How to Be a Property Developer

the seven deadly sins of property developing

Over the last three series of How to Be a Property Developer, Gary McCausland has witnessed many a novice come unstuck in the hazardous waters of real estate. This programme looks back at some of the most calamitous mistakes that the show’s participants have made, and compiles the definitive list of the biggest no-nos in the business.

The show also provides a chance to catch up with some old faces to see if they realised their dreams of making it in the property developing business. The first area of the business in which wannabe developers often make mistakes is in choosing a property for investment. Ed from Manchester foolishly bought a property described by the notoriously truth-bending estate agents as ‘firedamaged’. These words did not prepare him for the blackened, debris-strewn nightmare that awaited him. Then there was feisty Liverpudlian duo Tracey and Amanda who bought a house with yawning cracks in the walls. “When you hand over your cash for a turkey,” says Gary, “you may as well flush it straight down the pan.” ‘Picking a Dud’ is Gary’s first deadly sin.

As many of the show’s participants found out, ‘Breaking the Bank’, another of Gary’s deadly sins, is a dangerously easy thing to do. An alarming number of amateur developers set their hearts on properties and lose sight of the fact that their investments are business projects, often spending well over budget to secure a dream. When all this happens in the harsh environment of an auction room, adrenaline can often get the better of an inexperienced developer. “Don’t go to an auction if you are a competitive person and you have to be a winner at all costs,” warns Jayne from Brighton. When she and Heather targeted a property with a self-imposed budget of £145,000, Heather refused to lose out to a rival bidder and the duo ended up paying thousands over their budget.

The woes of the aspiring property developer are far from over when the property has been bought. Troublesome hurdles such as planning permission, DIY and delays can soon overwhelm the property owner. Gary believes ‘Cracking Under Pressure’ is another deadly sin, as keeping one’s head when all around is chaos is an all important skill. Ed from Manchester was a shining example of sangfroid when he faced tough obstacles in the renovation of one of his properties. He ended up tweaking his design plans to appease disgruntled neighbours and worried council officials. Similarly, Bristol duo Jem and Dave salvaged a drastic situation with a bungalow they discovered was riddled with rotting wood and asbestos. However, the pressure told on Tracey and Amanda when problems with one of their properties escalated to such a degree that their friendship –and business partnership –was in jeopardy.

Gary’s other deadly sins include ill-advised squabbling with irksome builders, DIY disasters and one of the most fiscally damaging sins of all – selling on for little or no profit. Plus, viewers get to see what has become of the show’s participants. Did the ambitious Ed reach the skies as a property developer? Did Dan and Daniel finally run out of money and jack it all in? And did Tracey and Amanda repair their ailing friendship and succeed in their joint venture? All will be revealed…

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?

how to be a property developer(9/9)

Coming to an end this week 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?

how to be a property developer(8/9)
20.00–21.00

Continuing on Five this week is the property series in which Gary McCausland follows two teams of hopefuls trying to make their millions in real estate. Tonight’s instalment sees the teams attempt to close their final projects as their year in the business approaches its end: Dan and Daniel pray that their gamble in Portugal will save them from financial despair; while Paula and Lyndsey attempt to squeeze as much profit as they can from their compact flat in Perth. Having performed so well throughout the year, Paula and Lyndsey have elected to stick to what they know best for their final venture: a basic conversion of a one-bedroom flat in Perth.

The flat is tiny, but the girls are confident that a quick refit could bring them in a profit of around £8,000. To this end, they hire local builder Dave and give him just two weeks to complete the work.

With such a tight schedule and a limited budget, the girls plan to make fairly minor changes to the flat: there will be new paint throughout, new bathroom units and laminate flooring. The only structural change will be to remove a wall between the kitchen and the living area. Paula and Lyndsey could make another quick profit, but their decision to leave the property without any heaters causes Gary some concern: “I think the heating issue will come back to haunt the girls,” he says.

As the first week comes to an end, the girls’ refit is coming on well. The builders have been hard at it, despite cramped working conditions, and have completed the wiring, plumbing and structural work.
The new fittings have also arrived, but Dave is unsure about Paula’s bold colour scheme: “I just can’t wait to see this finished,” he says.

