But eight years on the house has been extended and transformed into a modern, showstopping home.
"There was no other properties in this area. I think I visited this one three times thinking 'well I don't like the look of it outside and I didn't like it inside either'", John laughed.
"On the third visit I thought 'well, I could actually alter it' and we ended up changing it completely.
"Our neighbours say they don't even recognise the house nowadays."
John and his wife Gill significantly extended the property, making the rooms bigger, and then they renovated the whole house.
John said: "My favourite room is the kitchen as I think it is very different.
"We're very happy with the finished result of the property - and now we've finished it, we're moving back to Leeds!"
The couple, who have eight grandchildren, are now looking to move back to Roundhay, which is where Gill grew up, so that they can be closer to friends.
Their home is now on the market with Fine & Country for £1,250,000.
The property is located in the sought-after village of Kearby, which is surrounded by the delightful unspoilt countryside of the Lower Wharfe valley.