RSS Feed for UncategorizedCategory: Uncategorized

Santee Walk Through

Walk through with me and check out the progress happening at the Santee project. You can see the cool reclaimed wood look kitchen floor tile we picked out and some minor floorplan changes to make this house way more functional. We threw a little more money at this house than the average house flipper would here in San Diego, but the buyers are going to have a great house that they can enjoy for years to come!

Flipping Santee in the Rain!

We are a few weeks in to a new Santee remodel. It’s a great 4/2 on a culdesac lot. It had quite a lot of demo including turning the converted garage back to original and various sheds and patio cover additions that were rotten and needed to be removed. We filled up 2 dumpsters on this one the first week. Outside of some minor floorplan changes this is a pretty straight forward project although it did get a new roof as well. We are always looking for more projects, if you know anyone who wants to sell their fixer-upper San Diego house for cash and as-is, please let us know.


Despite all the rain delays we still managed to get the roof on and all the termite damaged wood fixed. This is not an Ugly House, just needs mostly a new facelift to be beautiful again. Windows will go in this week and we can start putting the inside back together with complete new kitchen, baths, flooring and paint.


We Buy Houses in San Diego and love fixer uppers! Green Button Homes is the #1 Trusted San Diego Cash Homebuyer! Sell Direct To Us and save Thousands in real estate agent fees!

Chula Vista project done!

Our new Chula Vista project in done! We finished and sold it over the holidays. I am really happy with the way it came out, we did a complete cosmetic rehab and opened the floorplan up. The original hardwood floors were refinished instead of putting down laminate like most guys do. This project got a new kitchen, 2 new baths, paint in and out, new windows and some landscaping. The seller contacted us after inheriting the property, it was a great family home with lots of memories.  I paid Cash for this house and of course we always buy them As-Is. We closed on their optimal date after giving them time to do an Estate Sale, it was a win-win for everyone. It is a great house in the popular Chula Vista neighborhood, just was very outdated and in need of a remodel. I really like the way it came out with the island kitchen and open floorplan. We Buy Houses in San Diego County if you are thinking of selling!






Clairemont Remodel Sold in 2 days!

We love Clairemont and own several rental properties in this neighborhood. I’ve been buying houses in Clairemont since 2004 so we know the neighborhood well. These homes were built in the late 50’s for the troops coming home after the war and it was named after the builders wife, Claire.  This house we bought “As-Is” and completely remodeled it for resale. The white Shaker style kitchen cabinets and ceramic subway backsplash are timeless. We did grey quartz counters to break it up and matched the grout. It sold in the first weekend with multiple offers over asking price! If you want to Sell Your San Diego House in Clairemont please call us! We pay cash, pay all closing costs and escrow fees, and always buy As-Is! This seller saved $$24,000 by not hiring a Realtor and selling straight to me!



Happy Independence Day!

You’re The Boss

In any other state I could have been all the way up to the second floor framing this week but here in San Diego the City inspector wants to see your floor system framed up first, verify the hold downs and framing, then come back and inspect the underfloor plumbing lines, then come back again and inspect the insulation. You lose a day in between each inspection so this would have dragged out for a week. It really makes sense to do it this way because its easier to do the under house plumbing now, rather than crawling under the house later to do it but the reason the inspector wants it done in this order really just comes down to the fact that he’s not crawling under the house no matter what.

After framing up the floor system in a day I had my plumber come and set all the under floor ABS waste lines and fill them again with water to make sure there’s no leaks. Lastly the insulation got dropped in on nylon netting we strung between the floor joists. Its a real trick way to insulate the floor on a new construction raised foundation house. I’ve used wires in the past but the insulation always ends up falling down in some places. Once we pass then we just sheet over it. The threaded rod you see sticking up is for the Simpson HDU hold downs that secure 4X6 posts in the exterior walls all the way down into the concrete foundation footing. This is to securely hold the structure on the foundation in case of an earthquake and they are strategically placed in shear wall areas by the engineer on the plans.

