House Flip Update; Historic Home Rehab

I realized this morning that I haven’t done any new updates on the rehab of our historic house since the news story aired on CBS 3.

Right now it has a new roof, we cleared the yard, filled in the pool, tore off the half-assed addition and cleaned everything up, all the new windows are in, the interior plumbing and electric is all roughed in, all the sheetrock is up and the guys are starting to paint the interior. Our contractor said that he picked up 90 gallons of paint at Sherwin Williams for the interior. Also the exterior is primed and we are starting the finish coats on that.

Here are some photos I have of the work in progress. You can see the before pictures HERE, the before video HERE and the CBS news story of the house HERE;

Filling in the Pool

View of Illegal Addition and Pool

Tearing off the Addition

Addition Gone, Pool Filled In

Side View all Cleaned Up

I don’t have any new pictures of the interior or of the exterior painted, so I will have to get some of those to show you what it is looking like now.

We should be finishing this one up soon. Once the sheetrock goes up and everything is painted it’s a race to the finish line!

Probate Deal and Top 20 Real Estate Investing Blogs

Alot of you are probably familiar with the site It’s a great real estate investing site that features forums, articles and an awesome community. Joshua Dorkin, who runs Biggerpockets, recently put together a list of the Top 20 Real Estate Investing Blogs, and I’m proud to say that our made the list!!! There are alot of good blogs on there, many of which I visit regularly, so make sure you check it out.

Things are still cranking along with all our various rehabs. I think we are renovating 8 houses right now, with another two ready for construction. 

One of the jobs underway is a probate deal that we picked up a few weeks back, located at 51 Crystal Ave. This house was referred to us by an agent that we’ve bought quite a few properties from. We actually put the house under contract back in March, but we had to wait for the probate process to be completed, which took about another 3 months.

This is another gem. It had been vacant for several years and all the mechanicals were shot. We are going to be doing a complete rehab of the house, both the interior and exterior. It will get a new roof, new siding, new windows, new electric, new plumbing, new heating, new insulation, new sheetrock, 2 new baths, new kitchen, etc….. We are also going to be changing the layout a bit to make the third floor more accessible and to better utilize all the square footage within the house.

Now, I coulda sworn I took some before photos of this house, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. When I went back to get some the guys had alreay started the demo and the new roof was being put on…. so here are some pictures of Crystal Ave after a couple days of work….. Enjoy

51 Crystal Ave

Crystal Ave

The house looks like it’s brick… but it’s not. Thats a faux brick siding that they use to use back in the day. I think it’s made out of asphalt, like roof shingles. You can see in these pictures above that we already have the old roof ripped off and the new plywood is up.

There was a porch off the back of the house that we ripped off because it was falling down and unsafe. You can get a better look at that fake brick siding in this picture. 


Above is a look at the kitchen, which has been mostly gutted out.

First Floor Half Bath

Second Floor Full Bath

Second Floor Full Bath Gutted

Living Room


Master Bedroom

Dining Room

Stained Glass Window


This house is 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths with about 1,400 square feet. We’re gonna add some additional square footage and another bedroom. We bought this property for $25,000.

Reader Questions – Rehabbing a Fire Damaged House

We’ve rehabbed alot of houses that have fire damage, because of this I get quite a few questions from our readers on renovating fire damaged homes.

These types of properties can seem very intimidating to the new and experienced investor alike. You have multiple issues with fire damaged homes; not only are you dealing with the burn damage, but there is also smoke and water damage that come into play when renovating these houses.  Because of this trifecta of potential problems we usually just look at most fire damaged properties as full guts…. this way there is little question as to what we can save and what we need to replace….. we just replace it all!!!

Below are two recent questions I’ve recieved from visitors to the site along with my responses. 

I was curious if you could give some tips on rehabbing a fire damaged property. I am making an offer on one today and would like to hear from you about any ‘gotchas’ or unique requirements from buyers, lenders, fire departments, municipalities, etc.


My response:


Alot of it depends on the extent of the fire damage. Was it contained to one small room, or did the fire spread throughout the house?

