My First Foray Into The World Of Real Estate
My first real estate experience was not here in Huntsville Alabama, but took place in a suburb of Chicago all the way back in 1976. I'd always had an interest in architecture and had majored in it at college for a while. A few of my friends and I had a small painting and remodeling business that pretty much put us through school, paid the bills and allowed us to enjoy life in our 20's. The business also gave me a lot of hands on knowledge that firmed up my confidence level to take on flipping my first house.
With my dad as my partner we purchased a 100 year old Victorian for $9,000.00. The home needed a lot of work, but it wasn't what I considered over whelming. I figured we could do the work and have the house back on the market in a month and a half or two...so, okay, I've made a few mistakes in life, but this was a doozy! This home had original gas light fixtures, an Octopus furnace in the basement wrapped with asbestos and both first and second floors were sunk towards the middle of the home about 5 inches!
I'm pretty sure anyone who has purchased and taken on the responsibility of caring for and maintaining a "Vickie" will tell you they "ain't" easy...lots of ongoing maintenance and detail to attend to. Anyway, one of the first things we did was to raise and level the house approximately .25" each month and if you calculate that out we ended up with the house for a little over 18 months...so much for the 1-1/2 month flip! The furnace in the basement was dismantled and asbestos wrapped duct work was tossed...lots of dust and at most we wore painters masks...does no good filtering out asbestos...it wasn't a big deal then.
Drywall was replaced, stairway rebuilt, new electric ran where necessary, new appliances, paint and carpet finished it all off. Finally the house was ready to go on the market and placed in the MLS Books...the old timers will remember what they are. After being on the market about one month listed at $36,000 the house sold for $34,000 and everyone paid their own closing costs.
Some how we still managed to walk away with a few thousand dollars, but considering the time spent there we took a beating. But, it was a beating I wouldn't have missed...I'm not sure I'd want to go through it again, but I certainly would not give that experience up! It was a real learning experience that ultimately got me hooked on real estate. I also got to spend time with my dad...priceless!
Photo is the John B. Kane Residence Wikipedia
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