Encinitas Project Sold

Copy of WE BUY HOUSES (4)

Our Encinitas project closed today. I had it sold twice but the first buyer backed out due to a family emergency. Congrats to the new buyer, we hope you enjoy the home and make some great memories here. This is a great little house we made good as new, and a great value to get in this zip code with a remodeled house in the 700’s. We buy houses in San Diego and surrounding areas, if you have and referrals for us please send them my way! I always buy them as-is and the seller saves thousands from not paying real estate agent commissions. Happy Holidays!

New Project ~ Pacific Beach!!

Location, Location, Location! This is a very cute little 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1 car garage cottage we just closed on in Pacific Beach! It’s 3 short blocks to Fanuel Park and 5 blocks to one of the most popular beaches and tourist destinations in San Diego. I’m really excited to transform this little house into something special. We are going to do all new surfaces; Kitchen, Bath, Flooring, Paint, Windows and Stucco. I might even take off the burglar bars. I spent a lot of time in Pacific Beach during and after college. I probably rode my bike past this house 100 times over a 15-year time span. Here are the Before pics, we should bring this to market just in time for the Summer. Affordable Pacific Beach House for Sale coming soon!

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New Clairemont Project!

Walk through and check out the New Clairemont project we are starting. We are very excited to be back in one of our favorite neighborhoods! Stay tuned for more house flipping fun by Green Button Homes, San Diego’s #1 Cash As-Is Homebuyer.

What Inventory Problem?

I bought so many houses this summer I’m now losing track. There’s a real shortage in San Diego of fixer uppers on the market but since we’ve had our feelers out now for a few years and everybody knows we buy houses, we keep getting leads. This is the second off market property I picked up this year in my old stomping grounds Clairemont. This property has a tenant who hasn’t been keeping up with the rent and the owner just decided to cash out.We structured a win-win for both parties. The seller is happy because he gets cash next week without paying any realtor fees or closing costs and can move on and not worry about the problem tenant anymore,  I’m happy because we’ll have enough room to renovate the house and sell it for a profit. It needs a complete kitchen, new bathrooms, flooring, windows, paint in and out, the whole 9 yards. Have a problem rental house in San Diego you need to sell fast? CLICK HERE!

Carlsbad Design Update

Making some headway with the Carlsbad Lagoon project. I’m still dialing in materials and colors but we are making progress. The building site continues to be quite challenging so the house design has changed several times. It’s currently a 4,051 sf 4/3 including an attached 678 sf 2-car garage. The City of Carlsbad has some restrictive building height requirements for the Coastal zone. Flat roofs have a height restriction of 24′ and pitched roofs with minimum 3 and 12 pitch are allowed 32′ heights. Of course I originally wanted all flat roofs, but in order to get the second story and still have 11 foot ceilings on the first level, we had to go with a pitched roof up top because of the existing slope creates a big crawlspace under the front. The height is measured from the lowest, or most restrictive, between proposed and existing grade.

The materials used will be stucco, wood and metal, there is a great overhang that wraps 2 sides of the living room, which will have an underlit wood soffit. Generous use of windows on the front will bring in an ample amount of light while the 5′ overhang will filter the harshest mid day Southern exposure from direct light. The large living room is connected to the outdoor deck with fire feature via a set of aluminum La Cantina accordian doors.

You can see here how much civil engineering work has been done just to get the structure to work on the lot. The correct driveway orientation can be seen here. I’m real happy with how the grading plan worked out, the rear 1/3 of the house and half of the garage is cut into the hill and will be slab on grade while the front of the house will change to raised stem wall foundation. There is a new sidewalk, curb and gutter public improvement for the entire lot frontage, as well as a Bio Rentention system engineered into the landscape plan that filters all driveway and roof run off before hitting the public street. The retaining wall elevations worked out pretty nice with the lot topography and the civil engineer did a great job designing it to minimize grading. On the high side of the driveway its only 3 feet tall.  The driveway comes up pretty steep off the street at 20%, then levels off to 10% as you get up near the house. We left enough room at the top of the driveway to turn a car around so nobody has to back down onto the street. In total we have 220 cubic yards of cut, 900 CY of fill and about 700 CY of export so we should qualify for a minimum grading permit. The City basically wants to see your house design stuck into the hill and minimal impact to the rest of the lot.

