…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.

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.

Are You F*ing Kidding Me????

Neighbor’s House Back On Market today!!!! Arrrrggghhhhhh! This has never happened to me, have a house fall out twice. This time we had it sold to a lady who was going VA. We made it past the home inspection, then the VA inspection and finally it passed the VA appraisal last week. This morning we get a call from the buyers agent stating that her client was turned down by the VA underwriting for not having the last 3 years tax statements. What idiot mortgage broker writes someone a “Pre APPROVAL” letter w/o checking tax returns???? These things arent worth the paper they are written on in todays market. Supposedly he thought since she was putting 20% down it wouldn’t matter. Dear Mr Mortgage broker, this isnt 2005 buddy, buyers need to state their income these days! Between incompetent mortgage brokers and an overzealous home inspector claiming my brand new 30 year roof had a life expectancy of 20 years and my brand new 16 seer A/C is 2-3 years old, nothing seems to be going right on this deal. Oh yea, my brand new gas hot water heater is also 2-3 years old according to this brain surgeon. Over at the other house the plumbers are almost done, they are shooting for an inspection on Wednesday. Stay tuned for more drama.

Website Under Construction, Neighbors House BOM!

Excuse the mess….We have been fumbling all week trying to learn WordPress after getting this template from a webguy who was suppose to dial it all in for us. Needless to say after a couple emails with no response and hours of cutting/pasting our content over here we are. I like what I see with WP so far but there’s still alot to learn and changes we hoped to incorporate into the new design that will have to wait. 

I guess 13 wasnt so lucky afterall, last week the buyer of  The Neighbors House had their inspection and hired who we heard was the “deal breaker” of all local inspectors. He pretty much scared her into pulling out so we are BOM, (back on the market). Allthough some of his items were questionable, we’ll fix the legit issues that affect the integrity of the house so we’ll be ready for the next buyer. Afterall, it is a 100 year old house so buyers looking for something brand new shouldn’t even be considering our historical area.

Lucky 13? Neighbor’s House Under Contract

It’s a good thing I’m not superstitious because good things have been happening to us lately with the number 13. Recently we purchased our newest rehab the Target House on a Friday the 13th. Finish LineNow, after 13 days on the market and 13 showings; we have accepted an offer for the Neighbor’s House, which bears the address of 319, all multiples of 1 and 3. The culmination of this project also ends a 13th month stint that I’ve spent on this block rehabbing two houses next door to each other. Weeeeeird! Right? Of course we never call it “sold” until it closes but this buyer is strong, so as long as we get past the inspection and appraisal we should be good to go. (knock on wood). The average market time for San Antonio is close to 100 days so we are pretty stoked. Inventories have been decreasing this year but still higher than 2009. There is currently 6 months of inventory on the market in San Antonio so it’s pretty balanced between a buyers and sellers market.

Let’s take a closer look at the real estate market in our little farm area of Mahncke Park. It has still higher inventory levels with 10 homes on the market currently whereas last year there were never more than 2 or 3. This sounds low but keep in mind the size of our farm is only roughly 6 square blocks. In the last year there were 13 homes sold (yes, I know, another 13) with an average market time of 80 days and price of $240,000. With our recent sales prices around $340,000 we are getting roughly 100k higher than the average and selling our houses in an eighth of the time. It’s purely speculation because removing our sales comps, nobody would even guess what we are doing is possible. In fact we’ve heard local realtors scoff at our asking prices then say that we are the talk of the town when they sell. How are we doing this you ask? Simply by buying low, doing the construction ourselves to control costs and offering a product that you can’t find otherwise nor replace for the same price. Sure, there are some “updated” houses we compete with but nothing that’s been totally gutted, added onto and all new from scratch. It’s also gratifying to know that we are doing a good thing for the area and actually creating organic inventory for buyers by turning these otherwise uninhabitable homes into great new places for new families to live. Here’s to Lucky 13.

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!

