Friday, March 2, 2012

Belated Update

So we moved into our new/old house back in the end of September of 2011.  After many months of negotiating, fighting the banks, and being excited about our new fixer upper, we moved in.  Once we started looking at what we needed to do to get the place up to snuff, we became a little daunted by the project.  We started to list the repairs that needed done:

Pour foundation for house expansion.
Frame up expansion
Replace roof
Replace plumbing
Replace Electric
Replace AC
Replace Floors
Replace Kitchen
Replace Bathrooms
Add new bathroom
Convert Garage to Dining
Have baby

Which order do you go about doing all of this?  We had to try and determine what we could do while we live in the house and when we needed to move out to do the other stuff.  We decided to go with the expansion first so we Found a guy to do the concrete for about $10,000.  The guy gave us the run around and did not want to pull the brick off the house so that we could pour the slab level with the existing foundation.  After a little persuasion and some more money ($600) to do the brick demo, we got the pad poured.  We next found a guy to do the frame up for $4000 just for the labor and about $7000 for the materials.  The guy had us order some expensive beams and ended up not using them.  He let his guys do the work and never came by to check up on them.  Needless to say, they made a lot of mistakes which would not have been that big of a deal if we had not paid them for their work before they finished.  Kind of a sore spot still so don’t ask about details.  Where the back of the house was, they put 12” beams hanging down from the ceiling.  I had a contractor guy (Josh Behra) from the ward come by and take a look at it and he said we could lift the beams above the ceiling and make the place look a lot better.  In the mean time, I found a guy to do our new metal roof for $20,000.  He was able to start a week earlier than we expected so we are putting off the beam relocation until the roof is complete.  We figured we would do the roof before the plumbing and electrical because I would have to tear out all the sheetrock and move walls around for the electric and plumbing which means we would have to move out.  Since the roof was leaking anyway due to the FINE job the framers did, it seems like the right thing to do.  At the end of March, I should have another influx of cash coming in to pay for the electric $7500 and the Plumbing $7500 by getting a severance for getting laid off (March 26th) from KLA-Tencor for whom I worked for the past 12 years.  After which we can put up the drywall, some basic bathroom furnishings, and move back in.  We did find a friend (Julie Taya’s Girl Scout Leader) that will let us house sit from April 9th – Jun ?th while we do the plumbing and electric.  Emma is going to have a new baby on March 28th, so after the roof is done there is not a lot I can do until we move out of the house.  I will probably start taking out all the drywall on one side of every wall so I can get to the wires and start laying down lines for the new walls.  I would like to take a break and do some of the work myself, but I am finding the labor is taking its toll on my body now that I am older.  I don’t want to over stress myself and have health problems.  I think it should not be a problem getting the walls up and ready for the plumbing and electric since I will be contracting out that work.  Had a guy quote me to do the drywall and he quoted $8500 which I feel is a bit steep.  I can put in my own drywall for that price.  Once that all goes in, I need to have a new HVAC system installed.  We are looking at another $10,000 for that which means we will be pretty strapped for cash. 

I have been talking to Enthought about taking me on full time, but they don’t think that they will have enough work to keep me busy at 40 hours a week.  I told them I could still contract with them, but I would have to charge them a lot more since I would not have a job supplementing my income.  Currently I am charging them $30/hr. for the work I do.  I wrote down all my expenses and necessities and came up with what I would have to charge them to cover all my own benefits and expenses myself.  The total came out to be about $80/hr. if they want me to work 20 hours a week.  Travis Oliphant has broken off from Enthought and started his own company and has expressed an interest in paying me to do some contract work for him, so perhaps between the two companies, I would be able to make ends meet.  I have thought about looking for another job with a bigger company in the IT field, but I may end up making more starting my own contracting company.   I will just have to make sure we bank all we can for the slow times.  Should be exciting. 

There are so many fun things going on right now!  So lets see, if we add up all the money we intend to spend on this house it comes out to about $70000.  So that plus the $180K we spent buying the place, we are around $250K which is a bit more than our last place.  That is not including the new garage I want to build or the fencing, or the kitchen, or the bathrooms, or floors, but lets just not think about that right now.  I am sure it will pay for itself in the future, but LOOK, we are close to the church and the stores.  See me smiling  .  Perhaps one day when all the kids grow up and move away, we can move out to a nice ranch in Montana and live off the grid or in a concentration camp like Obama is planning.

