A FEMALE private investigator will be unlocking the mysteries of property renovation when she appears in a new TV series. Vikki Hague – who’s often jokingly compared to fictional detective Sherlock Holmes – spends her days tracing assets in her work for a Leeds-based investigation firm Tremark Associates. But the 28-year-old will face a new challenge when she appears on a new property renovation TV programme, The Great House Giveaway.
Renovate and re-sell within 6 months
For the show, Vikki teamed up with a complete stranger, electrician Emily Porecka, of Killingbeck, to buy a house at auction, before renovating and ‘flipping’ or re-selling it in six months. They get to keep any profits they make. The pair’s property renovation journey will be broadcast as part of a five-days-a-week Channel 4 series, sponsored by auction finance experts Together.
Vikki, who lives in Leeds city centre, said: “It was an amazing experience. I wasn’t expecting to be partnered with a female electrician but I was glad I was because she was a real help with all the specialist jobs. “The partnership could have been make-or-break because there was an unbelievable amount of stress involved at times and but Emily has the best personality – she had us all in stitches most of the time.”
Vikki and Emily only met on the day of the auction at Leeds United’s Elland Road football ground. Great House Giveaway presenter and property expert Simon O’Brien gave them a initial budget of £9,000 and they successfully bid for a semi-detached house in Rooley Lane, Bradford. Emily, 29, said: “It was my first time at an auction and I loved it! All we’d seen was a picture of the house in the catalogue and it didn’t look that bad but when we got the keys and got inside, it was a different story. “There was mould in the bathroom, the kitchen needed replacing. We took the wallpaper off one of the walls and it immediately started collapsing. It was one thing after another.”
Luckily, they had a lot of good advice from Simon O’Brien, while Vikki’s sister Charlie, 30, travelled north from her home in London to help her and Emily on the major refurbishment project.
Hitting brick walls
However, they thought they’d hit a brick wall when renovation took an unexpected turn. They only discovered the previous owners hadn’t secured building regulations approval after converting the house’s attic into a third bedroom. “It cost us a lot of money and we had to refigure the budget quite drastically,” said Vikki, who previously worked as an estate agent. “We were a little bit tired and tearful by the end of it all but I’d do it again if I had the funds for a renovation budget.”
Mum-of-one Emily, who currently rents the home where she lives with seven-year-old daughter Grace, said she hoped to put any profit from the house sale towards a deposit for their own home. She added: “Grace came to the house a few times during the renovation, so she knows what was going on and is buzzing about seeing her mum on TV.”
The Great House Giveaway, hosted by Simon O’Brien will be broadcast on Channel 4 from 5th October. Click here to watch the show.