Of course I had a better idea. I tried to speed things up by only calling once to have him come do all 3 inspections simultaneously. I had the insulation pulled back along the sides so he could see the framing, plumbing and hold downs thinking this would be fine, unfortunately he wasn’t really that excited about my idea. My regular inspector didn’t show up but rather a Senior Inspector who happens to be very thorough and whom I’ve dealt with before. He almost gave me the signature required in order for me to sheet the floor with CDX and start putting walls up, but he found one plumbing fitting that he said wasn’t correct so he’s coming back Monday after we change it and also wants me to pull more of the insulation back for a better look. Uggghhh. My plumber swears the fitting he used is allowed, its a Sanitee on its back for a 2″ vent pipe. The inspector wanted a sweep which is weird cause its only a vent, not a waste line. Who knows but I wasn’t going to argue with him, I told him he’s the boss but I kinda want to check the code book now though just out of curiosity.

The senior inspector asked who the general contractor was. Hesitantly, I told him I was an owner/builder. Seeming surprised he said it looked better than most jobs and kept congratulating me on doing such good work. Maybe he was just trying to make me feel better because he could see it on my face that I was bummed not being able to start putting up the walls. He knew I was totally ready to go, as he was doing his inspection I received the first delivery of truss material for the second story. I should pass on Monday and we’ll be back in action. I’m a Chevy guy but how cool is this early Ford extra cab delivery truck from La Mesa Lumber?

More Concrete and Inspections

Just a little more concrete last week and now its time for framing. The first thing I did was have a third party inspector come and sign off on the construction of my block stem wall. He personally witnessed the mortar mixture and rebar placement inside. Then I called the City inspector also to sign off on it once it was completed. The reason for the extra stemwall is because the outside wall is the balloon wall and the inside wall supports the load from the upstairs floor joists. The stairs go up in between these two foundation walls and each has its own footing.

When the truck came to fill it up we also had to have the third party “special inspector” on site to take a sample of the mixture that came out of the truck. He packaged it into a small box that he’ll send to a lab for analysis. They test part of it at 7 days and the balance at 28 days for compression strength by putting it in a crushing machine. Inside the stem wall I used 2500 PSI grout mix. I only normally use big rock but this is the only place that its o.k. to use the pea gravel mix. I would never use it in a concrete footing , foundation or driveway.  The cost for the 2 trips from the special inspector and the lab test was about 500 bucks. I don’t know what would happen if the lab discovered I got a bad batch from the concrete company, probably make me tear down the wall and start over. I’d rather know now though before I move in that’s for sure!

Next I poured the garage floor. First I rented a compaction machine for the dirt, then put down plastic moisture barrier, topped it with 3-4 inches of manufactured sand and then my #4 rebar 18″ on center tied into the perimeter footing as the plans called for. Once the City came and inspected it we just backed the truck right up to it and poured 7 more yards of 3000 PSI 3/4″ concrete.  Once again you’ll see a lot of guys using pea gravel mix but its not nearly as good and tends to crack faster. The larger the rock size in concrete the better. I’m ready for framing now and getting material price quotes from Home Depot, Lowes and Dixieline. Hopefully we’ll be starting on the floor system by mid week if I can get a quick delivery, the framers are anxious and cant wait to get started. I’ll order my custom Milgard windows and exterior doors this week as week so they will arrive about the same time we are done with framing.

We Buy Houses in San Diego

Before we can do one of the beautiful renovations featured here on our site we first have to buy houses. “I need to sell my house” is one thing that we’ve been hearing here in San Diego since 2004. Green Button Homes buys houses for cash and we’ll buy your house too, no matter what condition it is in. Our San Diego home buying company is Green Button Homes.

Are you are saying to yourself  “I need to sell my house?”

We are home buyers who will pay cash and buy it fast!

Green Button Homes likes to work with homeowners who want to Sell their Home Quickly, in As-Is condition, and get a Cash buyout or don’t want the hassles of listing with a Realtor and waiting for a sale. We Buy Houses, Condos, Land, Commercial Buildings, Duplexes and Mobile Home parks in San Diego.

When you Sell your home to Green Button Homes you pay No Regular Closing Costs or Realtor fees and receive your Cash in as little as Ten Days.

  • We Pay Cash
  • We Buy Houses As-Is
  • We Pay Closing Costs
  • We Act Fast so you can move on
  • We Don’t Ask You to do Any Repairs
  • Serving all San Diego County

If You Need To Sell Fast Sell to Us

We buy houses for all sorts of reasons and will make you a hassle-free cash offer for your house in San Diego. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, structural defects or if its a fixer-upper that’s o.k. with us. We’ll buy your home in As-Is condition, make you a fair offer and pay cash and close fast with no banks, lenders, appraisers or realtors or other inconveniences involved.

