Over seven years ago, I took the plunge and became a first-time house flipper. I was obsessed with the TV show, Flip This House, and watched it religiously. I thought to myself, I can do this. And so began the journey.
The house was a two-storey, semi-detached, Victorian fixer upper. It sat on a quiet, tree-lined street in an upcoming neighbourhood with nosy neighbours. The house had a lot of charm, including a stain glass front window, original hardwood flooring throughout and a claw foot bathtub. But it was in need of a lot of work.
It had absolutely zero curb appeal. The rickety front porch would need to be replaced. Walls would need to be torn down to create an open concept. Every wall in the house repainted to cover the hideous peach paint colour. The carpet on the stairs would need to be torn out, steps and risers sanded and painted. A tiny closet in the master bedroom would need to be removed and replaced with built-in closets. Every light fixture and faucet would also go. The un-kept backyard had to be cleared to turn it into a livable, outdoor space. It was no small feat and would take the better part of two and a half years.
First, the budget. How much would I need to spend in order to turn a profit? My real estate agent helped determine the going rate for comparable homes in the neighbourhood. It was up to me to figure out how much I was willing to spend to renovate the house. The magic number would end up being $45,000.
Second, the master plan and timeline. What was I going to renovate and how long would it take to get it all done? The master plan was a long one and it included; a rebuilt front porch, open concept living room/dining room, built in closets, new light fixtures, new kitchen and bathroom faucets, refurbishing the claw foot tub, painting the entire house, new siding, sod for both the front and backyards and a flagstone patio. I would live in the house and aim to have it completed in three years.
Third, the help. How much could I do on my own and when would I need to hire a professional? The smaller projects, I took on my own with the help of my husband, family and friends. The bigger, more complex projects, I would need to hire a professional.
I worked full-time, so every evening, weekend and vacation time was spent renovating the house. It consumed my entire life.