Friday, January 20, 2012

‘Vanilla Ice’ Serves Up Home Makeover Advice

A former rapper who rose to fame in the early 1990s for his hit single “Ice, Ice Baby” is back, but he’s now turning from rapper to handyman as he renovates and flips foreclosed, abandoned homes on a reality TV show. Robert Van Winkle, better known by his alias Vanilla Ice, shows off his renovation skills in the reality TV show, “The Vanilla Ice Project,” on the DIY Network. The show was renewed for a second season, which starts Jan. 21.

Van Winkle is showing how renovations, even in a depressed housing market, can still make a big impact at resale.

In the show’s first season project, Van Winkle and his team renovated a foreclosed home in Palm Beach, Fla., that was purchased for $400,000. After the renovations, the home ended up selling for $875,000 — more than double the original price.

In the second season, Van Winkle and his team take on another foreclosed home in Florida, which was purchased for $500,000. The team will spend more than $1 million in renovations, but they’ve already received offers for $2 million to $2.3 million.

"Even during an uncertain economy, it's about inspiring people to get out there and get to work and make their houses a real home,” Van Winkle told AOL Real Estate about the show. “Even though they may not get the money back out of the house or flip the house, [the show] motivates them to live that dream of having your own home and fixing it up, and it's a great feeling."

And when making renovations, make the kitchen the top area of focus. “It's the most cost-efficient improvement you can make,” Van Winkle told AOL Real Estate. “The kitchen is the main focus of the house. ... So Formica's gotta go. I'm sorry, it's gotta go — the '70s aren't coming back like that."

For home owners who can’t afford a total gut job, go subtle, like painting the cabinets or swapping out Formica for granite or limestone countertops, he suggests.

Source: “Ice’s Advice: What Vanilla Ice Wants Home Owners to Know,” AOL Real Estate (Jan. 19, 2012)

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