My intent was to renovate the "least pretty" house on the street to help raise property values for my neighbors and myself. It should have taken 2 months and $20,000 to make it livable. It's now three years and $82,500 later. Read how it all unfolded.

The house before I bought it: 2013. Scroll down to see the after shot.

One morning I was heading out to a weekend seminar on Real Estate Investing. I noticed a U-Haul truck in the driveway across the street. I wondered what my neighbor was doing. She's involved in pet rescue so I thought perhaps the truck was needed for a project. I didn't have time to ask.

I'd been noticing her house for the two years I lived across from it, and how it was looking kind of sad.

The next morning I was again heading to my seminar and she met me in the middle of the street. "I've moved out," she said.

"Are you selling your house?"

No, I'm just leaving it. I bought another house close by and don't want this one. Want it?"

My brain was in investor mode, so I asked, "How much do you want for it?"

"Twenty-five dollars."

"OK, let's talk later. I need to get to my seminar."

Over the next month, we emailed back and forth. She told me everything that was wrong with the house so there would be no surprises. I asked for a key so I could inspect the house. It had some damage and needed a lot of work, but the house had good bones. I knew I could make the house happy again.

I wrote her a check for $25, but, as the house was 99-years old, I offered her $99. I paid for the lawyer and closing costs which included an adjustment of the property taxes she had paid.

It had an electric stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, gas furnace, gas water heater, central air conditioner, clothes washer, and electric dryer... all in working order. These alone were worth far more than my $99.

Stay tuned. Next time I'll list all that was wrong with the house.

If you'd like to help me finish the house, drop me a line offering money, food, gift card, or labor:

As it looked in Summer 2016 after some cosmetic surgery (new windows) and makeup (paint). About 50% of renovations are complete.