Construction Update – South Park

Just over 4 months since I poured the foundation on our Modern Bungalow, we are making progress over in South Park, walk through with me and let me know what you think. The grey interior colors might appear a little soft but don’t let that fool you. Once I get the warmth from the hardwood floor refinishing, and my bold surprise cabinet choices, it will all work. I’m moving straight into tile now and concrete flat work outside. My electrician is trimming out and we just passed the meter inspection Friday so I can call SDG&E now to get the power moved from my temporary pole to the house. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for following!

Got Trim!

My special order interior doors from Home Depot came in so I jumped right into trim carpentry all week so I could get one step closer to painting the inside of the house. As you saw last week, my hardwood floors went in first, after protecting them with rosin paper I then trimmed out the entire house on top of the floors (baseboards, doors and door casings). That way you don’t have to notch the floors around door jambs and casings or undercut everything and you actually get the wood floors under the baseboards for a better finished product. I am using the same style door as on the Target House called “Riverside” from the Masonite Anniversary Collection. They are a 5-panel raised profile that look good with historic homes. These hollow core MDF doors are cool and are fit within my budget at $80.00 each for the complete pre-hung door with jamb. I also bought matching door slabs for the bedroom closet sliders so everything is consistent. You get to choose the finish on your hinges so I ordered chrome again so I can use brushed nickel knobs and still match modern chrome bathroom and kitchen hardware. They come pre-primed so after everything is installed, caulked and holes filled I will spray them along with all baseboards, window trims and closet shelving in place then lastly, apply the wall color with brush and roller.

For those of you do-it-your-selfers out there, here’s a good trick for ya. Install one side of the door casing with the door on the ground, then tip the pre-hung unit into place and secure it with the finish nailer. Afterwards go to the other side and install the door casing. This is way faster and easier than hassling with shims and battling it for an hour to get it straight. This is how the pro’s do it so give it a try next time you’re hanging doors and you’ll never use shims again. For my door casings I used square profile MDF in a 1 x 4″ to match the original period mouldings that would have been in the home.

I had to go with the huge 1 x 8″ baseboards on this house, I’ve used them before but with the giant room sizes and high ceilings it was a clear choice, not to mention its close to the size that were originally there. After asking all around town I finally found out where everybody gets their trims and its not Home Depot. Builders Moulding Supply in El Cajon has just about any style and size moulding you could want, that’s all they sell and you get it in bulk 16 footers right on spot from their warehouse at a price 30% less than the big box stores. I spent about $1,000 for everything I needed for my trim job minus the closet build-outs which I’ll use pine for because it seems more durable and holds more weight then the MDF. I was pretty happy to see that they also come pre-primed because my old supplier used to only offer them raw. After everything is painted I’ll peel up the paper on the floor and lastly nail in the shoe moulding on the bottom of the baseboards to complete the historic look I’m going for. We’re getting alot of attention at the house now, several interested parties stopped by this week asking when it was going to be done. I’m pushing for late September but its going to be tight especially because I’m doing an equity grab and not paying out a bunch of labor costs in the final stretch. I figured either way it wont be prime selling season so I might as well save the money. The good thing about the timing is that If I get into the next project soon I can stay busy this winter and hit the Spring selling season perfectly. There are so many things about this project that I write off to warming up in San Diego, I’m ready now to dial in my system on the next house. It’s been 100 degrees for months in Texas, it’s been nice to finally be home and we’re having fun!

Happy 4th! Video Update

Happy 4th! Here’s a construction update for our big rehab, the Target House. It rained all week from Hurricane Alex so we got skunked out on the exterior prep for paint but at least I saw some progress with the interior trim-out that’s now complete. I used a cool new 5 panel style door from Masonite called “Riverside” and a complete custom MDF trim out. Walk through the project with me below and see how our progress is coming along. There’s a house for sale on our street that just went under contract, cant wait to see the sales price as that will be the nearest comp. It’s listed for $300k but its hardly updated at all. With this in mind, I think our list price will be close to $399k for this project when its completed later this summer. In other news, our House Flipping Blog got chosen this week for “Top 20 Real Estate Investing Blogs”over at Biggerpockets.com. Thanks to Joshua Dorkin for the recognition! PS, keep the comments/questions coming as well! Thanks for following along with me on our 1923 Arts and Crafts Bungalow renovation.

Hot & Cold

It was nice to get in a full week on the project now that the other house sold. I finished up the front porch by making new stairs and replacing the siding skirt where needed. We got a comment from Mike asking what I was going to do about the column base overhanging the porch floor, I’ll just have to live with it as its only over by a few inches and doesn’t strike me as really looking that odd since they overhang the top too. The posts that hold up the porch are existing 6X6’s. Their placement was really far out to the corners so in order form me to have the tapered columns I had to have the bases hang over the floor a bit. If I had gone back with just square posts I don’t think it would look as cool so I’ll live with it.  The 16 degree flare on the skirt looks real cool with the 117 siding.

My firebox arrived this week as well so I got to install it. Of course the dimensions I got online for the rough-in framing hole didn’t work out so I had to reconfigure this wall a bit on the fly. It’s a double sided see-thru gas fireplace that I’ve put between the jacuzzi tub in the master bath and the master bedroom. Locally you’d spend $5,000-$8,000 for something like this even at a wholesale builders supply so I was excited to find them online for $1295.00 from Ebay/Discount Fireplace Outlet. With the vent pipe and everything you need, the total including tax and delivery was about $1800.00. It’s easy to put in, once you have the box framed in there’s just one gas line that I’ve got coming in underneath and then the vent through the roof. The unit doesn’t need electrical as there’s an ignitor and low voltage switch that you mount on the wall. This is a real cool feature for what I spent, we’ve designed the whole master suite around it, can’t wait to see it with all the tile around it and the 6′ tub in.

