Flipping My Grandma's House Into a Vacation Rental

Today we’re going to go over the tweaks and fixes I’ve done to my grandparents’ house to get it setup as a rental. I’m also going to explain why we decided to do a vacation rental instead of a long term rental. I’ve been really struggling with this property and whether to use it as a long term or short term rental. I wanted to make it a two unit property and wasn’t sure how to pull that off. 

The plan is to do a vacation rental. The biggest reason is that the house is sentimental to me and I thought I could keep it more her style without changing too much as a vacation rental instead of a long term rental. We can make it so it sleeps a lot of people upstairs and then can rent out the basement separately however we like. I’m curious how the vacation rental will do here, so this will be a bit of an experiment. 

First let’s talk about the work we did outside. The awning isn’t finished yet. I didn’t want to put a drain in, because I knew that my grandpa had turned this area into a garden. There is still some cleanup to be done with the exterior. We hired a crew that thought they could cut and pull out the concrete for the basement entrance but it didn’t work. Now we have another crew coming out to do it right. So I’m kind of embarrassed that we thought that could work but at least now we know and have someone coming to fix it. The awning should keep water out of this basement entrance but if it doesn’t we will also put walls around the exterior of this entrance to keep it dry. 

We have spot treated the carpet inside but haven’t had it deep cleaned yet. The carpet was in pretty good shape.  The kitchen flooring we replaced with LVP (vinyl plank flooring). The trim needs to be replaced but otherwise we have the kitchen done. We’ve already got a dining table and chairs and TV setup so we can be as close to ready as possible for those last few things. 

We were able to reuse some furniture that came with a cabin I just bought for another vacation rental. It worked out great because the furniture wasn’t what I wanted for the cabin but is a good fit for this property. The paint in the living room looks clean so I may not redo that. A lot of the elements of this home, like the wood railing, were built by my grandpa. Because of that sentimental value, I don’t want to change or get rid of those things to make the home more appealing to a long term renter. 

Moving on to the upstairs bedroom, I want to keep the blue carpet and some of the outdated details. As quirky as it is, I think this will work for people in a vacation rental because it is unique and still in good shape. We are going to get rid of the bathroom carpet. I will keep the pinks and the blues and other dated colors but put some nice furniture to finish it up. 

One of the larger rooms will be loaded up with sleeping spaces so people with big families can stay here. We will do a queen bed, twin bunk beds, and a couch with a fold out bed. I want this to be able to sleep 25+ people. 

We will be putting in a wall to separate the basement unit from the upstairs. Part of the downstairs will be used as storage for me or for the renters. We are in the midst of construction on the basement. We were able to find a nice oven for just $250. We will still need to pull some carpet out of the basement and put in new flooring. 

I had some tenants here for a couple months paying a premium before we started the remodeling so I have not lost any money on the mortgage here while we’ve been working on it. 

The last thing to look at is the deck and the shop. The deck we are just covering with a tarp for the winter. In the spring we will refinish it. Now the shop is pretty large. I did not have space for a lot of things I needed to have space for while my house is being built. I will use this space to store a car, trailer, and ATV for now. It also has a drain, working water, and a gas furnace. This is actually a big enough space we might be able to make it into a triplex with the shop converted to another rental unit. 

Within the month this project will start moving very quickly and be close to renting. We’ll show you the finished product and then you can come to Idaho Falls and stay in our vacation rental. If you want to learn more about investing and my step by step process for creating passive income through real estate, check out my real estate investing course.