TimBRRRR 1.0, a step by step BRRRR

108 Replies

@Tim Bradley thanks for the post Tim. It looks like you have your work cut out for you. At least your other projects should seem relatively easy after this. I'm new to BP and this world of flips and dips. You mentioned BRRRR. Please help me out a little with this method: Is a cash purchase the only way it works?

I'm in about the same boat, except at this point it probably would have been easier to bulldoze this house and sell the lot! But like you, I'm learning what it takes to do the work, what jobs make sense to sub out, and how to handle things on the home front with a full time job and a wife and kids. I've read and read and learned what I can, but nothing teaches like doing!

Such a good read. You’re a real word-smith if not Sheetrock-hanger. Thank you for the no bs account.  I’m planning my first Brrrr soon. At least I already have a miter saw and will be contracting out all the work in Memphis, TN. Any contractors I should speak with, PM me 😊

Wow Tim. I can only echo everyone else about your writing style and humor. We are moving to Florida next May and my plan was to do a BRRR the first chance I got. Then, I talked to a lot , ok, about 2 investors who told me to wait.. They said you couldn't make any money in this market without a lot of risk and backbreaking effort. So glad to see you are having such a smooth risk free adventure. I am totally super excited to breeze through the same learning experiences for myself. Seriously though, I will be following with great interest. Loads of respect for willingness and bravery to take on the challenges. I have to say though, I would rather go a few rounds with a cage fighter than do drywall.


@Christian Wilson you technically could use traditional financing but it would be rather difficult. There are books and articles on the BRRRR method but the short of it is that you find a distressed property, rehab it and force equity into the house, rent it out and then pull out all your money. Traditional lenders arent usually super excited to lend on house with a lot of problems and might not lend at all. And you will still have to figure out how to finance the rehab even if they lend on the purchase price. I was fortunate to have the purchase price covered with a cash out refi from my primary and I did private money loan for the rehab.

Yep, we've been there and done that more times than I can count. Lessons learned: 

1. Always allow for hiring drywall & mudding. It's a nightmare worth paying someone else to do.

2. Always hire electrical and/or plumbing if needed. We would get estimates for these during the home inspection period (or second showing). 

3. Teach your kids how to build! Take them with you. Encourage them to work with a contractor or put them in a summer training program. It also has the added benefit of building character.  They may resist at first but will praise you down the road when they realize how much money they are saving when they can say, "I can do that!"

For the interior, we typically use "Torque White" for ceiling and "Accessible Grey" (Sherwin Williams colors) for the walls. Lowes and Home Depot can look them up and color match them easily.  Looks great with white trim. 

Regarding your exterior color choices. I would rethink the black and grey motif. Look around the neighborhood, choose a nice tropical pastel-like color. Homebuyers want a house that is light and bright inside and out. Remember, the house is not for you, its got to be attractive the the large majority of home buyers. When flipping or rehabbing a rental, don't put your choices in, always keep it neutral and middle of the road quality (unless you're in a more expensive neighborhood). 

Kitchen tip: Try to match your flooring to the countertops. So for instance, light color floor = light color countertops and vice versa. Kitchen cabinets should have some contrast against the flooring and countertops. So for instance, white countertops and light flooring against warm or dark cabinets. The same applies to a solid color scheme such as blue cabinets with white countertops or dark countertops with white or light-colored cabinets. Never match your flooring to your cabinets. It looks awful.

We purchase most of our kitchen cabinets from Ikea. Apart from building the cabinets (which is easy once you get the hang of it), they are easier to install because they hang on one metal rack which you cut to size and then screw into the wall. They are cheaper and look expensive (one simple drawer gadget and they soft close too). This guarantees that cabinets are lined up perfectly and make shifting them from right to left and/or switching them out way easier! 

Lastly, I don't see a tub in the bathroom pic. I only see this teeny tiny shower. I realize you have more than one bathroom but I can only go on the pics you've provided thus far. 

I hope some of this is helpful. Thanks for sharing your progress thus far. 

Thanks for the post Tim.  Its great to see a step by step on this project.  Its one thing to read about an idealized project, but its another to hear about what went well and what didnt along the way. 


Congrats on the project! Looks like we're on about the same timeline with both of our first BRRRR homes, and I relate to your drywall experience on a cellular level. Keep up the good work, you're almost there, right? ...Right?!

My projects have all been in the Northeast, so the exterior Grey and Black color scheme would be a popular choice.  As someone mentioned above, I am not sure what Floridians will think about it.   As for interior colors, I love to use Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.  It is a wonderful Greige that seems to go with just about anything.  And Painted cabinets. Never,never ever wood tones for the cabinets!  

Thanks, Tim!  I had an exhausting week at work, and I've been laughing till my gut hurts tonight reading all your posts.  Good stuff!  Hope you make a killing on this; man, your determination is inspiring!  Keep going! 

