When comedian Alistair McGowan decided to become involved in the property market, he did not expect to encounter quite so many problems. Hr describes his venture into property as being a complete nightmare and such a headache as he did not realise that his project would become at times so difficult.
Alistair McGowan bought a run down property three years ago in an exclusive part of Brighton, although he lived in Barnes, southwestLondon. He paid 300,000 for the 19thcentury coach house which was situated on the seafront, located just off Marine Parade. He is not a newcomer to the property market as he has another property within Brighton which he lets out. This venture, he hoped, would be an ideal investment simply by renovating the property and selling it on.
Although he lives in London, he knows Brighton well as heused to live there with his ex-girlfriend Jess.He actually bought the coach house with her. What he thought would be a straight forwardrenovation turned out to be quite a project though. The coach house used to be used as a carrepair shop on the ground floor and had turned into a concrete flooredgarage. Upstairs was simply a mess andtherefore it was down to he and his then girlfriend to get the place restoredagain. They enlisted help from anarchitect in nearby Lewes. He set aboutdesigning a spacious and modern three bedroom home 1,442sq ft in size whichwould be put on the market for 699,950.
Sounds straight forward doesn”t it? Well this was not the case. Alistair did not envision that he would have to pay extra for soil testing, due to building previously being a commercial garage and having to be tested for contamination. Sound testing also had to be carried out and planning permission took a lot longer than he had expected. He describes money trickling away and costs escalating. He had hoped the project would costs him around 150,000 when in fact it cost more than 300,000. What was expected to take just five months actually took a year to complete. He describes having many sleepless nights over the money pouring through his fingers.
The reason behind the renovation costing so much was through his insistence that everything be as green as possible. Alistair is well known for supporting green issues; he teamed up with Greenpeace and other celebrities to stop a third runway being given the go-ahead at Heathrow airport.They bought a section of field near Heathrow to help their cause. So when it came to renovating this coach house, it is not surprising that Alistair incorporated all the green elements. It is well insulated and fits the “eco retro”tag well as a refurbishment of an old building.These are the sorts of changes that the government hopes we will all make with their emissions targets.Alistair used solar panels on the roof to heat the water in the house but also used a lot of reclaimed things too, such as radiators, doors and floorboards and as long as they are draught proof then they are fine. Cobblestones were used on the driveway and old York flagstones were used on the front courtyard.
Alistair does not expect to make any money from the project,due to it running over budget quite a lot.However he is content in the knowledge that he has restored an old building into something modern and eco-friendly. He chose the perfect location to carry out his renovation as Brighton, along with London and Cambridge, have survived the recession. The running over budget and time scales have not put the comedian off property though and thinks he may carry out a another project in the future.
Miss Fiona Davies is Sales Director for http://www.buildingplotsforsale.org
She has worked in the property and land sector for the last ten years.
All articles on the website are written uniquely by her.