In order to keep costs down, Paula and Lyndsey decide to muck in themselves and don their overalls. However, neither of the girls are natural decorators and they are soon bickering. “I’m never doing this again,” decides Lyndsey after getting a blob of paint in her hair.

At the end of the two weeks, all the work is done and the flat looks good, prompting Paula to compare it to “a penthouse flat in New York”. Though Paula’s opinion may be slightly overoptimistic, it is clear that the girls have done another good job and, with viewings starting straight away, they look set to end the year on a high.

For Dan and Daniel, things have gone from bad to worse. Having suffered a series of disasters in the UK, their hopes of success now rest on a risky gamble in Portugal –a project which they started at the beginning of the year.

Targeting the British expat market in the popular Silver Coast area, the boys have bought an empty shell of a house within an acre of land. Intending to convert the building into a luxury three-bedroom villa complete with swimming pool, they have hired a hot-shot architect to draw up comprehensive plans. “I’m very buoyant about this,” says Dan. But is his confidence misplaced? “I reckon the Dans could easily be seduced… into a grander project than they can afford,” says Gary.

Gary’s fears turn out to be well-founded when the estimated building costs balloon to a whopping €171,000 –almost three times as much as the the boys had expected. Shocked by the news, Dan and Daniel bring in British builders Ken and Keith for a second opinion. However, Ken and Keith are not able to bring any better news, suggesting that the house alone –without the swimming pool – would cost in the region of €115,000.

Seven months into their Portuguese adventure, Dan and Daniel are forced to admit that they will not be able to build their dream villa. Instead, they hit upon another plan for profit: they will apply for planning permission to build three properties on the land, then sell the plots on to developers. However, planning permission takes time that the Dans do not have, and they may be forced to resell their undeveloped property at auction to minimise their losses. “When it comes to panicselling,” warns Gary, “you’re going to get the lowest of the low.” But, with time fast running out for the Dans, will they have any other option?

how to be a property developer(7/9)
20.00–21.00

Continuing on Five this week is the property series in which Gary McCausland follows two teams of hopefuls trying to make their millions in real estate. In tonight’s edition, the go-getting girls continue to search for their ultimate project north of the border; while the boys suffer another blow which leaves them in a desperate situation.

After a string of successes in Scotland, the most recent of which netted them a huge £60,000 profit, Paula and Lyndsey are on top of the world and looking forward to a new challenge. Throughout the series, they have scoured the length and breadth of the country in search of their ultimate renovation, but the perfect project is tough to find. However, just when things are looking positive, they get some bad news: the sale of one of their previous projects has fallen through, meaning they must seriously curtail their plans for the future. “I really sympathise,” says Gary. “Cash-flow problems are one of the toughest parts of this game and they are the undoing of many a developer.”

With their now limited budget, Paula and Lyndsey struggle to find their next project, and the fruitless search is beginning to take its toll on morale. “It’s a lot tougher –this property developing thing – than anyone would think,” says Lyndsey. However, true to form, the girls refuse to give up. Arriving in Perth, once Scotland’s capital city, the girls find a small one-bedroom flat right in the middle of town. While the location is great, the flat itself is incredibly compact –but the girls spot an opportunity for a quick profit.

The girls snap up the property and waste no time in planning their conversion. “Basically, we’re just going to tart it up,” says straight-talking Paula. Within two weeks, Paula and Lyndsey intend to lay laminate flooring, give the walls and ceiling a new paint job, add modern light fittings and install a new kitchen, before selling the property on at a profit of around £10,000. This project is far from the pair’s dream conversion, but it could give the business a much-needed cash injection and return the girls to winning ways.

South of the border, the fortunes of Dan and Daniel go from bad to worse. Having made an overall loss on their previous projects, the boys are pinning their hopes of getting back in the black on a basement conversion on the Hastings seafront. However, their hopes are dashed when the sale of their last property falls through for the second time. “It’s heartbreaking, to be honest,” reflects a dejected Dan. They must now sacrifice their preferred high-spec finish on the current conversion in favour of some cheaper alternatives. To that end, the boys decide to lose the wooden floors, much of the tiling in the bathroom and some of the hired help, meaning that they will need to do more of the work themselves.

