Whoops – Townhouse finished!

Never did post that “finished” townhouse post, did I? We’ve been up to a lot in the past year – we moved, for one thing! To a beautiful already-rehabbed house with very little gardening space. It’s pretty weird to have no construction projects left for me to do except a bit of tiling and some elective carpentry here and there!

But so before I get sidetracked again, the finished townhouse (which is basically just the kitchen and basement)!

First floor before/after: The fridge and half wall were removed left to where the round table is in this photo to make space for a very necessary new half bath. (The only bath was on the 2nd floor). We tried to put in a full bath in the basement as well, but permits and regulations etc being what they were (the ceiling was 1/2″ too low) it snowballed and became too cumbersome and expensive to even attempt. I’m sure I detailed it at some point in previous posts.

1744 Webster HD plans 1ST FLOOR jpg

1744 kitchen 2

New half bath with pocket door where the fridge was:

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Every item in the bath was rescued and rehabbed from Second Chance, except for the sink faucet. The one-piece toilet and pedestal sink are some fancy-schmancy Italian brand that when I looked them up, started at around $2k. Not too shabby.

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And there were even enough extra leftover flooring boards kept in the basement (thank you, thoughtful previous owner!) to patch in the gaps in the floor where the wall had been and match perfectly.

Stairway/dining room wall before:

1744 living 2

After (new banisters/railings too, matching the ones already on the 2nd floor):

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Before:

1744 kitchen 3

After. We don’t have the same fisheye lens as the realtor used so it looks smaller, but it really doesn’t feel any more crowded than when the table was there. And the open staircase makes it feel … well, more open.

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Stairway down to basement before: (I had to find new floorboards for the landing at the top of the stairs, put in new oak treads and banister and stain it all to match.)

stairs looking down before

stairs before

After:

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Basement before:

basement to bedroom

After I added a new floor, drywalled & insulated, built in an electric fireplace:

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Can lights everywhere, including a new sofa nook (under the HVAC ducts) and a new little broom closet with a door cut down to match.

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The floor is luxury vinyl plank. Durable and gorgeous and gotten for waaay cheap on sale from Floors Plus. The baseboards and quarter rounds (stained oak) from there too were nearly free and almost match. I think they look pretty sharp.

Front of basement before:

1744 basement

Even just a new floor, paint, baseboards and more lighting makes a huge difference.

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And that’s about it! We didn’t have to do much upstairs besides cleaning and repainting and changing out the faucets and showerhead. Out on the back deck I needed to re-mortar some of the bricks and repaint the whole thing; the front door got a lovely glossy new coat of paint as well and the wood floors got shined. 1.5 floors from October through December 31st.

More than a year later now I can’t quite remember how much we spent, but I believe it was about $15,000. We purchased it for $292 and I estimate its current value to be around $307 if we’re lucky – Baltimore housing is not doing great at the moment. So with the cost of the rehab we’re very close to underwater, which stings. (Hey, at least I did it all myself; I’d had quotes from contractors for $45k+. At least I didn’t go that route, huh?)

I didn’t mind so much when I thought we’d be holding onto it for ten years and waiting for appreciation to do its thing; but we may not actually keep this house long-term. It doesn’t make a very good rental because among other things Baltimore City taxes are so much higher than elsewhere (our escrow is nearly double that of the rehab/beach house). Because of that, rent just barely covers the mortgage, so any expenses come out of pocket – whereas if we could start over with the same values in a different location, we could be cashflowing comfortably. Remember – originally we thought we could convert it into a 4-bedroom with a full bath in the basement. Rent for that configuration would have covered any expenses nicely, as 4-bedrooms are rare in the area. Obviously that didn’t work out… but oh well, at least I made absolutely sure before purchase that it would work, if not very well, as a 3-bedroom too.

But for the moment we’ve found some lovely tenants so we’ll keep it at least as long as they decide to stay. Feels bad to maybe give up a property after owning it for only a couple years (Oct. 2018 purchase), but hey, if the numbers don’t work then chalk it up to investment experience, right?

And in the mean time it does feel good to have done my part to spruce up a nice old place and make it even nicer. Is real estate like camping… leave it nicer than you found it? Makes sense to me at least!

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