Property Ladder follows amateur developers as they renovate their properties in the hope of making a profit. Presenter Sarah Beeny draws on her decade of experience in the property sector to offer down-to-earth advice on the best ways to survive the seismic shifts facing the housing market.
Episode 1 (Balcombe/ Hertford)
Kids are expensive so what better way than developing property to make them earn their keep. In West Sussex Mark and Linda Fairall turn developing into a family affair, and recruit their teenage children Ben and Hannah during the summer hols, but they’ve re-mortgaged the family home to finance a very tricky build and Sarah fears they may be throwing away the children’s future. Meanwhile in Hertford mum Karen Murphy has roped in a very reluctant son Ben in his gap year to help out on a tiny Victorian cottage. All profits go to his college fund but Karen’s crazy artistic vision has Ben sizing up a poverty stricken future.
Episode 2 (Northampton/ Clevedon)
This week Sarah has a fiery encounter with two sets of more experienced developers, both hoping to make a whopping £100,000. In Northampton Mark Bedritch and Kate Moravesky’s conversion of an old massage parlour turns into a nightmare, but Sarah’s suggestion to hire in a professional project manager gets a frosty reception. In Clevedon mates Simon Reed and David Richards race ahead with their development despite not having planning permission. When the authorities catch up with them Sarah pushes for a dramatic change of plan. Will they be too proud to listen to her advice?
Episode 3 (Aylesbury/ Ewell)
In the third programme of the series Sarah takes on two sets of developers who are convinced there’s easy money to be had in developing, but they couldn’t be more wrong. In Ewell Matt and Michelle take the punt of their lives by sinking all their savings into a massive bungalow conversion without doing a jot of research. Sarah suggests a little homework might be in order. In Aylesbury Stuart and Marje Randall have just come off the back of a truly disastrous first development, and when you see their new set of plans it’s not hard to understand why. Their big idea to spend half the budget on widening the hallway has bankruptcy written all over it. Can Sarah avert a second disaster?
Episode 4 (Greenwich/ Strood)
In our last programme we’re back with two brand new sets of developers and a real roller coaster ride of a story that’s all about the value of location. Peter Hopkin and Darryl Broughton buy into rapidly rising Greenwich and the ‘Olympic effect’, so the development should be a breeze. Instead the property seems jinxed and the boys hit disaster after disaster. Do they have the grit to hang on in until the end and cash in on the rising market? In Strood, Vernon and Sue Francis have achieved the remarkable feat of buying a property with no location at all. It’s an old cargo ship they want to turn into a houseboat, but it has no mooring and no real value. Sarah pulls out all the stops to help Sue and Vernon find their floating house a prime location that will see it rocket in value.
Episode 5 (Elm/ Wysall)
From windmills to barns us Brits are conversion crazy, but that doesn’t stop them being some of the hardest developments around. In Wysall, just outside of Nottingham, Steve Lumb is trying to ward off a mid-life crisis by converting a striking Methodist chapel. The building offers up the most amazing space but only Steve is suffering from a complete lack of vision and wants to carve it up into a bog- standard three bedroom home. Sarah locks horns with this stubborn Yorkshire man. ‘I don’t want to be a property developer any more. I want to go home’ is one of his memorable quotes.
In Elm, Cambridgeshire, carpenter Vaughan Dibble and his partner Jackie Vickers fall hook line and sinker for a quaint former pub. Converting it into the quintessential country home becomes the challenge of a lifetime, especially as Sarah thinks they’re missing out on the cottage’s real potential. Jackie and Vaughan need to stump up more cash, but first want guarantees. Sarah has to remind them that there’s no such thing in property developing.
Episode 6 (Edgware/ Croydon)
London now has the most expensive property on earth and getting onto the ladder is increasingly out of people’s reach – unless you take on a low cost, high risk development. Milan Patel and Tai Alibhai, in Stanmore, North London, think they can make a mint by hugely extending their small cottage, but have taken a massive gamble buying it without planning permission. This turns into an outrageously haphazard development, full of comedy and error. When work finally begins Sarah arrives to find the garage half the size it should be. A quick snoop around reveals the wrong plans are on site. Unfortunately nobody’s told the builder!
In Croydon, South London, florists Andy Davenport and Leanne Hewitt have picked up a dirt cheap semi that’s suffering from a nasty bout of subsidence.
Episode 7 (Streatham/ Aldershot)
For many people developing is a great deal more than a straight commercial venture. It’s a one-off shot at a whole new existence. Matt and Jodie Turnbull’s dream ticket to a fresh start is a big old Edwardian house in Streatham that needs one major overhaul. The problem is Matt and Jodie are dog-sitters and take on this huge DIY challenge surrounded by packs of interfering hounds! The property ends up ponging so badly of dog Sarah is forced to take extreme measures.
Clive Jacobs has been married to Deborah for five years, but they’ve been lodging in a single room for all that time. Desperate to raise enough money for a home of their own they risk all their savings on an unappealing ex-council house in Aldershot. The venture looks doomed when building control force them to put in a downstairs loo that ruins the layout. Sarah mounts a campaign to overturn the decision and rescue Clive and Deborah’s future together.
Episode 8 (Chiswick)
In Chiswick Richard Chan and Isabelle Penao are taking on one of the biggest developments we’ve ever featured on the programme, digging out the entire underneath of a house, and most of its garden, to create a gargantuan lower ground floor. They’re looking for a whopping £300K profit, but are developing the wrong property in the wrong part of Chiswick. What’s more Richard and Isabelle become completely overwhelmed by build. There’s a heart stopping moment when Sarah arrives on site, only to discover that the existing house looks set to topple into the giant hole they’ve dug beneath it.
Episode 9 (Telford/ Mansfield)
Property prices are at an all time high so more and more people are teaming up with friends to get on the developing ladder – but is it worth the trouble? In Mansfield near Nottingham bouncers Danny Smith and Sean Spencer are the most unlikely pair of developers you’re ever likely to see. They’ve taken on a Victorian terraced house and are determined to do it all themselves on a non-existent budget. The problem is while Sean has good skills Danny’s a walking DIY disaster. When they get together it’s like two bulls in a china shop.
Near the Ironbridge Gorge in Telford two couples, Wendy and Keith Munro and Liz and Pete Czap are joining forces to take on a challenging 60’s property. It’s on a ridiculously steep hill and the layout is as outdated as they come. There are an awful lot of cooks to spoil this developing broth, especially when Keith decides he prefers going on holiday to project management.
Episode 10 (Christchurch/ Wanborough)
Property prices are at an all time high so more and more people are teaming up with friends to get on the developing ladder – but is it worth the trouble? This week the Beeny has her hands full with 2 sets of first timers taking on not one, but two properties each.
Sarah thinks Helen Simpkins and Paula Harris in Wanborough are mad to squeeze three bedrooms into their pair of tiny Victorian cottages in Wanborugh. And will Chris and Amanda Hodges have what it takes to do a colossal DIY job on their two large semis in Christchurch.
It’s double jeopardy all round.