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¡Ya estufas!

It’s Over! What a fun project. Great house in an even better Encinitas, CA neighborhood with a simple, but complete, cosmetic makeover. It’s now on the market for sale and ready for a new family to call home. The sense of accomplishment is what really keeps me going on these things. I have an awesome crew and couldn’t do this without everyone who had a part in it. Taking on a whole house remodel in 6 weeks is not for the faint of heart, but the reward is always worth it. Take a look how cool the master shower came out. The contrast between the warm reclaimed back wall and the crisp white ceramic subway sides is very dramatic. I hope this wood doesn’t get wet 😉

Green Button Homes remodel_master bath

Reclaimed wood look tile - Green Button Homes

Encinitas House Flip

Encinitas House Flip backyard remodel

Encinitas contractor

San Diego House Flipper

Green Button Homes

Spice Rack - Green Button Homes

Bathroom remodel - Green Button Homes

Sell My House Encinitas

 

Final Stretch on the Encinitas House Flip

According to Zillow, the Median Home Value in Encinitas is $918,200 and the Median Listing Price right now is over $1,397,000 with a real lack of entry level inventory! There is only 1 other Active SFR choice right now in the $700’s, 1 in the high $800’s, then 2 over $1.2m in my area. We are not exactly in the best selling season but the market is on fire this year. Flipped houses sell at a premium because rarely does a buyer get to move in to a new home with every surface brand new and free from other peoples germs. Every surface usually has been changed or painted if a rehabber does a thorough job. Moving into a house that has been rehabbed or flipped you can expect to get no pet stains, no smells, no kids piss around toilets, not even someone’s years of old food in the garbage disposal. It’s a big luxury to know that nobody even used the toilet. Our project is All New and Germ-Free and will hit the market this Friday, stay tuned!

This was a very straight-forward remodel. We didn’t open any walls or change the floorplan around. I think I did a good job with spending the money in the right places. House flippers have a budget to work with, you don’t automatically get paid for everything you do to a project because there is a cap on the sales price.  Making sure you get the best bang for your buck, and passing along a solid product for a homeowner to build on is always our goal.

Pacific Beach project is done and on the market

3 blocks to the water! Our new project is now done and on the market for sale. This cute little original beach cottage is totally made over with new roof, windows, stucco, designer kitchen, bath, and refinished original hardwood floors. I really love the white ceramic diagonal herringbone pattern backsplash. You cant beat the location and can walk to everything Pacific beach has to offer. This would make a great vacation rental Air BnB but I am sure the neighbors wouldn’t agree. The home has 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and is just under 900 square feet with a 1 car attached garage. We buy houses in San Diego! We purchased this house directly from an out of the area owner who lived in Riverside, he was actually a Century 21 agent but didn’t want to pay Realtor commissions and wanted to sell it As-Is and hassle-free.

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Clairemont Project going Live!

We wrapped up the Clairemont house at 4164 Mount Hukee SD CA 92117 last week and its On the Market For Sale. MLS# 170026209. Here are some After pics so you can see the final product. I’m really happy with the way this one came out and glad we went the extra mile with design, material choices and landscaping.

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Indoor/Outdoor Living in Clairemont

We are deep into this project and really just now starting to put it back together. The front yard demo was massive, we hauled out 4 dumpsters of demo and then 2 days with the Bobcat to break out the multiple layers of old concrete patios and finally hauled it off in a dump truck. The front yard is finally back to a clean slate to work with.

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The master bathroom changes are all done and we are ready to patch the drywall back up. The shower is 7 feet wide with his and hers shower heads. It’s going to be really cool, just wait to see what tile we have picked out. You will notice that we have a Hot Mop Tar shower pan. None of the house flippers do this but I would never settle for anything less.


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I wanted to take advantage of the expansive canyon views so we sprung for a Folding Patio Door. There are several manufacturers of these such as La Cantina and Nanawall, but we opted for a local company right here in Oceanside called Panoramic Doors. It’s a 10 foot wide opening consisting of 3 movable panels that completely open up and lay to the side, providing a seamless indoor/outdoor transition for the awesome San Diego climate. The obvious choice would have been regular French doors that swing out, this is a just way nicer so I think it was a good investment into the house. The backyard is going to get a new patio, some Xeriscape and a gas fire pit. This will be a really good house for entertaining. Stay tuned, we should start patching it all back up soon and moving towards paint, kitchen and tile jobs next.


Bi Fold Patio Doors

It’s a Family Tradition ~ Green Button Homes

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

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 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.

Modern Concrete and Floor Redeux

What a difference a week makes. Our new hardwood floor refinishing guys came in and did an incredible job on the Modern Bungalow in South Park. Instead of the usual rag on, rag off method for applying the stain, these guys used a lambs wool applicator and drug the stain across the floor. Of course we did not water pop the wood first this time!

