So You Want to Be a Rehabber

Real Estate Agent with Tangletown Realty

Subtitled:  Do You Really Have What It Takes to Do the Zero Down Infomercial Programs?

If you want to be a rehabber and make some "easy" and quick money when you grow up, let me show you what the infomercials don't tell you!  The following series of pictures was taken from a house with good bones that could be purchased very cheaply to make a killing on resale.  But, do YOU really want to go here?  Do you have the stomach for it?  The photos on the left were taken before 2000+ pounds of debris was scooped by shovel from the house.  This is the first step.  The second step is to get close enough to the stove, toilet, and other fixtures to remove them without becoming contaminated or throwing up.

                  BEFORE DEBRIS REMOVAL                                                        AFTER DEBRIS REMOVAL

kitchen filled with debris same kitchen with no debris


refrigerator full of rotten food emptied refrigerator still dirty


stove piled high with debrisdirty stove after debris removed


sink full of debrisdirty sink without debris

And last, but not least.  I dare you to remove that toilet so a new one can be installed!

bathroom ful od debrisbathroom after debris removed

This house is not the standard, but if one can look beyond the debris to the house's potential finished state, there is money to be made here.  My mantra is  "The uglier, the better".  Because the seller doesn't want to deal with all that gross stuff the home will usually sell at a greatly reduced price.  A 40 yard box and strong muscles can deal with the worst of the mess, leaving the rehabber free to plan and envision. 

Pictures of the completed project can be found here.


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Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate
"Do You Really Have What It Takes to Do the Zero Down Infomercial Programs?"  nope....
Mar 15, 2008 10:28 PM #1
Miriam Bernstein, CRS
New Orleans Property Lady, LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans and Surrounding Suburbs Real Estate

So graphic, so true, so disgusting.  Hire someone? Masks, gloves, overalls.  These pictures are just gross. I think you made your point.


Mar 16, 2008 04:34 AM #2
Bonnie Erickson
Tangletown Realty - Saint Paul, MN

Miriam,  The good thing was there was nothing "mushy" in the piles and amazingly no sign of roaches or rodents.  It was all dust and paper and hard stuff.  A flat snow shovel, a HEPA mask, industrial strength bags, "grody" work boots kept for these times only, cover for the hair, and strip at the door of your own home when you're done does the trick!

I love to show pictures like this to starry eyed wanna-bes so they get the message.  I started real estate through the zero down infomercials, but it's not like they convey it on TV.  The work is much harder than I ever imagined and I prefer to do traditional sales, but love taking out investors.  They're business-like, know what they want, and work quickly and efficiently toward a purchase.

Mar 16, 2008 05:08 AM #3
Steve Sanders
Independent Observer - Saint Paul, MN

That is really disgusting.  How much do people charge to clean places like that?  It seems like you would need a HAZMAT team.  

Here are some photos of houses I sold:

Ice in bathtub   Ceiling damage 

Ice on Stairs

Mar 21, 2008 07:47 AM #4
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
Bonnie--A picture is worth a 1000 words...Uck and Ick come to mind as 1 and 2!
Apr 14, 2008 02:14 AM #5
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Bonnie...As soon as I wake up tomorrow I'm going to start throwing away some things.  That place looked scary.

Thanks for the inspiration!


Apr 18, 2008 05:31 PM #6
Jennifer Kirby
Kirby Fine Homes - Minneapolis, MN
The Luxury Agent
I would much rather clean this up, then have to deal with the flea infested home we dealt with a few years ago. The fleas were so bad that they were in the grass as well. We had to strip down before we walked into our house, in the garage, and pick fleas off of us before we brought then into our house, then take showers. Now that was discusting.
May 01, 2008 09:12 AM #7
Bonnie Erickson
Tangletown Realty - Saint Paul, MN
Jennifer, I'm with you on that.  Thankfully, we found no roaches, mouse droppings, or fleas!  I was totally amazed.  We still took precautions of stripping at the door and placing everything in the washer immediately!  The place is looking much cleaner today, but still need rehab money to bring to livable conditions.
May 01, 2008 09:52 AM #8
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

BE this is very sobering. Just the before and after kitchen shots exhaust me. All I can say is you have done yeoman's work so far.

Aug 01, 2008 12:19 PM #9
Tracy Santrock
Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge

Boy if you saw that one you've seen it all. I've spent all week trying to get a very nice listing in order! I'm thankful I didn't have to deal w/a true fixer upper.

Aug 03, 2008 03:25 PM #10
Bonnie Erickson
Tangletown Realty - Saint Paul, MN

Tracy, Every so often one comes across one of these.  Most frequently they are torn down even though the home itself is solid.  People just can't see beyond the debris.  I'll post after pictures when the owner gets done.

Aug 04, 2008 04:15 AM #11
Jason Fleming
Jason Fleming Agency INC - Coon Rapids, MN

Wow that is totally discusting!!!  I would never wish that job on anyone. 

Dec 28, 2008 03:32 PM #12
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