Practical and Budget Friendly House Flip on Long Island, New York
Being in our first home for three years and looking at back at what our house was to what it is now, we can truly see all that we've accomplished. It's not until you look back and compare, can you really see the progress. Below are photos of before and after renovations. We did light aesthetic work and major cleaning to different rooms in our home including the outside, bedrooms, living room, kitchen and a basement.
When we were searching for our new home, we knew we wanted a fixer upper but also knew we didn't want to wait months to get into our house with a short sale or foreclosure. When searching for new homes for sale that were neither of these, most were already move-in ready because they had already been flipped. It's easy to spot these because all the home sale websites has the last date each home was sold. Those that were owned for less than 6 months that were now for sale again, was an easy hint it was flipped. Ofcourse, those that were move-in ready were much pricier than those that needed some work. We found a house that wasn't a short sale or foreclosure, so we could get into it quickly, it was messy but not rundown to the point that it would need serious renovation, and most of the work would be strictly aesthetic. We hired an engineer to inspect the home and he echoed our same assumptions. We made an offer and got the house. It was just the beginning of a long journey to turn around a house that needed alot of work that we could mostly do ourselves. Amazingly, all the before photos below were very similar to those listed on the realtor website with the home listing.
The Backyard Exterior
Some of these are the photos from the actual listing of this home on Zillow.com and other comparable realtor websites at the time it was on sale. We were shocked, but could see past the mess. How could anyone put a house for sale in this condition? Well, to put it in a nutshell, the owners wanted to sell this house as soon as possible. It had been for sale for sometime and they just dramatically dropped the price. We swooped in at just the right time. To point out some interesting things in these photos below, notice the black ceiling of the master bedroom, the garbage on the floor of the living room and basement, as well as the pile of garbage in the backyard. There was actually no effort put in by the owners or realtor for this house.
The living room needed some... interesting work. The previous owner added french double doors in the living room leading to the garage but the garage was not insulated, and the winter was going to come quickly. Essentially we had a giant doorway sized hole in our home leading to the outside. We knew we would have to seal that area as soon as able and this was one of the few things in the home we went with a professional on.
The floors were also seriously damaged but atleast they were original hardwood floors. After refinishing with a professional, they looked absolutely beautiful. It wasn't the most dramatic of the flips but the most important, with the living room being the center of the home.
The Living Room
The kitchen was next, and with high ceilings and skylights, it had some good bones to work with. So we cleaned it up, gave it a fresh coat of paint, and removed the hanging ceiling fan and replaced it with track lighting. We were left with a beautiful kitchen, that now with the lighter paint, looked twice as big as it did previously. The dining table in the room before was much too big for the area as well. After getting the right sized furniture for the room, it also made it feel so much more open of a space than it was previously.
The bathrooms didn't need as much work as the rest of the home. They just needed a good clean and polish as well as some nice modern shower curtains, shower mats and towels. It's hard to notice the work that went into it with the before photos being so dark and not close up. The most dramatic change in the bathrooms actually came from the lighting. With the proper bulbs and lighting, the room looks brighter, cleaner and welcoming. It's such a simple fix for a change that makes the space beautiful.
For the master bedroom, there was much that needed to get done. It was unfinished, a complete mess, and the ceiling was painted the darkest black paint color I've ever seen. What self respecting paint design store even sells that color for the ceiling? I'm guessing none. It's such an odd choice for something that could have been solved with blackout curtains. After three layers of ceiling primer and two coats of white ceiling paint, it finally was looking a hue I could live with. We painted the trim on the windows white, the walls with a fresh coat of paint, and again refinished the floors that were luckily natural hardwood. The bedroom before and after is quite dramatic and took alot of muscle work that really paid off. It's now a nice, warm, open and welcoming space that you want to go to at the end of the night.
The Master Bedroom
If it were possible, the other bedroom was just as horrific. I can understand if your child's favorite color is purple but why purple on purple? And why shiny purple, foil-textured curtains? It was bad on top of bad, but an easy fix. The new curtains are soft and light, making the room feel bigger, and with the new paint color it made it a beautiful space. After the addition of the comforter set I purchased for the guest bed, the big canvas was added behind the bed which made the room feel finished and not as confined. I also decided to make the room feel even bigger by removing the closet and making it part of the room. It increased the space dramatically. Now you could fit a full size mattress bed where previously there was a twin and it looks quite cozy for any guest.
The Guest Bedroom
And another dramatic flip was in the den, or basement, of this split-level home. It was used as a man cave previously, and sure did feel like something that belonged underground. Luckily, this area had no history of water damage, so it had great potential. I knew I could install a carpet without any worry but we also installed half of the basement area with hardwood laminate. We added accent molding to the middle of the wall area all across the basement. The furniture in the space also fit so well for its purpose - a lovingly named 'girl cave' area of my own equipped with an electric fireplace and comfy lounge couch.
After a year of work to the interior, we finally started work to the exterior of the home in year two. I rented a heavy duty professional paint sprayer from Lowes, taped up all the front windows and doors and painted the outside, just by following videos on YouTube. It was one of the most ambitious projects that I undertook, and was the most proud of. It also arguably made the biggest difference. There's nothing like adding curb apeal to your home to impress guests and have a beautiful looking home to come to everyday. We added white shutters on the windows, painted the garage with a fresh coat of paint, and did some serious landscaping work. The transformation of the frontyard grass within itself is quite impressive, with my husband to thank on all the hard work he did there.
For the backyard, we knew the patio would be the big price tag makeover project. We hired a professional to remove the cracked pavement slabs, put in stone, and ensure proper leveling. This is not a job you want to DIY because improper drainage and leveling could lead to catastrophic flooding in your home that could have been otherwise avoided. We also tore down a metal overhang and built a beautiful, trendy wood pergola, added an outdoor furniture set from Walmart, put in some flower hangers, and power-washed the entire side of the house for a, now, welcoming area.
The hard work paid off and our home is now more beautiful then we could have ever imagined. When searching for your new home, try to maintain a good imagination and see past what might be the mess or doable DIY fix for your next dream home. It's worth what you'd be saving in the total cost of the house to do a few fixes rather than getting a pricey move-in ready house, especially for your first home. You walk away saving money and with some new skills to carry you to your next house and beyond.