 

The Descrescendo

The Neighbor’s House is basically done now minus some small touch ups but we’ve been plagued with more bad weather so it’s dragging on. You can see the before and after is really dramatic and I am really looking forward to getting it on the market. I got an automatic driveway gate installed last week as well and boy is it sweet! This week I passed all my final inspections so all that’s left now is to have the gas company come out and install the new meter. Since the line will be underground I foresee a little touch up in the backyard after they are done. We’ll hopefully be staging the house at the end of this week and getting started shooting pictures for our marketing. One neighbor mentioned they want the house for 350k but I think we are going to test the waters a little higher for a few months since we are heading into the best time of year to sell a house. After all, it is a 2 on 1 so if we can find the right buyer that needs the extra apartment in the back then they’ll pay a premium for this house. I’ve spent all my time this week remodeling the rear unit with a full new “basic” kitchen, drywall patching, texture and complete interior paint. It’s really been a decrescendo to go from the cool main house to this garage apartment rehab but its all gotta be good. We have a lot of value here with this rear unit and its presence will be why we get a higher price yet still than we got for the house next door.

  After

Last week our website was featured on Jim The Realtor’s blog, www.bubbleinfo.com. For those of you looking for a great housing market blog for San Diego, Jim Klinge’s is the best one out there. He brings you unbiased front line info on what’s happening in So Cal with no typical Realtor spin so we follow it religiously. He’s one of the top agents in S.D. and has also been featured on ABC Nightline and in the LA Times so getting a spotlight by him was really an honor. If you are looking for investment property in San Diego give him and his team a call.

We’ve been working closely with our architect also on plans for the Target House. We are doing some cool new things so I am really excited to get over there full time after our current house is on the market. There will be major floor plan changes since I gut the entire house and have that option. I am taking the front bedroom and opening up the space to add it onto the living room similar to what I did on Hat Trick. We’ve gone through several changes on the new addition but now I think I’ve got it nailed down as it includes all the things I wanted for our remodel: vaulted master suite with master bath, walk-in closet, food pantry, inside utility area, dual vanities, spa tub, shower, water closet and last but not least a double-sided fireplace between master bedroom and Jacuzzi tub! It’s going to be sick, can’t wait to frame this puppy up!

Target Plans

Moving Forward Slowly, Holiday Delays

 I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thanks for checking out our house flipping blog this year and a special thanks to the 6000+ returning visitors who find our content interesting and have returned regularly. In this first full year with the website we received over 23,000 new visitors. It’s great to get the comments also; we enjoy the questions and feedback. 2009 was a great year for our company, especially with the success of our project “The Hat Trick House”. It was probably my favorite renovation to date and we set personal records in several areas on this house. In the process we also were able to buy the house right next door “The Neighbor’s House” and are 99% complete with that big rehab and looking forward to an early Spring 2010 sale. Our third and last big deal this year was the purchase of a house we’ve been after for years, “The Target House”. I’m all set roll into 2010 with this big historic renovation as we’ve already handled the demo and foundation leveling so stay tuned if you like house flipping and Craftsman style homes.

