The February morning was clear and crisp and the sun was slowing making it’s climb in the eastern sky, promising another unseasonably warm day. Fiery shades of orange blended with pink hues and cast their colors over the land and the buildings.
A 30 yard rolloff dumpster, what would be the first of many, sat in front of the garage and my 6 man crew would soon arrive to start filling it. I unlocked doors, walked through the house taking inventory and starting to form a mental rehab plan.
It had taken months, but finally, the papers were signed, I held the keys in my hand and the house was mine.
The first thing we needed to do was clear out the debris. There was quite a bit of stuff to remove and because the house had sat vacant for so long, dust had collected on everything. This would be a dirty job.
This is what I found inside the house that day:
While the crew worked on the cleaning and demo, I was checking the lights, water and furnace. The furnace fired right up. That was good news. All of the lights worked. More good news. Then I discovered the first unexpected issue.
This house sits on 2 acres at the base of a mountain. Because of it’s rural location, it has a well that provides the water and the well pump was bad. It would have to be replaced before we could have water. So now I had a decision to make. Should I put in a cheap pump from Lowes or should I spend the $500 for something that would last.
I decided to install the quality pump. If I ended up keeping the house I’d be glad, and if I sold the house I could take pride in knowing I had not shortcut the new owners.
When you’re rehabbing a flip, it’s tempting to focus on the “bling”, all the stuff people see. Because it’s hard for buyers to get excited about well pumps, furnaces, and roofs, too many rehabbers shortcut these essential systems in favor of pretty tile or granite. And too many buyers make purchase decisions based on paint colors.
This is where a good realtor is invaluable. A good realtor will help buyers see past the relatively inexpensive finishes. They’ll help a buyer consider the less exciting, less visible components of the house. There’s nothing wrong with pretty finishes. I work hard to create a beautiful space but if that’s all you consider, it could cost you a whole lot of money.
In the end, I ordered the better pump. It would mean we wouldn’t have water for a couple of weeks, but regardless of whether I kept the house or sold it, I was committed to quality.
After removing the contents of the house, half of the crew worked to remove the multi-colored carpet “wall paper” that covered some of the living room walls. The other half removed some of the exterior overgrowth.
Already the house was improving! Still, we had a long way to go! Here’s a sneak preview of the final product!