Move Over Tarek and Christina!

What do Mr. Bunches and I have in common with HGTV’s Tarek and Christina?  


  1. We both have an adorable little girl and a baby boy;
  2. We both have hit TV shows (ours stars Mr. Bunches and airs nightly on Idiot Nation TV–check with your local cable provider to subscribe); and
  3. We both have a Real Estate Empire!!

Okay, so two out of three of those might be slight exaggerations.  But only slight.  The big news is that we just bought a house and we’ve begun the flip process!! So fun, right? 

It’s a 2-bedroom, 1-bath brick ranch built in the 1950s and located in our neighborhood. We bought the house at the Erie County Property Tax Auction, so we bought it without having any idea what the inside of it looked like. But we knew the value of homes in the neighborhood and we did lots of drive-bys before the auction, and we felt like it was a great buy. Risky of course, but without risk, there’s no reward, right?!

We’re planning to share lots of renovation details here and hopefully get some of your opinions along the way. But for now, how about some before shots . . . 

The entryway/living/dining room:
The kitchen, with just some slight ceiling issues:

The sunroom off the kitchen:

Bedroom #1:



Bedroom #2:



Back patio:

So just a bit of work to do ;). The real shame is that the Internet doesn’t have the ability to transmit smells, because that’s where you’d really get the feel of this house. So since there’s no smell-a-net yet, I’ll give you a recipe so that you can create the smell at home:


  • 1 chihuahua
  • 2 doves
  • Carpet from the 1950s
  • Closed-off rooms 

Combine all ingredients. Let simmer for ~5 years. Make sure animals only go to the bathroom indoors. Enjoy. 

Stay tuned . . . We’ve already accomplished a lot in only a week so far. Updates soon!

Holy No More

That’s right–guess what today is?!  CLOSING DAY!  So that holy house is ours–all ours!

And you know what that means, right?  It sure as heck ain’t holy no more . . .


We did it! The church accepted our offer, and we’re so pumped.

More later, but just wanted to share the good news.

Holy House

Third time’s a charm, right?!  We’re hoping that’s the case since we just made our third offer last night.  Time has been tight these days with the house hunting (we saw at least a dozen more properties just this past weekend alone), long commuting, tons of work, and our upcoming trip out west, so I’ll be brief.

First, of course, the stats:

  • Location: Snyder (yes, the same neighborhood from basically all the houses we’ve put offers on)
  • Square Footage: 2,696
  • 4 Bedrooms, 2.5 Bathrooms
  • Lot size: 0.24 acres
  • Built in 1962
  • 2.5 car Attached Garage
  • Asking Price: $209,900
  • Days on Market: 4
  • Our Offer Price: $209,900

That’s right–we offered full price.  And here’s why: the Snyder neighborhood average sale price is generally $113 per square foot.  That was true for many of the homes we looked at (such as here, here, and here).  However, with this home, the price per square foot is only $78!!!  So yeah–it’s a bargain, and if you know us, you know we love us a good bargain.  And no, it’s not that cheap because it’s falling apart or needs a new roof or has a crumbling foundation.  We’re not exactly sure why it’s priced that low . . . of course, as you’re about to see, it most definitely needs some updating, but the structure is sound–the home is almost entirely brick!  That’s great news when it comes to maintenance.  So let’s get into some pics . . . here’s the open living and dining room combo:

That door up there is the front door–it’s super wide and would probably need to be replaced down the road since it’s a bit ho-hum for my taste.  On to the kitchen which is off a hallway from the open living-dining combo:

That’s an eating area to the right in the kitchen and to the far right above you can see the steps that lead to the attached garage.  There’s also a laundry room off of the kitchen:

Also on the main floor is a half bath . . .

. . . as well as a full bath . . .

. . . that has a new whirlpool tub and separate shower:

The full bath is right outside of the master bedroom which is across from the smallest of the other three bedrooms.  First, the master with it’s wall of closets and snazzy bedside lights:

Oh yeah, and see those hardwood floors peeking out in the closet?  Well, they’re everywhere with only a few exceptions (the kitchen and baths).  And we’re hoping they’re in good condition since the carpet is so plush.

The smallest bedroom across from the master:

Also on the main floor is a family room off of the dining room that I think we would likely use for the Mr.’s office.  It also has sliders to an outside patio and fulfills the Upstate New York requirements for faux wood paneling (come on, you knew it had to be somewhere!):

So that’s the main floor.  Then, there’s a second story above the garage that houses two bedrooms, a full bath, and a walk-in cedar closet.  That floor gets accessed through a door off the kitchen.  Here’s bedroom one with some stylin’ built-ins and a random hanging lamp:

And bedroom two which is almost a mirror match to the one above:

The full bathroom, also with a separate tub and shower, but this time with double sinks:

Oh, and the walk-in cedar closet:

Again, all the bedrooms have hard-wood floors under that carpet, which will hopefully look just as good as the floors in the cedar closet.

