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Hello and welcome to the heavyweight of property programmes.
Today we're raising the bar in south Birmingham, with a knockout episode of To Buy Or Not To Buy.
If you were to use an analogy to explain To Buy Or Not To Buy,
and let's be honest, usually around this time every day we do that,
think of us as a form of workout or exercise.
OK. So we would begin by stretching ourselves to find three properties.
Then we would head to the rowing machine that is of course property one.
We'd pick up the pace on the treadmill for property two.
And then head to the vibrating plate thing that makes you do all of that,
for, of course, the wild card.
Then, don't forget, you get to try the elliptical cross-trainer...
..before you buy it. Of course we mean house.
Today's buyer is fitness fanatic, Laurie Smith.
He really is as fit as a fiddle,
working as a sports teacher, and then,
spending his spare time pumping iron in his home gym.
I'm exhausted already.
And his dad's a dream at DIY, so we've got a handy man to join his son.
A first-time buyer at 38, Laurie's more than ready to take the property plunge.
So let's "work out" what he's looking for.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Laurie and Michael.
They could be brothers, but in fact, Michael is Laurie's father.
What are you looking for?
I'm looking for a house anywhere along the M5 corridor, really.
Where you're living right now is fabulous.
Why would you want to move out of somewhere like this?
Not necessarily, I just want my own place that I can put my own stamp on and make my own, really.
-So, you're renting right now?
-Yes. First-time buyer as well.
There's a phrase to describe you, Laurie, are you aware what it is?
I'm sure you are going to tell me.
You are what's classified as a hot buyer.
I like the sound of that.
And you're the father of a hot buyer. Which is quite something.
-What does that actually mean, being a hot buyer?
-It means he's the pick of the crop.
You are ready to go, you're not in a chain.
Knock on an estate agent's door and they will greet you with smiles.
-So, M5 corridor, house, you say, so you're not considering an apartment or...?
-No. I would rather not.
Do you want a detached house?
I want somewhere to keep my gym equipment, so either
a garden big enough to have a shed in, a decent-sized shed, or a garage.
How much gym equipment do you have?
Erm...a fair amount.
What about bedrooms? How many bedrooms are we looking at?
That depends on looking at whether the garden is big enough to put up a shed or have a garage.
Because one bedroom would be the gym.
One bedroom would turn into the gym if need be. So...
-So, how many?
-Are you prepared to do some work on a house?
So who has the skills then?
I volunteered for it.
We're in Quinton now. Which is which side of Birmingham?
Do you like this part?
-Love this area.
-So, maybe around here?
Yeah, south Birmingham, Bridgnorth, Stourbridge, Quinton, Halesowen...
The question is, how much money have you got to spend?
Erm...looking at around £100,000-£120,000.
OK. Good stuff. Are you confident, Nikki?
I think if you're prepared to do some work, it could be an interesting project ahead.
-I'm quietly confident.
-Good. All right, wish us luck, we'll see you later.
My question is, is he looking for a house or is he actually looking for a gym?
I think he's looking for a gym-y house, a gym version of a Wendy house.
I'm inspired by Laurie, and erm... look what I'm doing.
For the first time ever... Look at me, Mum, I'm going to run to the estate agent's.
Not in those shoes, you're not, Ed.
I'm going off to meet the population of south Birmingham.
Our search today is in south Birmingham
at the edge of the industrial West Midlands,
widely known as the Black Country.
Laurie works in Halesowen, an area that borders green belt land.
The Clent Hills cover over 400 acres,
with panoramic views as far as the Cotswolds and the Welsh borders.
Laurie is currently renting in Quinton, which has the links to the M5 that he requested.
It used to be a green, leafy suburb, but has built up over the years,
with the average property price coming in at 116 grand. So it could be a viable option to buy here.
So, what else could sportsman Laurie get for £120,000 around the UK?
How about a one-bed apartment in this Grade II listed building in Newport?
Not far from the Lilleshall National Sports Centre,
on the market at £120,000.
Or a modern two-bed semi in Loughborough,
whose university is famed for its sporting students.
Offers over £120,000.
Finally, how about getting your teeth into
a dental practice with permission to be converted to a flat,
near Scotland's first school of sporting excellence?
All of this talk of sport! Time to get back on to the property hunt.
