House Flipping: Avenue House Update

Lessons learned from a newbie house flipper

This is a series of posts about our latest endeavor as newbie house flippers! We give updates every few weeks on our house flipping adventures that include timelines, budgets, problems, and before + afters. If you want to start flipping houses, I hope you'll follow along with this series!

Week 1
Weeks 2 + 3
Weeks 4 + 5
Weeks 6 + 7
Weeks 8 + 9

Oh hey - anybody still out there? So sorry to leave you guys hanging like that. This renovation has completely consumed our lives. Working 80 hours a week between our day jobs and the flip has left zero time to blog, so apologies for the hiatus. The listing papers are freshly signed and I finally feel like we have a chance to come up for air!

The good news is that we are finished and the Avenue House hits the market this week! Yasssssssss. (*Cue angels singing*) Guys, this flip about did us in. To be honest, we probably did not make the wisest choice when purchasing this house. I think that since we have a soft spot in our hearts for old houses and charm, we let that blind us to the amount of WORK this project would be (it's only a complete kitchen gut, deck rebuild, and bathroom reno - easy peasy! ;). We put in 680 man hours just between the two of us over the course of 3 months (the equivalent of one person working full time for 17 weeks)! So yeah, definitely not the quick flip we should shoot for, haha.

Each house has been a great learning experience for us and a way to take on new projects to increase our skill set. It also allows us to reflect on what we would do differently next time around:

1. I think we have decided that the next flip needs to be newer construction so that little to no money is spent on the systems or behind the walls. This is why the Dalton House was so quick. It is really tricky (and expensive) to fit a 2017 kitchen into an early 1900s house and you end up spending a ton of money on not pretty things behind the walls. If you buy a house built in the 1990s, all of those things are usually up to date so all you have to do is cosmetic work. 

2. We've also learned that I think we need to seek out gross houses. Sounds odd, but I'll explain. Normal buyers are put off by houses that are not livable and that eliminates a lot of competition. I think we can get better deals on dirty disgusting houses because there is more negotiating power (i.e. "I'm offering you $20,000 less than asking because your house is full of cockroaches and smells like cat pee"). It's really not much extra work since we end up painting and doing new floors in any house, so getting a gross house will probably end up giving us better margins and definitely awesome before and afters. :)

3. We need to outsource more. For the past three months, we've both had two full-time jobs and that is a recipe for burnout. If we continue flipping, we either need to outsource more or one of us needs to focus solely on the renovation (aka Brian). I think we've decided that moving forward we will definitely hire out painting and hire a finishing electrician and plumber (ones who do everything including installing light fixtures and faucets) so that we aren't stuck doing everything ourselves.

I think we are okay on budget. The reason I think instead of know is that we are still waiting for the electrical and plumbing invoices (ugh). We had to get really creative with the finishes and do a lot of the work ourselves to make the numbers work, but I'm really proud of how this house looks. I actually enjoy working with tight budgets because I think that's when your most creative ideas are born. We worked super hard and made sure to do things the right way and I'm excited for a new homeowner to make this house a home. You can tell this house has been loved on over the years and I'm happy to be a small part of making sure that continues.

This post really has no point except to exclaim my exuberant joy that this house is finished, lol. We splurged and hired a professional photographer so I can't wait to show you guys the fancy photos. ;) I think this go around I will do a room by room before/after post and break down the budget that way. I've had some people ask how much things cost specific to a room so I think that may be helpful.

I hope you guys are enjoying the beginning of my most favorite season!