We had a pretty favorable Biology report, the absence of California Gnat Catcher birds during the site survey by the biologist really alleviated one of my big concerns with the parcel. There is however Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub that is all over this hill and its on the endangered list. In order to remove some scrub brush (mitigate), you have 3 options;  dedicate the rest permanently with an open space easement that will eventually get recorded to the title, pay mitigation fees, or mitigate off site. To mitigate CSS it would cost roughly $30,000 per acre so this mitigating on site with the easement is a a great solution. Because we are only developing 25% of our 1.3 acre lot, dedicating the rest permanently will prevent future homeowners from developing the hill. It’s steep anyway so there’s really not much you could do with it so its not much of a downside in my opinion. The open space will provide a nice buffer between us and the neighbors and continue to be a valuable wildlife habitat. You’ll notice the blue dots where the biologist found the Orange-throated Whiptail lizard. While on the endangered list, its not as critical as the Gnat Catcher Bird would have been. The only stipulation is that we have to perform scrubbing and grading activities to the site in the breeding off season between February 15 and August 31. The whole project is being reviewed by the City now, if we get a favorable response we’ll move forward to the Coastal Development Permit then Grading Plan and construction plans with the structural engineer.

It’s a Family Tradition ~ Green Button Homes

The Tarrant boys like to build. 77 years later and here I am following in my grandfathers footsteps, developing real estate and building spec houses. Here’s a fun picture of my Grandfather R.W. “Poppy” Tarrant’s custom home that he built for his family in the late 1930’s.  The house was on Overbrook Lane in the upscale area of Houston, Texas known today as River Oaks. This house was torn down in the early 2000’s.

After selling the first house to a local attorney, he then drew up his own plans and specs and built this home in the 3600 block of Wickersham Lane in River Oaks. In 1943 this house only cost $15,000 to build. In today’s inflation adjusted dollars that equals $202, 460.00.

Here is Poppy, my dad Tom Tarrant Sr. and uncle Bobby Tarrant outside the Wickersham house

Carlsbad Plans

Here’s a glimpse at the front elevation of the modern Carlsbad new construction house we have in the works. It’s a 4/3 at roughly 4000 total square feet. I’m real happy with the design.. its got clean lines, big horizontal planes and heavy overhangs. More design detail to come as well as some 3D modeling so you can get a feel for the floorplan. The Carlsbad permitting process wont be a quick process, we are now only working towards Coastal Development Approval and then we get to submit the detailed house plans. Completion date in 2014.

Sell Your San Diego House

We are still busy Buying Houses here in San Diego and helping homeowners find solutions to their Real Estate problems. It’s been a busy Summer but we are still looking to buy more houses!

Last month we bought this Paradise Hills house directly from the sellers who were retired veterans and had got a couple months behind on their mortgage payments. They didn’t want to work with realtors because most of their equity would have been spent on the realtor commissions. Their lender Green Tree, wouldn’t cooperate with a loan modification and refinancing of their VA loan was out of the question because there were major repairs that needed to be made to the property, namely an empty swimming pool in the backyard which needed to be filled in.

After visiting the house we made them a cash offer and immediately contacted their lender for a payoff amount so the harassing phone calls stopped. To help the elderly sellers we even advanced some funds before the sale closed so they could rent a suitable house. They will walk away with over $25,000 cash in their pocket and be saved of having a foreclosure on their credit. We love helping people and make sure its a win-win for both parties.