Now, Sara, I have a lovely man called Laurie, who is into personal
-fitness and personal training, all that kind of stuff.
He's currently renting in Quinton.
He's got £120,000 to spend. The thing is, can he afford to stay in Quinton? Cos he quite likes it.
In terms of area, is it considered a good area, Quinton?
Yeah, I think so, yeah.
It has its amenities, as you can see.
Ideal for commuters going in and out of Birmingham -
the motorway's just down the road.
Typically speaking, where we're based here, we split between Quinton and Oldbury.
On the cusp of Quinton, you get Harborne, you get Bartley Green.
So, a lot of people that are looking for perhaps Harborne
look to Bartley Green as a second option,
because it's very close, but you get an awful lot more for your money.
An average street in Halesowen has quite a different mixture of properties.
Semi-detached, detached, all on the one street - different designs...
That's one of the things that's quite unique about Halesowen.
This property - although it requires some work, it's quite dated inside...
But it is an excellent price.
So if somebody was prepared to put in some work, that would come within the budget as well.
I think cos you're a little bit further away from town,
you're getting more for your money and you'll get a nicer property.
You could go further into town and pay more, but you won't get as much space.
I've described Laurie as a hot buyer.
Is there a phrase that you would use to describe...
No, we would say hot buyer also.
Cos he's not only a hot buyer, he is quite a handsome man.
Fabulous, when can we see him?
Soon. The viewers have seen him already, and hopefully I'll send him your way.
I have just been meeting the lovely people of south Birmingham.
And what have YOU been up to, Ed?
Well, I'm angry that I'VE not had a chance to meet them.
But I've met a lady called Sara who's the estate agent, who's helped me out massively.
She's a phenomenal woman with a keen eye for property, and she has steered me to this beauty.
I won't show you it yet. What have you got?
Well, I've got a two-bedroom semi-detached property,
literally round the corner from where Laurie is now.
So it's in Quinton, and it's a property with potential.
Oh, a property with potential, all the Ps.
I am in Bartley Green,
which is near Quinton, but not actually in Quinton.
I don't want to say too much. Look at that. It's a cracker.
It's got three bedrooms, and potential for a gym.
That's it, that's all I'm saying.
Then, we have our wonderful wild card.
Now, this is actually a very interestingly laid out property,
with potential for the gym.
And it's actually in Halesowen.
It's near to where Laurie works, so the nearest for him in terms of commute,
but the furthest away from where he is now.
Anyway, those are the properties.
-Where shall we go first?
-Could we go to mine first?
-I think we should.
So, let's begin today's iron-pumping property fitness session
with the elliptical cross-trainer that is my choice.
Otherwise known as a three-bed semi in Quinton.
It's only a road away from Laurie's rented home - or a one-minute jog.
So, Laurie, Michael, you said that you liked this area.
You said you didn't mind staying within the vicinity.
I have literally brought you round the corner.
So, this is the property that I have chosen for you.
Just looking from the outside, first impressions, please?
Great. No. Lots of potential for it. Yeah, really, really impressed.
-Michael, you like this area, don't you?
Laurie's used to the area, he knows all the amenities.
It's good for his work.
I mean, the house looks well looked after.
Some nice fuchsias and buddleia, and some...
This is very good plant knowledge, Michael.
-Only those three, that's it.
-You're constantly surprising me.
Get in there, enjoy it, and with an open mind, love this Quinton property.
-See you later.
-I'm going to laugh all the time now.
-It just reminds me of Nan's a little bit.
The stairs going up maybe a bit higher.
Nice and bright. Long room.
-Nice long room.
Nice little fireplace. Nice for the cold nights.
Look, he's imagining cold days, but he's moved in and moved in the winter.
A decent-sized kitchen.
-That's unusual coming from the lounge/diner,
which is quite clean, modern,
-and coming to this which is...
-That's plenty good.
-What have you got there?
This is your little lean-to.
I say "temporary gym".
Yeah, great potential here.
Maybe make these a little bit...
more solid brick. Bring the brick up higher.
A proper door on there,
maybe open up the kitchen a little bit.
It is very much like Nan's, isn't it?
-This little stairs area.
It's a nice little window.
You could even do a little extension on top of that area...
Bring it up, open this up a little bit.
I think he's so in love with it, he hasn't even thought about a gym space yet.
