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Property #1 – Rehab Update 5

Property #1 – Rehab Update 5

We know what you’re thinking.

“You guys are STILL renovating that place?!”

Believe us, we feel the same way. We naively thought we’d be fully complete, with us fully moved in up stairs, unit A rented, and us spending our free time at Fall festivals drinking pumpkin beer.

Boy is that not the case.

So what’s been holding us up?

Well for starters, we’re new at this whole thing. But that’s obvious. Besides that we’ve ran into some snags.

  • We have some super talented and skilled friends and acquaintances who happen to be electricians and plumbers and sheet-rockers and painters and who are doing us a solid by working on our property on their off days. And we’re SUPER thankful for all of their help. But they have full time jobs and so they can’t be at our property doing work every single day. We completely understand, but it does take a bit more time than if we hired a full time construction crew.
  • Permits and inspections. We had great luck with the turn around time on permits and inspections up until this point. We had to go back and forth with the town, revising plans and resubmitting them for approval. After about 2-3 weeks, we finally scheduled for rough inspection and we officially passed on October 25th. Wahoo!
  • Our last and perhaps biggest delay was Hurricane Maria. No, we weren’t hit by the storm up here in New Jersey, but The Troop was deployed to Puerto Rico for two weeks to assist with hurricane relief. With his carpentry and GC skills needed to move some projects along, we were sort of at a standstill while he was gone. While we missed him up here, PR needed him more.

These three reasons, well four if you count us being newbs, delayed us so much, we actually had to cancel our cash-out refinance because we weren’t going to be able to close in time. Fortunately, we didn’t have to pay any fees or lose out on any expenses. We held off on paying the appraisal for this exact reason.

Enough with the excuses. Let’s talk renovation updates.

Weeks 18 through 24

Unit 1

Unit 1 has been 85% complete for some time now as our focus has shifted to the second-floor unit. In a perfect world, we’d have this unit finished and rented out by now but unfortunately, we need a certificate of occupancy and those are issued for the whole building, not per unit. So, while we could have finished this unit by now, we wouldn’t be able to rent it out until the other unit is complete.


Nothing new to report

Living Room / Dining Room

The built-ins were painted along with the old louver closet doors. Crazy what some white paint will do to a space!



Living Room
Dining Room


In our last update, we shared a total newbie move in which we had to pull down a freshly sheetrocked wall because we had some plumbing issues. Since then, the problem was fixed and new sheetrock was installed.

We also installed drywall around the new kitchen window along with the space above the cabinets as they were previously covered with some weird type of plastic board.

Our plumber installed the new stove and dishwasher leaving us to plug in the refrigerator and install the over the stove microwave. Home Depot charges about $75 to install the microwave and I just thought that was ridiculous. So that will be my project one day soon.



No major updates here except drywall was hung in the closets and painted.



Guys, we have a HUGE update.

I mean HUGE!

We have a functioning toilet! This may not seem like a big deal but let me lay this out for you. All of the long days put in working on this house for the last 5 months have been done without a toilet. Which means every time I had to use the restroom, I had to get in my car, drive down the street to Wawa and come back. Of course, for the guys it was a slightly different story but for the ladies out there, you know this was a pain in the ass.

This was one of the first rooms in this property to start receiving a facelift. Within the first few weeks we had it demo’d, drywalled, and tiled. But we never fully completed it by setting the toilet, vanity and painting the walls.

Until now!

Look how beautiful it looks! We still have some more work to do such as installing the medicine cabinet, light fixture and trim but it’s finally coming all together.


Side Entry and stairs to basement

We installed new vinyl sheet flooring on the stairs, painted the risers white and painted the walls and ceiling. Starting to not look like the entrance to a scary and creepy basement.



Unit 2

If you follow our Instagram, you know we were held up by inspections and when we passed, we felt like kids on Christmas. We were sooo revved up and ready to get back to work. And the progress in this unit reflects that.


With inspections passed, we were able to lay down the sub floor over the new plumbing, and insulate and sheetrock the walls and ceiling. The day the sheet rock went up was amazing. The crisp clean lines make all the difference in this little unit and you can really start to see it all come together. Since then, it’s be primed and ready for paint.



