We’ve talked about steps to purchase a house, how to get qualified & what happens after you have an accepted offer, now let’s talk a little bit about what happens after you close, specifically on a fixer upper!
I’m going to take you through each part of our renovation process, room by room I’m going to break down the vision, the obstacles, how we overcame the obstacles, and how choose and put the finishing touches on each space in the house.
When we were in the purchasing process we were deciding on what projects we were going to hire out and which we were going to tackle on our own. If you remember we used hard money to purchase this property so time was of the essence. We knew if we chose to take on the bulk of this renovation we would have to schedule it between our current full time jobs and it would end up taking twice if not three times as long. That being said we chose to hire a contractor to do the majority of our renovation. The yard was perhaps the easiest project of the entire renovation, which is why we chose to take it on ourselves.
Ya’ll, when we purchased Pearl Avenue it was in quite a state; to say the yard was neglected was an understatement. Trees were overgrown, there was a huge portable carport staged within the yard for “extra covered storage”, plants and trees that should have been transported years ago to larger pots had sprouted legs and rooted into their now home, with their original plastic pot woven in to the roots. In the far right corner was a pond that was mosquito haven and in the back right sat a tired old hot tub with a termite-ridden lanai.
The lower deck was rotted and on it’s last legs, the paint having worn off long ago. The lanai and hot tub had seen better days and there were two rogue outdoor storage sheds along the left side of the house.
Dream house right?
The first thing that we did after closing was figure out what was salvageable and sellable. If you are working on your first flip or renovation project don’t forget this step. We ended up making about $1000 from all of the things we were able to sell which in the long run helps our bottom line and also financed the purchase of a new chainsaw.
Since we were planning on doing a complete renovation we wanted to sell everything that we could. The carport sold quickly along with the storage sheds (in hindsight I should have kept those!). We had a buyer for the hot tub but it literally fell apart from being dry rotted when we tried to remove it from the property.
That weekend we loaded up the Sawzall, gloves and a cooler of beer and headed over and start thinning out the yard. We took out every tree and shrub that was there with the exception of one that was supposed to be there. All the others were not native and haphazardly left around the property.
Once the yard was clear it opened up the space tremendously, almost doubling the usable yard space. We waited to put the finishing touches on the yard until after the contractors had completed their work. The finishing touches included river rock, mulch, a custom flowerbed, Areca Palms, and partially new fence.
Due to budget limitations we couldn’t afford to do the whole yard rock so we opted for half rock, half mulch. We worked with Mama’s Garden Center and chose ¾ inch River Rock. The rock was dropped on the side where the carport had been previously… on the other side of the fence. So after shoveling, by hand, the rock from the outside of the fence to the inside of the fence, we used a rock rake to spread it evenly. That portion of the yard was on an odd slope so we also used the rock to even out the terrain although we did keep a slight slope so that water will continue to drain properly from the property.
The fence on the left side of the property had seen better days. The wood was rotted and we chose replace the left side of the fence with standard pickets from Home Depot. Once the fence was installed it was painted white along with the rest of the fence along the perimeter of the property. We used Sherwin Williams exterior paint. Also along the left side of the fence is where we installed the custom-built flower box. Perfect for gardening or landscaping. We installed 4 Areca palms within the flowerbox, they grow like weeds and provide a lush landscaping option for small spaces. They also work well in containers so as a finishing touch we added an extra potted Areca palm to the side of the steps to the deck. The pot only set us back about $35 (again, Home Depot for the win) and compliments the rest of the space.
The right side of the property was filled in with dark mulch. We had the mulch delivered from Manley Debeor and spread it ourselves. You should have seen the look on my face when the delivery guy pulled up. The pallet was 2 bags wide by 2 bags deep and stacked at least 15 feet tall.
I envisioned this side of the yard having some Christmas Tree Palms as well as some Arecas for lushness; however due to budget limitations we forwent this option and opted to drop the mulch so that we (or perhaps a buyer) could continue the vision down the road.
The final touch was replacing the house numbers with a new modern option, again from Home Depot. Full disclosure, I wanted the silver option but they didn’t have all my numbers in that finish so I went with black, which I was very happy with in the end. Also, if you go this route, the little metal risers that are included are tricky and break easily, use caution!
Stay tuned for the next edition of Transformation Tuesday where I will talk about our adventures in roofing. A hot topic right now, especially in the Florida Keys post Irma.
If you are thinking of taking on a renovation project or are interested in purchasing real estate in Key West please text, call, or email me (305.395.4073 / firstname.lastname@example.org). I am a full time real estate agent in Key West and happy to help you on your renovation and/ or home buying adventure.