Getting Close

Getting Close

Monday started off great this week, we got another house under contract and opened escrow. (More on that later.) We’ve been getting a lot of sign calls on this house though and thought we were getting an offer but the lady who had been coming by during the rehab backed out because she bought something else. This week I put all the Frigidaire appliances in that I bought at Lowe’s. I used a stainless steel high-end digital dishwasher with the buttons on top, a 6-burner gas stove, professional series microwave/convection oven and side-by-side fridge with water and ice in the door. I also put on all the cabinet handles and installed the lazy susans in the corner base cabinets. The kitchen looks killer and is now complete! Additionally, we passed the electrical final inspection on Tuesday. All I am missing is the final on the HVAC, which should happen this week.

Craftsman Bungalow Kitchen Staging

I also put down a pallet and a half of sod in the front yard and laid out the flowerbeds, using white limestone chop rock as a border. The front porch was concrete and very cracked and uneven as you could see from previous pictures. The area by the front door is what I concentrate on the most when it comes to attention to detail. Buyers make up their mind if they like the house as they stand there while the agent fumbles with the lockbox trying to get in. I always make sure that as you look around while standing there, you can’t see any flaws. This is why I decided to build a wood front porch cap over the existing concrete slab porch. I shot down some treated studs and laid long leaf pine tongue and groove, which is historically correct for this house. After a light sanding I used oil based stain and then came back with Cabot’s satin Spar oil base varnish in 2 coats. The finished hardwood porch looks incredible and once I add the final touch by hanging the swing our curb appeal will be done.

My wife and I worked on the bathroom all day Saturday. We hung the mirror, towel bar, tp holder, did some touch up painting and installed the tub faucet and a cool rain showerhead. The bathroom is almost finished as well now, just a few punch list items left.

The rear of the house is almost done minus some general lawn clean up which I’ll do this week. I stained the deck today with a Redwood Tone oil base to protect it from the elements. I usually take Sunday off but since we are in the home stretch I decided to knock off one big item from our to-do list this morning but don’t worry, I still made it home in time to barbeque some hot wings and go for a swim in the pool. My self-imposed deadline is Friday to have the house done and get it in MLS for the weekend. I still have a big punch list of small stuff but should be able to get it all done this week.



Well, we changed colors again. On paint day my wife and I both actually started to second guess our choice and we put up another 5 color samples.

The neighbors had all left their votes in chalk on the sidewalk over the weekend, not making our decision any easier. Picking colors should be the fun part and you would think it gets easier with every house but to the contrary it’s actually quite stressful.

The wrong color can counteract all that hard work you’ve done while the perfect tone can accent the home’s features and get those buyers out of their car.

We are really happy with our choice, the home looks incredible now, it’s a classy and elegant version of a traditional historic colorway. The base color is Behr Restful in satin, Trim is Behr Turtle Dove in semi-gloss and the screen color is Behr Thorny Branch.

We found a cool carriage lamp at Home Depot in satin black for only $39.00 as well as an outdoor ceiling fan for the front porch. I really wanted to get some artsy house numbers; we found these at Restoration Hardware. They were a little on the pricey side at $10.00 each, but well worth the extra expense for this important detail.

Restoring and re-stretching the original wooden screens will be an integral part of our remodel. We even found reproduction screen hangers available from Stanley.

These authentically preserved features are what buyers seek in this neighborhood. Another neighbor came by from the next block over; she had heard of our remodel and was searching for the original parlor door that separates the kitchen from the dining room.

Since we opened up our kitchen wall for the breakfast bar I had no use for it and was glad to see that it made it back into another local historic home.

With the curb appeal starting to come along I decided to break one of my cardinal rules and put the For Sale sign up. I made a rider that states “Coming Soon” so any lurkers driving the area will know it’s almost ready and will be for sale.

I usually don’t like any potential buyers to see my product until all the tiny details are finished but we’ll try it this time and see how it goes. To retail buyers, small unfinished details can be big issues but it would be nice to find a buyer without having to put the house in MLS and pay 3%, thus saving us over $6,000.

We probably have another 2 weeks tying up a lot of loose ends and after everything is done we’ll put it in the computer.

The White House

The White House

After a full week (with 2 helpers) of scraping, stripping, grinding, sanding, caulking and filling, the house is almost ready to paint. First we ground all the peeling areas then I sprayed it with Kilz2 latex primer to make all small cracks and holes easy to see.

There were thousands of tiny holes to be filled from the siding that I pulled off. All this prep is necessary to give a great final product as the paint job can only come out as good as what’s under it.

These Craftsman style homes in our neighborhood are all 3-color paint schemes; we are choosing a green base, cream trim with brick red accents. I’ve been known to change colors along the way but this is what we’ve decided on after spending Saturday afternoon and $110.00 on paint samples.

We tried 11 different colors including shades of blue, yellow, beige and green. You never know how it’s going to look until you get a sample up as they always dry darker. For real estate investing purposes, normally green wouldn’t be a safe bet however this neighborhood and style of home makes it possible.

This will be the second project this year we’ll have painted green, contrary to the preaching of most real estate gurus. Since the last green house sold in 2 days maybe we can continue the good luck pattern with this one! Get ready to see this gem in full color for the next blog update.

Bubba’s Big Deck

Bubba’s Big Deck

build a deck

I decided to tackle the deck project this week instead of starting exterior painting. It will, after all, make it easier to prep and paint the rear of the house.

The deck is quite large measuring 20’ x 16’ with stair access from the driveway as well as the backyard. I used pressure treated lumber and screws as apposed to a nail gun.

One more day and I should be able to finish the balusters, lattice skirt and handrails making it a 4-day project. For the cost of the deck at around $1,000 in materials, This added a tremendous value to the house due to today’s indoor/outdoor living lifestyle.

On Friday I had another visit from the 2 ladies again, they loved the side lites and the deck. The potential buyer’s agent proclaimed that this house was not “lipstick on a pig” meaning that we didn’t just go in and cover up all the bad stuff with cosmetics.

After all, if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. After seeing the hardwood floor refinish job and asking what the exterior colors were going to be they then asked if I would accept an offer now for the house and if I could be finished by the end of this month.

I don’t get emotional about a sale anymore, if they write an offer fine. If not, that’s fine too. I am confident that it’s going to turn out great and sell quickly; being in San Antonio, Texas, which is rated #2 for Recession Proof Cities by

The Time Capsule

The Time Capsule

Yesterday a neighbor offered me some original side lites (glass side window panels) for the front door, which he had recycled from a house on the next block. I was really excited to get them as my house was missing them and had been filled in with wood.

When I was putting them in today I discovered something of a time capsule. Stenciled inside the wall of the house near the front door was what appeared to be shipping labels from Fort Snelling, Minnesota to Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Additionally it clearly states the name of the original owner of the house, which is Lt. Col. W.J. Henry.

I am not sure if the house was shipped in panels or if the wall was made from a crate which some of his belongings arrived in. In any case it was pretty cool to pull out a piece of wood that hadn’t been touched since 1920 and see who the original owner was.

I think I’ll permanently affix them somewhere in the attic to assure they stay with the house for future owners.