You've been doing it for him.
This is a good size, isn't it?
Built-in cupboards. Fantastic.
-Lots of light, lots of windows.
Won't need to do much on the cupboard space,
cos whatever the decor I decide on, you could just change the frontage.
I think if you show these guys things that are the finished article, they would be unhappy.
They WANT to do something.
Another big, decent-sized room.
-That's not bad.
-You can tell a lady lives here with all the shoes.
A little bit darker. So... You know?
You could get the double bed in here quite reasonably.
Just needs a bit of a spruce-up.
Clean it up. You know?
-You don't have a do a lot of decor, really, do you?
Michael, I think, is now backing out of future plans, by saying you don't need to do a lot of decor changing.
But Michael doesn't want to do wallpapering, papering, he wants to saw things, for goodness' sake.
All clean, great. That's lovely.
-It is lovely.
-A shower already.
You know, nice big windows, nice and bright, nice and airy.
One thing we've got to look at is where I'm going to put my gym equipment.
If we're going to move through with
the little utility room, that's not really big enough.
I wouldn't recommend the bedroom, either, cos of the weights you use.
Maybe have a look at the garden downstairs.
Got to the top of the house before they started listing the problems.
No gym upstairs, the weights are too heavy.
-What are you going to do?
-I've got a solution for them.
So, Laurie, Michael, you've had your little look around, what did you make of it?
Lots of space, lots of areas where I know I can put my mark on it and change bits and pieces around.
If you look up towards that way, you can build a garage there.
You'll get planning permission from the council
as long as it's no closer than five metres from your house.
So you can see a lot of people have done that along this row.
-It's a big space.
-It is a big space, for a good-sized garage.
That, Michael, would be your project.
-No, it's very feasible.
It's big enough for two garages, basically.
Two cars. So somewhere to park his car, and a gym.
-Has Nikki just given you a job?
So, a lot of potential.
But it is now the point of the programme where we like to say "Guess the price".
So, we've got £120,000 maximum budget to play with. Who would like to go first, father or son?
-I think the old man needs to go first.
-Right, OK, Michael.
The spotlight's on you.
Looking at the condition and comparing it with other houses, I'll go for 110.
£110,000, nice guess. Laurie?
I'm thinking about 112,950.
What an intriguing guess.
Well, you are the closest.
It is in fact 112 on the nose, £112,000. So...
-it's well within your budget, isn't it?
Well, you could have the highest-spec gym on the street.
Probably the only gym on the street.
-But there is still property two, my one. Would you like to have a look?
-I think it's down this way.
Time to pick up the pace on the treadmill that is my choice.
It's just on the edge of Bartley Green, which is not far from Quinton.
It's got three bedrooms, a conservatory and a veranda.
Let's hope it's a heart-racing, breath-taking experience for our property-hunting pair.
Laurie and Michael, step toward what I'm hoping could become your future.
This is Bartley Green, a little bit further than Quinton where you currently are.
Now, you don't need to do any actual building,
your gym is catered for, but what you do need to is renovation.
It needs updating.
I think you could use some of your design techniques. I heard a lot in the headphones,
and I think, Laurie, you've got a bit of a design whizz inside of you.
-I think it's desperately trying to get out.
-He's good at gardens too.
Well, the garden here is a cracker as well.
Righty-ho. Are you excited?
-OK. 3, 2, 1 -
This is a bit roomier, isn't it?
Fantastic news. Immediately greeted with "More spacious than the other one".
Fantastic. Good size.
Really good size. It's got plenty of room.
I think the lounge is a similar size to yours.
Oh, a tiny kitchen.
You could get an extra couple of...
If you got a corner unit over here...
Change that round, and move it... Change it right round.
-It's not bad, actually. I quite like...
-It's not bad at all.
Crikey, that's huge.
Again, you've got the polystyrene ceiling.
You can sort that out.
The room itself is...
I'm just wondering. That's a solid brick wall.
It reminds me of the extension we made in Gloucester.
Yeah. It's not far off, is it?
Some fathers and sons have memories of
the day they fished or the day they kicked a ball in the back garden.
These guys have memories of the day they built an extension somewhere in Gloucester.
Come on, then...
A nice banister up there.
-Oh, wow, does that remind you of Nan's?
