The VPR Blog

auction property leeds

9 Heathfield Terrace LS6 sold (to someone else) in auction for £247,000.00. View the property details.

I’d put in a good bit of work on this one and I was disappointed that I got out bid at Auction House’s October 22 auction. The house was a real mess but it came with, albeit expired, planning for three apartments and was excellently positioned just off Cottage Road in the Headingley Conservation Area.

There were some nice original features - leaded glass, a couple of fireplaces, an impressive stone arched doorway and turned stair spindles and newels – and it was just the kind of job that Vintage Property Restoration specialises in. Too complex for most investors and builders, too small and fiddly for most property developers.

I concluded that the secret to the interior layout was to knock out the front chimney breast and rejig the stairs so that they ran up straight from just inside the front door. There was just room for a landing on the first floor with front doors to the upper flats. The ground floor could be accessed through the attractive original arched doorway to the side. This layout made the flats self-contained and maximised floor space.

The place was trashed needed total renovation. Furthermore, I knew that building control were going to want acoustic insulation between the floors, thermal insulation in the roof and the stairwell made compliant with fire regs.

The outside was ugly but I figured that the best approach was to mirror the white and blue of the attractive semi next door and make it look like one big house. The outside needed paving but once outhouses had been taken down there would be three off-road parking bays.

All in all, the conversion costs would near the £200k mark. But with planning already approved and no major structural issues it promised to be a relatively straightforward job. The guide was £195-215k. I was confident that the resale value of the renovated flats would be £160+ so I decided I would bid up to £241k.

I duly arrived at Elland Road, the lot came up and bidding started at £195k. I tend to wait in auctions until lower bidders drop out. My theory is that if several people are bidding for a lot it gives the impression that the property is worth more and may convince uncertain buyers to stay in the running longer.

Four or five interested parties took the price rapidly up to £220k where they rapidly dropped off, and by £226k there appeared to be only one man left standing, so I weighed in. We batted back and forth in divisibles of a thousand pounds both showing signs of strain. Twice he faltered and I thought I had it but both times he came back and took the price over £240k.

I signalled to the auctioneer that I wanted to go up in £500s and the ping pong continued. I’d set my ceiling at £241k and should have stopped there. But I’d sorted through the architectural issues and had started thinking of this as VPR’s next project. So I hung in there all the way up to £246,500.

It’s hard to think in the middle of bidding war that’s why it’s important to fix your ceiling before the auction. By now I knew I was out of my comfort zone. I also knew that going up in £500s he would get to the magical £250k first and a higher bid would earn me 1.5% stamp duty. I briefly considered beating him to the mark but caution got the better of me and I shook my head and looked round at my counterpart stood by the bar with a beaming smile on his face.

He came over and grasped my hand relief flowing off him. I mumbled congratulations and reflected that if it he’d not been there I’d have landed the house for 226 grand. Still he was a good sport considering that my presence in the room had cost him 20 thousand pounds. Good luck to him.

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