Measure Twice, Cut Three Times

I obsess about the big picture – am I on budget, will I meet my project deadline, are my partners happy, are the contractors doing good work – things like that.

My wife…my wife obsesses about the finishes.  She’ll spend 15 minutes debating me about shades of gray (hehe), the placement of the kitchen island, the budget (“but for $200 more, this is light fixture soooo much better”) … and that’s exactly what I need!  I have little interest in being bothered with that kind of stuff; I’ve got far bigger issues to deal with.

With that said, it’s no surprise that I missed a rather glaring issue in out master bedroom that she saw within the first 5 seconds of stepping in the room.

As we’ve wrote about in the past, the master bedroom went through several iterations – we ended up expanding the size of the closet and adding a large fireplace.   This all happened after we had drawn new electrical for overhead lights.   You get the picture … the lighting placement just didn’t look right after we moved things around.

The first time we moved the light placement was after we expanded the closet.  I told my electrician to “center it.”  I never looked at it again.

My wife, however, quickly realized it wasn’t “centered” with the fireplace…it just looked off.  Fortunately for me, my father is an electrical engineer and charges me $0 per hour.  A little father-son bonding and 1 hour of work, the lighting was moved for a third and final time.

Check it out below – far left hole (placement #1), large hole in the middle (placement #2), final hole centered with fireplace (placement #3).

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Master Bath – Tile Sneak Peak

Construction is moving fast! Much faster than I can keep up with on the blog!  Our crews are finishing up some minor drywall repairs, installing trim around the new doors and windows, crown molding in a few of the rooms and, most importantly, tile in both the master and kids bathroom!

Here is a sneak peak, with compliments to The Tile Shop for their awesome product selection and design inspiration. Can’t wait to show off the finished product!

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Century Home: Interior Before Pictures

We’re officially on day 6 of construction at the Century House.  So far, our HVAC contractor has been removing the existing radiators and associated plumbing in preparation for a whole-house forced air system.  Our general trades will begin demo of the kitchen, bathrooms and a few walls on the second floor this week.  We’re beyond excited to be in the full throws of rehab.

I stopped by the house earlier this week to take a few “before” interior photos.  Below is a quick photo tour of what will, in 3-4 months, be a beautifully restored home in  a storied neighborhood.

Note: The home was vacant for two years and was broken into by some punk kids, who decided to add a little bit of their own vulgar graffiti. 

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Butler stairwell and butler’s pantry off the kitchen. Both will be demo’d to increase the size of the kitchen by 40%.

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Kitchen – cabinets and soffit to be demo’d this week. Increased square footage will allow for a center island.

Dining Room - love the coffered ceiling!

Dining Room – love the coffered ceiling!

Looking down from the stairwell to the front entry.  To the left, the living room.  To the right, the dining room.

Looking down from the stairwell to the front entry. To the left, the living room. To the right, the dining room.

Center hall colonial - stairwell leading to the second floor.

Center hall colonial – stairwell leading to the second floor.

HUGE living room.

HUGE living room.

The hardware in the home is tremendous!

The hardware in the home is tremendous!

Third floor.  Will make for an amazing rec room.

Third floor. Will make for an amazing rec room.

Second floor hallway.

Second floor hallway.

Current master bath.

Current master bath.

The Search Continues…

Oh no!  After being under contract to purchase our first flip, we had to back out of the deal after the general inspection brought to light some serious issues!

I mentioned in a previous blog post that trying to buy a home in the winter is miserable.  With foreclosures, typically the heat and power are switched off, the driveway is covered with a foot of snow  and the overall condition of the home is questionable.  Aside from those physical unpleasantries, the snow in particular makes inspecting the exterior of a home problematic.  If I can’t see the driveway, roof or enter the garage, how will I know if they’re in need of repair?    I do rely on Google Maps satellite view to a certain extent, but even that is only somewhat helpful given that the photos may be a few years old.

To ease our minds, we hired a general inspector (as any homebuyer should) to get their take on any major issues with the home.  And wouldn’t you know, there were quite a few big ticket items!   The biggest of which was the $14,000 needed to build a brand new garage – something we didn’t get to inspect ourselves due to a large mound of snow blocking entry into the structure.  A slight oversight on our part, but alas that’s what inspectors are for.

Regardless of these issues, the home was still a great opportunity – but not at our initial offering price.  So, we went back with a meaningfully reduced offer, which they didn’t even consider.  The search continues!

We put in our sixth offer in the last three months on a beautiful two-family property earlier this week.  It’s a short sale, so it may take some time to close, but negotiations have been going well thus far.  It needs quite a bit of work, but we’re excited by the opportunity to restore the home to its former glory.

Know any homebuyers?

This blog will serve a journal tracking the growth of what I hope one day to be a sustainable real estate investment business. I have high aspirations and have learned that putting goals in writing creates an environment of accountability. If you know what I want to build, then I am more inclined to do it. I’ll share those aspirations at some point, but will for now will focus my writing on the first step…our first flip.

With all that said, do you know anyone who would like to buy a house? If all goes according to plan, we’ll be selling a beautifully renovated home in about six weeks.