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Rental House Renovation #6: We’re Getting There!


Sanding floors, applying polyurethane, buying appliances, and installing trim….this has been my life for the past couple weeks! In my last update, I was proudly showing off my nicely sanded floors (that took me two solid weekends to complete!). Thank goodness I can finally move beyond that step. Sanding really sucked, but I have to say that it was still worth it to save $4,000.

Applying the Polyurethane

The next step (since we weren’t staining the floors) was to apply the polyurethane. This really wasn’t overly complicated, but it did take a while since we had 1,200 square feet to go over, and the dry wood made it tough to slide just right.

I took a picture of my poly job in action. As you can tell, we went with an amber tone so that the floor wouldn’t look completely raw after we were done. I really like the added color. It shouldn’t show a lot of wear, and it’s a timeless look that all of our renters should enjoy both in the present and in the future!

So far, I have put two coats of poly on the floors. I may need to do another as it seems like the floors are just sucking it up and going dry in spots! I really don’t want to re-apply any more poly, but it might just be a necessary evil at this point.

Hunting Down Appliances

So once the poly was dry, it was time to hunt down some appliances! I took a look at the local restores and estate warehouses, and everything was quite used and still cost $225 or more. So, it was time to keep a close watch on Craigslist!


Sure enough, I found a very clean stove in our local area listed for $200. Everything was functional and spotless and I was able to talk her down to $175. First piece found! Check!


Next, I needed a fridge. When I started thinking about buying a used one, all I could picture was my renters calling me at 4am with a bunch of rotten food, demanding that I compensate them for the loss because the fridge died. This lead me to start looking for new. On to the scratch and dent section at the new appliance store!

The best looking, cheapest scratch and dent fridge was $539. Not too bad, but then I remembered that Best Buy had some pretty good deals back when I bought appliances for my house. Sure enough, they had a brand spankin’ new Frigidaire for just $469. And delivery was free! I thought about it for about 2 minutes and then ran over to find my credit card. It looked like a great fridge and best of all, I don’t have to find someone with a truck to transport it. Delivery is set for this upcoming Saturday.

Washer and Dryer

Finally, I needed an electric washer and dryer. New washer and dryers cost about $400 a piece, minimum. I definitely didn’t want to go that route. Used washers and dryers at the store still cost $200 each, and they weren’t appealing at all. Again, it was time to watch Craigslist.

Sure enough, yesterday morning I spotted an ad that I had to call on: a washer and dryer for sale for $100…TOTAL. I called on them immediately and went down there to check them out.

They didn’t look too pretty, but they’re going to end up in the basement anyway. Since it seemed like he would take less, I talked him down to $80 with ease. Heck, even if one of these didn’t work at all, I still figure that I got a good deal! So far, both are working great and I’m smiling from ear to ear!

All the appliances are purchased. Here’s the run-down of the costs. I got away pretty cheap on these:

  • Stove/oven: $175
  • New refrigerator: $498 (after taxes)
  • Washer: $40
  • Dryer: $40
  • Total: $753


Baseboard Trim

It’s amazing how big of a difference trim can make. After sanding and polying the floors, the rooms definitely looked better, but there still wasn’t a wow factor there. But, after spending a few hours cutting and placing trim in the dining and living room, the space is really starting to pop!


I laid the baseboard trim as well as the quarter-round, which means that the living room and dining room are basically done. The only thing left to do is install a fan and put up a few switch plates. Now this work is really starting to get fun!

Remaining To-Do List

Liz and I have done a lot of work on this house, but there’s still a bit to do yet. Basically, just finishing touches. Here’s what I have on my to-do list for the upcoming week:

  • Paint the bedroom and bathroom doors
  • Paint baseboard trim and quarter-round for bedrooms and bathroom
  • Install remaining baseboard trim and quarter-round
  • Paint and install three door casings in the bedrooms
  • Paint stairway baseboard trim
  • Buy, cut, and install curtains in the bedrooms and living room
  • Repair rotten wood in garage

How is it that my list keeps getting longer, even as I check items off?? This list is definitely going to take some time, but hopefully I can get to most of it before next week. We need to get a renter in this place!

What do you think? It’s starting to look good right?

Rental Property


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Yes, it’s looking good Derek! I’ve had rental renovations to do myself over the years to properties I’ve bought & although it’s a lot of hard work & long days, it’s also VERY rewarding to see your hard work pay off & to know you’ve saved a ton of money doing it yourself. Plus I remind myself that once it’s rented, that’s passive money I’m earning for a few days or weeks of hard work. How many people can work hard for just a few weeks (or days) and keep getting paid for very little to no work after that? I LOVE passive income! So glad I found your site.

    How many rentals (doors/units) do you have now & how long have you had rental property? Do you find it’s worth the initial or ongoing effort? I’m guessing the answer is “yes” since you’re renoing this property above.

    • Hi Leona! I’m definitely a fan of passive income as well, which is why we bought this house of course.

      This is our first attempt at a rental property. Our plan went like this – pay off all of our consumer debt, pay off our home mortgage, then buy an investment property with cash. Right now we have no debt and a TON of upside. As we’re doing these renovations, we’re still thousands of dollars net positive each month and will be ready to buy another property in the next year or so. No debt + passive income = serious options!!

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