Monday, April 14, 2014

What Is A Pig's Ear?

When it comes to houses, a pig's ear is an extremely run-down home.  It's more challenging  than a fixer-upper and needs a lot more work than a handyman-special.  It's the worst property on the block, in the neighborhood, or in town and may even have been condemned by building officials for being dangerous and/or uninhabitable. 

In my circle of family and friends it's understood that the projects I dig into are in this Pig's Ear category and in most cases, no one else wants them; investors, house-flippers, real estate agents, and contractors don't want the places that I've taken on.  I have bought and lived in some of these properties during and after the renovations, and I've also purchased, rehabbed, and sold run-down properties for profit.  It's immensely gratifying to buy a rough, old home that's been abandoned or ignored, and then transform it into something beyond what others imagined it could be.

This pig's ear description began with my own family.  After I finished the renovation of my second run-down house, I gave a tour of the completed project to some of my relatives.  This little home had been vacant for a couple years before I bought it and turned it into a charming cottage by gutting it, moving every door and window and rebuilding all but one interior wall.  It was the same house, yet completely different.  One family member's response was to the point.  “You did it," they said simply.  "You turned this pig’s ear into a silk purse.”  When I reminded them that they’d said the same thing about the first property I’d renovated (a condemned house that had been devastated by a fire) they replied, “Well you did it again.” 

Early on, I was virtually alone in my belief that I could save those neglected and forgotten properties, but I could imagine in my mind how they would look when I was done and I was beyond content as I persevered through each phase until completion.  People say it's not really work if you love what you do, and that feels like an understatement when I consider the satisfaction I get resurrecting these properties that have been left for dead.  

It takes a lot of hard work, planning, and passion to turn a pig's ear into a silk purse.  It's certainly not easy, but it is possible.


REVISED
Originally posted - October 3, 2011

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