Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Rain, rain, go away! Arrrgh! While the floors were getting sanded today I had my stucco guys re-doing the fireplace. Now the inside is just about complete and I am ready to start prepping the outside for paint, but wouldn’t you know that it has been raining for 4 days.

The rain actually washed half of the first brown coat of stucco away yesterday so upon finishing today we covered it in plastic. Once the floors are stained and sealed I can install the kitchen appliances. When the weather cooperates, I’ll start painting the exterior, I can’t wait to pick some fun colors for this eclectic neighborhood.

As you can see I’ve started outside by replacing a lot of the damaged wood trim to get ready. Besides the exterior paint, my last big project is building the rear deck. I’ve already got the design done and it will measure 20 x 16 and have two access points with stairs down to the backyard and driveway.

I thought that the giant deck was an important feature for that indoor/outdoor lifestyle that’s so important to today’s buyer.

Two local Realtors stopped by today, one of them is a really nice guy who actually represented the buyers on our last rehab “The Craigslist House”. He is very active in Mahncke Park and was impressed with what we’ve done.

We talked for a while and he wants to bring some clients through before we put it in MLS. We are still totally on budget and excited to get it finished. I also have been negotiating a potential deal that’s very close to this project, it’s amazing how you can discover hidden treasures once you are working on your flip and start networking with the neighbors.

Gettin’ there

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.

4 days later, tile done

4 days later, tile done

tile job

A 4-day tile project ate up my week! I’ve done my fair share of tile jobs but never all the bathroom walls; it was like doing one giant shower. I used a white ceramic 3×5 subway tile pattern changing to diagonal 4” at the top and separated by a sage green glass liner.

The tile job seemed to go on forever. I also mixed in a few green glass accent tiles in the octagon white ceramic floor pattern. The sage green glass accent ties into the kitchen color while the original 1920 bathroom pedestal sink matches the farmhouse kitchen sink.

You just couldn’t have gone into this bathroom with the typical travertine and had it flow right. I haven’t used white ceramic on a remodel in a long time; while it’s not the common choice these days, for this project it really captured the period feel we are after.

I’ll set the toilet and original pedestal sink in on Monday and it will all be done. The bathroom is really cool; it reminds me of a grandma’s house but in an updated, fresh way. Ah, to feel those octagon tiles on your bare feet after getting out of the Jacuzzi tub.

We’ve had a group of ladies stop by the house twice now. They noticed the rehab in progress and came up and knocked last week. One lady seems really into what we are doing, it would be nice to have someone interested before it’s finished but my philosophy is not to show your product or advertise it until its 100% complete so I am not that anxious to impress them.

I know another investor that starts the rehab and then lines up his buyers and lets them make changes along the way. IMO, working with buyers nitpicking colors and changing things isn’t worth the drama.

That’s why I am not a general contractor! I would rather use my own creativity, build a unique product, and then throw it out there into the marketplace. After all, that’s why I enjoy doing this anyway.

Cool iPort Docking Station

Cool iPort Docking Station

tom tarrant

We reached some important milestones this week. The A/C is on, big deal in this 98 degree Texas heat! I finished all the cabinets as well as installed the granite slab counter tops.

I get the pre-bullnosed 8’ slabs fabricated in China and cut the dog-ears myself to seam them. This is the best way to go for rehabbers because it’s very cost effective and highly desirable for resale.

We wanted to go dark to give some contrast to the white cabinets so I picked Uba Tuba green. I dropped in a farmhouse style kitchen sink that’s very popular right now and furthermore mimics the original kitchen but in an updated version.

All the light fixtures and ceiling fans are up now and we are waiting for both the electrical and HVAC final inspections this week.

i phone dock

We broke out the big guns this week and unleashed our secret weapon – it’s an iPort in-wall dock for your iPod or iPhone. Flush-mounted in the wall just inside the front door, this device allows you to play your favorite music through the whole house surround sound system.

You can also send images directly to your flat screen TV. My pre-wire included HDMI and an 110v outlet above the fireplace for easy TV installation. The iPort is connected using a cat5 wire from the dock location to your media center (on this house I selected a closet).

You can also dock your iPhone, as it will charge either device. Studies have shown that buyers today are looking for smart wiring and tech goodies. This neighborhood attracts young, hip first time buyers so chances are good that they will be iPod savvy.

I felt the minimal cost of $200 for adding this cool feature was a good investment for this house.

Sage Green Kitchen!

Sage Green Kitchen!

We got the A/C roughed in this week, it has all new ducts and we relocated the furnace up into the attic. After a couple of tries we also nailed down the paint color for the kitchen.

It’s a Benjamin Moore color called Spring Valley but we went to Home Depot and had them match it in Behr because we would never pay $50 for a gallon of paint. As we said before, we really want to do something different with this house since it’s a 1920s bungalow.

By using green in the kitchen it gives it a more authentic 20’s feel and the color turned out exactly as we’d hoped. We went with the white cabinets that have some glass front doors and fluted lines.

We got most of the upper cabinets hung on the wall and started on the lowers as you can see in the picture, it’s starting to look really cool. Keep in mind that we’re going to refinish the original long leaf pine floors in the kitchen.

We’re thinking of using black granite on the counter tops and stainless appliances. White appliances would probably look really good and more period-correct but most buyers today are still looking for stainless.

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