As we’ve mentioned, our adventure with Jameswood started when Claire declined her offer to medical school. Now we had a whole year ahead of us with no plans. We wanted a new challenge, and decided flipping a house together would be a fun and rewarding experience.
We decided to look at auction properties, and after doing LOTS of research and making a site visit, Cal attended an auction in early October to bid on a particular property (not Jameswood Villa.)
Jameswood Villa was being sold as 3 separate units in the prior lot to the property we were interested in. However, the auction booklet didn’t mention 3 seperate sales, so when Cal placed a bid, he thought it was for the Glasgow property we had wanted.
When Cal realised, the panic set in, and he left the auction house to call me and let me know what had happened.
Quickly looking up the property, Auction House Scotland had described Jameswood Villa, Sandbank, Dunoon, PA23 8PN as in need of "full upgrading throughout", and presented with a Google Streetview image that was last updated in 2010.
We could manage full upgrades, and the photo looked alright.
What could go wrong?
A foreword before continuing: Cal and I are extremely happy and excited to be taking on Jameswood. Take this as a warning about the risks of buying a property at auction, but NOT as a warning against pursuing your dreams or goals in life.
When Cal first went to visit our newly acquired property, he realised the house needed a LOT more than the upgrading than we were imagining.
The photo presented by Auction House Scotland was conveniently angled to exclude the cracked stone on the bay window, and the leaning, crumbling front wall that indicated serious structural problems we’ve now found out are due to subsidence. The roof had gaping holes, and having been left empty for 20 years, this had allowed most of the timbers in the building to rot.
We soon realised this project wouldn’t be financially feasible if we weren’t doing the project ourselves, or if we needed a steady income to pay for overhead costs like a mortgage or rent.
Upgrade, verb: Raise (something) to a higher standard, in particular improve (equipment or machinery) by adding or replacing components. – Oxford Dictionary.
When I think of upgrading throughout, what comes to my mind is a home in need of new electrics, plumbing, kitchens and bathrooms and energy efficient improvements. I’d even describe a roof replacement as an upgrade. Apparently, however, “upgrading throughout” is what Auction House Scotland sees as an honest way of describing a derelict house with serious, visible structural problems; ones that the council has described as dangerous.
Cal and I have often pointed out derelict buildings while driving through Europe, and saw the great potential they had to be turned into beautiful homes. Jameswood isn’t the quick flip we imagined our first building project to be together, but it is a challenge we are excited to undertake.
As was mentioned, we’d love our story to inspire others to go after their dreams, even if they are as grand as restoring a dilapidated old house. But it’s always wise to learn from your experiences, or better yet, the experiences of others! Cal and I have certainly learned to be very careful and attentive at auction, and ascertain that we are bidding on the correct property! We recommend that if you’re thinking of going to auction, always read the legal documents and make a site visit before bidding.
Like with many things that happen in life, our experience at auction was a classic example of the phrase sh*t happens. And now we’re attempting to turn that sh*t into a beautiful home. What have we Dunoon?
Join us on our journey.
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