30-Day Notices Are Flying

 After 60 days on the market, we sold The Target House last week. We had a flurry of activity right after Christmas and then someone popped up who had actually seen it weeks earlier. Their inspector told me this week he loved the house more even after the inspection and that my quality of work was 2 levels above most renovations he sees even in the nearby pricier Alamo Heights neighborhood. I’m really going to miss this project, its one of our favorite houses. The sale wont close until the end of the month but we’ve got alot of packing to do and loose ends to tie up before we leave town. The 30-day notices were flying last week, one to our tenants in SD and another to our landlord here in SA.

It’s been a great final year for us here in San Antonio but I truly feel we are leaving at the right time. When we first got to S.A. there were tons of other California investors here rehabbing but they fled when the market here slowed and simultaneously CA started to rebound. The San Diego real estate market reached a bottom in Q2 09 and throughout 2010 saw steady home price appreciation up until July where things started to back off a tad. Depending on who’s numbers you are looking at they gained back about 3-8% of the 35% they were down from 2005 peak. I’m sure interest rates will continue to creep up in 2011 and the big lenders will continue to dribble out the REO’s for everyone to fight over but even with the Fall sales decrease I am optimistic that San Diego will hold ground throughout 2011 and then really take off in 2012 if the unemployment situation improves. Of course there is the double dip crowd that sees the opposite and anything is possible. San Diego is on sale right now, and 2011 is going to be a great year there for experienced investors. It’s a perfect storm of higher affordability, low interest rates, tons of bank owned properties that need to be fixed up, decreasing inventory levels, price increases and first time buyers chomping at the bit after waiting nearly a decade to be able to get into the market.

We had tons of fun this year sharing our adventures on the blog and attracted alot of attention doing it. This Spring my blog was voted Top 10 Real Estate Investing Blogs by Biggerpockets.com. This summer I was approached by 2 different production companies to do Real Estate Reality Shows and we completed and sold 2 big rehab high-end projects;  The Neighbors House and The Target House.  My killer rehab called The Hat Trick House was also featured on the front page of the local newspaper this summer which drew the attention of a local City Councilwoman who called us in to consult on urban redevelopment for the City. Our blog traffic doubled from last years numbers to over 80,000 visitors and my YouTube channel is blowing up. Happy New Year to everyone who’s followed along with us, thanks for all your comments and in less than 4 short weeks you’ll get to see a Great change of House Flipping Scenery from us, San Diego here we come!

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!

The Target House Rehab Video

Here’s the slideshow showing the entire renovation process of The Target House. These are always fun to watch after I’m done. We are having some good showings over there, some buyers have been back twice already: )

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!

  

30% Of Americans Won’t Park In Here

We ended up going with Golden Pecan floor stain after trying about 8 different stain color samples. After applying the stain we used 2 coats of semi gloss polyurethane (buffing between coats) and mixed in a little Colonial Maple color to tint it even more. I’m really happy with the way they came out, only new wood can look like this so I’m sure the future owner will appreciate it. In the original part of the house the floors are almost 100 years old so they aren’t this perfect of course but a little distress look is appropriate due to the style house and age. As I was saying before I didn’t want to stain the whole house dark just to hide a few imperfections up front and not get to appreciate all this new red oak in the addition.

Here’s a sneak peek at the master bath. As you can see the glass company showed up this week between floor coats and installed the custom frame-less glass for the shower. The door is 7 feet high with chrome hardware that matches the other interior doors, I always design them a little higher than the shower-head. The fixed glass picture window is suspended in the tile opening with more beautiful chrome hardware.  Most builders put the clamps on either the tops or sides but I did something a little different by having 1 clamp on all 4 sides. This custom frame-less glass ran $1300.00 installed. My plumber is coming this week to set the spa tub and fixtures, with my last contractor I would have done this myself but the new plumber doesn’t want me to touch anything so he can give the future homeowner a 2-year warranty, cool with me, less work. Check out how the new wood even runs through the bathroom and into the walk-in closet, this is a killer upscale look and blows away any kind of floor tile I could have used.

I recently heard that 30% of Americans (myself included) don’t park in their garages, they only use them to store junk turning them into basically a drive-in closet. In California people have alot of pride in their cars, detailing businesses flourish with customers paying hundreds of dollars for hand waxing but then again it never rains so it makes sense to keep your car clean. Here in San Antonio we get an average rainfall of about 32 inches compared to 9 in San Diego. Even after a rain you’ll still see puddles a week later because the streets are so bad. With all this rain you’d think that garages would be hugely popular here. It’s not the case however, people would rather enclose their garages for more living space because they don’t go outside anyway as it’s too hot and humid. Plus, their car is going to stay dirty anyway, garage or not, because of the weather and the street conditions.

