If you’ve ever binge watched HGTV, the thought of house flipping has briefly crossed your mind. How could it not? Look at the money they are making fixing up dilapidated houses. It’s not for the faint of heart though. That kind of flipping was never for me, but what about buying a house with good bones in a great neighborhood that has an avocado green bathroom, orange shag carpeting, and lots of vintage wallpaper? A large amount of house hunters see that and go into sensory overload. Then there are the people who can see beyond the dated colors and old fixtures to see the potential. Move in ready means different things to different people.
We’ve owned 4 homes in the past 15 years. The first 3 have all fallen into the “needs work” category. I’m well acquainted with paint, joint compound, putty knives, and Phillips screwdrivers. It’s not glamorous and the only fun part is when I’ve cleaned the last paintbrush and can stand back and appreciate the transformation. There’s no 6 week deadline to get everything done and back on the market. It’s a one project at a time on a weekend here and there. It’s making a quick trip to Lowe’s and praying that I can get in and out without seeing anyone I know….yet I always do, and they are looking freshly showered, in clean clothes and I wince as I see my own reflection in the sliding glass door. It’s living in your project. Nothing feels better than to replace a disgusting 30 year old carpet and see the beauty of smooth wood floors or the circus tent wallpaper gone and see it updated with a warm, buttery yellow. It’s seeing what 6 hours and a gallon of $25 satin paint can do.
We’ve left every house better than we found it. But those houses have also left us better than when we started. We built a lot of sweat equity in our homes. More than our return on investment though, we gained an appreciation for taking pride in what is ours. We learned lessons that you don’t learn in a classroom. I can show you exactly what it takes to fix a hole in the sheet rock or how to change out your bathroom faucet. Experience taught me these things, sometimes through trial an error or often with a 30 second crash course from my dad or husband. DIY is not just about saving money by doing it yourself, but also the satisfaction you get by accomplishing something new. Whether or not these houses have made us rich may be debatable, but if you ask me…I’ll say they have.