Alright look, I don’t make mistakes often. When I do, though, I’m man enough to admit it. In the case of our first rehab, MANY mistakes were made. So I figured I would share some of our lessons learned in the hope that you learn something from it. That’s what we’re about here at AP Real Estate… messing up as little as possible. That’s also how I’ve faked my way through so many relationships. So let’s get started…
Mistake #1: Not Budgeting for Big Ticket Items
What classifies as a big ticket item, you may ask? Anything that could cost you a s**t-load of money. New roof, new siding, new furnace, new water heater, new A/C unit, septic repairs, major plumbing and electrical work, etc. In our case it was a new furnace that cost $2100. While this didn’t totally kill us, it was a nice kick to the balls when we found out we would have to replace it. Last thing you want is to run into a large unexpected expense as soon as you get rolling on your first rehab. Lesson learned – if it’s old and might need to be replaced, BUDGET FOR IT!
Mistake #2: Trying to Pick Paint Colors
What would you say is your greatest weakness? Colors… When you’re flipping a home, picking out paint colors really shouldn’t be that difficult. You typically want light, neutral colors that will appeal to most potential buyers. And that’s exactly what we thought we were getting when we went to Lowe’s to buy wall paint. So, like the two forward-thinking individuals that we are, we grabbed what looked like a light, neutral color and got ourselves a five-gallon bucket. Needless to say, when we threw it up on the walls, it looked like we had just painted a baby blue room for a newborn. So we went to get something a bit more “neutral”. We got to the house, threw it up on the wall (for the second time) and realized it was way too dark. This was the exact point in time where we relinquished all color-choosing authority and handed it over to the only three women in Brendan’s life (his mom and two sisters). Lesson learned – get samples and know your weaknesses.
Mistake #3: Underestimating the Amount of Time Everything Takes
Going into our first flip, we wanted to do most of the work ourselves. We were eager to learn and excited to get our hands dirty. This is all well and good, especially if you can navigate your way through basic home improvement tasks (which we obviously can). The problem is that doing things yourself takes time. To give you an idea, our original timeline was two months. The whole project ended up taking us about three-and-a-half months. It wasn’t for lack of effort either. We spent nearly every day working on the house. Full renovations can certainly be done in a short amount of time, but not when you’re performing most of the renovation yourself. Lesson learned – DIY takes time!
So there you go… Three lessons learned from a couple first-time home flippers. There were certainly many more to choose from, but looking back on the experience, these three stood out. If you take away anything from this blog, just understand flipping homes is expensive, overly-complicated at times, and extremely time-consuming. In fact, you probably shouldn’t even do it. Just kidding… you should. But if you decide not to, that’s less competition for us. Until next time I decide to do one of these.
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