A couple of observations. First, we are no longer 25 years old. heck, we're not even 45 any more. Second, a good pocket knife may well be the single most versatile tool you can possess. Third, California building codes purely suck.
We got the word from our realtor in May that the local market had recovered to the point that selling the California house was now a go. When we left in 2010 we were badly underwater on the mortgage. To the point that it would have cost us an arm and leg to get out from under the thing. We decided to hold on, rent it out and see if the market would come around. It apparently has. So last Wednesday we took the kids to the airport in Las Vegas and headed out to California.
We got in late Wednesday evening and started right in to work. We borrowed tools and whatnot from Car Guy since he has everything and lives just down the street. We also decided to just sleep in the house so we could work whenever the mood struck us. Primitive but workable though it was a bit crowded with two adults and one Black Lab.
Speaking of which. Never let anyone tell you dogs don't get homesick. Angus spent the whole week trying to convince us it was time to go home. The first night I found him sitting in the entrance, leaning against the front door and whining softly. Every time we got near the truck he wanted in right now. That boy wanted to go home and he wanted it bad!
We had a lot of work to do. One of the things we brought with us was the paint sprayer since we had an entire house interior to paint. Lu handled that part while I did all the repairs and updates. The kitchen/dining room was red, the master bedroom was blue and white while the rest of the house was a tan color. The realtor wanted the whole house Navajo White. She indicated that the banks were driving the market and all their houses were that color so that's what buyers were expecting. Since the renters had made various holes and bad repairs a paint job was in order anyway so we gave her what she wanted.The best part was the fact that we were replacing the carpeting so draping and taping off was reduced a bit.
What color is Navajo White? This is Navajo White. Not that Angus was an issue in a newly painted house or anything.
Some before and after shots:
The Great Room
The Kitchen/Dining Room
Spare Bedroom. In this room I had to do three repairs to the drywall. You can see them from the center right to the far left at the bottom of the wall.
Bear in mind that Lu did all the painting. I hate it and suck at it. She likes it and is good at it. I married well my friends. I reciprocated by doing all the repairs and the yard work. The yards were a mess in spite of having hired a service. They were summarily fired when we saw the state of the yards. Word to the wise; get references. Good ones.
As of today the carpet has been replaced with a good quality tan Berber. The realtor sign is up and an open house is now scheduled for Sunday. Our agent anticipates receiving offers even before the OH so we're keeping our fingers crossed.
We finished late on Monday and headed for home that night. I hate driving in the heat and the late night traffic is so much better so we drove straight through and got in to Hurricane Tuesday morning exhausted. We've been just trying to recover since then. We had a lot of late nights and worked 14, 16 and 18 hour days trying to get the place ready. The realtor was pleased with our work and pronounced us ready. When you consider the bid for the paint job alone was 2500 dollars and that didn't include any repairs we saved a bundle by doing it ourselves.
We've had our termite inspection. They'll be going by on Monday for a treatment but found very little to address. That made me very happy. Had some dry rot but in a house built in 1969 that's hardly surprising. One word of advice. Fix It All (aka Fixall) is pure magic. I used it to repair a lot of my dry rot issues and I highly recommend the stuff. Cheap, mixes quickly and easy as stink to use. I get no commercial kickback from those folks I just love their product.
There were a couple of areas I had to bring into California Building Code compliance. One was understandable, the other was stupid. I had to retrofit the water heater containment for earthquake safety by adding a double steel strap. No problem. Then I had to add in a 20 minute fire door between the garage and the house which was idiotic because it already had a solid core door installed. No dice, it must have the certification and it must have swing hinges so it will close automatically. I really didn't want to remove the jamb and install an entire unit which would have cost me a cool 200 bucks. Instead I bought a non-pre hung door for 60 and routed out the hinges. A bit more figuring and such but cheaper and easier in the long run.
Now we wait. When and if we get an offer we like there will be a home inspection. I'm crossing my fingers that no major issues arise but if they do I'll be loading up again and heading out. I am convinced that I can do a better and much cheaper job than anyone we could hire. besides, Car Guy is there and if there's anything I can't handle I know he can.
It was quite a week and we're all still pretty tired. The first two days back Angus didn't even snivel about walkies so that gives you an idea how long the trip was. If the house sells for enough for us to get out clean it will have all been worth the effort. There's even a small chance we'll sell it for enough to make a small profit but considering that we've been subsidizing the rent by 800 dollars a month for nearly 3 years and are now carrying the mortgage entirely it seems unlikely we'll recoup all our investment. Still, we're not being greedy. If we can get this white elephant off our backs with just a little pain we'll be very happy.
I'm back now and should be blogging regularly again. Thanks for all your well wishes, they mean a lot to us. I'll update as things progress.