Couple Evades Mortgage by Renovating Vacant Residence

Anne Denton’s daughter and her daughter’s family located a low-cost, vacant residence that required some renovation, so they rolled up their sleeves and worked side by side to turn the house into a home. The home has a walk-out basement, a sunroom, and a detached shop and garage.

  • Outside of Denton Household
    The author, Anne Denton, helped her daughter and son-in-law transform this Missouri home in about 10 days. The total cost of the home after renovation was $20,000.
    Photo by Anne Denton
  • Interior of the Denton Home
    The renovators (all friends and family) sanded and refinished the floors, cleaned and caulked the windows, and put a fresh coat of paint on the interior walls.
    Photo by Anne Denton

  • Outside of Denton Household
  • Interior of the Denton Home

After their once-thriving business had to close, my daughter and her husband found they weren’t making ends meet on his salary as a first officer for a regional airline. At the time, they were living in Albuquerque, N.M., paying about $1,300 a month in rent, and my son-in-law was commuting to Houston.

Because he can commute from about anywhere, they decided they would pursue their dream of getting out of the big city and having a little land where they could have some chickens and a garden. At the very least, they figured they could impact their food bill.

Their good friends in central Missouri told them about a bank-owned home next door. The house had been sitting vacant for about three years and the bank was itching to unload it. The asking price was $19,000. The low price initially caused them to have extremely low expectations, but at the insistence of their friends, they decided to go check it out.

The main floor of the house is about 1,500 square feet and has a partial walk-out basement. Although the interior of the house was cosmetically challenged, it had very positive features. The exterior had been recently painted, and a new 98 percent efficient central heater had been installed within the past five years. It also had central air conditioning, considered a luxury for that part of the country.

All the rooms except the kitchen and sunroom had hardwood floors that were scuffed but otherwise in decent shape. The house sits on about 1/3-acre of land and also has a detached shop/garage.

My daughter offered the bank $10,000, and they ended up settling on a price of $13,000. While our kids and their kids packed right before the holidays, my husband and I drove to Missouri with the first load and starting working on the house. It turned into a community project when their friends next door, as well as their friends’ parents, ended up working side by side with us to make the dream happen for the young family.



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