In Faribault County, there are a lot of homes that need a bit of a face lift. Some bigger face lifts than others.
That is where Ila and Jeff Teskey, of Wells, come in. They like to take homes that need some tender loving care and do what home improvement folks call “flipping.”
Flipping is a type of real estate investment strategy. It requires purchasing a property with the goal of reselling the home with renovations and capital improvements.
Ila and Jeff are fairly new to the flipping game, but have talent galore. They have flipped three homes so far in the Wells area, and Ila says there is room for more projects.
“After I retired, I wanted something that would keep me busy. I have to be doing something, that’s just who I am,” says Ila.
The Teskeys flipped their first home in Wells a few years ago. The house went to auction, but didn’t sell. The Teskeys then took the opportunity to purchase the home in order to renovate it.
“It was a fairly easy project for our first one. Just a lot of painting on the interior, and some exterior work to make it look a little neater,” she says.
Now, on their third house they have flipped, Ila says the project was their biggest one yet.
“It took four months for us to go from start to finish,” she says about the home on First Avenue NW in Wells.
Ripping up old carpet, sanding and finishing floors and putting tile into the new kitchen were only a few of the projects in the home the Teskeys worked on.
“The hardest part were the floors,” says Ila, who had found that there was a massive amount of glue stuck to the previous linoleum flooring.
She had to use a hair dryer, chisel and putty knife to pry off the adhesive, by hand, to reveal the natural wood flooring underneath. She says it was a grueling task.
“But well worth it. The floors underneath look very nice now,” she adds.
Most houses the Teskeys look for are in need of repair, but not extensively so. She says they look for a house that can easily be renovated and turned into a home that buyers can actually use.
According to Ila, most first time buyers are looking for a house that is well-taken care of. Why?
It is all about the money. Well, the money from the bank.
“Mortgages are costly, especially for first-time homeowners, and when a bank looks at the house the person is buying, they are usually looking for a house with minimal renovations necessary,” she says.
That is because if banks know the condition of the house is poor, it means the possible buyer may want to invest in improving the house. And for those house hunters with a larger mortgage, it becomes cumbersome trying to maintain that mortgage and still make new renovations to their home.
Once renovations are made, the Teskeys work with local realtors to put the house on the market to sell.
“We very well could do the selling by ourselves, but we don’t want to do that. We would much rather work with our local realtors to sell the houses,” she says.
So where does the passion for house flipping come from for Ila? She just happens to love the process and she very much enjoys history.
“I like using and reusing things, and I like finding antiques and places and items that have history to them,” she says.
And it shows, because Ila had a hand in restoring the Wells Depot in 2009, which is now the Wells Depot Historical Museum. She also had a hand in helping with the Wells Area Veteran’s Memorial.
Ila says she has a hard time seeing good things go to waste, and with her house flipping projects, she, along with other house flippers in the area, make sure the older houses in Wells do not go to waste, either.