• Modern Landscape Design

    For this project I decided on a modern style landscape design to tie in with my modern architecture attribute. The clean lines and open spaces of my concrete work will create a contemporary outdoor space. I came up with a flowing design of terraced geometrical shapes, grid patterns in the concrete flat work, and the [...]

  • Modern Bungalow Framing

    Huge progress this week in only 4 and a half days of framing, the Modern Bungalow is starting to take shape now with the whole first floor and garage framed up. I haven’t seen anyone doing this in San Diego, my architect is doing these in Austin, Texas and this is the hottest new construction [...]

  • Mid Century Modern Renovation

    My 1962 Leonard Drogin MCM is coming together.

    Since my last blog post we totally transformed the outside of our Atomic Ranch House/Mid Century Modern project. I built a modern horizontal wood fence for the first time, it was way more labor intensive because the boards were all custom cut and had to be pre-drilled and [...]

  • Victorian House Colors

    Of course its not done yet but we’re 90% there on our Victorian paint job and its really looking good. The steps and front porch will be green and all the windows are still missing the plum color but if you look closely you can see we put it up on one of the porch [...]

  • Ultimate Craftsman 7-Color Paint Job

    After all that hard work prepping the house we finally started putting some colors up this week. It’s really an honor to get to spray it after all those hours of sanding. We squeezed 117  tubes of Alex Plus 35-year caulk into every crack known to man, my finger tip might never recover. And of course I had [...]

Green Button Homes Favorites

Modern Bungalow ~ New Construction

Mid Century Modern ~ Remodel

Historic Victorian ~ Remodel

Arts and Crafts ~ Remodel

Arts and Crafts ~ Remodel

CA Real Estate Lic# 01049134 CA General Contractor Lic# 989348

New GBH HQ

Green Button Homes and SD Housebuyers moved into a new headquarters last month! With the new location we’ve gone into full marketing and aquisition mode buying everything we can get where the numbers make sense. I’ve created several strategic partnerships with millions of dollars to invest in San Diego real estate so I’ve transitioned from managing the job sites to heading up the aquisition department where we are currently buying 2-3 properties per month.

Here’s a great little SFR  that we picked up last week in Oceanside near the back gate of Camp Pendleton. Its hitting MLS soon!

We just put this Valencia Park property in escrow Monday and its closing tomorrow, the seller is retiring and this was an inherited property that has been a rental. They really didn’t want to work with a listing agent and go through all the showings, inspections, appraisals, requests for repairs and lengthy escrow so they called us for a no hassle 5-Day close. If you have a San Diego house that you inherited or that you want to sell in less than 7 days, Contact the #1 local, family owned homebuyer! SD Housebuyers

What Inventory Problem?

I bought so many houses this summer I’m now losing track. There’s a real shortage in San Diego of fixer uppers on the market but since we’ve had our feelers out now for a few years and everybody knows we buy houses, we keep getting leads. This is the second off market property I picked up this year in my old stomping grounds Clairemont. This property has a tenant who hasn’t been keeping up with the rent and the owner just decided to cash out.We structured a win-win for both parties. The seller is happy because he gets cash next week without paying any realtor fees or closing costs and can move on and not worry about the problem tenant anymore,  I’m happy because we’ll have enough room to renovate the house and sell it for a profit. It needs a complete kitchen, new bathrooms, flooring, windows, paint in and out, the whole 9 yards. Have a problem rental house in San Diego you need to sell fast? CLICK HERE!

Carlsbad Design Update

Making some headway with the Carlsbad Lagoon project. I’m still dialing in materials and colors but we are making progress. The building site continues to be quite challenging so the house design has changed several times. It’s currently a 4,051 sf 4/3 including an attached 678 sf 2-car garage. The City of Carlsbad has some restrictive building height requirements for the Coastal zone. Flat roofs have a height restriction of 24′ and pitched roofs with minimum 3 and 12 pitch are allowed 32′ heights. Of course I originally wanted all flat roofs, but in order to get the second story and still have 11 foot ceilings on the first level, we had to go with a pitched roof up top because of the existing slope creates a big crawlspace under the front. The height is measured from the lowest, or most restrictive, between proposed and existing grade.

