Lisa & Kyle: The Gut Remodel

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Lisa and Kyle found a sweet little home on the border of North Buffalo and Kenmore - and proceeded to tear EVERYTHING out, change the entire floor plan, and install everything new. I feel exhausted just thinking about the fact that they managed to complete this in 70 days! Read on to learn more from Lisa about their renovation process!

Why did you make the decision to buy a house?

My fiancé and I had just graduated college and didn’t want waste money renting. Instead, we decided to live at each other’s parent’s houses for a bit, save up and invest in a home. My fiance’s job also required him to live in Buffalo. 

Describe your house hunting process - how long did it take, about how many houses did you look at? 

We started searching in January of 2015 and found our home in June 2015. It was a VERY long process. We must have looked at 30+ homes. It was exhausting but well worth it in the end!

What stood out about this house that led you to make an offer?

The house had a solid foundation, had a layout that could easily be manipulated (walls could be removed and rooms could be moved around), it had a nice size yard, and it was in a great area.

What was the condition of the house when you bought it? What were the major renovations that you did?

It was outdated but in decent shape. We ended up gutting the house though. We took out every wall, converted a walk-through bedroom into 2 bathrooms and a hallway, removed the existing bathroom and extended the kitchen into that space, put in all new electrical, plumbing, and heating/cooling, re-sided the house and added a large deck. We were able to complete demo and renovations in 70 days with everyone’s help. 

What was the most surprising/weird thing you found in the house while you were fixing it up?

We found a large pink bear in the attic that had a noose around its neck (editor's note: this is literally the creepiest thing I've ever heard), along with a large wooden model ship, and a lace parasol.

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How much of the work did you do and what did you leave to professionals?

My fiancé, my Dad, a crew of his friends and I did all of the renovations. My dad is a freelance contractor and has a network of friends that have all of the skills we needed. We were very fortunate.

Are there any projects you hope to do with this house in the future?

We still have to refinish the hardwood stairs that lead to the upstairs, and then our garage was not built on a foundation, so it is falling over. We are planning to take it down soon and build a shed in its place.

What was the most challenging part of renovating this house? 

The most challenging part was demolition. Gutting a house produces A LOT of debris and takes a lot out of you.

What advice do you have for first-time buyers, especially those interested in buying a fixer-upper?  

Cosmetic flaws can always be changed and don’t cost too much. Pay most attention to location, foundation, and the big expenses like the roof, hot water tank, and furnace that will be expensive to replace. Look past the ugly carpets and wallpaper and envision the potential that the house has. Also, don’t get discouraged in the house hunting process and don’t settle. You will eventually walk into a home and know that it is the house you are supposed to buy.

What do you wish you had known before you started this process? 

Renovations will always cost more than you think - always overestimate.