The trail that followed was long and inspiring: "This Old House", "Extreme Home Makeover", "Yard Crashers", "Man Caves", "Renovation Realities", "Rehab Addict" (I can relate), "House Hunters Renovation", "Flipping Las Vegas", "Flip or Flop", "Love It or List It", and my all-time favorite, "Property Brothers". The DIY Network is to me, what the Food Network is to all those people that post pictures of their dinners on Facebook and describe their food with the terms infused, aioli, and lightly crusted. I seriously can’t get enough.
I think what intrigues me about these programs is their ability to demonstrate such a dramatic transformation, in 30-60 minutes, while making it look so easy that anyone can do it. Simple, right? I’ve attempted many of the projects, and in typical “As Seen on TV” fashion, none of them turned out quite as nice, went quite as smoothly, or were completed in anywhere near 30-60 minutes. Almost without exception, they were wrought with tearing out and re-doing something numerous times, countless trips back to Home Depot to retrieve unforeseen items, replacing materials damaged during construction (or during temper flare up), trial and error, swearing, and an occasional trip to the E.R. And yet, I keep doing them. Isn’t that the definition of addiction? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? Like a moth to flame, I have no sense of self-preservation when it comes to these projects.
In 2010, I took on my biggest home improvement project ever. I bought an extremely neglected, filthy, run-down, graffiti walled, dry rotted, bank owned house. This house needed more than Martha Stewart window treatments. It was a disaster. I learned a TON, while transforming it into a house that someone was proud to call home. I think the most important thing I learned was that it doesn’t hurt anything to try--unless it involves electricity. Seriously, what can it hurt? If you get to a point where you’re in over your head, call in a professional. It’s a bit humbling, but who cares. I took on projects in that house that I had no confidence in completing—and I completed them, and they looked fantastic. To that extent, the book “Home Improvement 1-2-3” is worth its weight in GOLD!! If you don’t have a copy already, do yourself a favor and pick one up at Home Depot.
I plan to write future blog posts about the nuts and bolts of my “flip” project, but here are the particulars: Original Cost $129,000, Renovation $15,000, Positive Cash Flow as a Rental for 4 Years of $35,280, Sold for $205,000. That’s $96,280 in profit over four years, or an annual return on my initial investment of almost 17% per year. Not too shabby, considering what my 401k did over the same time period.
If you or anyone you know is interested in taking on a “flip” opportunity, email me and I’ll put you on my list of investors to contact when I find one of these diamonds in the rough.