Amusing TalesAuction Property

How I (almost) Bought A New Life At A Property Auction For £5k!

When I look through the property auction catalogues I’m always on the look out for something different…something which catches my eye…and today I found it.

It’s not much to look at –  it’s a top floor one bed flat in a period building:

But what caught my imagination was the description: “well located for the marina” (the other half is into his sailing) and it was located on the Isle of Bute…Yes, to me, that sounded definitely interesting – hell I didn’t even know where the Isle of Bute was – that’s got to be worth looking into!

And so my appetite was whetted – why wouldn’t I be interested in knowing more about this one bed flat for sale on the Isle of Bute (wherever that may be) which is “well located for the Marina”...and so I checked the guide price. It was £5k. What! Just £5k for this top floor one bed flat on the Isle of Bute which is “well located for the Marina!”

That calls for more research to be done!

Just where is the Isle of Bute?!

It’s in Scotland.  It’s an island in the Firth of Clyde if you want me to be precise.  And its resident population as at April 2001 was 7,228.  “Ooh just think of the peace and quiet. The serenity. The laid back way of life” I mused. “And the sailing will be great” piped up the other half.

And so we got ourselves onto google street view to take a look at this marina, which the flat was well located for and we thought we’d take a closer look at the Isle of Bute – well I was stunned. Just how gorgeous is this!!

So anyway, off we went into our respective fantasies: the other half mooring his boat in the marina (prompting him to show me the various boats he was then thinking of buying) to me deciding the interior fit out of the flat (a nautical theme would be fun).  And then me deciding that as I’ll be a boat widow I should take up another hobby – which should be art. Yes, art, as I decided that the scenery was so, well, scenic. And before we knew it, spotting this property at auction had us moving to the Isle of Bute so that I could be an artist and the other half could be a sailor!

And so off in our fantasy auction purchase we start looking up what else to do in Bute – we learn there’s some arty festivals (handy for me and my new artistic vocation), 3 golf courses, historic houses and great beaches. We are sold. We are packing up and off we go.

And so we decide to work out how to get there. We can get a flight to Glasgow and then we can either hire a car and drive over and take the ferry, or we can take a flight, then a train and then the ferry from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay. And I’m pleasantly surprised to report that for such a small island the ferry service is very regular!

But you know – we were in property auction fantasy land – and this is all sounding far too sensible…so then I find us a Sea Plane which we can get from Glasgow airport which will then use the marina (which the flat is well located for!) as a landing strip. Well, this was too cool for words.  And you know what – it takes just 17 minutes from Glasgow airport to Port Bannatyne.  Yes this could be us:

Well that was it – decision made.  We’ll get a flight to Glasgow and a seaplane to Port Bannatyne and then we’ll be right outside our flat. Our £5k flat. Well located for the Marina.  Perfect.

I called the auctioneer to organise a viewing.


There are not going to be any viewings.  The property price is so low it’s not worth any body’s time so they’re not doing any viewings.

Fine.  So I won’t see inside. But, I still want my Scottish Seaplane adventure. I will not be deterred – not now I know I can get a Seaplane to right outside my doorstep!  That is just the coolest way to travel!

So I carry on doing some research.

And then I learn this flat (along with several others in the block) have been to auction many times…both here and in Scotland. And most times they have not sold. And in fact, the entire building is empty and is falling apart.

Oh!  The disappointment was, frankly, disappointing.  My marina idyll with my Scottish Seaplane commute was not going to happen, my nautical inspired interior design was not going to happen, the other half was not going to spend his days sailing on a boat, and me…I was not going to be an artist.

The disappointment was crashing…just like how my seaplane would have sounded when it landed outside my flat. My falling apart flat. In an empty block. Which is also falling apart.

And so I booked a hotel instead. It may have been a property auction brochure – but for me it has turned out to be the equivalent of a holiday brochure!


This property has sold today at auction for £10,000.


  1. Andy

    5k is very, very cheap even for Bute. But you can still pick up nice flats for £30 – £50K and the island is very beautiful, especially in this gorgeous weather we’ve been having.

    1. Sam

      Yes I did find a lovely flat with gorgeous sea views for 35k – it does seem to be very affordable for such a beautiful place.

  2. Hmolandlady

    OR you could buy the whole block and turn it into a townhouse by the marina! Slight problem with Scotland – it can be very cold. I went to uni in Glasgow and spent most of my time wrapped in thermals dreaming of accommodation which boasted central heating. Lovely idea though……

    1. Myra Duffy

      I loved this -we have a holiday home on the island and I can vouch that it’s a magical place. I write crime novels set on the island, but it’s really a quiet and chillout part of Scotland!

      1. Sam

        It really does look like a magical place…not quite the setting I had in mind for a crime novel – but then again look at Midsomer Murders! I will check out the “Last Ferry to Bute” – will it be the last ferry I ever take??

    2. Sam

      Yes a townhouse by the Marina sounds a plan! I checked the weather there throughout the year and surprisingly it doesn’t seem to get as cold as what I had anticipated…although I’ll take my thermals just in case!

  3. Jonathan

    Yes, it is a lovely area, but the pictures you find are slightly…skewed. On a sunny day, it is beautiful, but the rest of the time it windy. Or raining. Or snowing. Or all three – in June.

    Nice place to visit, but I would not want to live there!

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