This is great, huge potential,
but really dated. Really dated.
-A decent size.
-This is a second bedroom, isn't it, so...
-I don't know, we'll have to look at the other one.
You've got room to make fitted wardrobes, if you want.
You could put one across there.
I don't think I've ever had a father and son combo on the show before.
-Oh, in all of this time?
-Well, I've never had it.
But it's nice. And he's helping his dad out.
"Here's some jobs." I don't know if he's going to pay him.
Another room with polystyrene.
They do like the polystyrene.
Plenty of room. With the bay windows.
So, put some nice
fitted wardrobes along there, that would be good.
One more room, next door.
The third...and the smallest room.
-And they've kept with the...
-Theme of the tiles.
I mean, it just needs lots of superficial stuff really, isn't it?
-Rip it all down, check what's behind the walls.
If you've never purchased a house
and you're watching this for the first time,
these guys are showing you what to do. A little bit of a knock here...
Rip that out.
Working all this stuff. Just going around the house.
Record this episode, in fact.
You should be anyway. Then you can build a house from exactly what they say.
Michael and Laurie, is this enough of a project for you, do you think?
-Oh, yeah, this is right up my street.
-Right up my street, yep.
-Plenty I could get my hands dirty doing.
What about gym? We've got this beast here, would this be the potential for a gym?
It's pretty much exactly the same as the one I've got.
There's enough room at the bottom of the garden to build a purpose one.
-As if by magic, Nikki's arrival must mean only one thing.
You have to guess the price. Who'd like to go first?
Laurie's turn to go first this time.
I'm thinking 114,500.
-Really, you've just got that feeling in your water?
I think his water's a bit rusty, I'm going for 112,000.
Erm... You have got rusty water.
The actual price is £110,000. So, you're closest, Michael.
Excellent news about the price. It's neck and neck in Guess the Price.
And also, because you are a hot buyer, more money to be potentially taken off the property.
But, don't make your mind up just yet, there is one more property.
You're new to the show, aren't you, Michael? It's everyone's favourite, the wild card.
I'm really looking forward to it.
There is a surge in power when the wild card part comes up, everyone wants to watch it.
-Shall we go, then?
It's about that time in the To Buy Or Not To Buy workout to visit
the vibrating plate thing that is property number three, the wild card.
It's got glorious open views at the back, and is in Halesowen.
So, only a short run, cycle or walk to Laurie's work.
So, Laurie and Michael, we found you a three-bedroom,
two-bathroom property, in a very familiar area to you, I assume?
Right round the corner from college.
-You could run to work...
I don't want to give too much away, but there is a gym.
When you walk around the house, you might not find it.
But there is one in this house.
There's lots of jobs have been given to you, Michael,
throughout the episode so far.
Are you going to be paying him, Laurie?
-Are you going to be paying me?
-Paying in kind. Food and water.
-Bread and water.
OK, so maybe there might not be so much work to be done after that's been revealed.
-Are you ready to experience the wild card?
-OK. 3, 2, 1, get in it.
Well, nice and bright.
It is, isn't it?
-A nice shower area.
-Could sit down in here.
-Great big shower room.
-This is good.
It's a nice room. It's well tiled and a proper shower room, isn't it?
Nothing much to do in here at all.
Except for maybe get the chair out, or keep the chair in here and just have long lounge showers.
This looks like a kitchen/diner.
-New kitchen units. So a nice-sized kitchen.
-Not a bad size, is it?
Not a bad size at all.
That's a nice window.
I'm actually quite surprised with this.
This is quite good. Shall we go through to the lounge?
A decent-sized lounge.
Yep. That's not bad at all.
Dated wallpaper, but you can change that easily.
Wow, what a view.
And the window's nice, isn't it?
See that area of grass there? That, the locals call Coventry.
Because when Coventry was bombed in the war,
all the rubble and stuff was shoved there, they planted grass over it,
and that is Coventry in Halesowen.
Although there's no back garden.
So it's straight on to a driveway, so I'd imagine there's a...
A basement or something.
-No. There's going to be a garage underneath.
-Not too bad.
A bit of imagination, it'd be great.
Yes, what a positive way of describing it. They are very good, aren't they?
Nice little erm...little office.
Yep. And a lovely view from this room, as well.
-Surprising, aren't they?