I bought this house in Clairemont this month after the seller, who is the executor of a family trust, contacted me and wanted to liquidate the asset so the beneficiaries could cash out. The challenging issue with this deal was that the home needed extensive repairs so a lender would likely not lend on it.

We made the sellers a cash offer and agreed to take the house in its As-Is condition, we never request anyone to make repairs. We closed escrow 12 days later and the heirs to the estate received their portion of the proceeds.  Another win-win situation for both parties, no other homebuyer in town would let the seller stay in the house for a year after receiving their funds!

Another purchase this month was this house on Dictionary Hill in Spring Valley. It’s a huge 3200 sf custom but needs an extensive remodel. The house had great bones, but years of deferred maintenance. The sellers had been busy with their careers and didn’t have the time to make repairs or keep up with this huge house. They didn’t want to list it with a realtor and have to clean, pay to fix everything, and then hassle with all the showings so they called us.

Out of their equity they would have also paid $15,000 in Realtor fees which was a big portion of their equity they needed to put down on their new house. Here is how fast we work; after getting the call on a Friday, I visited the home Saturday morning and made an offer. By Monday we agreed on a sale price and opened escrow.  5 days later the deal closed and they got their check! The sellers had accumulated a lot of little stuff in the house that would have been time consuming and costly to haul out, so they were happy that we didn’t require them to haul it off or clean anything on the way out.

If you want to Sell a San Diego House Fast, give us a call and we will work around your specific situation to try and structure a deal that works for both parties. More information about the homebuying process and how we arrive at an offer price can be found at the following link: http://tomtarrant.com/we-buy-houses-san-diego/

Contact me by clicking here or simply call (619) 438-0234 for a hassle free, no-obligation offer for your unwanted real estate. Your privacy is our main concern and we don’t share your information with anyone.

Modern Bungalow Sold $765,000

The San Diego real estate market is on fire right now, home prices in my area are up 20% over last year and in nearby neighborhoods like North Park 92104 there is only 1 month of inventory at the current sales pace!  It’s putting a real damper on the local house flippers as they are having trouble finding properties to rehab. 3 guys I personally know are going to Phoenix, Las Vegas and Palm Springs to find projects.

Strategically, I put it on the market on a Tuesday to give everyone time to react before an MLS advertised double-open house weekend. The strategy worked out perfectly, by the open house we already had 3 offers to work with. In this market its common to have 10-15 offers within the first few days, but this is generally true for entry level houses or high demand markets in the suburbs. By leaving the house on the market a whole 8 days, I felt it gave adequate market exposure yet didn’t irritate any of the first buyers by waiting too long and playing the game.

We had a specialty product for a very special buyer, in an inner city neighborhood where median sold home prices are in the low 500’s. To illustrate the market appreciation this year, when I bought this vacant lot I calculated a house built there would have sold for $629,000 based on comps. Half way through the build there were 2 comps at $685,000. By the time I was done we had sales comps in the low 700’s for remodels, not new construction, so I put a value on the home of $750,000. Not having a back yard was a definite negative so I had to price this in. You know that the seller does not set the sales price, the market does. A house will sell for whatever a buyer is willing to pay. Furthermore, houses are not sold, they are bought, so listing agents don’t “sell” houses in my opinion.

I used value range pricing and listed the house at $749,000 – $799,000. The first offer came in at $710,000. The second at $749,000 and a third at $750,000. When the smoke cleared, and after everyone had a shot to go higher, we countered the strongest buyer of the 3 offers and they came up to $765,000, or $413.50/s.f.

Listing this house and getting it under contract was the easy part, getting SDG&E to install the gas meter so we could close would prove to be the hard part and took almost 8 weeks! Our wonderful buyer hung in there so we finally closed today, congratulations to the new owner and we hope you enjoy the home as much as we did building it.

