Archive | January, 2012

Homes Under The Hammer: The Cracking Catford Flat

30 Jan

I haven’t blogged for a while as I have decided to take some time off – but you know property is addictive!

I still find myself poring over the auction catalogues and oohing and ahhing…and occasionally (OK at least once per day) calling an estate agent – but at least its at a slower pace than previously.

This means I have more time to indulge in normal stuff that other people do – like watch Homes Under The Hammer! And while I watch these property auction goers, I can live vicariously through people buying and selling at auction without me even having to get in my car and see the property or get my cheque book out or find out my tools to renovate the places!

So it was with great interest when I watched Homes Under The Hammer on Iplayer which was broadcast on BBC One at 10:00AM Fri, 27 Jan 2012 which featured a flat in Catford, London.  Watch here

I was hugely interested because I had viewed the flat and had wanted to buy it in 2010.  It was a lovely one bed flat on the top floor of a handsome period building and in pretty good condition.  Here are the photos I took:

However, what put me off was the state of the communal areas and cracks in the walls. The whole building had a very uncared for feel and look and I was concerned what sort of bills may come in for the upkeep of the building.  I was also put off by the cars parked at the front of the building which had so many weeds growing under them I didn’t think they had moved for years.

So anyway, having viewed the flat and given my concerns about the communal areas of the building and the general fabric I decided against it – plus it was being sold at Savills who are well known for pricing low just to get you in. I didn’t really expect the flat to sell anywhere near it’s £80k guide.

So imagine my surprise as I was watching Homes Under the Hammer and it shows the buyer picking up the Catford flat at the Savills auction for a steal at just £91k.  He does a good job with a new kitchen and bathroom and when the estate agents come round they proclaim the new value to be £150k.

“What” I shout at the television “Not a chance!”

I remembered I had done research on the flat and the end value of £150k sounded way over the top to me.

Incensed that I had passed on this bargain I had to do more research to see if I had under-valued the flat.  Scouring the land registry figures I saw the guy did sell the flat, but not for £150k – he sold it for £132,500.  Which to be fair is a good price given what he paid for it and the cost of the renovations.

Obviously I over-estimated how much the poor condition of the communal areas and the cracking of the building may put people off – the guy did well on this flat.  It didn’t need much work and he pulled a good profit margin on a small project.

Am I tempted back to property on account of this? Well the same episode of Homes Under The Hammer did feature a couple of developers who pulled off a stunning chapel conversion in Chelmsford with a much more attractive £400k profit!

Will This Be A Landlord Christmas Miracle?

4 Jan

Like any other normal person on Christmas day there comes a point in the day when you think…“I wonder if the Amazon sales have started yet?”



And so as luck would have it, while I surreptitiously got my fix on the iPhone in the kitchen I saw before me they had “70% off Jewellery”, “60% off books” and “50% off Home & Garden”.  Unfortunately, being a landlord means the conscience pricks in – and I always seem to find myself choosing the sensible option over the more interesting option. So while I was rather tempted by the pretty, glittering diamonds of the 70% cheaper necklaces, I found myself clicking through on the discounted vacuum cleaner icon.

I know it’s sad.

It gets worse.

I have to admit I got excited.

Like some kind of porn addict I find myself salivating over the carpet cleaners and the reviews of a Vax W90-RU-B Rapide Ultra Upright Carpet and Upholstery Washer which was half price on Amazon – just £114.99 with free delivery.

“This is an awesome bit of kit. It totally rejuvenated an old carpet. It is a cinch to set up from the box and just works right away. I was amazed at just how good it was”

“Used the washer to clean a cream carpet in my sons bedroom which I thought was ready for the skip-after two washes the carpet came up like new”

“All in all, I can’t praise this machine enough…The results are splendid”



“I decided to buy this model…i have to say I LOVE IT!!

“The carpet has come up like new. Tea, coffee, wine and other random stains and dirt have all been removed effectively and the carpet is lovely and clean”

“I would certainly recommend this cleaner, it is lightweight, easy to fill and empty and can even tackle the most ‘horrid’ of stains”

“It took no time at all to clean the carpet with amazing results”

“I am very pleased with the results, my carpet looks like new and I would highly recommend this product specially if you have children, cats or dogs”

I scoured the reviews for any landlords who may have bought…children, pets and wine stains are one thing – but how about tenants?

But I was bowled over by “Reviewer Love”. I daydreamed about “as new” carpets, about not “skipping” carpets, about not keeping Carpet Right’s share price afloat in 2012.

And then before me – on eBay-  I saw my Christmas present sent from Landlord Heaven: a Vax W90-RU-B Rapide Ultra, used once, 6 months old, located down the road in Cambridge and with a starting price of just 99p!

But what to do – the eBay auction had 9 days left to run, but the Amazon half price deal had only 8 days left…with limited stock.

And, of course, every person on the planet would want to buy one of these Vax machines when they read the reviews. How could I be sure that I wouldn’t miss the deal of the century? If I didn’t buy now I may end up Vax-less! I knew if I didn’t buy it right at that moment my Christmas would be filled with regret and 2012 would be awash with purchasing new carpets.

Fuelled by Christmas spirit and my then decided New Year’s Resolution to “buy less carpet” I quickly emailed the eBay seller explaining my predicament with the Amazon sales and his auction end date and emphasizing my need to buy this miracle machine.  Obviously, the seller was equally bored of the Christmas day festivities and had replied within moments.  After a quick-fire text exchange I am soon-to-be the proud new owner of a Vax W90-RU-B Rapide Ultra!

And so I have collected the miracle machine aka Vax W90-RU-B Rapide Ultra and it is soon to be put through it’s paces with it’s first tenant house this weekend.  I feel it’s a fair test – a property which until recently housed a single mother with 9 children (no kidding!). And I am looking forward to the promised vision of “as new” carpets which will be as sparkling and as glossy as a raven haired beauty on a L’Oreal shampoo advert.  Of course, I know this carpet cleaner won’t change my life…but in it’s own way I am expecting my own little Christmas miracle.

To Be Continued.