Monday, July 25, 2011


Well, I figured out I had to save the pictures different than I was in the past. SO today I'm making up for lost time. I shot pictures of the two bedrooms and the pink under the eaves bathroom.


The shades are still pulled and there is no electric yet. I just thought people might like to see what we found in the house. DH and Black Drake with junk in the living room. There is a bedroom on the first floor but it is hard to get the full effect in a picture. Inside the bedroom is a peely paint bathroom.

The basement is still a bit murky and morbid - and there is no picture of the stink - you just have to imagine. It isn't perfectly clean but it is a FAR CRY from where it was...
We have offered Black Drake the opportunity to cash in on the junk. I'm not sure he knows what to make of it though. I'm sure he's open for suggestions. I already suggested making a lamp out of that cool blender. I wonder how much he should charge for rusty old metal chairs? How about a heater?


I Thought I would attempt to put some pictures of the kitchen on here. We have some old 1950's metal cabinets and an old metal sink with built in drain boards. The faucet is very unique. Lots of trash. Cans of food laying around. There is some tile on the walls but someone painted it. Paint peeling off walls.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

trash or treasure


When we first bought the blue house in the tax sale we were talking with our friends at length about the tax sale and how we found it - how the tax sale worked - how we searched to see that it didn't have a bunch of liens - how many houses were sold, etc. Their young adult sons were in on the conversation.... Forward to a couple weeks ago. I found a video that impressed me so I forwarded it to my friends.
They searched some more, found more videos and a web site
Then they shyly asked if they could volunteer work for Phil and in exchange learn some skills. Wow! That was brave! What a place to start - they have battled tall weeds just to get in the place. muck. water. trash. stink. poison ivy. hot sticky weather. mosquitoes. and so on.
I've been very impressed with the work they have done so far. They have stuck with it through all the worst yucky muck and mess and horrid smells so far. That's right they keep showing up! I'm impressed Dark Grif and Black Drake!!! I hope this basement will be the dirtiest job you see in this project. There is nowhere to go but cleaner now is there?

We've pumped all the water out

Some photos of the mess:  top three, a pile of the clothing and trash from the basement, we're trying to get it dry enough to put in the trash, later Postmodern Redneck and his helper Blackdrake, and the bottom are stuff still to be cleared out

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My Turn

Thought I'd take the chance to put a few words in.
Copperhead, my wife, wrote the first post, then we tried to upload some photos.  I have not done this before, and she's never even blogged before, so it has been an interesting afternoon.  We have used computers for years, but are not experts on all of it.  I sometimes describe myself  as "semi-computer literate."

Anyway, after all the waiting on the county, we have finally started on this house.  We have rehabbed houses before, but never one quite like this one.  Even a foreclosed house gets cleaned out before it's put on the market.  This house was just as the people left it, with clothing, books, newspapers, shoes, coat hangers, you name it, all over the floor.  The basement was even worse than the upper two floors as far as stuff; and then once the power was turned off for non-payment, the sump pump quit working.  Judging by the walls, the water never got above three feet deep, but that was enough to ruin all the bags of clothing stored under the steps, the books, the videocassettes, and everything else the last occupants left below that level.

In spite of the mess, the house does have potential  It seems to be well constructed, the layout is not bad.  Most houses that age (circa 1950) have only one bath; this one has a half-bath on the first floor as well.  The roof looks to be in fairly good condition; windows are original and will likely need to be replaced.

We have pumped the water out of the basement, got a sump pump working to keep it out.  Most of the sodden stuff is removed now, the rest will be out soon.  The paneling and drywall on one side of the basement is mostly removed, just the ceiling to take down.  Then we need to scrub the moldy framing and get it dried out.  Then we can start cleaning out the rest of the house.

July 2011 - weeds sure do like this house!!!