I’ve somehow managed to stay busy through the Holidays and have at least some sub contractors show up at Neighbor’s House. As you might have heard from Twitter, the first attempt at the floor refinishing was a bust. The guys had to re-sand them all down again after the stain and clear coat wouldn’t dry due to the weather conditions and did some weird stuff. They really know what they’re doing but I think he was just in a rush and trying to pull it off before Christmas so he could get his final payment. This put us back a week on having the Energy Star appliance package (all stainless of course) delivered but they finally came and wow, what a Cadillac the new Samsung refrigerator is. It’s a grand more than I usually spend but we required a counter depth model for this kitchen design to flow properly. Really nice. I also managed to do most of the landscaping while the floor crew kicked us out, I threw up about 150 feet of fence and brought in 4 yards of top soil, some river rock and 4 pallets of sod. With my energy efficient theme on this remodel I decided to use Bermuda Tiff turf grass instead of St Augustine as it requires way less water and holds up to this Texas heat in the summer. Of course I know all grass is dormant this time of year and arrives brown from the grass farms but it still sucks to put down brown sod and not to get that initial “new yard” look like the summer. The A/C guy stopped by and installed the compressor but the heat isn’t on yet until I can pass finals on Electrical, HVAC and Plumbing and then have the power company come out and set the new gas meter. I am doing a killer driveway gate again this time but this one will be automatic. Should have been installed “before Christmas, I promise” but hopefully it will come this week. Land of Manana here again in good ole SA as a lot of Hispanic workers go to Mexico from Christmas to New Years to be with family. A cool old guy stopped by this week from the area, an 87 year-old millionaire investor. He had heard of me through some local Realtors and came to introduce himself personally and see my work. Of course I love listening to seasoned pros, he told me of a land deal that netted him a million bucks in 3 months time. His parting words were: “There’s one out there for you”, very motivating.

Wearing Out My Welcome

It was a crazy week now that we have two projects in progress. At “The Neighbor’s House” we are winding things up and are having the floors refinished while the concrete guys are pouring 1500 s.f. of driveway, 2 patios, an A/C pad and flatwork around the room addition. With all the mess over there I’ve now received disgruntled phone calls and threats of calling the cops about the workers having to stay so late finishing the concrete. I feel like an unwanted houseguest that comes and stays at your house for a week. At first everyone is glad to see me, has remodeling questions and loves what I’m doing for the area, but add 3-4 months of random work trucks parked in front of their houses, mud everywhere in the street and a constant mess and noise and all of a sudden it’s not so cool and the animosity starts to set in. Understandable though, I’m sure it’s annoying. It was really difficult to pour concrete this time because the cold weather delays drying time and the days are shorter now that it’s winter. They’ve had the forms and rebar down for almost 2 weeks and we keep getting days on end of misty cold rain. After finally having four trucks dump about 30 yards, the finishers ended up having to stay until midnight using lights…temps were in the low 40s and it wouldn’t dry fast enough to smooth. That was a particularly bad night for neighbors, I hate having to do that. On the inside, the floors are coming out great as the crew has gone through 3 sanding stages, wood filler and a fine screening to smooth them out. The stain goes on today so I am anxious to see the extra dark walnut stain we’ll custom mix. Can’t wait until they are done so I can install appliances and then it’s down to the final stretch of small punch list stuff and I can get off this street, its time to go!

Over at “The Target House” we broke ground with the demo this week with the help of some day laborers and tore out the entire house in one day gutting every room completely down to the wood and removing both the kitchen and bath. Additionally there was a dilapidated garage and apartment in the backyard that took 2 more days to take down by hand. I had planned to rent a Bobcat to knock it down but it ended up being cheaper to just pay the laborers to do it. Going through someone’s old personal stuff in a garage really lets you get to know them, weird. We found pictures of the house from Christmas 1991 in perfect condition, crazy how 20 years of deferred maintenance can take its toll. Now that the demo is done, the next step is I’ll have my foundation guy get started leveling the house. Our architect is currently working on plans; I have some great ideas for totally changing the floor plan around as well as adding about 1000 s.f. onto the back of the house. We’ll do a walkthrough soon and show you how we are changing things around for the renovation. Several of the other interested parties who didn’t get the house have stopped by this week seeing the demo underway and inquiring about our plans.

