Occasionally we share stories of real-life family economies all over the nation. We’d love to hear your story; share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few years ago, my friend and I bought a house.
We purchased it from a woman we knew; her husband had abandoned her and she needed to get out of debt.
We purchased this 28×52 Colonial on 0.18 acres at $52,000. As the upstairs was habitable, but the downstairs was in need of a full gutting, we ended up when all was said and done with 2200 total man hours. We spent over $100k into a full restoration, which was appraised at around $270,000. We were working as self-employed carpenters for 5 years together at that time and had a good handle on materials and labor estimates. In fact, we came in under budget.
In the end, having paid ourselves for our work about $25,000 each from home equity loans, we ended up sitting on the house for 18 months as the market slid farther and farther downhill. After exhausting our credit and shuffling finances around, we had to sell for what we could get, which ended up being $140,000.
Yes, you read that right. The market turned bad on us (2008/2009) and the land we had hoped to secure to upgrade the septic (small lot) was not able to be acquired, leaving us with a 2 bedroom septic system instead of the 4 bedroom system we planned for.
As a result of borrowing against our homes for the flip, we both were forced to sell our own homes, paid off our debts and are still alive to tell the tale, both debt free by God’s grace.
I wish we had folks like those at AME to help us appraise the situation at the time. I wish we had not taken 15 months to do the work, as we had to keep working on other projects to stay afloat. I really wish we had taken the offer we got the first weekend on the market for $200,000. Instead, I was prideful, ignorant, and didn’t even counter their offer.
We did some great work and learned a very hard series of lessons, so if anyone is a little gun shy about trying it again, it is me.
I have much to learn and appreciate the insights offered by the AME courses. I especially appreciate the Christ-honoring viewpoint from which this information is shared.
It is our desire more than anything to bring glory to God in Christ Jesus our Lord by our efforts, our attitudes, and every aspect of our lives.
Thank you, AME, for your labors for the Kingdom. They are a blessing to our family as we look to the future.
About the Author: Mark Cowperthwaite
Mark, his wife, and their 6 children live in rural midcoast Maine. Mark doubts if he will ever do another fix & flip, but he is interested in taking on some rentals. He has had health issues involving seizures for 15 years that have affected his ability to work, but in the last few months they have slowed down due to change of diet and removal of some stresses. His diagnosis was recently modified, and although the symptoms have not changed, by God’s grace Mark was able to return to work as a sterile processing technician at their local hospital. He prays that he will be restored to good health soon. Mark loves to work and looks forward to working alongside his family in some way in the future if the Lord allows. Learn more about the Cowperthwaite family on their blog.