Emma has been posting images of our house progress on Facebook, but I wanted to have some here as well in case Facebook is taken over by the government .

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Levi’s Treasure Hunt

Clue 1:

Everybody like them. Their parents hide them. They are not there every day. We have to look after them every night, but nobody wants to. (Chicken Egg Box)

Clue 2:

Dad built it twice and had to remove it to move.  A bird made a nest here and a tasty treat for cat.  (Where the Shed used to be)

Clue 3:

Zoey’s favorite black treat!  (Black berries)

Clue 4:

Gobble it all up but some things we don’t like.  When we are done we deposit them here, the sight causing a fright. Rubbish to most but delicacy to one. Levi’s favorite place to dine after playing video games is done.  (Dish Washer)

Clue 5:

It smells like a skunk. But keeps the place neat.  Put your foot inside to protect your feet.  Off they come nowhere to be found.  If you put them here, they will always be around.  (Shoe Box)

Clue 6:

Good things are inside but are very hard to eat. A crystalline structure that looks really neat!  Put your hand in and it comes out all blue. Often hear dad say, “Get out of there you!” (Freezer)

Clue 7:

Eaten from hand, but despised on the ground.  Why wont they eat it even when no one is around.  Second to cat food so here it just sits.  Will nobody eat me?  This is the pits.  (chicken food bucket)

Clue 8:

My life is a mess, my casings do stink.  I am used all night tossing here and there.  Sometimes I feel like I am wrestling a bear.  When all settles down and the critter then sleeps, then comes the drool and I began to weep.  Why don’t you change me and make me all new?  The incentive is grand!  A new tag for you! (Levi’s Pillow Case)

Clue 9:

So close, you are more near then you think.  Have you checked under there?  Or where you get a drink?  Not there you fool you don’t drink from there!  You first need a cup, germs give us a scare!  (Cup Cabinet)

Clue 10:

This is the last clue and soon you will see what treasure awaits in one of the trees!  (Bird house)

Clue 11:

Ha, ha, ha! You thought you were done!  Look next to the boob tube where you watch Pok√©mon! (Cabinet next to TV)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Were In!

We finally closed on our house on Wednesday! I guess it is better late than never. We spend the days since our initial closing date (July 15th) looking for other options, but was unable to find anything better.  We did not waste any time getting to work.  Yesterday we loaded up the two minivans with boxes and headed down to our new/old house.  We unloaded the vans into the garage and began work on getting the house livable.

The house smelled old and dirty so we wanted to pull out all the carpet and old tile so we could start anew.  We also are planning to move a few walls around at some point and having no flooring makes this a bit easier.  Emma started on the carpets and Levi and I headed off to Lowes to pick up some supplies.  New toilets were a must.  The old ones did not flush very well and one of them constantly leaked.  We also wanted the low water usage ones and the old ones use about 5 gallons each flush.  2 Toilets… check.  We also wanted to build a garbage box so we would have a place to toss everything we were pulling out and thus picked up some .5” OSB as well.  We are planning to pull out all the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms and need some temporary replacements.  We are planning on just framing up some cabinets out of 2x4s and plywood so we picked up the necessary supplies and are gleaming craigslist for replacement sinks and fixtures.  It only took about 2 hours to get all our supplies when I get a call from Emma.  It is after 2 now and she has not had anything to eat so we rush over to Subway and fuel up on our way back to the house.  After a brief lunch break we get back to work.  We were able to get all the floors up and knocked out the upper cabinets in the kitchen before we cleaned up a bit and called it a night.  There was tile in both the back bedrooms, the kitchen, and Family room.  I know what you are thinking, why would they pull up perfectly good tile?  Well, it was not normal tile.  It was the stuff you used to see in old school buildings.  It appeared to be some soft of paper/clay tile and was glued down with some sort of black glue.  We suspect that it may be asbestos so we wore face masks and are going to wet it down and buff off the black glue with a floor sander.  Which is what we are planning for today.  I also tried to install a new digital thermostat, but was unable to decipher the Lenox wiring codes so I could hook it up.  I called Robert Knox, a friend of ours from church, who works on AC systems and ask him what I could do.  When he heard that it was a Lenox system, he said that I should just leave the old one on until I am ready to replace the entire system.  Lenox is pretty cryptic with their equipment and do not use conventional wiring schemes.  I reinstalled the old one and made sure it worked still and left the house to cool down over night. 

