The 30-Year-Old Betsy Sweeny Paid $16,500 For an Old Abandoned House and Completely Transformed It

Betsy Sweeny, at the age of 30, embarked on an extraordinary journey of restoration and transformation, turning a cheap and neglected piece of history into a vibrant home. In 2019, after resigning from her job to focus on the restoration of historic buildings at the Wheeling National Heritage Area in West Virginia, Betsy rented a loft in Wheeling. Her passion for preserving architectural heritage led her to the decision to purchase the McLain House, a remarkable three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom dwelling constructed in 1892.

The 3,075-square-foot property, despite its age and abandonment, presented an exciting opportunity for Betsy to showcase her skills and dedication to restoring historic homes. In May 2020, Betsy took a bold step by acquiring the McLain House for a modest sum of $16,500, facilitated by a personal loan. Undeterred by the challenges that lay ahead, she secured a $100,000 construction loan to fund the extensive renovations needed to breathe new life into the aging structure. With an unwavering commitment to her vision, Betsy started the restoration process, utilizing her expertise to preserve the historical integrity of the house while infusing it with modern amenities.

Betsy’s living expenses, totalling $1,047 a month, encompass various aspects of homeownership, including her mortgage payment, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and utilities. Her successful transformation of the McLain House not only stands as a testament to her dedication to preserving architectural heritage but also serves as an inspiring example of how a combination of passion, resourcefulness, and determination can turn an old, neglected house into a vibrant and cherished home.

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