Here is a good case study on what to do, and what NOT to do when you are
planning to sell a house, and maximize your profit.
There are tons of good resources to advise home owners what to do with a
house, especially one that was built around the 1960 timeframe, and has not
had ANYTHING done to it since it was built. The house a couple of
doors down at 1218 Ridervale was a good example of this, where the previous
owners before the current owners did their best to destroy the house - among
the things they did: both the husband and wife smoked 3 or 4 packs of
cigarettes a day, and if you have ever seen pictures walls up at the
ceiling, where moisture gets in and creates drip stains, well, they were ALL
over the entire house, not to mention how the house smelled when you opened
the front door!
So this Cape Cod house was built around 1960, and what was done to it since?
The basement stairway was replaced with a metal circular staircase, a bar
was built in the basement, a bathroom was added in the basement, and a
shower was added in the basement. The bathroom and shower were
installed, well, shall we say, very horribly at best. Both of these
have since been removed.
The current owners, as of 2019/2020, are cousins of the owners who had lived
there since the 60's, and inherited the house when Randy died in 2015.
Inside the house, a lot has been done, but it has all been to make the
current owner happy, not what is best to sell the house to maximize its
resale value. When you think about stuff like this on your own,
without consulting someone who does this for a living, or just going on what
contractors tell you should be done, you are (most of the time) playing with
fire, and taking a big chance in the market, because what YOU think is best
in a house, is very often NOT what is going to sell, but you can't tell that
to the guy who currently owns the house.
I tried like a bandit to get him to just sell the house "as is" to no avail,
as he seems to think that his repairs will make this a $400K house, which in
and of itself, is way higher than the rest of the houses on this street are
currently selling for.
Work done on the inside includes:
1) The kitchen has been remodeled. It doesn't look too bad, all in
all, but still. The contractor was too lazy to put in two tight bends
for the exhaust fan, so now there is just a recirculating fan over the
stove. The poor guy just can't seem to find contractors who will do
what he wants, so they have ALL taken advantage of him. The only
appliance he updated was the garbage disposal.
2) The living room and dining room have a new 3/4" thick hardwood floor -
this project was done because of the large number of dark stains in the old
floor from having a dog - there were probably alternatives to replacing the
entire floor, but the end result looks good. It's one of the few
things he has done that turned out well, and will probably help the resale
value. Floors in the other two rooms on the first floor were sanded
down and retained.
3) The rug has been removed from the first floor to second floor stairway,
and ugly trim strips have been added in an attempt to cover the stains left
from the rug nails. This only covered about 50% of the nail holes, and
4) The main electric panel was replaced. It had to be, because the old
panel was one made by Federal, and was a hazard. It cost him around
For the rest of the story, we'll just have to go picture by picture below.....
I have called him "Harry", as in Harry Homeowner, to protect the innocent.
Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
None for now.....
Baltimore Beltway, I-695, the "top side" of it near where I-83 takes off
going north to York PA. Take the Charles Street exit, exit #25.
Head south into Baltimore. At the first traffic that is NOT part of
the Beltway interchange, take a right onto Bellona Avenue, Kenilworth goes
to your left. Go down about 3/8 of a mile to Riderwood Road. The
house will be on your left in about a quarter of a mile. Many people
think that because 1220 is to the left of this house, that 1225 is a
continuation of Riderwood, but it is not, it is on Robin Hood Circle, which
comes off Ridervale at 1206, and then loops around, meeting Ridervale Road
at the empty county lot.
Since this picture was taken:
-- The bushes at the mailbox have been removed,
-- The bushes in front of the house have been removed,
-- The holly tree on the left has been taken down,
-- The chimney has been partially painted,
-- The shutters have been painted, but not straightened out,
-- And a new entranceway and roof has been built after the old one was torn down.
This picture shows the half done construction of a wall to keep mulch from
spilling out onto the driveway. First, it is cinder block, second,
there is no cement to hold the thing together, and thirdly, it is not
Here we have a shot of the "side" yard, where mulch will be laid down, but
there is no edging to delineate the mulch from the surrounding grass.
