Two empty-nesters bought an abandoned farm in Pennsylvania for $220,000. They've spent nearly 2 years and $150,000 renovating it - here's what it looks like now.
- In 2018, DeWitt and Jean Paul moved from their home in Las Vegas to an abandoned, 31-acre farm in Pennsylvania that they bought for $220,000.
- The property includes six structures: two small barns, a large barn, a small house, the main house, and a garage/workshop.
- The first and largest structure they decided to renovate was the main house.
- They moved into the house three days after they purchased the property and immediately began renovating it.
- Business Insider caught up with DeWitt to find out what their journey has been like so far and how they were able to transform the main house into their dream home.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
On the hunt for a renovation project, the couple came across a rundown, 31-acre farm in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania - a village about 30 minutes away from Easton. After some back-and-forth bidding, they won the property for $220,000.
The farm includes six structures, some of which needed more repairs than others. Those structures include two small barns, a large barn, a small house, the main house, and a garage/workshop.The first - and biggest - project the couple tackled was the main house, which spans over 5,000 square feet. They moved into it just three days after they bought the property and have spent the past 18 months transforming it from a rundown house into a dream home. They've documented the transformation on their website and Instagram and plan on repairing the other five structures on the farm by May of 2021.
Business Insider caught up with DeWitt to find out how they were able to do most of the renovation work themselves, and to get an idea of what their plans are for the rest of the property.Do you have a similar home-renovation story you'd like to share? Get in touch with this reporter at email@example.com.
In May of 2018, DeWitt and Jean Paul moved from their suburban home in Las Vegas to an abandoned farm in Pennsylvania.
They lived in Las Vegas for about 15 years. There, they raised four children and ran a business. But after the kids moved out, they were eager to start a new adventure.Advertisement
So, in March of 2018, they sold their businesses in Las Vegas and purchased another in Easton, Pennsylvania.
DeWitt spent one week a month in Pennsylvania until he and Jean decided to pack up their house, rent it out, and permanently move across the country.Advertisement
Finding their new home wasn't easy. While on the hunt for a project, the couple came across a rundown, 31-acre farm with a lot of potential. However, their first bid on it was rejected.
After a real-life visit, they decided to place a second, higher bid. They won.Advertisement
Around $220,000 later, it was theirs. While the closing price was $220,000, Dewitt estimates that there were about $3,000 worth of additional fees.
There are six structures on the farm: two small barns, a big barn, a small house, a garage/workshop, and the main house.Advertisement
When the couple bought the property, two of the barns were (and still are) in ruins and both of the houses were uninhabitable. They had their work cut out for them.
The first major project they embarked on was fixing the main house. According to DeWitt, it was in terrible condition.Advertisement
"When we walked through the door we didn't know if we could make it through without gas masks," he wrote in a blog post.
The history of the farm dates back hundreds of years. In fact, according to Dewitt's blog post, the stone walls on the property were likely built in the 1700s.Advertisement
The previous owner bought the property in 2000. She lived there for 16 years until the bank foreclosed on it. DeWitt believes the property was neglected for most, if not all, of the years after that.
And, while there weren't any humans living in the main house, there were cats — lots of them.Advertisement
"The house was basically being used as a big, huge kitty litter box," DeWitt said.
Despite its condition, the couple moved into the house three days after closing on the property.Advertisement
In the days before they moved in, they had a plumber fix the kitchen sink, a shower, and a few toilets.
They cleaned out a bedroom, painted the floors with oil-based Kilz, set up a bed so they could sleep, and started renovating the house.Advertisement
DeWitt told Business Insider that they did around 90% of the work themselves.
It was no small project: The house spans over 5,000 square feet and boasts five bedrooms and six bathrooms.Advertisement
But DeWitt and Jean are no strangers to home-renovation projects. In fact, when they first got married, they flipped a home together.
The couple had help when it came to things like plumbing, electrical work, and setting up the kitchen.Advertisement
"Basically, anything that would have the potential of burning down the house or flooding the house, we had the plumber or the electrician do," DeWitt said.
When it came to the kitchen, the couple ran into some structural and ventilation issues.Advertisement
"Unfortunately, when you design a kitchen in an old house, you never know what you are going to run into when you open up the walls," DeWitt wrote in a blog post.
For example, there was a beam centered over the stove where the ventilation hose was supposed to go, forcing them to leave the slinky tube on an angle.Advertisement
According to Dewitt's blog, they managed to make the hood cover using leftover materials from the demo and other projects. Because they repurposed materials, that project only cost them $46.
The couple also saved money by using the furniture they brought from Las Vegas. In fact, most of the furniture in the main house is furniture the couple already owned. DeWitt told Business Insider that they've only spent around $500 on new items.Advertisement
DeWitt told Business Insider that, including the purchase price and renovations, they plan on spending a total of around $450,000. So far, they've spent around $150,000 on renovations.
While they've come a long way since May of 2018, DeWitt told Business Insider that there are still a few projects left to do in the main house.Advertisement
Those projects include painting the rest of the home's exterior ...
... installing the balcony railings and floors, finishing trim work around the house, and completing the basement, where they plan on building a home theater.Advertisement
Jean works on renovating the property full time while DeWitt divides his time between the house and managing the business.
"My wife is the one that does a lot of the work, she's doing it full time," DeWitt explained to Business Insider. "She's pretty amazing. She can do just about anything with the right power tool."Advertisement
This year, the couple plans on rebuilding the two small barns, fixing up the big barn, and renovating the small house.
As for the garage, DeWitt explained that it's in pretty good shape and just needed some door repairs.Advertisement
They plan on finishing all the renovations by May of 2021 — just three years after the purchase.
And, while they won't be turning the property into a functioning farm again, DeWitt told Business Insider that they do get visitors every now and again.Advertisement
In fact, they've encountered foxes, deer, groundhogs, turtles, frogs, turkeys, vultures, and even bears.
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