Homeless woman transforms £1 house into beautiful dream home

A woman has stunningly transformed a home she bought for just £1 in 2019 into her beautiful dream home.

As a postgraduate student at Liverpool John Moores University in 2015, Maxine Sharples applied for the Homes for a Pound scheme where run-down empty houses can be purchased for £1 to help people get on the property ladder.

Despite not having the funds to renovate the home when she made her initial bid, Maxine said she'll 'cross that bridge' if she was ever shortlisted.

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The scheme, which was introduced in 2013 by Liverpool City Council, begun in the Granby area of Liverpool and in 2016, it was extended to cover the Webster Triangle neighbourhood off Smithdown Road.

Receiving the keys to her home in February 2020, the 35-year-old yoga instructor was told she had just 12 months to complete the renovations, but just weeks later, was struck by the country going into lockdown due to Covid-19.

Maxine was however, handed an extra year's extension and after finally moving into her new property this week, she discussed her journey of being homeless and renovating a home simultaneously.

She said: "It has taken me 27 arduous months to get it signed off. It was gruelling, I couldn't have been more naïve about the process. As a yoga teacher I couldn't have been less experienced in construction project management.

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"With tradespeople in short supply, I took to a lot of labouring myself. I began the rip out by myself. It took me nine months to get the house back to brick with a rotary hammer and borrowed electricity from my neighbours.

"A hole in the roof meant a tree had taken root, water ingress, asbestos, rat infestations, you name it, it had it all."

Maxine also changed the entire layout of the home as she had to take on the role of project manager for her renovation.

She added: "The house, a two bedroom Victorian terrace, was dark and dank. It needed light for my plants and my soul. So I had an architect draw up my idea to flip the house upside down.

"By removing the loft and all upstairs internal walls I created this double height open space. Add in two of Velux's biggest sky lights and I had transformed the house in one foul swoop of the sledge hammer.

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"I've essentially been homeless for two years, as I moved into my campervan to save money. Having underfloor heating is going to be such a luxury, triple glazed windows and a place to hang my plants once and for all.

"I've moved so many times in my life, from Liverpool at the age of six and back at the age of 18, I feel I can finally settle in a house that I brought back to life."

As she comes to the end of her renovating journey, Maxine paid tribute to the Homes for a Pound scheme and its ability to help ordinary people make a huge difference in their lives.

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"I am a champion of the scheme, it is an innovative idea, and a massive success," she said.

"Because ordinary people have put their blood sweat and life savings into transforming these houses, woe betide anyone in the community not pulling their weight, we are a strong community and I'm looking forward to joining it immensely and seeing how I can give back."

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