It wasn’t the first time I decided to fix and flip. I had a rather impressive record of property bombing-in and out in a couple of years six separate times. Each move was a Groundhog Day experience: I lived in my home while it was under siege and confess to loving having a ‘fridge in my living room from time to time. Sure I gained weight. It came with the territory.
Friends and family thought me insane. What aging, single woman with zero talent for construction projects does this, they asked repeatedly? I raise my hand proudly. As long as a contractor exists on the planet, I will help feed his family, I used to say. Flipping isn’t new to me–I did it before it had the trendy name.
With each property, I learned. From a clapboard cottage on a quiet lake that needed so many repairs I kept contractors on speed dial for three years while living amid the rubble to my current condo with its sky-high view, I fixed and flipped. With so many flips under my belt, I felt invincible-until I lost my job. The real estate market crashed. I kissed goodbye my hefty down payment plus the $30,000 spent thus far. But once the shock wore off, my brain kicked into gear and went to my, “If it’s not cancer or heart disease it’s not life threatening” mantra.
With my first Social Security check came a reality check: I must hunker down and finish the work myself. Talk about therapeutic: From removing tiles likely installed by the Pharaohs’ men in-between building pyramids to becoming a Pinterest stalker, I mastered everything necessary to jump in. My lone regret? Why didn’t I adopt this mindset earlier? Finding a middle ground I became a master negotiator for sub-contracted jobs.
Having become a cash-only client, I got discounts for prepayment and saved a bundle on labor charges. I learned the Zen of Ren-ovation and I’m in better physical shape than I was when I couldn’t tell the difference between a mallet and a hammer. There’s a new timeline to flip this place and I’m on it.
Mourning a flip that didn’t work out for you? Take this grandmother’s advice: Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Figure out how to finish the work cheaply and expeditiously so it can go on the market sooner rather than later. Ask friends to help with work. Ask relatives. Time to collect IOUs from adult kids.
Show the world how clever you are about making adjustments on the fly. Discover what it’s like to live in the impromptu lane and I recommend hanging this sign in you work area: Ask for what you want, whether it’s a discount or you prefer to pick out and schlep your own toilet from a discounter. My contractors think I know it all. They won’t find out that I don’t until after I flip this place.