So, why the hell did I build this garage you’re asking? Our project is going to be priced around the $400k mark in a city where average home proices are around $150k.  Theres an unspoken rule that if you are paying $400k in San Antonio you better get a garage. Even if the locals don’t appreciate them most of our buyers are moving in from other states and telling their realtor to do searches for 3/2/2’s so we dont want to miss any potential customers. Once they get used to the SA way of life I’m sure they’ll stop parking in there, their car will be filthy and it’ll be full of crap. Either way these historic houses don’t have much storage so it’ll get used. I designed the 500 s.f. garage to look historic and match the house architecture. I’ll be using “T117 House Siding” again and I’ve left the rafter tails open, included huge 28″ overhanging eves and even a clipped gable roof. There will be a vent under the gable and of course I’ll multi-color it as well to match the house.

Landscaping Fun

 

As my hardwood floor guys got started sanding this week they kicked me out of the house so I was relegated to landscaping duty. I called my good bud Dan who’s always happy to give me a hand when he’s between projects so together we really got the neighbors talking. After finishing the fence project and multiple dump runs we finally got to the fun part of laying out the beds. I opted for river rock on this house for several reasons, one being that there are alot of neighborhood cats that evidently have claimed rights to my yard or possibly even get a kick out watching us wipe our feet off, so I didn’t want to make it easy on them with big new mulch beds. Additionally the river rock goes really good with our style home, in California we would have also mixed a few palms for a tropical bungalow feel but of course that’s not possible here in South Texas because palm trees wont survive the freezing winters. After then laying the 4 pallets of St. Augustine sod down Thursday, our welder showed up and installed another sizzle feature for the property, our solar powered automatic driveway gate. No electrical connections here, a solar panel on top of the gate charges the battery which operates the gate motor. This is such a cool feature and will pay off huge for potential buyers.

Always wanting to change things up a little, I decided to go light on my floor stain as recently we’ve done several rehabs with very dark wood floors. The issue with going with a light color is that it will show any past pet stains. My floor guys brought a new product that I wasn’t familiar with, Zinsser Wood Bleach. It comes in a 2 part kit and after following the instructions we watched the old stains bubble up and disappear. It seems to work killer except it took a bit of the red tone out of my red oak wood floor as well but he assures me that when he comes back down with the new stain he’ll be able to play with it a little and hide most of the variations. I cant wait to see the floors done, remember I put down all new wood in the kitchen and back through the addition so they should be gorgeous. The shower glass and appliances arrive next week pending floor completion, stay tuned for more fun!

Good Fences Make Great Neighbors

I’m getting close now so I’m feeling a bit relieved. Even with ongoing rain delays I’m making progress. I installed all the electrical fixtures and this time I spent a little more on Craftsman Style sconces for the porches. Really worth the extra money, check out Lumens.com for some killer stuff. The house numbers and mailbox are from Restoration Hardware again. I replaced the front door with an extra gem I’ve been holding onto after acquiring it from the Hat Trick House last year (some of these old bungalows come with 2 front doors and I always remove one to modernize the floorplan).  I’ll paint it my same brown color when I second coat the porch. This Pine, 6 panel, beveled glass door came from renowned San Antonio developer H.C. Thorman’s personal residence in Mahncke Park that we flipped, it was the first house he built there in 1900 and appropriately on Thorman Place. It looks right at home on our project and seals tighter than new with a modern threshold and new weatherstripping all around. A building envelope test will be coming our way shortly as part of new code changes this year in order to pass final inspections, so the house can’t be drafty.

The 2 ceiling fans on the porch are a nice added touch. Just makes you want to pull up some chairs and have a cold beverage. As you can see I am flying the” Tarrant Realty ~ Coming Soon” sign in the window, we’re getting some warm bites already. I’ve weeded the yard and we’ll be laying out some river rock beds and putting down sod this week while the floors get refinished. 

This door knob is older than you, unless you are 111 years old. It’s the original from our 1900 door that I refurbished. Note the modern weatherstripping, this thing shuts like an airplane door.

