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Part Determination, Part Luck, and Part Grit: The Skelly Twins Rehab Project!

Over ten years ago, I was newly divorced with two kids.  I was teaching middle school and living in Houston.  After paying off debt, there was not much left from the marriage:  My paid off car, a few thousand dollars, and my diamond.  I decided to sell my diamond ring and go on a three week vacation to Europe with Corrin and Dave.  That was one of  the best adventures of my life!  I decided that I wanted to make money from the couple of thousand dollars that I had.  (Sidenote:  I have never liked to have a car note and I don’t live in houses or apartments that are at the maxium of my limit.  I like to have a lot of wiggle room so that I can have some fun without getting into debt).

Me to Corrin “I have a couple thousand dollars.  If you have couple thousand dollars, let’s buy a small condo to rent.  (It was at this time that Dave quit his job to go back to get his Master’s Degree full time.  Corrin was teaching high school and they lived in Sharpestown (an area that had its hiccups at times).  

Corrin “Ok”.

Dave “No way”.

Corrin and I convinced Dave that we would buy a tiny rental unit (having a cheap enough carrying cost that we could afford the monthly bills if empty).  Our budget was VERY small, about the size of a super nice car today…but this was for an actual condo!

We have a good friend Melissa who told us that there was going to be a huge project that would try to push Downtown Houston further west.  She didn’t know a lot about the project but it was in the Memorial area around the Beltway and I-10.  For those of who are not from Houston, Memorial is a VERY expensive part of town.

We set out on our search and discovered a condo in a really nice neighborhood.  There was a real estate investor that had two units for sale.  He was liquidating his smaller properties so he could buy something larger.  There were two older ladies renting the units.  The owner asked that whomever purchased the condo let the older ladies stay on as renters.

Corrin and I looked at both units.  They were basically in equal shape so we had to decided which tenant we thought we could get along better with.  We immeditly knew that Myrt, a very young hearted Cuban lady was our match.

Buying the condo:

This was the HARDEST purchase of our lives.  Corrin and I have good credit but the morgage lender made us go through the biggest hoops to buy this property (even though this was prior to the housing crash!).  It would have been a million times easier for either of us to go to a car lot and purchase a new car for the price of this condo.  We weren’t rich so we couldn’t pay cash for it.  We ended up taking a the mortgage that had a balllon payment at the end.  Corrin and I laugh about it now that we took out a thirty year morgage for a property that was about the cost of a nice car with a balloon payment at the end.  We knew that we had to pay it off before the balloon payment came due (which we luckily did!)


Corrin and I knew that we would pay this property off quickly.  We were willing to take the risk.  Sometime you have to take a risk to reap great benefits.  

Dave “This is just a bad decision, we should just sell this place.”

Twins “No way.”

For the first few years, we navigated our way as new landlords.  We didn’t want to pay for a managment company so if anything was wrong, we were the “go-to” people.  

The place is very old so LOTS of things broke during this time period.

Thank goodness Brad came into the picture to be our handyman.

Brad “This property is the worst idea ever, you guys should sell it.”

Twins “No way.”

Fast forward:  

The amazing CityCentre (CityCentreHouston.com) was built about 0.5 miles from our condo.  This area is now VERY desrirable because of the shopping, restaruants, and nightlife.  

Why is our condo better than the apartments located in the City Centre?

Our condo is located in a beautiful neighborhood with lots of amazing trees.  We are very lucky many of the houses in the neighborhood sell for over a million dollars.  The location is PERFECT.

2. Luck

Part of life is experiencing good luck.  We were very lucky to buy a property before a multi-million dollar project was started.  

For many years Myrt was the best tenant.  Not only was she our tennat but she is our friend.  After year two or three, we stopped having her sign a contract and told Myrt that she could stay in our place for as long as she wanted to.  We felt bad that the condo was not updated but Myrt didn’t want us to spend a lot of money updating it and raising her rent so we just stayed as is (minimal upkeep including flooring updates in the kitchen and bathroom, door-painting, and washer/dryer upgrades in return for keeping the rent static).  We offered to do some additional upgrades with no additional increase in rent (wall paint, the rest of the flooring updates, etc); we felt like slumlords with it so outdated.  She didn’t want us to.  After ten years Myrt (now in her late eighties), decided that it was time for her to move to Atlanta with her neice.  We still keep in touch with her beause we consider her family.

3. (The most important): Grit

Corrin and I are worker bees.  We are not scared of any project or work.  We can’t understand people who complain all the time about their lives.  Some things you can’t change but some you can.  Figure out a plan and start doing it!  We figured out how to buy this condo.  We had worked hard for the small amount of money we had.  

Brad and Dave “Let’s sell the condo”. 

Twins “It has more than doubled in value in the past ten years.  No way.”

After Myrt moved, we decided to do a complete renovation of the condo.  Everything needed to be replaced.  We were VERY fortunate to find the most amazing contractor Alberto.  He is WONDERFUL.  The only thing we worry about is that he will get so busy and we will not be able to use him when we want to!  He was very professional and did a wonderful job.  He always answered our questions right away.  We got four bids for this project and we are so thankful we used Alberto!  If you would like his information, please private message us.  He can do almost every type of project.  He took pride in his work the entire project and made sure everything looked amazing! 


Our condo project turned out a million times better than we imagined.  Corrin and I joked that we wanted to move in there.  Dave joked that he wanted to keep it so we have a place “in town” to stay when we want.  Brad just wants to get it rented out so we can start enjoying benefits of it.  

So here you have it guys.  Corrin and I are always coming up with new ideas.  Half of them we do and half of them we don’t do.  We get a lot of strange looks from our family and husbands.  We have to do a lot of convincing to our husbands to get them on board with our crazy ideas (think bees….lols).


Brad and Dave “We are really glad you two bought this property.  It ended up being a very smart idea.”


Our question for you is this:  Who wants to take a risk on something you think could pay off?

On a side note:  Of course we are going to plug the property because we need to get it rented!  The condo is located in Georgetown Estates.  It is 0.5 miles from City Centre (Pottery Barn, H&M, Yard House, McCormick Schmidt’s, Eddie V’s, Kendra Scott, Ra Sushi, Ruggles Green, Studio Movie Grill, the Hotel Sorrella, and much more).  Our condo is in the much desired Spring Branch ISD school district (Rummel Creek Elementary,  Memorial Middle , Stratford High School).  It is only 624 sq foot, but has lots of charm (huge trees, pool, easy access to Houston just off of Beltway 8 and I-10).  It litterally is a little gem with the feeling of a new construction. The entire condo has been retextured, everything is newly painted, it has new baseboards, light fixtures, granite counter tops in the kitchen and bathroom.  A spacious closet with built ins, shelves, and a washer and dryer.  The bathroom has been gutted and has new plumbing, subway tiles in the bath, and cool retro tile on the floor.  The kitchen has a new oven, vent, and dishwasher. It also has new subway tile as a backsplash.  The flooring is new “wood” tile.  We are asking $1100 a month (this includes basic cable, HOA fees, outside maintenance) with the signing of a 1-year lease.  If you sign a 2-year lease, we will give you a 5% discount.  We are looking for applicants who can afford the security deposit (1 month’s rent), has good credit, and has a steady income.  The address is 811 Wax Myrtle Lane, Houston , TX 77079.  

The final reveal…(My favorite part is the black and white bathroom floor tile!)





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1 Comment

  • Reply
    May 11, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    It looks phenomenal. You are so creative in design and decoration. Definitely need his contact info. You have a gold mine there lol . I know you are proud.

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