The "Flip" that started it all… Part 2

Our first fixer-upper started to show some real improvement after the first year. Clean water, paint and new flooring were our top priorities.
Our biggest expense for the house was adding a whole house water filtration system. The house was on well water so we had to have this in order to treat a hard water issue, a common problem. A reverse osmosis system was also installed for our drinking water. We chose this one.
The remainder of this fixer-upper went something like this…

  1. Paint entire interior.
  2. Remove all base trim.
  3. Remove old flooring (including the ungrouted tile in the master bedroom) and install hardwood floors throughout… more on that here.
  4. Install crown molding, base molding and quarter round throughout the house.
  5. Renovate the hall and master bathroom… more on that here.
  6. Renovate kitchen – New counter tops, appliances, hardware, sinks, faucets, fans, and replace kitchen windows.
  7. Replace all exterior siding and trim and repaint.
  8. Bring the deck back to life.
  9. Install a fence on either side of the house extending to the edge of the property
  10. Landscape

Craigslist’s materials section is a girl’s best friend when you are on a budget and living through a renovation. If you have a house project and need some materials, check it out. Builders often order supplies in excess to ensure they have enough to complete their job. They will post up items for sale in an attempt to recoup some of their money. I gladly profited from their overages. One day, I hit a jackpot and found someone selling hardiplank siding, enough to do our whole house. After some negotiations, I was able to buy it for $950 – including delivery! Siding was not the only item cragslist had to offer. I also found fencing, kitchen appliances and most of the trim.
Most of the reason I stooped to the craigslist level was out of necessity, but at the same time, it ended up being incredibly valuable.
Here is the approximate amount we spent on renovations:

  • Water Filtration System – 5,000
  • Interior and Exterior Paint – $1,000
  • Hardwood Floors – $3,750 plus $840 for labor
  • Hardiplank Siding – $950 delivered
  • Landscaping rocks and new gravel for driveway – $1,000 + $900 for labor
  • Concrete countertops in kitchen/master bathroom and concrete tile floors for master bathroom – $100 (Uriah worked at a company that made concrete products so we got these at material cost)
  • New Doors -front, basement and exterior – found on craigslist $750
  • Bathroom Renos – $1,250 each
  • Carpet in basement playroom – $500
  • Stainless Steel appliances – $3,000
  • Miscellaneous supplies – $3,500

Total expenses over 4 years: $23,700
The result? An awesome investment:

Our first fixer-upper was a home run. For an investment of about $23,700, a little bit of sanity & a lot of time over 4 years, our profit was $73,000. It altered the trajectory of our lives for the better. Now we are actively and investing in real estate in the RDU area. I realize this is not everyone’s cup of tea. The average/normal/sane person would not sign up for this, but it begs the question: Do you think real estate is worth the investment?

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