Exeter Airbnb owned by a young first-time buyer is hidden from view

Buying your first property is no better than having the chance to acquire a unique property, renovate it, and unexpectedly turn it into a successful Airbnb business.

Theo Hill climbed the property ladder after making an offer for a charismatic home in historic Stepcote Hill, by famed Exeter’s The House That Moved, about 18 months ago.

Since then, the 25-year-old has brought back to life what used to be a one-bedroom property, doing much of the work himself while living there at the same time.

Theo remembers: “I was renting in Exeter when it came on the market. I knew that from The House That Moved, and I was lucky enough to have it.



The original airbnb at Stepcote Hill, by the infamous Exeters The House That Moved

“It was really run down. I think an old lady had lived there, so it had been kinda abandoned.

“When I saw it for the first time, I knew it was the right project for my first renovation.

“I went a whole year without a shower and only had an old cast-iron tub to wash.”

One of the biggest challenges was the garden, but luckily for Theo his father is a landscape gardener.

Despite its central location in the city center, it has a good-sized garden in which Theo has created an outdoor dining area with a pizza oven.



The outdoor dining area
The outdoor dining area

One of the biggest internal changes was to create a second bedroom by reducing the size of the bathroom and using a large closet that housed a large, outdated boiler.

In the new rooms, the original masonry has been exposed.

It cost £ 20,000 to carry out the work, which was less than what Theo had originally expected.

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Theo said: “I tried to do all the work myself. There were some weird setbacks along the way, like drilling into a water pipe, but it all ended at the end and just before the start of last year.

“Then obviously the lockdown hit, so I couldn’t put it as Airbnb until recently. Living there has been good as it’s on a pedestrian walkway and you see tourists going up and down every day to take pictures of The House That Moved.



The garden before its renovation
The garden before its renovation

“I live there most of the time, but I surf a lot, so I decided to advertise it as Airbnb when I’m not around, but now I’m doing it full time because there are a lot of reservations.

“This is the perfect place for one person because it is so central in town. I entered Airbnb quite blindly, but it seems to be going well.



The interior before its renovation
The interior before its renovation

“It only lasts a few weeks, so it’s still very early. It gradually fills up throughout the summer.

“It definitely sounds like a vacation and a city vacation.

“Because of the interest, I’ll praise it more and just chat with my parents or friends.”



The new interior of the Airbnb
The new interior of the Airbnb

Theo has since had the house revalued for £ 65,000 more than he paid for, but has no plans to sell it yet.

He said: “I know other people who have Airbnbs and they do pretty well, but it’s so unique. There isn’t a house like that anywhere else.

The cost of staying in the property is £ 135 per night, plus an additional cleaning and service charge.

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