Nancy Drew is a Verb

Craig and I thoroughly enjoy remodeling homes for resale. The properties we choose are loaded with potential especially if they have been neglected. It is tempting to pull out all the stops and transform each home into a dream house. Budget? Pshaw!

HGTV Dream Home 2009

Thankfully, we have a system in place to keep from overdoing it. Before we purchase a property to remodel, we have already decided 1) what rooms to rehab and 2) the extent of the rehab.

Rooms to Rehab:

The process of deciding whether or not to remodel a specific room depends largely its current condition. We ask questions like:

Are there wood floors under that carpet?

Will paint alone be enough?

Are the kitchen cabinets salvageable?

Is that a load bearing wall?

Extent of Rehab

The extent to which we rehab a home depends largely on its neighborhood. We always plan to be the nicest house in our price range but not excessively so. The MLS has a wealth of information about real estate neighborhoods. So we put on our sleuthing hats and scope out River Heights.

We investigate similar homes that have sold recently as well as homes currently on the market in the neighborhood. Pictures on the MLS listings offer information such as:

What type of countertops are in the kitchens of this neighborhood?

Are the shower walls tile or a plastic surround?


Does it have a garage?

That's our daughter #2!

After we “Nancy Drew” the remodel project, we practice self-control. A kitchen can still be beautiful without granite counters. It allows us to keep the price of certain homes within reach of more families.

Sleuth and budget. Works every time.

Linked to:
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage


Flip flops and Garages

I grew up in California. In the Golden State people wear flip flops all year long, roses bloom in February, and car ports protect the Porsches.

Our youngest child with Craig in CA

Now I live in Minnesota. It gets cold in the winter. Very. Cold. I traded my flip flops for Sorels.

Our youngest child's winter uniform.

Midwest snow blows sideways. Car ports? Not so helpful.

Here in the tundra, a garage is a wonderful luxury. Some people would argue it is a necessity. These people grew up in California and like wearing flip flops.

In all the years we have remodeled homes for resale, only two houses did not have a garage. Our last rehab was one of those houses. We went back and forth deciding if we should build a garage. The house was quite small (960 sq ft) and the garage would need to be detached. We decided to list the house for a lower price and make a note in the MLS listing that we would custom build a garage for X amount of dollars.

21 showings later…

… no offers. It was obvious that we needed to build the garage. It seems not everyone who thinks a garage is a necessity is from California.

After getting a few bids, Craig found a company who will build the garage at a great price.  They’ll pour the cement this week, and we’ll have it up soon. You can see the Before picture of the exterior of this house here.

UPDATE:  We now have the house under contract with a buyer… before the garage’s concrete floor was even poured.  They definitely want a garage, so we’ll shovel the snow that came last week and get started on the custom garage.  And I’ll be dreaming of roses that bloom in February.