Here we have mulch applied over a base of tree chippings left behind by
contractors on the county property next door.
Paint on the bricks because a drop cloth was not used by Harry Homeowner,
left over from painting the entranceway. Also, I know it's a detail
thing, but is he going to clean the grass growing in between the bricks that
are part of the pathway and re-parge the front of the step???
The ride side flower bed, with the very coarse tree chippings, before he
puts on a layer of real mulch, but he has not installed any sort of trim to
define the flower bed. There is also a tree root still in the ground,
which should be removed - it plays hell on your lawnmower! Also, is
the window well cover going to be leveled???
One of my many pet peeves is the chimney. He had a contractor paint
the chimney, but only the parts of it he could reach from the ground with an
extension pole. So, as a result, the back of the chimney is not
painted and looks really scuzzy, the side of the chimney facing the dormer
is not painted, because he couldn't reach it, and the very top of the side
he could paint from the driveway, is not done, because why? He
couldn't reach it. The contractor who did this painted it in September
of 2019, and when "Harry" found out that the contractor didn't want to go up
on the roof to paint it properly (which right there should have been a red
flag! :-), he should have then, gone and found someone who was willing to
get up on the roof and do the paint job professionally and properly!
Now let's go into the backyard, where there is a hill that drops off from
the rear edge of the yard, to go down to a stream a couple of hundred feet
below. A large section of the upper part of the hill WAS covered by
pachysandra. People pay good money to have this stuff put in, because
it is an excellent shade type NO maintenance ground cover. Here he has
cut most of it down, so he can seed it with grass, forgetting that the
pachysandra will grow back since the roots are still in the ground. So
which will grow quicker, the grass or the ground cover? We'll see.
He said the grass will look better, but who the hell wants to mow a steep
hillside??? Not me, and nor do most people. A neighbor across
the street does... now... but I betcha in a few years when he gets to be 60,
he won't be doing that either!
He also went to the trouble to dig out the steps which were put in some 40
or so years ago, and I hope he fills in the hollow so you can walk on them
without twisting your ankle. The Pachysandra was all around the steps,
and looked really nice!
At the bottom of the steps was a flat area, which "Harry" said has been
washed away over the years. He would like to bring it back, and asked
if I would use my Kubota backhoe to help, but I told him to make the rest of
the house look perfect before attempting to do this kind of thing.
Here we have one of the trees in the back yard, that "Harry" trimmed
himself, very unprofessionally done, because he has left two feet of the
branches hanging off the side of the tree.
Last, but not least, another one of my pet peeves. "Harry" did good,
and had the entranceway rebuilt, with a sloped roof, instead of a roof like
the original, which was flat. However, the contractors made no pains
to match the angle of the dormers above, so it looks like shit. It
would have been very easy to match the angles to make it look like like they
were built at the same time. Another mistake the builders did, was to
use multi-colored roofing shingles, instead of a single color in an effort
to try to match the new roof with the existing roof. He should have
replaced the entire roof, but he didn't. The stains on the roof look
In this slightly wider view of the front, we can see the shutters. The
shutters are original, and are wood. Over the years, they have
drooped. His contractor, and the people at the Home Depot said they
could not be reliably repaired so that they would close. So he has
chosen to do nothing but paint them. It would almost look better to
have taken them off. I told him I could fix one of them in 10 minutes,
without even taking them down, but he doesn't believe me, because he
believes everything everyone else has to say. Don't worry, I haven't
offered any more free advice.... I've only been working on shit and fixing
things for 50 years.
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page. This is something I have fun with while
trying to help others.
Please Note: Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.
For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my
indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented
I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.
If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct. Once in a while,
an error may creep in :-)
My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning. Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or
disoriented. Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost! I belong to AAA, which allows you to get
local maps for free when you visit the local branches. ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the
railroads on them. If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job
of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads. Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.
Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted. Screen captures are made
with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!
By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous
and/or other stuff.
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit
is always given! Please be NICE!!! Contact info is here
Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.