Cyber Monday Design Consult Sale!

I did it last year….let’s do it again! I never discount my consults because they are worth every penny in my opinion. I share with you as much as I can and I share TONS! But, what the heck, I’m in the festive mood!

20% OFF DESIGN CONSULTS TODAY ONLY!

At Checkout Use Code: CYBERMONDAY2018

In a consult we’ll discuss anything you want from kitchen design to Airbnb ins and outs, from flipping houses to furniture placement. It can be your home or an investment property. It can be given as a gift for your kid’s or parents’ home. It can be general flipping or Airbnb questions with no particular home in mind! IDGAF.

It can be over the phone or in person! Below is more about what a consult entails:


What: A one hour renovation, design or investment strategy consultation (or all of the above!)

Cost: $250 over the phone or $300 in-person in Phoenix

Who: Consults can be for any or all of the following (should time permit):

  • Narrowig down design decisions

  • House flipping help including personal discussions about financing, how to find houses, etc….

  • Running an Airbnb

  • Material sourcing

  • Badass design ideas

  • Floor plan options

  • Expected general costs

  • Alternatives that will save money or update the look

  • Actual material options (this light would look good here, maybe X faucet, etc)

  • Color schemes

  • Things to avoid

How: You'll send me photos, videos and a sketch (if necessary) or I’ll just see it all in person if you are in Phoenix.

See more about the entire process here.

Clients typically find that after their consultation they have a more focused direction for their home renovation or investment property. They feel confident in how to proceed and have new ideas for the space that they had not considered. Often times they are relieved they now know what they can do in order to avoid complications, delays and sometimes disaster.

***A consult is verbal and does not include formal physical design plans.


If you’ve been thinking about a consult but have been waiting for the right timing, then pull the trigger now! There is no expiration on the consult. You don’t have to schedule it now. Schedule it when you are ready! HOWEVER, my schedule is open beginning in January, so any consult purchased now can be “cashed in” beginning in 2019.

Check my January calendar now if you don’t want to waste any time! Remember, if the times shown don’t work with your schedule, I am flexible and can work with you on a better time. Just reach out!

20% OFF DESIGN CONSULTS TODAY ONLY!

At Checkout Use Code: CYBERMONDAY2018


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Flippinwendy on the Skyler Irvine Show

I put them off for months. I was so nervous about being on a podcast, buuuuuttttt, the fact is I LOVE podcasts. I was so busy with clients and houses that I kept delaying. Not only was I busy, I was freaking out about what I would say and if I would sound like an idiot. Luckily, I finally gave in once things had slowed down and I think it turned out pretty well. The Skyler Irvine guys report that it's their most downloaded episode to date!

In this episode we talked about how I got started in house flipping and eventually started designing for friends, family and now perfect strangers. We also talk about the power of Instagram and how I gained 43,000 followers in just 9 months. If you've ever wanted to know a little more about flipping houses, check it out. There's the link below for listening in. If you'd rather watch than listen, the Youtube video is below as well. I'm also including some links to things I mention at the bottom of this post.

Listen

Watch


Show Notes:


If you watched or listened, I'd love to hear what you thought of the episode. Let me know if there's anything I didn't discuss that you'd like to know more about. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day!

Wendy

Adding Value To Your Home: How to Determine What To Update

The following is an excerpt from our book Shut Up And Flip A House Already: A Guide to Help You Shit Or Get Off The Pot. It is geared toward house flippers, however the logic applies for homeowners taking on any renovation. 

To the beginner house flipper or homeowner doing a renovation, it may seem like an arduous task to determine what to update in their home. It is not. Knowing what to update is as easy as knowing what similar houses in the neighborhood look like and what features are expected by buyers. Simply look at your comps, the homes with which buyers and their agents will compare your finished home, and determine from there what your home needs. 

If the higher priced comps have beautifully remodeled kitchens, and you’re looking to sell for top dollar, then yours should have a beautiful kitchen. These comparable homes show exactly what sells in this neighborhood. Don’t try to get by with something cheap to save money thinking you know better than the comps. You won’t fool anyone.

