Hi, here’s a little story about a year long odyssey of my year long renovation of my second rental property. I paid 13k for a row home in Baltimore, MD and it took me a year to complete the renovation and get a tenant in. I’ll share why this took so long, and why that was okay.
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Overestimated My DIY Skills
I did not have as much liquid capital as I should have had. This was my second renovation, and I based DIY skills that I used on my previous renovation for a condo built in 2001, for a row house built in 1905. Right…Total newbie mistake thinking its going to be the same level of output. Thankfully, I could rely on Youtube, and subject based home repair books to get through it. This, of course, added time to the project. As I was working full time, I only had Saturdays to do all these repairs (during the last two months, I went up there Friday – Sunday, and camped out at the house. That’s another story.). So, going up to the house with a lot of spit and vinegar, but having to take the time to learn new repair skills and new tools would make a project go into next week. Yeah, one project per weekend turned into one project per three weekends. You can see how this added up. Add to the fact that every time a contractor told me the costs in the thousands, I decided to do myself, also added extra time. You would think demoing the basement would be a one day event, until you get to the level of plaster coating the walls from 1960. Truly, that stuff is ridiculously good at sticking to brick surfaces. Another extended project…
All of a sudden I had a lot more repairs than money in my pocket book. The only way around this obstacle that I knew at the time was to save up money from paycheck to paycheck. So, If I had to wait 3 or 4 paycheck cycles to have the money, I would wait those cycles out while I did the little things. That definitely extended the time of my renovation, which I did think at the time would only be 3 months. But, what’s important is what I learned.
What I learned
At the end of the day, I learned some valuable lessons. I learned that failure doesn’t have to be an option. If I didn’t have money, I saved up, and it’s a good thing I was living frugally to be able to come up with the funds. Also, I learned that vision was important. I could have quit at anytime with certain repairs not being made, but I refused to let up until my vision of cozy, warm home was fulfilled. I truly believe that my visioning is what lead me to the finish line, because I knew in my bones how I wanted that house to look and feel by the time it was finished. And I also learned more about houses and repairs in that one year to fill a book, and I can much more knowledgeably talk to all contractors about repairs and level of effort. That is something you just can’t get from a book or reading the internet. Sure, I wish it would have been finished a lot sooner as planned, but you really have to look at what you take away, and still keep on trucking. This actually motivated me even more to continue in real estate investing, especially in my price range, because the finished product was even nicer that I had envisioned. So, if it doesn’t go as plan…it really can still turn out ok, just keep moving one paycheck to the next until you accomplish your goals.