The story of the 5th Flip Blog is that of a property we picked up in Stillwater, MN.
This one had challenges that started at the time of the acquisition. The first challenge being it was bank-owned. This, unfortunately, means a lot of bureaucracy and extra research through different channels to learn how the bank requires an offer to be submitted. Luckily, I am not easily deterred from deals such as this. In spite of the difficulties, we proceeded with the purchase of what was a 4 bedroom 2 bath single-family home.
Our second challenge was with the start of the renovation. We noticed in the property discovery and inspection that there were some slight cracks in the foundation block that would have to be dealt with. This can be a bit of a stressful situation as foundation issues can at times blow your reno budget almost immediately. Luckily for us, this turned out to be minor not of the serious nature and only required that they be filled in. The foundation was otherwise structurally sound. We were ready to roll out the rest of the scope.
The Plan: The majority of the heavy lifting we did on this one went into the additions to the basement area. We added a family room with a new large egress window facing the front of the house (which could also double as a bedroom or guest suite) = value add!. We also added a new ¾ bathroom downstairs with slate tile and a custom corner bench taking the bathroom count to 3.
Upstairs in the main living area, we knocked as much of the wall that separated the kitchen and living room out as was structurally possible, to give it a more open feel. By doing that, we modernized the space, capturing that ever-popular open living/kitchen/dining concept space that no one can seem to get enough of.
The dining room got some nice visual touches to include a shiplap wall, and an electric fireplace that changes color (insert oohs and aahs) yes we be fancy.
Onto the kitchen – where we decided to do a complete gut. We added brand new cabinets and stainless steel appliances. We built a massive kitchen island atop several cabinets that became its base. All of this resulting in a kitchen that feels much larger and more functional. By using lower cabinets for the island base we added another 25% more storage to the kitchen. Huge selling point, kitchens sell houses.
The bedrooms are typically the easiest part of any flip, and this was no exception. New paint and flooring throughout. New light fixtures, doors with updated hardware, and all-new trim.
We touched pretty much every surface throughout the interior. Immediately resulting in a fresh and modern look.
This project had a bit more outside work than I prefer to get into. We had to take down an old rotted deck and build a new one in its place. We also had to cut down a lot of trees that were overgrown and in danger of falling on the house. We had to churn the grass (if you can even call it that…more like a sea of weeds) then level it out to make it ready to accept new grass.
The exterior required some minor repairs but was mostly a paint job to the trim and siding which pulled everything together.
One of the major takeaways and the final challenging situation we encountered on this project was that we decided to assign this reno and scope to a new and less experienced foreman, who unfortunately for me had more confidence than the actual ability to execute. After a few visits to the job site, it became very obvious to me that items were taking too long to get down and the timeline was off track. As a result, I asked the project manager to keep a mindful eye on the progress and report back to me his findings. The foreman had a great attitude and was a very likable guy. I wanted it to work, however, he was given opportunities to improve but the explanations he gave for the delays were taken at face value. In the end it became pretty clear that he wasn’t quite ready to manage a job of that magnitude. We paid him for his time to that point and ended the relationship on that project amicably. I do believe that we will work together again, but it won’t happen until my internal project management systems are adequate enough to compensate for a crew that lacks some of the planning experience necessary to be successful in the short time these scopes need to remain within for the end result to make sense.
I realized that this is probably not the most entertaining blog I’ve ever written…so I apologize for that to my readers. I could certainly cuss more, or provide more details of the story (trust me, I am doing my best to be a gentleman) We have had our fair share of moments with this one. The project has gone over time, over budget, and we are headed into the worst season of the year to put a house on the market. I have plenty of things to get fired up about upset about. However, I am choosing to be as unbiased and factual as possible.
Thanks for reading.