If you’ve kept up with all the flips, you know I kind of went out of order. I sold Flip 4 and promptly began the process to sell Flip 3. Flip 3 went under contract in record time…which is great. Until you consider that it was my home…so I was homeless.
So I started searching for a new flip…one I was willing to live in and would make me money.
And I kept searching.
And kept searching.
Nationwide, it’s a seller’s market. Houses are going for record prices and selling quickly. The downside to a seller’s market is that it’s NOT a buyer’s market. You have to pay up to get a house– even fixer uppers. And when you pay up, you put yourself in a risky situation of hoping the market not only remains stable but really hoping it increases. As an investor, you never want to be in that situation.
I scoured foreclosures and even went to some courthouse auctions…all in hopes of finding a good deal. I either didn’t like the options or the prices, so both of those routes didn’t pan out. I was convinced I wouldn’t buy in the open market because the competition is so stiff, the prices so absurd, and the time on the market is so miniscule.
I was wrong.
I found Flip 4 by stalking, literally, the MLS. As a Realtor, I see new listings quickly. I had been refreshing the MLS website every hour on the hour. 99% of the listings were a no-go for me.
And then I found this little gem!
I discovered with Flip 3 that midcentury is not only my niche but is insanely popular with a very high demand. I was really wanting another midcentury home, and that’s exactly what this one is! This home was built in 1951 and has all the character of a midcentury home! It’s located in the historic district and within walking distance to the theater and city square.
I saw this listing almost instantaneously after it hit the MLS. I called immediately to schedule a showing in the next 15 minutes. I was the first Realtor to show it…I even had to sit and wait for them to put the access box on the door for me to see it. I knew in 10 minutes I’d write an offer.
I’ve never paid asking price for a house. I haven’t low-balled, but I haven’t paid list price. With this house, however, I gladly paid asking price…and I’ll explain why in a bit. Come to find out, even though I was the first Reatlor to show it, several more showings happened throughout the day, and they received multiple offers. I included with my offer a brief personal letter just letting the owners know I wasn’t planning to use it as a rental or to go in and gut it. Rather, I’d maintain the integrity and restore it. And that did the trick!
The home is just under 1,400 sq. ft., 2 bedrooms, and 1 full bath and 2 half bathrooms. I’ve talked before about how important the price per square foot is when acquiring an investment flip. The property was listed at over $90 sq. ft. I have never paid that amount before per square foot and I never would and expect to make money. Yet, I paid asking price.
Because I have a secret strategy I always try to use in flips. It makes me thousands upon thousands of dollars. And I knew instantly I could utilize this strategy with this house.
I’m going to add to the square footage of the house…without adding on.
It’s absolutely my favorite method of easing costs and adding value. I’ll tell you a little bit more about that in a bit.
As for the house, it’s dripping with historic charm. Original hardwoods. Original doors. Vintage tile. Farmhouse sink. Built-ins.
Not only does it have original doors, it has TWO sets of original dutch doors. I mean swoon, right? The windows are original, and typically I go in and replace windows. But these are in good shape and add so much charm. They’re odd size and would be a fortune to replace with replica style windows. So I’m going to clean them up, repaint, and ensure they’re functional.
I honestly get giddy all over again every time I see pictures of the house. I can’t believe I scored this house with so much charm and character…and with so much financial potential.
Obviously as many original elements as I can keep, I will. Many of the light fixtures I won’t keep because I don’t think they have the midcentury feel I want. Like with Flip 3, I’ll restore the hardwoods to a more modern stain color.
But without a doubt, my favorite room is the kitchen. Look at it. Seriously LOOK AT IT!! I know, you’re drooling over all the vintage charm! The sink alone sells the house!
Secretly, I love the blue tile countertops, but they aren’t in pristine condition. Most likely I’ll be busting them out. Of course I’ll salvage the original cabinets and the original midcentury cabinet pulls. The dishwasher will get replaced too. I’m also planning to bust out the floor tile. It’s obviously not original and just plain white. I want something with more character.
