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Flip This House - Solana Beach Townhouse

coralbrookcoralbrook 7951 replies25 threads Senior Member
Here we go!! This is a 70s built 2 story townhouse that is in an HOA community along the ocean in Solana Beach. It is an expensive area due to proximity to the Del Mar Race Track. In addition, it is a community that allows short term rentals so there are a lot of investment units.

Owner is a divorced single Mom real estate agent. Of course I researched and I think she must be a new agent because she has only sold/purchased two houses in the last 6 months. At this time she has one child still living with her who is a senior in high school. The unit is only a 2 bedroom 2 1/2 bath but I think we can legally add a 3rd bedroom (if the HOA approves my request to add a new window in the den area.

I will try to be coy here with the address. I'm not too concerned about revealing the address because it is in a locked gate community and there is no way to drive by the place.

9 2 0 remove this 75 zip



S i e r r


I just cannot even believe what she paid for this place. It is in original 70s condition with tile floors and carpet. HOA requires carpet in the bedrooms on the bottom floor. This unit has another unit below it (I guess that makes it a condominium). It is an end unit which has a lot of light and decent ocean views (but not enough ocean view that I would pay that price). The ocean views are horizon views over the top of other units

This project has the largest PAIN IN THE BUTT factor that I have ever seen. Here's some of the challenges

1) Construction allowed Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm only. No weekends
2) There are 2 underground open garage spaces (not enclosed for any type of storage) that have a small door, a set of stairs up to ground level and about 100 yards to front of unit. Everyone else has to park out on the street. Our only saving grace is that it is winter time and parking will not be as hard as summer.
3) Then there is a set of stairs up to the front door of unit and another set of stairs inside for the 2 floors
4) There is a unit below so we have to be very careful opening up the floors on the Lower floor and not fall through the drywall into the other unit
5) She wants to move everything around!! This means we have to figure out if we can even route new plumbing to the original drain locations in the exterior walls. There is no way to drop a drain down into the unit below :)
6) HOA rules do not allow any deliveries or demo hauling trucks in the complex (well, unless we call it a 'move' and make a reservation and have HOA open up a special 'delivery' road)
7) Cannot even pull into complex and try to park alongside the road to load/unload anything.
8) Have to park a truck (no dumpsters allowed on street) and haul down flight of stairs inside, flight of stairs at front door and get this.... there are 4 flights of stairs through the common area down to the street!!!!) This is the largest nightmare.
9) Location is about 1 1/2 hours north for my crew to drive each way in the traffic. For this reason I am adding a $50/week bonus to their pay for the extra time and gas.
10) Went to the Architecture Review Board and the HOA Manager has requested that she come in to view work in progress and see everything when we have it opened up. What a freaking pain in the butt factor!!!
11) HOA will not allow 'hard' flooring on the bottom floor except in bathrooms. The owner really really wants wood floors and thinks we are going to win some kind of fight with the HOA

And, did I mention that she doesn't even own the place yet? She is selling her family home in Carmel Valley and then immediately funding this purchase. Her sale buyers keep missing their deadlines to close escrow.

Finally, she has an absolutely unrealistic idea that she is going to move in by end of December. This is because she has negotiated a rent back from her buyers until that date and has to be moved out of her home. The entire place is getting gutted, walls moved, new drywall, new everything!!! And we don't even know if she can do it yet. Don't have plans approved by HOA yet. Don't have plans submitted to the City yet. I have told her several times that we cannot finalize any plans until we open things up and determine if we can even run the plumbing and vents where she wants things to go. Biggest issue is she wants master bath moved into master bedroom and swap closet to the back.

Hopefully we are starting on Wednesday next week and I can load the 'before' photos for everyone. Meanwhile, you can see them on Redfin

218 replies
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Replies to: Flip This House - Solana Beach Townhouse

  • coralbrookcoralbrook 7951 replies25 threads Senior Member
    I have created our photo group. So far I have her unrealistic plans, but for some reason she did not send me the Demo / Before layouts

    /groups/[email protected]
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  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 9323 replies83 threads Senior Member
    Wow - sounds like a lot of challenges. But is good that you did not have to invest in a purchase here. Best of luck!
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  • thumper1thumper1 77092 replies3425 threads Senior Member
    I just looked at the pictures. I would definitely want new kitchen counters, cabinets, appliances, but can’t see why it would need to be moved. Bathrooms are 70’s ugly, but layout isn’t awful. New counters, vanities, sinks, etc...but move them? No.

    The carpeting needs to be replaced. It would be nice if she could get wood or something in the main living spaces, but if the HOA has a rule about that, why does she think they will make her an exception?