Dan and Daniel get their first piece of good news in a long time when a letter arrives from the freeholders granting permission to complete the conversion, but the good mood is shortlived. Too much time has been spent on the elaborate garden design, and the project is now way behind schedule, meaning that the boys run the risk of hitting a full-blown cash-flow crisis. In addition to their schedule woes, the Dans’ team is becoming increasingly frustrated with their slap-dash approach. “They really don’t have a clue how to organise a job,” says builder Mick.

When the work is finally finished, the basement flat has been totally transformed and is ready for viewings. However, with time now of the essence, the boys decide to take their chances at auction in order to gain a quick sale. Having bought the property for £90,000 and spent a further £30,000 converting it, Dan and Daniel are hoping for more than £140,000. When the property sells for a paltry £104,000, therefore, the boys are crestfallen. “They’ve got a great flair for design,” concludes Gary, “but terrible heads for business.” With so little time left in the competition, is this the end for Dan and Daniel, or do they have one final trick up their sleeves?

how to be a property developer(7/10)
20.00–21.00

Continuing on Five this week is the property series in which Gary McCausland follows two teams of hopefuls trying to make their millions in real estate. In tonight’s edition, the go-getting girls continue to search for their ultimate project north of the border; while the boys suffer another blow which leaves them in a desperate situation.

After a string of successes in Scotland, the most recent of which netted them a huge £60,000 profit, Paula and Lyndsey are on top of the world and looking forward to a new challenge. Throughout the series, they have scoured the length and breadth of the country in search of their ultimate renovation, but the perfect project is tough to find. However, just when things are looking positive, they get some bad news: the sale of one of their previous projects has fallen through, meaning they must seriously curtail their plans for the future. “I really sympathise,” says Gary. “Cash-flow problems are one of the toughest parts of this game and they are the undoing of many a developer.”

With their now limited budget, Paula and Lyndsey struggle to find their next project, and the fruitless search is beginning to take its toll on morale. “It’s a lot tougher –this property developing thing – than anyone would think,” says Lyndsey. However, true to form, the girls refuse to give up. Arriving in Perth, once Scotland’s capital city, the girls find a small one-bedroom flat right in the middle of town. While the location is great, the flat itself is incredibly compact –but the girls spot an opportunity for a quick profit.

The girls snap up the property and waste no time in planning their conversion. “Basically, we’re just going to tart it up,” says straight-talking Paula. Within two weeks, Paula and Lyndsey intend to lay laminate flooring, give the walls and ceiling a new paint job, add modern light fittings and install a new kitchen, before selling the property on at a profit of around £10,000. This project is far from the pair’s dream conversion, but it could give the business a much-needed cash injection and return the girls to winning ways.

South of the border, the fortunes of Dan and Daniel go from bad to worse. Having made an overall loss on their previous projects, the boys are pinning their hopes of getting back in the black on a basement conversion on the Hastings seafront. However, their hopes are dashed when the sale of their last property falls through for the second time. “It’s heartbreaking, to be honest,” reflects a dejected Dan. They must now sacrifice their preferred high-spec finish on the current conversion in favour of some cheaper alternatives. To that end, the boys decide to lose the wooden floors, much of the tiling in the bathroom and some of the hired help, meaning that they will need to do more of the work themselves.

Dan and Daniel get their first piece of good news in a long time when a letter arrives from the freeholders granting permission to complete the conversion, but the good mood is shortlived. Too much time has been spent on the elaborate garden design, and the project is now way behind schedule, meaning that the boys run the risk of hitting a full-blown cash-flow crisis. In addition to their schedule woes, the Dans’ team is becoming increasingly frustrated with their slap-dash approach. “They really don’t have a clue how to organise a job,” says builder Mick.

When the work is finally finished, the basement flat has been totally transformed and is ready for viewings. However, with time now of the essence, the boys decide to take their chances at auction in order to gain a quick sale. Having bought the property for £90,000 and spent a further £30,000 converting it, Dan and Daniel are hoping for more than £140,000. When the property sells for a paltry £104,000, therefore, the boys are crestfallen. “They’ve got a great flair for design,” concludes Gary, “but terrible heads for business.” With so little time left in the competition, is this the end for Dan and Daniel, or do they have one final trick up their sleeves?

how to be a property developer(6/10)
20.00–21.00

Continuing on Five this week is the property series in which Gary McCausland follows two teams of hopefuls trying to make their millions in real estate. In tonight’s edition, Dan and Daniel go to war with their neighbours, freeholders and builders in an attempt to claw back some of their losses; while Paula and Lyndsey look set to hit the big time with the sale of their Scottish church.