For instance, you may look at some cabinets and think, “Maybe I could get away with painting these cabinets instead of replacing them.” Maybe you could. If you are in a neighborhood where that is acceptable and homes with painted cabinets sell, then go for it. If homes in the target price would never have painted cabinets, then you know your answer. Don’t do it.

This is how you know what to update.

  1. Look at your home in a side-by-side comparison to homes you want to emulate.

  2. Determine what they have that yours does not.

  3. Price that out.

  4. Determine if these updates fit into a budget that will allow you enough in profit.

Kitchens may be easy. The HVAC system and roof may be another story. Or is it? Let’s walk through some scenarios to show you how we think these things through.

Q: Should I replace old wood windows?

Look at the comps. Drive up and down the street. Even better, if there’s a home for sale in that neighborhood (especially if there’s an Open House!) - go check it out for yourself, all up-close-and-personal-like. Do most homes have replacement windows? Do buyers in this neighborhood expect replacement windows or do they love the charm of the older wood windows? Agents who do a lot of sales in the neighborhood would be a great resource to answer some of these questions as well.

Q: Should I replace a gas furnace that is 12 years old and working?

Unfortunately, sometimes you just have to take an educated guess. For instance, according to Google, gas furnaces have a lifespan of up to 20 years. Your furnace is older, but working. Your comps make no mention of newer furnaces. Your agent says that in their experience, the buyers they’ve worked with in that neighborhood haven’t bought a home solely because of an updated HVAC system. It’s nice, but not necessary.

A: Don’t replace it. Have a qualified professional come out and inspect it, clean it and do any necessary maintenance. Offer or buy a home warranty. Done. Unless….

A2: If someone comes out to do some maintenance that is going to cost $400 but a new furnace will cost $800….well now. Things are looking interesting. Adding a new furnace will only be an added cost of $400 above maintaining the old one. If you add one, you can then boast “New furnace” on your marketing material. You have room in your budget for this (or you’ll make room). You go for it. Tear it out.

Q: Should I replace a roof if I don’t know how old it is and it has two layers of shingles?

This is tricky. Sometimes you have no idea how old something is and if it is functioning properly. You see some water spots in the house from what is likely a leaky roof, but are they old spots that just weren’t painted over? Were the spots from before the second layer of shingles was added? Your inspector or contractor can’t tell either but they might be able to guess. The only way to know is to see it when it rains. It’s not raining and you have to put in an offer to buy today.

A: In this case, assume it will have to be replaced. Many times you don’t have the luxury of waiting to find out the answer you need. You’ll have to make due with your observations and err on the safe side. If you don’t need a new roof then good for you! Money saved.

Clear as mud? Let’s make this even more confusing.

Adding Value

This is where it gets trickier. As a flipper your brain starts to think, “How can I make even more money on this house? I know, I’ll add a deck. Everyone likes decks.” Come on now. Simply adding things does not automatically add value. There is no hard and fast rule that if you add X feature, you will get Y return on your money. We know they show you this on TV.

It is a lie.

Wendy asked one of her Realtors, “Do you think a deck could boost a home’s value?” their response was, “In general, yes. Or so we are taught. A wood deck, when done correctly, usually has a higher ROI (return on investment) than other improvements.”

Aaron Binik-Thomas is a go-get-em, super Realtor with Keller Williams in Cincinnati. He’ll try just about anything to market a home, within reason of course. No shady business! Prior to becoming an agent, Aaron was a sales person for a local wholesaler. His previous experience selling fixer-uppers has helped him to be familiar with many neighborhoods, allowed him to evaluate many crappy houses and taught him to know what features are good to add to homes to increase value and saleability. Aaron knows that not all houses and neighborhoods are created equal, though. In general, yes, a deck will bring a higher return. Is that always the case? No. Had we taken this information out of context, we might believe that this seasoned pro is telling us that all decks are a good idea for a house and one should always add a deck. Be careful what information you digest from the TV. Entertaining programming does not always equal the whole truth.

