Flipping a Home

Not as easy as it looks on TV.

You may have noticed that it’s been a minute since I posted. Well, at the end of December we bought a home to fix up. I say “fix up” because that’s all we knew at the start. We didn’t know if we would sell it, rent it, or possibly have a relative move into it, and, frankly, we still don’t know. All we know for sure is that it’s a whole lot more work than expected…. but we should have expected that.

We are not unfamiliar with old homes, renovations, and problems. We have worked on clients homes and our own “hot messes” for years, so you would think we would have known better. But none of that mattered when we had the opportunity to buy the Smurf house. I love designing a home and bringing it up to standard while keeping the integrity of the original architecture and Shawn just loves working on homes (half of this is bold-faced lie), but we always run into something unexpected, so here is a little synopsis of what we have run into this time and what we have learned, yet again.

1 – The old 20% contingency does not work, not with inflation what it is. Plan for 25-30% to be safe.

2 – No matter how well you “inspect” a home, once you open a wall you are bound to find something completely unexpected.

3 – You can’t do it all yourself and keep your sanity, so plan for additional labor charges.

4 – Make a list, make a budget, and remember there are always line items that you may forget the first time around. That is why it is smart to revisit this a few times. Our list did not account for all the extra lumber, extra dumpster, and additional labor that we thought we would be doing ourselves.

5 – Lastly, things never go perfectly. In fact, you’re lucky if they go even close to plan so be flexible. When scheduling contractors you will almost always run into problems and keeping a schedule is a juggling act. I started with what I thought was a good schedule, and then people don’t show up, you run into issues or a job just takes longer than expected. When this happens, you may not be able to do things in the order you set, which may mean extra work or doing things twice.

For instance, and this is just one of the many hiccups, we were going to do the plumbing under the floor, lay the insulation, install the subfloor, and then demo the walls so that all that debris did not fall into the crawlspace. WELL, the electrician needed to get under there too and he is on his own schedule, but things needed to keep moving so we had to demo the walls before laying the floor which meant the additional work of cleaning the crawlspace. Not fun, but unavoidable.

I will be posting many before and after pictures later, but here is a little peek at the Smurf house at the start.

And now I am headed back there, it will be a long journey. I will keep you posted

Nancy Bradley photo

Nancy bradley

I consult, design, and remodel spaces that reflect the homeowner’s lifestyle and budget by getting the cost question out of the way and really listening to what my client wants and how much they have set aside for their project.