The Tale of a Troubled Toilet

We live in Northern Wisconsin, where it gets quite cold, this can cause problems, especially when a house is vacant, you trust that the furnace is working, and that the snowplow didn’t chuck a piece of ice through a window. Well, at the Woodruff house, we are in the Marketing stage for a Great Tenant, my property manager showed it the other night, and called m to say it was quite cold in the house, I almost couldn’t sleep that night thinking about what went wrong, we just put a new furnace in, and the place is rehabbed, the potential of water damage is minimised because we shut the water supply valve when we are not there.

The next morning, I got the kids on the bus, and off I go to see whats up, ye it was cold in the house, we had several days below zero, frost on the inside of the windows, I was nervous about damage.  after a quick Diagnosis, I found a blown fuse fuse at the switch on the furnace, my mistake when installing the furnace, I never looked at the fuse size, apparently 5 Amp is not enough to run this furnace rated to be protected at 15 Amps.


So now Heat is on, and off to make sure everything is ok, well… Slush came out of the sink faucet, and when I flushed the toilet crystals formed in the bowl, AH JUST IN TIME!!! So I thought.

I have a slight drip off the back of the toilet, ok its a new toilet so lets see, everything looks ok, I pull the tank, get some new bolts and seals, still leaks, I don’t want to waste more time so off to ACE Hardware I go, pick up a new everything in one box toilet, and I’m off to the races until I pull the toilet and find this.


In all Honesty it was fine, my handyman had a repair collar on it, but I cracked the non broken side. So off to ACE I go again (its literally a block and a half away if you count going across the parking lot) to find repair flanges, usually i wouldn’t get so excited about a toilet flange, But what I found was well worth sharing. here it is the Hydroseat!!!

This solution was amazing!!! for $20 it will repair a really messed up flange, and make the toilet removeable without the need of a new wax ring in the future.

Oh and after further inspection, the old new toilet had a hairline crack in the tank, it may have been there a while, or the tank froze enough to cause it, eithr way, my total fix was a few hours and $100 so not the end of the world. Let this be a warning, if you let a house unoccupied for any amount of time, even when you go on vacation, close your valvea a stop gap to prevent a flood if a freeze up occurs, this could have caused way more damage, but we were lucky with this one.



First Flip of 2017 “The Tracy House”


It’s the Tracy House, because its on Tracy Street, not named for my sister.  This one was pretty straight forward, but I did learn a few things, its my 19th Flip house, and I seem to learn a little on every one, this time it was more about efficiency than construction, more on that later.


In our market people dont tend to spend more for high end finishes, especially in town, so we did a basic kitchen makeover, new countertops, sink and faucet, appliances, light fixtures, and flooring, this floor was a little different than my usual, its a lock together like laminate, but its a vinyl product, it seems quite tough, and was on sale for $2.19/sq ft i think it came out well.



Several rooms like the living room here just needed a cleaning paint and a light fixture.


the bathroom is plain, but clean, i would have liked to bling it out, but if i spent $3K on the bath, I wouldn’t get it back, so we painted the cabinets, replaced some shower parts, ran new base and case, and called it a day.


Where this house shines it the basement, a huge rec room,


with a wet bar and entertaining area,


a den and an amazing new bathroom with a 44″ shower.

While the project was straight forward, it was going to be a time consuming effort, Got my Drywall guy Dennis owner of Rappenecker Drywall  going on the bathroom, my Painter Liz working on the colors, and i was working on the rest. Luckily for me my handyman/carpenter Bob owner of Otter Rapids Construction pointed out to me we were going into a cold spell, below zero for a week and asked if I had inside work, and I thought, well this will go faster with a great all around handy guy, so we kicked it hard!  what would have taken me 6-8 weeks we knocked out in 2.5 weeks, and it looks better than i could have hoped for!!!

So my lesson was don’t try to do everything yourself, a few dollars will speed your result, now I can move to a furnace in a future rental, flip #20 (the Willow House), and getting ready for March 15th when Corporate Taxes are Due.




Woodruff Rental is on the Market

The crew at Otter Rapids construction did a fantastic job on the paint flooring, trim ect!!! I spent last week pull the flexible undersized copper plumbing and replacing it with PEX, install my new shut offs and a bath faucet, installing a water heater, and replacing the furnace, now it’s ready for great tenants. Here are some photos.

Next week we are working on the Tracy st Flip, watch for updates.

Lead Paint and the USDA

Its been a year, and I’m finally done, last November I took ownership of a USDA foreclosure that had a restriction on deed for occupancy until a clearance of Lead Hazard was sent to the USDA and they release the restriction. We got a report that was about 1 1/2 inches thick of an inspection that tested almost ever surface of the house and garage. After Much work, a lot of learning, and post remediation testing, I got a call this morning from the USDA that they will be overnighting a Quitclaim Deed Removing the restriction.  This means we can rent it out, and start getting some of that investment back. Here are some pictures, its a 3 Bedroom 1 bath, with a huge yard, and a brick patio, it will be a fantastic home for someone.

Great Weather Saved the Flip (so far)

The willow project is moving along, we have it trashed out, (its still really dirty) the furnace is up and running, as well as the plumbing, after many repairs from freeze damage. we will need to replace another toilet valve, a few shutoffs, supply hoses and trim rings, but the pressure holds and at least 1 toilet flushes now!

The most exciting part is the great weather allowed us to stain the exterior, My contractor Lukas and his team from Luke’s Pressure Washing Painting and Staining did a great job, check out some before and afters!


and if anyone is curious, this is what 60 yards of trash, and a 7X14 full of steel looks like, I’m sure I will have another trailer full by the time the project is done.


I should have another update soon, as we take possession of another flip house tomorrow. Tracy Street!


Tracy St


Today we won another deal, a 1991 Built 3 bed 1.5 bath home in a great location, with a mostly finished basement, the plan for this is a flip, more to come as we proceed.

I will be wiring funds for Blaine st in Merrill Thursday, docs are signed, and we are good to go on this one.


I have more exciting news to share, but cant, just yet,  maybe sometime next week.


An update on the work we have done this year

2016 to this point has been quite a year, we have added 10 rentals, and have flipped 3 houses, so i wanted to give an update on some of the previous posts.

The Minocqua House,  as much as it would have made a great rental, it was a big project, so we listed it for sale, the traffic was nuts, and we ended up with an offer, it sold to another investor, who is planning it to be a winter project for them.

Rosemil was kinda an oddity to me, when i was winning bidder at sheriff sale, I sent a text to a few agents I know, and offered it AS-IS to their buyers, allowing for inspections, I would fire up the plumbing, heat, they could inspect well and septic, ect. but they would get the trash,  and they would clean, paint, ect.  well low and behold, one of the agents had just such a couple looking for a country retirement home, and the purchased it from me, they got a sweet deal for some sweat equity, and I made a profit to boot. Isaw them the other day at Menards, they love their new Home, I cant blame them, all the apple trees attract tons of Deer, as well as Turkey, Coyotes and Fox, they told me they have seen. hoge change for them from living in town their entire life.

Moving forward we have started work on Deleglise, should be before the end of the month, Woodruff soon after that, and as its going we have 3 others waiting to close, 2 rental and a flip. should be a fun few months coming up.  I am gona stress a bit though we are taking a week vacation, which I cherish the time with my family sooo much!, but will be slightly distracted by the work back home that I could be doing.