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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Complete Overhaul on a 1976 Split-Level!

Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Posted Mar 21 2020, 06:37

Hello All of BP!

Yesterday we finally hit the listing milestone for a live-in flip that was a whole year in the making.

We bought this 1976 split-level in a smaller town south of the Twin Cities in Minnesota last April. The family needed to move in a hurry so we were able to get a pretty solid deal on it with a purchase price of 171k. Consequently it was left in a fairly trashed state. They didn't clean out their dog's kennel (you can imagine what that looked like) and there were rotting vegetables strewn about all over! Here she is on the day we purchased.

And here are the new listing pictures as of yesterday.

The upstairs kitchen and dining room were separated by a load-bearing wall which made the space feel smaller than it actually was. Here is the kitchen and dining before.

We made the decision to remove the load-bearing wall and replace it with an island and a slide-in range. There are a lot bigger houses around us so we wanted to try to stretch the 1500 sq ft of the house as much as possible! The permitting process was fairly easy. I believe it was $80 plus free engineered drawings from the local Home Improvement store. We did the work ourselves. We removed the popcorn from the ceiling, painted, replaced cabinet fronts, and replaced the flooring with LVP throughout the whole space to give it a more modern feel. Here's how it turned out!

We did mostly cosmetics in the bathroom upstairs. The previous owners had painted over wallpaper so I had to scrape that down to sheetrock as well as remove popcorn from the ceiling. Here's the before followed by the after!

There were 4 legal and one semi-legal bedrooms in the house when we bought it. The semi-legal one was actually the downstairs living room that they had converted to a kinda-bedroom during their residency. We decided this made the relatively small basement feel extremely cramped and decided to convert it back, which involved knocking down an extremely heavy stone mantel that used to house a wood stove. Two days after our purchase the northeast bedroom flooded "for the first time ever" according to the sellers. We had to pay a professional to install drain tile and a sump pump which cost us $3,600 and was the most expensive part of the remodel. The other 3 bedrooms just needed paint and carpet! Here are the before and afters of the bedroom I remembered to take pictures of, including one of the flood and one of the bane-of-our-existence stone mantel.

Before:

Bedroom 1:

Living room (bedroom 2)

Bedroom 3 (hot pink and flooded. Double score!)

After:

Bedroom 1:

Living Room:

Bedroom 3 (no longer hot pink. No longer floods):

Bedroom 4:

Outside the house, our big project after cleaning up the free range compost was to replace the deck boards. The footers were just fine but the deck took up most of the usable space of the back yard. We decided to just strip it back some, replace the deck boards and railings and call it good! Here's the deck before and after.

All said and done the numbers look like this:

Purchase price: $171k

Misc Fees for Purchase: $5k

Remodel: Estimated $15k

=$191,000

List price: $240,000

Realtor Fees: $12,000

Estimated Misc Fees: $5,000

Profit Estimate = $32,000

Since we have lived in it the bulk of the time I'm not adjusting for holding costs. If I did took out the months we didn't live there it's about a $6,000 hold. In the mean-time we got to live in a nice neighborhood in a decent house! It was a fun and challenging DIY flip and we are hoping to provide a nice family with a move-in ready house.


Thank you for reading!

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Tim Swierczek
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Tim Swierczek
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Replied Mar 21 2020, 07:11

@Hannah Krebs looks great. Thanks for all the pictures and detail.

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Corey Hawkinson
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Bloomington, MN
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Corey Hawkinson
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Bloomington, MN
Replied Mar 21 2020, 07:41

@Hannah Krebs Nice work! And thank you for taking the time to walk through each part of the flip with pictures. One of the best posts I’ve read on here! Opening up that kitchen makes a huge difference.

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Jessica Grewe
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  • Rochester, MN
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Jessica Grewe
  • Investor
  • Rochester, MN
Replied Mar 21 2020, 08:04

Good Job and Good Luck!

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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Replied Mar 21 2020, 08:05

@Corey Hawkinson Thank you very much!

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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Replied Mar 21 2020, 08:05

@Tim Swierczek Thank you and thanks again for the financing assistance! House #2 is coming along as well!

