To Hell and Back – The Double Reno

Here’s the album with commentary on the trials and tribulations:

To Hell and Back Again – The Double Reno

So, my wife and I worked with our family to renovate our little condo for sale. I bought it a few years after the crash, so had a pretty good deal on it. Years later, prices seemed to be plateauing for condos in my area (Southeast Florida) and there also seemed to be some big red flags with how HOA issues were being handled by the board. Figured we would sell and stay with family until we saved for 20% on a home for our new family.

Main focus was the kitchen – we spent about 2k to bring it up to date with our labor. Some 2x4s, drywall, compound, trim, caulk and a dream : ). Add in an aggressive realtor and we sold well above what we expected after just one open house for a few hours.

We took the profits from that and found an REO foreclosure after about a month of looking around. Coming from ~1,100 sq ft of condo it was a dream home. All the things we thought we’d never get (4/2, pool, two car garage) in an awesome neighborhood with plenty of green spaces around and top-rated school systems. About 75k below other similar homes in the same neighborhood. Our realtor was a family friend with a strong background in REO. We knew there were some great possibilities but that the bank was also definitely not upfront with the issues with this place. Mold was the big problem – we suspected and it was indeed detected. Turned out to be way more than we thought when we started opening the walls. The linked album will show the major stages of demoing and getting it all patched up again. The big projects here were opening up / expanding the kitchen and adding an island, as well as breaking up ~2000 sq ft of tiling and having new wood tile installed. Of course there are all of the usual things like painting, baseboards, a new HVAC when ours started leaking again suddenly and various other money pits.

The same awesome family that had the know-how to fix our condo up with us pitched in on this place every free weekend for months. Having an actual general contractor helping us for free saved a ton of money due to the labor, planning and connections. What we ultimately had done professionally for us – tiling, final drywall finishing & cabinet work for the new kitchen. We thought we’d spend 25-30k just to get in but ultimately spent about 50k and 11 months of constant labor since we ended up tearing out the floors and some other unexpected items. Home Depot for most materials (mainly drywall, insulation, 2x4s and wood / metal studs) and Dolphin Carpet & Tile for the tile work. I honestly can’t recommend them enough – we really annoyed the guy we were working with but they came out a few times and did what was needed to make us happy.

We found out we were pregnant shortly after closing, so it all worked out! Our new daughter is happy in our new home. Now to work on the million other things that need improvement…

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