The Story Behind the House Next Door and Before & After Pictures

In June of 2015, Mike and I had just moved in together and had already tackled big DIY projects on our home. We were feeling pretty confident about what we could accomplish together and had been dreaming about tackling a full house remodel. We were curious about the house next door to us as it seemed to be vacant. Someone was taking care of the lawn, but we never saw any sign that someone was actually living there. We spotted an older couple standing in the driveway one afternoon and walked over to ask if they knew what was going on with the house. Turns out Patrick and Patricia (or Pat and Pat as they liked to be called) were trying to fix it up to sell. Pat had lived there years ago with his now ex-wife, who was sadly a bit of a hoarder, and ended up moving out and leaving much of her things behind. Pat still owned the home, so he and Pat were clearing out his ex-wife’s things and doing their best to bring the house back to life. We asked if we could see the inside. After a quick tour, we told them we’d buy it for $140,000. They were ecstatic at the idea. The house was a major project, and they lived 45 minutes away, so we were doing them a favor by taking it off their hands. We were ecstatic too. It was the perfect size home for our first full house remodel, and it was literally next door to where we lived which could not have been more convenient.

We closed on the house in July and started work on our very first project as Monarch Homes, LLC. We both still worked full-time jobs, so our nights and weekends were spent fixing up the house next door. It took us 16 months from start to finish. We did nearly everything ourselves with the exception of some drywall work, a little bit of electrical work that required a licensed electrician, and refinishing the floors. We knew time was money but we purposely did it this way. We wanted to do everything so that we learned everything. Knowledge really is priceless. Plus, we knew we’d have higher standards and care more than anyone else. Mike and I are both perfectionists and we made sure our work was top quality. In fact, initially we were just going to do a lot of cosmetic work to the house, but that just wasn’t sitting well with us. We knew that even if it was fixed up, it wasn’t meeting its full potential. It really needed an entirely new floorplan and another bathroom. At the risk of over updating it, we took the whole house down to a blank slate and started over. It cost us about triple what we originally budgeted because of all the changes!

On a freezing cold November day in 2016, we listed our totally updated ranch at $259,900 and held our breaths. Within 24 hours of pushing “submit” on the listing, we had 7 offers in hand. I watched from our house next door at the zoo of people trying to see it. I snapped this picture of the chaos.

All of the offers were above list price and we were floored. One even had a love letter in it! 😍

We let all agents know that we were in a multiple offer situation and to submit final and best offers. We ended up with two offers at $275,000. 15k over list price! Say whaaa!!! We accepted the best offer and floated. on. cloud. nine.

The feedback we got from realtors who had seen it was so incredible. We got comments like, “I’ve been a realtor for 30 years and have never seen higher quality work than this” and “Could I hire you guys to do my personal house? I’ve been looking for months for a contractor who does this great of work!”. We even had someone call us who had seen the house online just to ask if they could come look around inside to get inspiration for their personal kitchen remodel – and to see if we would do the work!

My favorite story happened about a month after we sold it. I was out at birthday dinner for a friend from high school. I was sitting next to a girl I’d never met before. She started telling the table about how she and her boyfriend had found their dream house online, but it had sold before they had the chance to see it in person. She started describing the house as having “beautiful dark hardwood floors, a painted white brick fireplace, a big wooden beam in the kitchen that had white cabinets and an awesome island…” STOP - was she talking about our house?! I pulled up the house on my phone and asked her if it was the one she was referring to – IT WAS! Wait, wait, wait – mutual friends of my friends had seen it online and loved it so much that they referred to it as their dream home? MIKE AND I CREATED SOMEONE’S DREAM HOME!? With all of this, we knew we needed to do this full-time.

Check out our before and after pictures below. For details and progress pictures of each room, read our other blog posts here.