The stain came out perfect the second time around, no spots or blotchy areas and this application method actually left more color on the wood. After the stain dried they did 3 coats of semi-gloss clear, buffing in between coats. I’m really happy with the results, this is how Golden Pecan on Red Oak should look, it gives a modern loft feel.

Here is the finished product on the floors, finally I am back on track now. The cabinet finishers are coming in next to stain the uppers to match and paint the bases, island and bathroom vanities.

The weather finally cooperated enough to get most of our hardscape in this week. I poured about 20 yards of flat work. The modern design I created will lend itself well to my overall theme, the driveway area was so large, so by cutting it up I brought the space more into scale. Stay tuned for the finishing stretch after the holidays & Merry Christmas!

Holiday Delays but Still Pushing

We are still making progress on the Modern Bungalow trying to wrap this house up, but with the holidays its been hard to keep up the pace. Since my last update inside we got the central air conditioning installed, hot water heater, red oak stair treads and risers, and all the electrical trim and fixtures. The fire sprinkler guy came back and trimmed out too, installing all the sprinkler heads and bell box. There’s nothing left inside except for the tile setting while I wait for another week for the cabinets to arrive and get installed. The countertop fabricator is on standby to come right in after the cabinets, then its only hardwood floor refinishing and carpet in the 2 bedrooms. Garage door is also on order. I could have had it wrapped inside by now if I would have ordered cabinets before the drywall went up.

The new tile contractor I hired is done now with mud floating all the walls and getting into tile setting with his wife. This is the second husband and wife team we’ve had on this job, my exterior painters’ wife also was a painter. These ladies know what they are doing too, they are not just sweeping up! Instead of Hardi backer we opted for the mud float method where you do moisture barrier paper, metal lathe and then float out the walls with spec mix. The City comes and inspects paper and lath before you can start floating the walls. It gives a perfectly flat and plumb surface but definitely more work, he spent 4 days floating the walls when I could have put up backerboard in a few hours. The tile I went with in the master is a modern 12 x 24 light grey designer porcelain and I stacked it square to give a more clean minimalist and contemporary look. In the hall bath I went with the 3×6 ceramic but also opted not do do a subway pattern so it will be more of a clean look with a period material, working well with our home design. Both bathrooms got great niches in the wall for soap and shampoo bottles.

I thought by now I would have been done with the house but things always drag out at then end, time is on my side with Christmas and New Years coming up now so we’ll move in after the holidays.

The San Diego real estate market is still very hot. No signs of slowing even through the typically slow Fall season. With only a little over 2 months inventory it is a sellers market again and we are seeing bidding wars and multiple offers in all price tiers. I don’t see things changing through 2013 because interest rates will stay low and there’s no more huge waves of foreclosures coming as all the adjustable loans have reset already. Banks will continue to trickle out a few REO’s here and there, but even short sale volume is dropping fast. House flippers in San Diego will have a tough time competing with large, well funded buy and hold groups investing for appreciation. Some flippers are moving up the price range and flipping million dollar homes where there is less competition. There’s a lot of investor and first time buyer activity and prices are being affected by it, October was up 13% from last year and in some areas have reached 2005 peak home price levels again.

Construction Update – South Park

Just over 4 months since I poured the foundation on our Modern Bungalow, we are making progress over in South Park, walk through with me and let me know what you think. The grey interior colors might appear a little soft but don’t let that fool you. Once I get the warmth from the hardwood floor refinishing, and my bold surprise cabinet choices, it will all work. I’m moving straight into tile now and concrete flat work outside. My electrician is trimming out and we just passed the meter inspection Friday so I can call SDG&E now to get the power moved from my temporary pole to the house. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for following!

90% Smooth Texture and Red Oak Hardwoods

Outside we are now into the second week of the siding  job while the drywall crew finished up on the inside of our Modern South Park Bungalow. I ended up going with a 90% smooth, hand-troweled texture on the entire house and garage. It took 165 sheets of drywall, a case of tape and 30 boxes of mud for the entire job on this 1850 s.f. house. My guys do an incredible flawless job so I’m happy once again.

Now that the drywall is done, we are going straight into laying the hardwood floors this week. These are the real deal, 2 1/4″ x 3/4″ Red Oak unfinished wood. Once the house is all done, one of the last things we’ll do is then sand and stain them. These are the best hardwood floors you could ask for, they’ll last 100 years and you can refinish them many times and always change the stain color. Laying unfinished Red Oak and then paying someone to refinish it, is a little more expensive than just laying a pre-finished engineered hardwood, but the quality is second to none. After the hardwoods go in, I’ll then trim out the house on top of them. What you see here is about half of what I bought, I am doing 1200 of the 1850 s.f., which is the whole house minus the two secondary bedrooms.

