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Old 05-10-2012, 10:42 AM   #1
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Foreclosure Project


Welcome to my project thread

A quick summary about me: My wife and I married about four years ago (second marriage for both of us, each with 2 kids) and had a new daughter three years ago this July for a total of 5 children (hers, mine, ours). One of the things I gained in my first marriage (along with two great kids) was a shot credit score, and as a result we rented from the time we were married until recently.

Due to circumstances within our control, outside of our control, and just plain old luck (right place at the right time) we purchased a foreclosed home that had only been unoccupied for about a month for a fantastic price. It's in the exact neighborhood we wanted, on a very small street that most residents don't even know exists. It's kind of like being in the country (or a park) while still being in the middle of the city.

The House


Once we had the keys, the first order of business was giving the house a thorough cleaning and painting the walls. The main floor is laid out with a living room, dining room, office/den, kitchen, eating area, sunroom, and bathroom. We decided that a large formal dining room didn't really fit in with our family lifestyle and chose to 'convert' this room into a family/TV room.

Here are a few of the before and afters:

Sun Room

This room was originally a deep green, a few of the window cranks didn't work, and the baseboards were in pretty bad shape. Figuring it to be an easy fix, this was a pivotal room in the process, as it was here in this room that the wife was banned from all future painting labor.



The paint hadn't fully dried when the picture was taken, and we did a second coat but you get the idea.

Living Room

The living room is somewhat broken up as it's between the kitchen and the sunroom, at some point I'd like to open it up further and perhaps take down the wall between it and the kitchen.



Regardless we chose to paint it a darker color wich oddly enough made the room seem larger. The stenciling over the fireplace can be seen elsewhere in the house, it was somewhat sad removing it as they obviously took pride and care in their home while doing it, only to subsequently lose their house. The walls originally had a textured wallpaper on them, then a few coats of paint to boot. We chose to paint over the wallpaper and it actually turned out nice. The floors cleaned up really well also.

Kitchen

Short of some shoddy trim work, the kitchen was in pretty good shape. We chose to lighten it up a bit with more of a cream color (was a bright yellow) which really changed the overall feel of it. I also replacing a few light fixtures and installed a nice new sink and faucet (I'm the one doing all the cooking, the wife tkes care of laundry).



*The above pic still has the jacked up trim, and I was testing between stained and painted quarter round.



The cabinets really cleaned up nicely, my original inclination was to paint them white (and the kitchen blue) but after giving them a very thorough cleaning and rubdown, I'm happy with the result.

Dining/Family Room

The dining room had a large light fixture which needed to be taken down and replaced with something a little more subtle, and wallpaper. I would love to say that the wallpaper came off great, in giant intact sheets leaving no residue on the walls as if thumbtacked in the corners, but that's just not the case. This room was a bear, and I believe the wallpaper had been up for quite some time.



While it may not look like much, I am very proud of this picture.


Up to this point, everything has been DIY, but when it comes to the exterior I felt I needed to bring in the big guns. I wasn't comfortable pressure washing the outside of the house after reading horror stories of siding being blown off and water penetration. Additionally I was becoming more and more pressed for time with our impending move-in date coming up on the 19th of this month. So after placing a few calls for estimates I waded into the land of dealing with contractors...

Contractor #1 shows up, proceeds to tell me how he can take care of everything, then starts and argument with me. Contractor #2 is a no show, #3 shows up, makes some notes and never calls me back. Finally, I make the call to an exterior painter who has a great reputation but can be a bit pricey. He drives by and takes a look at the place a couple hours after the phone call, make some notes, calls me a couple times to clarify the work I'm looking for, and then gives me a price. Ouch.

So I tell him to go ahead and do the work, and with the exception of a few small blisters in the porch floor I'm extremely pleased with what they did:

Front Porch



The pictures don't do this transformation justice... The power washing made the siding look brand new, and they sanded down all of the columns and used wood putty where needed. The porch floor doesn't look quite as brand new as in the pics, but it does look professionally painted.



They also painted all of the exterior doors (except the front - my next project):





Basement and side door pics missing (no before pic).

And this pretty much brings us to the present day (about 3 weeks into the project). Next on my list is refinishing the wooden front door and side lights, framing out two walls in the basement (and adding a window on the back foundation), install a couple more shutters, painting the existing shutters, installing an awning over the side door, installing new porch lights (all of them), re-refinish the basement, and a bunch of other things that are starting to seem overwhelming as I type this...

