Couple transform dilapidated house after buying for £1 

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A couple who bought a dilapidated house for £1 a year ago have proudly displayed the stunning transformation it has gone through.

Sam and Rachael Kamau’s property in Wavertree, Liverpool, had ‘a waterfall coming down the staircase’ and a ‘bathroom with no floor’ when it was handed to them by the city council as part of the Homes for a Pound Plus scheme.

The house was in such poor repair that they couldn’t even look inside because it was so dangerous.

When they first saw the house, it was in such poor repair that they couldn't even look inside because it was so dangerous. 

The Kamaus had been renting in Liverpool for 16 years after moving to the city from Kenya and decided to give the £1 homes project a go as a way onto the property ladder.

But when they first looked around, they realised the scale of the task ahead of them.

Mrs Kamau explained: ‘When we heard about the £1 home scheme we thought why not? We had two growing girls who have always had to share a bedroom and the house was becoming far too cramped.

‘When we saw this house, it was a bit of a shock. There was a waterfall coming down the staircase because the roof had no lining, the bathroom had no floor so you could see through to the kitchen, plaster was peeling off the walls. 

When Rachael and Sam they first looked around, they realised the scale of the task ahead of them

The bathroom had no floor and there was water running down the walls when they first started work 

The Kamaus , who live in the house with their daughters Alexis, 12 and 19-year-old Anne, spent the next year and tens of thousands of pounds carefully restoring the property

‘Everything needed doing, except replacing the bricks on the outside of the house.

‘It was the worst house we’d ever seen and I know most people would have just turned around and walked away but what we saw, beyond the poor condition, was the space. 

‘And whatever needed to be done paled into insignificance to the space.’

The Kamaus – who live in the house with their daughters Alexis, 12 and 19-year-old Anne, spent the next year and tens of thousands of pounds carefully restoring the property and today they opened their doors to the media – and to Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson – to show off their remarkable achievement.

Mrs Kamau said: ‘It’s been the best pound we’ve ever spent and the journey has been a real roller coaster.

‘It’s been very tiring because we both work and we’ve been coming every single day since we got the keys and sometimes it felt like nothing was happening.

‘Even by March we could only walk in the middle of the hallway because there were no floorboards but when that job was done and the new windows went in we felt like we’d turned the corner. 

‘Then it started to feel like a house. Not yet a home, but a house and that was a big moment.’

In June the family began to look at furnishings and colour schemes.

Mrs Kamau added: ‘Because we’d never done this before we couldn’t make our mind up.’

‘The first night was strange. It had been hard saying goodbye to our old neighbours and there were boxes everywhere but moving in felt such a huge achievement, we felt like we’d won the lottery. 

Rachael and Sam had been renting in Liverpool for 16 years after moving to the city from Kenya and decided to give the £1 homes project a go as a way onto the property ladder

They said the work was very tiring because they had to combine it with working and sometimes it felt like nothing was happening

In June the family began to look at furnishings and colour schemes, which Rachel said was hard  'because we'd never done this before we couldn't make our mind up'

The first night they spent in the house it 'felt such a huge achievement, we felt like we'd won the lottery'

Rachel said most people would have just turned around and walked away but they saw a home

‘Then the next morning. All I can say is waking up in your own home is indescribable. 

‘There’s still bits we need to do and we’re still learning about what works and doesn’t but it’s all been worth it. Sam’s birthday is in December.

‘That’s the first birthday we get to celebrate here and it will be a very special occasion.’

Homes for a Pound is one of the schemes Liverpool Council is using in a bid to bring around 6,000 houses back into use.

The couple show Liverpool council leader Joe Anderson around their new home. Homes for a Pound is one of the schemes Liverpool Council is using in a bid to bring around 6,000 houses back into use.

A total of one hundred families have now been allocated a property, with a further 350 families being considered for one

The Homes for a Pound Plus project involves 120 properties in the Garrick Street/Webster Road/Bird Street/Richardson Street area of Picton.

The properties are being released in three phases of roughly 40 properties per phase.

A total of one hundred families have now been allocated a property, with a further 350 families being considered for one.

To be eligible for a £1 home people have to live or work in Liverpool.

Houses are only handed over on the condition that the buyer will bring them up to a decent homes standard and not sell it on for five years. 

‘I’m delighted we’ve got lots more properties lined up for other families and we won’t be stopping there,’ said Houses for a Pound.

‘Next month we’ll be launching a new housing company because we’ve got thousands of properties which can be brought back to life and we’re doing that because the demand is there. 

‘People want to get on the housing ladder and Liverpool is still regenerating, still growing and very much an attractive place to work and live.’

 

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