Paint, Cabinets and Granite

The “Neighbor’s House” is now painted inside minus some small touch ups. Additionally I got the cabinets in and countertops installed this week. I buy the pre-bullnosed granite slabs fabricated in China and with the help of a friend we put them in ourselves saving big money. It ends up costing me $12.00/s.f. for what everyone else charges $50/s.f. for. I intended to post a “how to install granite countertops” video for everyone but my memory card was full yesterday when we were installing so I had to settle for a few single images. Maybe next time I’ll get to film the install for everyone as it’s really not that hard to do. As you can see we also dropped in the farmhouse sink from Ikea. It’s easy to retrofit any 36” sink base cabinet to accept it, you just have to do some measuring and cutting. All the tile is done and the glass company came and measured for the frameless heavy glass door for the master shower. All that’s left now are some small projects before I can get the floors refinished after the holiday weekend. I’ll be going really dark again on the stain since the floors got such great reviews on our last project next door. The concrete guys are showing up weather permitting this week to start on the driveway. The house itself should be done soon but we still have the landscaping and light renovation of the rear guesthouse to do before the project is complete. Last week we bought another historic house for a big renovation, we close on it this Wednesday so at that time we’ll get over there and do a walk through video to show you what we have planned. Stay tuned and Happy Holidays!

Cabinets

Sink

Kitchen

Building Materials Are Like Fashion

 

The interior is getting close to paint. I’ve hung all the doors and trimmed everything out using MDF this time. The finish out is really going to be slick so I’m excited. The master bedroom closet got a little more love this time with trim. I’ve also been busy getting some of the tile done. Picking building materials is like fashion, you have to know what’s new and in style but also know when to use it. Everything is always changing and you have to keep up with what’s new. While it’s all really still subjective, there are new trendy materials that are becoming very popular and incorporating them can set your house apart from all the other inventory therefore increasing the likelihood of a quick sale. I frequently look at design magazines and go through custom homes to keep up to date on what’s cool. You know that colored ceramic and glass tile accents are hitting big time when you can now find them at Lowe’s. While our specialty size ceramic wall tile is of course special order, the glass accents are Dal Tile and came from The Home Depot. Up until last year you couldn’t get the colored glass tiles at the big box stores, we used to have to special order them or get it online. Picking the right materials can really make or break your rehab. It really sets apart the pros from the Joes. There’s nothing worse than walking into a rehab that just looks like a flip.

When I am doing a major renovation there are a few very important features to try and incorporate to maximize retail sales price. In no certain order they are: Master suite (master bath is connected to master bedroom), dual vanities in master bath, walk-in closet, indoor utility room and food pantry. To be missing one of these items would be a huge mistake in my opinion.

My cabinets are now on order as well and should arrive before Thanksgiving. I am using Kent Moore here in Texas and they are full custom Maple and made to size with no filler pieces. I picked an off white shaker style that goes well in historic homes. For that high end custom touch, all the bathroom vanities, linen cabinets and laundry room cabinets in the whole house will match and for the bathrooms we will be using the 34” high new style vanity that you don’t have to bend way over for when brushing your teeth. We’ve used these before and it’s amazing to see how many buyers walk through and notice the vanity height.

The house was scheduled to be done December 1 but since there’s no rush to get anything on the market during the holidays I’m planning to take my time with all the details and landscaping so we can hit the market after Jan. 1. There have been buyers stopping by every week so we’ve got interested parties lined up, and as always I like to focus on that last 10% of the project because that’s where most house flippers drop the ball and how we make our houses sell for top dollar.

Still Painting and San Antonio Ranks #1 Strongest Metro Economy

Even though we were plagued with more rainout days this week, I still managed to get the exterior paint 95% complete. This is probably the most labor-intensive paint job I’ve done as it’s 6 colors and it entailed a lot of detail brushwork on the trims. So far I’ve put up over 60 gallons on the exterior! Keep in mind there’s a big 2-story guesthouse in the rear and I also sprayed 2 coats of everything including primer. As you read in my last post, I picked up a guy from Lowe’s parking lot to help me paint so it’s gone really fast. This guy is actually a great painter, he was making fun of me for using economy brushes so I broke down and bought a Purdy brush, man this thing practically paints by itself. Well worth the $14 bucks.

