As most know, my husband and I flip houses, and this is one component of our endeavors as entrepreneurs. We have other businesses (he in IT & media and I in photography & web work), but buying houses and re-selling them is a huge part of our business. We look for properties that we can buy low, fix up, and sell. It has proven to be a worthwhile venture for us and what makes it even better is that we enjoy dong it together! Just like Tarek and Christina El Moussa (from HGTV's Flip or Flop), we take a "calculated risk" every time we buy a house that it will sell quickly and turn a profit for us. And, just like Christina and Tarek, I am the designer and hubs is the contractor, and that's just the way I like it! There are few things more exciting than catching a vision for a new property and then directing the men on how to get it done!
Seriously though, it is a joint effort on most everything. He puts in his two-cent's worth on the design elements, and I do some hands-on work as well. Not because I love it but out of necessity, I have become a fairly decent painter. Some properties need very little work, just mostly cosmetic upgrades like painting and flooring, and some need more. I think I have a pretty good eye in spotting properties that have potential and he at knowing what it will take financially to fix it up and if the investment is worth what the turnaround will bring. But as I'm sure you've all heard the saying it has to have good bones, that is truly what we look for -- a great floor plan, no structural problems, universal appeal, square footage, and location -- all those things go into making a prospective house worthy of our efforts. The house before our most recent that we bought for re-sale had great bones and potential, but it was disgustingly dirty! It was just like my daddy has been known to say "It looks like Mr. Filthy McNasty lived there!" And just like I've been known to say, "It's not for the faint of heart" (which also applies in this case to fixing up houses), it takes guts to walk into a completely destroyed house. I've learned NOT to wear flip flops! We have seen houses where the past owners through their anger have pulled electrical wiring through holes they've made in the sheetrock in every room of the house, where rats and other critters have set up camp, and where dogs have used the floors, walls and corners of every room to mark their territory down to the subflooring! We've seen dead birds in bathtubs, adult play toys on display (ultra strong pro cleaners in that tub!), and feces smeared on walls. You have to be able to look past the filth, holes, broken windows, stinking carpet, and putrid colors and upgrades gone-wrong to see the possibilities. This particular house that I just mentioned had a refrigerator left in it with six-month old (at least) rotting food inside. Underneath the fridge was a thick layer of God-only-knows-what that I had to literally scrape off with a knife. It reminded me of a thick scab that forms on a very deep skin scrape. Eeeewww! Makes me want to gag just thinking about it! But this very same house turned out to be one of my favorite flips. By the time we finished, it was a soft, calming gray from floor to ceiling highlighting the amazing natural light in the house, it was clean as a whistle, and had the most beautiful bamboo flooring I've ever seen! It sold in four weeks.
We have bought bank-owned foreclosures, houses on the spot after laying eyes on them for the first time 20 minutes earlier, and at auctions on the courthouse steps. That last one my hubby does without me because I don't have the nerve for bidding on houses, especially if we get outbid and come home empty-handed (it's happened). So I leave the negotiating to him, as I tap into my creative side and begin to imagine the new buy's inner beauty and how to bring it out. But every time we buy a new property, finish our upgrades and put it on the market, I have a tremendous dread come over me for the work I know is ahead. Because up till this point, we have actually lived in the houses we flip (hopefully to change soon), which means I have the daunting task of packing up and moving every time we sell and buy again. But then the creative juices start flowing and I begin to daydream. What little gem are we gonna find out there? What latest trends and colors will I be implementing in this new project? My creative juices produce much-needed adrenaline and I'm ready to go. Besides, I've conquered the art of packing a house and moving (as shown on my how-to tips dropdown on my Personal Home & Decor page) and, one day at a time, I get it done! Time to move on to another challenge! My friends ask me all the time how I do it, moving that often. They make sure they pencil in my new address and never, ever write it in ink! I can't say that I blame them, because I have lived in nine different places in the last ten years. So, "How DO you do it?" they say. I really don't have an answer for them except to say that, even though every move involves a certain amount of dread and always lots of hard work, it's the end project that motivates me. I have to look down the road, and that's the fuel that energizes me.
So very, very soon, our present property will be on the market, ready to go. And, let me tell you, I believe it's a beauty. This jewel has become a favorite of mine, but then all our flips do. We've lived in this one almost two years and it will be hard to say goodbye. But all it will take is a new vision on the horizon and I'll be able to shake the dust of its little yard off my feet. Where are you, cute little house just waiting to be found, you little diamond in the rough? We're coming to getcha!
On to new adventures...
Posted by CC
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