Pictures By David Poole
Few are better placed to give advice when it comes to buying at auction than Lucy Alexander, presenter of BBC1’s popular morning TV show Homes Under The Hammer.
So it’s ironic that she broke every rule in the book when she bought her own home at auction without setting foot in the property – a six-bedroom Arts and Crafts manor house in Thames Ditton, Surrey, which she shares with ex-footballer husband Stewart Castledine, 39.
‘We’re impulsive and gambled on this – sometimes it pays off but I’d never advocate anyone else doing it,’ she says.
‘I’d seen it from the outside and looked through the letterbox. We knew the area well and what we were doing in terms of property, having bought and sold 12 flats and houses,’ says Lucy. She was living in a five-bedroom new-build home a few doors down at the time.
‘I saw it in an auction catalogue in 2006 but we didn’t have the money and didn’t want to move. But when I found out it hadn’t reached its reserve of £1.2million, I called up afterwards and got it for £1.1million,’ she says.
The property, which had been converted into five flats in the Sixties, had been on the open market for £1.5million beforehand.
‘I think buyers had been put off because it was tenanted and we didn’t know whether we would get planning permission to turn it back into a house. If not, we would have turned it into luxury flats and sold them on.’
After they put down a £110,000 deposit, there followed a rush to secure the rest of the funds. ‘All the money we had was tied up in other properties, so we scrabbled around and had to remortgage our home to release the equity,’ says Lucy, 41.
Full story can be found the DAILY MAIL website.
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