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Our Project House Progress – 3 Weeks In!!

Oh my word, has it really only been three weeks since the house closing? Liz and I have absolutely been busting it over there – I’ve been working early mornings, she’s been working late nights, and we’ve both been putting in our fair share of hours on the weekends…

So what the heck have we been working on? What progress have we made so far?

Well, if you follow me on Facebook, you pretty much know EXACTLY what we’re doing and where we’re at with the progress. I’ve been uploading videos, pictures, and sending posts about what we’re working on each day. If you just said to yourself, “UGH! I’ve been missing out! I want to see what’s going on!!”, then you’d better start following us on Facebook! Simply like and follow my page here.

For the rest of you that prefer to follow via post updates like this…then here ya go!

Our Project House Progress – 3 Weeks In!!

For those of you that have absolutely no idea what “project house” I’m talking about, where have you been?! 😉 Haha, just kidding.

Liz and I closed on a house three weeks ago for just $75,000. We plan to turn it into our next rental property.


It smells.

It wreaked of smoke, dog, and cat urine…good stuff, huh? Well anyway, those smells needed to get OUT OF THERE if we want to find a decent tenant for this place. So, we started to dig…and dig…and dig.

If you haven’t seen the house yet, here’s the video I took on the day we bought it!

The Original Plan with the Walls

Initially, Liz and I agreed that all the paneling had to go. It was probably holding onto all that smell, so we figured we’d just pull it off, patch the plaster, paint it, and call it good! DONE-ZO, right?

Hahaha, we were soooo wrong….

The Reality of the Walls…

Here’s the reality of what happened:

  • We pulled off the paneling in the main bedroom, and the walls were basically cardboard…and could not be patched. Oh AND the room had a fire at one point, so we had to remove all the burnt slats beneath. We’re down to the studs there.
  • In the living room, there was paneling under the paneling…and no plaster. We’re down to the studs there.
  • In the dining room, the plaster crumbled to nothing, sooo we tore that down to the studs as well.

By the time we got to the bathroom and kitchen, we wised up a little. That paneling was thicker and it was painted. We figure we can clean it, paint it, and have that smell go away. In other words, we did NOT want to discover what was behind the walls, so we left it alone. Thank goodness.

The back entry way was town down to the studs as well. There was water damage back there, so we really had no choice.

Finally, the upstairs bedroom walls were left alone. They looked decent and there was no reason for us to tear into them.

The Ceilings and Floors

On the main floor, all the ceilings were soft stapled tile – kind of like a drop ceiling, but smaller squares and stapled. They were all caked with smoke and needed to come down. My 6’8″ frame removed them beautifully, and thankfully we can just drywall right up to the supports that were holding them!

And then there’s the floors. We were digging for the “golden” hardwood, and for the most part, we found them! It took a while though — we had to remove all the carpet and pop up all the plywood underlayment (with a multitude of 3″ nails in them…).

The entire main floor has hardwood that I can sand and refinish back to their original luster! Unfortunately, there’s a hole cut in the living room for the crawl space, but I think we can pretty that up and make it a cool-looking access door. There’s also a 3’x3′ area in the kitchen that’s plywood instead of hardwood, but I’ve seen a guy feather in new hardwood boards before…and I figure I can do the same thing myself. Why not try, right??

The Roof, Rafters, and Upstairs Bedroom

When we bought the house, we noticed that the roof had a couple of sags in the ridge-line. Early inspections all checked out that the roof structure was fine, but we wanted to be sure. Since the house had no attic space that you could crawl into (to get a visual inspection of the rafters), we decided to tear down the upstairs bedroom ceiling (it was in pretty bad shape anyway) to get a good look at them ourselves.

For the most part, all the rafters looked good! We’ll secure them further, just to be sure (with some plywood and 2×6’s). But now we’ve got to re-insulate and drywall the upstairs ceiling.

On top of the structure, we also knew the shingles were looking pretty bad. We got some quotes and it was either we:

  1. Patched the bad spots of the roof and limp along with it for another 5 years (for $2,100), or
  2. We could replace the whole deal for $4,100

We figured we may as well just take the plunge now. We’ve contracted a roofing company that will hopefully get it all done before the end of December.

Oh, and in the meantime, I’m re-shingling the garage roof. Have I ever shingled before? Nope, but honestly, it’s been pretty easy so far. Last weekend, I:

  • Tore off the existing nasty shingles
  • Replaced four 4’x8′ sheets of rotten plywood
  • Installed a new drip-edge
  • Nailed in the ice-guard on the edge of the roof
  • Nailed in the tar paper on the remainder of the roof

And then it rained…and rained…and rained (and actually snowed a little…), so I put a huge tarp on the roof for now. TBD on the finishing touches with the shingles, but I’m getting close!

In Summary

So pretty much, we tore the inside of the house down to the studs and the outside shingles are getting a complete redo. There…this whole article could have been covered with one sentence. I bet you liked all the additional commentary and pictures though. 🙂

Thankfully, it’s now time to rebuild this beautiful house back to what it once was! It’s going to look great, I just know it. It’s just going to take a little time.

I’ll keep you posted on all the progress. Stay tuned for some beautiful drywall pictures. They’re coming soon!!

Housing Money Rental Property


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Looks like lathe and plaster walls. Homes here are rarely seen with that. Old ones sometimes but still rare. Sheetrock will still give you some R value. Anything that has nicotine staining needs attention. Kilz works well but if you can, just do a tear out and be done. That’ll help with the other odors.
    Flooring: really look at it and make sure you can take a 16th off. That’ll help with the odors, cupping etc. If there’s multiple holes you might have to replace and feather.
    Sagging roof line: if all else is good then you can shore up the center. You might need to look at putting a beam in for load. But you could jack it up and nail in center supports.
    Past that, its all easy peasy.
    So when I move into the next house Ill call you to help out, lol… Good luck, have fun

    • Ha, good stuff Whiskey! Thanks for the quick tips. Most of what you said, we’re doing. I’m still debating on straightening out the roof-line or not. I don’t want to create other problems, so I might just reinforce it as is, insulate it, and then close it all up.

      Still a lot of work ahead, but we’re still excited about it!

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