Couple renovating rundown period home increase value by 12 TIMES what they paid for it

The house appeared abandoned when it was bought by the couple in 2018
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A couple who bought a rundown property have increased its value by 12 times what they paid for it so far – after spending four years renovating the home.

Candi and Jake Whitlow, from Missouri, US, bought the spacious historical property, called Hoefer House, for $7,000 in 2018, and have been lovingly restoring it ever since.

Candi, a 32-year-old stay-at-home mum, and Jake, a 34-year-old service manager for a local car dealership, started hunting for a larger house after the birth of their son, Henry, who is now six.

The house was bought in 2018 (Picture: Jam Press)

They had not spotted anything on the housing market that caught their attention – until they saw this property in 2017, almost totally concealed by vegetation and seemingly abandoned.

Enchanted, Candi and Jake tracked down the property’s owners and asked to buy the house, closing the sale in April 2018.

“The house was in great disrepair, but it had so much charm,” Candi told Jam Press. 

“The front porch is really what sold us – we’ve both always wanted a big old house with a nice front porch to hang out on.”

They learned that the property, built in 1904, was more than 100 years old, and that it had been ravaged by a fire in 1914.

It had been constructed as a family home and had been used as one for most of its lifetime.

The house had changed hands only once before the Whitlows purchased it, and had been in the possession of the Hoefer family for 95 years, hence its name.

By 2018, however, the house was vacant and had fallen into disrepair.

Before photos prove it needed a bit of work (Picture: Jam Press)

Candi and Jake set to work with renovations the day after they closed the sale.

The property was crumbling and needed major work, including new plumbing, electricity, heating and insulation.

The hardest job, Candi says, was draining the standing water that they found in the cellar – a task that the couple tackled together for two weeks.

Candi said: “We’ve always worked on the house together. We’ve enjoyed every minute, but it hasn’t been without its challenges.”

Crunch time came when the couple sold the house they had been living in when they bought the property, giving them just 60 days to bring Hoefer House to a liveable condition.

A snap of their DIY efforts (Picture: Jam Press)

Candi said: “It was a whirlwind of family and friends helping us get it out together enough to be able to move in…we ended up putting in a wood stove for our heat source this past winter.

“Since we were only living on the first floor, it worked quite well.”

Remarkably, Candi also discovered that she had a personal connection to the house.

She said: “It’s even more special because my great grandmother’s house was a block away and two of my uncles would regularly play here when they were kids.”

The house appeared abandoned when it was bought by the couple in 2018
Jake at work on his dream family home (Picture: Jam Press)

In April, four years after they purchased Hoefer House, Candi and Jake posted a video of the charming wooden porch they had built on Instagram, complete with a swing seat, flowers, a table and chairs and new columns.

The couple have shared their journey on their account, posting before and after photos and charting their four years of labour.

Candi said: “It’s been incredible. We’ve met so many supportive people on the old house community who are in the trenches of restoration like we are.

“We’ve also had some people tell us we’re crazy, but they’re still following the journey anyway.”

There is still work to be done, however, including installing a new kitchen, getting the second floor “up and running” and decorating some of the interior.

Candi and Jake estimate that, in its current state, their property could be valued at around $90,000 now – more than 12 times the amount that they paid for it.

Despite the challenges of a renovation project like theirs, Candi and Jake have no regrets.

She said: “This has really been a passion project for both of us.

“Living like we do isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s such a rewarding experience knowing that you’re saving a piece of history.

“We couldn’t imagine our life any other way.”