House #42: The WI-2 House

December 11, 2012 · 12 comments

About 2 hours after we officially finished up rehab on The WI-1 House and got it listed, we got our second Milwaukee house under contract to purchase…

This one is in the same neighborhood as The WI-1 House — in fact, it’s about 100 yards away! The house is a good bit different than The WI-1 House — 1950s instead of 1970s, ranch vs. traditional 2-story, in better condition, etc, but given that we love the neighborhood, it doesn’t really matter.

The house is relatively small and compartmentalized — only a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom — but, there is some opportunity to modernize it and open it up. We’ll likely open up the kitchen to the living room and dining room, and then may expand the kitchen into the “family room,” which was originally an exterior space that was converted to an interior space at some point. Also, the house has a large, unfinished basement (that’s where the half-bath is); we may finish half the basement and may turn the bathroom into a full bath.

We’re still running the number to determine what the best renovation strategy will be for this one, but given that we’re closing on the purchase next week, we don’t have a whole lot of time to figure it out…

Here are some pictures of the property:


I’ll post more next week after we close on the purchase and decide what the rehab will look like…

12 responses to “House #42: The WI-2 House”

  1. Kristine-CA says:

    Congrats on getting another WI project under contract! What will you do with those windows? Those bedroom windows might be the smallest “egress” windows I’ve ever seen, and they appear to be in all the bedrooms (and the bath). Can anybody get out of that house in a fire? 🙂 Lots of bad windows in 1950-70s houses, but they’re usually a little bigger and better placed. Can’t wait to see how this one comes together.

  2. J Scott says:

    Hey Kristine –

    We won’t be doing any work on the bedrooms, so hopefully the inspector won’t have an issue with the windows not being up to current code. We have no plans to actually replace them if we’re not forced to. Mostly, we’ll be focusing on the kitchen, opening it up and making it bigger…and perhaps finishing part of the basement. We also have a lot of mechanical work to do.

  3. Kristine-CA says:

    I wasn’t even thinking about code, but about how undesirable they are. But I’m guessing that area probably has lots of houses with windows like that and some buyers probably don’t mind them in the bedroom. Definitely cuts down on heating costs.

    How did you find this one? Was it an REO? Or a listed property?

  4. J Scott says:

    Kristine –

    I don’t think buyers in this area will notice. Most of the houses were built in the 40s and 50s, and this is pretty typical.

    This house was listed for sale (distressed owner occupant) just a couple doors down from the first Milwaukee house. We called the agent off his sign to get a tour of the house, and but he was on vacation. We got transferred to a colleague of his, who came to show us the house, though it was overpriced and we didn’t even put in an offer. The agent who showed us the property was fantastic, and she ended up becoming our listing agent for the first house. This was a couple months ago. Recently, there was a price reduction and we submitted an offer.

  5. Lisa says:

    Hi, I’m just starting out in the rehab/flip aspect of REI. We live about 1.25 hours north of Milwaukee and would love to stop by. Will you be on the jobsite any time in the next 2 weeks?

  6. J Scott says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I’ll be kicking off work on The WI-2 House most likely around January 16 or so…feel free to shoot me a private email and we can set up some time to meet!

  7. Tara G says:


    I am trying to compare my labor costs to yours, and it always seems like I am overpaying, in the RDU area. What is the typical SF of your homes?

    Enjoy your posts and BP and am an addict of 123flip!


  8. J Scott says:

    Hi Tara –

    It’s possible that NC has higher labor prices than the Atlanta area, and that you’re not really overpaying. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with prices in that area specifically. Shoot me a PM and let me know what some of your labor prices are…perhaps I can get a better idea.

  9. Tara G says:

    Yes, possible that the area makes a difference. I find the biggest difference is in sheetrock, appliance installation, tiling, cleaning.

  10. J Scott says:

    Tara –

    For appliances, the only things that really need to be installed are the dishwasher, microwave and ice-maker line for the fridge. A good handyman can handle the microwave and fridge in less than an hour (so less than $30, most likely), but you’ll probably need a plumber for the dishwasher, which should be about $50-70.

    For sheetrock, what kind of prices are you seeing? About $1 per square foot of wall space is average, and you can probably find a little bit less. Sheetrock prices have gone up about 30% in the past couple weeks, so if you’re getting prices recently, it may be a little higher. But, you should be able to find someone who can do it for $1/sf or less.

    For tiling, if you use a professional tile guy, you’ll probably pay $6-8/sf. I’ve found that a good carpenter or handyman who has tiling experience can handle a basic tiling job (no intricate cuts, etc) for about $3-5/sf. But, good tile work is always going to be expensive.

    As for house cleaning, we pay $100-200 per house or about $25-30/hour.

  11. Ben Voorhis says:

    Do you ever put addresses of these houses up? I understand if not, just nice to check out the price bought compared to the neighborhoods.

  12. J Scott says:

    Hey Ben –

    I don’t generally post the addresses publicly, but if you’re curious about any houses, shoot me a PM and I’m happy to send you the address(es)…

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