The Proud Owner of Another Dump? Tackle What Lies Ahead in an Orderly Fashion

The papers are signed. The closing check is cashed, and you are the proud owner of another single family dump. Fleas, mold, and a foot thick of decaying leaves in the yard are just the start of your problems. But if there aren’t too many surprises, this deal should put a little jingle in your pockets.

When you walk into your property, the tendency is to feel overwhelmed, but fear not! If you have an orderly approach to getting the job done, you’ll be singing your way to the bank before you know it. Here’s my take on an orderly way to tackle your next real estate dump.

Phase #1: Getting Ramped Up

  1. Turn on water, electricity, gas. Check/repair gas leaks and water leaks.
  2. Remove trash and any miscellaneous “treasures” that came with the property.
  3. Tree and shrub trimming. General rule of thumb is to trim trees to the top of the roof line, and cut back shrubs below the windows.
  4. Clean out gutters.
  5. Yard clean up.
  6. Exterior powerwash, including brick, siding, doorways, under eves and any other exterior cleaning before painting begins.
  7. Complete any foundation work.
  8. Replace front door/ door hardware.
  9. Landscaping
  10. I like to start work from the outside and work my way in, so I can get maximum exposure to interested buyers/renters.

Phase #2: Get Down and Dirty

  1. Repair exterior wood rot/trim.
  2. Replace garage door as needed.
  3. Exterior paint.
  4. Replace roof. Roof is AFTER exterior paint. Unless you like paint on your new roof.
  5. Check for duct work, pests, and insulation needs while roof is off.
  6. Remove interior wall paper and flooring.
  7. Carpentry work as needed.
  8. Install tile flooring.
  9. Plumbing fixtures, faucets, tubs, showers, toilets replaced/ resurfaced / repaired.
  10. Sheet rock, tape, bed, and texture as needed.
  11. Replace windows as needed.
  12. GFCI outlets in kitchen, bathrooms, garage, laundry, exterior– anywhere there is water.
  13. Bath and kitchen counters/ backsplash replaced.
  14. Replace light fixtures.
  15. Pool work as needed.

Phase #3: Finishing Touches

  1. Clean interior of dust and construction debris.
  2. Paint interior in the following order– ceilings, cabinetry, walls, trim.
  3. Install remainder of flooring such as carpet and hardwoods/laminate.
  4. Paint, then install quarter round
  5. Install kitchen appliances.
  6. Install blinds and other window treatments.
  7. Touch up paint.
  8. Service A/C, furnace, water heater.
  9. Clean windows– interior and exterior.
  10. Consider “staging” the property with accent furniture.
  11. List for sale or rent, preferably on the MLS

The property should now sell or rent for top dollar!


This article is provided by Investway, LLC. (c) 2013. For more information, visit