Four years later, in 2019, Sharples received an unexpected phone call saying she had won her bid. She was allocated a run-down Victorian terrace that had been sitting empty for almost 15 years.
The timing of the call came as a surprise: Just a month earlier, Sharples found out she had inherited £60,000 from her late father who had passed away the year before — which meant she now had the money she needed to fund the renovation.
“The place was crumbling, but I absolutely loved it,” she said. “This was a very rare opportunity and I was chosen, so I would’ve taken the house in whatever condition it was in.”
The two-bedroom home was located on Webster Road, next to over 100 similarly dilapidated houses under the same scheme, she said.
Part of the requirements was that Sharples had to complete the renovation within a year, or risk losing the keys to the house. To ensure she could meet the council’s deadline, she decided to quit her full-time job at the university and manage the construction herself.