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Shane Cummings
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  • Boynton Beach, FL
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Shane Cummings
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Replied Mar 21 2020, 08:10

@Hannah Krebs - great post!  I agree with Corey...thank you for taking the time to show all of the before and after pictures.

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Tim Swierczek
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Tim Swierczek
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Replied Mar 21 2020, 08:10

@Hannah Krebs Awesome! Stay safe

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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Replied Mar 21 2020, 08:26

@Shane Cummings Thank you! I'm a sucker for before and afters. Hard to remember the hard work pays off without them. :)

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Brittany R.
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Brittany R.
  • Investor
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Replied Mar 21 2020, 10:23

Good job! 

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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Replied Mar 21 2020, 10:25

@Brittany R. Thank you!!

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Replied Mar 21 2020, 12:21

Good Job! 

Love this before and after it looks awesome now!!!

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Harrison Aakre
  • New to Real Estate
  • Alexandria, MN
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Harrison Aakre
  • New to Real Estate
  • Alexandria, MN
Replied Mar 21 2020, 13:48

@Hannah Krebs

Thanks for the detail! We are thinking about doing the same to our 71 split level in Northern Minnesota. The toughest part about the kitchen and living room is the load bearing wall.

What did you guys do to take care of that in a cost effective way?

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Adam Tafel
  • Real Estate Agent
  • St. Paul, MN
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Adam Tafel
  • Real Estate Agent
  • St. Paul, MN
Replied Mar 22 2020, 07:15

Thanks for sharing @Hannah Krebs ! Appreciate the detail you put into this, good luck selling! 

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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Replied Mar 22 2020, 07:21

@Steve Bauer Thanks so much!

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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Replied Mar 22 2020, 07:23

@Harrison Aakre The load bearing wall was a heck of a project but we tackled it ourselves. Some cities allow you to do the work on your own with proper permits, engineered drawings and then a slew of inspections. I'm fortunate to be married to a construction veteran who has the tools and experience to get the job done! How far is the span of your wall? Ours was roughly 15' and I have the drawings for it somewhere!

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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Replied Mar 22 2020, 07:24

@Adam Tafel thank you! Heres hoping the lock down quarantine doesn't come to fruition (unless of course it's the safest thing..then we gotta do what we gotta do!).

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Jay Breitlow
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Jay Breitlow
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  • Orlando, FL
Replied Mar 22 2020, 07:40

Would love some more details about how the removal of the load bearing wall went?  Great job.  that was a smooth upgrade.

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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Replied Mar 22 2020, 16:35

@Jay Breitlow

Super long post but here are ALL THE DETAILS! This is not a comprehensive how-to manual and should not be used as one. This is simply what we did and what worked for us. Codes and requirements differ wildly by area, so what works and what is required here may not be the same wherever it is you are looking to do a similar project. Disclaimers aside, here’s the steps!

