From the street, this terrace house looks like a pretty standard valleys house from the outside when Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts turned up to have a good nose around it.
He liked the thought of taking down the dividing wall between the front lounge and the kitchen to create a stunning open-plan downstairs space and could see that this terrace could be terrific.
There was space to create a happy home here and, although looking tired, the potential for the guide price of £39,000 made this period property very tempting.
In the kitchen Martin was getting excited about what this little house could achieve. He says: “Get rid of what’s in here, start again and create this really spectacular room, and you’ve got yourself a really liveable property.”
Upstairs Martin was pleased to see the bathroom on this upper level and not on the ground floor or taking up space protruding out into the back garden.
The two bedrooms were both a decent size, with the double at the front particularly notable, welcoming you with views out across the valley.
Martin thought there were no great alarm bells ringing here, that maybe the house just needed some new windows, heating maybe, a new kitchen and bathroom, and general work and decor that you’d expect to do on a renovation project. All looking good so far then.
But the excitement came to an abrupt stop when Martin ventured out into the garden. His positivity took a nose dive off a cliff – it was like stepping out into a prison yard on the side of a mountain.
A tiny ‘decked’ area was surrounded by an immediate and almost two-storey wall that confronted Martin like a prison yard, and he wasn’t impressed.
He says: “Not quite the garden that I was anticipating! This massive great wall and obviously some storage area that has been bricked up!”
Martin climbs the steep curved stone staircase to the next level of the garden, and it doesn’t get any better.
Martin says: “It goes even further that way as well but, you know what, unless you’re planning on keeping a mountain goat, it’s not really ideal!
“I suppose the only thing to say is that with a lot of houses built into the hills, it’s not unusual to have steep sided gardens around here, but call this a garden? You must be kidding!”
At least Martin didn’t suggest getting sheep instead of goats for the obvious Welsh ‘joke’.
Coupled with the north face of Everest waiting for a new owner outside, there was another potential surprise and challenge for a new owner.
Potential buyers needed to be aware that the house was a leasehold property, unusual for a house but apparently not at all uncommon in this area of the Welsh valleys.
The approximate 60 years left on the lease could make it harder to get a mortgage and with a guide of £39,000 Martin thought that the house would probably go to a cash buyer.
Whoever bought it, Martin recommended solicitor involvement to investigate extending or buying the lease if they were thinking of selling the property on, once the renovation project was complete.
But apart from the garden, Martin thought this house in Merthyr Tydfil ‘rocked’ and new owners Richard and Hannah and their business partner Harjit thought so too, securing the house at auction for £43,000.
These local, serial property renovators and landlords bought five at the auction as part of a plan to construct a rental portfolio of 50 homes to achieve their dream of one day living in Spain.
This was property number 18 so there were still a few more trips to the auction house needed.
The couple were not phased by the lease and were planning to look into purchasing it or extending it, but their plans for the garden were even easier to achieve – do nothing.
Richard says the house is rentable with the garden as it is and that the wall is structurally sound so with a budget of around £6-7k and a timescale of 6-8 weeks the married couple disappear into the distance to get their builders stuck into the project, minus their gardening tools.
Twelve weeks later and the show returns to see this makeover in Merthyr.
There’s a new front door, new flooring, a new kitchen and bathroom, one new window, a new balustrade on the landing, a new boiler, replacement of rotten flooring and a paint job across the entire house.
This splash of paint included the rear facade of the house, but that’s the only change to see out there as, true to Richard’s word, nothing has been done in the garden.
Martin is personally still rather worried, saying: “There’s no change to that rather steep garden, however, I still think I would want a gate or some fencing”.
The timescale slipped a bit due to roadworks outside and the budget stretched to £7,435 due to the hidden floor problem.
So the total budget spent stood at just under £50,500 without an allocation for buying the lease.
The estate agent predicted a value of between £60-70k if the short lease remains, and when and if the couple purchase the lease this might go up by about £5,000.
But it’s the rental figure that these prolific landlords are more interested in and it comes back at a yield of over 10.5% based on a rent of £450 per calendar month.
They have already found a tenant to move in at £450 pcm, although the chance to bring their mountain goat with them when they move in is probably optional.
This story appeared on Homes Under The Hammer in series 23, episode 9, and can currently be seen on BBC iPlayer.
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