Monday, March 14, 2005

A Visit To House 11

My wife and I went out to the house on Sunday. The sellers were supposed to be out by the end of the day Saturday, but they were still there, packing stuff up to move. I spoke with them and the guy was really nice. He's an older guy, maybe 60 or so, and he told me all about the house and the "improvements" he's made. He obviously has great pride in the house and I'm glad he was very friendly and not upset that he had to move out. They say they will be out for good on Monday (today). Almost all of the furniture was moved out and they were staying in a trailer parked in front of the house. The seller told me someone was coming to pull the trailer away Monday morning.

I made some measurements of the rooms (for carpet cost estimates) and walked around, making notes of what needs to be fixed and checking out the things mentioned in the inspection report. I know now I will be over my $2,500 budget for repairs. These people have lived in the house a long time and I don't think they ever replaced any appliances. The dishwasher and stove look like they were built sometime around the Pleistocene era. The garbage disposal is the size of an outboard motor. There was a refrigerator that I think is going to go with the sellers and a deep freeze freezer in the enclosed patio area that the guy said he would leave. He says it still works, but I'm going to get rid of it. The kitchen sink probably should be replaced as well, since there is some serious staining in it. The carpet will have to be replaced, not just cleaned. It's too old. Strangely enough, he had a modern computer and DSL.

A bit of good news is that the kitchen and two bathrooms had new flooring installed recently. I guess the seller's neighbor does that for a living, so he put it in for them.

The seller said he spoke with the inspector when he was out here and doesn't understand why the inspector said there was aluminum wiring. He claims the house has copper wiring. In fact, he has been in the Valley since 1959 and worked as an electrician who used to wire new homes. He believes he actually wired the tract of homes where this one is located. Anyway, the electrician I have coming out there Thursday will get to the bottom of this. Maybe the seller is right and there won't be a lot of wiring work that needs to be done. I could save some money. I'm not counting on it though..

There are two big storage sheds - one on the side of the house and one in the back. The house is on a corner lot, which is nice because it has a big side yard. The patio enclosure needs some new screening put up and the screen on the master bedroom window has a hole in it and needs to be re-screened as well.

The doors to the all the bedrooms will either need to be repainted or replaced. They are a natural wood color with what looks like a good coat of varnish. They really don't match the white walls at all. I don't know if paint will cover them well or not, so I might just replace them. The door handles need to be replaced too since they are all mismatched. The seller did buy a new front door, but he never installed it. He will leave it there for me.

There are working ceilings fans in all the rooms. The dining room has a horrendous 1960's style metal orb chandelier that looks like a welding school student's rendition of the Death Star. That needs to go. The A/C vents need to be cleaned. The family room has a "popcorn" acoustical ceiling and there are streaks of dirt on it from where the air blows out of the A/C vents. I don't know if that can be cleaned or not. The house has A/C and evap cooling. It also has two new attic fans to help keep the attic cool. The outside of the house has been recently painted, but the inside will need to have a new coat applied.

After we left the house, we went to lunch at a nearby restaurant. We passed a Home Depot on the way, so we stopped in and ordered a new stove, range hood, dishwasher, and garbage disposal to be delivered and installed on 3/22. That and the required new power cord and dishwasher install kit, plus delivery fees and installation charges, came to about $700 (less a $50 delivery charge rebate I have to mail in for). While I was there, I checked out prices of some other things I know I'll be needing. It seems $35 is the standard cost for just about everything! New door - $35! New stainless steel sink - $35. New kitchen faucet - $35. New range hood - $35. New screen door - $35. These are for pretty much the cheapest ones Home Depot sells, but still, new is new.

Today I need to contact my handyman and see what his schedule is. Before I do that, I need to write up a list of all the things I want him to do. That really helps in making sure everything gets done and that there are no surprise costs later.


Michael said...

Shaun, having gone through this MANY times, a word of advice is to put everything in writing with your handyman along with progress payments and timeline (30% down, 30% mid-way and 40% at the end). Be sure to include some penalties in case he's not finished by the date he assures you as handymen ALWAYS run late.

Michael said...

Oh and another thing, keep in mind that the price your handyman quotes is probably going to be about 20% under what it will actually cost...

Shaun said...

Thanks for the tips. Actually, this the same handyman I used on my last house and I didn't have any problems with him. Yes, he ran a week or so late, but I never paid him a dime until he was done, not even for materials. He's a good guy and does nice work. If this was a new handyman I had never worked with before, I'd be doing what you recommend.

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