Lessons from our Second Condo Rehab

This post will be a quick one about the second condominium we rehabbed – the Willis Ave property.  We saw this 2 bedroom 2 bath bank-owned property listed for about $60k.  It seemed like we could make money at that price, so that’s what we offered.  They got back with us in a couple of days saying that they had multiple offers and that we should submit our highest and best offer.  So we resubmitted with… the exact same offer.  And they selected ours.  Lesson: Don’t get into a bidding war, stick with the numbers that make sense.

We estimated about $15k in rehab costs and that we could sell for about $100k.  Having just completed a similar project, we were confident in our rehab estimate, and we figured even if we sold for only $90k (a fairly safe bet because we had recent comps of the same model), we’d still come out slightly positive.

Most of the rehab went smoothly – remove the old crap and put in nice new stuff.  We updated the carpets, kitchen, bathrooms, lights, outlets and switches, etc.  The one small snag we hit was the ceiling.  There had been a leak in the roof that stained the ceiling and ruined some of the popcorn in a couple of areas.  We decided to just patch these spots and then paint the entire ceiling.  The result was great…  If you had a neck injury and were unable to look up at the ceiling.  Trying to patch a popcorn ceiling – not such a good idea.
So then we had the contractor remove the popcorn off the main living areas, smooth it out, and repaint.  Luckily, it all still ended up within our budget of $15k.  Lesson:  Don’t try to patch fix a popcorn ceiling.  They look crappy to start with, why spend money making them worse!

Another hiccup in the rehab – we needed to turn off the water supply.  I guess we didn’t fully learn the lesson from our first condo renovation.  Again, there was only one water shutoff valve for the whole complex.  Luckily, this complex had fewer units and no ancient boilers that had to be dealt with, so we were able to just quickly shut off the water, do the work, and turn it back on again.  Lesson: Beware the water supply for condos!

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