LONG CIRCLE Part 2 (House flip)
As I mentioned in my previous post on the Long Circle house, house flipping isn't for the faint of heart. Thank goodness the Long Circle house, more or less, went according to plan. Some of them don't!
This house was in excellent shape structurally but was still on the market due to it's dated appearance which was just what I was looking for! When I say it was "still on the market," things here in Denver sell within hours if it's a good house and a decent deal. I would also say (as of this writing) that there are no "good deals" here anymore. Our real estate prices have soared here in the last few years. The average price of a single-family home is now over $500,000 and houses can be bid up by many thousands of dollars with no contingencies. In other words, a buyer will take the house as-is, no inspection, appraisal or loan conditions AND pay a lot more than the seller was asking.
There are also a lot of "house-flippers" out there that want to do exactly what I want to do. It makes it challenging and takes months sometimes to find the right house. I look at listings each morning when I wake up. When I was looking for the Long Circle house in 2016, there were hundreds of listings each day and it takes a ton of time to pour through all these listings. It's vital to know each area, actually each street, what the schools are, the proximity to major intersections, and comparables nearby. I've been doing this for so long here in Denver that I can usually tell immediately by an address where it is and whether it's something I'd like to see.
When I first started flipping and remodeling homes, I did a lot of the physical work myself. After several spine surgeries and having other limitations (like my age), I now leave all the heavy stuff to others. On this house, I was lucky to have great sub-contractors, a helpful boyfriend, and my boys around to help when possible. I still enjoy doing landscaping, painting, scraping wallpaper and such and with so many other things to organize and shop for, I honestly don't have much time to do anything else!
Before I bought this house I had a thorough inspection done, including a sewer scope, radon testing, asbestos testing, etc. As I said, it was in overall good shape so I came up with a plan and hired contractors before I had actually closed on the purchase. The day of closing I moved a truckload of supplies over to the house and had the demo crew come in and begin their work.
One of the messiest tasks in this house was the removal of the popcorn ceiling. I made sure the asbestos test was negative before we began this process and what a process it is. Almost as bad as the extensive wallpaper and flooring removal in the home!
The wallpaper was dated and peeling throughout and thankfully I had some helpers for this laborious task. My son would come over to work and when I told him it was wallpaper removal day he begged to do anything but that. He'd live to regret that decision because his next job was floor tile removal which was physically demanding to say the least!
For wallpaper removal, there's just no easy way to do it! Sometimes steaming works well but if the wallpaper is really stuck you'll have a mess on your floor and could ruin wood or carpet with all the water. I've tried having drywall guys trowel sheetrock mud over the wallpaper but I don't think this produces a smooth finish and honestly, over time the wallpaper edges may show through. What I often find to work best is DIF wallpaper stripper, which I dilute with water and spray on the wallpaper. I usually score the paper gently so the product will penetrate. Then just good ol' elbow grease and a scraper will (eventually) do the trick (and you do this on enough houses and you'll end up with shoulder problems like me!).
The new flooring throughout the house made an enormous difference and although it was terribly expensive and laborious it was so worth it. I replaced all the tile in the bathrooms, carpeting in the bedrooms and family room, and added hardwood flooring throughout the main floor. My flooring guy has worked for me for years and knows I want a good quality job and things need to be done quickly, and as inexpensively as possible. He delivered on both counts, finding a 3 inch #2 oak and once it was stained dark, any imperfections in the grain were invisible.
The weekend we were to gut the kitchen, I put an ad on Craigslist for the old appliances and the cabinets. I already had my first dumpster full of trash and if someone was willing to take the things out of the kitchen, I'd kill two birds with one stone. Someone would likely be able to use the old appliances (they worked but were dated) and the cabinets could be painted and used in a home or garage. It would save me space in my next dumpster load and help someone in need.
I scored on both counts and not only did someone take the cabinets right away, they uninstalled them as well, saving me and my workers a day's worth of work!
Find all the parts of my Long Circle house flip story here. You may also enjoy my stories about a few of the other houses I flipped in Colorado.