We Have a Deal!

Last week I wrote about how I adjusted my strategy to better compete with professional investors.  Well, it seems as though it’s worked!  My very patient Realtor send me a one line email this morning that read, Congratulations we have a deal! I will have a signed contract back to you today!”  

My response? “Well, I guess we should go check out the property to see what I’ve gotten myself into!” 

The property in question is located in a working class suburb with a decent school system.  I know the area well as I lived just a few blocks away until I was six.  It’s not the most ideal neighborhood to flip as property values have not recovered materially since the real estate crash, so we intend to rent this one out.

Since I haven’t walked through the property, fingers crossed the rehab is only cosmetic.

Photos after the jump.  You say dingy, I say opportunity 🙂

Ohio Cash Flow Properties

Seller recently updated the siding. Cute!

1

Cabinets were recently updated, but I’m not a fan of the color. Replace or stain? 

2

Cute built ins! Carpet has to go!

3

Ugly now, but looks promising!

 

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Sneak Peak: 3rd Floor Bath Remodel

It only took four weeks of on-and-off work and innumerable trips to Home Depot and Sherwin Williams, but my wife finally has the third floor bath she’s always wanted.  The rehab included: new tile flooring, wainscoting, a new vanity, restoration of our clawfoot tub, a new chrome “telephone” tub faucet and paint.  Lots of paint.

I’ll hold off the full reveal until we install the vanity and decorate the space, but for now here is a quick sneak peak:

House Flipping Couple

Before

After!

After!

The Definition of Insanity

For the last several months, my process has been such that I would look for properties on Zillow or the local MLS Mon-Fri and have my Realtor schedule showings on Saturday or Sunday.  Of the 5-7 properties we’d see most weekends, 2-3 would fit my acquisition / rehab criteria. From that short-list, I’d submit a bid on the best candidate – all cash, 5 day contingency – and then wait to hear back.  More often then not, I’d get the following response from the selling Realtor: We received your offer and Seller has it.  There is another offer on the table from another Realtor.”  Well damn.  I’m now the backup offer. And since the other investor ahead of me is likely a Pro, it’s unlikely that the deal will fall through.  From there, I’d place a bid on the #2 property on my list.  Same thing…too slow.  Then #3 on the list.  Same thing…too slow.  See a pattern?

Rita Mae Brown noted in her novel Sudden Death that, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.  Too true – this whole process has driven me insane over the last several weeks. So, new strategy!  Bid first, ask questions later.  

I’ve seen enough properties over the last several months to know what a property at a certain price point should look like.  Not only that, but most Cleveland suburbs require pre-sale inspections which list any major updates / fixes that need to be made within six months of title transfer.    Between the two, I have a good sense of what I’m getting into.

So, in the interest of not perpetuating my insanity, I just sent my Realtor bids on two properties.  If the talks go well, I’ll go see the properties.  If not, I’ll submit more bids.  All told, I currently have three bids outstanding.  Here they are:

Ohio Cash Flow Properties

Ohio Cash Flow Properties Ohio Cash Flow Properties

 

How I Spend My Weekends

As I guy renovating and our 91 year old home in the evenings and on the weekends, I don’t always utilize my time wisely.

Case in point, our current bathroom renovation.  Half way through laying tile, my tile saw decided to die on me.  Well, there goes 2 hours of my day as I (or really, my dad) has to make the 30 minute round trip to Home Depot to buy a new saw, spend 30 minutes setting it up and then another 15 talking about how much better it is.  It really is awesome, actually.  I could have talked about it for like an hour with him.  To me, a new tool is like a new pair of shoes for my wife.

Painting isn’t much better.  Pick a color and paint, right? Nope.  I’ll be on my fourth trip of the week to Sherwin Williams tomorrow.  And we’ve yet to pick a color! In the course of a few days I forgot to buy brushes, mixing sticks, drop cloths, blue tape; oh damn I forgot the rollers!  So while painting two coats shouldn’t take me more than 45 minutes, it’s going to end up taking me 4-5 days.  On the bright side, painting the walls and ceilings is the last step of the renovation, so my wife will soon have that bath she’s always wanted (and deserved)!

In deciding if you want to do undertake a large project yourself or pay somebody you need to ask yourself, “Do I want this done in three days, or three weeks?”  I’m on a week three, but I couldn’t be happier.

Here’s how I typically spend my time:

 

Reno

Giving My Wife a Bath: Demo Day!

For the last month we’ve been negotiating the purchase of a short-sale in Shaker Heights and have largely suspended our marathon showing sessions as we do expect  our bid to be accepted at some point.  With the resulting free time, my father and I have been hard at work renovating our third floor bathroom so my wife can finally enjoy a nice bath! You can check out my inspiration here.  We’re actually almost done with the rehab, but I’ve been a bit lazy with the blog.  So, lets get caught up 🙂

The first step is always my favorite…demo!  To get the room prepped for new wainscoting and flooring, I first needed to remove the top-cap from the existing baseboards so that the vertical stiles would fit neatly into place.  Easy enough…nothing a crowbar can’t handle:

 

How to Remove Baseboards

 

Removing the existing flooring was just as easy, albeit slightly more messy.  Why the previous owners decided to lay such a cheap and ugly product over the original hardwood floors is beyond me; but, to each his own. Anyways, a little prying with the crowbar and some muscle was all that was needed.  If a floor covering comes off that easily, it should have never been installed! Oh, and it was a sticky job…lots of glue under there!  I felt like I was walking through a mousetrap!

IMG_3902

The next step was to disconnect the massive cast iron tub, which probably weighs a little over 150 pounds and is effectively the centerpiece of the renovation.  Not knowing how such tubs are made, I was a little nervous as to how we’d get it out of the room, but my father quickly realized that the feet of the tub could easily be removed so that the unit can fit through the door.  Loosen the screw and they slide right off!

Clawfoot Tub Feel

Once we got the tub out of the bathroom, we inspected it for cracks and quickly noticed the manufacturer’s imprint on the bottom.  As it turns out, the tub was manufactured in 1931 by the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company based out of Pittsburgh, PA.  Pretty cool! Many times, I prefer old things to new. I appreciate the character, the history and the vintage aesthetic.  This made my decision to keep the tub (and buy a house build in 1932) much easier. That said, I am a little creeped out by the fact that we’ll be taking baths in a tub that has been used by countless other couples over the last  83 years!

 

Clawfoot Tub Restoration

Anyways…the wainscosting is the next step.  Until then, be sure to check us out on Pinterest and Instagram!