I did a thing! I did a thing that jump started my love and passion for real estate investing and renovating houses. In 2017 I purchased a run down, very old home in Philadelphia that needed an enormous face lift. I had spent months looking for the perfect home to transform and truly make my own. By utilizing the FHA 203k renovation loan, I found and transformed my first home in Philadelphia into a beautiful modern house.
My criteria was pretty narrow, which made it easy to hone in on the right projects, but difficult to wait for the right house to pop up on the market. I wanted a house greater than 1,000 SF, more than 14′ in width, in a certain zip code, and on a block with no boarded up houses. Ok, that last one is a no-brainer but the rest were to secure this house as a long term investment and I knew would make it worth it in the end. The Philadelphia real estate market is extremely competitive, so many houses that would fit within my qualifications are scooped up by local real estate agents.
The benefit I had was that I was planning to live in the house myself and would be willing to pay more upfront to secure the deal. The house I found was a 1,360 square foot row home built in 1925. The house had not been renovated in decades and more recently been pillaged for anything worth any money (copper wiring, cabinets, ect). It had knob and tube wiring, radiator heat, no ac, drafty windows, hodpodge of flooring, lead paint, asbestos and piles of abandoned junk. What I saw was a large floor plan, beautiful archway, high ceiling, intricate trim work, square footage to play with and boatloads of potential. The long term owners of this house had clearly loved and taken good care of it over the years, as the basement was relatively dry, no evidence of termite damage, and solid structural bones.
The loan I used, an FHA 203k loan allowed me to purchase the house AND finance the cost of the renovation. The closing process is a lot longer and the renovation requires A LOT of paperwork. It is a lot of work, but it is one of the best ways to buy and renovate a house with the least amount of money down – only 3.5%.
My renovation included:
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