Monday, March 28, 2011

Second Open House Also A Smashing Success And We Got Our First Offer!!!

Double Yahoo!!! Second Open Went Great Also!

The open was scheduled to run from 1-4pm but our Realtor ended up getting there early because the BayFarm bridge was set to be closed. He had all the open house signs up by shortly after 12pm. Then he says he was mobbed with people between noon and 1pm!!! Yay!!! I like it that people appear to be interested enough in the house to want to get there early! He ended up staying till almost 5pm because people kept coming!!! Like to hear that no?

The Run Down

Our Realtor told us it was about the same amount of people as last weeks open ~35 different groups. He did say that at the beginning it was mostly the neighbors begging him to not sell the house to people who are going to turn it into a tri-plex...the neighbors feel very strongly about that... We had several return visitors which I think is also encouraging. One PB(Potential Buyer) was there before 1pm, came back mid-open and then made an appointment to see the house today!! I definitely feel that when PB's do stuff like this, that its encouraging.

Same, Most Asked Question...

Our Realtor said he spent almost the entire time explaining what a 203k loan was and what it covers and how it works....he said he explained this over, and over, and over, and over and over....I can tell that by the end of the almost 5 hrs he was there that he was a little tired of explaining it. There was one couple who was there for quite some time and the wife kept coming back and asking him questions about what the 203k loan covers over and over again...until her husband finally put it in a nutshell. The husband said, 'You buy the house, and its completely redone before you move in!!!'

203k Loan Elevator Pitch

Since we are still having so much trouble getting across what the 203k loan does exactly I've been trying to work up an elevator pitch to help explain it. It needs to go something like this, ' With the 203k loan you roll your remodeling costs into your home loan and in six months you move into a redone home.' or slightly longer, 'The 203k loan is perfect for buying a fixer, because you roll the remodeling costs into your house loan and within six months you move into a redone home and, really, what banks are writing remodeling loans now a days?' or...?

We Got Our First Offer!!!

On Tuesday just 2 days after the first open! Unfortunately we could not come to a meeting of the minds on the terms but hey, at least we got an offer!! But interestingly enough the folks who wrote the first offer were back at the house this weekend looking it over again! Hmmmmm...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Open House Went Awesome!!!!!

Yahoo!!!!!!! Our First Open House Was A Success!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel like lots of exclamation points are justified for this post!!!!!

Just got off the phone with my Realtor who was whupped by all the people who showed up to the first open house!!! He was literally flabbergasted by the amount of people who came by. The open was supposed to run from 2-4 but he ended up staying until almost 5pm because there was so much interest!

Man, that makes up feel encouraged!!! Course, we are no where near selling the place but at least there was a good turn out.

We were freaking cause the weather was set to be horrible and well, there was really no advertising done for the open except what we wrote here on the blog and one Craig's List ad, something that will hopefully be addressed by the next open.

The Run Down
We were told that there was at least 35 different groups of people with one group of ten!!!
Several people came through with either their architect or contractor!
One group stayed for 1.5 hrs going over everything!
Several couples stayed for almost an hour looking over everything.
Realtor feels that there where at least 3-4 groups of people who where 'seriously' interested in the place. He actually felt that the ratio of looky-loos to serious people was pretty low.

Not too surprisingly the question most asked was 'what the heck is a 203k loan anyways and how does it work?'. It seems like we are having trouble getting across some of the basic facts of the 203k......most importantly, you as the new homeowner don't do any of the work!!! You roll the cost of the fix-up into the purchase price of the house. Luckily we had the local 203k mortgage expert there to answer questions.

Probably the second most asked question was, what's it going to cost to fix the place up?
Luckily for us one of the contractors that we are paying to write up a bid to finish the house got their bid done in time for the first open....the magic number???? $138k That's to completely finish all three floors (with new roof) in a VERY basic way that will get the house approved by the FHA. Of course you can go a lot fancier all the way up to the $770k FHA loan limit if you wanted to!

Third Most Asked Question, 'What the heck is going on in the basement with all those tubes???'
Luckily for us we had the bright idea to actually have the heat on during the open so all our Realtor had to do was say, 'Its radiant heating, feel the floor' and lots of people did.

