A peek inside a BIG renovation, and talking about buying ‘as-is’

Happy Friday! I got a fun surprise this week, some great friends and clients of mine are letting me share a peek inside the {big} renovation of their new house in Oak Park! {!!!}

Ryan and Rebecca are a contractor/architect husband and wife team who both have backgrounds in Interior Design as well. And they’ve been around the block when it comes to renovations, having already done a full gut-renovation on their first house, and two other renovations on subsequent investment properties. I’m a little tired just telling you all of that!

Renovations can be a big deal, even small ones. They are a lot of work… coordinating, planning, executing, and inevitably dealing with unexpected surprises {and costs} along the way.

We spent a long time looking for just the right house for them. For this house they knew that they were going to be in the space for a while, at least 7-10 years. And Oak Park IL is a coveted suburb that is always in high demand, hence prices are at more of a premium, and it costs more to get a house there. One great aspect of being able and willing to take on a renovation is that you can get a better deal, and potentially more value for your money overall, if you can take on the work of updating a space.

But there are many many different types and scales of renovations.

This them, we were looking for houses that were in need of more updating, for two reasons. First, Ryan & Rebecca wanted to create their own dream house, and they wanted complete control. So in this way, more updating is better, they get to decide exactly how their space will look and feel. Second, the more updating a space needs, the better deal you can potentially get. They ended up buying a really fantastic foursquare style house in the up and coming Arts District part of town. The house was sold in as-is condition, and to let you know just how competitive the market is, even this place that needed a lot of updating had multiple offers, but we won {!!} and they are now well underway creating their dream house.

So what’s an as-is property anyway and more importantly ~ do you want it? A property that is sold as-is means that the seller is not willing to negotiate further after agreeing to a contract price, and you agree as the buyer, to accept the property in its current condition and not ask for any credits or repairs after the inspection. You can most certainly do an inspection, and you should, to make sure you have a good overall picture of the condition of the building, as you cannot possibly see or know everything just from walking through the space during a showing. But that’s it, the building is what it is and you take it or leave it.

Typically properties sold in as-is condition need more work, not just a cosmetic refresh of new kitchen cabinets or paint and carpet. They could need new electrical, new HVAC, plumbing work, or other repairs that are much more involved, time consuming, and potentially costly. {also, most distressed properties ~ short sales, foreclosures, bank owned properties ~ are also sold in as-is condition} It doesn’t make it a bad property, it’s just important that you understand the nature of the place and what it could potentially need… and what you will need to put into it before taking something like that on.

Here are pictures and plans of the house when they bought it.

Humphrey exteriors and plans

The sellers had lived in the space for over 20 years, they were musicians and artists, so of course they painted the entire house a vivid teal right before they put it on the market {I cringe, but a bad paint color on stucco that’s in overall good condition isn’t even close to a deal breaker for this type of space!}. It has really great vintage bones, but needs a lot of TLC.

Here is the entryway


Living and Dining Rooms

living and dining

Kitchen {yep, it’s all coming out!!}

kitchen and nook

Master Bedroom

master bed

Second and Third Bedrooms {that each have a little sunroom off of them with a built-in closet…}


And the existing upstairs bathroom


It’s easy to see that there is a lot to like about this house, but it does need an extensive renovation and a lot of updating.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a Facebook live video tour of their place in mid-construction, sharing all the things they are doing, some insight into their planning and approach, what they are tackling now versus what they are putting off until later, and some unexpected challenges that came up along the way.

If you’re curious about a real life purchase and renovation and finding out more about what we looked at as far as potential in this house when we were still searching, tune in to my video tomorrow afternoon at 2:00! See you then!

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