Value is in the eye of the buyer.

The buyer is going to rely on comps. Any additions you bring to the home will bring you one of these three things: added value, saleability or a loss. Let’s break this down.

Actual Added Value

Only some updates will bring value above and beyond the current possible sale price to your home. You can’t add just anything and expect it to boost your sale price. The only things that add value to a home are square footage, increased number of rooms and bonus spaces.

Increased square footage could mean adding an addition to your home, of course. Another way to add square footage would be to finish the basement in a home. An unfinished basement is not counted as square footage since it is not a livable area of the home. So, finishing it off could significantly add to your square footage without changing the existing footprint of your property.

You could increase the number of rooms in your property without changing the square footage. Below are some examples.

  • Turning a pantry into a half bath.

  • Taking one large bathroom and breaking it up into two bathrooms, thus increasing the number of full baths in the home.

  • Taking over a dining room to create a third bathroom.

The door in this foyer goes to a new powder room, once the pantry in the kitchen.

Clearly some of these may be detrimental, such as in the dining room example. If dining rooms are important to buyers in this area, then this is not a feasible option. If you were able to relocate or add a dining area in another part of the home, then win-win. If your home is in an area where the buyer couldn’t care less about a dining room, then you’re good to go.

Finally, you can add value by adding bonus spaces. This might be in the form of a garage or deck. They won’t add to your square footage or room count, but the increased functionality and desire for the home is at work here. If in your neighborhood, some of the houses have garages, but yours does not, then your house would only compare with the houses without garages. Adding a garage to yours will simply bring your home’s value up to the same level as the homes with garages.

Going back to the deck, let's look another scenario. Let's say that the homes on one side of a street have a beautiful view and the homes on the other side do not have a view at all. Add a rooftop deck however and now a home without a view suddenly has this desirable feature. This home is now more comparable with the homes on the view side and thus will align more so price wise with those homes. There are other variables to consider, of course, but you can now see that the new rooftop deck home's value will inch up closer to the higher price point.

Saleability

Some upgrades will never add value no matter what you think. Wendy was once asked by a family member, “How much did this water feature add to my home’s value?” She was sorry to report that the answer was ZERO. It didn’t increase the value of the home at all. What it might add is saleability, making the home more attractive to potential buyers. But, it did not add square footage or increase the number of rooms or bonus spaces.

Things that increase saleability are a bonus and not the norm for the neighborhood. Perhaps your home has a more beautifully manicured lawn or a larger than average pantry. These things do not meet the value adding criteria, but certainly do add saleability. Buyers may swoon at these features, but they won’t pay more. They’ll just like your home more than some of the others. Sellability really helps with moving your house quickly with fewer days on the market.

Loss in Value

We’re sorry to tell you, it isn’t just as easy as adding stuff and counting your profit. If you take 3 bedrooms and create 4 smaller bedrooms, you may have just shot yourself in the foot. Conversely, taking 4 small bedrooms and converting them into 3 bedrooms, one being a master suite with a walk-in closet, may actually work in your favor. It all depends on what buyers in your neighborhood love or expect.

Some upgrades may not lessen your home’s actual value, but will affect the perceived value. For instance, in Ohio, pools can only be used a few months of the year. In many neighborhoods, pools are seen as a maintenance nightmare; thus making the home less attractive, not to mention they come with increased liabilities. Some lenders will even require a homeowner to purchase more insurance if the property has a pool. Here is a big bummer: you add a $30,000 pool and it actually makes your home less attractive. You’ve just spent a ton of money on something people don’t want. Loser.

Disclaimer: we’re not saying water features or pools are always a negative. It all depends on the neighborhood and comps! In some areas, like Phoenix, pools are an attractive feature. In others they are a hindrance. Know your customer, people.

Do Some Math

Now, take a common scenario and do the simple math...

