Not Just a Big Box

Week 3 got us pretty close to being done with the rough framing on the Modern Bungalow. We have a lot of features and angles with this house, its not just a big box so its taking a little longer than originally planned but well worth it.  You can see we got the trusses up and the roof is almost completely sheeted. I left the rafter tails open with no facia board to replicate the craftsman bungalow style. The barge rafter also has a nice detail to add some interest.

The trusses were a breeze and went up really fast, but things slowed down we moved to the conventional “stick” framing of the roof line for the master suite above the garage. There are 3 more big parallam beams up there that allow us some really fun and unique ceiling angles, I’ll save that one to show you in the walk through video.

Under the eaves I used 2×6 tongue and groove on the 18″ rafter tails. It’s a great detail that many guys skip because it adds extra cost but its the right way to do open rafter tails and really also mimics the craftsman style. There are going to be several prominent Modern elements also to the home design, so I thought it was important to have as many period details alongside them to balance the blend.

For the roof sheathing I used OSB with a Tech Shield radiant barrier on the under side. It cost about 2 bucks more per sheet but it will be another huge energy saving feature of the home and save money on electric bills. Keeping your attic cool, and well ventilated is key to saving energy as we learned while building in Texas. This product blocks 97% of the radiant heat from entering through your roof sheathing.  Adding this radiant barrier will reduce attic temperatures by 30 degrees and result in a 17% savings in cooling costs. Before putting the roof on I have to get the nail spacing inspected by the City. You have to have a big ladder available but I don’t see this guy climbing up there its so high, it’ll be fun to see what he does.

My plumber got a great start too working alongside the framers, all the ABS waste lines and black iron pipe gas lines are done. Everything inside is real close and we even got the stairs finished. The electrician and HVAC sub contractors can also start once all rough framing is totally done. There’s a cool new construction project in Encinitas called The Leucadia Collection I want to check out, similar idea to what I’m doing. We might drive by this weekend and see if they’ve started framing or have a model home up.

South Park Floorplans in 3D

Here’s my South Park floor plans modeled in 3D. Make sure and click on the pics to zoom in and take a look around, make yourself at home! This will be our new home; )

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!

El Cajon Craftsman

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New South Park Project

Great news this week, we are going New Construction in South Park and building a killer brand new Craftsman Bungalow for ourselves on a canyon lot. I dug this deal up straight ninja style, no MLS listing, no For Sale sign in the yard, just some driving for dollars, looking up the owner on the tax rolls, a cash offer and we closed 5 days later. A build-able vacant lot, with utilities, in popular South Park is virtually unheard of. You’ve seen us do some Major bungalow transformations such as The Hat Trick House, The Neighbors House and The Target House but stay tuned and see what we’ll build given the opportunity to start from scratch and build one for ourselves! Plans are in the works, I’ll show you guys soon our design ideas. Stay tuned, 2012 is off to a great start!

Exploring San Diego Bungalows

Here’s a great 1920’s bungalow project. It’s a bank owned REO in a highly sought after neighborhood. I missed this deal yesterday literally by hours. By the time we went to submit an offer they had just accepted another one. There’s another great investing tip back story with this house, I’ll share it after I know it’s gone for sure.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween and let’s celebrate! The sale on the Craftsman Bungalow closed today! Yea! This was a really fun project for us; we were able to explore some different avenues through the use of materials and colors that were outside of our normal selections. It was quite enjoyable working with an older historic house for a change, but there was a real balance to be achieved with trying to preserve the original character but still use our creativity on the design elements. We were really pleased with the end product and already looking forward to the next house with more cool ideas.

Craftsman Bungalow Sold

We already bought our next project as well. I decided to call it the “Hat Trick House” since it’s the third one in a row in this same neighborhood for us. It’s another cool 1925 Craftsman Bungalow in Mahncke Park and only one block over from the 2 we sold this Summer. We have a really good feel for the area now and actually just set our own comp. After hearing all the feedback we feel we know what the market is looking for and have some ideas on how to capitalize from this knowledge. The rehab will start November 15 so stay tuned for more flipping fun this Winter!

Craftsman Bungalow, Under Contract!

After a slow couple of weeks from the credit meltdown and stock market crash things really picked up. The 7th Annual Mahncke Park Home Tour was a huge success, click here to read the full story.

Within 3 days last week we had 4 showings on our house and 2 offers resulting in a sale. The buyers are looking for a quick close on Halloween, which is great news for us. The offer that we accepted included financing via a FHA loan. There is an anti-flipping rule that FHA has where they recommend title seasoning for 6 months. Furthermore – for investors who are selling their property to a retail buyer within 12 months of purchasing it, and the selling price is greater than your purchase price, the FHA might ask you to substantiate the improvements you did to the property with receipts, before and after photos etc. Under some circumstances only a 90-day seasoning might suffice. Make sure and talk to the buyers’ lender to find out exactly what their requirements are before getting tied up in a contract which could result in an extra 30 days before you can close escrow.