People in San Diego say “I need to sell my house” for the following reasons:

  • Military relocation
  • Job Transfer
  • Divorce
  • Structural Defects
  • Unwanted Inheritance
  • Unfavorable mortgage terms
  • Undesirable neighborhood
  • Loss of a job
  • Downsizing for retirement
  • Looming foreclosure
  • In need of repairs
  • Code violations with City of San Diego
  • Death of a family member

We Love Fixer-Uppers in San Diego

You can see here on our website we undertake some major renovations including historical and architecturally significant homes. We love to buy San Diego houses with major repairs needed and take special care to return them correctly to the available housing inventory for a new family to enjoy. We can pay cash for your San Diego house, take it in as is condition and close fast regardless of your homes structural or cosmetic problems. Roof damage, cracked slab and even fire damage is o.k. We have local references as needed to make you feel comfortable that your home is in good hands.

How Our Process Works

Our company is easy to work with and wont cost you anything. You’re not obligated to sell for just letting us make an offer, if you wish to receive a no-hassle cash offer for your San Diego home;

1. Call Green Button Homes today at (619) 438-0234 or enter your general information on the contact form.

2. We’ll call you to set up a visit to your home at your convenience and arrive friendly and courteous in an unmarked vehicle.

3. Within 48 hours we’ll provide you with a cash offer for your house.

4. If the terms are acceptable you’ll sign a contract, we’ll open escrow, and they will handle the transaction legally and professionally.

5. At the close of escrow you pick up a check or get the funds wired into your bank account.

So next time you hear “I need to sell my house” or wonder who the “We Buy Houses in San Diego” guys are, contact Green Button Homes for a no-obligation cash out for your unwanted real estate. Call Green Button Homes at (619) 438-0234 today or fill out the contact form.

We Buy Houses in San Diego and we’ll buy yours today!


After just 3 days on the market I sold the MCM project. We strategically rushed to put the home in MLS on Thursday, knowing that it would generate enough attention before advertised Saturday and Sunday Open Houses. My real estate agent Jim Klinge of Klinge Realty did a phenomenal job at taking the photos and marketing. Each day we got way over 100 visitors through the Open House, mostly home buyers and agents but we had other investors and blog followers from both and my site stopping by to check out the project and meet us as well.

The project got rave reviews from everyone, we didn’t hear even one comment that it was over priced. People were really excited about our Mid-Century Modern renovation and we even had some modern house fans that came through after the project was promoted on the local site The original owners of the house also stopped by to see the transformation, not disappointed and very appreciative of our respect for the original design. I heard a lot of comments from home buyers saying they were so tired of seeing all the typical rehabs, same materials and predictable style. While the MCM thing is hot right now with the “in” crowd, the masses probably aren’t ready for it. By the end of the weekend we had received 3 offers, 2 of which went to highest and best and Monday afternoon we picked one. Its always hard to choose when the buyers are so nice, great young families and frustrated with finding a house in this crazy market.

Jim Klinge was so ethical that because he was representing one of the buyers, he had the other agent send their highest and best offer directly to me so he couldn’t advise his client what to write and automatically win the bidding war. How many agents do you know that would do that and be willing to lose the commission from the buying side? All in all, it was a great project and I am looking for more. If you have a house to sell We Buy Houses in San Diego give me a call or send an email here to this site. Especially if its a Mid Century Ranch house!

MCM Window Shopping

I’m really excited about the Milgard aluminum windows I picked out for this house and have to say I’ve removed tons of aluminum windows but this is the first time I’ve ever put them In. They are a modern energy efficient version of what we took out. With my right hand man Barney, we got them all installed including the 6 foot and 8 foot patio doors in a day and a half. These are new construction windows meaning you have to break the stucco back to install them using nailing fins. Putting them in is easy but the most important part is getting new flashing behind the old felt paper and using Jiffy Seal around them for a good seal. When breaking out your old ones try not to damage the wire mesh or felt paper. There’s a lot of guys flipping houses in San Diego and throwing in retrofit or vinyl lip windows. Believe me, you don’t want to put in vinyl retrofit windows, they will not hold air and warp in less than 10 years. I know because I have them in my house!

