August 28, 2011

Frogs and Progress

Well, it feels like we have some headway.  The poor house was not just vandalized.  It was grossly neglected over the years.  Everything is half done.  No fixtures have pipe tape.  Nothing had a second coat of paint.  Nothing was prepped before painting.  The hole in the roof was from a blown off vent cover from a storm from 10 years ago and instead of spending 20$ to replace and seal the vent, they spent about 50$ in tarps and TONS of time nailing and stapling them in place.

The house is cleared of debree, but still needs work.  It took 5 hours to clean the bathtub, but the walls are being repaired and the toilet is out.  Next step in there is paint.  We hired a crew to scrap all of the junk metal in the yard and clear all the brush.  They did half the job and then took off, leaving the rest.  (Bunch of crooks.)  But at least you can see the yard.

All of the locks have been changed and the replacement glass for the windows are on order.  The AC is leaking like a sieve and it turns out that it is what took down the roof in one of the bedrooms.  The AC guys will be out this week to look at it.  The neighbors say it has been leaking for years.  The initial estimates are at about 4-5000 to fix.

Have had questions about the pool.  We got it all drained and the grime and trash out.  Here is what it looked like when the water level was lowered.  We where pulling stuff out as it was exposed so there is about twice as much stuff in there. (Opps.  This was taken using Ps Camera and he is not here.  Will add photo later.)

Most of the paint came off with a power washer.  The black on the deck is more  like a roofing tar and will have to be taken off with some stripper (Klean-Strip Premium Sprayable Stripper.)  It took the big spots off, but the stuff is truly an ethel-methel-kill-you-quick.  Follow the directions to the letter.

The pool had most of the water drained and then it rained.  At least it's cleaner.  Now if I can just figure out how to get the pump working to drain the rest of it...

All of the pipes are busted and the pump is missing.  Maybe there is a way to attach a pump to one of the pipes to drain???

Put a gallon of bleach in the water and a couple of chlorine tabs.  Now the biggest problem is the frogs.  They love chlorine water.  Not sure what to do.  Think they also love the acoustics the empty pool makes as it is a frog party every night.  Am not one to deprive someone of fun, but would love to get some sleep. It is amazing the amount of noise one little frog can make.  Here is last nights 1am collection.

Now one of the dogs has taken it upon herself to personally rescue all of the frogs.  She keeps trying to pick them up (even with the nasty taste and the foaming at the mouth) and bringing them out to let them go in the grass to let them go.  Very cute, but seriously, it has to stop.

Another issue.  P was recalled to work for an emergency and will be gone for the next two weeks.  Let's hope he gets back soon.  Would like to say something more has been done after a whole week here, but that is about it.

August 23, 2011

The Cleanup

We made it here and the cleanup has started.  We were able to get five bags of teach and a box load of broken glass out for when the regular trash truck came.  There is still four more bags and a bucket load of glass. 

We made a plied for free stuff by the side of the road for items that are too big and have to go to the dump.  A couple of guys came by and ask if we has scrap metal they could recycle.  P laughed and said come on back.  They where able to haul away all the loose re-bar and wheelbarrels asa well a some old tires and rims.  They where happy because they got stuff to recycle for free.  We are happy just to get rid of it. 

Then came the best of all.  They asked if there was any more and P pointed to the lawnmower in the pool and said that if they could get it out without damaging the pool they could have it.  They where tickled.  The pulled it out if the pool and away it went. 

The guy are bringing a crew in today to clear cut the yard.  Things are going so far so good. 

August 20, 2011

On the way.

The documents have been signed and the money has been paid.  The house and all that is there is now ours.  Its amazing the feeling in the pit of you stomach when your have to sign that check.  Not sure if its a good yippee we just bought a house feeling, or a dang, that did we just get ourselves into feeling.  Either way, what is done is done and its time to move forward.

It took all day to pack the truck.  The hardest part was to make a place for the pups to ride safely.  We ended up using a rope to tie the ladder in place to hold everything out of the way so the pups have room yo turn around and lay down.  They love to drive and are excited.