This little bathroom had me really excited. We paid to have someone tile the bathroom downstairs in Unit 1 but this one was going to be our little project. The Troop has tiled before, but I never had and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on our new tile cutter and get to work.

So we tore up the old floor and laid down some hardi board.

First, we cut and laid the tiles in the space without actually installing them to make sure everything fit and we knew what we were doing. As we stood there admiring our work, we noticed that there were two or three tiles that were significantly darker than the rest of the tiles. After much investigative work, we realized that even though we bought the same color tile from the same store at the same time, the boxes were different color tones. Who the hell would make the same color tile in a different color tone?

This put a huge hiccup in our plan. Fortunately, we didn’t actually install any of the tiles but we were running out of day light and didn’t have time to run back to The Home Depot to buy more tiles. After some freaking out, we decided to rearrange the tiles so the darker pieces were disbursed around the floor making it look intentional.

What do you guys think? Can you tell where the dark pieces are?

We originally planned on keeping the walls in the bathroom, but we got excited and just took them down one day and added it to the list for our sheetrocker.

Next up, paint color.

You may know that we aren’t a big fan of the color we chose for Unit 1. In certain light, the color seems to have a pink undertone. This time around, we wanted to be more thoughtful with our paint selection so we came back with 5 different color samples for the living room and two for the bathroom.

Until I get a call from The Troop after work one day saying we NEED to pick a color for the bathroom tonight because we have to paint the areas where the vanity and toilet are going to go so the plumber can set them tomorrow.

Well shit. I didn’t get time to test them. So we picked a color and hoped for the best. We went with Glidden Smoke Grey.

Living room

The plaster walls in the living room weren’t in horrible shape so we skim coated them and sheet rocked the ceiling.


Entry Way and Stairwell

Sheet rocked walls and ceiling.



This property has a decent sized back yard but you’d never know that with the huge montrocity that once sat in the middle of it. It was a combination of trees, bushes and poison ivy. We had to get rid of it. We also had some not so pretty bushes and a tree in the front of the house.

We looked up a few free removal and landscaping companies but never actually reached out to one because dealing with the landscaping was the last thing on our list.

After working on the house one day, we went to a local bar in town. We noticed a gentlemen across the bar wearing a t-shirt with a tree removal company logo on the back. The Troop went up to him, bought him a beer and boom, we now have a tree guy. Don’t you love a good dive bar?

They came out the next day ready to work and had all of our unwanted bushes and trees removed in less than two hours. They rocked. Thanks Haddon Tree Company!



Before & After (It’s now Fall, hence the lack of grass.)


So that’s where we’re at! It’s getting to be pretty exciting. Our vision for the property is finally starting to take shape and the finish line is near. We can’t wait to move in, rent out the first floor and continue making steps towards our real estate goal.

Hopefully this will be the last “update” and the next post will be showing off our newly renovated and finished duplex.

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4 thoughts on “Property #1 – Rehab Update 5”

    • Hi Megan,

      Thank you so much! Finally seeing it all come together has been super motivating. I saw you posted an update as well and I can’t wait to read it! Thanks again!

  • It sounds like you both have been very busy since the last update so congrats on the progress! Do you guys still plan on doing a cash-out refinance or have plans since changed? Did you consider potentially using a HELOC to access equity instead of a cash-out refinance? Just wondering your guys thought process of the cash-out refinance Vs. a HELOC.

    • Hi Chris!

      We’ve certainly been busy. We do still plan on doing the cash-out refinance once renovations are finally complete and we are ready for the appraisal. We did consider doing a HELOC especially since it would save us from the closing costs associated with the cash-out refi. I think the deciding factor, besides other benefits, was that our current mortgage has a 4.875 interest rate, and the refi would bring us down to 4.125. So, even after cashing out 30k, our monthly payment would only go up minimally. If the refi didn’t offer a better interest rate, we most likely would have went with a HELOC. But that is still an option down the line since we’ll still have a decent amount of equity in the property that we can borrow against.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

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