Levi helped us all day and he was a real champ!  He did a great job with the tile scraper and helped us fill the trash can and cleanup multiple times.  He tried to help me lift the wood at Lowes to put it on the cart, but was a little under powered for the task.  He was able to help he lift the first 3/4” piece of OSB on before one of the Lowes employees stepped in to help.  A few times Levi got a little frustrated, but was able to recover quickly and happily continue work.  It wasn’t until the very end where he finally ran out of gas.  I hope that he does as well tomorrow.  He is a great help.

Today we are planning to remove the rest of the cabinets and update the plumbing a bit.  The shutoff valve at the street is the old style instead of the 90 degree ball valve so I may try to have the city come out and change that for us so we can actually turn off the water to the house.  I will probably swing by the Re-Store and see if they have some sinks and fixtures that will work for us.  We are also going to rent a floor sander from Home Depot and clean the floors today.  Emma has also been emailing Trevor her older brother and we are hoping to have him down in about 5 weeks to help us extend the back of the house 10 feet.  We have a few things we need to do before he gets here like make sure we have the plans and permits needed to do the extension.  We don’t foresee any issues since we are not in the Kyle city limits, but need to have all the documentation in place just to make sure.

Well, I had better get back to it, I need to load up my van full of boxes and go and get my trailer from Tom Stevens house.  Emma should be back from getting Zoey and Taya’s physicals and then we can load up her van as well.  We plan on leaving the majority of the furniture in the current house until we can get it sold so that it shows better.

I am a bit sore from yesterday, but no better way to make that go away then to do more of the same thing that made you sore in the first place.  Smile

Monday, August 8, 2011

House Update

So we just heard back from the Credit Union where we are trying to get our loan at and they told us that they could not loan us the money.  Apparently since no homes have sold in the area recently, they do not have any “comps” to estimate the mortgage insurance against.  Comps are comparable estimates based on the value of the homes sold around the area.  We ask why they could not use the values that the appraiser that they hired came up with.  So they went to the appraiser and ask how he came up with the values that he had and he updated his original estimate to $20K less than he appraised the home for the first time.  So the back came back and says, “I am sorry, we cant loan you the money for this home because we can only lend you 80% of the value of the home.”  So we are back to where we were before where we would have to get the owner to drop the price again.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have them drop it $20,000.  We initially chose the credit union because they were less likely to sell our loan, but the hassle is not worth it.  We are now trying to get our loan through the conventional means which means another 3 weeks before we can close on the house.  If these guys come back with the value of the home at $160K then either the home owner will have to drop the price or we are done trying to buy it.  It is a little depressing.  Anyway, in all my excitement of fixing up this new house I drew up some more plans of what we want to do if we ever move into the place.  Below is the before and after images.  I will update again when I get more information.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Well, our pre-designated close date on the new place has come and gone.  We were supposed to close on the 15th and come to find out that there was something wrong on the application.  We just got the appraisal back from the bank and they said that the house is not worth as much as the owner wants to sell it for.  He wants to sell it to us for $190K and it is only worth $183K so they will not loan us the money unless he drops the price.  Hopefully he will concede and drop the price for us since we have pushed it this far. Apparently when the whole process started, he assumed that the house was his after his mother died and did not do any paperwork to get it transferred into his name.  So he had to go through the process of finding a will or whatever the process is in order to transfer it to him before he can sell it.  Then the tax records and the title company have the land plotted differently so they had to hammer out the details.  The tax record had it listed as one plot with 5.7 acres and 2 dwellings on it.  The title company had it listed as 1 dwelling with 3.7 acres.  I would not have minded them giving us the whole mess for the same price, but I understand.  We ultimately want to purchase his 2 acres and the other dwelling from him to put storage units on, but we do not have the money to do that now. 