Siding and Mud

My new construction project is running very smoothly. After passing the inspection on my house wrap Monday, we were finally able to start putting the Hardi Siding up. I have really been anxious to see what the house will finally look like after all the rough work that gets buried and nobody will see. Now comes the fun part, which actually gives the house its personality. What’s inside the walls is just as good as you guys know, but this part is what I’ll look at every day.

First, I framed the windows with 1 x4″ Hardi Trim. The Hardi Lap Siding on the bottom goes up pretty fast in 12 foot lengths with a 7″ reveal, I went with the smooth version to look clean. The Hardishingle Staggered Edge style up top on the other hand, is quite labor intensive. The pieces are only 48″ wide and go up with a 6″ reveal, but really give the house some dimension and texture. I ran a 1×8″ dividing band board with a 1×2″ shelf on top to separate the styles and add even more detail. The siding comes in primer, but oddly enough the color is similar to what we will actually be using for paint. We are now on our second wall, I can see this siding project stretching out to several weeks as there is tons of detail work and not much room around the house for the scaffolding, but its looking great!

The second inspection we passed this week was on Thursday, for the drywall screw spacing. The mud crew was on standby to start taping and floating everything once the inspector signed off on the hanging  job. Once again, this is an extremely specialized crew. Different guys than the drywall hangers last week. We are putting one of the best drywall crews in San Diego on this project and after the whole house is taped and floated we’ll be doing 2 coats of a level 4 smooth hand-troweled texture.

In order to keep up my construction pace, I ordered all the pre-hung interior doors last week, bought the Red Oak unfinished hardwood flooring material this week, and am currently about ready to pull the trigger on the millworks package. It’s all about thinking 2 steps ahead to make sure you don’t run into a 3-week wait for a special order, which in my case is just about everything.

Fire Sprinklers!

It seems most sub-contractors are having a busy summer. Building is definitely picking up by talking to everyone in the industry. Because of this, my regular electrician couldn’t get to my project right away so I brought in a new crew. These guys are new construction, not messin’ around, real-deal electricians. 5 guys showed up on Saturday and by Sunday at 4pm the whole house was 90% done including 200 amp service, riser, all 24 branch circuits, home runs, under cabinet lighting, multiple 3-way switching and 24 can lights. I went with LED recessed lighting for energy savings, having just used it on a customers kitchen remodel I was surprised that the light quality is far superior to the florescent cans we were using last year to conform to Title 24 requirements. For only 9 watts of power usage you get 65 watts of clean lighting, a huge savings on your electric bill. Just another green feature on this project.

We took the drywall delivery this week, too. I like to get it in the house and stacked in all the rooms ready to go before we close everything up outside. It would have been impossible to carry the 12′ sheets upstairs later so this is essentially planning ahead. I measured 160 12′ 1/2″ sheets of drywall for the house and 5/8″ for the garage and under the stairwell per City Code. Material cost was $2021.00 not including tape, mud and corner bead.

For more energy savings we always foam the doors and windows before drywall. Some guys still wont do this because they think it will warp the window frames, but its the only way to get a complete seal after the new construction windows go in. We learned this in the hot Texas climate. After it dries you just remove the excess that comes out and then you have a great energy seal. Per Building Code you also have to use the Fire Block foam on all the holes you drilled through the top plate for mechanicals. The inspector will look for this at my insulation inspection.

After the electrician was done I brought in my last and final mechanical sub-contractor, the Fire Sprinkler guy. Fire sprinklers on all San Diego residential new construction, and some addition/remodels in fact, has been mandatory since 2007 after we had the big Cedar and Witch Fires.

The supply lines come from a panel location near your water service. To handle the increased volume, water supply size is stepped up to 1 1/4″ to the house and 1″ at the cut off. The fire sprinkler lines are 1″ CVPC that is orange in color, its ran throughout the entire house keeping heads around 8 feet apart and away from A/C registers and lighting, and the calculations call for a certain number of sprinkler heads per room size. Per his City permitted design, my sub-contractor has 4 heads in the great room, 1 in each bedroom and bathroom, and even 1 in the walk-in closet, water heater closet and HVAC closet. The master bedroom got 2 heads.  The fire sprinkler heads will not be visible in the living areas and look like flush mounted white discs after trim out.

The fire sprinklers in the garage go by different calculations and are a bit different, visible sprinkler heads will be in place after drywall. The requirement is 1 head for every 150 s.f. of garage space.

This is the fire sprinkler riser that is located in a panel accessible from the outside of my house near the water service. It also feeds the bell box which gets mounted high on the house in an area where bedrooms can hear it easily. Once the system is pressurized with water the Fire Marshall will come inspect it and give me a card, which in turn I will give to the City Inspector at the Frame and Rough inspection this week. The cost for this complete fire sprinkler system installed, with design and permits was $2,200.00. I’m ready for this big monumental inspection this week, its all going to be downhill after we get to start insulating and hanging drywall, stay tuned!