Couple lived in a van while renovating dream home in Spain and made £130,000 profit

A couple who lived in a van for an entire year while renovating their dream home in Spain has made £130,000 in profit.

Impressively, the pair had no prior construction experience.

British Nate Murphy, 34, is a YouTuber, whilst his partner 29-year-old Dei is a biotech entrepreneur.

They bought a home – which is 250 years old – in Organya, Spain, which is much less than the price of a beach hut in their native Cornwall.

Nate spent a year and an extra £55,000 on materials, furnishings and insurance to renovate their dream four-bedroom home for £130,000.

According to the property website Rightmove, the average Cornwall house costs over £327,000.

He believes his new Spanish home is now worth around £250,000.

After searching for a UK home and finding himself priced out of the market, Nate decided to take his property search abroad.

Eventually in 2019, he found his dream home – a house with a barn, mountain views which was ideal for the avid rock climber.

But there was a slight problem, in that the house hadn’t been occupied for 20 years, and wasn’t in the best condition.

He lived in his Citreon Relay van for a year during the build, and began to get to work.

The process began with six weeks of clearing the property of debris and rubbish. He then went back to the UK to convert a van to live in while the property was being built.

He now lives in his renovated dream home, with his partner Dei.

The process involved extensive research and lots of hands-on learning for Nate, but he wouldn’t change anything about his intense journey.

“Years ago, I looked at buying a property in London, where I was living at the time, but the value for money was terrible – I just couldn’t do it,” said Nate.

“In the end, I hit the road with the idea that I would find something beautiful and cheap. I really wanted a house where I could have a studio and a workshop.

“When I found this property, a house that came with a large barn and land, with mountain and forest views, it seemed like the perfect place to make a base for further adventures.

“I paid for the house with a mortgage, and renovated it using savings, plus money I earned while doing the build.

“I went to the UK and built a van conversion to live in while building the house, then returned.

“It took 12 months of work, and in that time, I estimate that I did about 4,000 hours of work. I worked six days on and one day off and did long days every day.

“I really wanted to do a good job and use quality materials so that the house would be reliable, and I wouldn’t have to redo anything soon.

“There were two particularly hard parts. One was demolishing and rebuilding the roof in the hot weather. It involved moving tonnes of material on and off the roof, and I had to get it right first time.

“The other hard part was towards the end. I had been working non-stop for eight months and I was so tired of building work. I pushed through – it wasn’t pleasant, but the house wasn’t going to finish itself.

“The pandemic didn’t help. For two months it was not even possible to go to a hardware store, and deliveries in Spain ground to a halt. In the end, however, it did turn out to be a perfect lock-down project as I couldn’t do anything else.

“It wasn’t easy to learn everything as I went – including learning a new language.

“It was an intense learning process because I had to learn everything from plumbing and electrics to roof-building and welding.”