Lauren Novak shudders as she recalls the Burly Oak house.
When Lauren and Frank Novak and their business partner, Michael Morris, decided on Burly Oak, they knew what they were in for. “New Western doesn’t go for the clean, pretty ones because you can’t get the deal on it.,” says Michael.
Burly Oak was definitely not an easy cosmetic flip, but the trio behind Capital City Flips in Austin, TX knew potential when they saw it.
The previous owner had a lot of animals, there were about eight dogs and a couple of cats that called the house home. And it didn’t stop there, Lauren explains, “not only inside pets, but animals all throughout the inside walls of the house. Rodents, raccoons, rats and mice.”
The extensive animal presence and severe lack of home upkeep led to considerable research on remediating, both from a health and a smell standpoint – and a full gut of the house.
“We removed an overhang off the side of the house and there were street signs and odd materials serving as a patch for siding. ‘No Trespassing’ signs were screwed in where critters had chewed through,” Frank notes. Three or four feet of nesting material was in the wall around the fireplace. The Novaks and Mike cleaned all of it out, replaced the insulation and lower portion of the drywall, and ripped out all of the floors where any lingering damage caused by the animals could be found.
There were no animals present on the property — or so they thought — at the time work started, but the smell…oh the smell! “Later on we found out that critters were living in the duct work. So we ended up replacing all the ducting in the attic,” Frank remarks. If they hadn’t made that decision, it would have been animal smell full-blast any time a future owner turned on the AC or heat.
Lauren describes their philosophy this way: “We wanted to make sure everything was not only safe, but also new and beautiful for the new homeowners – that’s our number one priority. Rather than hiding things, we want to do it right.”