Well... we all knew that was coming, right? Those who have been around from the beginning and saw the drama from the start knew we were going down the flop road. Let's recap, shall we?
We bought the house from my cousin (my great-uncle had been living there, but it was vacant when we purchased it).
First problem: The people we hired to demo the home said they completed it and we had workers lined up to begin - the demo was not nearly complete.
Second problem: The a/c and electrical person were scheduled to do work but decided to take off on a vacation for 10 days instead (I found out the day before they decided to leave - the day before they were supposed to start).
Third problem: The local builder who said he would help us along the way if we bought it went MIA.
Fourth problem: The flip was 6 1/2 hours away and said builder was the only contact we had.
That was all in the first month so yeah, it started off badly. After that, it was a desperate attempt to just get things done.
You can go back and read through the archives, but what started as a simple make-up makeover ended up as a full scale remodel. Part of that was because the original realtor came in while we were down to studs and told us the house would easily sell for between $249,000 and $275,000. Boy was he way off. As a side note, this is why it is important to hire a realtor who knows what they are doing. Having an inexperienced realtor was by far the biggest mistake we made in the entire process.
Throughout the flip we found little gems - like that the majority of the home did not have insulation. We also never noticed there were no lights in the ceilings. Why? Because the ceiling was pretty much the roof. We ended up dropping the ceilings down and installing lights. This was a call we made based on our realtor's pricing model.
We brought a fireplace tech in to inspect the fireplace and found we needed to demo it because it should have either burned the house to the ground or killed the owners because of the amount of smoke and burning insulation it was creating.
We replaced all electrical - during demo we found outlets (working) behind the wall in the shower. I kid you not. There were leaks under the house and carpenter ants in a beam we demoed.
Then we gave up on the local people (who stuck it to us every chance they had) and we hired a GC from Austin. He started off strong but what should have taken 3 weeks drug into 8 weeks. And it still wasn't done correctly.
We finally got it on the market and it sat. And sat. I decided to have an appraisal done and guess what? It came in at $210,000. Needless to say, I fired the realtor. We hired a new one and ended up getting an offer. During the process we found out the a/c didn't work. Like at all! Apparently both of our realtors were showing our house, in the dead of summer IN TEXAS, with no working a/c. What a joke. No wonder it wasn't selling!
Then the inspection came in and there were lights missing! All of the lights I bought and asked to be installed were not. They were gone. And, of course, no one had told me. Now, I should stop here and say that if I would have driven up there I would have seen all of this. I gave myself until the second week of April to wrap this up (we bought it in December). I started my real estate training with my new company, JB Goodwin, on April 11th and couldn't go up after that. I kept saying I would go up after I finished training but I was immediately slammed with real estate and didn't have the time to go up (for those of you who are or know realtors, we work weekends - and every day that ends in a Y). I just couldn't find the time to drive up. I've kicked myself a few times for this because I really trusted my GC when he said he was getting things done (and he wasn't). So the blame really sits on me.
We finally got an offer - two actually - a couple of months after we went on the market. Two in one day. What are the chances? We took the lower offer because the buyers absolutely loved the home and that meant something to me. Keep in mind, I had poured my heart and soul into this home. Made every decorating choice with much thought. Paid attention to every detail.
We were set to close August 4. I called my realtor on July 31st to make sure we were good and found out the person at the mortgage company who was handling the file left and no one realized our buyer's loan was sitting there. For three weeks!!! So it got pushed to August 12th. On the 8th I called our realtor to make sure we were good and found out the appraisal wasn't in yet and they wanted to push it to the 22nd. Ugh. By this time, I'd learned a few things about real estate (in my first three months I'd had 9 listings and represented 2 buyers) so I felt comfortable informing my realtor that it is her job to make sure things are moving forward with the mortgage company - especially since she was representing the buyers, too. We call weekly to check on our loans and she hadn't been - which is part of why we ended up delayed 3 weeks. I told her they had until the 19th and the buyer had to give us an additional $2000 in earnest. On top of that, we would not be extending the contract past the 19th (not the 22nd). I knew that if the lender knew their client could lose $4000 because of them, things would move a bit more quickly. I thought the same would hold true for the realtor. And guess what? We are actually moving ahead more quickly and should close on the 18th. How about that?
As I'm sure you can tell, I'm very bitter about the whole situation. We were taken advantage of by a lot of people - including those closest to us - and the entire situation ruined me from working on homes for a bit. Even my own. It sucked my desire to improve or DIY anything because it drained me completely. I drove up to Lubbock 3 or 4 times a month for 4 months and at the end of the day, we lost almost $20,000 on the deal. Yep, we lost money. A lot.
So what did I learn about flipping?
- Never, ever do a flip 6 1/2 hours away.
- Never, ever rely on people you don't 100% trust to do the work.
- Never, ever work with family. Or their friends. Or their family. Period. End of story.
- Never, ever go into a market you know nothing about.
- Always make sure your realtor knows what they are doing. Ask for references and do your research to ensure they are the best fit.
- Always use a general contractor with a lot of experience. Ask for references and then go check them out.
- Always hold contractors accountable for their work. Do not pay them until they are finished - no matter how much you like them.
- Always go with your gut. I knew the house would only ever be worth $200,000. I knew 6 1/2 hours was too far. I knew I couldn't rely on the people I was told I could rely on. But I ignored my gut.
With all of this would I flip again? Yes - but only here in Austin. I have a GC I trust and I know the market well. I also can go to the job site every day and monitor progress. That's the biggest deal. And I've started doing projects at my friend's houses. I still can't get motivated to work on my own home, but I am easing into projects again.
Okay, okay. You've heard all of the complaining. I'm sure you are wondering how it all looked in the end, aren't you? I just happen to have a few pics. This was my first residential design (outside of my own) and was a completely different style than I'm used to, but it was fun. Let me know what you think! BTW... if you click on the small after pics, they will open larger.
There you have it. Six months of blood, sweat and lots and lots of tears. But it's done (or will be on the 19th). Did I learn a lot? YES. Will I do it again? YES. Will I ever go back to Lubbock? NO! It's sad when you have such a bad experience you never want to go back to a city. Yes, it was really that bad. If you would say Lubbock, my eye would twitch. But, at the end of the day, I'm thankful for the lessons and opportunities this experience allowed. I know when I do my next one I will do things very, very differently. Thank you all for the encouraging emails you sent along the way. You guys are awesome and so supportive!!!