Uncovering buried memories and history in our fix and flip properties.

On a warm March day, I was lucky to get out of the office where I am usually seen crunching numbers and paying the bills. I was enlisted to help Jim and Kurt, two of our project managers, to finish the landscaping at our Gaylord project. Our fix and flip business bought the property, near the University of Denver’s campus, in terrible condition. There were trash and debris in every room and there was a bedroom known to us as the “ferret room”. Yes, an entire room dedicated to housing pet ferrets. The backyard had been neglected for years. Weeds and little saplings covered the area, making it difficult to walk through the decaying jungle. Thankfully on that Tuesday, the breeze was light and the Colorado sun invited me to break out a t-shirt and get to work.

This property required all hands on deck, and I was happy to help!

Upon my arrival, Jim and Kurt assigned me to beautify the backyard. There was a huge mound of dirt and plenty of leaves to fill several large bags. As I raked the yard, I uncovered pieces of long-forgotten barbie dolls and wrestling figurines, and I couldn’t help but think of the children who had once played, laughed and enjoyed the fresh air here.

Flipping houses is an exciting adventure. 

From the anticipation, before you purchase a house to the final “before and after” house that is ready for sale, there is a lot of blood, sweat and sometimes tears that go into the final outcome. You undoubtedly unearth a lot of interesting history when renovating and remodeling a distressed property and often times those artifacts from previous homeowners are the true heartbeat of the home.

Then, I got a pleasant surprise - a visit from the previous owner. 

Steve hung out with us for a while and took us to another place and time with his anecdotes. As the memories resurfaced, tears filled his eyes. It was a great reminder of the emotional connection that people have with their homes.

The most poignant recollection for me was Steve’s memory of placing his handprints alongside his mother’s on the sidewalk near the front door. It was evident that he held that memory close.

There is a lot of personal satisfaction for our house flipping team when we renovate a rundown property, restore its beauty and get “two thumbs up” from the previous owner. In this case, I’m even more pleased that we were able to keep treasured memories alive where four hands marked the wet cement on a warm spring day in 1989.