Prior to buying a mid-terrace house in suburban Manchester, Lee Malone’s property experience extended to watching Grand Designs religiously and helping a friend refurbish his house. However, when the time came to get on the property ladder, he always knew he’d prefer a project that allowed him to get his hands dirty, rather than a perfect, ready to move in home. He was just waiting for the right opportunity.
Then his girlfriend, now fiancé Sarah, was in his office one day scrolling through Rightmove on her Ipad when a house that had just been listed caught her eye. The property was in suburban Manchester, on the border of Wythenshawe and Timperley Village. Close to the local tram, it had excellent transport links to Manchester city centre and the airport.
However, it desperately needed modernising. ‘Half of the kitchen had already been ripped out and was falling to bits,’ says Lee. ‘It was a bit rotten. You could tell it had deteriorated quite a bit.’
‘I was the first person to call up about it,’ he adds. ‘We booked a viewing for the following morning. We viewed it at about half eight in the morning. I came back on the Saturday with my parents to have a look and then just made an offer straightaway. And then by the Monday it was final.’
Flipping the house
‘I did as much as I possibly could to the property myself, spending my weekdays running a business and my evenings and weekends working on the property,’ says Lee.
‘I gutted everything, painted everywhere and even lay the whole downstairs flooring. I remember me and Sarah spending 36 hours across two days fitting and painting the skirting and architrave and finishing off the snag list, so the property was ready for the new carpets that weekend.’
The property had an old fashioned one pipe central heating system which meant that upstairs where the boiler was located got really hot, whilst the downstairs radiators remained lukewarm. Lee had this systems replaced with a modern two pipe system and also got a new boiler. The old boiler cupboard, that the bathroom was wrapped around in an L shape, was knocked down, opening up extra space for the bathroom suite.
The house was fully rewired, re-plastered and re-painted with three coats of paint. ‘I’m a big fan of grey interior so paint-wise the master bedroom is in Farrow & Ball Down Pipe and the living room, stairs and other bedrooms have been painted in Farrow & Ball Elephant’s Breath,’ Lee says. ‘The bathroom is my favourite room of the property: I love the dark grey tiles against the crisp white and chrome bathroom suite.’
In the end, the house was put on the market and bought by a professional couple who were first-time buyers. Lee says that viewings came mainly from young couples of similar ages looking to buy their first home and families wanting to size up to a fully renovated, ready to move in house.
Breakdown of costs
Purchase price £148,000
Renovation cost £16,500
Sale price £207,000
Not afraid to get his hands dirty with the practical aspects of projects, Lee has his eyes set on the next steps in his property journey. ‘I genuinely enjoy doing it [building work],’ he says. And I’ve aquired enough power tools that it would be silly not to do it.’
His brother lived in HMOs for a number of years when he first moved to London and he thinks a mini-HMO project could be an interesting option for his next property move. If he were to go ahead with an HMO, Lee says he would stick to the Manchester area, mentioning the area around Reddish as a possible location for one.
‘I’ve spoke to Sarah my fiancé about it. She’s well up for it. We’re getting married in May 2020. We want to start a family.
‘I just think about the freedom that comes with it from a time point of view. That’s one reason that I love doing what I do at the moment. If I’ve had a good month or a good day I can afford the time to do things.’
@Lee_Malone – Follow updates on Lee’s latest projects via Instagram.