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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! (619) 438-0234

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.

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.  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) 438-0234 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.

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.

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.

South Park in 3D

Here’s my South Park project modeled in 3Ds-Max with V-Ray. Refreshingly modern and comfortably traditional all at the same time. Exploded views of the upstairs and downstairs floor plans coming soon!

South Park Plan Revisions

We just went through some major building plan revisions for the South Park Modern/Craftsman house that we are building this summer here in San Diego. I could have already had building permits and started construction but after sitting with the City and having to compromise I just wasn’t going to be happy with the end product, so I opted to go back to the drawing board and with the help of my great designer we came up with something we both felt is way better. There’s so much to learn on new construction and what the City of San Diego will and will not allow, I’m chalking this one up to builder school and moving on. It only takes 8 business days to get your plans routed through Developmental Services downtown, then they give you a list of changes for your plans, luckily they are now hiring more staff after years of cut backs and lay offs.

The newly revised design, now close to 1900 s.f., is larger than neighborhood standards. Downstairs the kitchen, living and dining rooms are linked to create an open and continuous public space where guests can roam freely and have easy access to bathroom facilities under the staircase and enjoy fluid movement between indoor and outdoor living spaces via the bi-folding rear patio doors. This new design also makes more room for outdoor living space with 13′ of yard before the cantilever deck on the canyon. Light and vertical space make any room feel larger so with the 10′ ceilings downstairs and abundance of morning and afternoon light, the space should feel very comfortable. The facade is a sophisticated blend of traditional Craftsman style with a Modern influence. The bubble framing for the staircase windows on the driveway side creates a fun and whimsical touch for this hip and eclectic neighborhood.

The 2-car garage is now over-sized and attached to the house with an adjoining mud room/utility room with full size connections and the HVAC closet. I pulled it 4′ off the side property line to give the City required side set back since its an attached garage now, detached garages can sit right on the property line in my area believe it or not.  All private spaces are nicely separated upstairs with an open gallery at the top of the staircase, 2 secondary gracious sized bedrooms and shared hall bath. The large master suite above the garage has a bonus sitting area and secondary set of stacked washer/dryer connections and then steps down into the bedroom to allow higher vaulted bedroom ceilings.  Our East-facing master retreat will get great morning light and has a walk-in closet and really cool master bath with dual vanities, water closet and a wet room feature which includes the stand-up shower and spa tub not separated by a divider wall, behind frame-less glass doors and with casement windows looking down into the canyon. The wet room design is really en vogue right now in bathroom design and works great in small spaces.

BTR w/ JtR

For those of you guys who missed it, here’s my interview from tonight with Jim the Realtor on Blog Talk Radio. We ran a little over time, I think its about an hour and a half. Thanks to Jim and Richard for putting it together, and you guys who participated online and called in. Please share it or tweet it!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jim-the-realtor/2012/02/14/tom-tarrant-on-btr-with-jim-the-realtor

Open Houses Don’t Sell Houses

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, maybe even from me. “Open Houses dont sell houses, agents just use them to find new buyers.” Although I love this saying, I have infact sold a rehab from an open house before so it’s more of a generalization than an absolute. With this being the slow time of the year we were determined to get some live bodies through The Target House. If we were in Spring or Summer we’d likely have seen some offers by now. This house sells itself, so it’s just a matter of increasing the traffic. To heat things up a bit last week I dropped the price $20k, we’re not playin’ around here guys and San Diego is waiting. After talking to my ad rep at The San Antonio Express-News classified department I learned there was the City-Wide Open House Edition this weekend in which they run color photos of the homes for you both Saturday and Sunday. I had this great idea to contact the listing agents for the other 4 houses for sale in our neighborhood and get them all on board with me and even had the newspaper agree to running our ads all next to each other to increase the impact. Needless to say none of the other agents took me up on it, even for the measly investment of $129.00 for both days. It’s cool, I’ll be drinking a Corona on the beach in S.D. and their listing will still be sitting there unsold. It still amazes me at how slow the local agents are compared to real estate professionals out West, maybe it’s the size of the commission checks, the heat, I don’t know but when it comes to getting something sold why not try everything possible?, especially after what we went through to get to this point. Without the other agents on board I was still able to work some magic and get my ad front and center, smack dab at the top, #1 spot for both days.

