When Marva Haye told her real estate agent about the rundown property she dreamed of buying on Lincoln Drive, the agent thought she was crazy. She wasn’t the only one.

“My parents cried, and my siblings and friends thought I had lost my mind,” Haye said.

The property, technically on Arbutus Street but with frontage on Lincoln Drive, was one that Haye drove by frequently while living in a condominium around the corner.

“I was ready to make a change from a condo to a house,” she said.

Unlike her friends and family, Haye said she knew she could make the vacant property a home.

“I insisted because I could see beyond the boarded-up windows and doors, broken-down steps, the roofless garage and the broken-down balcony,” she said. “I could see a lovely garden where there was only dirt.”

She bought the property in May 2002, and it took six months before it was livable. That didn’t stop her from moving in just three months after making settlement.

“I mostly ate out for about four months, since there was no stove or refrigerator and no kitchen floor,” Haye said.

Meanwhile, renovations went on around her.

“As my friends say, I like a project,” Haye said. “However, this wasn’t just any other project, but what I like to think is one of my major accomplishments.”

The home was entirely refinished with recovered hardwood floors, new windows, doors and fixtures throughout. She had a patio installed and picked out the stone at the quarry herself. Haye said that eventually, friends and family came to see what she had envisioned.

“After a couple of years, they saw what I had done with the place,” she said.

Today the 2,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home features a finished basement with kitchenette and one of the home’s three bathrooms, a detached garage, and a private balcony.

Haye said two of her favorite parts of the home are the master bathroom — which features a hot tub — and the newer chef’s kitchen, with its stainless-steel appliances.

“It seems to be the place where the crowd always gathers,” she said.

Recently, Haye decided it was time to downsize. Even though she’s decided to list her home for sale, she won’t be going far.

“I am selling my home because it’s become too much house and garden for me to manage,” she said. “I love Mount Airy and plan to stay in the area.”

The home is listed for $435,000 with Joanne Colino at Elfant Wissahickon Realtors.