Now its time to hit the road.  Should be there to finally see the place in a few days.  Then the fun begin

August 15, 2011

Still Packing

We are still getting ready to go.  In the mean time, C found a terrific site with a wonderful group of people who are very knowledgeable about what to do with the pool.  It’s fittingly called Trouble Free Pool and the link is  The folks over there have been wonderful in answering questions about this dilemma and we have hope that our little green spot will be bright and shiny blue in the near future.

We also decided to pack up the pups and take them with us.  Our logic is that emotionally it would be hard for everyone to leave them in a kennel for such a long period of time and even though they will be a distraction, their usually a worthwhile distraction.  Plus it will save over a thousand dollars on a boarding fee.  Besides, could you leave these faces behind?  :)

August 9, 2011

Ready to Close.

It’s official.  We were able to move up the closing date.  Supplies are being gathered.  Vehicle is being prepped.  We have a time table.  There is only a couple of weeks to get the electric, gas, water, trash, sewer, and insurance set up for start-up.  And appointments for bids for the garage door, glass replacement, gardeners, and pool experts to come in and assess the situation.  And this all has to be done in between regular life.  (Has anyone ever noticed that the busier you get, the more that has to be done? :) )  Next update, a packed vehicle. 

August 4, 2011

An Extra Week

Guess What!  We got an extra week!  P can now get an extra week off work so he can help out for five weeks instead of the original four.  Ok, well at least on our end it is an extra week.  Now we just have to get the title company to hurry up, the insurance changed, and all of the utilities turned on the day we get there.  Oh yeah, we have to pack all the tools and gear in the truck, plus make it ready to live in for the two days of driving across the county. 

August 2, 2011

The TV Connection

C is a little freaked out that the two of us would not be able to finish everything on time and on budget.  So, in order to possibly get some free assistance, she contacted one of those TV places to see if they wanted to come in and help out.  To our surprise, they agreed.  They would give us about three thousand dollars to watch us come pull our hair out.  It's not the man power assistance we where hoping for, but will take what we can get.  They needed some more information on the project before they could give a final approval.  After talking it over and considering all of the goods and the bads of having a TV Crew under foot for several weeks, we send over the full project information with the photos.  The company reviewed the project and realized how extensive it was and decided it was just too much to fit into a half hour or hour program.  Not really sure if we should be happy or sad they decided to pull out.  Happy that we wouldn't be making fools of ourselves on national television.  Sad as the extra cash would maybe get the counter tops fixed.  Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

August 1, 2011

The Start of the Adventure

A big part of the American dream is purchasing a home. Many people value pride in ownership or customizing their own home. The average person or family can gain some security if they are able to buy their own home.  In these times, investing in real-estate doesn’t come without risk but the exchange is lower interest rates and the chance of picking up valued property to be a profit in other times.

Real estate can make you money weather through appreciation or rental income.
Instead of purchasing things that loose value, the hope to put money into things that gain value or make money. This seems to be something that is on a lot of people’s minds in today’s economy.

With the advent of the internet and sites like Zillow, anyone can now search broad areas of the country for real-estate. You can get a feeling of what it would be like to live in different areas and search each area for its positive points and try to find out any negative aspects of that area as well. This by no means is better than actually being there, but it does help. A picture is worth a thousand words and there are many images available from sources such as Google Maps, Satellite Images, Google Earth’s Street view and pictures from cells phones or digital cameras. Video is worth a thousand pictures and helps even more. And yes, being there is worth a thousand videos, but sometimes this is not always an option. So, the ability to try to assess the condition of a house or real-estate over a broad spectrum is enhanced by this technology and knowing how to use it property.

We were looking for an investment in a good community in an area with a good economic future. After reviewing a number of properties for sale, over a period of several months, we got to know what was for sale and what was just not something we wanted to get into. One day, about an hour or so after it was listed, we found a house. It was a foreclosure that the bank wanted to unload, and fast. Why? Well… it was disheveled and trashed. Someone looked to have had a drunken vandalism party there and did a ton damage. However, we saw the preserved value of the property. Due to its condition we knew we could pick up the property reasonably cheap but would have to put a significant amount of work into it to restore it to a fine home and/or an income producing piece of property.