For Dan and Daniel, the journey to become successful property developers has been a rollercoaster ride. After a disastrous first project which left them in debt, the boys have turned their first profit, with a quick refit on a one-bedroom flat in Hastings. They now hope to get back in the black with a basement property on the south coast, but it is no easy conversion. The Dans are confident that the venture can bring them a profit of around £40,000 if they stick to budget. However, just a few days in, the build grinds to a halt –no materials have been ordered; and Dan and Daniel have decided to run the project from their base in London. “This so-called remote project management is naïve,” says Gary. “The build is going nowhere.”

Things get worse for the Dans as their builder, Mick, becomes increasingly frustrated with their shambolic approach. They have changed their plan for the property some four times, and it now includes an elaborate garden design, which they have had specially commissioned. But, after some time spent on site with Mick and the other tradesmen, the ice appears to be finally melting and the build can move forward. With morale high, Mick cracks on with the job with renewed vigour, promting Daniel to reflect: “Mick’s turned out to be a bit of a godsend.”

Just as Dan and Daniel are feeling positive, however, they suffer another setback –this time in the form of their neighbour, Chris. Fearing that the boys are carrying out structural work in the basement without planning permission, Chris informs the council and the freeholders, and it is not long before a planning inspector comes knocking. Luckily, the inspector allows the Dans to apply for planning permission retrospectively, but a meeting with one of the freeholders goes less well, with Dan suggesting that she is talking “nonsense”. “Dan’s people skills leave a lot to be desired,” says Gary.

Some weeks later, all the major work on the flat has been completed, and the Dans are chuffed. However, they are about to suffer a fatal blow: a phonecall from their estate agents brings the news that the sale of their one-bedroom flat in Hastings has fallen through, meaning that they now have no cash to complete the work on their current project. After months of hard work, the boys are utterly dejected. “This is very bad luck,” says Gary. “But welcome to the world of property developing.”

North of the border, Paula and Lyndsey are having a much better time. A textbook start saw them making £41,000 on their first two projects, and they are now hoping to enter the big time with the sale of a church situated an hour north of Edinburgh. Aiming for big money, they employ a classy estate agent who arrives on site to offer the news that the property could be sold for over £130,000 –earning the girls an impressive £48,000 profit! But selling the property may not be so easy: “Let’s hope the buying public can see beyond the tombstones,” says Gary.

The girls employ an architect to draw up complete plans for converting the church into a luxury, four-bedroom home, and produce some fancy brochures. A few days later, it is clear that the hard-sell approach has worked, as a queue of potential buyers lines up outside the property. “So far, this is going fantastic!” says an excited Lyndsey. But are any of the buyers genuine?

Within a week, Paula and Lyndsey receive a call from their estate agent –one of the viewers has come straight in with an unconditional offer of £135,000. However, the girls now think that their property might be worth more and decide to have another open day. Have they just negotiated themselves out of a huge profit?

how to be a property developer(6/10)
20.00–21.00

Continuing on Five this week is the property series in which Gary McCausland follows two teams of hopefuls trying to make their millions in real estate. In tonight’s edition, Dan and Daniel go to war with their neighbours, freeholders and builders in an attempt to claw back some of their losses; while Paula and Lyndsey look set to hit the big time with the sale of their Scottish church.

For Dan and Daniel, the journey to become successful property developers has been a rollercoaster ride. After a disastrous first project which left them in debt, the boys have turned their first profit, with a quick refit on a one-bedroom flat in Hastings. They now hope to get back in the black with a basement property on the south coast, but it is no easy conversion. The Dans are confident that the venture can bring them a profit of around £40,000 if they stick to budget. However, just a few days in, the build grinds to a halt –no materials have been ordered; and Dan and Daniel have decided to run the project from their base in London. “This so-called remote project management is naive,” says Gary. “The build is going nowhere.”

Things get worse for the Dans as their builder, Mick, becomes increasingly frustrated with their shambolic approach. They have changed their plan for the property some four times, and it now includes an elaborate garden design, which they have had specially commissioned. But, after some time spent on site with Mick and the other tradesmen, the ice appears to be finally melting and the build can move forward. With morale high, Mick cracks on with the job with renewed vigour, promting Daniel to reflect: “Mick’s turned out to be a bit of a godsend.”

