How to Be a Property Developer - Thursday November 1

how to be a property developer (9/9)

Concluding tonight is the property series in which Gary McCausland follows two teams of hopefuls trying to make their millions in real estate. In tonight’s final instalment, the teams meet each other for the first time as Gary brings them together to look back over their year in the business and deliver their financial results.

After 12 long months of competition, Gary McCausland has invited the two teams of rookie developers to a roof-top warehouse apartment in London to reflect upon the year’s triumphs and disasters, and to reveal exactly how much cash – if anything – they have made. Londoners Dan and Daniel and Scotland-based duo Paula and Lyndsey will be made to relive their property nightmares, confess to their biggest mistakes and explain what they wish they had done differently. “It’s not going to be pleasant,” predicts Gary.

From the outset, the Dans were ambitious and confident and went straight in search of their dream project – using a helicopter to scour the country! They settled upon a four-bedroom house in Margate which they elected to convert into two upmarket apartments, but their over-confidence soon led them into trouble. Having failed to organise a survey before purchasing, they ended up with a property with multiple problems, ranging from the roof to the basement. “You two are idiots!” Gary told them at the time. Instead of making a quick sale, however, the Dans pushed ahead with the conversion and eventually lost £22,000.

Next, the boys bought a basement flat in Hastings, but did not learn from their mistakes. “You repeated the pattern and rushed in all over again,” says Gary. Sure enough, their lack of forethought left them in dire straits once more: their budget spiralled out of control; they failed to gain permission for the conversion from the freeholders; they did not apply for planning permission and they fell out with their builders. “Your people skills left a lot to be desired,” reflects Gary.

Dan and Daniel’s luck went from bad to worse, with their long-term project overseas turning into a disaster. At the start of the series, the boys invested in a run-down property near the Silver Coast region of Portugal in an attempt to cash in on the profitable ex-pat market. However, they failed to carry out the necessary research and grossly underestimated the cost of converting the building into a luxury villa. In order to cut their losses, they were forced to take their property to auction and now stand to lose as much as £37,000. So what would the pair do if they had their time all over again? “I would research my deals far better,” admits Dan.

In Scotland, the girls had a much better year. “There was one area where I thought you came into your own,” says Gary, “and that was your stubbornness.” Throughout the series, Paula and Lyndsey haggled for the lowest price when buying their properties, then held out for the highest possible price when selling.

Of the girls’ four projects –each of which brought in a tidy profit –the most ambitious and successful was the disused chapel an hour north of Edinburgh. They planned to convert the impressive building into a luxury home across three floors. However, the chapel sat in the middle of a graveyard, was near a busy road and was on top of a disused mine. Undeterred, Paula and Lyndsey began to pump cash into the project, commissioning extensive drilling, bargaining with local farmers for land and obtaining architect’s plans. “We got to a point where we couldn’t turn back,” recalls Paula. But the high-risk strategy paid off, and they eventually sold the church for a profit of £58,500 –without even lifting a paintbrush! “Would you do it again?” asks Gary. “Oh yes!” respond the girls in unison.

After taking the teams on an emotional journey back through the highs and lows of their year in the property developing business, it is time for Gary to deliver the results. While there can be no doubt as to which team won the competition, there are some surprises in store. Just how much money did the girls make, and how much did the boys lose?

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1