You might remember that last summer was an insane whirlwind for us. We had another baby, finished a flip, bought and sold another one, bought and renovated two rental properties, and started another flip.
I sometimes question our judgment in undertaking all of these projects at once. ;)
The rentals kind of got lost in the shuffle and were never blogged about (along with the 9th flip) – so it’s time to change that! The first rental we purchased was a condo, and the second one was a single-family home. For some reason I feel like talking about the house today, so let’s start there.
First things first – why we bought a rental instead of a flip. Well, as you might recall, we occasionally send out mailers in neighborhoods that we like, scouting for anyone interested in selling their house to us. The owner of this house reached out to us, saying that she liked our note and asking if we would take a look at her house. Yay! We loved the location of the house – it’s in a great school district and in a really awesome neighborhood – and the house itself. So we bought it.
For the most part, the house was in great shape – and while you know we love to flip houses, this house was just begging to become a rental. Quick cosmetic fixes would also go a long way towards making the house sweet and charming (and rentable), but if we wanted to resell this house we would have to put in some serious money, like for a second story addition or even just scraping the house and starting over. Houses in this neighborhood are either tiny and affordable or huge and expensive. This house wanted to stay tiny and affordable. :) Also, we’ve been wanting to start buying rentals so that we can have some passive income over the years.
So that’s why we bought a rental. But now, onto the good stuff – the before and afters! Most of the changes we made may appear small, but I think they add up.
First up – the front of the house.
The brick was great, with no signs of foundation damage, and the existing color scheme was cute. All it needed was a tiny bit of landscaping and some fresh paint on the trim.
The house has a pretty classic layout inside, almost identical to our 4th flip, with an entry into the formal living and dining rooms.
With a new chandelier, fresh paint and some recessed lighting, these rooms don’t look markedly different but now they’re bright and clean!
A pair of French doors (not pictured above) in the formal living room lead into the den.
The room was in basically good shape, but there were pet stains on the hardwoods near the fireplace that had bleached the wood and created gaps between the boards. I was afraid that the floors were toast, but our flooring guy assured me that they could refinish the floor and no one would be the wiser.
Hallelujah, he was right.
The kitchen can be accessed through those French doors above, or from the dining room. Let’s head back to the dining room and check out the view from there.
The kitchen was a total hot mess, but it had the potential to be really cute. All of those glass-fronted cabinets have a ton of charm! The black and white checkered floor was adorable, but it was in terrible shape and was missing quite a few of the stick-on tiles.
We painted everything, swapped out the lighting and hardware, tiled the floor, added new appliances, and upgraded the counters to granite. I’m so glad we kept the cabinets since they are pretty charming, and the finished product turned out great.
Here’s the original view from the other direction.
(Note: I try not to post photos with the owner’s belongings in them, but I didn’t have another “before” shot from this angle. My apologies to the former owner!)
Also, I’m kicking myself for forgetting to take a photo where you can see the gas range and hood – it’s just on the opposite side of the fridge, and you’ll just have to trust me that it’s there.
I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that the laundry is in the kitchen. Having the laundry in the kitchen isn’t ideal, but there wasn’t another spot in the house to put a washer and dryer, so in the kitchen they stayed.
However, if they were going to take up valuable real estate in the kitchen you can bet they were going to be put to work! We opted to add a countertop above the washer and dryer for extra counter space.
We crossed our fingers that including fancy new front-loaders in the rent would take the sting out of that arrangement a bit. Luckily, that gamble worked.
The two bedrooms and bathrooms are all on the other side of the house, accessed through a hallway that flows off the formal living room and the den. The first bedroom you encounter is the master.
It was dark, and I’m pretty sure the fan would have started slinging blades at us if we’d turned it on.
With some new paint and hardware and a non-lethal fan, the master bedroom started feeling a lot more welcoming.
It’s a big plus that the master bedroom has it’s own bathroom – however, that bathroom is TINY! We expanded an identical bathroom in our 4th flip, but since we weren’t tackling any major renovations on this home that option was out. So, we made the best of what we had to work with.
The tile was in good shape, and I thought the wall-hung sink was pretty cute. However, the medicine cabinet above the sink and the vanity light were heinous. So, we switched out the light, painted, and added a sheet mirror to bounce around a bunch of light and make the space feel as big as possible.
Just down the hall from the master bedroom, towards the front of the house, is the guest bathroom and second bedroom. The bedroom had had a bit of a hard life and desperately needed a little love.
After receiving the sprucing the bedroom deserved, the focus is finally on those great windows instead of the grimy walls.
The guest bathroom was already pretty great.
The retro tile was really cute and in awesome shape, so we really just added new paint.
The bigger transformation is on the side of the bathroom that houses the vanity. Those mirrors were incredibly weird and awkward, as was the placement of the lighting.
We solved those issues with a giant sheet mirror (these things can be lifesavers!) and by consolidating the dueling light fixtures. Those changes turned out to be just what this bathroom needed.
The last stop on this tour is the backyard. It already had a fabulous fence and a two-car garage, so we were happy campers.
We just repainted the garage, mowed the lawn and called it a day.
How do you think our little rental turned out? Do any of you own rental properties?