Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning The Great House Giveaway offers foreigners the unique chance to climb the property ladder. This is done by giving them the money to buy, renovate and sell a house, while keeping the profits they make.
Thursday’s episode (May 12) saw the team travel to Weston-super-Mare to see how two Somerset locals would fare while renovating a property in dire need of TLC. Unknowns Aaron and Stuart thought they had the skills to pull off the massive operation, with the latter admitting that “having your own house has always been the point of always renting”.
However, although the pair seem to have gotten off to a good start, things would soon start to turn sour, raising fears that one of them could be left on their own. The first task was to identify a site that represented a superior fixer opportunity.
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The house that was chosen was a three– bedroom terrace in the heart of Weston-super-Mare. It was hoped that the pair would benefit from the strength of the housing market – with prices up 11% from last year in this particular area.
Presenter Tayo Oguntonade bought the house at an auction on their behalf, sealing the deal for £143,000. On top of this cost, additional costs of approximately £10,000, coupled with a budget of £15,000, brought the overall planned expenditure to £168,000.
Located on a busy street, the building was clearly in need of major renovation, with visible cracks and a significant amount of dampness evident. And it soon became apparent that every wall in the house had to be stripped and replastered from scratch. The duo had six months to develop and sell this tired and dated beachfront terrace.
They immediately got to work stripping down the bathroom, the plan being to focus on the upper floor first, while also wanting to make major changes to the construction downstairs. It didn’t take long for it to become apparent that it wasn’t just the house where the cracks were showing.
Stuart was visibly annoyed that Aaron was nowhere to be found on a regular basis, as the plasterer by trade had other demands on his time. After three months of hard work, Stuart returned from a week off with news – Aaron had decided to leave the project, with Stuart saying it “wasn’t really a shock as he struggled to be here for some reason”.
However, Aaron seemed to have a solid excuse after breaking his ankle while playing football. Shown to have his leg in a splint, the young partner said: ‘I think what I did was right, now that it happened it kind of ended it all.
This left Stuart with the task of plastering the whole house, which he is unfamiliar with, while having to use more of the budget to employ specialists. Additionally, he soon received a lot of help from his wife, Holly, with the project now a full-fledged family affair.
After a lot of hard work the walls were finally able to start painting, the bathroom fitted and the windows sealed – although the downstairs area still needed a lot of work with only two weeks to complete.
Using his wife’s help, Stuart was able to complete the job. Upstairs was a sleek, modern finish with an attractive bathroom, the ground floor saw an attractive kitchen diner while patio doors led out to an open and airy garden.
However, it was eventually revealed that their overall cost actually reached the higher total of £184,456 due to going over budget. Luckily estate agents valued the house at around £210,000 – bringing tears to tears from Holly, crying “You made this house a £210,000 house. I’m so proud of you”.
When buyers thought the listed price of £220,000 was too high, an investor made an offer of £210,000 which was duly accepted. Stuart was able to walk away with a profit of over £25,000 – and with the added bonus of not having to split it with Aaron.