Modern Garage Door and Countertops – South Park

We are winding things up in South Park on our Modern Bungalow. The modern garage door got installed this week, its an Amarr full view door in dark bronze with obscure glass. I didn’t want the glass to look white-ish like my last project so I didn’t get the frosted, the obscure lets more light in and overall was a way better choice for this project. The dark bronze aluminum ties in with the Milgard aluminum window color perfectly. The door looks massive because its 8 feet high so the glass panels are larger, way cooler than the 7 foot Amarr door we installed earlier this year on a house we flipped.

In the master bath wet room I finally dropped in the jacuzzi tub. You can see that the heavy glass frame-less doors are also installed, I tried something new this time and did saloon doors. You can leave them open when taking a bath and they lay on the walls out of the way. The opening is 4’0″ so each door is around 24″ Hey Honey, if I don’t come home from work one night you know where to find me.

Carpet got installed in the 2 secondary bedrooms. I went with a designer textured close loop Stainmaster with upgraded pad because we like carpet in kids rooms. The grey ties in well with interior finishes.

The big milestone we passed this week was the counter tops. The kitchen and both bathrooms are all Ceasarstone Arctic White with a square profile and eased edge. Ceasarstone is quartz so its a little trickier to work with when fabricating the edge detail. Not only is the pure white unforgiving but quartz in general has to be miter cut so you wont see the lamination on the bullnose. This is the first time I’ve gone this white, its so fresh, clean and looks very modern, contrasting my dark greyish blue base cabinet color well. The huge sink is a single bowl zero radius stainless steel. I ended up going with white 3×6 ceramic tile for the back splash (not shown) and installed it in a running bond pattern to keep it looking more contemporary and matching the upstairs bathroom.

The 3’x7′ kitchen island has a waterfall on one side. this is a new technique usually reserved for high end modern homes where the counter top actually wraps down the island and touches the floor. You can also see in this pic how the seams are miter cut. One neat feature (also not shown) is the microwave drawer in the island, more pics to come after I get appliances in.  We Buy Houses in San Diego, if you know anyone looking to sell please contact us as we are always searching for our next renovation project.

Modern Concrete and Floor Redeux

What a difference a week makes. Our new hardwood floor refinishing guys came in and did an incredible job on the Modern Bungalow in South Park. Instead of the usual rag on, rag off method for applying the stain, these guys used a lambs wool applicator and drug the stain across the floor. Of course we did not water pop the wood first this time!

The stain came out perfect the second time around, no spots or blotchy areas and this application method actually left more color on the wood. After the stain dried they did 3 coats of semi-gloss clear, buffing in between coats. I’m really happy with the results, this is how Golden Pecan on Red Oak should look, it gives a modern loft feel.

Here is the finished product on the floors, finally I am back on track now. The cabinet finishers are coming in next to stain the uppers to match and paint the bases, island and bathroom vanities.

The weather finally cooperated enough to get most of our hardscape in this week. I poured about 20 yards of flat work. The modern design I created will lend itself well to my overall theme, the driveway area was so large, so by cutting it up I brought the space more into scale. Stay tuned for the finishing stretch after the holidays & Merry Christmas!

Rain Droppin’ & Water Poppin’

Imagine this picture after 3 days of rain. Yes folks, mud, mud and more mud.  It just wasn’t in my cards this week, after almost 2 weeks excavating for the driveway and setting forms, the rains came. Had I just finished a day earlier I would have avoided a 5-day set back due to the weather.  You can see I broke up the huge space by setting the forms in a more modern design for the concrete, it will do wonders for the scale of the driveway and also add an interesting modern touch. Inside the gaps between the slabs I can put river rock, decomposed granite or even a low grass. There wont be any sod in my landscape design, the whole yard will be xeriscaped and planted with drought tolerant native species. The unfinished cmu block retaining walls and large square concrete slabs for stepping blocks will give a real urban mod feel and be perfect for my modern bungalow.

