We have news on the Roadrunner house! We made the decisions we need to get the project started, and signed our old buddy Ruben of RJN Construction up to be the general contractor for this one.
You may remember Lee posted about Statements of Work a few days ago. For this project, we went all out and used the form, and it’s working out well so far.
Last Friday, Lee and I met Ruben at the house in Bryan to go over exactly what to do on the house. We were joined by a young man who is a fellow FortuneBuilders student, who wanted a chance to see how we did things as he prepares for his first project. We were happy to serve as mentors for him.
Lee had examined our options on the house carefully, and determined that the original renovation goals would leave us not making any money on the house. So, Ruben revised his estimates to include fewer items, and Lee plugged them into the Statement of Work, to serve as our budget. The walk-through on Friday helped us cement exactly what was and was not going to be done. Some things we eliminated, while other things were added. I’ll share a few of the areas where we made changes to our new plan, so you can see how our thinking went.
You know what his one looks like. Absolutely zero curb appeal. We are going to paint it the colors I showed you earlier. The biggest change will be eliminating the arches that made the front porch rather dismal, and creating a larger front patio. We will miss the interesting effect on the porch, but the plan is to try to match the driveway, which has a stone layer on top.
Another change will be to the bay window in front of the house. It is no longer up to code, so we plan to use the bricks from the archway to build the window up higher. That way the replacement windows will be less expensive, and there will be energy savings from the morning sun blasting in. Painting the brick and trim should make the front much more attractive. We also have a budget to add at least a few plants to the front.
We won’t be able to tear down the wall we wanted to make the kitchen more “open concept” as we’d really wanted to. There are good reasons not to tear down walls. The best one is that we won’t have to get any building permits. That saves both time and money (ka-ching!). We also won’t HAVE to replace the counter tops, which are currently a fairly blue solid surface. The thing is, it’s a rather striking mottled blue. So, I had the idea of keeping it and its matching backsplash, and painting everything else in the kitchen light colors. We will paint the cabinets white (with nickel knobs, not the white ones in the picture) and the walls the same color as the rest of the house, and we will add a lot of lighting (including a non-hideous light in the eating area).
The floors will flow from the rest of the downstairs, which should make it look less cut off from the rest of the house. And way behind the eating area there is a door. We will replace the one with half glass that’s there with one that’s full glass.
We chose stainless steel appliances (you know, because people like them) that will also lighten the place up a lot. Someone will enjoy this kitchen a lot.
We had to keep our budget in mind when selecting materials for the house. So, when Ruben and I (along with Anita and Ruben’s wife, Judy) went to select the items to use, we did our best to get durable things that weren’t overly fancy. For the flooring we picked a laminate that looks a LOT like wood (similar to what we put in the Villa Park house, which everyone loves). It’s actually great stuff if you have dogs or kids, because it shows damage less than wood, and is not as hard as tile. It will go in all the downstairs except the sunken family room, and in the upstairs bathrooms.
We are putting a nice, neutral carpet in the family room and upstairs that is treated to resist pet stains, but is on sale right now. It has bits of tan and gray in it, so if buyers change the paint color, they might not have to change the carpet. Since the house is so large, the savings we got on both flooring surfaces will get will add up.
We debated a long time about what to do with the paneling in the family room. It is actually very nice paneling, and the wood is all matched. But people hate paneling; we know that. So, we will paint it the same as the other walls, and accent it with our trim color. The massive fireplace will be painted the same color as the outside brick, which is a medium brown, inexplicably called “Rosey.”
We found some really pretty light fixtures that will go in the entry, stairwell (currently a dark pit), and dining area. Everything else gets fans. Lots of fans.
The bathrooms in this house vary widely. One is newer than the others, the current master bathroom. It has some lovely 90s wallpaper, but otherwise good bones. The shower and jetted tub still work, even. So it just gets a frame around its mirror (to look “modern”), resurfacing of the tub, and new fixtures. Of course paint and flooring!
The other “master” bathroom has even prettier 90s wallpaper, and just needs paint and fixtures. That’s nice. To save the budget, we are keeping all the counters, which are old but in good shape. It would be nice to stick granite on all of them, but that’s not in the cards!
The bathroom for the other two bedrooms needs tile, very badly. It’s sort of hideous, and the tub surround is sad old plain white squares. It has a nice surface on the vanity, so we are saving it. That means we had to do this room more gray than the others. Luckily we found a very nice tile on sale that will work in all the bathrooms, and a nice accent trim. All the bathrooms will have the same family of fixtures (my favorite Oxby by Moen, which is also in both my own houses). Buyers like it when all parts of the house flow harmoniously, which is why we are using the same paint, carpet, and flooring throughout.
You’d think the bedrooms would be easy. They are HUGE, since the house was expanded by eight feet on each end. And each bedroom has at least one large or very large closet. One has two. The issue we ran into was what to do with the numerous built-ins. They are all dark wood, and may not be exactly what buyers want. On the other hand, built-in desks and bookcases are things some people love. So, at the moment we are keeping them and painting them white.
Another issue is the windows. Most of the bedrooms have at least one weird window. The two back bedrooms have sliding doors that lead to nowhere (a deck was removed). There is some interesting wood stuff to keep people from falling down, and he door handles are removed. The west-facing master bedroom is also incredibly HOT right now. I touched the classy aluminum foil lining its windows and nearly burned my hand. Thus, it’s not an option to keep the old windows. We are making them smaller and WAY more energy efficient, and will also install solar screens. That should help with the electric bills!
As you can see, we had a lot of decisions to make, and were constrained by our goal of making a profit when we sell the house. A few factors are helping us:
- There were lots of great Independence Day sales at Lowe’s this past weekend.
- Ruben gets a really good contractor discount at Lowe’s.
- We are buying so much stuff and have been such good customers in the past that we have room to negotiate.
So we felt comfortable dashing through the store and making selections in just an hour and 45 minutes. Once you know exactly what you need and what your budget is, it’s easy to make the decisions that will create a lovely home for resale. We hope!
Do you have questions about our thought process, ideas, or comments? Please share with us!