My Favorite Story to Tell First Time Home Buyers

I do a lot of inspections for first time home buyers. Sometimes they can be really anxious about their purchase, this story usually lightens them up. This story is 100 percent true, some names may have been changed to protect the innocent, er… the guilty in this case.

About 5 years ago we decided to start buying rental properties, (by “we” I mean me).  So we started buying foreclosures in Janesville. The thought was to heal neighborhoods one house at a time.  At the time there were a ton of opportunities due to the real estate market being in the dumps still, not to mention the closing of the local GM plant. So we purchased a 3 bedroom home is a nice mature neighborhood.

So after we closed on the purchase, every weekend and for a couple hours each night I would go over there and work on it. Most of the work was cosmetic, paint, flooring, a couple of new interior doors, etc. The place just needed a little sprucing up to get ready for our new tenant. Having never done this before, we were quite nervous about it all working out as planned.

So the first weekend of the whole ordeal, my wife and kids came over to check out the place. This was, in fact, the first time any of them had seen the place.  When we went to the basement they noticed a bunch of change on a shelf in the laundry area. There must have be 5-6 dollars in quarters, dimes, and nickles. I said “See girls, this place is getting cheaper by the day”. I’m sure I received eye rolls for that comment, but I wasn’t paying any attention to their reaction, I was too excited about the project. This wasn’t the only change I would find, however…

So as the weeks went by, and I trucked my happy behind to Janesville every night after work I would come across a nickle here, and a quarter there. I would always bring them home and say, “Hey Syd, I found 35 cents today” She would smile and not say anything. I never thought anything of it.

As we neared the end of the rehab I was getting close to listing the place for rent, I had the basement flooring installed, the doors were done, exterior was painted, I figured on this Sunday, I could cut out early so I quick swept the living room floor, then went home. The next day, I found 45 cents on the that very floor. And as I had before, I went home and said, “Hey Kate, check it out, found another 45 cents today!” And that’s when they all three started laughing. Now I knew what was going on. I was sure that floor was clean the day before. The joke was really on them, though. I kept all of their change…

We are getting ready to sell that home currently, so if you’re in the market and you’re the lucky buyer, who knows… You might find some loose change…

-AZ… Out


Aaron M. Zuehlke is the owner and inspector at Zuehlke Inspection Service, LLC, a full-service home inspection company serving Southern Wisconsin. Specializing in Home inspection, Radon Testing, Mold Testing/inspection and Residential Thermal Imaging. He can be reached by email at or by calling the office at 608-931-7485.

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