John Tesh blog on how we added a second bathroom on a rehab and saved a great dealWe found this house by a referral from a past customer. She knew we paid cash for houses and closed quickly. The owner was in trouble and getting ready to go into foreclosure. It didn’t fit our normal house-buying model, but we knew we needed to help her.

We put together a deal that worked for both of us. We were able to help catch her payments up, close on her house, plus pay for her move and six months of storage for her stuff.

A rehab in a smoking-hot neighborhood

This house is in a smoking-hot neighborhood called Lindley Park in Greensboro, N.C. The houses there were built in the ‘30s and ‘40s and feature mature trees and large yards and are minutes from shopping and downtown.

Initially, we were going to keep the original kitchen and bathroom as-is. We were going to do what HomeVestors calls a “whole-tail,” a wholesale-retail deal.

We planned on selling it on the MLS for around $159,000, just doing the roof and cleaning up the yard, updating the HVAC and letting the new owners paint the outside and inside.

An unexpected repair forced an exit strategy change

As with most rehabs, we ran into some issues our initial inspections didn’t reveal. We found an old, unused but

still connected hot water tank hidden inside the kitchen cabinets that had been leaking. We had to tear out the cabinets and rip up the floor down to the joints. This forced us to change our exit strategy, so we totally changed gears and did a full rehab as you can see here in our video. We actually added a second bathroom, and that allowed us to maximize our return on investment. So the house was listed as a three-bedroom, one bath. It’s now a three-bedroom, two bath.

It really could be a four-bedroom, two-bath. There was an addition built on the back in the ‘80s. That is the flat-roof part where it joins the back deck. Someone could turn that into a huge master suite, and that is where we added the second bathroom.

Most of the floors in the house were hardwoods, and they were in really good shape. We were not even going to do those, and in the end when we had to switch gears we called our hardwood floor guy. He had an opening coming up two weeks later, so we said, “yes, put us in the slot,” so we did the hardwood floors.

Out back, the existing deck structure was fine, but the wood was rotted, so we ripped off the top boards and re-decked it. That small outlay of money has made a huge difference to the property.

We work together as a buy and rehab team

My wife is an interior designer, and she runs the projects as well as the office. I am the buyer, and I’m out looking at two or three houses a day. Corinne’s job is to coordinate the scope of work and handle all the trades, color pallet and finishes. We pull the building permit as the owner of the property, but we have all the trades pull their own individual permits and get inspections. We get everything inspected because, in today’s market, in a flip like this, the Realtors and owners want to know everything has been done correctly. We bought the house for $121,000, spent $38,000 in repairs, and it’s going on the market for $225,000.

My wife has her strengths. I have mine. We make a great team. She has her broker’s license too. The only reason she has it is because before we joined HomeVestors we were burning out Realtors with 20 or 30 offers a month on foreclosed properties where we just couldn’t make the numbers work. We were relying on their conservative comps, and we missed out on lots of deals. So now that we’re with HomeVestors, we have fantastic advertising and incredible systems to guide us.

My background as a photographer allows me to have some creative fun as well as promoting our projects on social media. On our Citygate Homes Facebook page I wait until we are halfway through the rehab to start posting photos of our daily progress, and this builds a huge audience. At the end, I create a video or two to tell the story, and we typically have over 100 visitors at our open houses.

The transformation of 3010 Collier Drive how we added a second bathroom and saved the deal

The kitchen before John’s rehab.

The transformation of 3010 Collier Drive and how we added a second bathroom and saved a great deal

The kitchen after John and his wife completed the rehab.

As I write this, the house has been on the market two days, our open house is in three days and we have a bidding war going. I love this business!

What other investors can learn from this project

‘What other investors can learn from this flip is that you must have a built-in cushion and to expect hidden things that will add cost to your project,” John Tesh says. “A two percent to four percent contingency is a normal number for us.  These changes to your scope of work can be costly, so always have multiple exit strategies on the property and know you’re  dealing with a moving target. ”

Please visit John’s facebook page here.

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  • John and Corinne Tesh

    John and Corinne Tesh are real estate investors and owners of Citygate Homes, LLC, a HomeVestors franchise in Greensboro, N.C. John’s background as a professional photographer and Corinne’s expertise in interior design play a big part in the success of their business, which includes not just rehabs but also buy-and-holds and wholesale properties. Contact them at or or 336-854-8000.

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