 The turnout was great, between both days I had about 50 people through, including some agents, a neighbor, a historic home buff and even another prior owner of the home. This guy is probably 80 years old, he actually flipped my house in 1978. He bought it for $21k, his brother built new cabinets for the kitchen, they painted the whole inside white and resold it 4 months later for $42k. Great story. Yet more history from this house, and also goes to show people have been rehabbing houses forever, you just never heard of it until all the TV shows came out.  He spoke of missing items which included a huge crystal chandelier that was in the dining room, my bookcase leaded glass doors that are now missing and a built-in buffet with beveled glass that used to be on the dining room wall, all of which are long gone by now unfortunately. We have another showing already scheduled for Monday which I have a suspicion could be an open house attendee coming back with their agent for a second look. After all this work in getting people through the house it’s important to have them leave with something, a little momento if you will. I made some quality color glossy card stock flyers and attached the mls printout and floorplan to the back to ensure they had something to refer to, and all the info they needed, if they were the slightest bit interested in buying. This is another tool I dont see getting utilized here by the agents in Texas.  All in all, the open house was great success, tons of incredible feedback as everybody was just floored by the remodel and getting 50 live bodies through the house might have just givin it the exposure it needed to get something in writing soon.  Thanks for following, here’s some parting factoids for you to ponder:

1. Open Houses do help sell houses.

2.  Listing agents dont “sell” houses.

3. Houses are not sold, they are bought.

Tower to Tom: Continue Holding Pattern

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The Target House has been on the market for 22 days now and it feels like I am in some kinda weird holding pattern. No landing, no taking off, just holding course. As soon as this house sells we are moving back to Sunny San Diego so I don’t want to start any new rehabs while we wait.  We are sooo excited to move back we can hardly stand it, so its hard not to focus on this sale because there’s so much hanging on the line although its the last thing real estate investors wanna do. House Flipping is in my blood, if I’m not renovating something and using my creative skills I go crazy. To keep busy now we’re working smaller deals while we wait such as the Wholetail House which is due to close on December 15. The San Antonio Real Estate Market stays pretty good all summer but as soon as school starts in September things really slow down. Just like in San Diego, once the holidays start nobody really wants to move so you can easily be stuck waiting for January if your listings don’t sell. Although I totally anticipated this, it seemed we might have got lucky again when several potential buyers returned for multiple showings the first week but we haven’t seen any offers from them yet. The showings were better than average up until last week but now it seems to be tapering off a bit.  I’m holding advertised open houses and even hung up Christmas lights so we’re working all the angles. San Antonio MLS has a neat feature where you can perform a “reverse prospecting” search. This allows you to see which Realtors are emailing your listing out and then their clients response if they are interested. As long as I see it getting emailed out, and clients checking interested, we’ll continue to get showings. This wouldn’t be the time to start panicking and dropping your price since there’s way less traffic this time of year anyway but I’ve got some new marketing ideas planned for next weekend that should heat things up.

San Antonio Resale Homes are down 20% when compared to Q3 2009, similar to what’s happening to the San Diego Real Estate Market right now. A lot of this is due to the tax credit which pulled alot of sales forward but I sense a little slowing in general here in Military City USA. The good news is that for this same period prices are up about 8% whereas in San Diego they’ve lost about 2 points. There are 3 factors we’re dealing with right now with the sale of the Target House; the tax credit theft of Fall sales, the usual buying seasonality factor and last but not least the fact that we have a specialty property that’s above the median home price in which the most activity occurs. I always say I only need 1 buyer, cross your fingers that we get him during the holidays and don’t have to wait until spring 2011, after all half of this business is total luck!

Case Study: What Is Real Estate Wholetailing?

There are many ways to make money in real estate. If you are a regular follower of the blog you know I specialize in major structural rehabs referred to as “Real Estate Merchandising or, Retailing”. Real Estate Wholetailing refers to an investing avenue that is a hybrid between traditional Wholesaling and Retailing.

