Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning The Great House Giveaway offers strangers the unique chance to get on the property ladder. This is done by giving them the cash to buy, renovate and sell a house, while keeping any profit they make.
Thursday’s (May 12) episode saw the team take to Weston-super-Mare to see how two Somerset locals would fare with renovating a property in urgent need of TLC. Strangers Aaron and Stuart believed they had the necessary skills to achieve this huge operation, with the latter admitting that “having my own house has always been the goal having always rented”.
However, despite the pair seeming to get off to a flying start, things would soon start to turn sour, leading to concerns that one of them would be left all on their own. The first task was to identify a site which represented a fixer upper opportunity.
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The house that was chosen was a three-bed terrace in the heart of Weston-super-Mare. It was hoped that the pair would utilise the buoyancy of the housing market – with prices up 11% on last year in this particular area.
Presenter Tayo Oguntonade bought the house at an auction on their behalf, sealing the deal at a price of £143,000. In addition to this cost, additional fees of around £10,000, coupled with a £15,000 budget, took the overall intended expenditure to £168,000.
Located on a busy street, the building was clearly in need of some extensive renovation work, with cracks visible and a substantial amount of damp evident. And it soon became apparent that every single wall in the house needed to be stripped back and replastered from scratch. The duo were given six months to do up and sell this tired, dated, seaside terrace.
They got straight to work stripping out the bathroom with the plan being to concentrate on the upstairs first, while also wanting to do some major constructional changes downstairs. It didn’t take long for it to become apparent that it wasn’t just the house where cracks were showing.
Stuart was visibly annoyed by the fact that Aaron was regularly nowhere to be seen, due to the plasterer-by-trade having other demands on his time. After three months of hard graft, Stuart returned from a week off with some news – Aaron had decided to leave the project, with Stuart saying that it “hasn’t come as a shock really as he’s struggled to be here for whatever reason”.
However, Aaron appeared to have a solid excuse after fracturing his ankle while playing football. Shown to have his leg in a brace, the younger partner said “I think what I did was right, now this has happened it’s kind of put an end to everything”.
This left Stuart with the task of plastering the entire house, something he’s not too familiar with, while also having to use more of the budget to employ specialist people. Additionally, he soon got plenty of help from his wife, Holly, with the project now a full-blown family affair.
After plenty of hard labour, eventually walls could start to be painted, the bathroom could be fitted and windows could be sealed – although the downstairs area still needed a lot of work with just two weeks left to finish.
By utilising the help of his wife, Stuart somehow managed to get the job complete. The upstairs represented a sleek, modern finish with an enticing bathroom, downstairs saw an attractive open plan kitchen diner while French doors led to an open airy garden.
However, it was finally revealed that their overall cost actually came to the higher total of £184,456 due to overspending on their budget. Fortunately, the estate agents valued the house at around £210,000 – leading to tears of joy from Holly, blubbering “You’ve made this house a £210,000 house. I’m so proud of you”.
While buyers thought the listed price of £220,000 was too steep, an investor did make an offer for £210,000 which was duly accepted. Stuart was able to walk away with a profit in excess of £25,000 – and with the added bonus of not having to split it with Aaron.