Huron St. London, Ontario
My first house flip was located in London Ontario on Huron St two blocks north of Fanshawe College. This house was disgusting! But that’s how we like it! There’s a saying in house flipping that goes “Smells like money!” and boy did this place reek of it.
When I talk to people about flipping a house they tell me about their favorite TV stars who buy houses with a real estate agent in a suit and heels and pick out the latest in chic decor and tile. The reality of flipping houses is very different.
When I opened the dented and bent back door to walk in for the first time, the smell was thick in the hot June air. The carpet made squishing noises as I walked on it and flies buzzed around. This house was lived in by a tenant with obvious hoarding and drug problems. The walls were destroyed, the living room ceiling was open to the joists and the bathroom… I won’t even talk about the bathroom. THIS is how house flipping is supposed to look.
Demolition and Remediation
The first step was to trash-out the house. I sent in a crew to pull out everything that wasn’t salvageable. The appliances went to scrap, the trash was removed and the carpets were pulled up (one worker vomited in the yard when doing this). As we took all of this out I had to carefully package and safely dispose of filthy needles at the Middlesex London Health Unit Safe Disposal site.
Every inch of exposed subfloor was scrubbed with bleach, then three coats of Kilz primer to seal in any smell that might remain. The walls, baseboards and ceilings were scrubbed with TSP. Then the whole house was closed up and dosed with high concentration ozone for a couple days to kill hidden bacteria and smells. The kitchen looked salvageable, and it was, but after 16 hours of scrubbing I regretted even starting that job.
Drywallers installed a new ceiling in the living room, patched nearly every wall in the house and mudded and taped to perfection. The living room ceiling was texturized and the house was ready for paint. My contractor sprayed and back-rolled the whole house with primer, a luxury of doing a major renovation like this. Then my favorite “2017 House Flip Grey” paint went up and the house was starting to look right again.
Between crews I ran the ozone machine to keep working that smell out of the house, but at this point things were looking (and smelling) pretty good!
New grey laminate and vinyl plank flooring, LED lighting and electrical face plates were installed. New doors where the old had been ripped off. New trim to replace pieces that were missing or not salvageable during cleanup.
At this point our hoarder needle junkie house was looking fresh and modern. Perfect for a starter home or Fanshawe rental!
My friend and Realtor Rick Buncick listed the house and it was firmed up shortly thereafter. Replacing a door as a condition of sale was our last task and the property closed!
This property was purchased in a simple joint venture and was a smooth success. The financial results were solid and this project proved a business model; a model that I’d like to repeat over and over! This was my first partnership outside of my first circle (friends and family), and my first equity-share deal.
In this joint venture I sourced a deal from a wholesaler (read about wholesale real estate) performed the operations and administration from beginning to end. In exchange, my cash investor partner provided funding for the project.
($10,000) = ($102,000)
Renovation, Legal Fees, Taxes, Holding Costs:
($20,000) = ($122,000)
Profit after Dispositions
127 days (4 months)
Investor’s Annualized Return on Investment
25% = ($21,600 / 2) / $122,000 x (365/127)
What’s the point of doing anything in life if you can’t learn from it?
To be honest this job went spectacularly considering it was my first flip. A 25% annualized return for my investor is nothing to sneeze at.
What went wrong? I spent too much time scrubbing that kitchen. I’m an investor, not a cleaner. I should have either replaced it with new, or hired out the job of scrubbing it.
What went right? I learned from previous mistakes and made sure this house flip project was quoted top to bottom with a payment plan based on stages of completion. No time and materials! I’m sure this saved me thousands of dollars and allowed me to call the contractor back three times to fix things that he surely would have left me high and dry with if I wasn’t holding his money.
What did I learn? It was a rewarding and humbling experience to put someone else’ profit ahead of my own. A person who I had never met face-to-face entrusted me with $122,000 of her money and I took that responsibility very seriously. I am proud to have used my knowledge and effort to reward that trust with a solid return.
Also, paying wholesalers is worth it! It was liberating to ignore the amount of money that my wholesaler made and focus instead on the potential profit of a deal that was being handed to me.