I don't think anyone offered to buy the fish with the house though....bummer.

Yes, we know the house is no where near being sold and we are certainly not counting any chickens before they are hatched. We are just encouraged that, that many serious people showed up for the first not-really-advertised open.

So, How Big is Chez 2.0 Anyways!?!?!?

Okay, Okay, Okay,

Nope, we are not trying to 'scam' anyone by telling people that the house has a certain square footage or that the house is a 4-3 when the 'official records' say its a blank-blank.

With the official records having the house at 2228 sq ft and a blank-blank number of beds and baths that's kinda screwing up our $/sq ft number and possibly making the house harder to sell (its not like it needs any more obstacles right??). So, I called the Alameda Assessors office and talked to the county appraiser assigned to Chez 2.0. She told me that on their records they have the house as a 4-3 @ 2228 sq ft. I asked her how actually they arrive at the sq ft numbers for houses. She said that they measure around the OUTSIDE of the house!!! Wow, that seems dishonest to me but that's the measurement everybodys compared to soooo...

So, What's The Number Really?
Short answer, don't know yet. We've paid professionals to do complete as-builts of the house. Using these professionally done plans and going around the inside of the house (which just seems more honest to me) I come up with 2858 sq ft. The walls on the bottom floor of the house are over 7" thick, the walls on the middle floor are ~5" thick so I believe that the assessors number will be even higher than that.

I had to fill out a 'Property Characteristic Change Form-Owner Requested' and I sent the county appraiser the professionally done plans that show the top two floors and the plans from the permits I did that show the bottom floor. She took a look at them and thought that the main discrepancy was that they had the bottom floor as only being about 600sq ft of living space when its actually about 1000sq ft.

The appraiser is hopefully going to come out this week to check the reality against the plans that I sent her and then hopefully soon after the official sq ft number will match what it actually is...

Friday, March 18, 2011

First Open House This Sunday the 20th.

C'mon on down and tour Chez 2.0 this Sunday the 20th.

It'll be our first open house.

Now's your chance dear readers to see the amazing super-fab Chez Neumansky 2.0 live and in person! Peek into all the nooks and crannies, see the radiant heat for your self!

If its not raining I'm going to try to convince my Realtor to let me fire up the fire pit and make popcorn and s'mores!!!

New property flyer is up-check it out on this Craig's List Post.
It looks very official doesn't it??

Hope to see everybody at Chez Neumansky 2.0 this Saturday!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Future Of The Blog???

What to do, What to Do...

There is dissension in the ranks here at Chez 3.0 about what to do with this blog after we sell Chez 2.0.

I'm of the mind that I should probably close it down entirely and start a new blog with a different name for Chez 3.0. It seems kinda weird for me to have all that info online about what will be someone else's house....

So, How about some new names for the blog?
All I've got so far is Chez Neumansky 3.0 or Chez Neumansky Third Times The Charm (this time its final!!!) or???

New Editorial Direction?
The many, many Realtors who read this blog will be happy to know that I don't envision myself doing any more KnifeCatching posts...unless someone wants to commission one. Though, I do need to get banned from at least one more open house so that I can publish the next chapter of the Reptile Realtors saga that's been written in my head for ages now...

I think that there will be a new focus in the blog as well.
Originally, the blog was about, 'holy crap we bought a tear down and now we're spending gobs of money and time fixing it up, follow along as we chronicle our ups and downs'.
I think now the blog will more be about, 'Holy Moly we bought a giant house with an almost insane amount of permit issues. Can we fix the issues on the super tight time table the city has us on and get the legal units rented out all before we run out of money.' coupled a little bit with, 'Can two slightly rough around the edges 'Burning Man Fire Artist' types fit in, in their new fancy-pants neighborhood???'

So, that's the long and short of it. Keep the old blog going, or start a new blog?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy 1st Month-a-versary

Today Marks Our 1st Month In Chez 3.0

I thought I'd put together a little list of things about the house now that we've lived here a month. So, no particular order my thoughts on Chez 3.0.

  1. Its big! and I'm old, we've never lived on more than one level before and this place has 3 levels of real living space....its a lot harder to go up and down 2 flights of stairs constantly...