Front

Because I was so happy with my historic craftsman style replica window screens on the last project, Hat Trick House, I decided to make them again for this house. I changed the design a bit so they wouldn’t look exactly the same, especially since the other house is right next door. I designed the center mullion placement to minimize the visability of the white vinyl and this new design came out great. I won’t stretch them with screen, although the future owner can if desired. My new double pane windows have screens already so these frames are basically just a cosmetic design feature that also plays an important part in the color blocking of our paint job. The historic replica screen hangers are also still available from Stanley. This extra little finishing touch really gives the house the historic look that I need for our neighborhood.

Front

There was a new BusinessWeek article this week that ranked San Antonio #1 for the top National economy. The measurements used were job growth, economic growth, employment and home prices. Texas seems to be the clear winner with San Antonio in the lead and five other metros in the top 10. While we are still seeing signs of the recession here and I’m always quick to say we are late to the party, this study shows that we are still fairing extremely well compared to the rest of the country. We’ve seen the housing market here drastically slow down in the last 2 years, but homes are still selling and people are still moving here everyday from other states so we have to be thankful that when coming from California, we picked a winner with San Antonio.

In Living Color

Things finally started to dry out after all the rain we had, so I got the texture crew in last weekend and as luck would have it, pouring rain again all day. Geesh. It took 3 days for the texture to dry with 90% humidity. It finally dried and looks incredible so I proceeded with spraying a good primer coat and ceiling paint throughout. I was at Lowe’s buying the exterior primer and met this guy in the parking lot asking for work, I’ve had him helping me everyday to speed things up and he’s actually turning out to be a great helper. We spent 4 days just caulking, scraping and filling holes on the house in preparation for the paint job. The weather cooperated at weeks end so we made a huge impact with spraying the entire house in a day. We got 2 coats on the soffits and body of the house, accounting for 2 of the 6 colors planned. I still have all the time consuming trim brushwork to do, which is really going to be the important part of this color scheme. Our façade designer for this project Morgan Penix at DeWitt Architects really picked some unique colors, which I initially had a hard time grasping, but now I’m finally starting to see her vision and am loving how it’s looking. The dark rich columns with rust accents will make a bold statement against the soothing earth tones on the body of the house, all done in historically correct flavor.

Exterior

Arch

The 9th Annual Mahncke Park Home Tour was today so my wife and I had the chance to mingle with some neighbors and enjoy a diverse mix of 6 inspirational and eclectic residences. We saw some great gardens, tons of personality and very cool historic craftsman bungalows. Adorned with unique features, incorporated artwork, bright colors and highly personalized, these homes offered something we never get to do in our designs with resale in mind. We saw green painted hardwood floors, claw foot tubs, blooming esperanzas, purple staircases, garden borders made from Skyy Vodka bottles and mosaic tile galore. Three of these unique homes belong to artists and included studios, fun workshops and galleries. The tour was a great success and Mahncke Park proved again why it’s THE coolest and most hip place to live in San Antonio for the artistic urbanite.

Flower

Interestingly though all of the homes on the tour this year are currently for sale where in past years it was not allowed for any of the participating homeowners to use the tour to promote the sale of their homes. Is this a sign of the times or what? Seems even in our small niche neighborhood we are not immune to the higher inventory levels and general real estate market slow down that finally caught up with San Antonio last year. At any given time last summer in Mahncke Park there were only 2-3 homes for sale and now there are currently 10 on the market.

Raining Hard, SA Housing Market Slowing

 