The materials used will be stucco, wood and metal, there is a great overhang that wraps 2 sides of the living room, which will have an underlit wood soffit. Generous use of windows on the front will bring in an ample amount of light while the 5′ overhang will filter the harshest mid day Southern exposure from direct light. The large living room is connected to the outdoor deck with fire feature via a set of aluminum La Cantina accordian doors.

You can see here how much civil engineering work has been done just to get the structure to work on the lot. The correct driveway orientation can be seen here. I’m real happy with how the grading plan worked out, the rear 1/3 of the house and half of the garage is cut into the hill and will be slab on grade while the front of the house will change to raised stem wall foundation. There is a new sidewalk, curb and gutter public improvement for the entire lot frontage, as well as a Bio Rentention system engineered into the landscape plan that filters all driveway and roof run off before hitting the public street. The retaining wall elevations worked out pretty nice with the lot topography and the civil engineer did a great job designing it to minimize grading. On the high side of the driveway its only 3 feet tall.  The driveway comes up pretty steep off the street at 20%, then levels off to 10% as you get up near the house. We left enough room at the top of the driveway to turn a car around so nobody has to back down onto the street. In total we have 220 cubic yards of cut, 900 CY of fill and about 700 CY of export so we should qualify for a minimum grading permit. The City basically wants to see your house design stuck into the hill and minimal impact to the rest of the lot.

We had a pretty favorable Biology report, the absence of California Gnat Catcher birds during the site survey by the biologist really alleviated one of my big concerns with the parcel. There is however Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub that is all over this hill and its on the endangered list. In order to remove some scrub brush (mitigate), you have 3 options;  dedicate the rest permanently with an open space easement that will eventually get recorded to the title, pay mitigation fees, or mitigate off site. To mitigate CSS it would cost roughly $30,000 per acre so this mitigating on site with the easement is a a great solution. Because we are only developing 25% of our 1.3 acre lot, dedicating the rest permanently will prevent future homeowners from developing the hill. It’s steep anyway so there’s really not much you could do with it so its not much of a downside in my opinion. The open space will provide a nice buffer between us and the neighbors and continue to be a valuable wildlife habitat. You’ll notice the blue dots where the biologist found the Orange-throated Whiptail lizard. While on the endangered list, its not as critical as the Gnat Catcher Bird would have been. The only stipulation is that we have to perform scrubbing and grading activities to the site in the breeding off season between February 15 and August 31. The whole project is being reviewed by the City now, if we get a favorable response we’ll move forward to the Coastal Development Permit then Grading Plan and construction plans with the structural engineer.

We Buy Houses With Code Violations

The City Of San Diego has a department called Neighborhood Code Compliance that will respond to complaints from the community and will visit your property and look for health, safety and building code violations. Once you have been targeted there is no way to get them off your back without bringing your home into compliance. They commonly show up for what they call substandard buildings which include illegal room additions, abandoned vehicles, unkept lawns, high grass and un-permitted construction work. As defined by California Health and Safety Code (H&SC), Section 17920.3, a substandard building is any building or portion thereof in which certain conditions exist to the extent that it endangers the health and safety of its occupants or the public

Once they determine the violations, you will receive a Civil Penalty Notice and Order. This notifies you that fines will be imposed if the violation is not corrected by a certain date. If these fines go unpaid they turn into Liens on the Property, which could eventually result in court order to pay from the City Attorney. If the fines plus admin fees are still not paid you will lose the property to foreclosure. You will not be able to refinance or sell without paying these liens. In addition, its hard to sell the property listing with Realtors if you have a Code Violation because buyers will typically try and get a loan for the house and the Code Violation shows up as a cloud on the Title Report and banks wont lend on it.

