17th Street Project – The Search
If you ‘ve been tuning in and reading my blog posts – thank you! I truly appreciate it and hope that it’s been helpful or, at the very least, interesting on some level! While I have many more Hidden Gems in me, I thought I might change gears and talk about our “17th Street Project” – the house that we purchased in 2020 and are flipping. Partially due to the pandemic and partially due to nothing ever being completely finished, I’ve not really shared much about the project in a larger sense – or really even had many folks over to see what we’re working on (so if you’ve been waiting for the invite and haven’t received it yet – it’s not you, it’s me…and the coronavirus). And, because some of you have asked, I’m going to start in the way back time – before we ever even had the house so you know how and why we landed where we did.
So, back in the before time (back before Coronavirus was a thing that would change the course of so many of our lives) we knew it was time to buy a house. I had been renting a cute little 3 bedroom house after my divorce that Mike had eventually moved into that had great windows, huge rooms and a nice backyard, but we were growing out of it and our lease was up in the summer. So, like any excited couple, we started scouring the interwebs for houses that we liked. We already knew this about ourselves, but it became abundantly clear fairly quickly that we had champagne tastes on a beer budget. We also knew that we wanted to start investing in our future together and not be reliant on our company 401K’s (or lack thereof). So after a few months of looking online and weighing our options, we decided that in order to get the home that we wanted, we would have to create it. And, that it probably wasn’t going to be the next house that we purchased but the one after that (or possibly the third one, but we’re hopeful!). Conveniently, or perhaps because Mike is the greatest human ever, this also aligned perfectly with my bucket list dream of owning a fixer upper that I could bring back to beautiful. This was an exciting and nerve-wracking decision for us —it’s a lot of pressure to not only find a house that you love, but one that would financially be a cash cow of sorts. To make matters worse, Coronavirus decided to pick this time to raise her big ugly head and spread at alarming rates, resulting in the shutdown of the world as we knew it.
So with the world closed and nothing but time on our hands, we spent a LOT of our free time driving around and dreaming. We drove through neighborhood after neighborhood, creating our list of have-to-haves, nice-to-haves and want-to-haves. There are numerous processes, fail-proof equations and proven methods out there for finding the perfect house to flip – but because this was also going to be the home that our family was living in for the next 12 – 24 months – those formulas didn’t exactly apply. So, we created our own list.
Early on, we decided that in order to really do the kind of renovation that we wanted to do and to have the kind of home that would work for our family while we worked on it, we would need to look in areas that did not have a Homeowners Association (HOA). Who wants to deal with that hassle or create another house that looks just like the one next to it?!?! We also knew that in order to get the most bang for our buck, the house couldn’t have had any major updates to it in the last 20 -30 years. But, more important than the house itself, was the location. In Real Estate it’s often said that the three most important factors in valuing a home are location, location and location. It’s that important. For our purposes, the location needed to be in an up and coming area that was ready for a revival, close enough to the boys’ schools and not too far of a commute from work. So, we were basically looking for a unicorn with the following:
- 3+ Bedroom, 2 bath on a large lot (over 7K sq feet is large by Vegas standards)
- No major improvements in the last 20+ years, but solid structurally
- No HOA
- Under $250K
- Pool – we promised the boys
But, in reality, the list was much, much longer – we also needed to take into consideration our future buyer and what they would want and need. Was it close to schools? Easy access to shopping? Quiet street? The list went on and on. Thankfully, we had nothing but time and my Realtor license afforded us access to all the vacant homes we could find. So we spent every available evening and weekend searching through all the houses that Vegas had to offer. We really enjoyed this part of the process – we spent lots of time talking and dreaming and visualizing what old, broken homes could someday be. It was basically a dream come true for me and I would gladly spend all my weekends “prospecting”. But, it turns out, we couldn’t be in search mode forever – the clock was ticking on our lease and the market was volatile, but favorable for us and we wanted to take advantage.
So we finally found one, put in an offer and during their review of it, Las Vegas was hit with a strong windstorm. The wind had taken down the back fence and the owners decided to take it off the market. We were crushed but the search went on. And on. It actually went on long enough that the owners “fixed” their fence issue and the 17th Street House was back on the market. So we made another offer and they accepted.
As with all older homes, the inspection and appraisal processes were nerve-wracking and could have easily blown the sale. Thankfully, the house sailed through with flying colors, mostly. In order to qualify for our loan, our lender required several things – one of which was a new roof. We were able to negotiate the new roof in lieu of a very long list of repairs, which was actually in our favor since we were anticipating gutting the house and starting over anyway.
So, we closed on the house at the end of June 2020 and got our keys on July 2nd – in the heat of the Vegas summer! But, we were thrilled – we found a one story, 2100 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2 bath on a nearly 8000 square foot lot, in a quiet, up and coming neighborhood, within walking distance from two elementary schools and shopping in our price range. But did it need updated? I’ll let you be the judge of that:
So, as you can see, we have plenty to work on! Please swing back through next week to watch the first step of this project unfold. It’s a doozy!
Thanks for checking in,