Let’s say homes with a garage in your target neighborhood tend to sell for $10,000 more than similar homes without them, then that is how much value you will bring to your home by adding a garage. If adding a garage costs $5,000, then BOOYA. Build a freaking garage. That’s a 100% ROI on the garage.

There is no magic number. The next time you see someone spouting off that renovating your kitchen will add $15,000 in value to your home, call BS. Do not take this at face value. Now you know that determining value adds is a process of researching surrounding properties, not hard and fast rules.

Want to learn more about house flipping and smart renovating? Check out our ebook below!

27th Street: Value Add, Rocks Aren't Bad

So, I've been doing this house flipping thing for 10 years. But, your mind doesn't know that. Your mind just thinks, "Hey! I can't move away from Cincinnati. What about my business!? What about my people!?" But then one winter you are FED UP. You're moving to Phoenix. So we did.

I've already talked about that. But, let me tell you about the first house I tackled. It was the perfect house for my first desert flip. Not too big, not too small. It didn't need an addition like so many homes here "need". No pool. Not much in the way of desert landscape. The budget wouldn't allow for it. 

So, that leaves the fun stuff. Mid-century modern has a greater presence than where I'm from and I was excited to infuse some into this boring, drab ranch. Behold the exterior before:

A typical person might think, "Ew that's dirty." The investor thinks, "Value add!" Turn that carport into a garage! Boom. 

This is one of the easiest things to do to a home and gain lots of brownie points. The only problem was the two bedroom windows in the carport. The front bedroom was easy. Just take it out, there is another. This was actually better for that bedroom because now there was one wall without a door or window obstruction. Helpful when you want to have a bed somewhere! The back bedroom, however, had only one window and it was in the carport. Thanks to my contractor, Pace's quick thinking, we decided to make the new garage more shallow on the right side and move the window further down the wall. The new window is in the back of the house behind the garage now. A car still fits the shallower space, it's just not as deep as the other side of the garage. And, because of this jog in the wall, we were able to put a door to the back from the inside the garage which can be seen in the next photo.

In the back behind the garage where the new window now sits, there is still roof overhead. This gave us an opportunity to have a secluded covered patio. If you are looking in the before picture through the carport, the new patio sits where the old fence once lived. Check out the new space.

Also in the back was about a billion square feet of dirt. 

I would have loved to turn this into a desert oasis, but the monies said NO. So, we did what we could to make it a clean blank slate. I know, I know. It's a lot of rocks. "We" do that here. You get rocks or you get pretty interior. Take it or leave it.

Continuing on around the house to the back door, was a serious lack in entertainment area unless you consider the beat up grill and more dirt. So, some dollars went toward a simple patio with a simple pergola. Honestly, there were no funds for this. This was a "splurge" in the sense that it was not "necessary", but I knew it was important to have something break up all the rocks. The pergola was a modern take on the traditional sense of one. I borrowed this idea from a home I saw around town.

My original idea was to have fabric woven in between the slats of the pergola and big bulbed lights strung criss cross across the dealio. The truth is I ran out of time, money and energy. This isn't like your home where you can tinker around with a room for months before you get it just right. As soon as the paint dries and the cleaning crew is gone, it's a mad dash to move in half a house full of furniture and decor. I didn't even wait for them to be done cleaning really. I barged in and unloaded my things. Everything has to be ready with in a day or two in order to get the photographer their time. To source fabric, pay for it and then have to remember a staple gun AND STAPLES. Guh. NTY. So, new owners...do that to that pergola. It will be great.

Swinging back around to the front, I loved making this house bold, like nothing else on the street.

The colors were jarring to me at first with the dark walls and the bright trim, but once the grass had grown in and the front door was painted, all was well. A lesson in patience. Big picture, people.

There you have it. A rundown ranch home transformed into a mid-century-ish sparkly new ranch home. I hope this post helps to understand the thought process behind how a house gets flipped and the many decisions that are made behind the scenes! It's not easy to make some judgement calls but we do our best to make a great new home for the new homeowner.