 

The tile job kicked my butt but was worth the effort. The hall bath was fairly easy but this master bath stand up shower and tub box seemed to go on for an eternity. I used white subway tile, river rock floor and a modern white/grey marble accent liner. The shower is tiled inside and out and all the way to the ceiling. Custom frameless glass for the door and picture window are on order from Thad Ziegler Glass. If you guys are flipping houses and not putting shower doors on your new showers at least give them a cheapo, so many times I see all this fancy tile work and expensive fixtures in a brand new bathroom with no shower door. It ranks right up there on my pet peeves list with no rods or build out in the walk in closet.  

The see thru fireplace in the master is my sizzle feature on this project, while the tub side of the fireplace is surrounded by white ceramic to match the bathroom, I chose white and grey marble for the master bedroom side. Very romantic to say the least and all with a flip of the switch. There is a direct line of sight from the master bed location through the fireplace, and to the spa tub and into the shower. It’s sure to keep the fire burning in the future owners love life.

 

Good fences make great neighbors. In this case we have really cool great neighbors already but its very common with the older neighborhoods not to have good fencing. Part of my business model with redeveloping these urban properties is not only to give the potential buyer a complete package but also make them feel safe living close to downtown. A 6 foot privacy fence and automatic driveway gate (coming soon) usually does the trick. Any attorney, doctor or young professional could feel safe here and these are our target clients. My friend and I rented a hydraulic auger and jackhammer and it still took us 2 days to dig the 20 holes for this section. Nothing comes easy in the South Texas heat. A menagerie of rocks, roots, glass, and ancient plumbing were thrown our way but nothing can get between a cowboy and building his fence.

Countertop Envy

Another sweet milestone..On Saturday with the help of a friend we picked up and installed the granite and marble slab countertops in the kitchen and both baths. You can see in the pic I still need to install the backsplashes, but we got all the tops in and the bar top server on the kitchen pass-through. I went with Absolute Black for the kitchen to contrast the white cabinets. As a general design rule in rehabbing you always go dark, light, dark or the opposite in the kitchen meaning: dark floors, light cabinets then back to dark counters. The opposite would be light floors, dark wood cabinets then light colored counters. I think the black and white with grey walls looks real crisp and modern while still period sensitive, you can’t go wrong with this combo. Any future homeowner could switch out the wall colors and anything would still look good. Another flip tip to keep in mind is that you must have good lighting in the kitchen if you want to do black counters, but in this case we have under cabinet lights pre wired and with recessed lighting, abundant natural light and the pendants I’ll be hanging over the bar it won’t be an issue. Black counters can make a room look small as well but since I’ve opened everything up it works for me. I chose White Carrera Marble for the bathrooms, it looks a little more feminine and with the grey veining through it, ties in perfectly with our wall color. This is the first time I’ve used the white marble and I’m loving the way it looks. I cant wait to see it with the white sinks and chrome hardware.

I’ve received a lot of reader mail over the years asking about how I get my granite for so cheap. We started doing this method back in California, the granite industry has been revolutionized for people in the know. Yea, you can still pay $40/s.f. to the big dogs in town or mid $30’s to the big box stores for granite slab but this method gets er’ done for under $12.00 per square foot. These 8′ x 24″ slabs are pre-fabricated in China where labor is cheap and then shipped to the states. The material still comes from all around the world but it’s sent to China to get cut down, polished and bull nosed. For an 8 foot section I am paying $160.00. That’s $10/ square foot, then add a couple more bucks for materials and it still ends up pretty inexpensive.

Ask around for “pre fabricated” or “pre bullnosed” granite slabs. They always come from China. When we first moved to San Antonio you couldn’t get them here so we’d drive to Houston to pick then up. Here in San Antonio the company who carries them is called Builders Mark . They have about 30 colors in stock to pick from as well as bar tops, peninsulas, backsplashes and islands. You still have to put them in yourself, maybe I’ll do a “how to” video for the DIY’ers out there one day. They sell to the public but also give contractor discounts. Real stone slab counters boost the resale value of your rehab, along with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops are top of the wish list for homebuyers in today’s market.

A Glimpse Of Yesteryear

We had a suprise visitor to the project, one of the 7 sisters who grew up in the house after her dad built it in 1923. She was amazed at what we were doing to the house and commented on the fact that the original stained glass windows were still present. Its hard to imagine a family with 7 daughters growing up in this modest 2 bedroom 1 bath bungalow. Pretty cool that she stopped by and brought me these old photos of the house, I wish I would have had them earlier when I was rebuilding the missing porch columns so I could have seen how it looked. When asked if I found anything in the attic, all I could really mention was the 1933 license plate that I found under the house, no doubt it was from her dads car. I’m glad she didnt ask if she could have it, I’ve really become attached to it. One of the other sisters is coming down from Dallas soon to also see the house. I had a cool idea for the marketing campaign when the house is done, I’m going to bring in a 1920’s Model T and park it under the porte cochere for the open house and mls pics.

