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TAJOhouse

a collaboration with Majestic Homes
OMG...What did I buy!
Watch this video for a live tour of the home I purchased...

Week: 1 

 

The first"cut" is the deepest... and most expensive! 

I broke my own rule!

So do as I say and NOT as I did! 

Buying any home without an inspection is DUMB! Buying a flip home without an inspection is REALLY DUMB. However, in the heat of a multiple offer situation, I decided to just go for it. I may or may not be regretting that now but none the less it's my house now and we just have to make the best of it. 

I decided to do a full home and termite inspection right away after demo so we could get a feel for what issues I needed to address before I dreamed up some elaborate plan to make this place beautiful. I knew the home was going to have major issues. It was obvious after walking the house that in its completely original state of 1969, the previous owners hadn't done a thing to it since it was built. I knew that meant there was a very slim chance they had kept up with the crawl space of the house as well. If you're from this area and own your own home then you must be somewhat aware of termites and the devastation that they can cause. I tell all my buyers, especially the first-timers, that keeping up with your yearly termite inspections is the best way to make sure you are protecting your investment. If you have not been doing that, see the photos below at the damage these tiny little demons can cause...

Not only did we have active termites but they have been partying it up for the last 48 years and even made their way up the walls. We also had mold. Now when I say mold, I'm not talking the kind in your shower. This mold had been present so long its started to bloom, like mushrooms in your yard bloom. The moisture was so bad that the smell that radiates from this is not even something I can describe. Stomach churning, gag reflex invoking, you have to take a break and go outside for fresh air foulness! (Of course, when dealing with this you need to have the proper protection. We wore respirators meant for Mold when peeling up the rotted wood.)

My termite inspector made the comment you never want to hear,

" this is just about the worst I've ever seen". The quote for the damage and repair was over $7000! That is over 10% of my budget. All spent on things you can not see. 

Overall besides the termite devastation, the house is really solid. They definitely do not build houses like they used too. Foundation and piers all looked good and the termite damage can and will be fixed. It is a TOTAL gut though. From roof to crawl, she is going to be a completely new home by the time we are done. 

 

Here are a few photos from demo day and as I like to call it, the exorcism of termites!

Week: 2

Little by little, a little becomes a lot.

HOLY PROGRESS!!!

The team has been so hard at work and rocking things out. All the termite damage has been mended and what a task that was! Multiple 6x6's and floor joists along the entire back of the home had to be replaced. This required literally jacking up the house in order to be able to fix it properly. All of the subfloors in the kitchen, some of the subfloor in the new dining room, a few headers & many 2x4s in the walls were also replaced completely. You never want to leave wood that has been affected by termite damage. It can severely compromise the structure of the home and just isn't safe.

We left three huge fans running over the weekend to dry out the underside of the house to get rid of the standing water and NOW it's dry as a desert and doesn't have that nasty smell anymore. 

Downstairs, It's finally starting to look like a home again. The new framing of the mud/laundry room we created off the garage entrance into the kitchen is up as well as the shower addition to the half bath downstairs. We decided to make the half bath a whole to accommodate the first-floor bedroom. Although budget limitations wouldn't allow us to move the bath next to the new bedroom, it still adds value to any potential buyer who may in the future have a guest that can not get upstairs. It also works as a great place to rinse off the kids or dogs after playing outside since the location is right off the mudroom. 

Upstairs, both baths have been completely demolished! We are stealing space from the huge guest bath in order to create a larger master with what will be a fantastic new space. We are also reworking the lack of closet space. This was a bit of a challenge and we had to get creative with the closet. Closet space is a must for all buyers and the master originally only had two small closets, one of which we are using for space in the master bath. Due to the pitched ceilings in the master, we decided stealing space from the bedroom and old closet would be worth it for a buyer to have a good size walk-in closet. Fingers crossed buyers love it!

Overall we have made huge strides considering the amount of stuff left in the home & all the damage under the house. Next week we will begin work on the outside so our trades and my termite company can come in and do their thing. I'm sure the neighbors will be thrilled not to look at that ugly exterior anymore!

 

Week 3 & 4

50 shades of gray has a whole new meaning...

The past two weeks have just flown by and surprisingly we are slightly ahead of schedule! With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, we are now kicking it into high gear and hoping to have it on the market by December 15th!  The new plumbing for all the baths and kitchen is complete, The electrician has re-wired all the new lighting and swapped out all the plugs and switches, and since the home didn't have central heat and air; we sprung for a 2 zone system and new duct work. Next, the city came out to do all the inspections so we can start hanging drywall!

NOW this shell of studs and sawdust is really starting to look like a home again and I am ready to get in there and paint next week!

