If you’re a regular reader, you know that it’s been a crazy six weeks in our household! Here are a few highlights of our sprint from spring to summer!
- My daughter graduated from college (after only 3 years) and we moved her to West Virginia to start her Master’s Degree which she will get paid to earn!
- Our tenant of 22 years moved out and we’re making progress on gutting the lake house we plan to downsize into this fall. We’re also prepping our house to put it on the market in a few weeks (and we even rented a storage unit.) These are important steps in putting our snowbird housing plan in motion!
- We’re also in negotiations to turn over our 8-unit apartment complex to a management company! We’ve decided to give it a try for a year and we’re really impressed with their commitment and professionalism so far. It’s helped us keep a longer term focus now on our real estate investments. We could just sell all our rental properties, but we’ll give this a try – unless we get a good offer!
- I ended regular full-time employment last Friday too! No more one more year syndrome for me!
- And to top it off, my son graduated from high school last weekend!
We’ve definitely been busy! And we’ve been busier than we anticipated because we can’t find people to hire to help us do some work! So we’ve been forced to DIY many projects even though we have money to spend.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re not rolling in $$$ right now! I get paid for the last time this Friday and that is stressful enough for someone who has been earning paychecks for 35 years… But we knew we were going to need to spend money fixing up parts of our house to get it ready to sell and on the remodel of the lake house.
Prepping to Sell
We live on a dead-end street that backs up to a 23 acre park and we’re walking distance to the school where I worked. It’s a GREAT street – close to everything, but super quiet too. And we have an in-ground pool. Summer is definitely the time to sell our house. And with both kids off to college by late August, we’d like to get the house on the market by the end of July.
It’s a great street for young families – if they haven’t watched too much HGTV…
We only have an “eat-in” kitchen and there is no master bath. But we do have two bathrooms! No granite counter tops here – but beautiful solid-surface ones (that are super durable and easy to clean) with an integrated sink that I love! And we live in a split-level that turns some people off. We love it because even in a small house, we have a huge extra living room with a nice gas stove.
The target market for our house is a young couple/family and that requires things to be turn-key ready. People who are getting a first mortgage usually can’t afford to change out flooring or do bathroom or kitchen upgrades. The flooring is the last big thing in the house that needs to be done (except for more painting…) but we have a few outside issues to address too.
The guy we use to install carpet in our rentals is booked through mid-July, so timing should be good to have him re-carpet the downstairs. We also got a quote on refinishing the hardwoods but that would require us to leave home for 2+ days and empty 3 bedrooms and the living room to somewhere? And it’s expensive ($2500+ for about 750 s.f.) YIKES…what a hassle!
We are going to rent a sander tomorrow and try to refinish one bedroom and see how it goes. In a 1400 sf house, most of the floor space is covered anyway with beds, couches, desks…and area rugs! I’ll let you know how it turns out!
Mr. MSD has also replaced a tub/shower unit and he may have to put down a deck on our front porch because the stamped concrete is starting to crumble. It’s too late to go after the concrete contractor, but it’s been hard to find someone to build the deck too! We’d spend money hiring this out to save time and to make sure it is up to code.
Luckily we’ve been able to hire a friend who is a licensed electrician to address a “crackling” noise on a light switch. My husband can do basic electrical repair, but it’s always safety first. DIY is definitely not a smart decision if you could get hurt (or hurt someone else – or burn down your house!)
Prepping to sell can be exhausting! In addition to the basics, we are trying to address anything a home inspector might find that would reduce the price or slow down the sale. We’ve loved and lived in our house for over 10 years. Almost every surface needs a little extra TLC.
Gutting the Lake House (isn’t that an awesome view?)
I’m going to write a separate post about the lake house and where things stand. It is a MUCH bigger job than getting our house ready for sale. But what I can tell you is that it has been a lot harder than we thought to get a general contractor – or any contractor for that matter!
If we can get a contractor to return a call, we always let them know the house is a “gut job” so they know it will take time and money and isn’t just a repair. We also tell them we are in the process of selling our house, so they know we are serious about getting the house move-in ready.
But it’s a 1000 s.f. house and if demand for their work is high, our little house isn’t high on their list of priorities either… It’s a good thing we have a lot of friends and connections to keep giving us names of contractors to call!
This NPR article from last fall explains that the housing crash 7 or 8 years ago contributed to the failure of many contracting businesses and even though there is a lot of work now, there just aren’t the numbers of skilled tradespeople or contractors available to fill the construction or home renovation needs in most areas.
As an educator, it also concerns me greatly that we have pushed all kids to go to college when they might not be ready for that or really have an interest. Don’t get me wrong, I think that an advanced education is important for everyone and tradespeople and contractors need advanced skills too. But it doesn’t make sense for young people to take on debt and sit in English 101 (or remedial reading/math – which many have to take) when they are 18 or 19 when they could be learning a trade that could drive their future. Once they can see their future a little more clearly, college classes can take on a whole new meaning!
There are jobs waiting for people and no one skilled or interested enough to take them. Good contractors in our area can charge what they want and people will hire them. We need to make that message clear to our young people too.
We have another meeting with a contractor tonight, so our fingers are crossed! Our back-up plan is to rent a house on the lake this fall for a few months (if our house sells), to give us time to get the house finished – even if we have to DIY more than we want too!
Maybe we could hire some retired PF blogger as a contractor? We live on a beautiful lake (with many more surrounding lakes), with more than 100 local wineries and a bunch of craft breweries! We could even rent a lake house for the contractor to stay in for a month during the gorgeous fall with the leaves changing all around the lake! It could be a really fun job!
Maybe it’s not a crazy idea for the right person…
Have you done any home remodeling jobs lately? Have you had trouble hiring out jobs or finding contractors? What jobs do you DIY and what won’t you touch? Are you a contractor who wants to hang out in the Finger Lakes in New York State to make some money and have some fun too? 🙂