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Industry & Trends

‘We Buy Ugly Houses’ Franchisor Remakes Ugliest of Year


April 19, 2021 | Bill Esler

Ugliest house of 2021.

The Ugliest House of the Year before and after (bottom); below, kitchen remodel after, and before.

Knoxville, TN – HomeVestors, a franchise specializing in purchase, rapid remodel, and resale of distressed houses, named The Ugliest House of the Year 2020, a 2,146-sq.-ft. Knoxville home built in 1945.

Ugliest Kitchen 2020 remodel

HomeVestors franchisees advertise under the trademarked banner, “We Buy Ugly Houses.®” More than 80% of houses HomeVestors purchase are less than 1,400 sq. ft. and were built before 1980. Franchises then generally rehab and sell the homes or hold them as investment properties.

Ugliest Kitchen 2020 original design

The winning Knoxville home was purchased and renovated by Jane Khalsa and her husband, Siri, who independently own and operate a franchise of the company. 

“Before joining HomeVestors, I was an architect, and I pride myself on good design,” says Khalsa. “It’s so rewarding to see what I imagine in my mind’s eye be actualized, and to then see the new owners or tenants have pride in having a beautiful home.”

When Khalsa purchased the 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath home, it had a condemnation order against it and was scheduled to be demolished. Crammed full of junk with piles as tall as an adult, the house had been vacant for years.

The entire roof over the den had collapsed, resulting in the floor being badly damaged by rain and the elements. It was home to wildlife, had been vandalized numerous times, and was so overgrown it could barely be seen from the road.

Depending on local permitting requirements and schedule demands, the work is either subcontracted or handled by Khalsa’s own team.

“We have our own crew,” Khalsa’s says. “We’ve got plumbers, electricians. My husband Siri, who is involved in the business, was a woodworker before this. He worked at two different woodworking companies.” 

For the winning home, Khalsa’s own team replaced all plumbing, HVAC, and ductwork, rewired, replaced walls, ceilings, and doors. They refinished the existing hardwood floors, and in the kitchen, replaced cabinets, countertops, and appliances. The bathrooms were updated with new vanities and fixtures. 

Outside, the overgrown brush and a dilapidated side deck were removed, and a new concrete driveway and steps were installed. With new siding, windows, and landscaping, among several other improvements, the house is now unrecognizable.

“I love taking the homes we buy and bringing them new life, and this is one of the best examples of that labor of love,” says Khalsa. “We ended up selling it to a childhood acquaintance.” The new owners took possession of the winning “ugliest” home in November 2020. 

“Celebrating our scariest ‘befores’ and ‘afters’ for The Ugliest House of the Year lets our franchises like Jane and her ingenuity shine,” says David Hicks, CEO of HomeVestors. “Taking something of value that other buyers might not consider and reintroducing it as a desirable and beautiful property is what we do, and this house is the paragon of that.”

Dallas-based HomeVestors of America, Inc. is the largest professional house buying franchise in the U.S. with more than 105,000 houses bought since 1996. HomeVestors recruits, trains and supports its more than 1,150 independently owned and operated HomeVestors franchisees in 176 markets. 


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