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One More Time

11th January 2010

Dave

After the nightmare we experienced with the last Sheriff’s auction we decided to go a different route. Since we had established a relationship with a real estate agent we decided to see what she could do for us. We began looking at HUD and Fannie Mae properties for our next deal. Our agent placed bids on a half dozen promising properties for us. Unfortunately for us as investors, our bids we were always placed behind owner occupant bids; even though we had high bid several times. We learned a lot about bidding on HUD and Fannie Mae properties. I could do an article on each property we bid on, but that will have to wait for now. We eventually went with  a bank owned (REO) just a few block away from one of the HUD house we were bidding on.

The house had been on the market for a little over 6 months. The interior was in bad shape, a new roof would be required, and once again there were noticeable foundation settling problems. In spite of the defects there was a lot going for this place.  For a small house (1050 square feet) it was laid out very nicely. It had 3 decent size  bedrooms with a half bath in the master. The kitchen was small, but by removing the wall between the kitchen and living room, we could create a nice open layout. The exterior was full brick with some interesting architectural details not found in other houses in the neighborhood. We later discovered that the home was the neighborhood builder’s showcase model.

Originally, the bank was asking $74,000, but by the time we placed our offer the asking price was reduced were at 57k. We began with an offer of 50,000; they countered at 55. We countered their offer at 53, they came back at 54.5. We held firm and a day later they accepted our 53,000. We took possession the end of May.

Within two weeks after we had possession we had seven foundation piers installed and had started on the roof.  The roof was a little worse off than expected. About half of the  decking needed to be replaced, and the style of roof required a lot more materials than anticipated, but. We had the entire exterior of the place finished in less than a month. The foundation and roof were sound, decayed wood around the fascia and sofit were replaced and the entire exterior was painted.  The interior was next.

Interior Renovation

12th January 2010

Dave

Prepping the interior was pretty straight forward. We removed all of the existing carpet. The carpet in the living room was glued to the slab so that was a bit of a chore but manageable. The kitchen had been tiled fairly recently but there were severe stress cracks so we decided to pull it up also. The good news was we were able to recycle the tiles and redo the master bath floor, repair the entry tile , and continue the entry tile into the closet. I also removed about 8 feet of wall between the kitchen and living area. All in all everything went without a hitch.

With the entire house gutted, I was able to spray paint almost the entire interior in two days. I had to paint the two baths by brush and roller, but everything went quickly. We replaced the master bath vanity with a small pedestal sink and added an oak medicine cabinet, and repaired the pocket door which had . With the new tile (recycled from the kitchen) the half bath looked very nice.

The full bath need a little renovation also. We removed the bullnose from the top of the tile and extended the tile the rest of the way up to the ceiling with an accent in between. We also replaced the tile on the wall with the faucet and shower due to deteriorating backing. We resurfaced the vanity and added an oak frame around the plate glass mirror and added new cabinet doors.

The kitchen was the biggest renovation on this entire project. We started by laying a Ditra clone decoupler before setting the tile. According to the manufacturer this will put a stop to future stress cracking. Carri did some a detailed tile  backsplash and we finished the kitchen with new laminate counter top and new cabinet doors and drawer faces.

The final steps were to lay new carpet and pad throughout the house. We also painted the brick firplace and added a built in oak book case and an oak mantle.

From start to finish it took a little over 12 weeks, approximately $12,000 in materials with no great surprises. The place looked great and was ready for market.

Wainscoting

07th February 2011

Carri

This weekend we busted our bottoms on the ice (Blizzard 2011) and on the dining room.  I had some good ideas to use poplar and a router bit  and mdf to keep the cost down,  but add some authentic trim to walls in the formal dining area.

Of course, I have the good ideas and Dave is the genius that makes it work!  He did a whole lot of cutting, planing, routing and sanding.  I did a little bit of measuring, nailing and gluing.

We should get it knocked out next weekend and we will post the pictures!

He always forgets the details

12th February 2011

Carri

The yard was a complete disaster.  The house was so cute, but it was covered up with the horrid lawn.  There was a dead tree front and center…diseased, overgrown shrubs covered the front windows, and the box elders were in such a bad position that they were more box than elder.

Everything that was dead or diseased was removed.  The rest was moved into bordered garden spots, and a front patio was added to cure a bad drainage area!

Tile Mania

20th February 2011

Carri

I’ve been going crazy trying to keep the cost of the kitchen back splash down, and still have a classy, appealing and complimentary tile job.

It has to match and be just busy enough to catch your eye, but not so noisy that it yells “LOOK AT ME!!!”.

With the rich golden brown of the oak cabinets and the very dark rich brown counter tops, of course my back splash was going to have to lighten up the show for some contrast.

I have planned, measured, planned, measured, did mock ups with paper cut outs, and planned and measure again.  Laying out tile plans with an Excel spread sheet helps me get started.  Then I actually cut out paper and do a tape up my pattern.  After I work out a fit that I like, I go shopping for what is available at a reasonable price.

I found these at Home Depot.  The 6″ square are very reasonably priced and I find them so interesting when put in the diamond pattern.  I owe my friend Erin a big thank you for introducing me to using tiles in this configuration.  It’s a lot of work, but very appealing.

The 2″ square come in sheets of 24 pieces (12″ square).  They were the one’s that ran my budget up.

The 6″ cost under $.72 per tile, the 2″ cost right at $3 per square foot.  However, that is a bargain for 2″.  The others cost about $5 per square foot and on up to much more.

Not including thin set and grout my back splash will cost about $130 for the hole kitchen.

I can’t wait to start!

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