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!
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.
It’s often been said that a buyer decides whether or not they like your house within the first 30 seconds of pulling up in the driveway. What I’m talking about here goes way beyond curb appeal. We are selling house fronts my friends. Not sides, not backs, not baths, not fences and not kitchens although all that has to be dialed in as well. What sets the hook in your buyers lip is what you do up front. All those other items just help you reel them in once inside. I’ve given this advice multiple times to other flippers; you must focus on everything up front and at the door area because as the agent is typically fumbling around with the lockbox to get the keys, your potential buyer has time to really study your work. With this in mind I stayed busy this week rebuilding the missing front porch columns, they are a very important feature of this house and if done correctly can really enhance the homes other characteristics. The big front porch on this house hooked me from the start although it was missing the original historic columns. Instead of rebuilding the style it came with I opted for square tapered historic house columns to tie in with the interior columns in the dining room. The driveway was really narrow before but with my new design I gained about 18” under the Porte Cochere. You know those old Model T’s had no problem rolling through there, but the Soccer Mom SUV would definitely be a tight squeeze. Before building the new columns I had to first jack up the structure to level it and replace the 4X4 supports. The new columns are essentially cosmetic and hollow with all the weight sitting inside on the posts.
My electrician spent 4 days at the house this week as well, for those of you who are regular readers you’ll remember that he is the lead singer in a Judas Priest cover band here in San Antonio called Sad Wings of Destiny. He’s a blast to work with, not only is he a great master electrician it’s cool when he busts out singing to the classic rock we listen to all day. Adam Lambert aint got nuthin’ on my boy Rick. Thursday’s temps got to 100 degrees; in the attic it was an easy 125. I told him if I didn’t hear him singing I’d come up and check on him. It’s serious business working in a Texas attic if you are a contractor as there’s been a lot of accidental deaths, always make sure you are working with a helper in case you pass out. Total cost for complete new electrical including 200 amp service, meter loop, sub panel, 28 recessed can lights and permits: $4200.00. Fixtures not included. Another great price, this job is easily worth 8k retail. We should be calling in for rough-in inspection early next week.
Here’s how my 900+ s.f. addition came out over at The Target House. The floorplan is flowing nicely even with the change in elevation to the master suite. That hallway is actually 46″ wide even though I mistakenly tell you 42″ in the video so its not cramped at all. As you can see I basically had to rebuild the entire floor in that back room this week because it was originally a screened-in porch so it sloped down for drainage. It’s all straight now and lines up perfectly with the new addition. As far as sales go, we are getting great showings at The Neighbors House, Spring is here, the weather is beautiful, flowers are planted and there is a strong smell of home buyer in the air: ).
After some last minute on-the-fly floor plan changes Thursday night from our architect Morgan at Dewitt, we finally got our material delivery Friday afternoon and my new framing crew got started. We really cut it close as she actually showed up to the job site with the new plans just hours before the framing started. These guys are very detail oriented and even cheaper than my last guy so I’m pretty stoked I found them.
Framing in San Antonio goes for about $3.00-3.50 per square foot for new construction if you deal directly with a sub contractor, in case you are wondering we negotiated $2.71 per foot for this project. In a day and a half they got the floor system done and all the walls up, all that’s left for Monday are the ceiling joists, rafters and decking.
The master has a cathedral ceiling and we are also doing a double-sided gas fireplace between the spa tub and master bedroom which are both new for us so its exciting. I’ll get the roofers over as soon as framing is done so we’ll be all “dried in” and then i can get started on the siding myself.
A Major TV production company in Hollywood that does all the good reality shows on TLC Network and HGTV contacted us this week about doing a reality show about house flipping. They found out about us evidently through our YouTube channel and got to my website.
It would be real cool to get our own show but unfortunately they are looking for someone doing a minimum of 10 houses per year, probably so they can film enough episodes. Theres been a real lack of good flip shows on TV lately, we really enjoy Flipping Out because Jeff Lewis does the larger spec deals like us and Property Ladder was always good because Kirsten Kemp the host is great and they also featured such a wide variety of different investors from pro to novice.
As far as the new Flip This House crews, Rudy in LA isn’t really doing it for us and the New Haven crew seems to be more focused now on selling courses online like Montelongo. It’s pretty flattering nonetheless to get approached anyway, maybe there will be a Property Ladder episode in our future?
We are still getting good showings at The Neighbor’s House and I feel the Spring buyers are just now getting out there now that we have great weather. In San Antonio, sales are off 4% year to date when compared to last year and inventories are slowly rising this year by about 100 houses per month.
After a closer MLS search for our general area, its apparent that there are tons more sales that are AO (under contract) or Pending right now so this figure should be improving for March.