This house had been one of the first ones we looked at and said "NOPE!". The stench of cat pee made our eyes burn. The kitchen was a gut job. We didn't actually make it further than that. We turned heel and left.
We saw lots of other houses, put offers on lots of other houses, but alas. They were not for us. This house was on and off the market. Two other people tried to buy it, but had their financing fall through. Too dumpy of a house for the bank to loan them money, maybe.
I tend to see the bright side of things. I have a very "can do" attitude and I like doing construction work. This place had a decent layout, a large yard, and an okay location. The corner wasn't ideal, but it was on the side of town we needed and easy walking distance to groceries and such.
If we had to do it all over again, we would NOT buy this house! :) What a dump! "Fixer-upper" doesn't begin to describe it. It was an "Oh hell no". We had some grace period to live at our townhouse before moving in, thank goodness. My mother-in-law Judith's help was indispensable. We could not have done it without her.
Every day, Judith and I mucked the grime out of the house. We scrubbed (and scrubbed and scrubbed) the kitchen cabinets, primed, and gave them two coats of fresh, bright paint. The cedar shingles on the kitchen wall behind the sink had to go. What were they thinking?!? They were thinking they would hide the fact that after doing some electrical work that they wouldn't patch the drywall, instead just leaving a 5 inch tall, 8 foot long gap in the wall above the counter.
I ran a crock pot full of water and essential oils like lavender, tea tree, and lemon grass without the lid to help with the smell. Sometimes I threw in cinnamon sticks and oranges, too. I put a ton of essential oil in the primer that went on EVERYTHING. The walls and floor were sprayed liberally with Biokleen (an enzyme cleaning product) to get rid of any remaining cat smell.
This process took about two weeks. At that point we had to move in, it wasn't pretty, but at least it was clean.