Happy Homes: 100+ Days into Our 6th Investment Property

It’s been 100 plus days since we purchased our 6th investment property, Dudley Court, in Arvada Colorado and we are very close to putting this beautiful home on the market. As a small business owner of a real estate investment company (Happy Homes), it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of the project, not reflect on the progress, as you’re dealing with just getting it done. Hence not writing an update in a few weeks (I wrote a post one week in, then three weeks into the project, then 40 days working on Dudley Court…..and here we are!)

In the past few weeks, as the progress has moved swiftly, I’ve thought about the rolls Mike and I play in our company. I’m the ‘front office’ of the business, dealing with the costs, budget, receipts, bills in as organized fashion as possible. It’s seemingly easier than Mike’s gig, but can be overwhelming if I don’t keep up with it. Mike on the other had deals with the physical act of building (he typically does all the framing and support or structural things needed) putting in the windows, doors, trim, custom cabinetry or craftsmanship, on top of having to manage all of the logistics presented when you’re dealing with sub-contractors. I try to look at what we both bring to the table objectively, not become to attached to how much I do or don’t do, vs. what he brings to the table, as we are both vitally important to making this work. That being said, realistically it can be hard not to feel overwhelmed by your own bubble of responsibilities. Here’s how I think both Mike and I can think….

Me: “I not only have to work a 40+ a week, high stress job, but do most of the grocery shopping, cleaning, all of the cooking, dishes, folding of the laundry and walking the dogs, plus manage our household bills and inventory (aka do we have toothpaste)….then use my after work hours to help at the investment property with demo, mixing cement, cleaning the job site, tile and floor shopping, helping to carry heavy material onto the job, and managing all of Happy Homes finances.”

Mike: “I’m on my feet 8+ hours a day, problem solving the entire project, including not only how to build the best home for someone, but having to solve and decide on things my subs are bringing to me on an hourly basis. I don’t have any helpers we employee, so all skilled carpentry, framing, structural issues are mine to solve and execute. On top of that, I manage the problems that come with sub-contractors moving their timelines, which shift multiple elements when you’re on projects the size of ours, in turn pushing the on market date. Then come home and tend to all of our gardens, whether that’s planting or feeding the food we grow the nutrients needed, on top of mowing the grass and taking care of the yard.”

Sheesh, we are both BOSSES! And after a few shouting matches about stresses both of us were feeling, I had to map it out in my head. In stopping to truly consider what each of us are bringing to the table it allows for appreciation and conversation. Again, when you’re SO in the thick of the items on your to-do, it’s really hard to have perspective.

So, in the past several weeks, we’ve accomplished a lot…..

Old brick patio had to be taken out

We tore up the backyard to replace the sewer main going into the house, then had our amazing landscaper sod & put in sprinklers. He even tore up the cracked cement walkway.

Sewer main replaced, now time for sod
New Brick walkway & sod

Our kitchen layout and cabinets got selected, then we went to select our quartz counter tops. The island counter would be used on the master bathroom sink counter tops as well – super sharp.

The windows got ordered and were supposed to be delivered, but our Breckenridge vacation took place, so we had the company we use hold them while we enjoyed a week up in the mountains with Mike’s family.

When we got back from the mountains, Mike got to work installing them, all 17 of them, and trimming the interior windows out. Up and down the ladder, lots of scraped knuckles and long days. I even helped put in the huge front window, as it was an expansive three-tiered window. It was HEAVY!

We have walls!

After the windows went in, drywall went up, making the space look like an actual house!

Drywall in the garden level!

We selected tile for all of the bathroom floors and shower surrounds. Choosing different floors for each bathroom, but going with a simple and clean subway tile for all of the showers, each space would be unique but have a common element.

Weekend Warriors

Before we headed out for vacation, we needed to lay the hardibacker for the tile that would happen in the bathrooms, so a weekend was spent laying floor and cleaning out buckets.

Laying HardiBacker

While we were in Maine, the tile got installed, so when we got back we didn’t feel as bad for leaving in the middle of a project, as progress on the house was still happening.

Garden Level Floor!

The floor in the garden level also went in, a really beautiful water resistant style that makes the room feel warm, yet modern.

Front door on point

Mike got to work hanging doors, trimming out base boards and building the cabinet unit down in the garden level.

Hanging the doors

There is a brick wall that used to have an old wood-burning stove, which we pulled out of there. Mike used a custom wood top he had from another project to outfit the cabinets and it turned out gorgeous – and functional!

Cabinet Craftsmanship

Landscaping continues, with sprinkler systems and full on sod – the yard is beautiful! The mulch around the edge, along with a new brick patio, along with a new stone border in the front of the house gives it massive curb appeal. Our landscaper isn’t finished yet, but hopefully within the next few days.

The Beautiful Backyard

Our kitchen counters went in last week and the kitchen is looking amazing! We selected a darker quartz for the counter tops and a light marble looking piece for the island and master bathroom vanity. I love it and hopefully someone else will as well!

Kitchen counter tops in!

Mike headed to Wisconsin at the end of last week (horrible timing, but the trip was already booked!) but before he went, he oversaw the exterior paint (of which I had to go get more of while he was away!) and put in a really cool barn door slider in the guest room.

Barn Door Slider
Exterior paint on the brick

The house looks amazing and will be ready to list in the next week! It’s been a ride so far, with a ton of lessons learned both as a business owner, a hustler, and the wife of a contractor. Will definitely be writing a post about the lessons learned for future flips.

Happy House Flipping!

