We are transforming our £8,000 run-down home into £232,000 B&B of our dreams – here’s how we did it

A COUPLE who bought their run-down home for just £8,000 are transforming the property into a £232,000 B&B business in just five years.

Jennifer Coomer, 33, and husband Brandon Nagle, 37, from Fort Myers, Florida, bought the dilapidated two-bed house in Halifax, North Carolina, for less than the price of a second-hand car.

The pair will add £224,000 to the property’s value by the time the rental business opens next year after doing most of the work themselves.

The John Brown House, named after its first owner, dates back to the 1700s and was in complete ruin when the couple bought it in 2017.

It had no water or electricity and has serious problems both structurally and within its rotting foundations.

However, the home was saved from demolition and lovingly restored after the couple invested $80,000 (£61,000) – with plans to invest a further $150,000 (£114,000) to turn it into a thriving rental property.


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Jennifer who spoke exclusively to the Sun said: “The first time I saw the John Brown House was on Instagram via a cheap old homes Instagram account.

“The property immediately caught my attention, as there was something fascinating about it that just drew me in. 

“It was a spontaneous buy and a long-term investment.

“I’ve had this goal for quite some time now to own a few historical homes and turn them into vacation rentals.

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“I’ve never liked the nine to five work grind and found a way out in 2013 when I purchased my first home – a 1930s bungalow for $16,000 (£12,232).

“Obviously, it wasn’t a get rich quick plan, and it would take years to turn it into a successful business.

“We are still working on our goal and hope to be a lot closer to our dream once our Halifax home is up and running.”


Jennifer, mum to one-year-old Brax, has already transformed two historic homes in Florida and was captivated by the Carolina property’s southern charm.

She was able to convince her husband Brandon that purchasing another house in a different state would be well worth the investment and the couple put down $11,500 (£8,794) in cash.

The pair have carried out nearly all of the work themselves so far in a bid to keep costs down but have used contractors to help draw up plans for a full-scale expansion.

She said: “The property was basically condemned and had serious structural and foundation issues and was sat vacant for over 30 years. It didn’t have electricity or running water. 

“Two others attempted to restore the property but spent money on all the wrong things and in all the wrong places.

“Everything they had previously invested in the property, we would have to take out and remove.

“To date, we’ve invested $80,000 (£61,000) into the property and are getting ready to invest $150,000 (£114,000) more to take it to the finish line.

“We had a five-year goal in mind, without taking out any construction loans.

“I want people to connect to the property and enjoy what others have for over 200 plus years. The house didn’t deserve to sit vacant, as it still has a story to tell.”


The couple loved the home so much that they decided it would be their wedding venue in April last year.

The historic home served as a stunning backdrop for the minimalist wedding despite only being partway through its renovation.

Jennifer said: “Our wedding was everything that we had hoped for and more.

“Brandon and I always knew we wanted an outdoorsy wedding with minimal decor.

“Everything we chose was very intentional, and very us. We had the vision of having our rustic wedding at a dilapidated, historic farmhouse.

“The John Brown House was knee-deep in renovations and was the perfect venue for us. We wanted to share our historic project with our closest family and friends, while showing what can be made possible.”

Jennifer and Brandon are hoping to be open for business by the start of 2023 – when they will be able to host holidaymakers and hold events.

Homeowner Jennifer said: “We will open up the property to Airbnb and also offer the space for corporate events, bridal showers, baby showers, private dinners, photographers.”

“We had a five-year goal in mind. We are approaching that five-year mark and will hopefully have it 100 per cent completed.

“The goal is to run a successful hip and vibrant vacation rental and curated event space.”

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The Sun revealed how 29-year-old Betsy Sweeny turned her derelict home into a £150,000 haven – after purchasing for just £14,000.

Betsy from West Virginia was able to increase the property’s value to £150,000 in just two years after taking on the mammoth project.

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