I am getting a little anxious to get things rolling.  I have a garage full of boxes that I would like to start moving down there and we just had our tile and carpet cleaned.  Emma has been doing a lot of work painting the house and fixing it up so we can get it on the market.  I think we are close, we just need to get all this stuff out of here.  I think we are taking the chickens to a friends house while we make the transition.  Not sure what we are going to do with our compost piles and garden.  Emma was talking about just taking the sides off the garden and spreading the dirt out over the lawn.  I was thinking of just transferring the compost to the flower beds and covering it up with mulch.  We may just leave them and let the new home owners deal with it though.  Since we are doing owner financing, we have a few more options. 

We are having an architect come down and look over the place today.  We want to add another room, a bathroom, an extension on the back of the house, remove the fireplace, redo the kitchen, build a room, bathroom, and pantry in the garage, and put a deck on the back of the house.  Emma and I cannot agree on how to do this so she is asking the architect to do it for us.  I mean come on, how much more creative can he be than we are?  I guess he will know the structural limitations as well so will save us some headaches during the building process.  The biggest stumbling block we have to face is were to begin.  I know we want to rip out the carpets and what is left of the vinyl tile, but we do not want to put new floors in until we move some walls and plumbing around.  If we tear out the back wall of the house, the things will get a bit drafty, but it would allow us to home the wall where we want them.  We would also want to do that when the weather is cooler.  Hopefully the magic architect will have some ideas for us.  Will update when I hear back from him.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Weekend Fun

Well, it is official, we are preparing to move to Kyle.  We had been looking for a place to move to since about February and none of the locations met our criteria until we came across this little place in Kyle.  The home owner was selling 2 plots, one with a 3x2 house and the other with a mobile home on it for $300.  We did not like the price, but we did like the land.  The plots combined mad about 6 acres.  We made him several offers, but he was set on the $300K for both places, the tax assessor thinks the 2 plots combines with structures is only work $200K.  Since we were not in a hurry, we ask his relator to notify us when he decided to drop the price.  It took nearly 4 months for him to accept our offer for the one house with the 3 bed 2 bath and 4 acres for $190K.  We would still like both plots, but figured the mobile home is not going anywhere and we should be able to pic it up in a few years.  The house needs a lot of work and we will probably end up putting in almost $50K in fixing it up.  We want to replace the floors and windows, turn the garage into a master bedroom and bath.  Combine the two bathrooms that are there into one big one and add another bath just for fun.  We are also redoing the kitchen and adding a sun room across the back of the house.


We are planning on closing in July.  We are trying to get our current house ready for the market.  We were debating on renting the place until the market turns around, but after talking to a few people, we think it may be better to sell it using owner financing.  Since there are so many people in the area now that lost their shirt in CA due to the housing crash, there are a lot of people that have a lot of money and cannot get loans from the bank.  A friend of mine just sold a house doing owner financing and got $30K down and charging the new owner 2% more than the bank is for his mortgage.  The nice thing is that the guy owns the place and so you don’t have to deal with the renter headache. 

I had to take my shed down that I just rebuild earlier this summer thanks to the HOA.  I have had a shed there for over 8 years and 4 months after I rebuild it, the HOA decides that it is time to start hassling me about it.  I think they are still mad because they told me I could not have chickens and I quoted our HOA hand book that said we could.  We are sick of Home Owners Associations and people telling us how to raise our kids and what to do which is why we are moving.  I will not miss the communist mentality.  We are slowly packing the house and moving things out to the garage.  I am selling my golf cart so we have more room in the garage and I am trying to get the yard looking good.  We will have to have all the carpets cleaned and do some scrubbing on the tile grout lines.  I wish we could just move everything out and have a cleaning service some in and scourer the place.

Levi has cub camp this weekend and I am in charge of the water bottle rocket station.  I built a few more launchers for the scouts.  I was going to do the same design as before, but the materials to make 2 was over $100 and I wanted to keep this as inexpensive as possible.  I did some research online and found a design the I think would be great for the kids and it is also cheap and more compact.

launchSupplies IMG_3059
New Cheaper Design Old Design that Costs too much

Here is a great site on the different water rockets launcher designs.  Air Command – Water Rockets

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Too Much to Buy but Easy to Make