For our Mid Century project I wanted to get the stream-lined modern minimalist look so the aluminum was a clear choice. I wanted to use a mixture of casement and awning windows on this project so the master bedroom window was a perfect candidate to replace the old huge slider with a fixed window and 2 casements on the sides. I was able to put together a custom front window also with an awning on the bottom and slider on the top as seen here. I almost went with a really cool look – triple awning on the front, but thought there might not be enough air flow on those hot San Diego summer nights with no A/C so I played it functionally safe and put sliders in the secondary bedrooms as well. Since we are re-stuccoing the whole house I also took this opportunity to break out and replace all the old crawl space vents as you can see at the bottom of the top picture.

After price shopping around at 4 places I ended up getting the best deal at Home Depot. These are special order windows and take 3-4 weeks to arrive so you want to order them as soon as possible so they don’t slow your project down. For orders over $2500 you can request special pricing from the Home Depot Bid Room. Just ask to do so at the Millworks or Contractors desk. In my case they knocked off another 14% and with no delivery charge I ended up paying about $3600 for all the windows including a 6 foot and 8 foot patio door. These windows are of course low E and dual pane. The patio doors were a little more tricky because the frames come in 4 pieces but easy for anyone to do and they installed like a dream. They shut so good it sounds like an airplane door.

I tried out a new drywall patching crew this time and am super happy with the results. They cut out everything square, patched all my Swiss cheese holes from running the mechanicals, and then skim coated the entire house with a new 90% smooth texture. They also had to redo some of the window and door returns from our install, so it was nice to have them there fixing stuff as we were putting in the windows. The inside is ready for paint now, everything is really going smooth with this house. I’m off to the recycle yard with the old aluminum windows now for a nice bonus check for helping the environment!

Blog Talk Radio Interview

On Monday, February 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm PST I’ll be doing a live interview on Blog Talk Radio hosted by Jim The Realtor.

Jim will be asking me tons of house flipping questions relating to how I got started, what I look for in houses to flip, how I find deals and stories about some of the huge rehab projects we’ve showed you on this site. There’s tons of great stuff that never makes it online so make sure and tune in if you want to hear Jim and I talk about my house flipping business. My regular blog readers know I love to share, so this should be pretty entertaining and educational.

Click on the Blog Talk Radio icon to listen to the show.

I’m real honored to be asked to do this interview, especially coming third up to bat after heavy hitting interviews from Rich Toscano of and this weeks guest Bill McBride of

If there are some questions or topics you would like us to cover, please leave them here in the comment section, or over at Jim’s site, or listen live and call in to the show and ask them yourself!

Inspections and Appraisals

Happy Holidays to everyone! It has been nice to take a break and spend time with my family and new addition for the holidays.  We are out there turning over stones and looking at tons of new fixer upper houses to buy in San Diego, thanks to everyone who is also sending me leads. We Buy Houses in San Diego so if you know of a house please contact me.  The Painted Lady sale is closing next week after easily passing the physical inspection and VA appraisal. We even have a back-up buyer in place who is devastated she didn’t get the home.

The home inspection was pretty interesting to say the least, we sometimes miss something but generally have had no problems with our homes passing after all the work that we do.  This inspector however took a different approach and basically made some stuff up to fill his report. The big front picture windows we had custom made are of course tempered glass for safety, the inspection report I saw however said they were not. Tempered glass has a little logo in the corner, easy to see. For some reason this inspectors eyes weren’t focusing that day I guess. Foundations on old houses are another item that inspectors just feel they need to address for some reason, even if they are fine. The inspector wrote in his report that the house was not anchored to the foundation. Really?? What are all those J bolts through the bottom plate in plain view and the UFP plates along one side? I can see how some inspectors might not want to do the army crawl and check the entire perimeter under a house that sits low to the ground but there’s enough room under our house to have a party, believe me I spent all summer under there! Also the guy calls out the plumbing for being old cast iron which we removed and replaced with ABS. Probably the funniest thing I read in his report was that a light didn’t work in my hallway. I say to myself, OK a bulb must have burned out but surprisingly enough I get there and see that the dimmer switch on the 3-way wasn’t even on! If you are going to say something is wrong on a report wouldn’t you take a really good look first? When you get an inspection report that has obvious errors it’s best to just address them and provide your buyer with something in writing that shows where you feel their inspector was wrong. In our case my buyer was happy I showed him where probably 5-6 points were clearly invalid on the report.

