This story is a perfect opportunity for future real estate investors to learn from our house flipping mistakes.

The Circumstances

We purchased this historical property listed on MLS from another investor who struggled with health issues.  When the homeowner purchased the home, he had big plans and began stripping the interior down to the studs. 

After completely gutting the property, removing all the plaster, electrical, plumbing, and boiler heater, he tried to list the home. That proved difficult since the home was not livable.

This was not a standard fix and flip. Only a builder could take on a project like this. It sat vacant while the owner searched for the right buyer. 

In addition to structural problems, the house leaked, there were gaps in the foundation and part of it collapsed. More exterior issues were discovered as we progressed through the project too.

The home, originally built in the early 1900s, was owned and inhabited by one single family. It was well-loved but had many other issues beyond finishing renovations in progress. Restoring this home meant starting from scratch.

The Plan

The original plan was to create a unique home, maintaining the character of the turn of the century home and pay homage to its history, but give it modern functionality and features. We wanted to create something unique.

Starting with architectural drawings, we tried multiple designers before landing on the perfect concept. I learned so much about different types of design and options along the way. We landed on a hybrid scheme combining an old farmhouse feel with a present-day twist.

The hardwood floors were original Bruce hardwood, known for quality since the late 1800s. We refinished the original wood staircase incorporating new custom-made spindles to match. And new architectural features were constructed with repurposed original wood found in the home.

Antique dressers transformed into vanities with old-fashioned style fixtures to coordinate. Shiplap on the walls, a tin backsplash, and exposed brick all played into the style of old meets new.

Based on the age of the home, we assume the home only had one bathroom initially. We added an upstairs bath, ensuite bath and another in the basement. To allow more clearance and functionality, we modified the stairs leading to the basement.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – But you can learn from our house flipping mistakes

Our dream project began as an opportunity to rescue an investor and create something special but it quickly turned into a series of valuable lessons.

First, a lesson in quality control. The initial contractor hired to install a concrete pad did not slope it properly. Water drained toward the house instead of away creating a significant leak in the basement. We broke up and removed the new concrete and repoured it correctly.

Then the house flooded again because the drainage system wasn’t designed accurately. Too much water diverted into one area. Further to the malfunctioning gutters, we discovered the foundation was not tarped properly by the previous owner.

We corrected the slope of the troughs and installed additional downspouts. Then we connected them to a french drain to move water further away from the house into an area of gravel for improved drainage. And repaired the basement waterproofing.

Besides the floods, someone broke into the home and stole supplies. The cost of unplanned repairs added to an already expensive project plus replacing materials resulted in delays. As they say, time is money.

Profitability took an even bigger hit when the home sold lower than anticipated. Typically our projects are starter homes but this was not the case. It was a showpiece. We listed it too low based on our historical process instead of what the home was actually worth.

The Results

Our adventure of a 19th century home restoration was as exciting as it was challenging with many lessons learned along the way. But the end result was absolutely gorgeous. We purchased the home under construction and moved it to the finish line, completing something truly one of a kind. 

The young couple who purchased the home moved from a large city. They absolutely love their new home and the proximity to the water and couldn’t be more thrilled. We are just as happy for them and proud of what we accomplished and learned.

It was an honour to transform a turn of the century home into a stunning showpiece keeping the original character of the home mixed with a modern feel creating something truly one of a kind.

Matthiew J. ScottThe Heart and Soul of MJS Properties

Take our advice and learn from our house flipping mistakes