Wanna Be a Successful Rehabber? Follow This Recipe - Part 4
From Craig Fuhr, The Fix & Flip Artiste …
What’s going on my, Superstar Rehabber? By now, if you’ve been keepin’ up with this series, you should be feeling pretty darn good about your ability to take down a rehab project! You’ve learned all the steps… from demolition to paint.
In this post, I’m going to take you through the majority of your trim items leading up to flooring. If you’re still uncertain, after reading post 1, post 2 and post 3 , we’d love to teach you more. Just click the “Need a Mentor?” link at the end of this post – and we’ll be glad to talk to you about our one-on-one, highly personal real estate mentoring program where you can work directly with me and Cody Sperber.
In Part 3 of this awesome series, I left off with Step 8 in the rehab process, which is paint. Your project will really start to take shape at this point, but again – I must advise you, this is the point in your rehab where you really need to make sure all the materials are at the house ready for your contractors to install – and that you really stay on your contractors to work hard to get the project to the finish line. I don’t know why, but this is the stage where contractors seem to slow down – so ride them hard!
Step 9: Tile
I love tile. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!
It doesn’t matter if you live in the south, where people essentially use tile like we northerners use carpet, or if you live in the north where, uh… we northerners use tile to really “de-ghetto-ize” a room. That’s right, I said, “de-ghetto-ize.”
I buy many houses that come with original hardwood, but at some point in their history, the previous owners may have covered the wood with laminate, or some other hideous form of flooring.
I like tile in my kitchens, and if the budget is too tight for hardwood throughout, I’ll place hardwood or carpet in the living room and dining room, then a nice 16” tile in the kitchen and baths.
Home Depot and Lowe’s have really stepped up their game over the past 12-18 months regarding tile selections, and they seem to be getting even better. For less than $2.00/sq. ft., you can generally find a tile to fit any style of home. Remember, keep it neutral, make sure it blends with your overall design concept, and always be sure to pick a tile that will match your cabinets and counters.
Check out these awesome pics of master bathroom I just completed in one of my rehabs.
Rehab Tip: Your tiling contractor will want to install the tile then grout immediately following his install. Remember, you still have some work to do in this house, and lots of dirty boots and dust are going to be hitting that nice fresh grout. As a rule, I don’t allow my contractor to grout the floor tiles until just before we lay the carpet. Trust me, this is a tip that you do not want to ignore.
I also like to make a statement with tile in bathrooms. The old adage is true. Kitchens and bathrooms really do sell houses and tile is what makes these spaces sing!
If the house is smallish, I generally try to use the same tile flooring in the baths and the kitchen, but I add sizzle to the space with the wall tiles in the bath surrounds. Again, you want to keep your design neutral, but sizzle it up with nice accent tiles, like glass, or mosaics. You’ll have no problem finding a massive selection of accent tiles at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
If you feel intimidated by the endless selection of tiles, get inspired by looking at designs on Houzz.com. I often say that I get my Champagne design ideas from Houzz.com, and then I do a Budweiser knock-off in my rehabs.
Step 10: Cabinets & Counters
The time to call in your trusted kitchen designer is just after demolition, so by this stage, the cabinets are sourced, ordered and staged for delivery.
Most of the houses I rehab are 60 to 100-years-old, and if you remember your Grandma’s kitchen, you’ll recall that it was pretty damn small and probably included counter space the size of a postage stamp. Seriously, how did they do all that good cooking in such small kitchens?
Anywho... we try to design all of our kitchens with plenty of counter space, and an eat-at breakfast peninsula or island…
If you’re working with a contractor who has done kitchens, he may be able to design the space based on your suggestions and his experience. If not, many kitchen cabinet companies will design the space for you for free (so long as you buy the cabinets from them). Always try to use 42” cabinets with full-fronts when possible, and pay a few extra for soft close drawers and doors because I’m telling ya… your buyers will notice these little touches.
Just look at this gorgeous kitchen I recently completed in one of my rehabs.
The cost of this entire cabinet package was less than $3000 – and if you’ll notice, it includes quite a few cabinets for such a small row-home. Notice, too, how I dressed up the cabinets with highly stylish, but inexpensive cabinet pulls from Ikea.
Rehab Tip: I’ve purchased cabinets from Home Depot, Lowe’s, little neighborhood suppliers in my city, and even from online sources like theRTAStore.com.
Ready-To-Assemble (RTA) cabinets are generally made overseas in Asia and shipped in flat boxes, and depending on the supplier, their quality ranges from “rental grade,” to “pretty damn nice!” They come in a wide assortment of styles and can be assembled quickly and easily by even the most stubborn contractor.
Google RTA cabinets and search Craigslist for smaller suppliers in your area. Also, IKEA has a wide variety of very modern cabinetry, but “BUYER BEWARE!” The cabinets, hardware, legs, and all the other crap will come to you in several hundred different boxes and bags. Ok, maybe several hundred is a slight exaggeration, but just know, assembling IKEA cabinetry is no walk in the park. It can be quite time consuming and even more frustrating.
As for your counters: When possible, go with granite. I know, I know. You’re thinking, “C’mon Craig… this ain’t the Taj Mahal…”
The cost of granite has dropped sharply over the past few years, and the big cargo ships carrying the RTA cabinets from China are also carrying, you guessed it… granite! The difference is, Chinese granite is often ¾” thick where standard granite is 1.25” thick. The ¾” Chinese granite is finished with an edge that makes it appear as if it’s completely standard. What will they think of next?
Step 11: Plumbing, Electric & Miscellaneous Hardware
We’re having some fun now, right? Along with your other trim items, you can really make a statement with plumbing and electrical trim. Trim items are essentially “the look,” you want for your houses. They are your signature. Faucets and lighting tie your look together.
I’ve often been told, “You just know when you’re in a Craig Fuhr designed home.” That’s because I take time before I get started to carefully design “the look,” of each home. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
Before or just after you close on the deal, take a blank spreadsheet to your local supply store. Pick out all the faucets for the kitchen and baths making sure to write down each SKU number, the name of each product and its price. Then do the same for your lighting.
If you are a volume rehabber like me, you may want to design a few trim packages, so you can simply give the spreadsheet to your contractor and tell him to pick “Package Plumbing A,” or “Package Electrical B.” This will save you a TON of time!
If you don’t see what you’re looking for at Home Depot, Lowe’s or Menards, keep in mind that each company stocks thousands more items online. There are also a plethora of online sources where you can find very nice plumbing and electrical trim items at near wholesale prices.
Whew… I’m exhausted, so I’m gonna go grab a beer. That’s it for now. If you are enjoying this series, please click the “Need a Mentor?” link below and share your comments.
Stay tuned for the final installment where I’ll tell you exactly how to get your rehab project across the finish line and ready it for a lightning fast sale!
P.S. Need a mentor?