If you are in this situation and have received a Code Compliance Violation from the City of San Diego and cannot remedy the situation, please call us and we will buy the house. We pay cash from private investors so there is no problem when the code violation on the title report for us. Here is a house we bought this week in Imperial Beach that has 9 City violations that include an illegal room addition, un-permitted front porch enclosure, illegal use of garage as a dwelling unit, and a violation for disabled vehicles in the driveway. Once we close on the transaction we will remodel the house with permits and work together with the City to remove the violations.

If you have a house with a Code Violation or Code Compliance issue in San Diego that is turning into a headache, Contact Us and I will make you a hassle free offer. We use licensed 3rd party Escrow and Title companies to handle the transaction and can close in 10 days.

It’s a Family Tradition

The Tarrant boys like to build. 77 years later and here I am following in my grandfathers footsteps, developing real estate and building spec houses. Here’s a fun picture of my Grandfather R.W. “Poppy” Tarrant’s custom home that he built for his family in the late 1930’s.  The house was on Overbrook Lane in the upscale area of Houston, Texas known today as River Oaks. This house was torn down in the early 2000’s.

After selling the first house to a local attorney, he then drew up his own plans and specs and built this home in the 3600 block of Wickersham Lane in River Oaks. In 1943 this house only cost $15,000 to build. In today’s inflation adjusted dollars that equals $202, 460.00.

Here is Poppy, my dad Tom Tarrant Sr. and uncle Bobby Tarrant outside the Wickersham house

Carlsbad Plans

Here’s a glimpse at the front elevation of the modern Carlsbad new construction house we have in the works. It’s a 4/3 at roughly 4000 total square feet. I’m real happy with the design.. its got clean lines, big horizontal planes and heavy overhangs. More design detail to come as well as some 3D modeling so you can get a feel for the floorplan. The Carlsbad permitting process wont be a quick process, we are now only working towards Coastal Development Approval and then we get to submit the detailed house plans. Completion date in 2014.

Sell Your San Diego House

We are still busy Buying Houses here in San Diego and helping homeowners find solutions to their Real Estate problems. It’s been a busy Summer but we are still looking to buy more houses!

Last month we bought this Paradise Hills house directly from the sellers who were retired veterans and had got a couple months behind on their mortgage payments. They didn’t want to work with realtors because most of their equity would have been spent on the realtor commissions. Their lender Green Tree, wouldn’t cooperate with a loan modification and refinancing of their VA loan was out of the question because there were major repairs that needed to be made to the property, namely an empty swimming pool in the backyard which needed to be filled in.

After visiting the house we made them a cash offer and immediately contacted their lender for a payoff amount so the harassing phone calls stopped. To help the elderly sellers we even advanced some funds before the sale closed so they could rent a suitable house. They will walk away with over $25,000 cash in their pocket and be saved of having a foreclosure on their credit. We love helping people and make sure its a win-win for both parties.

I bought this house in Clairemont this month after the seller, who is the executor of a family trust, contacted me and wanted to liquidate the asset so the beneficiaries could cash out. The challenging issue with this deal was that the home needed extensive repairs so a lender would likely not lend on it. Additionally, one of the family members who happened to live in the house wanted to stay an additional year after the sale closed so the kids could finish their last year of school.

We made the sellers a cash offer and agreed to take the house in its As-Is condition, we never request anyone to make repairs. We closed escrow 12 days later and the heirs to the estate received their portion of the proceeds. The family member who had been living in the home was given a 1-year lease so their kids wouldn’t be disrupted in their last year of school. Another win-win situation for both parties, no other homebuyer in town would let the seller stay in the house for a year after receiving their funds!

Another purchase this month was this house on Dictionary Hill in Spring Valley. It’s a huge 3200 sf custom but needs an extensive remodel. The house had great bones, but years of deferred maintenance. The sellers had been busy with their careers and didn’t have the time to make repairs or keep up with this huge house. They didn’t want to list it with a realtor and have to clean, pay to fix everything, and then hassle with all the showings so they called us.

Out of their equity they would have also paid $15,000 in Realtor fees which was a big portion of their equity they needed to put down on their new house. Here is how fast we work; after getting the call on a Friday, I visited the home Saturday morning and made an offer. By Monday we agreed on a sale price and opened escrow.  5 days later the deal closed and they got their check! The sellers had accumulated a lot of little stuff in the house that would have been time consuming and costly to haul out, so they were happy that we didn’t require them to haul it off or clean anything on the way out.