You’re looking at my favorite corner of the entire house. That original midcentury vent hood is amazing! I’ll definitely keep it! I’m debating about the stove. While I LOVE it and it’s original, I’m a little worried about its condition. It’s an oversized range, so if I replace it it’ll have to be a special order oversized one. So the stove is up in the air currently.
This little corner is going to probably give me a run for my money on the design side. I HATE that the only washer/dryer hookup is for a stacked unit. But even more than that, I hate that’s in the kitchen and visible. My [hopeful] plan is to bust out the pantry on the right and create a laundry closet similar to Flip 3. I know this will entail rerouting lines and that could get expensive, so I’m not totally committed to the idea. My plan B is to create a closet surround type thing if I can’t move the stacked unit and put a bi-fold door on it.
I could use your help! If I get to move the stacked unit, what should I do with that small open space where the washer/dryer currently are located? The previous hookups will be visible, so I thought about creating a cabinet bench thing. I’m not sure that I can get a cabinet builder to build identical cabinets to match the existing ones (not to mention getting more midcentury hardware) to just add more cabinets. I need some creative ideas!
Normally I shy away from 2 bedrooms. That 3+ bedroom range is the sweet spot for reselling, but my little square footage strategy is going to take care of the 3rd bedroom. In the hallway, I may not paint. The paint appears to be somewhat new, and I like the color. I may have the trim painted and doors, but I like the greige color they used.
Both existing bedrooms are spacious and get tons of natural light. Since this a midcentury home, you might expect smaller bedroom sizes. But it’s in the historic district near some rather large homes. This section used to be homes of doctors and other prominent members of the community, so there are some upgrades like room sizes that weren’t standard in most 1950s houses.
Even the sliding closet doors have elements of character and charm. Recessed hardware, paneled fronts…I just love them! The rooms will get fresh paint (ditching the beige) and stained floors.
I may have lied. I said the kitchen was my favorite, but then I walked into the main hall bath. Does it look familiar?! What are the odds that Flip 5 has basically an identical mint green bathroom as Flip 3? And the bathroom is in remarkable shape. Very little will be done in here. The original green floor and wall tile will all stay. The toilet has been upgraded. I’ll most likely just paint and probably replace the single sink with a cabinet that actually provides storage.
I’ll end up using the same gray on the walls as I did in Flip 3. Besides that, I’m not about to touch this bathroom. I get sick just thinking about how most people would buy this house and gut the bathroom. Not only do I love it personally, I’ve learned it sells houses! People love throwback charm and character will pay up for a house that isn’t cookie cutter!
The closets have real wood shelves that actually slide out. I love home builders from the 1950s…they created the most ingenious ideas!
One of the upgrades this house has that Flip 3 didn’t is a 1/2 bath located directly in the master bedroom. There was not a designated master with an attached bathroom in Flip 3. This is definitely a selling point!
Same as the mint bathroom, I won’t dare touch the tile in this bathroom! I may leave the sink unless I find a really era-appropriate cabinet. I will definitely leave the built-in medicine cabinet and will either move the little light to another part of the house or just leave it. There isn’t a shower or tub in the master 1/2 bath, but I still consider this little room an upgrade!
I’ll replace the light fixture with a fan (because Arkansas summers…). Again, stain the floors and clean up the windows and add fresh paint to the walls.
Now let’s chat about my square footage strategy. This amazing sunroom is located directly off the dining room and the access to the garage. It has so much character (check out those walls!). It needs a little freshening up which I’ll do, but you want to know the most important factor in this room? It’s NOT included in the listed square footage. Why? Because there is no heat/air access to the room. It functions as a sunroom. It’s approx 50 or 60 square feet total.
Adding that 60 square ft to the total square footage actually reduced what I paid per square footage. Rather than paying $90/sq ft, I paid around $84 sq/ft. So how? I’ll pay approx $500 to add an additional duct in the ceiling to add heat/air to this space. That’s important because once it’s heated and cooled, I can include it in my total square footage when I sell. So that $500 purchase will bring me around $5,400 extra in my list price (calculated at $90/sq ft).
