27:160:27:19

Email [email protected]

0:27:190:27:23

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.


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