  1. -We started by measuring the distance the beam would span. Different spans and different weight support needs (snow load, number of stories above the beam, etc) made a difference for what we could and could not do as homeowners.
  2. -Next we checked our city/county/state building codes to determine the legal requirements for installing load-bearing beams. We called our city inspector directly as we are within city limits to ask him about the project and what would be required. Basically, check with whoever will be performing the permit inspections and see what their preferences are. We could have installed pine beams, but the city inspector preferred engineered beams. In our previous home in another city they wanted to see pine over anything else. Happy inspector = happy life!
  3. -We then sought out the blueprints. Our inspector also wanted to see engineered blueprints showing the span, the weight support specs, etc. Most local lumberyards either offer this service (perhaps even for free!), but if they don’t offer it in-house they are sure to know of someone with that ability.
  4. Since we live in town, we applied for the permit with the city, paid the fee, and provided the blueprints with the application package.
  5. -After the approval we gathered materials, which included special ordering the beams and paying for delivery. Our beam was 15’ long..to big for our mini-truck to handle!
  6. -On installation day, we removed the sheetrock to see if there was anything hidden in the wall (water pipes, electric, gas, HVAC ducts, etc). These all must be rerouted before any further steps can be taken. We had nothing unexpected, but were prepared to find contractors for anything that we didn’t feel comfortable rerouting ourselves.
  7. -We then framed up a “sister-wall” – a wall that directly abuts the wall to be removed and replaced with the beam. We removed the sheet rock in an area large enough to fit a 2x4 into that space. The area that the sister wall sits on cannot contain anything that can be compressed, like sheetrock or carpet. The goal is for the sister wall to maintain direct floor and ceiling joist contact. The sister wall consisted of a 2x4 vertical base at the top and bottom, with studs running 16 on center. We measured everything up and assembled the support wall on the ground and then simply pushed it up into place. 
  8. -Next we attached the sister wall to the joists above and below with screws long enough to get a good bite into the joists. It was vital to make sure everything was tight and would not allow for twists or turns; soon this wall would be supporting the trusses and roof above it!
  9. -Once we were confident that the sister wall would support the weight of the roof above it, we measured the studs down from the ceiling joists to the width of the beam plus ¾”. Our beams were 12” wide, so we measured and marked the joists at 12 ¾”. We then cut the studs off at tis line. We did this so we could more easily rest the beam if it got heavy and more easily adjust the position when affixing the header. The microlam beams we installed are HEAVY and can easily become too much to hold above your head.
  10. -We then put up the first of two (in our case) header beams and adjusted them into position. This was done mostly by ladder and by resting the beams on the cut-off studs and against the sister wall for more support. We attached them with the code-approved joist hanging brackets. Again, state and local codes are different so consult with your local codes to see which is appropriate for your area. We then put up the second beam and attached it to the first with code approved header screws in the specified number and pattern that our codes so nicely dictated.
  11. -Next we installed the jack stands on either side of the beam. This is a technical term for the vertical studs that support the beam. Our code specified exactly what these jack stands needed to be made from and how many we needed on each side, so it is likely that your codes will specify as well. We had to prove the type of wood for these jack stands so it was important to keep receipts. We measured the distance from the floor joists to the header beam, then cut the jack stands to size. These need to be a tight fit; they are now all the support from the ceiling down so we didn’t want any wiggle room. We installed the jack stands by pushing them tight to the top of the beam, and then kicked them into a leveled position, making sure to check and double-check the level. We then screwed them into the floor and header with screws. We needed two per side, but since my husband is cautious, we used three. For each subsequent jack stand installed, we screwed them together with construction screws as well as to the floor and ceiling joists for extra peace of mind.
  12. -Since our home has a basement, we had to repeat the installation of jack stands in the basement floor below. The jack stands below were the same number and quality of the floor above and were installed directly below the jack stands above. The weight transference must continue down each floor until you hit the concrete foundation of the house. Note: we have only done this process on houses that have full concrete basements. If we were doing this in a crawlspace house or a house with a dirt basement, we would have installed concrete footers to rest the jack stands on.
  13. -That’s about it for the installation of the header! Our inspector wanted to see the project twice: once to see that the beam was erected exactly as specified in the plan and again to see it fully sealed in with sheetrock. After that was approved, it was all installing new sheetrock, mudding, taping, and painting@ You'll notice we left a half-wall to start with. We eventually decided it obstructed the view too much and cut it down farther. The outlets needed to be relocated but we left most of the wall in place to use to support the island. 
  14. Here is the project before it was sealed up.

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Jay Breitlow
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Jay Breitlow
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Replied Mar 22 2020, 17:00

@Hannah Krebs you are a rockstar!!! Awesome work and thanks for the be detailed response

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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Replied Mar 22 2020, 18:30

@Jay Breitlow You're welcome! Sorry for the weird numbering, copy and paste failed me.

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Jonathan Treichler
  • Contractor
  • Minneapolis, MN
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Jonathan Treichler
  • Contractor
  • Minneapolis, MN
Replied Apr 3 2020, 17:36

Thanks @Hannah Krebs for the detailed info! As a young new investor, this was extremely helpful!!

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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
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Hannah Krebs
  • Flipper/Rehabber
  • Saint Paul, MN
Replied Apr 3 2020, 17:45

@Jonathan Treichler glad to help!

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Josie W.
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  • Alexandria, MN
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Josie W.
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Alexandria, MN
Replied Apr 11 2020, 18:35

Great post. Lots of information. Thank you for sharing in such detail and also for pictures! Great job... Congratulations.