This Gen Zer bought and remodeled two homes by the time she turned 25. Her latest renovation was inspired by TikTok — see inside.

Katie Harris in front of her Tulsa home.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

In 2020, Katie Harris purchased her first home at just 20 years old for $226,000.
In May, she sold that home and used the proceeds to purchase a second home for $395,000.
The real-estate savvy Gen Zer has spent the last few months taking the home back to its 1930s roots.

Katie Harris has purchased and remodeled two homes before reaching 30 years old. 

The 25-year-old software engineer bought her first home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2020. The 1,500-square-foot house with two bedrooms and two bathrooms was a landing pad for her as she pursued her dream home — and a way for her to build equity. 

The house cost her $226,000. Harris spent three months and about $20,000 remodeling the home, and eventually added a primary suite. In March 2023, she put it on the market for $340,000 and profited $102,000 when it sold two months later.

“I always knew I was going to sell my first house within a couple of years,” Harris told Insider, “I was waiting for my dream home to enter the market.”

Her dream home went on the market in March: a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house that dates to the 1930s and is located in a historic neighborhood in Tulsa.

The Gen Zer, who has a soft spot for older homes, was enamored with the property. “I’ve always loved historic homes,” Harris said. “I could tell there was so much charm in this house and I felt really connected to it.”

Harris bought the 2,274-square-foot house in May for $395,000, utilizing proceeds from her first home sale. Over the past few months, she’s spent $24,000 remodeling the property and taking it back to its 1930s roots.

“The house was beautiful and had already been updated but I wanted it to feel like it hadn’t been touched by time,” she said, adding that remodeling the home “feels like the right thing to do.”

So far, Harris has worked on the exterior, its kitchen, primary bedroom, and flooring throughout the house. During the process, she has relied on the help of her parents and TikTok. 

“Watching DIYs and seeing other 25 year olds figuring out how to do something by themselves has given me so much confidence,” she said. “The process has been really rewarding.”

She has turned back to TikTok to document the home’s progression. See how her project is coming along. 

Harris is primarily undertaking the home’s remodeling projects on her own. She has spent about $24,000 remodeling the home so far and anticipates an additional $25,000 will be needed to complete the job.Harris and a power drill.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

“There’s definitely been days I’ve been overwhelmed and feel like this was a bad decision, but overall I don’t regret it,” she said. “It’s comforting to know that I have a bunch of equity in this home.”

When Harris purchased the 1930s-era home in May, she felt that its façade needed a refresh.Harris’ home prior to its remodel.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

She replaced the home’s roof, which set her back $11,000. Harris also repainted the home’s exterior, and added railings and flowers to the front porch.The home after its exterior was remodeled.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

“I wasn’t going to be able to get insured if the home didn’t get a new roof,” Harris said. “I almost had to back out of the sale because I didn’t have that kind of cash at 25 years old.”

“However, my realtor negotiated with the home’s sellers and they gave me a $7,000 bonus at closing, which I was able to pay towards the roof,” she added.

One of her initial undertakings was to uncover the home’s floors.The home’s floors as they were being remodeled.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

The home had undergone renovation prior to Harris’ purchase, and its previous owners had placed gray laminate flooring atop its original wooden floors.

“The very first thing I did when I moved into the home was peel up its laminate flooring,” Harris said.

 

While Harris originally budgeted $4,000 for flooring, she ultimately paid around $5,000 for both wood and tile materials that were installed throughout the home.Newly polished floors in the primary bedroom.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

“Except in the kitchen, the home’s original floors were covered in laminate,” she said. “The $5,000 went towards labor: removing the old laminate, sanding the original wood, staining the wood, and laying the tile.”

In addition to updating the home’s flooring, Harris revamped the kitchen with new cabinetry.Harris and her father working in the kitchen.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

“I added an extra area of cabinets, which was never in my plan,” she said. “I went over budget on this project but I saved money on materials because I went to a fabrication yard.”

“The fabrication yard is where countertop slabs are cut and stored,” she added. “Many countertop fabricators will sell leftover remnants at a major discount.”

 

Harris’ remodeled kitchen features new cabinets, counter tops, and flooring. She had to dip into her savings to complete the project.The newly remodeled kitchen in Harris’ home.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

“I spent about $475 on cabinets, $2,500 on counters and then $1,176 on tile,” she said. “I’ve always dreamed of having a house with black and white checkered floors.”

Harris also swapped out the kitchen’s original stove and adorned its walls with vintage-inspired wallpaper.New appliances and wallpaper in the kitchen.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

Harris wanted the kitchen to feel “colorful and happy.” Many of these glasses were inherited from her great aunt and grandmother.Colorfully decorated shelves in the kitchen.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

When Harris initially purchased the home, its dining and living room had a more modern vibe. She decided to change that.The home’s living room prior to Harris moving in and refurbishing the home.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

“I think that a gray home is beautiful, but it’s not 100% my taste,” she said. “I felt like the home’s previous interior design didn’t quite fit the house.”

When it came to refurbishing the dining room, Harris opted for furniture that had been passed down from her grandparents and great grandparents.The dining room after Harris remodeled it to look more vintage.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

Harris went for a classical ambiance in the living room.The living room following a refurbishing.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

The home’s previous owners had painted the primary bedroom’s walls gray. Harris thought the room lacked character and wanted more flare.The primary bedroom prior to its remodel.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

In addition to removing laminate from the home, she added new wallpaper and furniture.The primary bedroom with new wallpaper, furniture, and art.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

“Like the rest of the house, the room was painted gray,” she said. “I added fun patterned wallpaper and drapery.”

Harris drew inspiration from her family when decorating the main bedroom.A dresser that was given to Harris by her mother.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

“The dresser belonged to my mom when she was a little girl, and the art on the wall was in my grandma’s house.”

Harris isn’t done remodeling the home yet and anticipates it will take her years to complete the project.Harris working in her home.

Courtesy of Katie Harris.

“I’m waiting for interest rates to drop to be able to refinance and use my equity to do bigger remodels,” she said. “In the meantime, I’m doing inexpensive things to update it almost every weekend.”

As for whether or not the property will be her forever home, Harris said the possibilities are endless.

“I do love this house and I want to be here for a very long time, but a lot can change in my life because I’m 25 and single,” she added. “I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon, but anything could happen.”

Do you have a similar story you’d like to share with Insider? Get in touch with reporter Alcynna Lloyd at [email protected].

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