Details:

  • Exterior wall colorSW Urbane Bronze
  • Front door color: Dunn Edwards Skipping Stones
  • Trim color: Behr Ultra White
  • Door Hardware: Kwikset Milan in Black 
  • Potted Container and cactus: Home Depot terracotta painted gray
  • House numbers: Home Depot
  • Pendant Light: Wayfair discontinued

 

 

How to Install Shiplap In A Shower (and be the coolest people on the planet)

Let me tell you a tail of when I got sick to death of tile. I already had a white subway tile bathroom on the first floor of this renovation and I didn't want to repeat again in the master. After all, I was trying to get top dollar with this home. The sale price of this home would change the neighborhood. No pressure. 

So, I became obsessed with finding a way to pull off shiplap. Maybe it would work if I could find the longest tile known to man. Nope. Six foot tiles do not exist. So, I did what I do best, I Googled shiplap showers. Unfortunately, my best Googling found mostly examples of outdoor showers with the exterior shiplap siding. Eventually, I came across one indoor shower (which I cannot find now) with overlapping shiplap boards (I believe this is true shiplap). It wasn't flat stacked Joanna Gaines shiplap, but at least it was a start.

So, it could be done! The woman who posted the indoor shiplap shower had been painted it all a shade of purple and said that after 5 years, they repainted it. It was still going strong. This was acceptable. A bonus even. Can you imagine? In 5 years she could paint it blue and now you have a totally different bathroom. 

I pitched this idea to my contractor, Joe Wood of All Around Joe, to figure out the best way of getting this done. You know those contractors that get annoyed with challenges and are quick to say, "No that can't be done."? Joe is not one of those people. It didn't come to him immediately, but I could see the wheels turning. He didn't give up. This would be his creation, too.

So for all of you with questions on how this works, I decided to interview Joe for ya. 

What were your thoughts about the shiplap shower idea?

This wasn't going to be something you'd see or get to install everyday. I got excited about it and immediately started thinking about what we could do to make it happen. 

What were your concerns about having a shiplap shower?

My main concern was durability. My other concern was how to do shiplap and keep it water tight. So, my goal was to make sure the prep was 100% perfect before the shiplap was installed. 

Can you tell me about the material you decided to use?

I decided to use a material called AZEK. It's a material usually used on exteriors so I knew it could hold up. Just to make sure, I called AZEK to see what their thoughts were on using their trim boards in the shower. It was funny because the first person I spoke to said, "Hmmm. That's a good question. We've never had anyone use it in that manner. But, I don't see why it wouldn't work." He then asked someone else in the office. I could then hear a bunch of them discussing how nobody had ever asked that but they thought it was cool and didn't see why it wouldn't work. I was confident this was the right product to use.

How did you go about installing the boards?

I started by making a waterproof system before installing the boards. I used the Schluter-Kerdi board system to make it 100% waterproof. Next, to install the AZEK "shiplap" boards, I used OSI adhesive for PVC material to bond to the Kerdi board. Then, to install the next board above it, I siliconed the entire "grout" seam. I could only do about 5 rows at a time, then start again 24 hours later after it dried. 

How did you finish off the shiplap? 

I sprayed it using an airless HVLP sprayer. There are two types of this material. I chose the type that was more porous so it would accept paint once installed. I used a marine grade acrylic enamel which would normally be used on a ship. I knew it would be durable enough for a shower.

What kind of upkeep and maintenance do you expect for this shower?

I expect it to be able to be washed down with soap and water. Like a boat or a cast iron tub, it will likely have to be be painted again some day. That wouldn't be for many many years. 

So there you have it. A shiplap shower if you want one. 

***UPDATE:

Many of you have asked how the shiplap shower is holding up. We sold this house right away, before listing actually. So, the only way of finding out was to ask the new homeowners. They reported back that after more than a year in the home, the shower is holding up well. They take care to wipe it down after showering just to be sure. 

How To Install a Ship Lap Shower

Shop This bathroom: 


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