And somewhere along the way I'm going to need a new roof and driveway.


Added: Girls bedroom bunk beds
Foreclosure Project

Last edited by mike2; 05-22-2012 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:47 AM   #2
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Wow, Beautiful job Mike.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:53 AM   #3
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Looks great
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:40 PM   #4
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Smart wife, making it look like she can't paint so she gets banned from it. I took a different route and refused to do it from the get go. :D
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:42 PM   #5
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Great progress!

How is the roof?
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, compared to some of the other projects it's pretty tame, but it's mine and there is still some heavier lifting to come.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoconutPete View Post
Great progress!

How is the roof?
The roofs dry, probably has 2-3 good years left if I had to guess without walking it. Company I work for is a wholesaler of all things roofing and HVAC in the mid-Atlantic, so I'll catch a break when it comes time to put something new on, currently thinking a metal roof would be sharp (but mega $$$).

We're still in the process of packing for the move, once that's out of the way I plan to scrape/sand the sidelights and give them a hand rubbed finish, still on the fence as to the method I'd like to use.

Then there's the basement.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:13 PM   #7
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Foreclosure Project


Awesome pics! I too was a proud purchaser of a foreclosure, and know what you mean how it can be a little sad to remove what they did, when it is apparent they did it with a lot of care.

Taking down wallpaper is ALWAYS a bear, in my experience. Lots of patience, lots of swearing, and lots of time seems to be the solution...
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:30 PM   #8
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If the wall paper is in good condition, I like to paint over it. Gives the wall a nice, smooth surface.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:03 AM   #9
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Very nice that you got in so quickly. We purchased an estate about a year ago that sat empty for three years. Luckily they kept the power on so the A/C and heat worked well, but we have run into a few strange problems that only come from long periods of inactivity.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Very nice that you got in so quickly. We purchased an estate about a year ago that sat empty for three years. Luckily they kept the power on so the A/C and heat worked well, but we have run into a few strange problems that only come from long periods of inactivity.
What kind of problems? I'm looking at a house that has been empty for a while.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:49 AM   #11
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A few examples...

1)The yard was totally overtaken with ivy, and the planting beds were thick through with wandering grasses and weeds. The grass had wasted considerably, which sounds minor but it has taken nearly a year to get everything back into shape. The ivy was the worst though, as it continues to resurface even today, Ive taken to letting it grow enough so I can dig down and find its source, which seem to run throughout the yard.

2) Someone had entered the garage at one point and cut out some copper pipe which resulted in a nice water leak the first time we fired up the washing machine.

3) The hot water heater pilot was out for a long time and had gotten either some rust or dirt on the tip so it wouldn't stay lit for more than a couple of hours at a time. We replaced the tip and haven't had any problems since.

4) Birds had built a nice nest in the attic through a hole in the eve mesh where a tree branch had poked through because it wasn't trimmed back.

5) Ivy had grown in between the storm windows and the main glass on multiple windows, which on this house are riveted onto the main window and cannot be removed. We ended up replacing the windows in the house but we otherwise would have had to drill out the rivets to get the ivy in between the pains out of the windows.

6) Several of the kitchen slide roller bearings were seized, oddly enough, and we had to replace a couple of the slides, the rest we were able to free with some WD-40 and then re-greased them afterwards.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:19 AM   #12
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OK, thanks. I have read that it's important to video snake pipes/drains to check for roots or damaged drains.
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Old 05-17-2012, 01:42 AM   #13
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I love the house! Lots of curb appeal in my opinion. That front expansive porch is to die for!
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:04 PM   #14
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Thanks for the comments guys. It's turned out really well twostuds, the front porch has been great (though blisters in the paint necessitate a repaint...)

Quick update, one of the more fun projects is done.

The Problem: How do you put two girls in one room, without cramping their ability to have a sleep over with friends?

The Solution:


This turned out super nice, the twins on the left are extra longs, and the right are standard. Each bed has a separate cubby behind it, with a little light fixture.

The closet also has a large built-in in it now, I'll try to snap some good pics of it when I get a chance.

Last edited by mike2; 05-22-2012 at 08:49 AM. Reason: Better Image
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:18 PM   #15
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Very nice!
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