If you want to Sell a San Diego House Fast, give us a call and we will work around your specific situation to try and structure a deal that works for both parties. More information about the homebuying process and how we arrive at an offer price can be found at the following link: http://tomtarrant.com/we-buy-houses-san-diego/

Contact me by clicking here or simply call (619) 565-7475 for a hassle free, no-obligation offer for your unwanted real estate. Your privacy is our main concern and we don’t share your information with anyone.

Happy Independence Day!

Flipping San Diego

It looks like A&E finally green lighted the announcement of a new Flip This House team for 2013. It’s our friend Chief Denney here in San Diego with a new show called Flipping San Diego. Chief does really nice work, has a lot of integrity when it comes to renovating houses and furthermore is a graduate of New School of Architecture here in San Diego.  What you guys are in store for this upcoming season on Flip This House from the San Diego team will be unlike any other season in the past so its a must see for house flipping fans. Sorry but there wont be any painting over rotten wood, shoddy lipstick rehabs, faked arguments with contractors or staged open house sales. I’m looking forward to the spotlight on the hot San Diego house flipping scene, and happy to see that it will involve someone ethical with good design sense and doing quality rehabs to show the nation how California does it! Tune into the new Flip This House season debuting July 20th on A&E.

Over the years we’ve been approached by 3 different production companies to do realty shows but never found the right “fit”, you might remember this old post http://tomtarrant.com/another-real-estate-reality-show-offer/

New Carlsbad Lagoon Lot

I picked up this 1.3 acre parcel in Old Carlsbad on Aqua Hedionda Lagoon last week and am getting started on plans for a 3500+ s.f. contemporary custom home. You can see its very close to Carlsbad Lagoon where there are fun summer activities like wakeboarding, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding although the beach is still only 1 mile away. I’ve got about 30 hours of due diligence in with The City already and feel pretty good about the parcel although its never had a house on it after a sub division lot split in 1980. There are a lot of challenges with this lot but neighboring parcels have all been developed or received approval. This lot is also in the Coastal Commission area which requires Coastal Development Approval before any grading, public improvement or building plans can be approved.

Home values in this area of Carlsbad are very strong with values in the $1M range. It’s going to be a long permitting process this summer though before we can break ground, I’ve already hired a civil engineer to do a new Topography Survey from which we can do a Preliminary Site Plan with elevations, drainage and grading. Additionally, we are required to submit a Geo Report for the soils and a Bio Report that documents endangered plant and wildlife on the lot, namely Coastal Scrub Brush and the infamous Gnat Catcher bird. Once we can get all this in to the City we’ll be considered for a Coastal Development Permit after a 30-day wait, and then we can start actually working on the house plans. This whole process could easily take 6 months from what I’m told so don’t expect to see me start grading next weekend. This is going to be a really fun project, we are really excited to also be doing something in North County and leaning more modern with this home design.  I’ll share some of the prelim info as we get into this and start playing with conceptual designs and eventually work towards another 3D model of the house and site.

Modern Bungalow Sold $765,000

The San Diego real estate market is on fire right now, home prices in my area are up 20% over last year and in nearby neighborhoods like North Park 92104 there is only 1 month of inventory at the current sales pace!  It’s putting a real damper on the local house flippers as they are having trouble finding properties to rehab. 3 guys I personally know are going to Phoenix, Las Vegas and Palm Springs to find projects.

Strategically, I put it on the market on a Tuesday to give everyone time to react before an MLS advertised double-open house weekend. The strategy worked out perfectly, by the open house we already had 3 offers to work with. In this market its common to have 10-15 offers within the first few days, but this is generally true for entry level houses or high demand markets in the suburbs. By leaving the house on the market a whole 8 days, I felt it gave adequate market exposure yet didn’t irritate any of the first buyers by waiting too long and playing the game.