When Wholesaling Real Estate typically the investor ties up a house under contract after finding a great deal and then scrambles around trying to sell his option, rights, or contract to another party who actually has the funds to close on the deal. Many wholesalers don’t actually have funds to buy the properties but simply act as bird dogs searching out the deals. Good deals always find money. Wholesaling real estate is also referred to as flipping contracts because you rarely ever take physical possession of the property. It’s challenging because since you don’t actually own the property you have a short window of time to line up a buyer who also must have cash to close the deal. Flipping REO’s is common as well and investors find these deals in MLS. Here in Texas the purchase contract actually allows for a option period for up to 2 weeks with as little as $100.00 down. If you write “or assignee” after your name as the buyer you can assign your rights to your third party buyer at the title company. This makes it very easy for wholesalers to tie up deals and then shop them around. In other states like California you would use typical contingencies to let yourself out of the contract and your earnest money would be on the line. Wholesalers typically use bandit signs, buyers lists, Craigslist and other grass roots methods to market their property quickly and try to line up a buyer at a slightly higher price in order to make a profit. A typical wholesaling fee would be around $3-5k but this isn’t much for passing off your deal unless you are wholesaling 5-10 properties a month. In order to find a buyer fast without the exposure of MLS you must have a great deal and pass on the equity to the next investor with a sales price around 55% ARV. This would get you to the 60-70% ARV less repairs that most investors look for. If this is all new to you and sounds great, be careful because if you go around your town tying up a bunch of houses and dont close on them, you’ll quickly get a bad name and the REO agents wont accept your offers anymore.

Wholetailing Real Estate refers to the practice of finding this same deal but closing on it instead of selling your contract rights to another investor. When Wholetailing we like to close on the house quick vs. Wholesaling where we want as much time as possible to find another buyer. You must have the funds to actually buy the house in this case but as the actual owner you are able to put the property in MLS and have way better exposure to potential buyers and increase your net profit. Not all houses make good wholetailing prospects. I look for clean, solid houses in good areas that someone could actually occupy themselves right away. Fixer uppers sell fast in MLS if they are priced right, usually even faster than retail homes. A wholetail house would be something clean enough to live in but priced way below the comps that maybe needs a little TLC. Sometimes its nice not to always butter the houses up with all the latest faux perganteel finishes, and drive retail prices to the max, there’s always a good market out there for solid modest homes at lower prices in good areas.

I bought this house in a great high owner occupied neighborhood here in San Antonio last week for $115,000. It’s a fairly clean original condition 3/2/2 1600 s.f.  ARV is $229,000 all day long, so I paid 50% of the value of this home if it was fixed up. My options would have been to rehab it with a new kitchen, both baths, flooring and paint and spend about $40k in repairs in order to sell it for $229k or in this case I am opting to Wholetail the property in MLS for $159k. At this price its a scream of a deal and my phone is already ringing off the hook. Why did wholetailing make sense on this deal? If I were to have rehabbed it I’d have a cash basis of 115+40=$155k. Selling it to a retail buyer for around $225k, paying some fees and closing costs would have maybe netted me about $65k. Wholesaling the deal would have only brought me about $5k. With my Wholetailing method if the house sells for $159k as it easily should, the profit would be around $45k less 2% realtor fees for only spending a few hours on the phone and taking 2 trips over there. With this deal we advertise it  As-Is so we dont have to contribute to repairs or closing costs. Additionally, I have way less risk at this sales price compared to a full retail sale competing with all the other homes in the neighborhood. A great exit strategy also exists as I could dump it in a day with one phone call for $125k. If you also figure I don’t have to put $40k in for the rehab, my ROI is also actually higher, holding time shorter and less personal time involved in the deal. Consider wholetailing the next deal you get if it makes sense!

The Target House is Done!

