When a house goes into foreclosure, it was usually neglected in the first place. Then it may sit empty for months – even years. By the time we get a hold of one of these houses, it needs extensive work. Buying houses to rehab and flip (sell for a quick profit) is a great way to produce a quick return on your investment, while also improving the community the house is in.
You’ll find that one neglected home will have a negative psychological effect on everyone within view of the house. Homes in the vicinity of the foreclosure will go up for sale, many lawns don’t get mowed as frequently as they should and home improvements seem fruitless when the rest of the neighborhood is in neglect and disrepair. One rehabbed house can give hope to everyone in view of the home. It’s like Obamacare, but without all of grumblings of socialism, global warming and bad web design.
When you buy a neglected home in any community and rebuild it, you’ve increased the value of every home on the immediate block, as well as the homes in the general community. In return, you should make a little profit (provided you’re doing it right).
We have a crew of contractors we use to quickly repair and/or rehab a house, improve it’s curb appeal and make it liveable again. However, if you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in doing it yourself. FUN!
How to Rehab a House
The first thing you have to do before rehabbing a house is to analyze the structure of the home. Determine which walls are load-bearing and which are just free-standing (the load-bearing walls keep the roof up). You’ll also want to understand the difference between a frame house and block, and whether or not it has a crawl space. We’re in Florida, so the homes we find are a little different than the houses you may find. Houses built in Florida before the 1950’s tend to be frame houses (wood) with crawl spaces. In the old days, homes were built off of the ground about 2 feet. This helped the house to stay dry, by promoting air flow underneath it to remove excess moisture. Today, with the advent of air conditioning, Florida BUILDERS don’t seem too concerned with moisture, though they should be – but that’s another blog subject entirely.
Modern Florida homes are built with no crawl space, but instead on a concrete foundation that’s poured right onto the ground. While this system of building promotes the introduction of moisture into the house (a real danger when houses site empty for months or years with no air-conditioning to move the air around), it actually makes rehabbing and remodeling a simpler process because there’s no sub-flooring to worry about. Tile, vinyl and carpet just lay right over the concrete foundation. Easy-peasy.
Older homes with crawl spaces may require rebuilding of the flooring substructure, and who knows WHAT you might find when you start ripping out 80 year old wood. But in reality, the only way to know what you need to fix is to start tearing stuff out.
Unless you’re rich, you’ll probably have just enough ambition and money to do one room at a time. Start small, and work from there. Most people start with a guest bathroom or laundry room. This is where the biggest impact can be made, but the needs are pretty straightforward. Tear everything out, and start putting new stuff back in – from the bottom up.
When you’re all done, get drunk and say to yourself:
“I’m never doing that again!”
In 30 days, you’ll be ready to take on the master bath.
Here’s a great little article (with pictures) on one couple’s challenges with rehabbing the laundry room in their house.