Real Estate · Rehab · The Old Neighborhood · Vacant Property/Demo

She’s Always a Woman to Me…Even Though She Needs a Facelift and Asbestos Abatement

There’s a payoff in loving vintage. You get an awesome, authentic look and are entrenched in the history of the dress, the home or the neighborhood. With that authenticity comes hard work, maintenance and often unexpected drains on your wallet. An old home is an investment, yes. But it’s also a labor of love.

Upon purchase of this foreclosure, we’ve gotten lots of comments from the neighbors. Some are happy that it will again be cared for. Some mention that we’ll have our hands full and the house will require too much work. My favorite comment came from the old man across the street. I first noticed him on Father’s Day when he was hanging out with his family on the porch. I overheard him telling his grandson (or more likely great- grandson) about the time he had shrapnel removed during WWII. He’s an old school badass and we liked him immediately.

As we headed out on a hardware store run, he said “You know, your house used to be the nicest one on the block!” It was clear from his tone that he didn’t approve of its current condition. He went on to talk about the well-to-do lady who used to own it and how he had helped her maintain the property after he retired. He mentioned the windows, the landscaping and the trees that he had planted in the front of the house. Listening to him, it was apparent that the decline of the house and the neighborhood was a disappointment.

I suppose it’s conversations like this that spur my love of older homes. This house meant something to the lady who maintained it so well for all those years. It means something to the neighbor across the street who had helped her and to the other residents of the block. It’s easy to become annoyed with old, smelly wallpaper and cracked plaster walls. To me, it’s worth the work because at one time someone was excited to hang that very wallpaper which would help make their house a home. Older homes tell a story of another generation and from the descriptions that we’ve gotten this house was at one time very special. It’s small by today’s standards. There are no granite countertops or designer cabinets. The bathroom is tiny and the house has no basement. But for someone, sometime it was home. And on Saturday, it will be for us too.

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