We called our realtor who was able to go there and take multiple photos providing more information on the condition. While at the location, he saw the place was being inspected by other realtors and contractors despite the condition. We could confirm this by the number of inquiries that where occurring on the web site. We took a risk and put in a low offer to see what would happen. We saw no response. After reviewing the photos to help us refine the estimate on the fix it up, we put in another offer. And wouldn’t you know it, it was accepted.

When our realtor called to tell us, he jokingly said the he didn’t know whether to congratulate us or offer condolences. Having never been to the house, we aren’t quite sure either. None the less, we figure we can repair a lot of the damage with some blood, sweat and tears. Also known as Sweat Equity.

The photos from the realtor (Who was very kind to take photos and do an on the phone walk through.), showed a multitude of problems.

Electrical: There is nothing coming out of the top of the electrical box to the pole. We called the electric company who refused to go out unless we were there because "The smart meter says it's on". We asked if someone may be stealing power and if they could go out and look but they wouldn't unless we had an account, but the account would not be active until we got there.

Water: There is none. We don't know if any pipes are damaged so we can't turn it on till we get there. If the water doesn't work, we are going to be in trouble because we are staying at the house while we do the rehab. Also, I hate to say it, but we could not get an inspector to inspect the property before we bought it, because of no water or electricity. The good thing is, we have a water heater. have no idea if it works, and plan to flush it regardless, but it's there.

Pool: Well, that is going to be an adventure all in itself. First of all, someone drove a lawn tractor into it. We have to get it out without damaging the concrete work around it. We have no idea what is in that dark ugly water. Concrete pieces, paint, dead snake and or mouse bodies.iick.

Windows: They are most all broken. We will most likely have to hire someone to come out and replace the glass since it is so hard to transport that much glass in a pickup truck.

HVAC Unit: We don't know if it is there or even if it is working. If not, it will significantly hamper our budget. We think we see part of it in this photo and are hoping for the best.

Drywall: There are holes everywhere. I Have no idea what someone was thinking. It's just kinda dumb.

Roof: There are holes. Not sure why or how, but they are there. The Google Earth flyover shows them there in March of 2011, so not sure what happened. And yes, the tarps do say FEMA on them. We are assuming there is some water damage somewhere. Hopefully it is only in one place... Hopefully.

The great news is the floors are all a nice and cool tile. They look in decent shape and are in every room of the house. A few throw rugs, and its good to go...Hopefully.

Garage Door: It's not there. Well... Lets rephrase that. It is there, but it is not where it should be. I guess we can be thankful it's not in the pool. We are hoping to have it repaired, but it may need to be replaced. No one is willing to go out to look at it unless we are there. So, it will have to wait.

Yard Work: There is a lot of it.The overgrowth all needs to be cut back. May have to hire our favorite gardening crew to come out and get it done. If anything it will give us a good starting place where we can go from there.

Kitchen: The trash is everywhere. It's like they all left in a hurry and/or tried to make the place as unlivable as possible. Hopefully there will be enough in the budget for at least new counter-tops.

Paint: Not only does the place need all new paint throughout the entire house, the threw it everywhere as well. Have no idea how to get it up off the concrete, but will have to try.

Fixtures: We know that one of the sinks is missing and not sure what will have to be replaced. Let's cross our fingers that this is the only one.

OK, so here is the kicker. P only has four weeks in which to get this done. What ever is not done, C will have to finish, and quickly. We also have to get the house at least sealed before two weeks after the closing date because the insurance inspector will be out to asses the property to see if it will be insurable. Because of the damage, we could not get a mortgage, so our budget is extremely limited to about 15,000 in total. I know, laugh all you want, but we are going to give it our best.

So having said that, come along for the ride. If we pull this off, GREAT. If not, don’t do what we did. Only time is going to tell on this one. At the end of the day, as least we got the property for a great price. :)

As we get ready to go on this grand adventure, we will just keep adding our thoughts and assessing the situation. So stay tuned. It should be a fun ride.