36-Year-Old Bought an Abandoned House for $1 and Fully Renovated It

At 36 years old, Maxine Sharples embarked on a remarkable journey when she purchased an abandoned Victorian house in Liverpool for a mere £1 through a “homes for a pound” program aimed at revitalizing the deteriorating Webster Triangle. The catch, however, was that Maxine, a first-time homeowner, had to commit to renovating the 796-square-foot property within a tight 12-month period. The council estimated the renovation costs at $61,400, presenting a considerable challenge. Despite being on the waiting list, Maxine’s financial situation took an unexpected turn when she inherited a property from her late father. Selling the inherited property provided the necessary funds to kickstart the ambitious renovation project. Due to the lockdown restrictions, she was also granted a 12-month extension.

Undeterred by the challenges, Maxine’s vision for the house involved maximizing light and redefining the use of space. Enlisting the help of an architect who drew up blueprints for a fee of $1,064, Maxine faced scepticism from contractors who questioned her proposed reconfiguration. Even the most affordable quote exceeded her budget by $37,600, equivalent to her entire savings. Nevertheless, her determination prevailed. Over a span of 27 months and an investment totalling $74,000 in labour and materials, Maxine successfully transformed the once-dilapidated property into a modern home that garnered attention in the U.K. for its innovative design and efficient use of space. In May 2022, the house was officially signed over to Maxine, marking the completion of her inspiring journey as the last homeowner to finish the renovation in the Webster Triangle program.

Currently, her monthly expenses include $119 for council tax and $218 for utilities, encompassing electricity, heat, water, as well as internet and phone bills. Reflecting on her journey, Maxine is grateful for the determination and persistence that allowed her to adhere to her vision. Throughout the renovation process, she acquired valuable skills such as bricklaying, tiling, underfloor heating installation, and floor refinishing, resulting in significant cost savings.

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