I had my framing inspection Monday and he passed me on the room addition but failed the new front porch because I had trimmed it out already and he couldn’t see how it was framed…oops. He said he would pass it with a letter from an engineer so I had to pay 300 bucks to have my engineer crawl in the attic to verify my framing was done correctly and draw up a certificate on it. I went straight into hanging all the insulation and called in for the insulation inspection Tuesday. The same inspector showed up the following day and passed me on that. Meanwhile I had all the drywall delivered. It turned out to be 150 sheets for the room addition, kitchen and existing bath. Man, prices on drywall have come down; I only paid 6.50 per sheet for 12 footers. My drywall crew hung it in a day and went straight into tape and float over the weekend. It’s coming out really nice as it’s always a cool stage to get to when you can see it all sealed up and smelling new. My drywall crew charges 10 bucks/sheet to hang, tape and float and texture. Since the existing bedrooms were not demo’ed I am retexturing the whole house so it will match. These guys are real pro; they do mostly new construction so the seams come out great. For texturing they don’t mix in a hopper, a truck with a mixing machine actually shows up and they spray the whole house with one batch so it turns out consistent. Drywall finishes and textures can make it or break it when it comes down to your final product so it’s important to get pros to do this part. In the past I’ve done small rooms myself but now that we are on a larger level I always sub this out. I also got all the wood floor patching done which included all new wood in the kitchen and I also ran it into the addition. I even put the wood floors into the master bath, which will be new for me this time and should be a real dramatic touch. With all the rain lately (6 inches in 1 night) I feel lucky that at least I’m making progress inside the house. After being in a record drought all summer now we get hammered with flooding, crazy weather here in Texas.

The local San Antonio real estate market continues to slow. So far this year we’ve had only 13,185 homes sold compared to the same period last year of 14,724 and 17,981 for 2007. Last year was the big slow down here when a lot of Realtors went starving. Things picked up a little this summer mainly due to the $8000 first time buyer tax credit so it will be interesting to see what happens to the real estate market if they let it expire. There’s a bill in Congress to raise the credit to $15,000 and open it to non-owner occupied buyers which would be great for investors and definitely clean up some inventory, but I’m not sure how we could pay for it. Foreclosures at the courthouse steps here in SA are also still rising, I ran across a Realtor friends’ house while reviewing the auction list for this month. Ouch, now that’s hitting close to home. Our strategy for this market is as always be extra careful on location, buy extremely right and offer a high quality renovation and unique product for the price level. Even with the slower market there are a lot of people continuing to move here to San Antonio and we only need one buyer.

Inspections Passed, Next On Deck Insulation & Drywall

The skies cleared and the inspection gods have blessed our project. Finally, we passed all 3 rough-in inspections. We had to have the mechanical inspected twice and he almost failed me the second time because I had the incorrect tape on the joints of the dryer exhaust vent. The correct taping for the seams is the UL rated aluminum tape with the red letters, same as the A/C guys use. After some word games and a battle of the egos he busted out the green card much to my relief. It always seems the young inspectors have such a chip on their shoulders while the old guys just roll through, pass you and start talking sports and telling stories. Since I pulled the main building permit myself as the owner/builder then I am in charge of the next 2 inspections. First I’ve called in for framing inspection Monday for which the City of San Antonio will look at the placement of the fixtures with relation to each other, framing and construction as well as fire blocking of all penetrations from wiring and plumbing and foaming of the windows. Once I pass this framing inspection Monday I’ll be free to hang the insulation and call in for insulation inspection for Tuesday. If you hire a company to insulate your new construction they will furnish you with a certificate that will satisfy the city but because I am such a penny pincher I hang it myself which thereby requires them to come inspect. I buy the insulation wholesale saving about 30% from what Home Depot or Lowe’s charge. Once I pass insulation inspection I am finally free to drywall! Yea buddy, whew! You’ll also see on the video update that I’ve trimmed out the front porch and removed all the kitchen hardwoods due to old water damage and poor patching. I need to get the new wood patched in also before drywalling the kitchen but that won’t take long. The original wood floors in my house are red oak, which is still available through lumber liquidators for .45/ foot. All 330 feet of wood I am replacing only cost me about 700 bucks. Once the floors are refinished you wont see the patches. I am planning on the dark walnut stain again since they seem to be so trendy now. Stay tuned; next time you see the house it will be all sealed up. It’s a big milestone, what was previously stick framing all of a sudden becomes recognizable defined spaces.