Just as Dan and Daniel are feeling positive, however, they suffer another setback –this time in the form of their neighbour, Chris. Fearing that the boys are carrying out structural work in the basement without planning permission, Chris informs the council and the freeholders, and it is not long before a planning inspector comes knocking. Luckily, the inspector allows the Dans to apply for planning permission retrospectively, but a meeting with one of the freeholders goes less well, with Dan suggesting that she is talking “nonsense”. “Dan’s people skills leave a lot to be desired,” says Gary.

Some weeks later, all the major work on the flat has been completed, and the Dans are chuffed. However, they are about to suffer a fatal blow: a phonecall from their estate agents brings the news that the sale of their one-bedroom flat in Hastings has fallen through, meaning that they now have no cash to complete the work on their current project. After months of hard work, the boys are utterly dejected. “This is very bad luck,” says Gary. “But welcome to the world of property developing.”

North of the border, Paula and Lyndsey are having a much better time. A textbook start saw them making £41,000 on their first two projects, and they are now hoping to enter the big time with the sale of a church situated an hour north of Edinburgh. Aiming for big money, they employ a classy estate agent who arrives on site to offer the news that the property could be sold for over £130,000 –earning the girls an impressive £48,000 profit! But selling the property may not be so easy: “Let’s hope the buying public can see beyond the tombstones,” says Gary.

The girls employ an architect to draw up complete plans for converting the church into a luxury, four-bedroom home, and produce some fancy brochures. A few days later, it is clear that the hard-sell approach has worked, as a queue of potential buyers lines up outside the property. “So far, this is going fantastic!” says an excited Lyndsey. But are any of the buyers genuine?

Within a week, Paula and Lyndsey receive a call from their estate agent –one of the viewers has come straight in with an unconditional offer of £135,000. However, the girls now think that their property might be worth more and decide to have another open day. Have they just negotiated themselves out of a huge profit?

how to be a property developer(5/10)
20.00–21.00

Continuing on Five this week is the property series in which Gary McCausland follows two teams of hopefuls trying to make their millions in real estate. In tonight’s edition, Paula and Lyndsey plough on with their attempt to buy and convert a disused church near Edinburgh; while Dan and Daniel finally have some good news on the Kent coast.

Having made tidy profits on their first two projects, Paula and Lyndsey are enjoying themselves in Scotland and have set their hearts on a disused church an hour north of Edinburgh. “I am so ready for a big project,” says Paula. Two months in, however, the girls have still made no real progress. They intend to convert the building into a luxury home, but in order to sell on the property at a profit, they have planned to keep building costs to around £120,000. When a team of architects gives them a rough estimate of almost double that figure, Paula and Lyndsey are shocked. “Unless the girls come up with another plan fast,” says Gary, “this deal is dead in the water.”

The determined duo refuse to give up and have soon come up with another strategy. If converting the building themselves is out of the question, then they will apply for detailed planning permission to convert the church into a four-bedroom house, before selling it on at a profit. Gary is very impressed and calls the move “genius”.

However, there remains a big problem which threatens to derail the project. A shaft near the church suggests that the building might sit directly on top of an old mine, meaning that it could collapse in years to come. On hearing this news, Paula and Lyndsey make the bizarre decision to bring in a geological drilling team to bore metal rods 60 feet into the earth’s crust. “In all my days as a property developer,” says a bemused Gary, “I’ve never seen anything like this!”

The drilling work eats further into the girls’ precious time such that six months after Paula and Lyndsey clapped eyes on the church, they have still yet to buy it. With their spend on the project now standing at a staggering £11,000, the girls are in serious need of inspiration, but there is yet more bad news to come. “Financially, it’s a mess,” says Gary. Do the girls have one more trick up their sleeves to turn the project around?

For Dan and Daniel, things have reached a critical stage. Having lost money on their first project and dramatically overspent on their second, they are now relying on selling their one bedroom flat in Hastings for an inflated price in order to keep their heads above water. Having worked so hard and achieved so little in return, Dan is beginning to doubt his future as a property developer: “I’m finding it really difficult to make money,” he says.

