Sunday, February 12, 2012

Homes under the Hammer (Part one)

One of the programmes on British television I love watching is Homes under the Hammer. It’s about the sale at auction of houses, most of which are in a really bad state (almost derelict some of them) and how the new owners turn them out to look nice and cozy after a few months’ work. Once the house is finished, the programme invites a couple of estate agents to assess how much the property may be worth now if put to the market, or how much money they may expect to earn if rented. It goes without saying that the result of the improvements is such that the value of the houses usually increase, even if we deduct the purchasing price and the expenses incurred by the new owners. I love seeing the difference between the “before” and the “after”.
Lucy Alexander and Martin Roberts are the presenters of "Homes under the Hammer
Image from the BBC
In every programme we get to see three different properties, but that takes one hour. Therefore, we will watch just a part of one of the programmes in two videos. However, as they take twenty minutes in total, we will divide it in two blog posts so that it doesn’t get too long. I hope you enjoy Homes under the Hammer as much as I do!

Before watching the video, let’s have a look at the meaning of some of the words and expressions that we will hear.

  • A Period house is a house that was built during a certain historical period. It can be Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian... (see explanation in a previous post)
  • Brimming with period features / period features galore: filled with the characteristic elements of the houses of that historical period.
  • Townhouse: terrace house, row house
  • Quid is another word for pound. It comes from the Latin expression “Quid pro quo”, which means "this for that".
  • The guide price is the price that the property is expected to sell for.
  • Minton tiles (See picture)
  • Ceiling rose (See picture)
  • Cornicing or cornice is the ornamental moulding along a wall. (See picture)
  • Master bedroom is the main bedroom in the house
  • Sash window: a window with two sliding panels. (See picture)

Ceiling rose


Sash window

Minton tiles

  • Refurbish: to renovate, to make clean or fresh again.
  • Converting the attic space: making the loft or attic a liveable place.
  • Loft extension: loft conversion
  • Side extension: If you build a side extension, you make the house bigger by adding extra room at the side.
  • Nooks and crannies: corners.
  • Basement: the lowest story in a building, usually below ground level.
  • Oodles: lots, a large quantity.
  • Potential. If a house has potential, it has the necessary qualities to become a great house in the future.
  • En suite. An en suite bathroom is next to a bedroom and can only be reached by a door in the bedroom. It’s a French expresion that means “part of a set”.
  • On the rental market. If something is on the rental market, it is up for rent.
  • A sell on valuation. If you buy a house and then sell it off, you sell it soon after buying it in order to make a profit. The valuation is the price that it is expected to reach.
  • The winning bidder is the person that bids the highest price at the auction and so gets the house or any other object that is being auctioned.
  • The successful bid is the offer that gets the object that is being sold at auction.
  • Thrilled to bits: extremely excited or delighted.
  • It ticks most of the boxes: it has most of the features that we were looking for.
  • The Common: A tract of land, usually in a centrally located spot, belonging to or used by a community as a whole.
  • A bone of contention is something on which it is difficult to reach an agreement.
  • The budget is the amount of money you have available to spend.
  • I reckon: I think
  • knock through: break down

And now let’s watch the video about a lovely Victorian house in Balham, London.

To be continued...

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