More Interior Paint Pics

The interior paint job is done now. Pedro J. want to see more pics, here ya go Pedro glad to oblige. Came out incredible. In other news, I made my tile guy rip out most of his work and start over. If I wanted an average job I could have done it myself. The part he did came out killer but he snuck off to another job and let his helper take over and I was busy painting and didn’t notice. Sneaky. You gotta watch these guys. When the tile gets done it’s Cabinets, counter tops, floor refinishing and then appliances.

Back Online!

Sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve been a baaaaaaad blogger… but after moving we didn’t have internet service for over a week.  I’m back online now and back in action! Although I’ve been distracted with the personal house sale and move, we’ve still managed to keep the momentum up on the Target House. I’ve got the millwork package ordered and it’ll arrive by the end of this month so that prompted me to get right on the interior paint and tile so I’m ready when it shows up. After alot more prep inside we finally got everything primered and then I sprayed 2 coats of semi-gloss on all my new trims, no brush marks baby, first class all the way. For the walls I chose a medium warm grey for the whole house with the exception of the dining room which as you can see is red. The grey probably wouldn’t be too safe for most homes but with all the natural light I have coming in and the abundance of white trim it really doesn’t make it dark or feel small. The red for the dining room ties into the stained glass windows in the living room and we planned to pull that same red down onto the new tile for the fireplace hearth.

The kitchen cabinets will be white shaker style again that will pop good on the grey walls. I’ve chosen black granite counters that will contrast the cabinets as well and then we are going light on the hardwood floor stain. It’s going to look incredible, definitely the best renovation we’ve done to date. Also this week I had my mason come in and re-mortar the fireplace brick and firebox, now there will be no cracks and it’s back to good as new condition. Thankfully I got the A/C on just in time for all this inside final stuff, it’s sure nice to work in the coolness after what seemed like months of humid 100 degree heat. For the first time in my life I hired a pro to do my tile, this guy is really good and its nice to see it getting handled perfectly and without taking 2 weeks of my personal time to do it. I picked up $2500.00 worth of various sizes of white ceramic, mostly 3X5 subway tiles that we are putting in a brick pattern. For the hall bath I am using white ceramic hexagon floor tile with black dots and as you can see they’ve almost got the tub surround completed with the 6×6 and subway pattern combo. I opted not to do a decorative liner in this bath to keep it clean as we’ll have plenty of stuff going on with the floor pattern.

 In the gorgeous master bath I’m running subway all the way up inside and outside of the shower and the tub box as well. I’ve picked out a real neat liner for the shower that’s super clean and linear to go with all the sharp lines. No glass accent tiles in this home, we are moving on to newer materials now. Having an account at Dal Tile is key, they do they not sell retail to the public. Their stuff is a little expensive even at my contractor discount but they’ve got the best of the best with new materials to choose from. Picking materials like tile, fixtures, etc. at Home Depot or Lowe’s will make your rehab look like everyone else’s. Nothing worse than walking into someone’s project and recognizing all the fixtures and tile from a big box store!

The San Antonio real estate market is feeling some post tax credit blues as is most of the Nation, home sales were 25% down in July as compared to last year but 6% up for the year. Median and average prices were up in July due to the higher number of home sales above the 500k mark, which have previously been getting hammered. As I’ve been saying, we’ve definately pulled some demand forward so this Fall should be interesting. Stay tuned and thanks for coming back, it’s all hands back on deck now.

Exterior Painting Complete

It was a humid sweltering week with temps near 100 and a heat index closer to 110 but we finally got the outside finished. I know it probably seems like it took a long time to paint this house, in fact it did. This was the most intensive exterior coloring I’ve ever done but after all the work I have to say it was worth it. Out of the 7 colors we only got to spray 3 with the airless so the rest was all brush work. There are so many details on the house and with each individual rafter tail getting painted as well as the 1×4 trim in between them a different color and with everything getting 2 coats you can image how much cutting in we did this week. The dark green rafter tails against the cream eaves is really neat and adds a lot of dimension. Thanks to Morgan Penix at DeWitt Architects, she came through for us again with this great color scheme. This week I was also able to get all the miscellaneous trim done that I never finished. I made vents, access doors for the crawl space and finished the skirt siding around the room addition. The rear porch still didn’t have its decking so I laid down some original style long leaf pine to match whats up front, I’m really happy with the way this back covered porch came out, another great historic style detail in our design. The icing on the cake had to be hanging the original window screens Saturday, they made such an impact.  I won’t stretch the frames with mesh as my new dual pane windows come with screens, they are only there for the cosmetic appeal and historic correctness plus they cover the modern energy efficient windows that lurk beneath. I was excited this house still had the screens in place, on the last 2 projects I actually had to hand make frames to get the historic look I needed. I think that everyone visiting our house flipping blog will see that we aren’t doing your average rehabs here, there’s a lot of intensive labor that goes into saving one of these historic homes, especially in the condition that we find them. It’s our mission to do these projects correctly and thoughtfully so these great old homes will serve the needs of todays buyers and be around another 100 years.

