We continued our remodeling slog in December.
After finishing remodeling the first unit last month, we started remodeling the next one. Then we moved into that unit end of December. Hooray!
We’re finally no longer living out of boxes and we’re moved into our long-term unit, able to unpack for real.
After living like a hobo for three months and making Kelly come along for the ride, it’s never felt so good to have a real bed again, a real closet, a real kitchen to unpack stuff in!
Now we’re starting to remodel the third (largest) unit which we just vacated.
Also pushed out a new case study last month on researching real estate markets to invest in.
In terms of results, in December we booked online revenue of $3,051, down -16% year over year.
Bummer. Good thing we diversified passive income significantly this year with real estate. Right now, our real estate income far exceeds our website income. I don’t plan for this to be an ongoing trend, but it does help short-term to create cash flow breathing room so that our housing costs are minimized which allows me more flexibility to grow HYW long-term.
My philosophy is: never be dependent on a single passive income source, but at the same time invest most of your energy in your most promising source. For me, the most promising source is still online income. There are sizeable entry barriers and technical skills required and, given enough time, the compounding effects online provide the biggest return of all sources.
It’ll take time, but with hard work and luck we can grow HYW to be a good passive income source.
Cool, so what happened last month?
1. Remodeled another unit
With our first unit remodeled and out of the way, we finally rented it out toward end of year after several weeks of lulls.
End of year has far fewer renters than summer. Like, waaaay fewer. Hopefully next time it gets rented out there will be more renters looking for apartments.
We also started – and finished – remodeling the second unit, which we moved into end of December. It’s our new home for the next couple years.
Remodeling that second unit took a ton of work. Much more than the first unit. But it now looks completely different from before, especially the kitchen and bathroom.
We spent significantly more on the second unit than the first. Partly because we did more stuff: both kitchen and bath got major upgrades. But also because we had to pull permits since we were doing structural work.
We had a remodeling “playbook” from doing the first unit, so we didn’t have to start from scratch. But we also had a bigger scope of work. We gutted the kitchen and bathroom, remodeled them completely, replaced all appliances, took down a wall, reframed a window, and expanded the kitchen counters.
We used most of the same contractors, but also added some additional ones for all the extra work. With more contractors, of course, things took more time. Like last time, each contractor was dependent on the work of previous ones.
We started remodeling the day the tenants vacated. We packed almost every single day in December with remodeling work, despite there being Christmas and New Year’s holiday week.
While our schedule got changed on the fly several times mid-way through (which required a lot of handholding by me), in the end it took about 4 weeks to finish all the work, including shipping times for ordering hardware like cabinets, counters, tile, etc.
While there were a lot of stressful moments, I’m happy we could get it done before end of year considering December is slow and many contractors take off the last couple weeks of the year entirely. Our original move date got postponed by a week, but we still made it into the new unit before end of year. Overall I’m satisfied with how it turned out.
Now that we’ve vacated the temp unit we were staying in, that unit (the third one) is up next for remodeling, which we’ll spend most of January doing.
2. New case study
In December we also released a new case study which walks through how to research real estate markets to invest in, including the most important resource you need for analyzing any new market. Check it out and let me know what you think.
3. Growing traffic
In terms of growth, I didn’t spend time on Twitter this month unfort. As a result, followers dipped a bit. However, I did spend some time learning a couple new email list building strategies and will continue doing this in January.
December net new subs: 73
December Twitter followers: 1,873
1. Remodeling, part 3
More remodeling. We should finish remodeling the third unit by late January and be ready to start marketing it to rent out.
It’s still slow season for rentals, so I’m not sure how long it’ll take to rent, but since it’s the largest unit (comparable to a single family home), hopefully it will rent out faster.
Luckily, we got a head start remodeling when we were still living in the unit, so the work left for January is straightforward: just acoustic ceiling removal, new recessed lights, new paint, new carpet, new windows. All big ticket items, but straightforward. Plus, it’s the third time now we’ve done this, so we’re getting pretty good at it!
2. New case study
In January, I’ll also release another case study – stay tuned for that. It’ll be an action-packed post with lots of tips on how to do an effective property inspection when you’re doing property walkthroughs.
In December, Congress also passed a huge new tax bill which the President signed into law just before Christmas. The changes are so substantial that I plan to write another post on it, hopefully soon, to help make sense of it all, particularly changes that will impact wealth-building strategies.
I’m also still looking for dirt in Austin, so if you’re looking to sell there, but don’t want to deal with cleaning, staging, marketing, and dealing with nosy open house neighbors, click below and holler.
I can get you a good price and close fast. 🙂
3. Grow traffic
Goals for January are:
January net new subs goal: 80
January Twitter follower goal: 2,000
So 2017’s a wrap. Bring on 2018!