🔓Orlando home dubbed ‘Ugliest House’ in nationwide contest

Prize includes $20,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando and Osceola County

Renovating a home is never as easy at it sounds. You may encounter some hidden problems that need to be fixed.

An Orlando flipper took on a tough job. The home gained the title ‘Ugliest House’ after a nationwide contest.

Real Estate investor Bernardo Mazzucco bought the Orlando home sight-unseen because there was a tenant still living there at the time. He was surprised the first time he stepped foot inside the home.

“It was unbelievable, I couldn’t breathe because it smelled so bad,” said Mazzucco. “Infestation everywhere.”

Mazzucco said the tenant got overwhelmed with pets and let the property get out of hand. It took several crews two weeks to clean up the piles of junk inside.

“It took us five dumpsters to clear out the mess and we had to change the crews four times because people were getting sick,” said Mazzucco.

Multiple animals ranging from those with four to six and eight legs had infested the house, which had not been cleaned of hair, waste, or mold in over three years despite it still being used. An overgrown landscape also hid creepy finds like buried dolls in the backyard.

“It’s either an ugly house, or an ugly situation for the owners. Both cases we are there to help,” said Mazzucco.

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During the renovation, Mazzucco heard about the ‘Ugliest House’ contest that HomeVestors of America hosts every year highlighting some of the companies’ most dramatic makeovers.

“When I was reading about the contest, I realized I had the opportunity to bring something back to my community,” said Mazzucco.

The prize includes a $20,000 donation to their local Habitat for Humanity. Mazzucco’s before and after photos would be shared with entries from across the country and put up for a vote.

The photos show just how extensive the renovation was with new flooring, disinfecting and new appliances. Even the exterior got a facelift. Mazzucco said the worst room was the main bathroom which was covered in mold and filth. The bathroom is now clean and bright.

Mazzucco’s rehab received the most votes, beating out nearly 10,000 other home renovations to win the title ‘Ugliest House of The Year for 2021.’ The prize money went to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando and Osceola County.

It was amazing, it was a great feeling. I couldn’t speak when they told me,” said Mazzucco.

“We’re proud of Bernardo and what he’s accomplished in such a short time. Many may not have seen the actual hard work the We Buy Ugly Houses® people do on the houses we buy, dealing with everything from rodent infestations and natural disasters to neglect and vandalism,” said David Hicks, CEO of HomeVestors. “The Ugliest House Of The Year® represents the best of the thousands of houses that were considered hopeless by other buyers, but not by HomeVestors® franchisees, who see potential and know-how to make it a reality. They don’t just buy these houses, but they also put in the labor to make these properties whole again.”

Do-it-yourself renovations have become an increasing trend since the pandemic. HomeVestors of America, real estate investing franchisor, said it’s always great to spruce up your home before putting it on the market, but warns there are some changes that may decrease your property value:

5 improvements that may drop property value

1. Adding Swimming Pool

“Many folks have had the dream of lounging by their personal home pool since they were kids, so they drop upwards of $75,000 to get their pool. The problem: If you try to sell it, the potential buyers see their money vanish with maintenance, upkeep or lawsuits.

It’s not uncommon for buyers to put a contingency in place that the seller dismantles or fills in the pool before they buy. In this case, unless you plan on staying in your current home for the rest of your life, hold off on the pool and save the money for something more practical.”

2. High-end accessories

“Unless you plan on doing your whole home in the same fashion, skip doing one or two rooms that don’t make sense to the rest of the home. A typical rule of thumb is to have a similar style and quality throughout the home.”

3. Wall-to-wall carpeting

“Instead of a mix of carpet and hardwood, laminate or vinyl, some homeowners go all out with carpeting the entire home. The problem with carpet is it’s getting expensive – and that doesn’t include installation. Beyond that, carpeting style and color is based on personal preference, which may not be the preference of your future homebuyers.

A safe bet is to put carpet in the bedrooms, living room and hallways. While sticking with hardwood in the kitchen, dining room, foyer and stairs; and tile in the bathrooms.”

4. Outbuilding the neighborhood

“Some homeowners feel like they can increase the property value of their home by making improvements that go against the overall style of the neighborhood.

A large, expensive remodeling project, like adding a second story with several bedrooms and a new bathroom will certainly make the home more appealing. But it won’t significantly add to the home’s resale value if it’s in a neighborhood known for small one-story homes.

Potential buyers are not willing to pay an extra $150,000 for a house in a neighborhood where the average sale price is far less. The house will seem overpriced even if it is more appealing than the nearby properties.

Potential buyers looking to spend $250,000 will most likely look in a $250,000 neighborhood. The extra money you spend could be difficult to recover if your renovation sticks out like a sore thumb.”

5. Over landscaping

“Homebuyers generally appreciate a well-groomed and pruned property. Landscaping can encourage a potential buyer to look closer, but it may not increase the selling price. Some buyers may view extensive landscaping as more of a burden than an asset.

If you are in the process of selling your home and finding it difficult to get a return on upgrades you’ve made, look no further than HomeVestors. We’ll buy your house with cash, regardless of what might make property value decrease or increase. We’ll buy your home outright, as is, with no hidden fees or commissions.”

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.