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I finally had deed and full access to the property. The inside was nothing like I expected. The place had been boarded up so I could not see much of the interior prior. There were surprises around every corner. Some good, some not so. Neighbors began to stop by and see what was happening with the place. I let them know what I was planning and got a lot of information in return. Each neighbor had a different take on what happened with the property so I will probably never know the full details. One thing I can say for sure is that the place had been completely abandoned for close to 2 years. Neighbors had actually attempted to have the place condemned. The exterior had been neglected and was deteriorating badly. Kids had broken in and had been using the place as a club house. One neighbor even suspected the homeless had been living there. I’m guessing the lien holder finally took charge and winterized and boarded the place up. There were stickers on each plumbing appliance and most of the windows and doors were covered with plywood.

The interior was a mess. It appeared the previous owner had simply walked away from the place, leaving clothing, furniture, and personal papers, and much more. I spent a full day taking documenting conditions of the place, then the next few days cleaning the place up. Kids had knocked holes in most of the walls, or sprayed them with graffiti. Clothes, 45 RPM records, and papers were strewn all around the place. The garage was packed with so much junk, it would take 4 trailer loads to the land fill to clean up. I would have to clean up the place before I could start cleaning up the place. That was how bad it was. I also decided to clean up around the yard so the neighbors would know that the place would be fixed up.

Once the place was cleaned up a bit I began to realize exactly what I had bought. I’ll start with the bad news. I could tell from the exterior that there was some major foundation problems. Once inside though, it became more clear just how bad they were. There were cracks in almost all of the walls (besides the ones created by the kids). One interior wall, perpendicular to the back exterior wall, had a 3/4 inch gap halfway up the wall. The force had actually pulled (or sheared) a piece of the baseboard apart. The front right corner of the house was floating about 1/2 inch on top of the floor. It was evident that I would have to have the foundation repaired before I could do much else.

The kitchen and bath weren’t in very good shape. The bath vanity was made out of particle board that had gotten wet and was badly deteriorated. The green fiberglass one piece tub and surround had a large crack in the bottom of the tub.
The kitchen cabinets, counter top and appliances were still usable but outdated. The floors were carpeted over 12 inch vinyl tiles, but the carpet was in bad shape (except for one room). The garage overhead doors, front door, sliding glass door, all needed replacing. All of the woodwork (doors, trim, and baseboards) was vinyl coated particle board. The place would basically need to be gutted. There wre also a few surprises with the plumbing and electrical but I’ll go into that later.

Now for the good news. The roof had been replaced in 2004. I discovered some photos in a box in the garage that showed the condition of the place before the roof was repaired. There were some serious leaks in the front of the house and garage. The sheet rock on the ceiling had also been replaced where the roof leaked. I’m guessing about the same time the previous owner replaced the 4 bedroom windows in the front of the house. They weren’t exact matches to the original, and they would have to be re-hung when the foundation was repaired, but they would do. The heat and air had been updated about the same time, so that was an avoided (expected) expense. The dishwasher was fairly new. I would have to replace one valve but again another avoided expense. Finally, there were several huge rolls of carpeting in the garage. I could tell that it wasn’t new, but it appeared to be in near perfect condition.

I finally had a good idea of exactly what I had bought. Overall, I felt good about the situation. I immediately began to look for foundation repair estimates. In the meantime I decided to begin the demolition. I would remove all of the vinyl woodwork and doors, take the floors down to the cement slab, gut the bath completely and remove the built in kitchen electric oven and gas cook top. I was on my way finally!

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