But we loved that house! here's the living room when we were ready to sell, 10 years later:
To the right of the view above was a dining room, which originally looked like this. The walls were flaky and there were gobs and gobs of ground-in chewing gum on the floor that I spent hours with a putty knife scraping up.
We don't have a picture of the 'before' of the other side of the room, but there's a built in window seat and pretty windows that look directly into the next door neighbor's house 5 feet away, but no windows except that high one that faced the back yard.
In this room, we added a set of french doors that open onto a small deck, built in bookcases and a cabinet for a desk or television to the right (hidden behind the half wall and post). This was one of my favorite rooms! We never really used it as a dining room, although we did have a drop-leaf table we could pull out to make a dining area for guests.
The kitchen was really terrible before. This picture is really bad, one thing I've learned is to take a LOT of before pictures!
What you can't see here is that the stove goes in on the right (there was no stove when we bought it), and the refrigerator goes on the left (again, no refrigerator when we bought it), and if you open the oven door, you can't open the refrigerator. One person could fit into this kitchen.
What you can see is that it was the tiniest kitchen ever! Funny thing is, I lived with this kitchen in terrible shape for 9 of the years we had that house - and finally remodeled the year before we sold it.
We had a pantry and a small porch to the left of the kitchen, and we opened up that space to make a larger kitchen with a small sitting area. The old kitchen had no view to the backyard, but the new kitchen had windows all the wall around, and a door that opened to the small deck.We had to remove the one existing window, but replaced it with 5 windows and a glass door.
We also added a half bath between the stairs down to the basement and the kitchen. We could have made a really large kitchen with a dining area, but we knew that having a bath on the first floor was a better feature.
Upstairs, we had 3 bedrooms and a full bath. The master bedroom was lovely, with a large bay window.
We had a pretty little small guest bedroom and another bedroom I used as a studio. (I can't find any pictures of that, though). The bathroom upstairs required a complete gut job. When we bought the house, the water lines in the bathroom ran above the baseboards, and the tub was non-functional, and so was the sink. In fact, the only thing working in there was the toilet. We learned a lot about plumbing working on this house! The best thing about the bathroom was the original claw foot tub - it was 6 1/2 feet long, and so big that not only could Dale take a soak in comfort, but if me or my daughters took a bath in it, we could actually float without touching the edges. Oh, do I miss that tub! I also loved the window that looked over the backyard, and into the giant cottonwood tree, which make you feel like you were taking a shower in the forest!
We really loved this house - it had wonderful built-ins, lots of character. We were sad to sell it, but we had to move to Bloomington where I was attending grad school, and we needed to use some of the equity to finance my full-time student status.
We did rather well with the finances with this house - it was originally listed for $59,900 - but was in such horrible shape that we ended up getting it for 43,500 - with 16,000 in escrow for repairs. So my original mortgage was right at $60,000, and we sold it for our full list price of 119,000. We paid for all the work we did on it as we went, so I don't really know how much we put into it, but one thing that we kind of lucked out on at the end was that there was a big hailstorm about 6 months before we listed it - it damaged our siding and our roof and gutters, so our insurance paid for all that, which made it more attractive for sale with a new roof and siding.
Our next place was a small condo we bought in Bloomington, where I did my graduate work at Indiana University. We thought about renting, but at the time we moved, we had a cat and a big Rottweiler, and finding a place that would allow a big dog was difficult, so we ended up buying a fixer condo. No big problems with this condo, it was just very very dated with old wall to wall carpeting, ancient appliances and really dirty walls and ceiling. It had been a rental and the neglect showed. We lived in this condo and fixed it up as we went - all new flooring, painted every single surface, and replaced the appliances with upgraded deals off craigslist. We replaced the vanity and sink in the half bath, replaced all the old doorknobs and added new storm doors and cleaned up the landscaping and patio areas. I don't have any before pics of this place, but here are some afters from our listing:
We put laminate flooring in the living and dining rooms, redid the floor in the bathrooms and kitchen with new tile, and replaced the carpeting in the two bedrooms. I didn't have any pictures of the bedrooms, because I was waiting to take pictures until after I got the carpeting installed - and we ended up selling it before I even got it listed with an agent!
I made up a flyer and put an ad on Craigslist, thinking that maybe we'd get some interest before the carpet went in (I had the installation date set but it was going to be a week or two), and I hadn't even made up a sign to put in the window, when I got a call from a young woman who saw the ad on Craigslist and wanted to come by to take a look.
I could tell by the look on her face when she walked in that she wanted it -- she just lit up.
This was one of those places we were never really attached to. I'm not a big fan of condo living, it's a little too close to neighbors and feels very impersonal. We knew we'd only be here a short while, and that we were looking for an investment opportunity rather than a home.
Most of the things we did here were with resale in mind (although the lavender in the bathroom was probably the least likely to be positive for resale - it was just a whim that we thought we'd probably paint over before listing the place). I don't like picking things with resale in mind - there are things we'd like to do for ourselves -- the laminate floor was a perfect example, I hated the way it felt and sounded under my feet, but it sells better than hardwood. Most people like laminate - I'm just not a fan, but it does maintain well.
The one aspect of the condo I did love was our little patio. We added a large crank up umbrella that we attached to the concrete for stability. It was a nice place to sit and relax or cook out. The buyer wanted to be sure we left the umbrella!
Another thing we did was replace the carpeting with berber - I'm no fan of berber, but it's low maintenance and was budget friendly for resale.
The woman who bought the place really got a nice deal here - the carpet was installed about 2 weeks before we moved out, so it was in pristine shape!
We did well with our reno here - we paid 88,000 for this condo, and sold it for 114,000 less than 3 years later, with only cosmetic improvements. So that made up some of what we had to pay out for living expenses while I was in grad school, and provided us with a down payment for our place in California. We were really lucky to get it sold, and so quickly! This was right about when the market crashed and my fellow grad students, who finished up in the next year, had a terrible time getting their homes sold when they relocated.