This little sunroom is a great asset! I see so much potential! One of the things I look for in every house is how I can increase the square footage. I think a lot of people, whether investors or home owners, aren’t looking for that strategy in home shopping. So I practically squealed when I saw I could add more square footage. Of course I’ll address the cosmetic issues, the floors, paint, replace fixture, and stage.
And while I was giddy about the 60 additional square feet, I was absolutely over the moon about this little building. The main structure has a 1 car garage…at some point an additional building was created. I’m sure it served as his shop or something. But get this– it’s approx 400 square feet NOT included in the total square footage. It’s not heated or cooled. I mean this building alone is the sole reason I bought the house. This is where I’ll make my money. I’ll add heat and air and can include that square footage when I sell! So (ignoring the 60 sq ft from the sunroom), I paid $90 sq ft, but factor in the extra 400 square feet, I actually paid $69 sq ft. As soon as I saw this building, I literally sprinted to leave to go write the offer.
This room is completely functional to be a separate apartment or 3rd bedroom. Remember when I said 3 bedrooms was the sweet spot? People freaking love detached apartments. Since the family structure has changed so much over the years and millennials are drowning in student loan debt, more and more people are living at home longer. They want their independence while still living with Mom in their twenties and detached apartments are the best solution to that need. So that’s my vision for this space. I’ll style it as a loft/office.
And the best part? It has its own 1/2 bathroom! It doesn’t have a shower, but at least it’s a livable area. And additional livable areas= MONEY. Obviously it needs some cosmetic help, and I’ll tackle that. I’ll probably work on the main house first and utilize this space as a shop/office for me and eventually get to transforming into a loft. The fridge in the kitchen (cheap white one) conveys with the property, so I’ll move it out to the loft to create a kitchenette area.
Both the main structure and loft have a brand new metal roof. Another thing that sold me on this property was that I didn’t have to tackle that big expense! A metal roof is highly popular here and way more expensive than shingles, so it’s a great selling feature! I’ll probably paint the loft exterior and add some shutters.
The backyard is huge. It needs some trees trimmed and shrubs removed, but, overall, very little needs to happen out here.
The backyard butts up to a vacant lot that I believe is owned by the school district, so I don’t have to worry about neighbors directly behind.
And this is the little secret garden. I mean look at that handmade gate! It reminds me of the one at my grandpa’s garden. Sadly, it’s so, so overgrown. I’ll probably get Uncle Nuny to help me revive this little space and create Bachelorette Pad garden #3.
So let’s break down the numbers that sold me on this property:
1,388 original sq. ft. + 60 add on sq. ft + 400 add on sq. ft = 1,848 sq. ft
Take the price I paid with all of the actual square footage = $67 sq. ft.
If I turned around and sold it (which I won’t anytime soon) at the square footage price I paid = $166K
Heat/Air/Roof are all new or newer, meaning my expense: $0
**Not factored into any of that math is the commission I received for buying the house. Since I’m a Realtor, I received a commission check to just buy the house! So the numbers are actually better than that!**
Electrical: Partially updated. It may be fine, but I may need to spend a few thousand (worst case scenario) for final upgrades. I’m actually waiting on the final verdict from my electrician.
Windows: I’m not replacing them. That saves me thousands of dollars. I’ll probably spend a few thousand having them cleaned up and repainted.
Unlike my other flips, I’m primarily spending money solely on design choices. The big ticket items are taken care of. This allows me so much freedom in my design choices. I’m usually spending a big chunk of my budget on windows or some other large element like HVAC. Not having to make those big purchases, it frees me up to pay up on a few really cool design features.
I’ve been excited about all of my flips, but I think this is the most excited I’ve been. I don’t know if it’s because I had a such a feeling of desperation in trying to find a place to live that could also be a flip. And while Flip 3 was my favorite from an emotional standpoint, I think the emotional aspect is what makes it not my favorite. I was way more emotionally conscientious on the choices than I typically would be.
This home is being sold by the family of two grandparents that are still alive but beyond the point of being able to live independently in their own home. I absolutely love that I’m moving from Grandma Mac’s house to another grandparent home. It has that sense of home like a grandparent’s house should have.
My wheels are already turning, and I can’t wait to get started on this project!