    Does she even have a budget for you?
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  • coralbrookcoralbrook 7951 replies25 threads Senior Member
    I gave her the budget. About $100k for the work but she is responsible for all the major purchases. I’ve given up trying to guess what clients want. So, she is responsible for paying for:

    Kitchen cabinets
    Bath vanities
    Lighting (except recessed)
    Flooring - although I included a $4/sq ft material allowance in the 100k
    Window coverings
    Bath fixtures
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  • coralbrookcoralbrook 7951 replies25 threads Senior Member
    There is a valid reason to move the existing kitchen to the middle (old den area). First, we have asked for a new exterior window on that west facing wall and the existing kitchen can be turned into a legal bedroom. We are adding a shower to the powder room upstairs (near new bedroom) that will take the house from a 2 bd/2.5 bath to a 3 bd/3 full bath. That's good value

    Second reason it is smart to move kitchen is that the new kitchen location will open up the living area AND allow good ocean views from the kitchen. That's a good value add.

    What's stupid is moving the master bathroom and swapping with master closet. The main issue is that there is a floor to ceiling window in the master bedroom area where she wants to move the bathroom. She doesn't want a full wall of windows in the closet because it limits the storage space. Either way, who wants floor to ceiling windows facing neighbors in either of those areas where you are undressed !! They are always going to be covered up no matter what.
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  • MarilynMarilyn 3973 replies132 threads Senior Member
    This does not sound like it's going to end well! Don't forget the Bing Crosby season at Del Mar will run from November 8 to December 1. Not sure if that will affect parking/traffic since the condo appears to be walking distance to the track.

    I looked up the unit on Redfin; pretty complex and nice open living/dining area.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77092 replies3425 threads Senior Member
    @coralbrook I might agree about the moving around of things...but on a $100,000 budget even with her making major purchases (assuming she even gets them right size wise etc), and considering her purchase price, and considering this is a condo and not a freestanding house...

    I still vote for making the spaces way nicer...where they are.
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  • FlyMeToTheMoonFlyMeToTheMoon 3090 replies45 threads Senior Member
    I apologize for this question, but I’m unclear of how I’m supposed to be able to see the photos. I think I recall mention of you not being able to post a link. So should I be able to find these photos through a previous link?
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  • greenwitchgreenwitch 9042 replies42 threads Senior Member
    The current kitchen is very closed-in and claustrophobic feeling. It will be good to move it and open it up to the rest of the living area.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77092 replies3425 threads Senior Member
    @FlyMeToTheMoon I sent you a PM.
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  • FlyMeToTheMoonFlyMeToTheMoon 3090 replies45 threads Senior Member
    Thanks! I also figured out how to get to the photo group. I knew there was a way, but it’s been so long I forgot how to do it.
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  • anxiousmomanxiousmom 5840 replies105 threads Senior Member
    Your crew is going to drive 3 hours extra roundtrip each day to get to the job site, and you are giving them $50 extra per week? I am afraid your crew will not thank you for your generosity.
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  • coralbrookcoralbrook 7951 replies25 threads Senior Member
    They normally have to drive about 45 minutes to get to our regular jobs so it’s probably an hour extra a day. Talked to my lead today and he is just grateful for the work. Before he left on vacation 2 weeks ago I had warned him that there weren’t any upcoming projects.
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  • MarilynMarilyn 3973 replies132 threads Senior Member
    This flip is actually only about 20-25 minutes north of the La Jolla townhouse so yes, further than other projects but not 3 hours round trip further. The crews have probably had at least two hour round trip commutes for other flips (depending on where they each live).
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8605 replies251 threads Senior Member
    Not sure why you considering/accepting this assignment since you do not have a contractors license.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 40327 replies474 threads Senior Member
    A homeowner can always act as a her own general contractor and hire a project manager.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77092 replies3425 threads Senior Member
    @coralbrook will it be possible to move things like plumbing in this condo...to relocate kitchen and baths?

    It’s not like you can dig a trench and put in new plumbing under the “house”.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 40292 replies2204 threads Super Moderator
    My husband was the GC when we built our home. It was the only way we could afford it.
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  • coralbrookcoralbrook 7951 replies25 threads Senior Member
    Yes, the HOA requires a licensed contractor, proof of workman's compensation insurance and a Certificate of Insurance with Named Insured to the HOA. For this project I am working with a Licensed Contractor and we have all of the necessary paperwork and coverage. I will be acting as Project Manager and the contractor will be working under my direction. The contractor has worked on several of my jobs and he is a licensed electrician. He will be full time. He doesn't have his own crew, I'm providing the rest of the crew.

    And, we have to pull City permits. So I am madly working on the designs to get ready for submission to the City. I cannot finalize the designs until we get in there and tear apart the kitchens and bathrooms to know whether we can even pull wiring and plumbing to the new locations.

    We will need to pull wiring and plumbing through the ceiling and floor joists. So, a big issue is which way the joists are running. I don't want to have to cut holes through a lot of joists. I have no idea until we can open things up.

    The good news is the structural engineer looked at the current walls and we are not touching any load bearing walls so we don't need to do any major structural work to add the closets, etc
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  • dragonmomdragonmom 5946 replies154 threads Senior Member
    Can someone send me a PM with the photo link please? I forget how to move to the new group.
    Hope the joists are running the right direction!
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