Built-in cupboards take up a lot of space. It's still a decent sized room.
A bit of modernising. That's all it needs.
So they're seeing potential. It's all very positive, isn't it?
Front bedroom. Compact and bijou, I think the word is.
You could get a single bed in here, really.
Maybe. Maybe a single bed in the other room,
or a double bed in the other room and make this an office.
Well, it wasn't as TARDIS-like as we were hoping.
Because Michael did spot that it was a little bit "compact and bijou" as he said.
Ah. Another small bathroom,
No double glazing on the front of this, but all tiled, so
-We could put double glazing in there, no problem.
As if by the magic of television, we are in...
Thank you. Do you know where the location of this mystery room is?
It's directly below the sitting room.
There we go, right. So, this is all yours. Double garage space.
A cracking space.
There's plenty of room here.
Good, solid floors, it doesn't matter if I drop the weights.
See? Well, I already knew that.
Only because he said he couldn't have his weights upstairs in the earlier property.
-Yes, but I've learnt, haven't I?
-You're a quick study, I'll give you that.
OK, it is now time to play Guess the Price. Quite an important Guess the Price for this property.
Who would like to go first? Cos we're neck and neck, aren't we, right now.
I think it's the old man's turn to go first again.
A little bit cruel, because Michael doesn't really know the area.
-All right. Michael...?
-Bowing to my superior judgment.
Right, OK. £120,000 is your maximum budget, what do you think?
It's very difficult. Really difficult.
I think I'll go for 105,000.
OK, £105,000. Laurie?
I'm thinking 108,950.
Right, OK. Interesting.
I am beaming...
It is £89,950.
-Substantially less than either of you guessed, and so much less than your budget.
Does that change the whole complexion of your decisions?
It does put the cat among the pigeons.
There you go. Also, let's not forget this point -
Michael, congratulations. You've won.
-Oh, yes, well done, Michael.
who has been doing all of the house-hunting, has lost.
Gentlemen, it is time to wander off and make the biggest decision
of your adult lives about which one to test-drive.
Head off. And good luck.
And while they choose, here's a quick recap for you at home.
Did our fitness peak early with property one, the three-bed semi-detached in Quinton?
On the market at £112,000.
Or did we set the pace with property number two,
with its large garden and a great price of...
Or will things "work out" for the wild card in Halesowen?
It's got three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a huge gym space for Laurie.
All for only £89,950.
So, which one will they choose to test drive?
They've decided to do a re-run on my treadmill that is property two.
I hope they've got some changing rooms in there.
Laurie's taking this To Buy workout very seriously.
A gym session in the garage.
Ah. Michael's my kind of man.
A leisurely stroll around the garden. Smell some flowers.
Don't you just love it?
I can't believe Laurie's still at it, where does he get his energy?
The question is, Nikki, will this property be a knockout?
Laurie and Michael. I was nervous you were going to test the wild card,
because there seemed an awful lot of possibility there. But you chose MY one.
Which is fantastic news. Can I ask why you went for this?
I just thought...with everything, the whole package,
you've got kind of a blank canvas here,
with a similar amount of potential but in a quieter area.
We're near the most important part of the programme. The viewers will be very nervous.
Crossing their fingers, hoping and hoping. Are we ready?
Nikki...sock it to them.
To buy or not to buy?
I'm thinking I'm going to put an offer in.
-Fantastic. Congratulations, Ed!
-So... Yes, this is good.
We're going for a negotiation, because you're a hot buyer, you are ready to go, no chain.
-Congratulations to you.
Michael, all the sandwiches and drink you can have with the work you've got here.
Gentlemen, it's been a pleasure. If you do buy it, let the show know.
Cos we would love to come back and see all Michael's work.
-We'll see you later on.
-Take care, good luck, guys.
Good call, Ed Hall, I say.
Thank you very, very, very much.
Has it inspired you, this little journey, in any way to perhaps do
a little more exercise, maybe build a gym for yourself?
I want to say yes, but what I'm going to say is yes, but with houses involved.
I plan to now energetically sprint the length of the country, hoping to find properties for you.
If you're out there and you need me and Nikki, or any of us on To Buy Or Not To Buy
to help you bench-press the property of your dreams, then, please, for goodness' sake,
-don't hesitate to contact us. See you soon.
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