I found a new HVAC guy last week who’s already got started roughing-in my new 5 ton central air/heat system. It’s a horizontal gas furnace of course (electrical is not smart energy) with a A-coil like I always use. Since this house is so long we’ve got a real long supply trunk line with 11 drops and 3 return air grills. Yellow Page retail prices in San Antonio for a total new install like this would run over $2,000/ton, or $10,000. My regular sub-contractor was bidding $6,500.00 for this house which equates to $1,300/ton. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s common to experience price creep with subs, you always have to keep hammering them or switching because they slowly raise their prices on you. So here’s the good part; my new guy is only charging me $4400.00 complete. That’s only $880.00 per ton my friends! I’ve already turned him on to another investor friend of mine, this guy is hungry for work and I saved over $2k by shopping around and walking away from old faithful. In my business any savings along the way goes straight to the bottome line.

San Antonio Home Sales of single family residences were up 20% in April when compared to the same month in 2009. Great news but undoubtedly this is directly reflective of the Federal Tax Credit that’s now expired. In typical cheerleader fashion, the San Antonio Board of Realtors has come out to predict “these home sale increases should hold through the Summer” although I have different thoughts..especially knowing that mortgage applications are taking a dive in May.

117 Siding and New Plumber

I started getting the siding on this week and have been interviewing new subcontractors for the 3 trades that will be next in line to rough-out the house. I love the historic style #117 wood siding, it gives my projects a real edge over the competition as most guys run HardiPlank on their additions. It cost a little more at about 45 cents a foot but well worth the price for my projects. Its always my goal also to find the best prices for any work that I have to hire out because it increases my net profit. A dollar saved is a dollar earned, right?  My DIY method of doing these rehabs does not involve hiring a general contractor who would tack at least 50%  profit right onto your cost but instead managing the subs personally and working right alongside them doing most of the work myself. This gives me the freedom to pick my own sub contractors and negotiate with them directly and pocket the savings.  As with many of the subs in the past, I started to experience “price creep” with my plumber on every house we did with him. With construction as slow as it is I cant justify paying a higher price for the same job so we give new hungry guys a shot.

Out of the 3 trades I always do the plumbing first, its hard pipe and cant move whereas the electrical and mechanical can work around anything. I accepted a bid from a plumber yesterday that I’m really excited about. He’s been is business over 25 years, does alot of new construction homes, comes highly recommended and has beat our last guys price substantially. We are getting a complete new plumbing system with “15 fixtures” including new pex supply lines all the way from the water meter,  new pvc drains all the way to the sewer and complete new black pipe hard gas lines from the gas meter throughout the house to 4 locations in order to qualify us for the “Smart Energy” title. Our local energy company CPS right now is really pushing awareness of using a combo of gas and electric to builders but we’ve of course always done this anyway. They designate your project a Smart Energy House, this combined with all the Energy Star appliances has been a real plus for our customers. His bid also includes supplying the hall bath tub and 50 gallon hot water heater. I am getting a 1 year warranty as well and he wont even let me touch the fixture installation to save money as he’s that concerned about his liability. The price is $5900 for the job where previously we were paying over $7000 and having to furnish the tub, heater and do the trim out myself so effectively I think I’ve shaved about $2000 of this one trade alone. I hope he works out, he is suppose to be all roughed in and topped out this week for an inspection.

The Neighbor’s House is under contract again as of last weekend. We are passed the home inspection and are expected to close at the end of the month. Additionally there is a back up offer in the lurch. I still will share all the juicy details from all the previous offers we received and deals that fell through but not until the sale closes. This house is incredible and someones going to be very happy to own it. What a great project and fun story!

Land Of Mañana

Our great start is now officially over. It’s the “Land of Mañana” again here in good ole SA. Plagued with bad weather and sub-contractor delays we can’t proceed with the drywall until we pass these inspections. A whole week has gone by and I am still waiting for an inspection on electrical and re-inspection on HVAC. I’ve heard every excuse in the book, it comes down to the sub contractors taking on any work they get and dragging everybody out. With the slow construction season coming they won’t dare tell anyone “no” now. Once I pass these rough-in inspections the pace will pick back up as it will all be on my shoulders. I did manage to trim out the front porch while I was waiting for inspectors (who weren’t coming) so now the house is ready for some primer. My square tapered columns came out great as planned. Our architect came through with a rendering from which we made our yard sign in order to start our marketing campaign and hopefully avoid paying a realtor fee once again by procuring our own buyer.

 orch

Gettin’ there

 

The interior is nearing completion. I finished the trim carpentry this week, hanging doors for the pantry and laundry & putting in the kitchen baseboards to match the existing ones. Inside the kitchen pantry I made some custom shelves as well. The baseboards are 1 x 8 pine with a shoe molding. All the original trims had to be sanded and primed with oil base, as they were originally oil-based paint. If you’ve ever tried to paint oil based trim in an old house with latex, you know how it will just peel right off. I like the Zinnser oil based primer product better than Kilz. It’s extremely difficult to work with, you have to slop it on, move fast smoothing it out and don’t go back over old work. All that’s left now are all the windows and casements which are extremely flaky, this is going to take a lot of prep work this week to smooth them out and get them in primer. I just passed the 8-week mark for this project, looks like about 1-2 more weeks and the inside will be done. I’m still on track with the budget however I’m expecting to go a little over on landscaping and the rear deck. I’m not too worried though as the neighborhood comps are showing that my original sales target price was conservative a bit so I’ll list now for $19,000 higher than initially planned.