 

I spent the last two weeks focusing on design and going all over town to the vendor shops. For me, it's easy to design for myself. I love bold colors and tend to have a rather eclectic taste but when you're designing to appeal to the masses it's a bit more difficult. From the beginning, I have been adamant about it NOT LOOKING LIKE EVERY OTHER FLIP. I wanted it to feel custom and more thought out than just the same old burn and churn homes I walk my clients thru everyday. I decided to focus all my energy and budget on the kitchen & Master bath since that is what most buyers are impressed with. I really feel like the master bath is going to blow people and other flips away. I kept it classic black and white with a modern twist I really hope people like! Space didn't allow me to squeeze in a double vanity but I think the large walk-in shower will be stunning and I choose a more modern but very bold floor tile that I think is going to give it the designer look that people love right now! 

 

While all that was happening the crew begun to spruce up the outside. First, they removed all the overgrown bushes from around the whole house. Next, the new roof went on and then it was time to choose a paint color. This by far has been my biggest challenge. Trying to design for someone else in a neighborhood that is older & established presented some difficulties. I wanted the house to feel fresh and new but not look like it didn't belong. I struggled to decide on an exterior paint color, after all its the first impression and about a dozen paint samples later, I reluctantly came to a decision. I swung by today and my amazing contractor, Jason Williams with Majestic Homes (SHOUT-OUT!) was there spraying the brick and when I was coming down the street I couldn't believe the difference painting that ugly brick made! Once the new windows, shutters, & trim go on next week it's going to look AMAZING! Just look at the difference.

I don't want to reveal too much just yet so this is only the primer but MAN  this made it look so much BETTER!! 

Here are some of the samples and a sneak peek at some of the selections that were made! 

Weeks 5-8

Put all expectations aside...it's going to be alright

Well guys, its finally coming together. It may not be everything I had envisioned from the beginning but most things are even better than expected. This heading has been my mantra over the last few weeks, Sometimes you have to erase all expectations so that new and amazing things can happen. But just so we are clear; I did not go gently into that good night as the saying goes. I have been battling myself with designing for someone other than me this whole time.  I can't say I haven't gotten disappointed & frustrated or gone WAY over budget but after all is said and done I am so proud of what my partner, Jason (who is a rockstar by the way), this amazing crew and I have accomplished and I am confident that this home not only is solid as a rock and will be for years to come but that whoever buys this palace is going to love it! We have poured WAY more than most would have expected into this lovely house and she shines so brightly now. It's a happy & beautiful home with amazing flow, thoughtful design and a few extra special touches you wouldn't expect to see in a flip. Hopefully, any future buyer will see that no shortcuts had been taken! 

In fact, I would love all of your opinions too. We hope to list around the 5th of January and I plan to hold open houses until she sells so if you are in the area please stop by and take a look. I'll post the final product once she is all clean and staged so stay tuned. See below for more progress photos from the last 3 weeks or so. 

 

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday and have a Happy & Safe New Year too! 

Well folks, she, "Lizzie" is finally ready for her close up. It took a bit longer than expected to get her listed due to some ridiculous snow falls & a tile mishap that about made me go postal but she is so purdy! Jason and I couldn't be more proud of what we accomplished with this "pig" as he so lovely calls her. It certainly wasn't without the roller coaster excitement of many frustrating delays and mix-ups and I will spare you the drama but if I have taken anything away from this project it is that you have to be ready for anything & everything to go wrong & most of the time things do not work out the way you envisioned but if you hold fast and steady the final product is worth the serious pain in your ass.  I could never have accomplished this without my partner Jason. I can not say enough amazing things about this guy. He was a champion leading me through this process. He definitely had to rein me in at times and rarely vetoed anything I asked for but when he did it was always for the better. He was so patient with me & worked extremely hard to get this home to the finish line. We both invested everything we have financially & emotionally into this project, and for him, it was WAY more of a risk.  I am so incredibly grateful & thankful that we work so well together and that I can still call him a friend. I also can not leave out his lady love, Sabrina, my husband Luke & my family who chipped in with demo-day, cleaning, painting, or just listening to me bitch. I am so aware of how lucky I am to have such a supportive circle and I love you all so much! 

We listed about a week ago and so far the feedback has been great. We are confident that the perfect buyer will come along soon! Until then see below for the finished product! 

Week: 10
(Way later than we planned)

When it...snows, it pours, like 10 freaking inches...

Stay tuned for our next project...

The Final Outcome:

Sometimes it's more about the experience than the profit. 

After 25 days on the market, we ended up getting multiple offers! We closed March 30th, 2018 and made a profit of $28,000 after closing costs and expenses. It was less than we were hoping but after all, we did end up spending over $90,000 on the renovation and it was so worth it. The house turned out better than we hoped and we both learned a lot about doing these types of projects together as a team. It is possible to put out a solid home that will stand the test of time and not compromise on the things that are most important. We are super excited to do more of this in the future.

Beach Realty United

195 S. Rosemont Rd., Suite 109 Virginia Beach, VA 23452

  Office 757.497.8733   -   Direct 757.508.3006   -   Fax 757.473.0187