Residents of the North Portland neighborhood complained about rats and raccoons. The germ-carrying creatures were feasting on mounds of debris piled high in an unoccupied 1927 bungalow.
Inviting even more trouble: A squatter moved into the garage and actively collected garbage that soon spilled across the yard. Inexplicably, the trash was carried across the street to neighbors' yards.
People called the police and worried about the inhabitant and what was happening to their tidy street.
Undeniably, the property at 5774 N Williams Ave. was a zombie house, unattended by the owner and a menace to the neighborhood.
That was last May.
Five days ago, after months of clean up and renovation, the property was listed for sale at $599,000.
Within hours, there was a solid offer. On Sunday, the house was filled with neighbors like Francesca Quesada pleased with the transformation. By Monday, there were four buyers waving contracts and a sale was pending.
What's the secret of this success story?
Across the Portland metro area, there are flippers and developers, people who will rebuild a house and those who will tear it down and start over.
Jason Rucker of 2nd Story Investments rebuilds. He takes on the challenge of finding what's salvageable, even in neglected structures such as the worrisome one in the Humboldt neighborhood.
"We keep the character of the house and its neighborhood," Rucker says.
Today, the Tudor-style bungalow is no longer covered in invasive blackberries or ruled by raccoons or rodents. Rising to the sky is a pitched roof. Decorative brick outlines the arched front door.
The renovated dwelling has a roomy new kitchen with magazine-spread features of quartz counters, subway tile and stainless-steel appliances. The recently finished basement has a new bedroom and bath. Energy-efficient windows were installed, as were improved plumbing, electricity and heating and cooling systems.
Last May, the situation seemed hopeless to those without Rucker's experience of unearthing long-tarnished gems.
Still, his patience was tried at times. "We couldn't even get into the house" due to the debris, he says. "But we never ran into anything that scared me."
Before 2nd Story Investments purchased the property, the city was called in to haul away trash. After the sale, it took three weeks for crews to remove what amounted to 84 pickup trucks of trash.
Once inside, the crew was able to see even more than what horrified the neighbors knew. There was a gaping hole in the roof that dumped water into a bedroom and a bathroom. A makeshift tarp covering the hole had long ago blown away, leaving rooms exposed.
Miraculously, says Rucker, there was so much horded materials piling up inside that the floors and molding were protected.
Going slowly to preserve what was still viable, the Redemption Construction crew spent 248 days -- more than triple the estimated time -- upgrading the 2,278 square feet of living space.
The house, on a 4,791-square-foot lot, was purchased for $336,670 in June, according to public records. Rucker says $150,000 was invested in the renovation.
Adam Shepard of John L. Scott worked with Rucker to set the price at $263 a square foot, which is the median list price per square foot in the 97217 zip code, according to the real estate data base Redfin.
"It's really a success story," says Shepard. "Not only was the house saved, but it has awesome features of the old home and amenities of a new home."
-- Janet Eastman
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.