From the outside, it can still be mistaken for a village high street shop front, but inside, this HMO property (House in Multiple Occupation) has been converted into a beautiful five-bedroom shared home with real character.

Platinum Property Partner, Ben Gould, has successfully retained the historical features of the 16th century Grade II Listed building while creating a stylish, modern and contemporary home for up to nine tenants. It has been a long and rocky road to get to this stage, but Ben is thrilled with the result and has been able to add yet another string to his quirky HMO portfolio bow.

“I’m so thrilled with the final product, and can’t quite believe we’re here,” said Ben. “What was once a run-down old-fashioned office building, which has lain empty for a decade, is now a stunning space. Not even I could have imagined that it would turn out so well.”

Town centre location

The property, located in the centre of Gillingham, Dorset, is Ben’s third HMO since he joined PPP in 2017. True to his vision, it differs from the other two properties in Bridgewater, Somerset, to give his portfolio diversity. Not only is it located in the high street, but it has no parking and because of the inability to move any internal walls, the rooms are large and also licensed for double occupancy.

While his first HMO caters more to contractors and his second HMO attracts longer-term tenants looking for a ‘home’, this one will likely attract local professionals looking to take their first step towards living independently or couples saving for their own home.

Ben added: “The property is situated just five minutes’ walk from the station, from which you can get a direct line to London. There is no allocated parking, but lots of nearby free or low-cost parking for tenants who might have cars. We think one or two of the rooms will be suitable for couples, but we do not want to overcrowd the property and instead ensure everyone is happy living there.”

Lack of transport shouldn’t be an issue, with two pubs neighbouring the property, multiple takeaways available on the high street as well as several supermarkets.

16th century character with a modern twist

Inside the property itself, Ben has been able to make excellent use of the space available, despite not being able to change the layout or remove certain features.

At the heart of the property is the large open-plan kitchen and dining area. To the front is the original bay shop-front window and to the back, a breath-taking exposed brick wall which also features a stunning internal window seat. It’s more than big enough for housemates to eat and socialise together.

Also downstairs is the utility room and three double en-suite bedrooms. The original inglenook fireplace remains in one of the bedrooms and the two at the back of the property have direct access to the courtyard garden, with one of them being 22sqm in size (ideal for double occupancy).

To the left of the kitchen is a hallway with its own private entrance from the quiet high street that leads upstairs to a large landing space and two further double en-suite bedrooms.

In all rooms, there are original wooden window frames that have been refurbished and secondary glazed, exposed timbers and beams and beneath your feet, you can feel the quirky uneven floors.

Finally achieving a return on investment

Until now, this property had been a liability for Ben and his family, but it will now be generating up to £3,000 per month in rental income and is expected to be valued at £350,000 after a £90,000 refurbishment cost (£20,000 of which was to repair the roof). That’s a £200,000 uplift on its valuation as a commercial property!

Ben concluded: “It’s come together really well and it’s certainly left me with an appetite to continue to develop a diverse portfolio and not be put off by anything quirky.”