Craftsman Bungalow - Under Contract

There are many buyers in Texas using FHA loans these days because they can get good interest rates and only put 3-5% down. We purchased this house in late April, did a 3-month rehab and it’s been on the market for 70 days so we just luckily will have the closing date 3 days after a 6 month seasoning period. This rule was put into place to protect homebuyers from mortgage fraud and predatory actions. With the current housing market situation though you would think our Government and the Lenders would make it easier on private investors who in turn are getting families into some of these vacant foreclosures, getting loans off the books and simultaneously bringing back property tax revenue.

Second Offer on Craftsman Bungalow

We got our second offer on the The Craftsman Bungalow. It was $10k higher than the first offer. This is not bad but additionally they asked for over $6000.00 in closing costs so the deal didn’t fly after we countered.

Also this week we were chosen to take part in the Mahncke Park Home Tour by MPNA that takes place yearly, and is coming up on October 19, 2008. Tickets are 10 bucks and it’s open to the public. The local newspaper also covers the event and showcases some of the homes in their Sunday Edition so we hope to make the cut. Hundreds of people will come through on that Sunday and the neighborhood as a whole will get tons of media exposure so we’re excited. My wife and I went ahead and staged the house this week. We pulled extra furniture and accessories from our home and bought a few new items as well. It’s now been on the market 44 days so we thought we would step it up a bit, stage it for the Mahncke Park Home Tour and with the furniture it looks really good. Bungalow#2 closes tomorrow, yeah!

Vraftsman Bungalow Living Room Staging

First Offer

After 19 days on the market and 15 showings we finally received our first offer on The Craftsman Bungalow. We are getting great feedback and have had tons of showings personally to buyers driving around without an agent. This offer was from a lovely young couple who are first time homebuyers and not represented by an agent, thus saving us 3%. They still came in about 10% below our asking price, not a bad offer if we were your typical homeowner sitting here with years of equity but since this is an investment property for us, that 10% would represent a nice chunk of our potential profit. We countered their offer over the weekend so we’ll see if they are able to come up a bit. I have a feeling they were stretching already but we’ll see.

In other great news we closed on our next house last week as well. It’s actually on the same street as the other house but larger at about 1550 sf. As I worked everyday on the Craftsman Bungalow I noticed there was another vacant house 4 doors down. I asked the neighbors what the story was, all of them telling me that the owner lives out of state but would never sell. One neighbor actually firmly instructed me not to contact him because it would be a waste of time because even if he did decide to sell he had promised the house to this guy’s daughter. Did I listen to the neighbors? Of course not. I made contact and ended up closing the deal at 51% ARV. The day we closed I put it in MLS wholetail at 70% ARV and we’ve had about 8 showings already on this “Bungalow #2.” We figured we would throw it out there for a few weeks and see if we get any bites and if not our plans are to rehab this as our next project.

Bungalow 2

Its Done!

It’s Done! Last week was crazy, tons of small items to finish and 14-hour days but I finally arrived at completion last night. It’s been a fun 3 months and it’s quite rewarding to look at the before and after pics and remember what we started with. You can also watch the full video here if you care to see a more in depth look at the rehab steps we went through.  We’ll keep you posted on this project throughout the offer and sale process. We’ve priced it at the top of the market so this should be interesting. Stay tuned…

Craftsman Bungalow Mahncke Park

Getting Close

Monday started off great this week, we got another house under contract and opened escrow. (More on that later.) We’ve been getting a lot of sign calls on this house though and thought we were getting an offer but the lady who had been coming by during the rehab backed out because she bought something else. This week I put all the Frigidaire appliances in that I bought at Lowe’s. I used a stainless steel high-end digital dishwasher with the buttons on top, a 6-burner gas stove, professional series microwave/convection oven and side-by-side fridge with water and ice in the door. I also put on all the cabinet handles and installed the lazy susans in the corner base cabinets. The kitchen looks killer and is now complete! Additionally, we passed the electrical final inspection on Tuesday. All I am missing is the final on the HVAC, which should happen this week.

Craftsman Bungalow Kitchen Staging

I also put down a pallet and a half of sod in the front yard and laid out the flowerbeds, using white limestone chop rock as a border. The front porch was concrete and very cracked and uneven as you could see from previous pictures. The area by the front door is what I concentrate on the most when it comes to attention to detail. Buyers make up their mind if they like the house as they stand there while the agent fumbles with the lockbox trying to get in. I always make sure that as you look around while standing there, you can’t see any flaws. This is why I decided to build a wood front porch cap over the existing concrete slab porch. I shot down some treated studs and laid long leaf pine tongue and groove, which is historically correct for this house. After a light sanding I used oil based stain and then came back with Cabot’s satin Spar oil base varnish in 2 coats. The finished hardwood porch looks incredible and once I add the final touch by hanging the swing our curb appeal will be done.