The other big plus to the house?  A huge, clean basement with high ceilings (at least 8 feet).  This was what sold the Mr.–he plans to set up some sort of hockey goal thing down here (don’t ask):

Okay, so that basically rounds out the tour.  We’re hoping our full-price offer will get the deal done, and we’ll hopefully know by today.

Oh, and in case any of you were wondering about the post title, “Holy House,” well, that’s because the owners of the home are the Episcopalian Diocese . . . and the former occupant?  Oh yeah, the Bishop!  Stew on that for a bit . . .

Curtain #2

So we’ve shown you what’s behind Door #1 (the Carport Castle from here), and we’ve shared our dismay from Strike One here, so now here’s something that we’ve had hidden behind Curtain #2 for quite a while now (I know I’m sort of mixing up Let’s Make a Deal with the Price is Right, but you get the idea):

Let’s jump right in with the stats:

  • Location: Snyder (the neighborhood I’ve fallen in love with and which is also home to both of the other homes we made offers on from here and here)
  • Square Footage: 1,764
  • 4 Bedrooms, 1.5 Bathrooms
  • Lot size: 0.18 acres
  • Built in 1927
  • Two-car Attached Garage
  • Asking Price: $184,900 (down from $194,900)
  • Days on Market: 38

The home is on a corner lot, so there is no backyard.  None–there is maybe 3 feet of space behind the house before the fence that separates the property from the neighbors.

No Backyard

However, there are two nice-sized side yards with some beautiful landscaping:


Side Yard 2

Sorry for the big driveway shot.  My bad.

Inside, the house has wood floors throughout, lots of nooks and crannies (I kind of love those, but then I also kind of love wide open spaces as seen in the California Ranch on Monday;  I know, I know–could I be more annoying and non-decisive?  It’s sort of a wonder that the Mr. hasn’t given up on me yet ;) ).

Living Room to Dining Room

Living Room open to the Dining Room

Entry way

The main entrance is that opening with light coming through on the left. The piano doesn't stay.


I'm kind of in love with the idea of a banquette in a kitchen; it reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen from years ago. Of course, that back wall is the one that would get knocked down to open the room to the dining room, so needless to say this banquette wouldn't be staying.


The previous owners (they're in a nursing home now :( ) used this as a home office. The husband actually still has a sign on the side door for his law practice. This would be perfect for Mr. Bunches' business.


The bathroom would need to be completely gutted, especially since there's only one full bathroom in the entire house (major bummer, I know).

Bathroom 2

Lots of cabinet space in this bathroom. The tub/shower is just to the right out of the shot.

Bedroom 1

Is it awful that I actually think this wallpaper is sort of rad? Wallpaper's coming back, right? I know--a lot of you just cringed. Sorry.

Bedroom 2

Here's the yellow bedroom. This wallpaper I could let go of.

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom. The Mr. thinks it feels cramped because of all the ceiling cut-outs. I didn't totally agree, but after looking at these pictures, I kind of see where's he coming from.

Master BR

Other side of the master bedroom.

Interrogation Room

Some of you might remember this picture from an earlier post, but here's the basement interrogation room. This is where we'd likely put our kids to play. (Just kidding! Really--totally kidding.)

So in a nutshell, that’s the house.  It was definitely on our short list for quite some time, but recently we’ve decided against it.  We took our contractor friend Steve there and he basically vetoed it.  The reasons?  Well, there were many: siding issues, bad roof, bad electrical, water damage in basement, poor workmanship, faulty hardwood floors, I could go on.


Here's a shot of the water damage (and potential mold?) in the basement. Apparently, the water at some point was as high as that line. And this basement has no sump pump or drain tiles--a bad combination when you live in upstate NY. Quick sidenote: love the random pencil sharpener in the basement! We've seen these in a lot of homes, and I can even remember having one just like it in our scary basement growing up. Anyone have any idea how that trend got started?

So even though the neighborhood was perfect and the place oozed curb appeal, we’re just not sold.  Sigh. Lucky for us, though, apparently this weekend is National Open House Day (June 4 and 5, 2011), so we’re hoping to see something we love.  For now, we’re NOT going to take what’s behind Curtain #2.  Sorry Bob.

California Dreamin’

Despite striking out on our first official offer last week, we’re charging ahead with high hopes.  Of course, we haven’t made another offer on anything, but we’ve been continuing to pour through open houses.  And that’s where we found this beauty, er, at least if you squint your eyes real tight and tilt your head sideways . . .

