People like me who peruse very old homes on real estate sites love to envision what those homes would look like restored to their original glory. But often a look inside reveals why they are at all affordable. A hundred years of neglect can add up to a lot of expensive repairs. But some people are willing to take on the challenge. One is Betsy Sweeney, an architectural historian who found a Victorian town house in Wheeling, West Virginia, offered for $20,000. She bought it for $18k, although it was appraised even lower. The 3,052-square foot home was built in 1892. It wasn't deemed fit for occupation, and it would take a lot of work to make it so. But you can't get a normal mortgage for a property you cannot live in.
Sweeney had some things going for her. The local historic preservation organization helped her secure a loan. A TV network provided some funds to film her renovating a few rooms. And Sweeney and her partner did a lot of the work themselves, saving labor costs. That also ensures the work is done right, as they removed hundreds of bricks and re-mortared them one at a time. Once the house was fit to move into, she was able to convert her high-risk loans into a regular mortgage. The work is ongoing, as Sweeney is determined to keep the house as close to its original look as possible.
Sweeney has documented her historic house renovation at her blog and at Instagram. To catch up on the story so far, read about her house at Business Insider. -via Digg
(Image credit: Betsy Sweeney)