Homes Under the Hammer: Martin Roberts on 'surge' in viewers
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In a recent episode of Homes Under the Hammer, presenter Dion Dublin met with property developer Justin, who bought a former council depot at auction. After revisiting the property, Justin told Dion he wasn’t impressed with what he bought and he would never build a house ever again. Justin had plans to build a residential property on the plot of land, although, he soon came across a huge hurdle when the council refused his application to build a house there.
Justin bought the abandoned building in Milton Keynes, which consisted of two units and a plot of land for £79,000 at auction – way over the guide price of £35,000.
Taking to Dion Dublin about his regrets of buying the units, Justin began: “Now I’ve looked at it (the building) I’m not that impressed with it. I had a quick look at it in the dark and I thought it was a bit better than it was.
“Having had some planners look at the plot they are saying I could do more with it than I thought I could.
“So, I’m more interested in doing something with the residential now and then possibly in 12 months or so I may attempt to put some houses on this as well.”
He continued: “When I first spoke to the planner, I said I wanted to put a three-bedroom detached (house) on the land but looking at the size of the plot I thought that’s all I would be able to get on.
“But he looked at it and said I would easily be able to get two-three bedroomed detached on there with two parking spaces for each and big enough gardens – so I was quite pleased with that.”
Justin went on to tell Dion a friend of his was going to do the majority of the building work, and he hoped it would be complete within eight months.
He said: “A friend of mine is a very good builder. He won a bricklayer of the year competition years ago when he was a teenager.
“He does everything for himself, so he’s going to build them but I’m going to help him.”
Despite wanting to build the property within eight months, when Dion and the Homes Under the Hammer team went to visit Justin almost two years later, the plot of land looked exactly the same.
“The council didn’t like that both houses weren’t facing the road in alignment,” Justin explained.
“They were talking about the frontage needed to be the same all the way down the road so they told me they wouldn’t allow it.
“But we went ahead anyway, it got refused, we went to appeal and it got refused again so now we’re back to square one and looking at a single semi-detached house with four bedrooms.”
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Six years later, Homes Under the Hammer revisited Justin once again and were thrilled to see he had built his four-bedroom house – with the council depot being used as a storage shed complete with toilet, water and electrics.
The new home was built with four large bedrooms with the master having an en-suite, a large open-plan kitchen and a separate dining room, a downstairs cloakroom and a family bathroom upstairs as well as a large double garage outside.
“We felt that a large modern house nowadays deserves a large kitchen/diner so it was fairly open plan,” Justin explained.
“It’s also got a dining room and large living room and four large bedrooms.”
Speaking to Dion about the challenges he faced while building the house, Justin added: “When we started the project I only had one builder who did most of the work on his own, therefore it has taken a long time to build this.
“I thought my part was delegating so I didn’t get too involved, hands-on.”
An estate agent who visited the house after it was valued the house at between £360,000 and £365,000.
However, in the meantime, it sold for £361,000.
Unfortunately, with Justin spending £300,000 on building the house – plus the £79,000 he paid for the land – he ended up with a loss of £18,000.
He later told Dion: “I am a property developer but I’ve never built a new house before so I wanted to do this because I had the land available, so that’s why I built a new house.
“I’ve learned from this – never do it again.”
Homes Under the Hammer airs daily at 10am on BBC One.
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