Sam Smith wants you to remember the three Cs of smart rehab: code, core, then cute. With 25 years’ experience in home rehab, Sam says he “knows everything.”

Code. Making sure the house meets city code requirements comes first. This often means pulling permits and working with a licensed professional in the areas of: plumbing, electricity, and structural work.

Sam says that code work should be left to the professionals—no matter how many YouTube videos are out there.

Core. Once that’s complete, you can move on to the core of the house which can best be described as things that protect you from the elements: roofing, windows, and doors. Sam says these things don’t normally require a licensed professional, but they should be done correctly to ensure safety.

Cute. Last, you should tackle making your house cute. This means painting, lighting, and window trims.

Sam Smith

However, some “cute” repairs may also require permits.

An example Sam likes to use is the faucet. Yes, to replace your bathroom faucet you need a permit. A simple repair to your faucet doesn’t require a permit.

While some are attracted to fixer-uppers from shows on the HGTV network, Sam tempers those looking to purchase through ACTS with being realistic about rehab.

“We do not remodel. We rehab,” Sam said.  “There’s no knocking out walls or pulling up hardwood floors.”

Sam, who once bought, rehabbed and rented his own 15 properties, says the ACTS model is better for the long-term financially.

“With rehab you get a lot more house for your buck.”


Acts Housing’s mission is to promote affordable home ownership that fosters a low-income family’s ability to be self-empowered, thereby reducing community blight, neighborhood deterioration, and poverty. Acts’ strategy is to generate home ownership opportunities for inner-city residents within a targeted neighborhood so that an entire community can be transformed and sustained. Acts’ team provides home buying services throughout the city of Milwaukee.
2414 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee, WI 53205 USA 391837474