How long did your first DIY Renovation Take?

10 Replies

Hi guys,

I'm in the middle of my first project ever and it's taking considerably longer than I expected. I am learning a ton from doing almost everything myself, but it's taking me months longer than I expected to do my project. I'm renovating a full duplex. I've already completely renovated one side and am halfway through the second side now.It's taken me close to 5 months now and I'm still working. (i know this is much longer than most people's renovation time line, but this is my first house to ever work on so it's a slow process)

I was just curious, how long did your first DIY renovations take? Also give details like how big was your project, what did you plan for and what did it actually take. what would you have done differently?

thanks! I look forward to hearing how everyone elses projects go!

@Alex Nelson

I added a 3rd bedroom and 2nd bath to a duplex a couple years ago. The difference was though, I lived there while I did it so I wasn’t losing rents. I’d say it took me about twice as long as a contractor would take. But it was also half the price (and not even cheaper only because I had to spend the money to have an egress window and roughed in plumbing put in, which was half the budget).

It’s always a question of; is the money I’m saving costing me too much in lost rents. However, you’re also gaining valuable knowledge that will save money in the future.

I spent 6 months working during evenings and weekends on my first 3BR/2BA remodel around 11 years ago.  Clean out, floors, paint, fixtures, appliances, deck, landscaping, etc.  In hindsight, the savings and deferral of rental income were likely a wash; however, the education was worth 00,000s.  After the 5th house, lack of time, age and ability to cash flow contractors caused me to begin outsourcing most of it.  Best, Terrell

I lived in my first 3/2. It probably took me a good 9 months to a year to finish renovating it. The funny thing is going into it I thought I’d be done in three months...

Keep in mind though I was working a full time job, so I only had weeknights and weekends to do the work, but I did do 90% of it myself. Lots of hard work and long nights, tore the thing down to the studs. 6 dumpsters later and some really hard work I walked away with 100k in equity after a year.

It gets easier, and as @Terrell Garren mentioned, the education is priceless. Keep at it!

Originally posted by @Alex Nelson :

Hi guys,

I'm in the middle of my first project ever and it's taking considerably longer than I expected. I am learning a ton from doing almost everything myself, but it's taking me months longer than I expected to do my project. I'm renovating a full duplex. I've already completely renovated one side and am halfway through the second side now.It's taken me close to 5 months now and I'm still working. (i know this is much longer than most people's renovation time line, but this is my first house to ever work on so it's a slow process)

I was just curious, how long did your first DIY renovations take? Also give details like how big was your project, what did you plan for and what did it actually take. what would you have done differently?

thanks! I look forward to hearing how everyone elses projects go!

Hi Alex.

First renovation was an illegal basement apartment in Athens, Greece in 2005-2006. It took four months. I thought it would take a month, tops. I planned for interior painting. I ended up taking both the kitchen and the bathroom apart and putting them back together again, with new vinyl peel-and-stick in the bathroom. Painted the exterior metal gate and also the exterior entryway as well. Fixed the two-piece toilet and did a completely half-a$$ed job of turning the small bathroom into a wet room.

Currently, I too am renovating a duplex. Mine is a very large over-under with a full basement, a pair of stacked 2/1s. It was built for a local heiress in 1923, heavily remodeled in 1945. In total, this place is over 5000 square feet. I am about 19 months in right now. I overextended myself and my business model.

So don't beat yourself up, Alex. I had over a decade of experience when I started this project and I thought I would be in there for not longer than 8 months. I am working part-time in it and keeping up my regular W-2 job, as well as handling the maintenance on my other rentals. So far, there have been three major breaks lasting more than a month for renovating other acquisitions and getting them operational.

I have never regretted learning a single thing related to renovation. In the long run, it always eventually ends up making me money.

 

First Fix and Flip I did primarily by myself except for some major plumbing and electric... 1500 sf home, gutted bathroom and kitchen, jacked up sagging bathroom floor and install new floor joist, removed wall between kitchen and dining room.  Plaster ceilings and walls were a mess. It took me 4-5 months but learned a lot along the way. Hang in there.

@Alex Nelson took me over a year to renovate my duplex DIY. Took longer than expected and was frustrating at times, but the knowledge gained was worth it. Just keep pushing through, you got it! Be sure to take a day off if you're feeling burnt out. I felt guilty taking days off, but it's very important for your mental health imo.

@Alex Nelson

I bought a 3/1 1450 sqft house in April. I am a contractor and do it all myself. By myself.

From time of purchase until I had a tenant it was nearly 6 months. Complete rehab, 100 sheets of drywall, new kitchen, bathroom, lots of new electrical, flooring, paint, trim, added 1/2 bath/laundry room. I spent 6 weeks during that time doing a flip for someone else and had some small random jobs but spent close to 4 months there.

At the end of the day it cost me $15k rather than $35/40k, had the house rented and moved in a week after I was done.

Purchase- $40k, rehab $15k, rented $1,175. Arv $95-105k.

@Alex Nelson

My first BRRRR took about 45 days and cost approx. $30K in rehab. I did some of the work, but farmed out most of it since that's how I budgeted. I also had some help from a very good investor and friend, who literally saved my a*** by recommending reliable and cost efficient contractors. She also helped me understand the importance of not doing one thing at a time! This greatly helped speed up the rehab process! I'd say the biggest mistake I made was using the cheapest GC I could find on CL. Probably cost me an extra $1K.

@Alex Nelson It was 2 weeks but a small job. I was 17 and still in high school. It was tearing a wall out and adding windows. It wasn't mine and the owner says he took a leap of faith to let a 17 YO do his job but looking back, he got a real steal. He did give me references and I went from there and here I am nearly 40 years later. 

Originally posted by @Terrell Garren :

I spent 6 months working during evenings and weekends on my first 3BR/2BA remodel around 11 years ago.  Clean out, floors, paint, fixtures, appliances, deck, landscaping, etc.  In hindsight, the savings and deferral of rental income were likely a wash; however, the education was worth 00,000s.  After the 5th house, lack of time, age and ability to cash flow contractors caused me to begin outsourcing most of it.  Best, Terrell

Yup, this is generally what I find. First house took me forever as I did everything on my own while friends and SO were in another city, but it was college for whatever you want to do with real estate in the future. I did nothing else 6 days/wk. Because of the slow initial process, I knew which contractors were taking me for a ride, the time span to do things, the details associated with it, what can go wrong (and things will once in a while) because of how slow and careful I was with my first few rehabs and I didn't have some "know it all" barking out instructions that were wrong half the time. Can't tell you how many "I've been in the industry for decades" contractors talk out of their *** and think because they still find work, they've got the solution!

So push through, and remember, 5 months in the grand scheme of things is nothing! Doctors go to med school for 8 years and still get it wrong A LOT! The first year or two of re habbing sets you up to know what to go after, which contractors to use, how to get things done, and you can always take advantage of a deal. It's not how much you get done initially, it's making sure you get it done right.

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