Update – 15 August 2022

by Nate Hoffelder

A web designer by day, Nate has a lot of experience in writing about tech and marketing, but only a little experience in remodeling a house. This blog chronicles the lessons Nate learns while fixing up a duplex in Clendenin, WV.

August 15, 2022

Two bits of news today.

The first is that I got a copy of the quit claim deed from the county. It’s now in their records, which means I officially own this house.

The second is that I visited the house today. I started cutting back the overgrowth, took a couple photos of the electric meters, and gained access to the first unit in the duplex. I I had previously visited the second unit last month (this was easy because the doors had been kicked in), but the first unit had locked doors.

I had to drill the locks to get in (this was easier than I expected). What I found was a relative clean 3-bedroom apartment.

It could use a good scrubbing, but TBH I have stayed in worse looking motel rooms. Yes, it’s missing the kitchen appliances. And yes, there’s an exterior door in one of the bedrooms. (it’s actually not uncommon in apartments built in Virginia in the first half of the 20th century). And yes, the water heater is in the bathroom (not uncommon when there’s no utility room).

And yes, the apartment has seven-foot ceilings.

The condition of the apartment is very good news for me because it means I will be able to stay in the unit while working on it. I won’t have to commute everyday or stay in a nearby motel, thus saving me time and money.

And then when the one unit is rentable, I will be able to use the income to fund the work on the second unit.

And the second unit is going to need a lot of work. It is trashed worse than you can imagine.

So the current plan is to get the first unit ready to be rented. Once I have a tenant I will use the rental income to fund the work on the trashed unit.

The first step will be to hire a contractor to clean it up, and once they have finished I am going to have someone tear out the ceiling and at least one wall, replace the doors and windows, put in a new kitchen and bath. I also want to combine two of the three bedrooms into one.

The low ceiling may cause some problems (the new bedroom doors will have to be cut down so they fit).  And of course I don’t know the specific condition of the electrical work, plumbing, or roof.

But these are problems I can solve as I go along.

Edit: And it turns out the ceiling height probably won’t be an issue. I just measured the doors installed in my mother’s house. The top edge of the moulding is less than 7 feet from the floor, which means I can use just about any available door.

This blog was launched in order to share one newbie home buyer’s experience in buying and remodeling a wreck of a house.

Like the house itself, this blog is a work in progress.

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