Back in February 2004, I attended my very first property auction in Derby, hosted by the estate agent Bagshaws, at Derby County’s Pride Park Stadium.
Having recently taken voluntary redundancy from Rolls-Royce at the end of the preceding December, I had undertaken numerous viewings of auction lots and shortlisted 4 properties that were of a particular interest to me. The numbers were ‘crunched’ and armed with the auction catalogue, I took my seat and waited excitedly for the event to begin.
Graham Penny kicked off the show and we were under starters orders. The adrenaline started to kick in as soon as my first target came into sight.
Okay, here we go. A four-storey end terraced house in Belper, in need of significant modernisation and starting at £55,000. Quickly up to £73,500 and the gavel hits the lectern. Wait, that was me and £10k less than my maximum; smiles all round and off to the solicitor’s desk to complete the initial paperwork!
Having arrived home via a suitable establishment, where a celebratory drink was in order, it was time to start planning the property refurbishment timescales and sourcing the relevant tradespeople to quote me, based on the usual 21-day auction completion deadline.
First minor issue, I was contacted by the seller’s solicitor to say that there might be a slight delay, as there had been a report of legionnaires disease in a nearby water supply and Severn Trent needed to visit my new abode and assess it before they could release any keys. As the water supply was a shared pipe to the adjoining properties, this was not a problem.
The second slight delay came when Bagshaws contacted me to say that the actual auction was filmed for ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ and the BBC would like to feature my property in an upcoming show. The date for filming was scheduled for mid-April and I was requested not to undertake any significant works from acquiring the property to their visit in order to give a better representation of ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.
As it turned out, the timescales worked well – Martin Roberts came along on the day complete with ‘permatan’, trench coat and plenty of personality, and the day was rounded off with a plan to revisit in 3 months for a review on progress.
Eventually, the programme aired on 1st December 2004. Following the show, many people stopped me in the street and shops to say that they had seen the programme and I even had messages from places as far away as South-East Asia, where extended family had seen my exploits on the BBC World Service. This demonstrates the reach of free publicity, although I was sadly never asked for an autograph.
The figures in case you were interested:
- Property purchased for £75,000 inc’ legals
- Refurb costs including sale fees and legals – £30,000
- Sale price – £135,000
- Profit – £30,000
There started my property journey, and my love affair with bricks and mortar has continued ever since.