An open day is organised, but only two potential viewers arrive. When one offer falls through, the boys are dejected and begin to think they should have lowered their price, as recommended by local estate agents. However, another offer of just under the asking price soon comes through and the boys make their first profit of the series. This morale boost has come at just the right time for Dan and Daniel, who head out straight away to hunt for a new project.

A large, one-bedroom flat on the seafront has just become available, and Dan intends to pull the old developer’s trick of converting it into a two bedroom property. The boys are soon firing on all cylinders, making plans to convert an internal, windowless room into a galley kitchen, while transforming the original kitchen into a second bedroom. Things begin to look even more positive for Dan and Daniel when they manage to buy the flat for £12,000 less than the asking price. “I wasn’t expecting that at all!” says Dan.

However, if they are to make a profit this time round, the boys will need to keep a tight rein on their spending. Knowing their reputation for getting carried away, Gary recommends that they leave the internal room as it is, redecorate the flat, and sell it on within two weeks. But will the boys listen to Gary’s advice, or are they about to plunge out of their depths once more?

how to be a property developer(4/10)
20.00–21.00

Continuing on Five this week is the series in which Gary McCausland follows two teams of hopefuls who have been given £300,000 and 12 months to make money in real estate. In tonight’s edition, Lyndsey and Paula raise the stakes in their quest to become property millionaires when they eye up a disused church in rural Scotland; while Dan and Daniel finally begin their second project –a small, one-bedroom flat in Hastings –but quickly run into trouble.

Having made a catalogue of errors on their first project that led to the loss of a huge £22,000, Londoners Dan and Daniel are in desperate need of some better luck with their second property. Downsizing their plans, they have bought a tiny, one-bedroom flat in Hastings, which they intend to refurbish and sell on quickly. When Gary visits the property, he learns that the Dans plan to do the majority of the work themselves, and hope to have it all done in just three weeks. “You will have to live, sleep, eat, breathe this,” warns a sceptical Gary.

Dan and Daniel want to maximise the impact of their kitchen/living area by removing the breakfast bar to create more space, and by replacing the outdated cupboards with high-gloss units and mosaic splashbacks. They are not going to touch the flat’s layout, despite the tiny bathroom, and will install electric heating –a decision which Gary thinks is a big mistake. They also intend to use wooden flooring throughout, which is expensive and time-consuming. “They need to remember that they’ll only make money if they keep it quick and simple,” says Gary.

However, the pair have made a huge error: true to form, they have bought their flat without ordering a survey beforehand, and only now discover that the plaster work is in a very bad way. The whole flat will have to be fitted with plasterboard, adding £1,000 to the budget and pushing the schedule back a number of days. Luckily, they are able to order the necessary material quickly and it arrives the following morning, allowing the boys to get straight to work. But, with four flights of stairs to negotiate, just getting the stuff into the property is a huge task. After eight hours of work, the lads are exhausted. “This is the bad part of property developing,” reflects Daniel.

Progress in Hastings continues to be painfully slow, and Dan and Daniel’s hope to have finished the project in three weeks soon looks very unlikely. Daniel has had to return to London because of other work commitments, leaving Dan to do all the manual labour and organise all the tradesmen himself. With so much pressure now on Dan’s shoulders, the quality of his work begins to suffer, and he continues to make mistakes. After six weeks of work, there is still no end in sight for what should have been a simple project, and Gary is far from impressed: “This is a disaster,” he concludes.

North of the border, the mood is far more positive. Having already made £41,000 on their first two projects, Lyndsey and Paula have set their sights on something more ambitious. A disused village church an hour north of Edinburgh has become available to buy, with offers of over £30,000 being considered. A church conversion is every developer’s dream, but such an undertaking is not for the faint-hearted. Undeterred, the girls dive straight in with an offer of £77,007. However, they fail to make their offer subject to a survey, prompting Gary to describe their decision as “sheer lunacy”.

Two days later, the girls are delighted to learn that their offer has been accepted in principal: “Oh my god!” says Paula. “We’ve got a church!” But the girls’ elation may be shortlived when they realise what they have taken on. As Gary arrives to inspect the girls’ investment, he quickly spots a number of problems that would test even the most experienced of developers. The cost of converting such a building could be phenomenal, and there are a number of pitfalls the girls have not even considered. While Paula and Lyndsey’s ambition is admirable, have they finally bitten off more than they can chew?

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