November 16th, 2019 update

I was sick last week so not much got accomplished. The wife was sick too. Essentially we quarantined the house, boarded up the windows, bought in enough Nyquil, Dayquil and whiskey to last us a week and hunkered down. My health is very important to me. Friday I was feeling good enough to go back to the house and get some stuff done. I would say I was at about 83.79% health with cold medicine in me. Now I normally only have about 12 really good brain cells to work with so doping them all up on cold medicine really didn’t do me any favors. Oh well, what could possibly go wrong…

  1. (No real need to number here, all I got done was one thing) Painting. God why do you hate me so much. Its painting. This entire post should say I painted. End of story. Painting is easy. Why do I have a story for painting? Whoever is out there hoping and praying for more rehab follies please stop.
    So I actually primed, not painted. I know right? Who primes before painting with all those wonderful paint and primer in one paints out there. Well you have to sell a kidney for a gallon of that crap so I wanted to let the cheapO stuff, AKA primer, soak into the new texture and drywall. Plus you know, that’s actually how you are supposed to do things. Will Tim be rewarded for his use of painting best practices? If you just answered yes you clearly haven’t been following along.
    I used a sprayer for the first time ever. Ha, I think everyone reading this has already formed a hilarious mental picture of some sprayer mishap. Don’t worry, you wont be disappointed. So I use a sprayer. I really went all out on this one and spent $30 on it. Top of the line, spared no expense. Hey it was on clearance so technically it’s a $110 sprayer. I set it up, easy enough and turn it on. Whoa it just starts spraying paint with no trigger involved. I thought that was weird for this top of the line model but then figured it was just how these high end sprayers work. So I am going along doing just fine. I even started on a closet so I could learn in a safe environment. Braincells 3 and 4 were awake for that one. Its really slow going. The paint is coming out but its like Im slowly airbrushing the walls. Veeeeerrrryyyyyyyy sllllllooooooowwwwwllllllyyyyyyy. I did ¾ of the closet like this. Finally I got mad. What a piece of S. sprayer, this is actually taking longer than hand rolling would take. Why would anyone use one of these…….Waaaaaaaait a min. Why would they then? Braincells 5 and 6 decided to wake up. I check the instructions (always do that last everyone, it saves lots and lots of time that way) and don’t see anything Im missing. Whatever, I continue on and decide I will do the closet only with the sprayer. I pick it up again and BOOM paint comes shooting out. What the heck?! Yeah, I pulled down the trigger. I actually missed the trigger originally. How flipping stupid do you have to be to miss the trigger. So needless to say things went a lot faster after that.
    Oh but wait. You didn’t think that was it did you? Not a chance. Apparently aerosolized primer creates this sticky film. It gets in the air and on everything. And by everything I mean everyone. As in me. And Im a hairy guy. Imagine a 3yr olds hands after eating a popsicle on a hot July day.  Now imagine if those hands were a 6ft tall hairy dude.  Yeah, that’s what I was feeling. All over. Good times. And I was only 1 room of 5 down. Luckily I had a full body coverall suit I could put on. Future problem solved. However I got to stew in my own stickiness for the next several hours. Don’t worry everyone, there is still more. Because of course there is.
    The Aerosolized primer is also very potent in the chemical smell area. And im assuming if I smell chemicals then there are plenty of chemicals in the air. That’s math everyone. If A=B and B=C then climate change is real. But don’t worry, I kept all the windows and doors firmly locked tight and didn’t use a gas mask. More best practices. By the time I was done I was feeling really messed up. Cold medicine plus a primer high is not good times people. 0 out of 10 would recommend. While its funny, its also a little bit stupid on my part.
    One last minor thing. If you put the gun down and turn it off before it is empty it just kind of spits up paint like a baby spitting up food. Where is the pressure coming from? Why would you build in this design feature. Well there are some very nice looking primer white areas of my floors now. Excellent coverage.
    Will I be using the sprayer again? Shmaybe. I primed about 4 rooms and a brick wall in 4 or so hours. So I think I made good time. It was only primer coverage though so quick and dirty. Ha, whether I was trying for quick and dirty or not that’s what I got. I will say that it was excellent at spraying the fireplace. I have a full wall of brick that needed priming before painting (that’s just good practice people) and if I had to do that with a roller or brush it would have taken at least 2X as long. I have that same chimney outside (kinda how those things work) so will probably keep it only to paint that. Otherwise this was for sure not a good time. And I would have been royally screwed if I was doing final painting. It was not precise. Whats that? Did I tape. Come on people, do I sound like the kind of guy who tapes first?
  2. Oh oh oh, sexy new black gutters are in too! So I did need to number paint 1!

Primed brick wall

This is totally how a sprayer should look after only one use right?

"Storage Case" I got for the sprayer when I am done with it.

Sexy new gutters!

@Annette Hibbler   thanks for the tips.  I hired out the real electrical work like new panels and service upgrades.  I can run outlets and switches.  Ill look into the grey color.  Might switch when we run out of the 5gal we have.  The grey for the outside is ok in FL.  Its pretty popular.  Im talking light grey.  All the other tips were great too!  Except the kids one.  I would have to borrow some to bring to the job site as I dont have my own.  Ill have to check if my insurance covers that.

This is the funniest post I've ever read.  As an investor, I feel your pain, but - if you ever decide you want to get out of real estate (or add to your repertoire) - I own a magazine too! I'd love for you to be a contributor!

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