We generally budget for a full gut rehab with all new mechanicals when doing a fire job. Once you have the house gutted out it becomes pretty easy.

Make sure you pay close attention to any burn damage to structural beams and joists. These usually will have to be sistered or replaced depending on the extent of the burn damage.

You can walk the building inspector through before you start the project and he will point out what he wants fixed and corrected.

Also be sure to work with a very good contractor that has experience with full gut rehabs and knows alot about framing and correcting any structural/support issues.

Good luck with your offer!!!

And now the second question:

Hey Matt

I live in Baltimore and am looking to do some similar things to what you and your partner are doing up in MAss. Can I get any tips on renovating a burned out place…Is there anything specific I need to do prior or during renovation? How do you deal with the smoke smell, do you guys like wash them down inside or once the drywall goes on it kind of encapsulates all that? Any kind of special testing group I need to bring on or anything?

And my response:
Most of our fire damaged renovations are full guts. So we rip out all the sheetrock, carpeting, electric, ductwork etc…..
The smoke smell is tough to get rid of. We encapsulate all the burn damage with an oil or shellac based primer/sealer like Killz. We are usually tearing all the sheetrock out so this is done to burn damage that remains on wood framing, ceiling/floor joists or the roof rafters. On one project we did the fire was contained to an upstairs bedroom and hallway. So we kept some of the sheetrock on the first floor. However I did notice that on really warm days I could still smell some of the smoke left in the walls.
Make sure you are working with a good contractor that really understands framing and building codes.

Hope this helps – Matt

Obviously theres alot more that could be said on this topic and each fire damaged property is going to be unique. The best ones are when you are dealing with a small fire that only burned a couple interior rooms. The more questionable ones are when the fire really spreads throughout most of the house and does damage to the exterior walls and burns up through the majority of the roof. I’ve found that some of these can’t be fixed or it doesn’t make sense economically to rehab them, as the potential rehab cost far exceeds what the house will be worth when finished (especially in areas with lower priced homes).  
You’ll notice that in both responses I made sure to recommend using a good contractor, as this will make or break your rehab, especially when your dealing with fire damage.

209 Gifford St, SOLD … House Flip Recap

We officially sold our rehab at 209 Gifford St on Friday. It turned out to be a very good deal for us.

We purchased this house right off the MLS. I used to be of the school of thought that there are no deals on the MLS… that if the house was a good deal the agent would buy it themselves, or they have pocket buyers that they send their good deals to. But that’s just not the case.

This property hit the market and we had our offer in within a day. There were multiple offers on the house and it went to highest and best. I think we were the second highest offer, but we were cash, the other higher offer was financed. If you remember what this house looked like you’ll know there was no bank that would touch this property. So we ended up not being the highest… but we were the best!!!!

This was a major rehab that consisted of gutting the whole interior, ripping off the second floor and rebuilding it with a full dormer.

Once the rehab was complete we sold the property to one of our own buyers, for full price, which saved us over $9,000 on commissions.

Below is the final video we did at the end of construction. You can see our before pictures HERE and our before video HERE.

Well, the house sure did come out gorgeous.


House Flipping News Story Update

Our story aired on Thursday night during both the 6PM and 11PM news and it really came out great. Jen Thome with CBS 3 did an awesome job of putting it all together and putting a good, positive, spin on the story. I wasn’t sure just how long it was going to be, but it turned out to be over two and a half minutes.

Heres the link to the story that aired: (just click on it to open)

Local Company Flips Historic Homes

And here it is on Yutube:

On top of our company being on TV, Jen invited us to the CBS 3 studio so we could check out the newsroom and help anchor the 11 PM news.

Here are the photos of Dominic and I in action

Hampden Homebuyers on the news

Matt and Dom covering the Days Top Stories

Dom covering Sports

Matt Giving a Weather Update

Matt, Jen and Dom discussing all the latest Trends in Flipping Houses

We’re officially Famous….. so if you want an autograph just leave a request in the comments section below!!! LOL

Yet another completed Rehab… 104 Columbus Ave Holyoke, MA – Finished and Staged

Here is another amazing home we finished and just brought to the market.