Ultimate Craftsman 7-Color Paint Job

After all that hard work prepping the house we finally started putting some colors up this week. It’s really an honor to get to spray it after all those hours of sanding. We squeezed 117  tubes of Alex Plus 35-year caulk into every crack known to man, my finger tip might never recover. And of course I had paint samples visible, so the unsolicited comments from neighbors started flying.  It’s amazing how people aren’t shy to tell you they don’t like something.  On a previous house we did, my wife and I had about 10 samples up on the front trying to decide what looked good. This was back in the day before we used a professional to guide us. Upon arriving the next morning I found that all the neighbors had “voted” in chalk on the sidewalk. What the heck, I mean they are the ones who’ll have to live with it after I’m long gone but mind your own business people! I learned long ago when house flipping don’t piss off the neighbors so I try and bite my tongue now. You can see here we’ve got 5 of the 7 colors up already. I know it sounds like a lot of colors but really its only various shades of brown and green. These historic homes can handle a lot of color easily as well but most homeowners would be frightened by the thought of using that many. I think when you see the finished product you wont even realize there’s 7 colors. The last color is going to be the most dramatic so I’ll show you guys as soon as it’s done. It’s going on the knee braces, barge rafters and each individual rafter tail will also be hand painted. A lot of work but it’s going to be crazy when it’s done. I also have the original 1923 window screens that I’ll be painting and hanging back over my new windows, this always gives such a killer detail in the color blocking. In the pic here the columns and porch railings are still in primer. The ceiling for the porches on historic homes are always painted light blue. This keeps wasps from building nests and it really works!

I’ve switched helpers now, my last guy who helped with all the prep started to look  like he was going to pass out. After going home last week at lunch from being too tired I decided it was time for the second shift. My new guy is super pro, he’s been painting for 30 years and I’ve used him before.  After we are done with the outside this week we’ll roll straight inside and start catching the interior up. I’m still trying to pick granite and tile colors but for sure I’ll be going white shaker style on the cabinets.

Priming The CA Pump

The hard part of this paint job is done. After 9.5 days of grinding and sanding we broke out the sprayer and put up 35 gallons of Kilz2 latex primer in a matter of hours. For a historical paint job on 117 siding I always get the house to primer first so any cracks and holes become visible and then start caulking and dialing it in getting ready for the colors. I estimate about 4-5 days of caulking now and then we’ll be ready for the 7 color paint job.  Every piece of siding will get caulked so there’s no seams and the tiny holes from the trim nailer all get filled as well. A paint job like this goes against any typical house flip theory but then again we aren’t doing your average flips either. This paint job will pay off. 

While the paint job is a huge undertaking for only 2 guys, myself and a hired gun, I’ve also been busy on the home front with more important issues. We’ve been spending alot of time getting our personal house ready to put on the market and after finally getting all the odds and ends completed we put it in MLS last weekend and it sold for full price in 3 days!  My wife and I have decided that its time to take our real estate investing show on the road and head home to sunny San Diego, Americas Finest City, and the first step we determined is to sell our primary residence. This way we can get into a rental house and be able to leave at the end of any rehab. We came to San Antonio in October 2006 after the real estate market crashed in California. I had done alot of research at the time and we picked SA due to the growth rate, affordability and strong local economy. Our guess worked out great, we’ve had tons of success here but now its time to take on a new challenge, we’ll be returning to ground zero for the real estate bubble. Remember, the markets that crashed first will be the first to recover. SD has now seen 11 straight months of price appreciation. California unlike Texas has wild swings in home prices, the largest transfer of wealth in our lifetime is taking place right now and we want to get in at the bottom again.  We’ll miss San Antone as there have been alot of fond memories created here, namely the birth of our beautiful baby boy! Thank you Texas!