Remember, 3rd party home inspectors are not City inspectors nor general contractors, and most of the time have minimal building knowledge. A home inspector credential can be obtained with 60 hours of online courses. Getting a bad inspection report is pretty common and sometimes is enough to spook a buyer and cancel a sale. It’s emotional enough buying a home, especially for a first time buyer. One home inspector in San Antonio named Matthew Gessner from Amerispec was famous with all the local real estate agents for blowing deals, its a wonder anyone uses him. A bad home inspection report sticks with the property, right or wrong, and has to be disclosed to future buyers if your transaction falls apart.

As I mentioned The Painted Lady had no problem appraising for the sales price. Home appraisers like to compare apples to apples but in our case Grant Hill doesn’t have any other sales comps for turn-of-the-century Victorian Houses, however within the 1 mile and 1 year guideline, the average price for a home like ours is around $600,000 although its best to use comps within the last 6 months and a half mile if you are an investor.  If you are doing a big spec project like ours I would take a look at whats comparable within the year and a 1 mile radius, if you cant justify your sales price with what you find, there is a good chance that an appraiser wont be able to either. I’ve known several real estate investors here in San Diego that after rehabbing houses and getting into escrow, they had to settle for a lower sales price after a low appraisal came in so be careful with determining your ARV. Celebrates 3 Years of Blogging

How time flies! It was April 28, 2008 when I made my first post in the blogging world as we were starting our renovation called “Craftsman Bungalow.” I thought it would be cool to share my adventures along the way and set up this website for friends and family to enjoy. The first website was custom made in Dreamweaver by my lovely wife but after things grew we moved our content over to a WordPress template so we could add updates easier. We didn’t go unnoticed for long however, I’m now recognized as one of the best house flipping blogs on the web, having won multiple awards and even managed to get the attention of Hollywood and New York production companies for reality show offers last year. Currently our monthly stats are 10,000 page loads and 6000 unique visitors.

Now it’s time to say Thank You to all my followers, subscribers, supporters, emailers, fans and everyone who’s inspired me along the way to keep sharing our projects. Thanks for following and here’s to blogging year #4 in San Diego!

Go Chargers!

Yeah LT

No LaDainian tomorrow but we have another LT, Darren (Lil Tank) Sproles. “I’ve played against him and seen a lot of film, I’ve never seen anyone get a great hit on him” – Troy Polamalu. With the incredible D of the Steelers we have our work cut out for us. The good news is the Steelers don’t run well and can’t score. With only 11 points scored against us at our last meeting, turnovers might decide the game. My prediction 28-17 Bolts. Go Chargers!

We are anxious to return to work soon on The Hat Trick House, stay tuned for regular updates once I get back over there. We want to give a special shout out to another blogger and investor named J. Scott at He and his wife also quit their corporate jobs and moved from California to the Dirty South like we did. I love his site, he shares tons of info, tips, numbers and pics. I can’t get off it. It’s a must read!

Fear is Driving the Market

The last 2 weeks have been really quiet, probably due to all the fear out there. This is a perfect time to go lowball some stuff and steal something because everyone is so freaked out. I spoke with my title agent recently and she said business hasn’t slowed down. Banks are still funding and it’s business as usual for all the people who aren’t glued to the TV or hiding under their couch waiting for the next Great Depression. I’m sure it’s tougher out there for the people putting 0 down or trying to buy too much house, but they shouldn’t be buying anyway so it’s probably a good thing. I spoke to someone today who went down to the Ford dealer, traded in his truck and bought a brand new one. No problem getting a loan. Where is the credit crunch in San Antonio? Maybe it’s just on Wall Street. I feel sorry for anyone who had their retirement in the stock market. In other news The Craftsman Bungalow has now been on the market for 61 days with 3 offers so far that didn’t work out. Next weekend is the Mahncke Park Home Tour so we should get over 130 people through the house.