Case Study: Flipping Small Spaces | Our Condo Rehab
Hey Flipping Junkies! Melissa again, here with another rehab article. This property is a little different from what we typically do. Condos are so small, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about flipping small spaces.
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Flipping Small Spaces Is Tough
Some of the bigger reasons why we don't normally flip small spaces like a condo is because you don't get as much of a return. The numbers on this property aren't bad, though:
- Bought for: $36,000
- Repair costs: $9,700
- Total expenses: $45,700
- Listing price: $89,900
- Gross profit: $44,200
Really, those aren't bad numbers for a small, just under 900 square foot condo. The thing is, these condos tend to sell quickly and for a good price. That was definitely something that we took into consideration when we decided we were going to flip this small space.
However, flipping small spaces isn't always quick or easy. A lot of times you'll end up battling with the building owner if you're working on a condo, townhouse, or apartment. Because these structures exist in units, it's easier for the building owners to have them all look and function the same. Since we bought this space, though, we flipped it!
Flipping the Living Room
There were two great things about this condo's living room:
- The hardwood floors were already there and in great shape
- The shelving unit was already there
It's things like that, that make flipping small spaces so much easier. Since the shelf inserts were already there, all we did was clean them up and they were good to go. There honestly wasn't much to do with them. And the same goes for the hardwood floors. They were in good shape, so we cleaned them and called it a day.
The fireplace was a whole other story. It wasn't bad, not compared to other fireplaces I've dealt with, but it wasn't a wow factor. If you've been watching our videos and reading the blog then you already know that I love making the fireplaces a wow factor.
Speaking of videos, we made a tour video of this property. Check it out on our YouTube channel!
Anyway, this fireplace originally had dark, matte finished tiles around it. It just didn't look like my style. So to turn it into a wow factor, I used these tiles from Floor and Decor. These should look familiar to you if you watched our before and after video, "How to Make an Open Floor Plan Rehab". If you're interested, you can read more about that house here!
In that house I used these tiles in the master bathroom to make it pop more. For the condo, I used those cool funky tiles to make the fireplace really stand out. Like I said in the video, these are pretty big tiles. My contractor cut them down so that they can be used for the fireplace, and I think they look really great.
The tile I'm using is called Cottage Gris Ceramic Tile from Floor and Decor. At $1.19/square foot, it's a great find that really makes a room pop!
The Dining Room
For the most part, the dining room wasn't a huge rehab. The floors were already there, so we basically just painted the walls and add a new light fixture. Yes, for my frequent readers and watchers, that is one of the chandeliers we bought from IKEA! If you missed out on the IKEA inventory shopping article, check it out! I talk about the things I look for when I'm stocking my house flipping inventory, and give you a breakdown of the things I bought and their prices.
When I'm flipping small spaces like condos, lighting is a super important feature. This condo had pretty good natural light because of the placement of the windows, but parts of the main living area were still dark. This IKEA chandelier that I got really brightens the dining room up and gives this condo another fun and modern feature. I really love how it makes a starburst shape on the ceiling when it's lit up. Super fun!
Other than that, we did go ahead and put in wide baseboards. The original owner had started doing that, but it never got finished. To make the entire condo feel more cohesive, I had my contractor finish the wide baseboards.
Flipping Small Kitchens
This was a very small kitchen. Everything about it was small. The breakfast bar opening was much, much smaller before I got my hands on it. I had my contractor open up that space so that it wasn't so dark and narrow in the kitchen. This worked for two reasons:
- The small space feels more open with a large "window"
- This cut out allowed more natural light to come into the kitchen
You can't tell in these pictures, but there's a huge glass sliding door on the other side of the dining room that faces the kitchen. When the blinds are open, it lets in a lot of natural light that this poor kitchen just wasn't getting with the original small opening.
After that space was added, we put in those pendant lights for more light. Again, this kitchen was very dark. Adding more light, or more ways for natural light to get in, really helps when you're flipping small spaces because it opens the area up.
Adding the granite to the countertops was pretty cheap because of how small this kitchen space was. In total, it cost us roughly $1,200 for the kitchen, and we had some left over for the bathroom countertop!
Ok, I know I talk a lot about not replacing the cabinets. I've mentioned it in almost every video or blog post I make. Of course, there are exceptions. These cabinets had rotted wood, and a lot of them were missing doors.
I couldn't find doors that matched the few that were there, so I said "Forget it. Get new ones!" Sometimes when you're flipping small spaces you have to know when to throw in the towel. Luckily for me, this condo wasn't expensive to rehab, so adding new cabinet doors wasn't a huge expense.
After we replaced the cabinets, I added new brushed nickel hardware. The kitchen really wasn't a big flip. Actually, this whole condo wasn't a huge project at all. That might be why I liked it so much, it was much easier than the normal houses I do!
The Bathroom & Master Bedroom
Just like the rest of the condo, the bathroom didn't need too much work. I really liked the tub surround tiles, so we cleaned up the grout and kept that how it was. The countertop was replaced with the same granite that we used in the kitchen. Again, because the whole flip was really cost-effective, I was able to make all of the countertops match. It just makes the whole place feel more cohesive.
The master bedroom got new carpet and a new coat of paint. For the most part, it was pretty simple. The problem was the closet. Unfortunately, I don't have any before pictures of this condo or else I would let you see what I was working with.
Ok, so the thing with this closet is it was a huge single closet with a water heater just open and exposed. This closet functioned as a storage closet and a clothes closet. I know, weird right?
So what we did first was build in a wall and close off the water heater so that there wasn't a safety issue. We built in a wall in the middle of the closet and blocked in another door to divide the space. Now there's a storage closet where the water heater is, and a clothes closet next to it. It's a much nicer use of the space!
Flipping Small Spaces Wrap Up
Working with small spaces isn't always confining. Finding ways to open up the space, or make it feel bigger than it is is important. And don't forget to work with what's there! We kept the hardwood floors and tub surround because they were in good shape.
Always be aware of what needs to be replaced and what doesn't. Normally I don't replace the cabinets, but in this case we really had to. In fact, we talk a lot about that in the FlippingJunkie Group on FaceBook. You should join! Come network with active real estate investors like yourself! :)
That's it for this before and after blog post. Stay tuned on the blog for the next one! And don't forget to check out the Flipping Junkie YouTube channel for full podcast episodes, before and after videos, vlogs, and more. See you all next time!