ANDERSON — Kevin and Donna Hawes used to drive by a neglected brick home oozing with charm and think that someone needed to invest a little love and elbow grease into the property. When it appeared on the commissioner’s tax sale about 2 1/2 years ago, they decided to become those people.
“We thought we’d step up,” said Kevin, business analyst at Sonoco. “Nichol Avenue used to be so beautiful.”
At the time of purchase, Kevin was expecting to be laid off and thought the project would keep him busy and position the family to earn some money. He and Donna estimated the house to be finished in four to six months. Instead, he continued to work full time and construction has taken just under two years.
“It’s a good thing I didn’t get laid off,” said Kevin with a laugh. “I couldn’t have afforded to finish the house.”
When bidding on a home at a tax sale, participants are not allowed access to the house. They may drive by the property, but may not enter. Therefore, the Hawes had to guess at the interior condition, including structural issues and the integrity of the plumbing and wiring.
“People had come in and torn out every door – including all the cabinet doors and drawers,” said Donna, quality manager at Delta Faucet Company. “The roof had leaked so long that there was a strong smell when you walked in.”
While Kevin and Donna completed as many projects as they could handle, they did work with five contractors to handle the highly-skilled work. Some of the larger tasks included replacing many of the floor joists and rebuilding the wall along the closed-in back porch.
Between time spent on interior and exterior painting, woodworking, glazing windows and restoring hardwood floors, the couple made time to research previous owners. Donna reported that the home was built in 1931 by a man named Stout who worked in the tool room at Delco. His family lived in the home for 30 years.