South Park Modern Bungalow For Sale

Our New Construction Modern Bungalow in South Park is finally done, 190 days since I got my plans stamped. It’s an edgy blend of traditional Craftsman Bungalow style with a Modern influence. We wont be moving in (sorry babe) so it will hit the market this week. Don’t miss this ultimate urban nest for a hip buyer in the trendy South Park neighborhood!    Click here for home details.

-1812 Edgemont Street SD, CA 92102-       -Showings & Questions (619) 438-0234

> MLS # 130005969    $749,000 – $799,000

> Open House Saturday – February 9, 2013 12-5 pm

> Open House Sunday – February 10, 2013 12-5 pm

Special thanks to Rancho Photos for the best real estate photos in San Diego!

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.

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!

Painted Lady Open House

It’s finally done! Green Button Homes presents: “The Painted Lady” for $499k, she’s a 5 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2044 s.f. 1909 Victorian Gingerbread that we totally restored over the summer. There’s nothing like this property in San Diego right now on the market for the price. I’m having an Open House this Sunday October 23rd from 1-3 pm. If you are in the market or just want to see the project please feel free to stop by after the Charger game. The address is 405 27th Street 92102 in Historic Grant Hill Park. Here’s a walk through video from Jim The Realtor, he’ll also be onsite Sunday to assist any potential buyers. I’ll post more pics, back stories on the property and a before and after video soon.

*Realtors, we are showing this fine property by appointment only. There is no lock box onsite. If you have a buyer and want to schedule a showing please call Jim Klinge (760) 434-5000 or myself at (619) 565-7475. See ya Sunday!

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.

Last Call… Sellers Beware!

This is the last big weekend before the Federal Tax Credit expires on next Friday, April 30 so we are now in what I consider Last Call for this years hottest real estate sales period.  Undoubtedly we are pulling future demand forward as everyone looking to make a purchase this year will try and have something under contract by next Friday. As many folks work during the week , today and tomorrow will be the last chance to get out and find something. The question remains though, what will happen to the real estate market after this credit expires? San Antonio will be o.k. but I’m not sure about less stable markets.

Sellers should be extremely cautious accepting offers this week as many buyers out there are simply not qualified, even if they are waving a “pre-approval” letter, as I personally found out several weeks ago.  To get the $8000 back you just have to purchase an $80,000 house so we arent talking about the strongest buyers out there anyway. Couple that with a buyer going FHA and asking the seller to contribute 6k in closing costs sends up a red flag to me that they don’t even have the 3% to put down. Buyers not having any skin in the game simply shouldn’t be allowed to purchase a house in my opinion. It’s been said that some buyers are even tying up several properties at a time to make sure they get one that sticks so they get their free government handout. In this case the other sellers will get left out to dry with their properties going back on the market after the tax credit expires and in what could be the slower summer months. How many of these tax credit sales will wind up being next years foreclosures?

Neighbor’s House is under contract again, we had a back up offer so when the last buyer couldn’t arrange financing we went to plan b. Maybe 3rd time will be a charm, someones eventually going to be the lucky homeowner with the Coolest house in Mahncke Park.

Framing and TV Deal

After some last minute on-the-fly floorplan changes Thursday night from our architect Morgan at Dewitt, we finally got our material delivery Friday afternoon and my new framing crew got started. We really cut it close as she actually showed up to the jobsite with the new plans just hours before the framing started. These guys are very detail oriented and even cheaper than my last guy so I’m pretty stoked I found them. Framing in San Antonio goes for about $3.00-3.50 per square foot for new construction if you deal directly with a sub contractor, in case you are wondering we negotiated $2.71 per foot for this project. In a day and a half they got the floor system done and all the walls up, all that’s left for Monday are the ceiling joists, rafters and decking. The master has a cathedral ceiling and we are also doing a double-sided gas fireplace between the spa tub and master bedroom which are both new for us so its exciting. I’ll get the roofers over as soon as framing is done so we’ll be all “dried in” and then i can get started on the siding myself. 

A Major TV production company in Hollywood that does all the good reality shows on TLC Network and HGTV contacted us this week about doing a reality show about house flipping. They found out about us evidently through our YouTube channel and got to my website. It would be real cool to get our own show but unfortunately they are looking for someone doing a minimum of 10 houses per year, probably so they can film enough episodes. Theres been a real lack of good flip shows on TV lately, we really enjoy Flipping Out because Jeff Lewis does the larger spec deals like us and Property Ladder was always good because Kirsten Kemp the host is great and they also featured such a wide variety of different investors from pro to novice.  As far as the new Flip This House crews, Rudy in LA isnt really doing it for us and the New Haven crew seems to be more focused now on selling courses online like Montelongo. It’s pretty flattering nonetheless to get approached anyway, maybe there will be a Property Ladder episode in our future? 

We are still getting good showings at The Neighbor’s House and I feel the Spring buyers are just now getting out there now that we have great weather. In San Antonio, sales are off 4% year to date when compared to last year and inventories are slowly rising this year by about 100 houses per month. After a closer MLS search for our general area, its apparent that there are tons more sales that are AO (under contract) or Pending right now so this figure should be improving for March.

It’s Officially Done!

The Neighbor’s House is finally done and officially on the market (in MLS). On Friday we took hundreds of photos for our marketing campaign and web content. My favorite parts would be the master suite, having hardwood floors in the master bath, the cool Samsung fridge and of course the river rock shower floor. This house really came out good and all the concrete work and driveway gate really makes it a complete package. I got it in the computer late Friday night and this weekend we are already getting calls and have had offers. We priced the property at $389k and are marketing it heavy as a 2 on 1. Total square footage with the rear house included is 2,630 and if we used our recent comp of $175/s.f. it would put the value at $460k so I think our pricing is fair. The extra value that rear house adds should push us close to this new price level if we find the buyer who needs it. We sold the house next door for $340k in 5 days, $175/s.f., so I think our pricing here is in line although it’s quite a bit higher than most comps in the area. As I mentioned before there was never any sales over $285k for these historic homes in our farm so what we are doing is really outside of the box and drastically changing the neighborhood. We are buying at such a low level and with low construction costs it enables us to come to market with a superior product and at an affordable price, as replacement costs for one of our projects would be much higher than our asking price. Plus, who would want to live through a remodel of this caliber? Our success has been derived from offering a quality high-end remodel in an inner city neighbor and knowing that there are young professionals who work downtown and want to live close that will gladly pay for it. I compiled some pics so you can see the finish out as well as a new YouTube video that documents the whole rehab and shows what we went through along the way.

My plans are finalized for our next project, The Target House so we’ll be pulling the permits this week and weather “permitting” ha ha, getting started grading the back yard with the Bobcat in preparation for the addition. As we all know, The Spring buying season starts right after football season ends and it’s right around the corner. Additionally there are over 3000 more medical officers moving to San Antonio from February to May that will be stationed at neighboring Fort Sam Houston due to B.R.A.C. and most of these soldiers will be buying homes in our area. We have a great product and are ready to see how this plays out; we’ll keep you posted!