Post image for Marcy Case Study #2: “Before Photos” and the Inspection

Marcy Case Study #2: “Before Photos” and the Inspection

by Brandon · 9 comments

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This article is part two in an ongoing case study happening in real-time. If you haven’t read part one yet, please click here to view it!

You thought I forgot about you, eh?

I didn’t!

It’s been a busy couple weeks, but today I’m excited to finally be able to reveal more about the Marcy property to you today! I finally was able to get back in and take a few dozen photos, as well as have my inspection done. This post will be fairly “content short” but “photo rich”, but I promise another post within a few days where I’ll talk about exactly what I’m going to do with this property.

Just a reminder, Marcy Street was listed at $79,000 through an estate sale. It was on the MLS, for everyone to see, and had been there for many months. It’s located in the town on Montesano, which is the more upscale town in my area. Prices range between $100,000 and $200,000, with shorter hold times than the rest of the area. I submitted my first offer for $50,000, which the seller immediately “countered” with a price of $60,000.00.  I accepted, as that price, while at the top of my price range, still worked. My closing date is set for September 7th, 2012 (less than two weeks away).

It’s Time To Get To Know “Marcy” More Intimately…

Below are a list of photos I took of the home. Below each photo, I’ll include the items on my inspection list that need to be changed, fixed, or repaired. I’ll also include my spreadsheet at the bottom, listing all the repairs and the costs associated with them.

From the outside, left side of the house.

The “Hero Shot” – Front and Center

The outside of the home is actually in pretty decent condition, considering the appearance of the inside.  All the windows are newer vinyl double paned, while the siding is in good shape as well. The roof is definitely on it’s way out, but it probably has a few years left to it. Nevertheless, I’ll include a new roof in the cost estimates as most retail buyers will appreciate the security in knowing their roof is new.  Additionally, I think those trees need to go (or at least most of them) and a new paint job is needed.

Living Room – Complete with Bonus Furniture!

Another View of the Living Room with the Fireplace

The first room you’ll come to when walking through the front door is the living room. It’s currently crammed full of the former inhabitants stuff, which will obviously need to be dumped – unless you want it 😉

The walls throughout the home are all in good shape, but contain a significant amount of holes from shelving that once lined every wall in the home. I believe to maximize the appearance of this home, that fireplace should be removed to open the living room up to the kitchen. It’s definitely not a necessity and removing fireplaces is generally not a good idea (for both cost reasons and the fact that people love fireplaces). However, in this case it might be a good idea because the home is not real large and it is very “compartmentalized.” By removing the fire place and joining the living room and kitchen it would make the room seem significantly larger.  Again, this isn’t for sure – and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it below! Should it stay or should it go?

Additionally, the flooring will need to be changed out – possibly with a nice laminate wood floor – and a new heating system should be installed (Baseboard heat is not ideal for resale purposes). I like using “ductless heat pumps” for this, and our electricity company pays for almost half the cost.

Marcy Case Study Kitchen

Overall, Not a Bad Kitchen

The kitchen is in good shape, but will need paint on the cabinets and possibly new countertops to modernize the look. Additionally, new floor and paint will be needed, plus a new stove and refrigerator plus fixtures.

Marcy Case Study Bathroom

The One and Only Bathroom – A Little Narrow, Huh?

The bathroom is small and narrow, which can’t easily be changed. Instead, the vanity could be updated to a smaller size to make more room. The toilet will need to go, as will the glass sliding door on the bath tub and the tiled tub surround. I also plan on updating the plumbing faucets, but will usually reuse them if possible.

Marcy Case Study Bedroom 1

The Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is in good shape but will need new carpet, paint, and a lot of small holes patched.

Marcy Case Study Small Bedroom

The Most Narrow Bedroom I’ve Ever Seen – With Workout Equipment!

This bedroom was an add-on at some point in the past, but whoever designed it was not thinking real clearly and only made it six feet wide. This is hands down the biggest problem with this house and will be the biggest obstacle to overcome when it comes time to resell.

Marcy Case Study Bedroom 3

Third Bedroom

The third bedroom is similar to the others – paint, carpet, and the holes patched.

Marcy Case Study Laundry Room

Laundry Room – Complete with … Chains?

The laundry room kind of creeps me out. It’s a good size and layout, but is severely dirty and there are random chains hanging around the room. They appear to be dog choke collars. I’m not going to try to guess what they were used for.

Marcy Case Study Back Yard 1

The View out the Back Door (Between The Garage and the House)

Marcy Case Study Back Of The House

View of the Back of the House (Between the House and Garage)

The Backyard

The backyard will need some help. There is a cement patio between the house and the detached garage, complete with a wood shed, dog house, and a lot of rusty nails and garbage. Obviously, several trips to the local dump will improve the look ten fold. Additionally, there is a potting shed (in the last picture) that is on the verge of falling down. Again, the costs here are mostly dump fees and labor.

