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The Rental House Progress – Two Months In!!

Have we really owned this house for two months already?? Sheesh… It feels like 2 weeks. There is still so much to do, I bet we’ll still be at this 3 months from now. BUT, it will all be worth it once we sit back and collect our $1,300 rent check each month! 🙂

For those of you that are just recently joining us, you can quickly catch up on our rental house progress with these posts:

The Rental House Progress – Two Months In

This is definitely a bigger project than we initially thought it would be (in our minds, we were going to tear down the paneling and patch the plaster – a 1-2 week job….and now all we see are 2×4’s…), but we’re taking it in stride and we just keep plugging along, doing what we can each day!

The last rental house project update was about a month ago. At that time, we had everything demoed, but really hadn’t built anything back up yet. Below is the summary of everything we’ve done since then.

Re-Roofed the Garage

The shingles on the garage were bad…I mean, really bad. They were all curled up and were obviously letting water into the garage. When I got a quote for $1,500 to re-shingle it, I decided to do the work myself. Have I ever shingled anything in my life? Of course not…but I’ve got YouTube. What more could a man need?

  • Arrogance? Check
  • Tools? Check
  • YouTube? Check

Yup! I’m all set!

And then I literally dug a hole into my roof…

Thankfully, it wasn’t my fault. The roof was just so soaked with water for so long that a few of the boards went completely rotten and needed replacement. As with everything else on the house, I hadn’t planned on this level of repair, but hey, it had to get done!

So here’s a quick fly-by of what I had to do with the garage roof – it took about 4 solid days’ worth of work. Not amazingly fast, but I was happy with the progress.

  • Tore off all the bad shingles
  • Replaced three 4’x8′ plywood sheets
  • Installed a new drip edge
  • Rolled out and nailed down the ice guard and tar paper
  • And then I added the shingles!

Special thanks to my helpers: my buddy Sean, my nephew Nate, my Dad, and Liz. Thanks all!!



Installed New Rafters in the Upstairs Bedroom

If you remember…I tore down the entire ceiling in the upstairs bedroom.

  • First of all, it was just a mess and needed to be redone,
  • Second, we really wanted to re-insulate because that room got terribly cold in the winter, and
  • Most importantly, we wanted to get a look at the upper rafters since there was sagging in the roof

Unfortunately, we found quite a few split rafters and even some rotting ones… They needed additional supports. So, I (again, with the help of my nephew) added a bunch of 2×6’s into the roof-line to straighten and strengthen the roof. All in all, it worked pretty well! The house is better supported, the roof should last for many more years, and if we ever decide to sell the house, the new owners will have some added security that the house is rock-solid as is.

Raised the Height of Doorways

Apparently, back in 1916 (when this house was built), no one was taller than six feet… because all these doorways were ridiculously short. I’m 6’8″, so I’m used to hitting my head here and there, but it would have been pretty unreasonable for us to rent this house out to a group of 6’3″ guys and have them duck in and out of every room. That just wasn’t going to fly.

So, again, we added some time to our project calendar and tackled the door frames:

  • Raised the kitchen doorway
  • Raised the stairwell doorway
  • Completely re-framed the upper bedroom doorway, and
  • I’m still in the process of framing the second upper bedroom doorway

It took some time, but it was worth it. The house seems so much bigger now!

Pulled Out a Million Staples…

Ugh. Staples.

Remember the video where I was just pulling those ceiling tiles down in a matter of seconds? Well that was about 10 times easier than going back and taking down all the staples that were holding them up there…

But, thankfully, I own a vise-grip pliers that springs back after every grab, which really sped things up! All in all, this probably took us 3-4 evenings’ worth of work.

Insulated the Dining Room and the Back Laundry Room

Liz did an awesome job with this in the dining room. One evening the studs were bare, and the next they all had insulation! BOOM!! Over the course of the next few evenings I also insulated the back laundry area and put the finishing touches in the dining room. That made a huge difference for warmth, and for the look of the house. It was finally starting to look like a home and not a bomb-struck war zone!

rental house project - insulation





Seriously. Putting up drywall makes all the difference. To go from a house with no walls to a finished, clean, white room gives you the sense that you’re really doing something – and that you’re actually getting close to completion. (I mean…we still have 3 months to go here, but you really know you’re turning the corner when you start putting up drywall.)

At this moment (thanks to my Dad and my wonderful wife), the bathroom and kitchen have drywall up on the ceiling, and the laundry room is almost completely done (it looks so much bigger now!!) There’s still more to go, but we’re getting there!

rental house project - drywall laundry

Removed Awnings and Painted a Ton of Outside Shutters/Trim

Last week, the temps here in Michigan were in the mid-50s, which is just crazy for early December! Naturally, we decided that we’d better get some stuff done outside the project housee, which meant painting!

My wife has been awesome in this category and actually started painting shutters a few weeks ago. With this warm day, we were able to take down all those ugly awnings, painted most of the shutters, and got them all hung back up except for just four of them!

The outside of the house is looking way better, don’t you think? Here’s the before and afters:

the old look - project housee

project house outside

What’s to Come on the Rental House Project?

Honestly, it felt like we were kind of slacking this past month, but we still got a lot done! So what’s on the docket for the future? What do we have left to do?

Here’s the list I put together…..Unfortunately, it’s pretty long…. 🙁

  • finish drywalling the mud-room
  • finish drywalling the kitchen
  • build upstairs bedroom closet
  • once roof is completed – install venting baffles, then insulate, and then drywall the upper bedroom ceiling
  • frame in the main bedroom closet and upper bedroom doorway
  • drywall dining room, living room, and main floor bedroom
  • hire in the mudding
  • replace formica on the kitchen counter
  • paint
  • sand and finish the flooring (and possibly the stairs), get the upstairs carpeted
  • trim work
  • add all the new lights, outlet covers, and new appliances

Don’t tell Liz (she more of a “just do it and stop wasting your time planning” type of person – which I totally need in my life by the way ;)), but I put together a project plan of where we need to be if we want to have this thing done by the end of March.

Here’s a quick glimpse for ya. Sadly, it’s just too big to fit on this page, but you get the idea!

So stay tuned for everything that’s to come! In the next month or so, this house is really going to take shape! Be sure to track us on Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss all the updates (like the video below that I recently posted to Facebook!).

Investing Make Money 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. Wow, seriously impressive! I’ve always wanted to learn how to do this… especially now that my home does need new shingles. It just seems like such a massive project that I’m not confident if I could do it.

    Any good YouTube resources you would recommend? Would love to learn from your experience.

    • Hi Doug! Thanks for commenting!

      I did the garage myself because if I screwed it up, it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal…I mean, it’s a garage. The house – I let the professionals do that. But honestly, after having done the garage, I’m pretty confident that I could have done the house too. It really wasn’t that hard.

      The only resource I needed was this article and video —

  2. Thanks! Going to check that out now 🙂

  3. If you made a course on real estate flipping, I’d buy it 🙂

    • Good to know! Thanks Darshan!

  4. Very good effort and perseverance.Did you manage to stay under quote $1,500 budget for the work?

    I did similar mistake when decided to insulate the roof myself.

    However, once you start doing the work you understand that there are so many small things, that only an owner will do and contractor ignore. There is definitely benefit in either being there or doing it yourself, in-spite all of the “time waste” and cost.

    • Hi FI. Yup, pretty sure we landed at $500 for the garage re-roof. Not too shabby!!

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