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April 2010

March 2010
The house was empty and right next door. So my daughter and I asked a lot of questions at the Marion County Court House. We got a lot of run around and with 4 small children in tow it was a task... I did resort to bribery at one point - gum ball machines are wonderful!!! We found out the house was mortgaged for more than it is worth ($80,000) and then abandoned but no other liens. We got on the county treasurers website to see how much back taxes were. The house is a fairly nice house (it does sit next to a very Ugly Little Cottage... ours) So we searched how to buy a house in the tax auction. You have to have enough money on had at the auction to pay for what ever the winning bid comes to. It cannot be cash. The tax auction was a wonder to behold. It was quite an experience I will say that. If you want to bid you go to a bank and get a cashiers check for a deposit - I forget how much that was. Then you get a check from the bank for the minimum bid minus the deposit. Then you get additional checks for $100 or maybe $1000 so you have enough if you have to bid up. (We got ours for the asking amount.) Before they have the auction you go in and give them the deposit check from the bank. Then they give you a bid number. You sit and wait for the number of the house you are wanting to come up on a big screen. They post 20 or so at a time. If someone wants to bid on a house they hold up the house's number and the bidding starts. Some get quite a bit of action some sell for the asking price. It took a day and a half before ours came up. There were maybe 10,000 houses in the auction that lasted two days in Indianapolis. Most of them went for the minimum bid. So we won the bid. Now the bank or the home owner has one year to redeem the house. If they redeem it they have to pay us 10% interest in the first 6 months. Then they have to pay 15% interest in the second 6 months. We are not allowed to go in the property until we have the title. So we wait. The end of March we can apply for a title. Then we can go in and repair the damage and maybe have a decent house for not much money and an Ugly Little Cottage with two garages and a very nice back yard next door.

One long year of waiting. We waited and we waited and we waited...

APRIL 1, 2011 and this is no joke.
OK at long & last.... drum roll... the tax house is ours! We just found out today. Nobody had redeemed it. As soon as the deed comes we can go in it. That should be sometime in June! Two more months of waiting and wondering... I wonder what scary stuff is in the refrigerator? Is it moldy or worse is it NOT moldy? I wonder if the old metal kitchen cabinets are any good. Do the drawers work - how much of it is rusted out. (We did peek in the windows you know) Can the cabinets be cleaned & painted. Would a retro kitchen be cool to live with? I wonder what kind of shape the hardwood floors are in under that carpet in the rest of the house. I wonder how much damage the water in the basement has caused. I'm sure it needs a furnace if it even has one. The air conditioner is long gone. I wonder how much we have to gut? I wonder what this is going to cost? How long will it take to get it livable? What have we done? Are we crazy?

How about 'NOT MUCH IS NEW' for a blog title?
Well we know it is coming but we have 60 days +- to wait for the deed to the tax house. Meanwhile we WAIT and DREAM...
We are hoping to fix up the tax house using as much used or recycled parts as possible. There will of course be some new stuff. Like doors - it is very hard to get a good fit with used doors. Having a door that fits keeps the heat in. Of course we will re-purpose the old wooden doors. Kitchen cabinets & bathroom fixtures can be somewhat used/reused or use cast offs, repaired or re-purposed items. hopefully hard wood under the carpet can get refinished if needed and some new varnish put on. Yeah we will buy paint - probably mis-tint paint though. We might have to buy drywall if the walls are in bad shape. I have been collecting scraps and excess tiles to put somewhere - but I'll have to buy mortar and grout. I'm pretty sure we'll have to get a new furnace and water heater. We also don't know if the house has any insulation. We don't know if the drywall has holes. We do know what ever is in the finished basement has to be thrown away - water damage is so not good.

FAST FORWARD 4th of July, 2011
well we FINALLY got our tax deed it really is our house... I probably should call this one from here on out the house of horrors.... eye roll. The basement is full of stuff and it is held together by mucky water.

July 11, 2011
Postmodern Red Neck and some friends pumped water out of the basement.
Then we found out how much stuff was being 'stored' in the basement... They have spent the past week shoveling, bagging and hauling unidentified floating objects - and some not so floating. I've taken pictures but there is NO WAY to document stink. You just had to be there to get the full effect.