Family who spent £40K renovating a £1 house are amazed to discover it’s now worth £125K – despite their fear of vandals in the derelict street
- Mel and Rob Hilton-Phillip, from Liverpool, bought their house for a pound
- Spent £40,000 renovating terrace house and now call it their ‘dream home’
- Estate agent valued property at £125,000, suggesting they’d made a good profit
- The home, on a derelict street, was part of a renovation project by the council
A young family who spent £40,000 converting a £1 house into their ‘dream home’, have revealed their astonishment that it’s now worth £125,000.
Mel and Rob Hilton-Phillip brought a dilapidated three-bedroom house from Liverpool City Council last February, and spent tens of thousands converting it into their first family home.
They opened up about the challenges of living in the near-derelict area on Channel 4’s The £1 Houses: Britain’s Cheapest Street, with Mel admitting she’s scared to leave the house at night due to local vandals setting off fireworks and even using the street as a public toilet.
When curiosity got the better of them, they decided to see how much their home could be worth if they chose to sell – and were amazed when they discovered it could make them a profit of £85K.
Mel and Rob Hilton-Phillip, pictured with their children, are among just 34 homeowners who are living in the Webster Triangle, a run-down area of Liverpool, after buying a house for just £1
The couple are amazed to hear an estate agent (pictured) value their property for £125,000 – and admit they’re tempted to sell their home
The couple spent £40,000 renovating the property, and said they did much of the work themselves
In 2013, over a hundred terraced houses stood derelict in the Webster Triangle, a run-down area of Liverpool.
As part of a renovation project in the area, they were handed over to first time buyers for one pound each.
But five years into the project, the £1 house scheme is way behind schedule – and just 34 houses of the 138 in the project have been finished.
Mel and Rob Hilton-Phillip snapped up the chance to live mortgage-free in the area, and were excited to create their dream three-bedroom home.
The estate agent is clearly impressed by the renovation, suggesting once the other houses in the street are occupied the home could be worth £130,000
But while they were overjoyed with their £40,000 renovation on the property, they remained concerned about the realities of living in a street which is full of derelict houses.
When they moved in they thought others would follow, but the community hasn’t materialised.
Mel admitted that, despite the home being their sanctuary, it’s not what they ‘wanted to sign up for’.
She revealed: ‘Even if we wanted to sell, we probably couldn’t right now because the houses around us aren’t full.’
Rob and Mel admit they’re tempted to sell, but due to their £1 house contract, 25 per cent of any profit made from the sale would go to Liverpool City Council
Young mother Mel admitted she was scared of going out at night alone, with the area often rife with vandalism
To put their fears at ease, the couple decided to invite an estate agent to value the home that they brought for £1.
Having shown her around the house, she sat the couple down and said: ‘The pricing obviously is a little bit tricky because there aren’t many comparables.
‘Price wise I’d say at the moment about £120,000 to £125,000, and when it’s done it could be £130,00-£135,000.’
Mel and Rob were delighted and, as another home went up for sale in the area, the couple started to lean towards selling.
The young family revealed they felt like they lived in a bubble inside their ‘dream home’ and admitted they’re terrified of their house being targeted by local vandals
Rob admitted he could be motivated to sell, saying: ‘I’ve always said – if we can double what we spent on the house, then we’d make sound investment. On that valuation, we’ve more or less trebled it.’
And Mel agreed, saying:’We need to weigh up whether it’s worth selling up and getting out now.’
But selling a £1 house isn’t straight forward. House-owners are in a contract with the council which means they can’t sell for five years. Selling early means giving the council up to 25 per cent of the sale price.
The couple admitted that they’re unwilling to give the council any money back, with Mel revealing she ‘wants to see the street full of families.’
Mel and Rob decide not to sell at the moment, and instead set about trying to make the area safer and cleaner for their children, by taking them litter picking
While Mel and Rob are proud of their £40,000 renovation project, theirs is one of the only houses in the street to have been completed. The other houses stand derelict
The couple, who live in the three bedroom property with their children, are one of only four homeowners in the street
The couple revealed that only three people in their street have moved in, leaving a further 14 houses still be renovated.
They decided to spent the rest of the afternoon litter-picking in their street to make the area nicer for their children to play in.
In previous episodes of the series, Mel explained that they loved their ‘dream’ house, saying: ‘We don’t get to go out, we don’t have a social life, but we don’t feel like we’re missing it.’
‘We just love being here. We feel really proud and protective of it.’
Mel expressed concern about the unwanted attention their completed house may attract on the street of derelict buildings
Meanwhile husband Rob revealed: ‘When we’re in our house it’s like our own little bubble isn’t it?
‘But when you go outside it’s like….shock isn’t it. It’s like a ghost street.’
The unoccupied houses surrounding the property have continued to fall into more and more disrepair, with the couple worrying the house opposite would fall down completely.
And at night, the streets come alive with disruptive and wild vandals, who set fire to properties, defecate in the street and even set off fireworks in the road.
The family are one of those featured on The £1 Houses: Britain’s Cheapest Street, which follows those who brought houses in the run down area of Liverpool. The couple admitted their home was a ‘bubble’ in the derelict Webster Triangle
Mel revealed: ‘It is quite intimidating if you’re a woman on your own and you walking out in the dark, and there’s big groups of teenagers hanging out.’
And the mother-of-three said sh was concerned that their renovated home stands out among the other derelict buildings.
She said: ‘The fact that we have made such an effort on our house is asking for trouble isn’t it.
‘What we said when we got this house was we wanted an easy life, we didn’t wanna be worrying about mortgages or anything like that. And we didn’t want to be worrying about windows getting broken or whatever.’
Young mother Mel admitted she was scared of going out at night alone, and said she worried her house would be targeted and ransacked by local vandals (pictured with husband Rob)
The couple said they love their ‘dream home’ with their children, but called it ‘a bubble’, with mother Mel revealing she’s scared to go out at night
She went on: ‘I didn’t want to leave my house and be panicking that my house is being ransacked. It is in the back of your mind that something could happen.’
Later, Mel revealed her attempts to keep the street civilised are causing issues, saying: ‘In the past, we had problems with somebody using the street as a toilet, and again, I saw her just last night.
‘In all fairness to the lady she didn’t poop this time… but maybe she would have if I hadn’t gone over and said anything.’
The worried mother went on: ‘She got quite aggressive with me, like she got hold of me at one point. And I thought – what am I doing?
‘Things like that make you think – oh my god, what’s going on here.’
The Channel 4 programme £1 Houses: Britain’s Cheapest Street returns next week at Monday at 8.30pm
How does Liverpool City Council’s £1 Home Scheme work?
Liverpool City Council’s £1 Home Scheme or Homes for a Pound is an initiative to bring around 6,000 empty houses in the city back into use by helping first time buyers get on the property ladder.
The properties are released in phases of roughly 40 homes per time and applicants have to undergo a bidding process.
To be eligible, applicants have to live or work in Liverpool and must commit to staying in the property for five years. They must also be able to demonstrate they have enough savings behind them to spend on renovations.
A total of one hundred families have now been allocated a property, with a further 350 families being considered for one.
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