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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.

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  1. 11 Comment(s)

  2. By jim on Dec 2, 2012 | Reply

    I really like how you respect your neighbors’ property with covering their car and caution tape. Many times I have been around jobs where contractors park anywhere and everywhere, never walk the neighboring lawns to pick up debris, etc. I don’t even let my subs smoke on my properties, and it is a better project all around, especially when the neighbors tell me how professional my workers seem.

  3. By Tom on Dec 2, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks Jim, it would suck to live next door no matter what I do but we are almost done. The homeowners in the area are pretty stoked but renters don’t really benefit from our chaos so you cant blame them.

  4. By tj & the bear on Dec 2, 2012 | Reply

    Looks like you’ll be finishing the house to market at the perfect time.

  5. By Tom on Dec 3, 2012 | Reply

    Yea the closer I got to the holidays the more I started thinking January would be great.

  6. By Jakob on Dec 3, 2012 | Reply

    Tile is looking awesome. Interesting about the referral issue. Love these updates, chock full of info.

  7. By Tom on Dec 4, 2012 | Reply

    Glad you enjoy Jacob. Contractors don’t usually give out their subs, they protect them and keep them close to the vest. It would be like telling your friends about this great babysitter you got and then Friday night rolls around and she’s busy. I’ve learned that the cheap and good guys who are hungry for work eventually get busy and raise their prices so I usually wont refer my guys unless I get something out of it. The wetroom is coming out sweet, just wait for the next pics and have a Merry Christmas.

  8. By Mark on Dec 8, 2012 | Reply

    I am curious, why did you decide to do siding rather than stucco? I think stucco looks much better…

  9. By Tom on Dec 9, 2012 | Reply

    Stucco works on Tuscan, Modern, Mediterranean or Spanish style homes. You don’t see stucco Craftsman bungalows so I went with siding to stay true with the architecture and it gives the house way more dimension and texture. You cant replicate all the small details with stucco like you can get from siding and trim. For my design stucco wouldn’t have worked, although it would have been a lot easier and cheaper; ). Good question especially since most homes in San Diego are stucco and all the new construction track home builders prefer it.

  10. By Realworldguy on Dec 9, 2012 | Reply

    I’m not crazy about your color but its clear you know what you are doing when it comes to design. Mark you are crazy saying this house should be stucco and clearly have no style. The arts and crafts style never uses stucco. You californians love your stucco. Keep up the good work Tom!

  11. By tj & the bear on Dec 15, 2012 | Reply

    I’ll be down that way Friday. Should I stop by?

  12. By Tom on Dec 15, 2012 | Reply

    TJ, we are really facing some bumps in the road, my driveway is full of mud and has been waiting to get poured for a week but with the big San Diego rains this week everything is getting pushed back. To top it off, the hardwood floor refinishers totally screwed up the stain job so I have a new company coming to re-sand the whole house and start over. So much stuff waiting to go in but it has to happen in a certain order, not much to see. Have a Merry Christmas!

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