Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Is it possible to flip a victorian?

So far, my answer is no.
I didn't intend to adopt a victorian. Ask me.....never LIKE the house you are planning to flip. Always look at a possible flipper through your next buyer's eyes. Never, never want to live in your flipper! We looked at a dozen possible houses the day I walked into the victorian-in-trouble. Flippers come in all sorts of packages. Some look perfectly normal from the front....until you walk into the room that has the trampoline floor. You know, the ones that bounce down...but not back up. Some flippers had "handy-men" owners.....the ones who start a project but never finish it. One cute bungalow had some sort of two story structure between the house and the garage. Since it never had a was hard to understand what it was supposed to become. Without the was fast on it's way to becoming a back-yard pool.
I like one story houses. They are easier to paint. I like to paint. My husband likes the demo part. I like the finishing part. We don't do the electrical part. Don't ask me how an electrician puts wires into an old plaster wall....I expect to find out. Our new victorian has no electric.....I took one look at the box on the outside of the back wall, and had the wires disconnected. Many old old houses had "post and wire" electrical. This is kind of the edison look. White ceramic posts connected by frayed wires. It's OK, our victorian doesn't have water either. Those things come after fixing the roof.
Never buy a flipper house that needs roofing, wiring, plumbing and heating systems. These things are money-pits. And, new owners can't appreciate the money you poured into these things. What you really want to buy is an ugly house. You know....brown paneled walls, blue drapes, wrinkled red carpet with big burned spots. Maybe a nice moldy bath-tub, thrown in for fun. I had one of those. At least after you turn that kind of house into a have a sense of satisfaction. I am not sure how much satisfaction I will gain from having someone else fix my roof....but it is necessary.
So my premise is that a victorian is not a good flipper. They are usually two stories. Their plumbing, electrical, and heating parts are old. They may be too big to finance the repairs. People are looking for "smaller" new houses these days. But.....victorians CAN grab you. Your breath catches as you look up at the high ceiling, and wavy window glass. Visions of ruffled dresses sweeping the floors, and white aproned maids bringing iced tea on glass trays. Wicker rockers creak on the veranda. Victorians seem to be peopled with memories of former owners.
I admit it. I walked into this victorian and was hooked. It didn't matter that many of the high ceilings had plaster on the floor. I didn't really see the broken windows....I saw them washed with flowing drapes. Who cared if there were spots in the floor where folks had fallen in? I walked carefully around the edge.
To be to meet the tree trimmer.

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