An end to our San Antonio chapter has come… The Target House is done! It’s going to make someone the ultimate urban nest located in the heart of the Broadway revitalization area. It didn’t go down without a fight however, yesterday right before photo time my lawnmower broke so I had to rush and buy a new one. Then on the way back I happened across a guy with a 1923 Model T who by chance was just 2 blocks away from the property, I was so excited to get him over for the photo shoot I dropped my camera. It’s really crazy because a couple of weeks ago I had this idea to include an old car but it didn’t materialize until the “day of ” and then it literally fell in my lap. Needless to say we postponed the shoot one last day and had the guy bring the truck back, so early this morning I got everything handled and it’s now officially done and For Sale in MLS for $399,000. Any serious preapproved buyers should call me at (210) 388-2952 for a private showing. I’ll make a before and after video as soon as I recover and get to know my family again (if they recognize me). I inserted tons of house porn below, please leave me some comments!

Another Real Estate Reality Show Offer

Well, it’s been a crazy week. Not to mention the regular job site stuff but we’ve been in discusssions with the producers of the most successful house flipping show ever on TV. Our regular blog followers will remember another group had already contacted me earlier this year as well so this makes twice now.

As it turns out there is a brand new flip show in the works for next year with a familiar format. They are picking 4 teams and will start filming 26 episodes as soon as February to document the trials and tribulations of these flip crews. We were referred by our friend Joshua Dorkin over at Biggerpockets.com after making his Top 10 Real Estate Bloggers list earlier this year.

As flattering as this is, and as honored as I was to enter into the discussions, the timing couldn’t have been worse. We’re planning on moving back home to San Diego after the current project so when I got this offer I thought maybe we’d opt to stay in San Antonio another year just for the show, film the 5 episodes and then possibly do season 2 in S.D.

After providing tons of info on our business I was asked to complete a detailed questionnaire and film an audition tape as well as pick my cast members who would appear regularly on the show. As you guys know we aren’t a big home buying organization, I act as the investor, contractor and realtor all in one so there’s really nobody challenging my decisions on a daily basis. Reality shows need drama to keep their viewers tuned in, at the end of the day I just had to pass on the whole deal because I’d be trying to create drama that really doesn’t exist . Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all smooth sailing with our house flipping business but producers need big time drama between multiple loud personalities to carry a TV show. Take for instance our favorite show right now, Flipping Out. Back in season 1 there was way more focus on the houses, materials and job site footage. This season they’ve introduced way more characters and its virtually all interpersonal interactions with dramatic side stories leaving literally nothing about the projects or flipping anymore. Thinking back about the first seasons of Property Ladder leaves us yearning for “real” flipping reality shows to return that cover more of the nuts and bolts rehabbing stuff. Maybe we’ll get approached for something with a different format that fits us better. We’re keeping lines of communication open and maybe we can be considered again after building our new San Diego crew, maybe 3rd time will be a charm. Big thanks to these producers, Josh Dorkin and everyone who’s noticed us and follow along with my blog!

Great Pairings

“From the joining of two unexpected, seemingly opposite mates, great pairings can happen. How about Sonny and Cher, bacon cupcakes or Labradoodles?

Well the home design world is adding another great, albeit unexpected pairing to the list: historic home shells with über-modern interiors.” – Jason Buch, SA Express-News

I was interviewed this week to take part in a story that came out today called “Great Pairings”in the San Antonio Express-News about local home remodelers specializing in pairing historic homes with modern interiors and features.  As it turns out they were actually interviewing a realtor and another remodeler in the Historic King William area of town and they told him about what I’ve been doing for Mahncke Park and along the Broadway Corridor so they searched me out. I was pretty excited to see who’s photos they used for the front page, especially when the meat of the story is really about another guy blending Contemporary architecture. As you can see our 1900 Arts & Crafts Bungalow built by H.C. Thorman dubbed Hat Trick House from last summer got the money shot. What made this house so special is the time we put in to carefully preserve the historic exterior of the home while gutting the entire interior, adding square footage, reconfiguring the floorplan and offering a finish out to meet today’s most discriminating buyer. While the article is promoting “uber-modern” interiors, we stayed somewhat true to the time period of this home with the renovation and material choices. This house got a lot of white ceramic tile w/subway pattern, White Shaker style cabinetry with seeded glass fronts and even a Farmhouse sink to keep the historic feel. While new materials like granite and stainless were still present, the kitchen didnt look out of place after we were done. Maybe Jason is trying to stir up his audience by using the terms historic and modern together because everyone hates seeing historic homes altered but at some point nobody wants to live in an antique either. If you want to see for yourself, here is the Contemporary Ikea kitchen in the other historic house referenced in the article. To check out the whole renovation video of my project with before and after shots, click here.  Thanks to Jason Buch @ San Antonio Express-News and MySA.com for the article!