This property is located at 104 Columbus Avein Holyoke MA. We did a full gut renovation of this property, bringing it down to the studs. We rearranged the floorplan to give it a great open feel. We enlarged the kitchen and the first floor bath. We also finished the second floor into a master suite complete with it’s own full bath.

The major problem we had to deal with on this house was some structural issues caused by 4 layers of shingles on the roof. With all that weight on the roof it was crushing the house. So the roof was stripped and there’s only 1 layer on there now. We also had to build new foundation walls to give the house a solid structure to sit on. Our contractor jacked the house up, rebuilt the foundation, and resupported the band joist and floor joists. Now the house is as strong as an Ox!!!

Here are the pictures of the completed home; (you can see the before pictures HERE)  

House for sale holyoke MA 104 Columbus Ave

104 Columbus Ave Holyoke MA

House for sale Holyoke MA 104 Columbus Ave

Home for sale Holyoke MA

Living Room Columbus Ave

House for sale Holyoke MA

Living Room Looking into Kitchen

House for sale Holyoke MA

Columbus Ave Kitchen Staged

Kitchen with Breakfast Bar looking into Living Room/Dining Area

House for sale Holyoke MA columbus Ave

Huge Kitchen looking at Built in Fridge

Kitchen with Tile Backsplash and Stainless Appliances

First floor bath Vanity with tile floor

First Floor Bath tub with glass tile inlay / border

First Floor bedroom with shiny hardwoods

New second Floor bedroom addition

New second Floor Full Bath staged

New second floor Full bath Vanity

Another look at second floor Bedroom addition

Newly built foundation wall

All new electric lines

One more Look at this Gorgeuos Kitchen

Wow!!!! This one looks incredible. With the second floor finished we have 4 bedrooms and 2 Full baths. This house has new electric, new plumbing, new insulation, new sheetrock, new kitchen, 2 new baths, fresh paint on the inside and outside, new flooring, and two newly built foundation walls.

This home is on the market now should go Fast!!!!

House Flipping Update – 209 Gifford St Springfield

Work is now complete at 209 Gifford St and it will be going on the market.

This project went pretty smooth without any major problems. Our biggest challenge came in dealing with the water department over the main water line. See, the main water line was damaged inside the house during our initial demo and the city had to turn the water off at the street. Our plumber repaired the line but the water department said they wouldn’t turn our water back on because they didn’t allow soldered repairs to the main line, and they wanted us to pay to run a whole new line from the street. After much arguing they agreed to come out to the house and do a pressure test. The test failed, but it wasn’t because of our soldered repair, turns out the line was also broken somewhere underground between the street and the house. So the water department had to dig up the street and our yard to run a new line into the house, and we ended up having to pay for a new line anyways.

So, this house now even has a brand new main water line all the way to the street to go along with everything else that is brand new!!!

I still need some pictures with the house staged, and I do have a video, but here are my most recent photos for you to view:  (You can see the before photos HERE. )

209 Gifford St Springfield MA

209 Gifford St Springfield House for Sale

View of Kitchen

Kitchen with tile Backsplash

Kitchen looking into Dining Area

Stainless Steel Appliances, 18x18 tile floors

New staircase heading to Second Floor

Dining Area with shiny Hardwood Floors

First Floor Bathroom w/Tile Floor

Fireplace with new mantle and tile

Second Floor Bath w/ Double sink vanity

Body Jet shower panel with Tile surround and Glass Tile border

Master Bedroom

Bedroom with Skylight and Closet

New High Efficiency Boiler and Water Tank

This one was another full gut rehab for us. We ripped off the whole roof and second story, then we rebuilt the whole thing and added a full dormer off the back. The house came out awesome and we should get a quick sale.

Flip This House Update-Historic Home Rehab

Dominic met with the historic society last night and we got all our final approvals to go ahead with our renovation of the historic house on Bowdoin St.

Heres a video of the way it looked just after we closed on it.