  2. I hate all the toilets...they are all these weird cheapo 3/4 size toilets..not super comfortable to sit on.

  3. You can hear the bee's when sitting on the toilet in baby MadScientist's bathroom.

  4. There is never a light switch where you expect there to be and when there is a switch, it never controls what you think it should...I don't get it, why would the PO's of even bothered taking all the wall outlets, and switches? If you had fancy lights I guess I can see taking those, but the outlets and switches? weird..

  5. Living with forced air heat isn't as horrible as we thought it would be...the air is surely a lot dryer than we're used to.

  6. Having that big concrete driveway and parking area is both a boon and a bane. A bane cause in general we hate yards covered in concrete but a boon as it gives baby MadScientist plenty of space to ride her scooter-which she absolutely loves to do.

  7. Funky bathroom without a shower and low ceilings on the top floor is a perfect spot to give baby MadScientist a bath.

  8. We've got slightly less than a month to get all the plans finished and turned into the city....that timeline seems insane now...

  9. Love having the sorta private kid space and family room in the back of the house.

  10. We never use the front door! Well, except to get the mail...we go in and out of the back door and that area and bathroom has turned into a mudroom-landing pad space for all our stuff.

  11. Definitely need curtains on the main level as sitting in there feels very fish bowlish now.

  12. Kitchen is still way to small and poorly laid out. Though now after using it for a month we have some ideas on how to make it better.

  13. Cleaning this place is a HUGE PITA!!!

  14. We really, really love the place and it feels perfect for us.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guess Its For Real...

In this Friday's addition of the Alameda Journal was the first ad for our house!!!

Wow, it's weird seeing it for sale here...sorta surreal....cause this was the house that we thought that we were never ever going to leave EVER!!!!

This is one of the pics that the pro-photographer took....he photo shopped in the blue funny...

This is even more surreal...seeing a G&L for sale sign out in front of the house... I wonder how long until the sign gets knocked down or hit with eggs or something.....
Our old neighbors are telling all there friends about the place and trying to get a nice family to buy it....
Sure would be nice to sell it to another family who would finish fixing the place up...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Realtors Are.....

Sometimes People Of Questionable Moral Standards...

Not all of them but enough of them.

Let me tell you a little story.

I've been putting up some for sale ads on Craig's List over the last month.
The idea was to test the market and see what the interest was like before the house went on the market. We wanted to fine tune the marketing with the feedback from the responses we got.

I've been putting up two ads aimed at different target markets. One ad was for multi-generational house holds and one was aimed at the young couple who wants to raise their kid in a nice city, in a good school district but who can't afford to buy a finished house. The first week the ads were up the entire week and we got A LOT of responses and several promising families toured the house.

For Sale Ads on Craig's List Getting Flagged And Removed.
The next week when I reposted the ads they were flagged and removed within a couple of days. I'm thinking, 'huh? that's weird they are completely legit for sale ads why would people in the Craig's List community be flagging them??' So I went thru all the FAQ's and had friends look at them and nope, nobody could come up with a real reason to have the posts flagged and removed...

I reposted the ads again and within minutes they were flagged and removed!?!?!? So, I reposted them and again within a short period of time they were flagged and removed!?!?!

Then I posted them again, and hey, they were not flagged and removed? Hurray I thought, but something was off. We track the click-throughs from the post to the blog (which by industry standards have been really, really good) and we were not getting any click-throughs?

I thought, 'Damn, after only a couple of weeks we had depleted our potential buyers pool and nobody cared!' Well, not exactly, it turns out that if your posts get flagged constantly on Craig's List you get marked as a spammer. When you do a post it looks like its posting but nope, its actually invisible!!!

I had to prove to Craigs list that yes, in fact my posts are legit and nope, they are not being flagged for legitimate reasons.

Why I Think My Posts Were Being Flagged
Now, I can't prove this exactly but, I bet if someone where to track the IP addresses of the computers (and btw you bet clist has this ability) who are flagging my posts that they would track back to a small number of computers associated with at least one Alameda based realty company.....Hmmmm, who could that be? Which Alameda based reality company has the biggest hate on for me????

So, what I think is happening is that a small group of Alameda Realtors are removing my ads out of personal animosity towards me, how mature...