My wife and I worked on the bathroom all day Saturday. We hung the mirror, towel bar, tp holder, did some touch up painting and installed the tub faucet and a cool rain showerhead. The bathroom is almost finished as well now, just a few punch list items left.

The rear of the house is almost done minus some general lawn clean up which I’ll do this week. I stained the deck today with a Redwood Tone oil base to protect it from the elements. I usually take Sunday off but since we are in the home stretch I decided to knock off one big item from our to-do list this morning but don’t worry, I still made it home in time to barbeque some hot wings and go for a swim in the pool. My self-imposed deadline is Friday to have the house done and get it in MLS for the weekend. I still have a big punch list of small stuff but should be able to get it all done this week.


Well, we changed colors again. On paint day my wife and I both actually started to second guess our choice and we put up another 5 color samples. The neighbors had all left their votes in chalk on the sidewalk over the weekend, not making our decision any easier. Picking colors should be the fun part and you would think it gets easier with every house but to the contrary it’s actually quite stressful. The wrong color can counteract all that hard work you’ve done while the perfect tone can accent the home’s features and get those buyers out of their car. We are really happy with our choice, the home looks incredible now, it’s a classy and elegant version of a traditional historic colorway. The base color is Behr Restful in satin, Trim is Behr Turtle Dove in semi-gloss and the screen color is Behr Thorny Branch. We found a cool carriage lamp at Home Depot in satin black for only $39.00 as well as an outdoor ceiling fan for the front porch. I really wanted to get some artsy house numbers; we found these at Restoration Hardware. They were a little on the pricey side at $10.00 each, but well worth the extra expense for this important detail.

Restoring and re-stretching the original wooden screens will be an integral part of our remodel. We even found reproduction screen hangers available from Stanley. These authentically preserved features are what buyers seek in this neighborhood. Another neighbor came by from the next block over; she had heard of our remodel and was searching for the original parlor door that separates the kitchen from the dining room. Since we opened up our kitchen wall for the breakfast bar I had no use for it and was glad to see that it made it back into another local historic home.

With the curb appeal starting to come along I decided to break one of my cardinal rules and put the For Sale sign up. I made a rider that states “Coming Soon” so any lurkers driving the area will know it’s almost ready and will be for sale. I usually don’t like any potential buyers to see my product until all the tiny details are finished but we’ll try it this time and see how it goes. To retail buyers, small unfinished details can be big issues but it would be nice to find a buyer without having to put the house in MLS and pay 3%, thus saving us over $6,000. We probably have another 2 weeks tying up a lot of loose ends and after everything is done we’ll put it in the computer.

The White House

After a full week (with 2 helpers) of scraping, stripping, grinding, sanding, caulking and filling, the house is almost ready to paint. First we ground all the peeling areas then I sprayed it with Kilz2 latex primer to make all small cracks and holes easy to see. There were thousands of tiny holes to be filled from the siding that I pulled off. All this prep is necessary to give a great final product as the paint job can only come out as good as what’s under it. These Craftsman style homes in our neighborhood are all 3-color paint schemes; we are choosing a green base, cream trim with brick red accents. I’ve been known to change colors along the way but this is what we’ve decided on after spending Saturday afternoon and $110.00 on paint samples. We tried 11 different colors including shades of blue, yellow, beige and green. You never know how it’s going to look until you get a sample up as they always dry darker. For real estate investing purposes, normally green wouldn’t be a safe bet however this neighborhood and style of home makes it possible. This will be the second project this year we’ll have painted green, contrary to the preaching of most real estate gurus. Since the last green house sold in 2 days maybe we can continue the good luck pattern with this one! Get ready to see this gem in full color for the next blog update.

Bubba’s Big Deck

I decided to tackle the deck project this week instead of starting exterior painting. It will, after all, make it easier to prep and paint the rear of the house. The deck is quite large measuring 20’ x 16’ with stair access from the driveway as well as the backyard. I used pressure treated lumber and screws as apposed to a nail gun. One more day and I should be able to finish the balusters, lattice skirt and handrails making it a 4-day project. For the cost of the deck at around $1,000 in materials, This added a tremendous value to the house due to today’s indoor/outdoor living lifestyle. On Friday I had another visit from the 2 ladies again, they loved the sidelites and the deck. The potential buyer’s agent proclaimed that this house was not “lipstick on a pig” meaning that we didn’t just go in and cover up all the bad stuff with cosmetics. After all, if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. After seeing the hardwood floor refinish job and asking what the exterior colors were going to be they then asked if I would accept an offer now for the house and if I could be finished by the end of this month. I don’t get emotional about a sale anymore, if they write an offer fine. If not, that’s fine too. I am confident that it’s going to turn out great and sell quickly; being in San Antonio, Texas, which is rated #2 for Recession Proof Cities by