April 12, 2024
Woman Buys Abandoned Home Without Viewing It, Doesn’t Go as You’d Expect

How far would you be willing to go to create the perfect home? Chances are, it’s nothing like the renovation project that Jenna Phipps is undertaking.

In 2023, Phipps got on the property ladder when she bought a jaw-dropping house in Vancouver, Canada, for CA$2 million ($1.47 million). But the celebratory moving-in parties are still on hold because the house has been abandoned for the last four years—and let’s just say it’s less than ideal.

Phipps told Newsweek that after making the purchase, she was filled with dread that it could be “the biggest mistake” of her life, and she didn’t even know “if it was salvageable.” She and her boyfriend, Nick, knew there was severe damage and that the roof was leaking, but there was no way of knowing its structural integrity.

“When we took possession of the property, it was uninhabitable, and it still is. The realtor wrote it off as tear down, and there weren’t even photos of the inside of the house on the listing,” Phipps said.

“The carpets were tarped off and covered in cardboard. We later realized it was because they were soaked and moldy from the leaking roof. Much of the roof collapsed, there were buckets everywhere collecting water, and clothing still in the closets.”

Woman Buys Abandoned Home Without Viewing It, Doesn’t Go as You’d Expect
Jenna Phipps pictured renovating the abandoned home that she bought in Vancouver. Phipps estimates that the renovation will take around two years, and then she hopes it will be her forever home.

@jenna_phipps / TikTok

Phipps explained that the house was built by a family and passed down the generations until it was sold to her. The last person to live there was the eldest child of the family until he passed, but it “wasn’t maintained” during his final years because he was unwell.

Following this, the property remained empty for four years and continued to deteriorate from top to bottom. Now, Phipps plans to renovate for around two years to turn it into the home of her dreams. Until then, they will continue renting nearby.

How Are the Renovations Going?

For so long, Phipps aspired to renovate a mid-century home and make it into her own, but now it’s finally become a reality. This abandoned home may not be in great condition (to put it mildly), but she knows that it can become something wonderful in time.

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“It wasn’t until we removed the drywall that we saw the true condition of the house. Since then, we have pretty much tested every inch of the house for asbestos, removed all the drywall and insulation, and started working with our engineer,” she said.

“We had to tarp the roof to stop the leaks, which is only a temporary solution until we completely redo it. As it’s been leaking for years, there’s a lot of damage to the bones of the house. We are stripping it down and then tearing the roof off completely, fixing the beams that need replacing, and then building a new roof.”

Abandoned House
Jenna Phipps is renovating the home, which was empty for around 4 years. The home needs a new roof and flooring, among other repairs.

@jenna_phipps / TikTok

Once the structural changes are complete, the couple will install new plumbing and electrics and hope to update the windows.

Renovating a $2 million home is a huge undertaking and undoubtedly expensive. But the couple are doing it “as owner builders,” allowing them to do most of the work themselves.

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“It’s not going to be cheap, but this will save us a ton of money,” Phipps told Newsweek.

Of course, once the structural renovations are complete, the couple will be happy to move into their forever home and continue to add their finishing touches.

How Did TikTok React?

While the project is no doubt keeping Phipps occupied, she still has time to document their journey on TikTok (@jenna_phipps) and show how the renovations are going. In January, a video showing how much work was entailed after she “bought an abandoned home” went viral with more than 25.8 million views and over 3.3 million likes.

The online reaction was unlike anything she’d expected, but she loves updating her followers with all the progress they’re making, slowly but surely.

Abandoned home living area
The living area of the abandoned home that Jenna Phipps purchased. For now, Phipps will continue renting a property until the house is ready to move in.

@jenna_phipps / TikTok

“I honestly was not expecting the project to gain this much interest. It’s been really exciting to see so many people become invested to watch the house transform,” Phipps said.

Among the 20,000 comments on the viral post, there was plenty of intrigue over the ongoing home renovation. One comment reads: “The amount of mold is insane. Girl I’m not sure you can save it and live there.”

Another person responded: “I don’t understand HOW this is cheaper.”

While another TikToker wrote: “I can tell it’s gonna be amazing when it’s fixed up.”

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