We had a specialty product for a very special buyer, in an inner city neighborhood where median sold home prices are in the low 500’s. To illustrate the market appreciation this year, when I bought this vacant lot I calculated a house built there would have sold for $629,000 based on comps. Half way through the build there were 2 comps at $685,000. By the time I was done we had sales comps in the low 700’s for remodels, not new construction, so I put a value on the home of $750,000. Not having a back yard was a definite negative so I had to price this in. You know that the seller does not set the sales price, the market does. A house will sell for whatever a buyer is willing to pay. Furthermore, houses are not sold, they are bought, so listing agents don’t “sell” houses in my opinion.

I used value range pricing and listed the house at $749,000 – $799,000. The first offer came in at $710,000. The second at $749,000 and a third at $750,000. When the smoke cleared, and after everyone had a shot to go higher, we countered the strongest buyer of the 3 offers and they came up to $765,000, or $413.50/s.f.

Listing this house and getting it under contract was the easy part, getting SDG&E to install the gas meter so we could close would prove to be the hard part and took almost 8 weeks! Our wonderful buyer hung in there so we finally closed today, congratulations to the new owner and we hope you enjoy the home as much as we did building it. Here is a start to finish video that shows the whole build, these are always fun to watch. Next project coming soon..

South Park Modern Bungalow For Sale

Our New Construction Modern Bungalow in South Park is finally done, 190 days since I got my plans stamped. It’s an edgy blend of traditional Craftsman Bungalow style with a Modern influence. We wont be moving in (sorry babe) so it will hit the market this week. Don’t miss this ultimate urban nest for a hip buyer in the trendy South Park neighborhood!    Click here for home details. DRE# 01049134

-1812 Edgemont Street SD, CA 92102-       -Showings & Questions (619) 565-7475-

> MLS # 130005969    $749,000 – $799,000

> Open House Saturday – February 9, 2013 12-5 pm

> Open House Sunday – February 10, 2013 12-5 pm

Special thanks to Rancho Photos for the best real estate photos in San Diego!

Modern Garage Door and Countertops – South Park

We are winding things up in South Park on our Modern Bungalow. The modern garage door got installed this week, its an Amarr full view door in dark bronze with obscure glass. I didn’t want the glass to look white-ish like my last project so I didn’t get the frosted, the obscure lets more light in and overall was a way better choice for this project. The dark bronze aluminum ties in with the Milgard aluminum window color perfectly. The door looks massive because its 8 feet high so the glass panels are larger, way cooler than the 7 foot Amarr door we installed earlier this year on a house we flipped.

In the master bath wet room I finally dropped in the jacuzzi tub. You can see that the heavy glass frame-less doors are also installed, I tried something new this time and did saloon doors. You can leave them open when taking a bath and they lay on the walls out of the way. The opening is 4′0″ so each door is around 24″ Hey Honey, if I don’t come home from work one night you know where to find me.

Carpet got installed in the 2 secondary bedrooms. I went with a designer textured close loop Stainmaster with upgraded pad because we like carpet in kids rooms. The grey ties in well with interior finishes.

The big milestone we passed this week was the counter tops. The kitchen and both bathrooms are all Ceasarstone Arctic White with a square profile and eased edge. Ceasarstone is quartz so its a little trickier to work with when fabricating the edge detail. Not only is the pure white unforgiving but quartz in general has to be miter cut so you wont see the lamination on the bullnose. This is the first time I’ve gone this white, its so fresh, clean and looks very modern, contrasting my dark greyish blue base cabinet color well. The huge sink is a single bowl zero radius stainless steel. I ended up going with white 3×6 ceramic tile for the back splash (not shown) and installed it in a running bond pattern to keep it looking more contemporary and matching the upstairs bathroom.

The 3′x7′ kitchen island has a waterfall on one side. this is a new technique usually reserved for high end modern homes where the counter top actually wraps down the island and touches the floor. You can also see in this pic how the seams are miter cut. One neat feature (also not shown) is the microwave drawer in the island, more pics to come after I get appliances in.  We Buy Houses in San Diego, if you know anyone looking to sell please contact us as we are always searching for our next renovation project.