Before & After: How I Flipped a Flea-Ridden, Collapsed-Ceiling House (& Still Profited!)

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Have you experienced this?

That awkward moment when you are set to close next week, and the home buyer’s inspector walks into your house. And sees the ceiling on the floor of the living room. That’s probably not good at all.

ceiling collapsed

In this case, the buyer’s inspector called our realtor, the realtor called my partner and my partner called me. We figured it must have just happened because my partner was at the property two days prior. My first few questions were, would this delay closing, will the buyers back out, and will the buyers think the rest of the house would fall apart? My brain was racing at the moment. I was on pins and needles.

Related: 12 Key Components to Inspect BEFORE Buying a Property to Flip

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The Deal

Let’s start from the beginning of the deal. The lead came from an internet source from another wholesaler. The wholesaler was out of state, and he partners with me when he gets deals. I locked it up for $54k. I shot it out to my list for $64k. The highest offer we got was not really that good and came back at $58k.

So I told the other wholesaler, “Instead of us splitting $4k, how about I buy the house from you for $57k? And you keep all of the assignment.” He agreed and even offered to lend money on the deal. I declined and got the money from another source, which was much cheaper.


Front of House: Before & After

The house was a mess, as it needed everything literally. The good news was we could keep the current floor plan. As soon as you walked into the house, the fleas would jump on you and proceed to hug your pant legs because they apparently missed humans so much. The dog had been urinating in the house. The people living there did not have any electricity, hot water — or any running water at all. The owner had purchased the house for his sister-in-law to eventually refinance and cash him out. And, of course, that never happened.

As you can imagine, we had to do the whole outside of the house — new roof, new windows, new HVAC, and new siding. The neighborhood was ecstatic about this house finally being brought back to life. There was also a pool that could not be saved in the back. The previous owners had gotten dirt delivered to their driveway, but of course they never had the money to take the dirt to fill in the pool.


Backyard: Before & After (With Pool Filled in)

I’ve had some new investors ask me why I did not save the pool. The house is at a first time home buyer price point, and we listed at $159,900. We went under contract after two days for $157k. Since the property was listed at a first time home buyer price point, a pool is not a selling point due to the cost of maintenance and insurance. That would scare most of your buyers away. And besides, more children die from pools than from a loaded gun kept in the house.

Where to Spend, Where to Save

As far as the inside, it required all new lighting fixtures, a remodel of the bathrooms, new electric, and all new flooring; in a nutshell, we updated everything. The house came out very beautiful, and that’s why it went under contract after the second day. However, to save money, we kept the cabinets. We did paint them, put new fixtures on them and even though we were cutting corners, we still managed to go over budget.


Foyer: Before & After

Also, for my aspiring rehabbers, you never want to be cheap with things a buyer can see — for example, ceiling fans, appliances, door knobs and light fixtures. If a homeowner thinks you cut corners with the things they can see, they will also assume you cut corners with the things they can’t. The purpose of flips is to quickly sell and move on. You do not want to put a mediocre product on the market and have it sit for months. I’ve seen it happen before.


Bathroom: Before & After

Related: 3 Deal-Killing Reasons I Passed on a Tempting Fix & Flip Property Last Week

Again, this particular rehab is at a first time home buyer price point. So you don’t have to put granite in the house. These people are normally happy to see tile. What we did was use a very nice formica countertop that looks like granite. In the common area bathroom, we used vinyl flooring that is really nice, matches wall colors and looks like tile. I hope you get where I am going with this — it’s ok to be frugal, but make sure it’s high quality stuff for what it is.

bathroom main

Main Bathroom: Before & After


In conclusion, we were still able to close on time. We were able to get the leak in the ceiling replaced. We bought the property for $57k, put $50k into it, and sold it for $157k. There were seller concessions given in that final price. Just know that things do go wrong when they are not supposed to, but don’t focus on the problem. Focus on the solution.

Flippers: What unexpected kinks have you run into lately? How did you overcome those challenges?

Leave your comments and stories below!

About Author

Nasar Elarabi

Nasar El-arabi has been involved in real estate for 12 years. During those 12 years, Nasar has wholesaled houses, rehabbed properties, build new properties, created a buy-and-hold portfolio, and flipped land. Nasar identified early in life he wanted to have his own business. Fortunately, because of parents who instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in him, he was able to build a seven-figure business after being terminated from his job in September of 2012. Nasar has gone on to become a successful real estate investor in Charlotte, NC. Nasar has over 100 videos on YouTube and runs a blog at


  1. I was in contract up until the Home Inspection was done for the Buyer. Everything else was fine, pest was clear and appraisal came in at contract price with VA Loan. What killed the deal were minor issues that even the Buyers agent thought wasn’t a big deal and I was willing to fix it all. This is the 2nd Buyer for this house which is discouraging. The worst part I think is the 90 FHA Flip rule which make you hold the property longer than necessary and 90% of the time the FHA Appraisal comes in under contract price and that appraisal sticks to the property for 6 months for any FHA Buyer! The biggest challenge for me is finding a good deal and then finding a solid end Buyer.

  2. Sonny Smith

    Nice work and nice post Nasar! I have never done a rehab because I’ve been too afraid of something going wrong like this. You have provided some very practical tips and advice. I love the end “…don’t focus on the problem. Focus on the solution.”

  3. Brian Ky

    This was very inspiring. I have been discussing with my wife my desire to move into REI and perform flips. Just browsing around on what is available on Zillow I have been discouraged on the poor quality of some of these properties. Your story is inspiring that there is hope for even these homes which are in terrible condition.

  4. If you have those poor quality homes in your area and priced right, those are the ones you try to buy. For me, it’s very difficult to find Fixers that are not way over priced. Good luck!

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