Friday, May 17, 2013

Building Sweat Equity

I've been a bit of a recluse lately. I'm not hanging out with friends and not writing regularly. I even had trouble finding time to host the Furlo Bros Tech Podcast with my brother.

It's not that I've been slothful. Quite the opposite! When we bought our home, it also meant that I needed to fix up our duplex unit to rent out. We're doing all the work ourselves, so it's taking up all my free time (sweat equity!). I'm not done yet, but I wanted to share some photos of what I've been up to and what's planned.

The first step was to remove the carpet from everywhere. What a thankless job! There were a bazillion staples holding it down! I did recruit Jessi to help some, that for that I am REALLY thankful.

We did reveal some hardwood in the living room, but it's in horrible shape. Fixing that is a project for another, much later time. Instead, we're going to cover half of it with a floating floor and the rest with carpet. That'll create a dinning area in this large space.

Next, we discovered some problem areas with the subfloor in one of the bedrooms.

That's been ripped up and new plywood has been put down. It's much more solid now.

I also tore a hole in our utility room.

Previously it was covered up by a piece of wood. A very ugly piece of wood. Even worse, when you walked by it, you could feel a draft. Here's the template I made of the hole:

Right now I have the sheet rock cut and ready to be installed. I also added a mini-access panel so I can get to the plumbing in the future if need. My access panel will look MUCH better than a piece of wood slapped up onto a wall.

And now for the big project. The kitchen.

I know you remember my sander fight. Well, I'm back for round two. Here's what it looked like when I started:

It's hard to see, but the counter top is starting to pull up from water damage. So we're replacing the counter. Because the sink is in the corner, it means I can't buy a pre-made piece. So we're making them ourselves, and they look awesome!

Here's a wall in the kitchen:

Soon, that wall will have the refrigerator, and a nice cabinet right next to it. Here it is in progress:

The drill, the massive drill, it sitting on it. You see, my dad came up last weekend to help build it. We got really far, but had a slight accident with the table saw that required a few hours at the hospital. So, my dad is driving up again this weekend so we can finish.

Here's another feature of the kitchen in progress:

We're making a chop block for part of the counter. We priced them out, and decided it would be cheaper to make our own out of oak flooring. We're also using the oak for the trim to pull everything together. ALL of the brand new countertops will cost less than $250 when it's done (sweat equity!).

Here's a teaser of what the new counter looks like on the new cabinet.

It's been awesome to have my dad's help. Not only does he have awesome tools we can use, add an extra set of hands, provide his expertise with creative solutions, but it's just been fun to hangout and work together. It's times like this I wished I lived closer to family. I really appreciate all of his help (and don't worry, the doctor thinks his finger will heal mostly normal).

Many more projects remain. For example, we're going to replace this window because it doesn't actually shut. Let's just say I followed MMM's advice and wore long underwear all winter. We taught a finance class this January and everyone laughed at me. Laugh if you want, but I saved money on heating, and now I get to write off this expense and increase my rent.

We're also going to clean, paint, and re-caulk everything.

It's a ton of physical work, but that's the point. We're building sweat equity into this unit. That'll increase the rent and lower our maintenance in the future. It'll take about 18 months to pay for these repairs from increased rent. After that, it's all positive ROI. And really, we've been saving part of our other unit's rent for 3 years to pay for this, so we won't feel it in our monthly budget - it's already paid for.

Jessi was talking with some friends at work about remodels they're doing. In some cases, they're spending over DOUBLE what we are on just a bathroom because of the labor costs. For their own home that won't pay them back! I'm fairly certain if I paid someone to do all this work, it would be 10 times the cost. Instead, I get to keep my money and invest it further. That's building sweat equity.

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