Zero Curb Appeal

Yeah, we know there’s no curb appeal.  None.  Zippo.  Zilch.  (Oh, and bonus to anyone who spots Spider-Man.)

But don’t think we’re totally crazy just yet.  First, let’s take a look at the stats for this “California Ranch” home (maybe if we live in a home designed for California, then it won’t feel quite so bad in the dead of winter surrounded by feet and feet of snow?  Maybe?):

  • Location: Amherst (not in Snyder like the other two homes, but still in the best Elementary School district), in a neighborhood with sidewalks (that’s for you Nancy)
  • Square Footage: 2,406
  • 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
  • Lot Size: 0.21 acres
  • Built in 1957
  • All brick exterior (except for the attached garage)
  • Attached 2-car garage
  • Days on Market: 40
  • Asking Price: $165,000 (down from $169,900)

Yeah, the asking price is NOT a typo–this home is C-H-E-A-P.  Why?  We’re not so sure, but we think it’s because the homes in the neighborhood just tend to be lower-priced, although they also tend to be much smaller (the house next door is currently on the market for the same price, but it’s only 1,700 square feet).  And as you’re about to see, it also needs a little bit of style.

Upon walking in the front door, you walk through a wide hallway that leads to an open living/dining room (complete with some pretty rad Terrazzo floors . . . if only the whole house was done that way–wouldn’t that be gnarly?  Can you tell I’m trying to get into the California spirit?).  Mr. Bunches, being a flooring genius, has informed me that Terrazzo floors are some of the most durable (and expensive) floors out there.  They’re usually used in commercial applications for that reason.

Dining and Living Combo

I’m a little in love with all the exposed brick and the huge sliders and wall of windows.  Here’s a more complete view of the living room:

Living Room

So yeah, that’s a huge projection screen on the left.  These people apparently L-O-V-E to entertain.  To the right of those rooms is the kitchen which opens to another huge area:

Pool Room

Another fireplace and more huge windows and sliders.  The kitchen is open to the left of the pool table above.

Excuse the quality of the kitchen picture, but that one’s taken from the actual realtor’s site since I forgot to snap a picture of it when we were there.  You can just barely see a doorway in the far left of the above picture–that connects through to the dining area from the earlier pictures.  However, you can also go around from the pool table room . . . basically, it’s almost completely open.

The master bedroom is a bit separated from the other bedrooms, and also has its own bathroom:

Master Bedroom

There are more huge windows at the foot of the bed and another exposed brick wall (forgive me–we were rushing to lots of open houses, so I was snapping quickly).  The master bath has a separate room for the toilet and stand-up shower:

Master Bath

Toilet and Shower Room

The other three bedrooms are decent-sized and have either exposed brick . . .

Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2

. . . OR the requisite wood paneling (it must be part of Upstate New York’s building code that every house has wood paneling in at least one room):

Bedroom 3

And the other full bathroom is sort of standard; that is, if standard means yellow.

Yellow Bathroom

There’s also a two-car attached garage (again, bonus points if you find Spider-Man):


The home has a totally private, fenced backyard (and yes Deenie–that’s a hot tub, although if we buy the place, chances are that won’t survive for long–sorry).

Backyard Shot

So that’s the house.  We’re a little nervous about the whole flat-roof thing, but our contractor friend Steve says it’s not that big of a deal.  In fact, from just what the Mr. has told Steve of the place, he’s a fan (he likes all brick construction and stuff built in the 1950s).  But maybe we’ll get him out there for a more thorough inspection before we decide to make an offer or not. 

Overall, we like the open floor plan, the exposed brick, and the potential that seems to be oozing from the home.  Does it need work?  Sure–what doesn’t?  But it seems that at least this home has the square footage and the good bone structure to make something that works.  So that’s where we’re at–we’re tossing it around and now we’re tossing it at you.

So what do y’all think?  Yay or Nay?  Do you see the potential?  Or do you think we’re now completely and totally certifiable?  You can be honest . . . no, really.  Tell us what you think (leave a comment on this post).  Please.  Clearly we need guidance ;).

Strike One

Quick update: our offer got rejected.  :(  Both of the other offers were apparently higher, and closer to the asking price, so this is officially STRIKE ONE.  But, we do feel encouraged that even basic updates in a home in Snyder (the neighborhood we’re leaning towards) means that a house can sell quickly, and for a decent amount.  The original owners bought the home 11 years ago for $160,000 and now were selling it for at least $214,900 without doing much work (the addition had been put on by previous owners).  Soooo, that means maybe if we want to spend money to fix up this beauty, then it might be worth it?  Hmmm . . . jury’s still out on that one.

Carport Castle


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