NW Gardener

Northwest Gardener Flips a House (Part 1)

The auctioneer at King County

The auctioneer at King County

December 28th, after 25 years as the founder and Executive Director of a non-profit housing developer and service provider for homeless families I retired and started a company to fix up distressed residential properties and resale them for a profit. We used the equity in our home to pay cash for a house at auction. I worked with a local investor’s group to learn the ropes as our financing was being secured. The day of the auction was a bit intimidating but someone from the investment team bid for me so I got to stand back and enjoy the show. I had chosen five properties all of which I had driven by and I felt would be good possibilities for our first flip.¬† Only a few houses sold that day and ours was one of them. We secured our first flip property!

Time for clean up January 6th.

Time for clean up January 6th.

Since the property had been vacant for several months, we did not need to wait for tenants to move out and we were able to start the rehab right away. First thing I did was call my insurance company only to find out that they did not insure homes that we planned to flip. I made a few more phone calls and found an insurance company that would insure the house. My next call was to a key company who came out and changed the locks to the house for about $100. What a bargain!

We did our first walk through to assess what would need to be done. Someone from the investors group met me on site later that week to also give advice. The house was a mess but in relatively good condition. I noticed a few assets that I wanted to protect. One was that the cabinets were in pretty good condition and so where the microwave and stove. The house also has a large shop and a relatively large lot that I believed would appeal to many buyers. Another asset was a compost bin in the back of the property. It provided wonderful mulch for the landscape plan and saved us a few hundred dollars.

Austin and his new sledgehammer.

Austin and his new sledgehammer.

There were three make-shift sheds attached precariously to the house. Considering the property had the large shop, I felt the sheds were unnecessary and were really an eyesore. I bought my son Austin a sledge hammer and we went to work right away demolishing the sheds and cleaning up the interior of the house. We chose not to tackle the blackberry bushes ourselves and paid a landscaper $400 to remove them for us.

One of the first priorities was to get the windows ordered since I knew it would take a few weeks to get them in. I then made calls asap to the different trades needed to do the repairs. Heating guy to assess the furnace, plumbers to assess a plumbing leak I discovered when we turned on the water, a flooring guy, the garage door people, electricians, drywaller, painters, a contractor (also known as my brother-in-law Steve) and a friend that does tree removal. I order a large dumpster as I could tell we would be removing a lot of debris from the interior as well as the waste that would be created in removing the sheds. The following week I called to get bids on countertops and to clean out the crawlspace and install a new vapor barrier.

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What a difference the correct color base makes!

After the drywall repair was complete, I called in the painters who worked on the walls. I had the trim installed and painted to give the house a fresh, finished look. The painters also planned  to paint the exterior. On they day they planned to paint the exterior I was excited to see how the house looked! I pulled up to a 3/4 painted house in a very ugly lime green color!  It was awful and I was sick at how horrible it looked and was certain that it was not the color I had chosen! Fortunately, the paint company had mixed the color using a white base instead of a deep base and were quick to correct the issue. They refunded the paint and gave me the correct color free of charge! Unfortunately, it set us back a few days. You can see from the picture what a difference the right color base makes.

Although I do not like to remove trees, the ones in the front yard were too close to the house and made the interior very dark. Check back next week to see how the property progresses.

Our flip house before.

Our flip house before.

living room before.

living room before.

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Kitchen before.

 

 

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