The Repair List

It’s time to take a look at how much all this is going to cost. Below is a picture showing my spreadsheet as I calculated the costs that will be associated with fixing this place up.  Keep in mind this important disclaimers:

Do not attempt to use these numbers to normalize what things will cost for you.  Charges can differ greatly from one area to another, so what I can get a roof done for might be dramatically different than you. Additionally, most of the jobs done on this home will be through contractors that I use on a very regular basis, thus I may get prices significantly less (or maybe more) than you.   These are merely estimates based on my experiences in this area.

With that, I’m going to close this part two in the Marcy Case Study. Please comment below any thoughts you have!

I will post part three in a few days and you’ll be able to see exactly what I’m planning on doing with the property (and yes, I have decided how I’m moving forward!)

Until next time,


About Brandon

has written 199 Awesome posts in this blog.

Brandon Turner (G+) is the Senior Editor and Community Director and owner of He is also an Active Real Estate Investor (Flips, Apartments, and Buy-and-Hold), Entrepreneur, World Traveler, Third-Person Speaker, and Husband. Come hang out with him on Twitter!

P.S. looking for hard money loans in California? Be sure to check out my friends over at They have very competitive rates, can fund within a week and specialize in fix and flip loans and other hard money loans.

P.S. Looking for more real estate investing knowledge? If you are interested in a top-notch course to help you understand the nuts and bolts of creative real estate investing, I would like to recommend Ben Leybovich's Cash Flow Freedom University. Ben is a close friend and has been my trusted adviser for years. He's a smart guy and CFFU is pretty awesome. The course is waitlisted, but while you wait for an opening Ben will send you tons of FREE content. Seriously. Click here to check it out.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc August 27, 2012 at 2:27 am


I would rip out the fireplace and open up the floor plan. If you could flow a laminate wood floor through the kitchen, living room, hall and entry that would make the place look updated and it would help to rent it and sell later.

However, I think there may be some hidden costs with this type of demo. Make sure your contractor agrees it can be done. Adding beams and relocating air ducts or electrical switches can add a few hundred bucks to that kind of project.

I would stage the smallest bedroom as a home office. That’s all it’s good for anyway. Maybe put in a bookshelf and a desk similar to what you did in your own home.

Since you are renovating, go ahead and modernize fixtures. The brass kitchen light fixture is ugly. Get some more modern looking door handles and lights will again help with the next renter or buyer’s “wife factor.”

Your cost list does not have a new counter top. I think you should consider doing a new laminate top and possibly a tile or copper backsplash. Women buy and rent homes for the kitchen and bathrooms where they like to spend a lot of time. Since the bathroom is not so hot, give her a really nice looking kitchen – especially since she will see it from the couch in the living room.

When I first saw all of these pictures I felt like you overpaid for the house. It is ugly. I can’t wait to see the pictures after the paint and renovation and after the junk to brought to the dump.

Good Luck!


Brandon August 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Great comments Marc! I think we are thinking almost all the same thoughts! I’ve been going back and forth on the countertop, but yes, it should probably be done (although, it is a good condition laminate, probably five years old – it just looks a tad bit dated). Yes, with all the junk it looks terrible! Ugly is a good word. But I like ugly 🙂 Easy to fix and modernize! Thanks for the comments!


Blake August 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm


Have you ever tried the Rustoleum Countertop paint system? I haven’t but since you say the counter is in good condition it might be worth the try.

If you do try it let me know how it goes. Very curious.

Oh and I totally agree with Marc’s comments on the updates


Keith August 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm

One question, where do you get a “NEW” Fridge AND Stove for $500?

I would ditch the fireplace too, but maybe if there is room throw one of those Gas ones in the corner of the living room, or pellet stove. (that would probably heat the whole house up).


Brandon August 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Great question Keith, and I probably should have included that. We have a used appliance store in town that’s awesome and inexpensive. It’s not crappy stuff either, so I usually can’t tell it’s ever been used. They usually run around $250 each. However, depending on the style of this remodel, the stove could be simply cleaned and a nice fridge bought. Thoughts?


Elizabeth November 6, 2012 at 3:01 am

Whoa… $100 for a fence? $1500 to pressure wash and paint the whole house? Am I missing something?? Those are some shockingly low quotes!

From my experience a proper whole house paint job (meaning scrape, patch, repair, quality primer & paint) is not going to be less than $4,000… so either I really need to get the name of your painter, or the job they did won’t make it through one winter out in the harbor rain…

So set me straight, what’s the story? 🙂


Joseph Michael Dollison April 24, 2016 at 11:05 pm

Paint job prices just depend on the state really. Man I have seen quotes up North for way way more than you will find down here in Texas. It all comes down to how many people are in the industry and down here we have a few painters to say the lease. haha


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