Happy Homes: 40 days on Dudley Court

39 days into Happy Homes’s (our real-estate investment company) 6th fix n flip property & we took the weekend off on an impromptu camping trip to go play in the mountains. The first few weeks were spent on window demo and lots of cleanup, and it’s been a productive few weeks, with Mike tackling some big hurdles. Here’s the break down of what we’ve done over the past two weeks….

  • We got the HVAC Bid: $7,800. Mike has had the same guy work on the past several houses we’ve flipped and he’s good. Really fair & trustworthy.

  • Removed the kitchen walls & built a beam system. This required engineering sign off (we used DL engineering who were amazing!) Mike building temp walls, pouring concrete pads to carry the load (I personally mixed 1280 lbs of concert & carried about 6 80lb bags down into the basement). This took us several hours on July 5th, my day off, and it was hard, dirty work. But so glad I was there to help!

  • Had another electrician out. This first bid we got was $17k – wayyyy too high, so Mike contacted someone who is a good friend of a good friend. We’re still waiting, but will most like be a lot lower and will need to get him started.

  • Plumber started work. There’s not a bid here. We trust the guy who’s doing the work (has worked on several other properties & does great work for a fair price).

  • Removed all doors & door frames (9) from the house. I took on this and managed to complete it in about two hours total (between multiple days)

  • Removed the flue work from the wood burning stove & the old furnace and water heater. The wood burning stove flue was attached from the master all the way to the basement, so Mike had to finagle it until it broke loose. The furnace & water heater was more complicated, as they are both located in the crawl space. He ended up cutting that out with a grinding wheel.

  • Sold the washer & dryer. They were like new and we didn’t need them – we got $450 for them. A great deal for them & a bonus for us!

  • Sold the scrap aluminum. Having gut 14 metal windows, we wanted to see if it would be worth it to scrap it for money. So, we ended up getting about $90 from the windows & doors, plus the two ladders left at the property. 100% worth it seeing as we would have had to dump this ourselves.

  • Negotiated & purchased a new stove for $539. A screaming deal for the stove we purchased! Mike saw it as a return at Lowe’s & asked if they’d knock $100 off. And they did! The lesson: the answer is always No if you don’t ask.

  • Bought 8 flush mount light fixtures, faucet hardware for all of the bathrooms, bought the kitchen sink & faucet, and two vanities for the two bedrooms. All of this came to just over $2k – a great deal for really nice finishes.
  • Filled up a third dumpster. The attic is empty and 95% of the shed is cleaned out. That is a huge load off considering how much stuff the previous owners left.
  • Mike patched and laid the subfloor. When we removed the wet bed tile, there wasn’t any, so had to lay new. Some areas got cut when the beam system was built (needed to build supports that would run down into the crawl space).

Quite a bit has been accomplished, much due to the fact that we worked July 4th holiday, taking advantage of the days I had off to help, and working late into the evenings on a few weeknights and Fridays. I don’t consider giving up that time as a sacrifice; I consider it a privilege.  To work towards something I helped create, to sweat and literally bleed for my own company, well that is truly something I am grateful I’m able to contribute to.

Our mountain weekend has been wonderful & Monday greets us full of possibility. Happy week!

Happy Homes: Dudley Court Week 3

On June 6th, we purchased our 6th investment in Colorado and it’s been smooth sailing, for the most part, since. I’m going to try and document the steps, journey, pitfalls and forward motion of our investment.

The last two weeks have been full of windows, dumpsters, sub-contractors coming and assessing HVAC, electric, structural engineering (for the one wall we’re going to remove in the kitchen), attic adventures and cleaning up demo. Sounds familiar.….but here’s what we’ve been up to.

Mike has removed 14 windows, framed out every single one so that the new windows will fit well (basically, doing it the right way instead of rigging something super ghetto & shady). The old aluminum frames are extremely difficult to remove, and he’s often broken the glass windows trying to tap, tap, tap them out. As an experiment, we’re saving all of the aluminum to take to the scrap yard to see how much we’ll get in return. Problem is, the scrap yard won’t take the frames with glass, so we’ve decided to just return the screens and windows without glass, so we don’t slice ourselves to ribbons or waste precious time smashing glass. We’ll see if it’s worth it in the end.

Two weeks ago, we had a donation center come and gather all the lovely items we found in the house that we didn’t want to throw out, but definitely didn’t want. Well, in the last two weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time in the attic and cleared out quite a bit more. We’ve taken two loads of books to our Arvada used book store & there are still two more boxes I pulled from the attic this week. I’ve pulled out more toys, old blankets, weird car parts, old shoes & clothes, vases, old pictures and documents…enough to fill up quite a bit in the dumpster!

I’ve also been deemed cleanup crew, per usual, and have swept up dust, lugged garbage cans full of window sill, carried out the window carnage, and vacuumed up the remaining particles after Mike guts out the windows. Thank goodness for dust masks!

A few other smaller bits to mention….

  • A demo guy came and gutted the kitchen & took out the wall
  • We’ve started taking out the bricks in the downstairs area
  • Moved the stove and fridge out to the garage, after noticing a dent in the fridge, grrrr
  • Mike put our window order in on Friday (June 28)
  • We got an electric bid. We didn’t like it ($$$$$$) so we are getting another one

Some things that aren’t going great or I’m a bit worried about….

  • There is still stuff in the attic. STILL! I need to get it out next week if it kills me..
  • The sewer work that needs to be done outback hasn’t started and although Mike has someone who will help him (the plumber’s colleague loves to run machinery apparently?), I’m worried that this may be a pretty big under-taking. And expensive. But I’m thinking positively.

For a project this size, where we’re pretty much demoing every room, on a house that hasn’t been touched in 50+ years, I still feel like the project is going well and am super excited about the progress!

Cheers to the weekend!