'Bobcat flip' a Northeastern fundraiser years in the making
A school district nonprofit had an unusual fundraising idea — something a little out-of-the-box that members hope will return the biggest bang for the buck.
With the help of students, administrators and countless community volunteers, the Northeastern School District's foundation are flipping a house in East Manchester Township.
The foundation bought the property at 20 Codorus Furnace Road for $26,500, and put it on the market for $125,900.
“Probably too much HGTV,” said foundation Vice President Diane Wolf referencing the home improvement channel when discussing what prompted them do the "Bobcat flip" — named after the district's mascot.
The house already had an offer as of Nov. 27. That contract was signed as of Dec. 4, Wolf said. Though the foundation is not accepting any more offers, it will take names of those interested in case the sale falls through, she said.
A colonial-style home with two bedrooms and one and a half baths, it was built in 1900 — but with a coat of fresh paint and a number of renovations, its return on investment is expected to be about $70,000.
Northeastern Foundation fundraisers typically bring in between $2,000 and $3,000 dollars, so even if members got $7,000, it would take another 10 years to come close to the flip house total, Wolf said.
“The market is helping us” because there’s not a lot of inventory at that price point, said high school principal and foundation board member Mathew Gay.
Gay said the foundation chose “really nice finishes and smart selections,” which added value without pricing the home beyond the market.
The flip house crew updated the façade by painting the porch in a modern gray with white trim, adding lighting and landscaping the front yard.
But the execution was not easy — and actually took more than 3½ years, Wolf said. Gay said he did not know how many hours the district has sunk into the project, but it has to be in the thousands.
At least 14 area businesses donated time and services, including all new plumbing, electric, HVAC, carpeting and kitchen cabinets, Wolf said.
The timing was hard to coordinate since it was a volunteer effort, but it did give many students an opportunity to put some sweat into the project on Saturdays.
One student mowed the yard all summer, the high school tennis team helped with landscaping, and the football team unloaded building products. The company that donated electrical services brought in students from York County School of Technology to help with wiring.
Northeastern students have to have 35 hours of community service over their high school career to graduate, Gay said, and administration will typically try to find opportunities for students that connect with their career paths.
In the case of the flip house, one student who worked on the house last year was interested in architecture, Gay said, and they spent a lot of time talking about design.
Abigail O'Leary, 16, said the project was right down the street from her house, and she helped put on some of its finishing touches.
"I think it’s so adorable," the 11th grader said. "I think they did a really great job with revamping the whole house."
A large chunk of the house proceeds is slated for updating the district's stadium, which is used for football, soccer and track.
The district has already updated its scoreboard and flagpole — with the help of a local VFW organization — and the money will help reimburse some of those costs. A portion of the funds will also go toward competitive classroom grants.
Teachers apply to the foundation with project ideas, and recipients are determined by the board, Gay said.
Though it was a success, Wolf said there's no guarantee the district will get this opportunity again. As of now, there are no plans to flip more houses.
“The right property was available at the right time,” she said. "We would have to have the perfect storm again."