…Sold Despite All Odds

  Chalk another one up for the history books. After 66 days on the market, 27 Realtor showings, 6 offers, 1 backup offer and 3 deals that fell apart , we finally got er’ done. The Neighbor’s House sold yesterday for $367,500.00. This is the highest sale in Mahncke Park to date, trumping our last record with The Hat Trick House at $340k. This is huge by anyone’s standards as theres never been any other sales over $300k. We’ll spare everyone the gory details out of respect for the parties involved since the entire neighborhood has found their way to my blog by now.  The real estate market has slowed a bit from last year in our area. Year to date there have only been 3 sales in Mahncke Park including ours while last year there were 7 by now and 12 total. Compounding the issue are the higher inventory levels this year, there are currently 13 houses on the market with an average time of 136 days, compared to last year where there was never more than 2-3 active at any given time. This was probably the craziest sale we’ve had as far as drama goes, it’s just a real weird market out there right now. We paid $150k for this house originally so this investment had a textbook spread, but dont worry it’s not all profit when you take into account the big rehab budget  that it took for the transformation.  Looking at the data would make anyone else feel lucky for selling their house but we had buyers lining up for our creation. Thanks to everyone who helped out with this great project and to Morgan at DeWitt Architects for the killer facade design and color palette. A big congratulations to the lucky buyer, we know you’ll have years of great times in the lovely home.

Settin’ Hooks & Sad Wings

It’s often been said that a buyer decides whether or not they like your house within the first 30 seconds of pulling up in the driveway. What I’m talking about here goes way beyond curb appeal. We are selling house fronts my friends. Not sides, not backs, not baths, not fences and not kitchens although all that has to be dialed in as well. What sets the hook in your buyers lip is what you do up front. All those other items just help you reel them in once inside. I’ve given this advice multiple times to other flippers; you must focus on everything up front and at the door area because as the agent is typically fumbling around with the lockbox to get the keys, your potential buyer has time to really study your work. With this in mind I stayed busy this week rebuilding the missing front porch columns, they are a very important feature of this house and if done correctly can really enhance the homes other characteristics. The big front porch on this house hooked me from the start although it was missing the original historic columns. Instead of rebuilding the style it came with I opted for square tapered historic house columns to tie in with the interior columns in the dining room. The driveway was really narrow before but with my new design I gained about 18” under the Porte Cochere. You know those old Model T’s had no problem rolling through there, but the Soccer Mom SUV would definitely be a tight squeeze. Before building the new columns I had to first jack up the structure to level it and replace the 4X4 supports. The new columns are essentially cosmetic and hollow with all the weight sitting inside on the posts.

 My electrician spent 4 days at the house this week as well, for those of you who are regular readers you’ll remember that he is the lead singer in a Judas Priest cover band here in San Antonio called Sad Wings of Destiny. He’s a blast to work with, not only is he a great master electrician it’s cool when he busts out singing to the classic rock we listen to all day. Adam Lambert aint got nuthin’ on my boy Rick. Thursday’s temps got to 100 degrees; in the attic it was an easy 125. I told him if I didn’t hear him singing I’d come up and check on him. It’s serious business working in a Texas attic if you are a contractor as there’s been a lot of accidental deaths, always make sure you are working with a helper in case you pass out. Total cost for complete new electrical including 200 amp service, meter loop, sub panel, 28 recessed can lights and permits: $4200.00. Fixtures not included. Another great price, this job is easily worth 8k retail. We should be calling in for rough-in inspection early next week.