Great House Giveaway’s Simon O’Brien shares what most contestants got wrong

The property developer is helping two strangers get on the property in the Channel 4 show.

Great House Giveaway Simon O'Brien

Getting on the property ladder can be difficult, but for two lucky strangers Channel 4’s Great House Giveaway is giving them the chance to flip a house for free and sell it on for a profit they can use for their own house deposit.


Hosted by Find It, Fix It, Flog It star Simon O’Brien, the daytime show sees two people who have never met and have never owned a home before given a lump sum to buy a property at auction.

The pair then have six months to revive the property into a habitable and desirable home.  If they don’t sell – the house goes back to auction.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve watched the show produce some successes, with one team making close to a £100k profit at almost £80k, and another not too far behind.

However, some have struggled to work with a complete stranger and it hasn’t turned out too well, with one property worth less than what it started at.

Here, Simon O’Brien shares his three top tips for renovating and selling a home, and what a lot of the contestants got wrong on the Channel 4 show.

Reduce waste

Simon says the biggest issue most homebuyers have is “tearing” everything out of the property and starting from scratch.

While this might seem like a good idea, the property developer says this can lead to extra expenditure.

Speaking to, he explained: “The biggest tip I give is if you fill a skip, then whatever you put in that skip, not only will that skip cost you money then everything in that skip has to be replaced in some way in that house. What we found is, everyone goes in and immediately guts the place. And i think that’s a massive mistake.”

To avoid this issue, Simon says you should “keep an eye on your waste”.

He continued: “The less you throw out, the more money genuinely you’ll make if you’re prepared to put the hours in. It’s too tempting to go to the house, and look at the plaster and it’s all a bit rough. Everyone just tears it out because thats what a plasterer will tell you to do because they like a nice, clean wall. Whereas a lot of the time if the plaster is sound, you should keep as much of it as possible, go round and get rid of the bad bids, patch it up and then just skim it. If you do that, not only have you saved all the waste, but you’ve saved money, too.”

Utilise your time

Simon believes it’s important to strike the right balance between getting traders in and doing the work yourself, as this will help maximise time used on jobs.

He explained: “Allocate your time. For example, I would always use an electrician, because first of all it’s the safest thing to do. And secondly, they will just do it so much quicker than you can even if you understand how to wire a house.

“You’re just better off getting them in and allowing that out of your budget because that will save you an enormous amount of time for all the general labour. So it’s getting that balance right, because on the other side, if you just get traders for every single job, then you won’t make any money. The profit is in the labour save.”

It’s all about the finish

There’s no point putting in all the hard work, and not leaving any time to look over the work you’ve done, says Simon.

“The one tip I have, where an awful lot of the contestants on The Great House Giveaway fell down, is they put in five months of really hard labour. They put their heart and soul into it and then didn’t leave enough time to finish the place properly.

“Everything is in the finish and you must allow those two or three weeks at the end of every job to go around, because people notice the bad things and that puts questions in their mind and leads to them lowering the asking price, which reduces your profit.”


The Great House Giveaway is on Channel 4 on Weekdays at 4pm and available to stream All4. If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide.