Renovation Wednesday: The Chronicles of Riverland Drive

Remember how much fun we had on Poinsett Street? Well, after a little bit of a hiatus, my parents and I have decided to start another project, located less than a mile away from our houses on Riverland Drive.

It all started last summer when my dad asked me about a property on Riverland Drive that was in foreclosure. I looked it up on the MLS and recognized it immediately – it was originally listed in 2017 and it had been under contract a couple times already but never made it to closing. I also recognized the location. It was on the other side of the municipal golf course and was a stone’s throw away from our houses. (Fun fact: I live right behind my parents. No really – our backyards are catty-corner and there is a gate between our yards for us to go back and forth. It’s basically like “Everybody Loves Raymond” in real life and I love it. There’s a whole story about how this came to be but I’ll save that for another time.

We took a look at the pictures and thought it was worth a look and we were pulling up in the driveway less than 24 hours later.   Our first impression: “This is not the worst thing we’ve seen.”

As we started to walk around, we started noticing how many “additions” there were and how the once two-car garage had been converted into an apartment. But again, not the worst thing we had seen. We got to the backyard, and noticed a neglected workshop that was taking up most of the yard space. While walking around, I made a comment about how big it was and as the words were coming out of my mouth, I noticed a toilet and a small mirror in a corner. Kind of  strange but again, not the worst thing we’ve seen. Maybe the previous owner spent so much time in his workshop that he added it for convenience? As we walked to the other side of the workshop, we noticed there were wheels attached to it. Upon further investigation, we realized the workshop was not that big and that it was directly next to a camper (which explained the toilet) that had been framed in as an attempt to look like an “addition”. Okay – It’s official: this was the worst thing we’ve seen.

Despite all the quirks and the fact it had been neglected for several years, we felt like it had good bones and was worth a second look.  However, the very next day, it was under contract. We were disappointed but decided it wasn’t meant to be so we kept looking at other houses. Several weeks later, it was back on the market.  It was meant to be! We scheduled our showing to check out the foundation and do our due diligence and after much discussion, we moved forward with an offer.

“Slow and steady wins the race” was definitely the theme for these negotiations:

  • First offer – October 3, 2019
  • Under contract – January 28, 2020
  • Closing – February 26, 2020

You read that right.  We were in negotiations for 3.5 months before our offer was finally accepted and it was definitely worth the wait! Who knew we were going to have a global pandemic hit less than a month later but that didn’t stop us from demolition.  In fact, it was a great distraction from everything.  There is nothing quite like taking a sledgehammer to a wall to get out your frustrations.   

Here’s a photographic timeline showing where we started from and what we have today:


February 2020:

March/April 2020:

This is what we have today:

Check back here and my Instagram @taylortillman for updates on what’s happening on Riverland Drive!

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