The full custom, flat panel millworks package went in on Monday from Jed at Hollands Custom Kitchens in El Cajon. Full extension, soft close, dove tail, the whole 9 yards. Hollands is rad, great service, quality and they’ve been building cabinets for 35 years here in San Diego. They hand built everything specifically for the house including kitchen and bathrooms. Everything will get finished on site after the install. On the uppers I used grain matching “rift cut” Red Oak. We’ll stain them Golden Pecan to match the floors while the island and lower cabinets will all get painted a dark blueish grey. I’ll contrast the dark lowers by using arctic white quartz countertops with a square eased edge profile and waterfall on one side of the island. In fact the counters, appliances and even carpet upstairs are all waiting to go in as soon as the floors are done.

So you can see a lot was riding on the floor job coming out on time. After 2 days of sanding, the floor guys decided to apply the oil based stain when it was raining outside and 90% humidity. It might have actually worked even though you shouldn’t stain in higher than 60% humidity, but they tried an advanced technique called “water popping” in which you wipe the raw wood with water to raise the grain just prior to staining. This trick is normally reserved for trying to get wood floors to accept a very dark stain or hide scratch marks, in my case it wasn’t necessary since I’m going very light and Red Oak is the easiest material to work with. Soaking the floor with water combined with the high humidity trapped in the moisture under the oil based stain and it dried looking very blotchy. I’ve been doing beautiful Oak floors for years and we never popped the grain, I wouldn’t advise anyone to try it unless you are going very dark or have an absolute professional that has experience with popping the grain doing the work. Needless to say I hired a different company and we are sanding off all the stain and starting over. New 3/4″ Red Oak floors only have enough thickness to refinish about 6 times, its not the best scenario to re-sand new installs twice but they’ll look perfect when we are done and that’s what counts. More on water popping hardwood floors here.

It’s really frustrating to get slowed down at the end of a project, but its just part of the business and being able to react swiftly and find solutions will keep you moving forward. We’ll see if this week works out a little better. See you soon with concrete pics and a complete kitchen. Have a Merry Christmas and thanks for following our projects!

Ready For Paint

My South Park Modern Bungalow new build is finally ready for paint, take one last look because the next time you see her she’ll have 3 shades of green, grey rafter tails and cedar stained eaves. It took me and a helper just over 3 weeks to do all the siding, knee braces and corbels but it was worth it.

The Hardi staggered shingle is very labor intensive but it paid off. It gives some great depth and adds texture while defining the pop out shed dormer too. You can see I separated the siding styles with a Hardi Trim 1×8.

We kept the corbels very simple to match the knee braces. I used Douglas Fir 4×8 and had it re-sawn at my local lumber yard. They will get a cedar stain to match the tongue and groove eaves and porch posts and beam. I’m really liking the big overhang look and all the open rafter tails, cant wait to see them individually painted.

I left the roof off the porch until after paint so I didn’t mess it up by walking on it. It’s going to be a Bronze standing seam metal roof that will be close in color to my aluminum windows. The reveal for the 3 small bathroom fixed windows was quite challenging to pull off but it looks very organic. You’ll notice the angle changes from the top as you go down. We used aluminum corners made especially for the Hardi staggered shingle to hide the edge seams and protect it from moisture.

Here are the 4 colors we picked for the house, The body is 2 shades of green, Edgy Gold and Wheat Grass by Sherwin Williams. The trim is a very light green that almost looks white, its Ionic Ivory. The rafter tails, barge rafters and knee braces will be Benjamin Moore Cromwell Grey. All the tongue and groove eaves, corbels and porch post and beam will get that cedar stain.  This is the first time we’ve stained the eaves on top of painted rafter tails so I’m pretty excited to see the results.

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!

New Construction South Park

Here’s a Sneak Peek of the new build we are doing in South Park. Rough framing is now complete, roof on, Milgard aluminum windows in, plumbing done, HVAC almost complete, next up is electrical and fire sprinklers then I can call for the big “rough-in” City inspection.