Rental Bathroom Overhaul

Yesterday I wrote about how I renovated the basement in our latest property and the bathroom reno was definitely the most labor intensive.  Because I had so much painting to do, I let my contractors do the all the work, but I did tear out everything for them before they started to save some money.  So I tore out the sink, vanity, toilet (ewww…), and shower walls.  It was fairly easy to do, it just took a while.  I had renovated a bathroom down to its studs before so I had experience this time around.

As a reminder, this is what it looked like post purchase:

Old Bathroom

Spectaaaaaaaacular right?!  What you don’t see is the vinyl floor coming up on the other side of the toilet where the years of urine overshot had made the glue unstick.  Gross.

So, to tear out the bathroom, I just worked my way from the front of the bathroom to the back.  Disconnecting the faucet was first, then I ripped out the vanity.  The mirror and light fixture came next.  Then the nasty toilet was on the chopping block.  All this took me a half day to do mostly because the vanity did not want to come out easily.

Basement Bathroom Torn Out

Removing the shower walls took the longest and was the most dangerous.  Imagine shards of ceramic slivers flying toward your body.  Goggles, long pants, and a long sleeve shirt were a must.  A crowbar and hammer made easy-ish work of this but knocking that hammer against the crowbar was LOUD, so I suggest ear plugs.

Basement Shower Torn Out WideAfter the walls came down, I pulled up the shower pan.

Basement Shower Torn Out

The last thing to do was the floor which the contractors did because it was vinyl and they used a blow torch to melt off the glue to pull up the floor.  I don’t own a blowtorch and honestly, after wrestling with the shower all the day before, I was happy to do nice, easy painting in another room.

So, after all my frustrations on the world were unleashed in that bathroom, I went shoooooooping!  Seriously, picking out new tile, paint, faucets, etc. is the best part.

I initially went to a specialty tile store since they were having a “huge” 20% off Memorial Day sale and spent about $1,200 on tile.  After all that time picking out the tile with the bonehead sales guy (I say bonehead because he tried to steer me to all the expensive, hard to care for stuff even though I told him it was for a rental), I just said, “Yeah, sure $1,200 sounds totally reasonable.”  I then went to Lowe’s and worked with a guy in the tile department who said, “A rental?  You definitely don’t want to spend a lot.  I know just what you need!”  He totally got me (reno soul mates) and I had all the tile I needed for $250!  Of course, I canceled the first outrageous tile order.  Big box stores really are the best for this kind of stuff…

After buying a toilet, vanity, faucet, and fixtures and having my contractors install it all, I had this:

New Whole Bathroom

I used Repose Gray by Valspar on the walls and that tied in beautifully with the tile on the floor and the accent tile in the shower.  I used white subway tile with a medium gray grout to modernize the space.  Because there’s not a lot of storage space, I installed a shelf above the toilet and also a medicine cabinet with a mirror above the sink.

Basement Bathroom Front

All said, because I did all of the demo, the bathroom total came out to be about $3,000 with labor.  It was more than I wanted to spend, but for the rent I was asking, I needed the bathroom to look swank and it will pay for itself in less than 4 months so for me, that’s a win.

After seeing the contractors put the bathroom all together from beginning to end, I think that next time, I’m tackling the entire project myself… except for the plumbing in the shower… that still scares me because of the whole leaking-behind-the-wall thing.  I’d try all the rest though.  Me and my crowbar and new tile saw that I still need to purchase… ahhhh, new project, new tools!


We Got Another Rental!

I’ve been MIA lately which means that I’ve been super busy with life and more specifically, with buying and rehabbing a rental property.  We already have one that we lived in before moving to our current home.

Townhouse FrontIt was our starter home and has so many memories for us since we lived there for almost 12 years through the births of all our babies, first steps, first words (I’m getting teary!).  Tuscan was 6 when we moved away and we drove by the other day to check on the place and he said that he LOVED living there and has so many good memories of playing manhunt, trick or treating, running around with his friends, and just being a little baby doll (my words, not his!).   I’m so glad we kept it!  It brings in fairly good cash flow per month and we refinanced a few years ago with a 15 year mortgage since we knew we’d still get some cash flow with a 15 year so in about 10 years, this puppy will be paid off!  So, that’s our first rental.

With this second rental that we just bought in March, the plan was to rent out the basement and to have our “home office” in the top two levels.  I was looking for something that was close to our current law office because we plan on keeping a professional office there to meet clients since we don’t want them in the “working office” and we didn’t want to travel a lot between offices.  Further, I wanted a fixer upper- that was a must because I wanted an undervalued property and you can’t find those with properties that are in tip top condition.

I posted on (a real estate website that I highly recommend) on how I purchased the place and the podcast host, Joe Fairless, of The Best Real Estate Advice Ever read the posts and asked if he could interview me for his show, so if you want to find out the nitty gritty on how I found, negotiated, and purchased the property, you can find that here.  *I’m a star! (not really)*

Enough shameless publicity…  To make the numbers work for this property I had to fix up and rent out the basement so getting that area ready was top on the list.  There’s a good sized bedroom, a laundry room, a full sized bathroom, and a living room with a fireplace that goes out into the fenced backyard so there’s a lot of room in the apartment.

The first step was curb appeal since the front yard was a weedy mess and I didn’t want people scared off before stepping foot inside.  So I spent a couple days digging, planting, sweating, and getting really dirty.  I loved it though!

This is what the left side of the yard USED to look like:
Old Front Yard Left

And now it looks like this!

New Front Yard LeftThis is what the right side of the yard USED to look like:

Old Front Yard Right

And now it looks like this:

New Right Side of Yard

So with the curb appeal taken care of, it was time to move inside.  The biggest eyesore in the basement was definitely the bathroom, so that had to be practically gutted.


Old Bathroom

And, it now looks like this:

New Whole Bathroom

Much more modern and clean looking!

New ShowerThere’s so much that went into the overhaul, that I’ll leave the details for another post.  In short, it went from ugly to swank for not a lot of cash.

I also painted the entire basement to include the fireplace (yea, it looks so much better!) and the ceilings (yuck!).

Basement living room before:

Old Basement Living Area

And after:

New Basement Whole Room

New FireplaceAnd last but not least, basement bedroom before:
Old Basement BedroomIt’s a terrible picture I know, but here’s what it now looks like with lighter paint:

New Basement BedroomAs I was remodeling, I showed it to a couple people and the second person took it even though the bathroom was completely ripped out and such a mess!  I had all the finishes laid out though so that he could imagine what it would look like.  The only hard part was that he needed to move in a week and a half so I had to work sometimes until midnight to get it ready.  Honestly, it felt like one of those house flipping shows where I’m under the gun, working hard, WILL IT BE READY IN TIME!!!  It was… because I’m awesome and had no other choice. 🙂

So the renter’s moved in and now I’ve moved on to fixing up the upstairs. More on that to come!

I LOVED the experience of buying this house, fixing it up, and being a landlord so my goal is to buy another this year in September and to keep buying a couple a year for the foreseeable future (if my husband doesn’t divorce me over it…).  I’ve been reading a lot on the subject as well as listening to podcasts and just overall researching how and where to buy real estate and I’m excited to buy the next one!