Finished Cottage Style Front

A Street View Makeover

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This house sold before I finished it. A lady came by and made me an offer. It was a good one so I let her have it. When I found this house, it was in poor condition but was structurally sound- so I gave this ugly house  a makeover.

The roof was leaking, and some sills and siding were rotten on the front and back sides where the porches were. The bottom few rows of siding was falling apart on most of the sides.

Some of the floor joists were rotten from years of letting leaks go unfixed in the utility and bathroom areas. Brown worn out carpet. It was ugly inside and out.

The front porch area before...

Ugly house front with porch
Ugly house front gable end

Notice the problems that need to be cured -

  • The porch is too high and in the way. The 3 foot steps make it mostly inaccessible and it's rotten in the back inside corner.
  • The masonite siding is waterlogged and falling apart because of the water runoff from the roof. Also there on the gable end you can see the green algae indicating more rot underneath
  • The front door jambs are rotten about halfway down and the threshold is pretty much gone. The door is steel and the core is still good so it is still usable.
  • The windows are single pane and some have broken glass. They don't have any trim either. The shutters are outdated and have no style.
  • The fascia boards are all rotten, as well as some of the soffit. Even on the gable end from lack of paint over the years. You can see where there was once a cover over the porch, which contributed to the rot by holding water against the fascia.
  • When you view the close up pics you can see the the broken shingles all along the drip edge. The roof was old, but was still good in most places.

The ugly house cure: why you start with the outside first

When you buy your house for investment, you're going to eventually sell it or rent it. That's all. So whatever you do to your house it had better be done as soon as possible, and in the right order.

Always begin on the outside first, and especially on the street side, or the side everyone sees first whenever they drive by. The reason for this is, it's your free advertising. If the house looks wonderfully inviting when people drive by every day and it's for sale, curiosity brings them in to see you while you're working on it.

Yep, I said it. For Sale. As soon as you close on the house, while it's still a dump, stick your for sale by owner sign right out front. Someone might come by and offer you enough that you don't have to do any work on it at all. If not, you just keep right on working. You knew what the house is worth in good condition before you bought it. You know what you paid for it. The value can only go up as you improve...

Start at the top, work your way down: first things first

​I fixed the leaky roof by pulling off one of the shingles and finding a real close match to the color and texture. Old shingles can completely change from their original look over the years.

I replaced all the shingles that were broken and chipped around the bottom row and along the gable ends. That made the roof look nice and clean around the edges.

Then I replaced the other busted shingles on the rest of the roof. It was a nice looking, waterproof roof now. All with 3 bundles of shingles.

When the home inspector looked at the roof, he said it was old, but was still in great shape. The roof was over 30 years old!

Next, the fascia board and trim were repaired and painted. The siding was repaired at the same time. I used 12" hardie siding turned backwards (wood grain to the inside) to match the old slick masonite siding. couldn't tell the difference when it was finished.

Repaired end