Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

A House for $1400

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Every year, the county holds a tax sale for any properties where the owners haven't paid the property taxes for 3 years.  I've gone before to one of these sales just to see what the process was like but have never bought anything.  You have to register at least 10 days ahead of time and jump through some hoops to prove you don't have any convictions for property code violations.  Owners have up until the time their property is sold to pay the back taxes and save their property from the sale and, amazingly, there are lots of people that wait until the last minute.

The sale is held on a Monday in August (could they pick a hotter month?!) on the courthouse steps here in Kansas City.  This year's sale was this past Monday and the weather on the day of the sale didn't disappoint - the heat index was around 105 degrees.  Fortunately, the sale is on the north side of the courthouse so we were in the shade of the building all day.  But it was still hot!  The only thing that made it bearable is that some friends from the neighborhood were there trying to pick up some vacant lots to expand their urban farming operation and we ended up chatting all day while we waited for our properties to come up for sale.

J. and I like to exert our "sphere of influence" in the neighborhood right around our house, so we were looking for properties to rehab within a 5 block radius of where we live.  There were 3 properties all on the same street that caught our eye.  2 of them got saved from the sale by the owner.  But I was able to snag the last one for just $1402.01 after no one bid against me!

So here's a glimpse of our next project (at least what we can see is behind all the overgrown trees and weeds!:

The original front door is still there.
It's  a 2-story all-brick home built in the late 1800's with an extra lot on the side, which makes for a great yard.

Looks like we need to board up the back door and mow the yard.
Total square footage in this 2-story is 1922 sq ft and, according to Zillow, it has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  I suspect there's at least 3 bedrooms in a house this big.  J. and I peeked in one of the few windows that we could see into and the house is full of trash but it looks like all the original woodwork is intact and in great shape.

I love the arched window.  Why would you cover that up!?
 The tree has wreaked havoc on this porch and the concrete porch slab has collapsed.  I suspect this isn't the original front porch anyway, since it's cinderblock.  All the woodwork on the porch is in great shape, however, so we'll tear out the concrete and cinderblock and replace it with something that would have been on the house originally. If only we knew some porch experts.  Oh wait...that's us!

But just look at the detail on this house.

We don't exactly own the house yet....we have to wait for a court hearing in December to get final approval of the sale.  The sales are rarely overturned, however, so we should own this beauty in just a few short months.  That gives us time to finish up our solar project and get mentally prepared to do another rehab.  We're going to change this neighborhood one house at a time.

A house for $1400.  Amazing, isn't it?


  1. Good job! It is a beautiful house. Can't wait to see it renovated.

  2. Thanks, ladies! It's going to be a lot of hard work, but we ended up peeking inside the back door and, beyond all the trash, there is LOTS of beautiful old woodwork just waiting to be brought back to life. I can't wait to get started!

  3. Awesomeness! I'm excited to hear about this house and can't wait to see the inside of it!


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