The last time I walked into the local Home Depot with my mother, several employees greeted her by name — then each took a turn hugging her as if passing through a wedding reception receiving line.  One staff member pulled me aside and said: “You know, we worry about her and wonder if she’s been sick when we haven’t seen her for awhile.”  Why do these store employees care so much about my mom?  Because my 76-year-old mother spends an obscene amount of time at The Home Depot.  The fact is:  My mom has been rehabbing and remodeling properties for years and therefore, she has spent many waking moments at The Home Depot, or Lowe’s, or at a number of other hardware and supply stores.

Everything I know about rehabbing and remodeling I learned from my mother.  Remember the good ‘ole days when you could easily and effortlessly pick up a few great deals, rehab ’em, flip ’em — then lather, rinse, repeat?  Gone.  A distant memory.  That being said, the all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-rehabbing-windfall I inherited is certainly not going to waste.  It’s kind of like when I take my car to the shop.  Anticipating the ‘bad news’ makes me a little anxious because all I know about vehicles is how to start them, drive them, and put fuel into them.  I’ve instinctively learned that knowledge is power.

Nothing quite compares to the tremendous sense of accomplishment one feels after installing dimmer switches without having the fire department show up at the front door.  Not to mention the exhilaration of putting in a complete toilet bowl fixture without accidentally flooding the downstairs apartment.  Yet, even after previewing properties for clients, I have often reached out to someone for a quick lesson in ‘how things work.’  Not only has this practice benefited me in determining time and cost necessary for making my own repairs — it has become an added bonus when consulting with buyers and tenants too.

What if you weren’t given birth by a master rehabber?  Not to worry.  Luckily, many of the Do-It-Yourself stores have amazing staff with professional backgrounds in electrical, plumbing, carpentry, painting & decorating, you name it!  Just go in and tell them “Carie Shapiro’s Mother Sent Me!”  Otherwise, they always seem eager to offer assistance and a valuable education.  Besides, you too might find Do-It-Yourself projects rewarding and fun.  All that creativity will give the right side of your brain something to smile about.  And, these days, our brains can definitely use something to smile about.

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