This entry will be a slightly different take for those of you who’ve been following this real estate adventure. As I mentioned last time, the tenants who occupied the downstairs unit in the original duplex moved out in May after 2.5 years. We’ve actually had decent luck with tenants, just 3 since early 2016: the first ones two actively military guys who got deployed 8 months into it; the next tenant stayed for 2 years. When we bought the property the downstairs was in much better shape than the upstairs, which needed a complete overhaul, so we focused there. Now we decided we would take the vacancy opportunity to finally do some work down there. This entry will show the results of that.

A reminder of what the outside of the house looks like. We used this as the opening photo in the ad we placed on Zillow yesterday morning. I have two showings so far this weekend already.

Ready for some Before and After shots? Here we go…

Before: this is the entry. Notice the dark flooring in the entry, carpet in the bedroom on the right and living room. The wall on the left needed work – there used to be a window there but it came out when the outside stairs were moved from the front to the side of the house. Also notice the hutch at the end of the living room in the background. We had one like that upstairs, too, but took it out when we did that remodel in 2015.

After: the hutch is gone and you can see all the way through the unit. New flooring throughout, a water proof vinyl, new light fixtures throughout, and a fresh coat of paint throughout. And the wall is fixed.

Before: the split HVAC was put in last fall during the major exterior overhaul we did. The windows had been replaced then as well, and the window coverings with them. Hence the lovely brown paper.

During: the workers used this room as the catch-all for the demolition process. It got much worse than this before that part was done and they hauled everything away.

After: fresh paint, new flooring, and shades.

After: front bedroom showing both west-facing windows. We installed blackout shades here.

Before: Ugh. Those 2.5 year tenants had a cat and a dog

After: Much better.

During: why not have a water heater in the middle of your kitchen?

After: new sink, appliances and cabinets. Stove was replaced, the microwave, garbage disposal and dishwasher are all new.

Before: Bedroom #2 off the living room.

After: just new flooring and paint, and shades.

Before: other view of bedroom #2.


Before: the stove was on the south wall. It worked but was old and the legs were broken.

During: the workers found pipes that had deteriorated to nothing practically. Lots of the kitchen plumbing had to be replaced.

During: You can see the new plumbing going in.

After: much better, again!

Before: The fridge was on the opposite wall before. There’s no good place for it in this layout really. But we wanted to have more of an open feeling.

After: well, the goal of open-ness took a bit of a left turn. Once the old floor was up, we identified a significant problem with it being level. That portion of the house was added on decades ago, and the original floor had sunk pretty badly. So there was almost a 2 inch difference in floor height over on the left. That pony wall was built to hide that. It worked, and created a little cozy feeling in that dining area somehow.

Before: Bathroom.

After: We didn’t do much here except move the toilet to the opposite wall and add a tankless water heater.

This is really before and after: we didn’t touch any of this.

Before: the dining area.


Before: cabinets in the corner.

After: Moved the refrigerator there with cabinets on either side.

Before: Laundry room in the back.

After: Office in the back.

We will use the old washer and dyer – only 2.5 years old – in the new construction. We bought a stackable here and put it in the kitchen where the water heater used to be.

We’re pretty happy with it and I’m excited to be showing it this weekend. What do you think?


  1. Anonymous August 5, 2021 at 8:53 am - Reply

    beautiful results , lucky folks will live there. good luck on finding good people to live under you. Hugs

  2. Anonymous July 23, 2021 at 6:02 am - Reply

    I admire your fortitude!! It looks so nice!! Well done!

  3. Melanie Kay Luckenbach July 23, 2021 at 4:57 am - Reply

    The move of the fridge opening up that horizontal window great move! The flooring through out fantastic! the wide open front to back the best view to come home too. Kitchen much improved for entertaining. I never saw a free wall water tank like that before, interesting…assume that makes the hot water opportunity during shower greater? It is an amazing property. Anyone who knows you would want you as their long time landlord!

    • Steve Haas July 23, 2021 at 5:03 am - Reply

      I am not the best person to explain how the tankless water heater works. But essentially what it’s doing, like an espresso machine really, is intensely hitting the water as it’s going through the pipe. So essentially, as long as you have water you can have hot water. There’s no tank to empty.

  4. Karen Keene July 22, 2021 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Your remodel looks great! I really like the flooring and the kitchen. It should rent quickly. Good luck with your showings!

    • Steve Haas July 23, 2021 at 2:43 am - Reply

      Thanks ? Looking forward to seeing you soon!

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