Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The makings of a good flip

No, I'm not talking gymnastics.

The house on the corner of our block recently sold.  It was a classic situation; elderly gal had moved out several years ago.  The house went on the market this last fall.  It  was a big, old, run down bungalow in disrepair.  It had large, gracious rooms, great light and a decent floor plan, but only one bath, and that one needed work.  It was the kind of house neighbors hope will be saved, and not torn down.

In my work, I often see these houses.  And I often see the results, when the work has been done and they are ready to be sold.  The trick of doing a flip is doing good work, to maximize the value and profit of the project. Doing too much work slows the project, eats into profit and is a direct route to a different line of work.  Not doing enough work, good enough work or the right kind of work will cause you to miss the higher end buyers.

An aside, my husband can build or fix just about anything. and he has VERY high standards.  He can't do a B+ job.  he just can't.  We have never done a flip, and never will.  He'd take too long and would do way too much work, taking away any gain.

But, the folks who bought, and are currently working on the house on the corner seem to be doing a good job.  Clearly, they've done this before, and have access to crews available to work (that is a challenge in Portland right now).  They've put on a new roof, decommissioned the buried oil tank, brought in a gas line and installed a high efficiency gas furnace.  They've brought in a new electric service.  They are adding a bath upstairs, and are currently prepping the house for a new coat of exterior paint.  The prep work is being done using lead safe practises, as required by law.

They are not putting in new windows...that is expensive to do.  But they do appear to be re-glazing the old widows and fixing the sash cord/weight system so the open and close easily.

By contrast, I regularly see houses of a similar caliber where they've left the oil tank and old furnace, along with the sub-par electric service. A new coat of paint has been quickly sprayed on with little or no prep (a sure way to shorten the life of a paint job, but who cares?  Its cute for the sale. ).  Fancy bath and kitchen finishes are added to aged and failing plumbing and electrical.  Buyers and home inspectors can see right through a crappy flip, extending the market time and the lowering eventual sales price.

A good flip also addresses items sure to come up on inspection. For instance, the standard is that hot water heaters will have two seismic straps, securing the tank in case of an earthquake.  This is known, and easy and inexpensive to do.  A flip that neglects this, is probably neglecting other things we can't see.

And then there are permits.  Building permits are required for most any but purely cosmetic work.  Basically, touching electric, plumbing or structural triggers the need for permits.  There are LOTS of flips done with few or no permits.

Back to the house on the corner.  They have pulled permits.  They're using licensed and bonded crews and the people working on the house are friendly and courteous to neighbors. Yes, they are working quickly, and at times have different crews working on different parts of the house.  I know nothing of the finishes they'll be putting in, but expect they'll be higher end.  I hope they re-finish the hardwood floors, rather than laying engineered wood floors over them.

Neighborhood the neighborhood rumor mill says the house will be on the market in about three weeks.  I'll be curious to see at what price.

The company is Portland City Homes

Are you thinking of doing some fix up work to your place, or taking on a flip?   Or are you curious to see the above mentioned house when its completed?  I'd be glad to talk with you, just get in touch.
503-312-8038  leslievjones@gmail.com