Love It or List It…..The Century Old Farmhouse

This is trouble!  We’re still in the Durham area but this time we find Hillary and David helping a couple who inherited a farmhouse on 4 acres of land.  The house has sentimental value for him but she’s expecting and can’t wrap her mind around the amount of work this property needs to be brought back into the 21st century.  The house has potential but it hasn’t seen any renovations in decades which spells disaster for Hillary’s budget.lili

As expected, the house needs all of the mechanicals as well as structural upgrades and half the budget went for these items alone.  While Hillary had some great vision about how the home should be done, she never had the funds to get past the functional updates the home needed.  After rebuilding the subfloor, the plumbing and the electrical system, Hillary only had enough left in the budget for the kitchen and living area which insured the rest of the dated home wasn’t touched.

With a substantial $400k home purchase budget, it was David for the easy win…

Hillary 2, David 1


Love It or List It…Sight Unseen

This episode, “Sight Unseen” finds us back in Durham where Hillary and David are working with a young couple who just had to live in one of the trendier downtown neighborhoods.  As the market is tight in this area, the couple bid sight unseen to buy their home and now regret it!

Fortunately, the house appears to be less than 20 years old, is built on a crawl space and the yard has a lot of potential but unfortunately, the floor plan is a mess and the house needs a complete cosmetic makeover.

As is usually the case, the couple can’t agree on the future of their home.  She likes it and feels it can be all they need it to be and he thinks it’s a disaster.  But both agree that the location is exactly what they need and from what we can tell, they actually got a pretty good deal on the home despite its short comings.

When we catch up with Hillary and David, we find that the house is currently worth $195k, they have a home purchase budget of $225k and Hillary has a $40k rehab budget…these are thin numbers if you’re expecting big change.

Hillary finds that her plans are limited by the location of the fireplace and the HVAC return but she cleverly made plans to use what little floor space she has to greatly improve the usefulness and flow of the home.  Even though her budget took a hit due to some minor foundation issues, she delivered here.lili

Poor David discovered quickly that the couple have probably one of the most affordable homes in the neighborhood, forcing him to retreat to the suburbs to hit as many points on the couple’s checklist as possible.  In the end, he wound up with a typical suburban home that offers plenty of living space but not much in the way of style or convenience.

In the end, Hillary scores a win here!  Her sense of style and here keen eye for using every square inch of the homes available floor space coupled with the homes overall solid condition made all the difference.

What struck us is Hillary’s use  of square footage. She expanded the kitchen by exchanging a fairly tall window for a shorter one which gave her the wall space needed to extend the countertop…this isn’t too hard to do on a house with lap siding but a brick home would be a lot more work.  Instead of buying new cabinets, the crew refinished the old ones and made their own open shelving over the extended counter-top. Hillary then reused the window they removed from the kitchen and installed it in the master bedroom for added bling that took this job over the top.  The Jack and Jill bathroom modification for the master bath created much need space in an area where there was none.  These are the habits of a true professional and one reason we really encourage you to watch this show on a regular basis.

Nice job Hillary!

Hillary 2, David 0

Love It or List It…Mid Century Modern

What’s more popular…Loving It or Listing It!

Our “Hillary – David” countdown starts in beautiful Durham, NC with a well preserved but dated mid-century modern ranch.  The home is on a crawl space/half basement and has been recognized by the historic society.  The homeowners are expecting soon, time is running out and they have a long but reasonable list of upgrades they expect for a total all in budget of $150K on top of the homes $949k value.  David has $1.1m to work with but they really like their current “close in” neighborhood…Good Luck!

With TV production schedules, it’s often difficult to cover all of the details one should consider when working with a property such as this.  This property has a lot of windows and as the home was in original condition, the windows appeared to be the original single pane units the home was originally built with.  Replacing windows like this would almost certainly be custom made so consider this when planning a renovation as they would not be cheap!  Also, many homes of this era had little to no wall insulation as it wasn’t a code requirement in many markets until the 70s…in combination with the older windows, this could well be a cold, drafty house in the winter.  Finally, the original plumbing and electrical systems would be well worn at this point and although Hillary rewired the entire house, no mention was given to the plumbing. Plumbing will usually go before the electrical system will so maybe it had already been replaced but it pays to answer this question before moving forward with a renovation, not after you’ve started it.

Duct work all the way through the early 80’s isn’t nearly as good as it is today so it would be interesting to have gone a little further into detail regarding the HVAC.  As the floor plan wasn’t changed during this overhaul, there’s a good chance that the HVAC system could have survived as they found it.  Beyond that, many of these mid-century homes have flat or almost flat roofs which can be a problem as they don’t shed water as well as a home with a pitched roof.  Many residential roofing companies don’t have much experience with a flat roof and just walking across it can be enough to cause a small leak…inspect it carefully!  No mention was given to the roof but as the home was well kept, we’ll assume that it was ready to go.

Hillary struggled with the timeline of this renovation as the baby came sooner than anticipated.  The couple also shot down some of her ideas so she was unable to deliver as much as she had hoped.


While David did a good job finding homes that offered everything the couple wanted, Hillary wins this one based on the budget, quality of renovation and location!  The house is on the historical list for a reason….Congrats Hillary!

We like Hillary’s sense of style and particularly liked the “floating” fireplace hearth.  If you watch closely, you can see the structure that they built into the wall to carry the load and in the end, it’s a very clean look.

Hillary 1, David 0