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This Is a Story About the Time We Bought a Hoarder’s Home

The Find

It all started when our mom, an agent in Florida, got a call from someone who was interested in selling. The owner was underwater on the home and was also dealing with back taxes, zoning violations and deteriorating conditions. He only had a small time frame before losing the home, so my mom brought to us the idea of purchasing it ourselves.

We had no idea what to expect with this house, but we knew it wouldn’t be in good shape. Our parents went to look at it in person. When they drove up to the house, it was covered in trees (which is how we came up with the nickname “The Tree House”). Everything was overgrown and you could barely see the exterior of the house.

But never judge a book by its cover, right? Well, in this case the cover was a pretty good indication of what was going on inside.


When my parents walked inside, there was stuff EVERYWHERE. On the counters, filling up the garage, in the bedrooms. If people know anything about my mom (and us too- blame genetics), she despises clutter. As kids, if we left belongings out when we were young, they would typically end up in the trash. So that was her plan with this home too.

But the work didn’t scare us away. We ran some numbers and quickly realized that there was an opportunity here - the home was located in a great neighborhood and there was a lack of similar renovated homes on the market.

And so we decided to do our first flip as a family.


The Renovation

We purchased the home off market for $115,000, and a few days later the demo began. We tore the house down to its roots and renovated every single room in the house. And if you’ve ever renovated a house, you’ll know that it never happens without discovering at least one costly issue.

The first hiccup came when we discovered that the cast iron pipes were corroded beneath the slab so we had trench throughout the house to replace them. This cost us about an extra month in time and $3,000 that we did not budget for (that’s why you always include a contingency!).

The renovation took a bit longer than we planned (8 months instead of 6 months) and we went over budget by over $20,000, but we still felt pretty good about our first flip.



The Sale

Since we lost some time on the renovation, we wanted to enhance our marketing efforts and decided to pre-market before putting on the MLS. We sent out mailers to the neighborhood and posted to certain Facebook groups to get the word out early. We had a few showings before we even put it on the market and even received an offer, which we ultimately decided not to accept.


We put the house on the market and had four showing requests within the first few minutes! By mid-afternoon, we received multiple offers, including two above-asking price, one which we accepted that same day. We were so thrilled that someone loved this home as much as we did!


The Numbers

Total Purchase Price: $115,097 ($105,000 + closing costs)

Budgeted Renovation Costs: $82,000

Actual Renovation Costs: $104,560

Total Costs: $219,657

Sales Price: $289,990 ($10,000 over asking)

Net Sales Proceeds: $279,396

Net Profit: $59,739

ROI: 27.2%


The Design

Get the details about some of our design selections.

Interior Features

We repainted all the walls with Sherwin Williams Snowbound, which gave the home a bright and clean look. On the floors, we opted for porcelain tile, which is a more affordable option than hardwood. Sticking with the trend of lighter floors, we used a neutral shade (Nolan Bianco) throughout the entire house for a modern and seamless feel. The interior doors were a paneled transitional style.

The Kitchen

We focused on the kitchen as the main focal point, and we are so pleased with how it turned out. We think it perfectly captured the mid-century modern appeal we were aiming for! Reusing old cabinets from a previous renovation, we decided to do a mixed panel look, opting for the darker shaker style cabinet on the bottom and white flat panel uppers. The look was finished off with white quartz countertops (Pompeii Extra Extra) and brand new stainless steel appliances.

The Primary Bathroom

A primary bathroom is one of the most important rooms in a home, so we paid close attention to the details when making design decisions. We tried to create a spa-like atmosphere, with a large walk-in shower, wave tile, a waterfall showerhead and plenty of space and light. The floating vanity creates a modern vibe and we used the same white quartz countertops from the kitchen for a clean look.

The Guest Bathroom

The guest bathroom was completely redesigned to create more space. To make it family-friendly, we included a bathtub set in front of a beautiful subway tile wall. Again we chose a floating vanity, as this creates the illusion of more space.

The Exterior

From run down and overgrown to bright and inviting! We cleared all of the trees, installed new windows, added new landscaping, and painted the exterior. For the house color, we chose one of our favorites, Sherwin Williams Origami White. This clean, bright color really gave the home a refreshing look. We replaced the exterior door and opted for Sherwin Williams Determined Orange to add a pop of color and some mid-century curb appeal. We think it made a great first impression!

The garage doors were damaged, so we replaced them with a new door to match the exterior color. The existing driveway was cracked and uneven and we knew this would be a major drawback for buyers, so we replaced a portion, which really helped add to the value of the home.

We believe that the success of this flip was due to numerous factors, the most important being the quality of construction, the convenient location, and the lack of comparable properties on the market.

People always warn you about working with your family members. But this project is proof that it's possible (and can actually be enjoyable)! From the construction and project management work to the design selections and marketing, our entire family was involved in this flip.

Broker: Brista Realty

Renovation: Brista Homes

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