Please readers, how does that not confirm just about everything negative I've ever said about the character of your average Realtor???

A Special Note To The Flaggers
I'm pretty sure that what you are doing is illegal. You are a commercial entity trying to directly interfere with another commercial entities (G&L Realty) ability to do business. You really should grow-up, grow a pair and F'ing stop it.

C'mon Realtors
After all that talk about putting up 'I hate that guy from Chez Neumansky' blogs this is the best you can do? Flag the ads on Craig's List? Weak!

Now Realtors, I didn't say ALL Realtors are D-Bags...but c'mon ya gotta admit that what this small group is doing is pretty d-bag-tastic...

A Special Note To The Potential New Owners Of Chez 2.0
If you've gotten this far from the landing page I built and are interested in looking at the house and your Alameda based Realtor is hesitant or trying to steer you away.....take a moment and think about if your Realtor is acting in your best interests or what???

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

KnifeCatching 1310 Pacific Ave

Read This:The following review is just my opinion and only my opinion I am not a professional house appraiser or inspector and I am not a structural engineer. The opinions expressed in this review are based on my own inspection of the property, the publicly available facts from aggregator sites such as Redfin and Zillow and the online permit database for the city of Alameda. I am not responsible for incorrect or missing data that appears in these sources. In fact, its probably best that you just ignore everything you read here as the lunatic ravings of an unbalanced mind.

KnifeCatching* 1310 Pacific Ave Alameda CA
Up for review today is 1310 Pacific Ave which has the official specs of being a legal triplex with - - amount of bedrooms and baths and a ---- amount of square feet (but the for sale literature calls it a 4-3 of 2858 sq ft) on a 3500 sq ft lot built in 1897 on sale for $485,000

The house is an interesting Marcuse and Remmel. I just love the swoops and flares of the roofline.
I can see here that the foundation has already been redone!!! Hurray for home owners who have the sense to do the foundation first and I just love the antique brick driveway and walkway. I was completely fooled by the garage doors! They look like original antique swing out carriage doors but it is actually a modern roll up garage door. How Clever!!!

Walk up the stairs and come in the front door which appears original with original glass and the original working stained glass transom window and you have this entryway.
I applaud the home owners sense of style. Just look at this shabby chic entry way! I can only imagine what it must of cost to have artisans 'antique' the house. Oh, I hope the entire house is done in this shabby chic style. I hear it is quite the rage in NYC. With some multi-million dollar penthouse apartments done up to look like this.

Turn left from the entry and you have what was originally the formal parlour.
What an amazing room!!! From the in stock home depot carpets to the multiple outlets on the much do you want to bet that the home owners attention to detail means that only half of the outlets are working!

And look, the abandoned fish tank motif. I heard that Madonna paid big bucks to have a room done up in just this style. The home owners truly are amazing visionaries.

Next to the formal parlour is this room that would of been the formal dinning room. The contrasting fabric on the walls, the mantle set just so...even the blown light on the ceiling, I think that this is the absolute best example of avant garde shabby chic I've seen anywhere.

Just look at this runner! Right off the rack at Home Depot!!! Look closer and see that its actually screwed down!!!

Seriously, how avant garde!!!

Here's the 'kitchen' from the doorway. Wow, if this is not the epitome of farm house shabby chic what is!

There is a good sized bedroom off the kitchen. Again, more fantastic shabby chic.

I feel compelled to stop right now and tell you something truly amazing about the house. When I was there viewing it the owners where there!!! They actually encouraged me taking pictures! They freely offered to answer any questions that I had about the house. I had a ton of questions and they appeared quite knowledgeable about the house and quite honest. WOW, what a refreshing change from the angry, duplicitous attitude I usually get from home owners and their Realtors... They even said, 'When selling a house you should be completely open and honest and forthright with all the details of the house.' How refreshing.

One more thing that really struck me about the owners....damn are they good looking...The husband with his long flowing hair, I bet he was a surfer...the wife with her pale skin and black hair, she is truly stunning...and the baby!! She redefines cute!!

Ascend the wonderfully period correct stairs to the top level of this manse and you are greeted by this amazing sight. The exposed wood work, the home depot carpet, the clawfoot tub just waiting to be filled with water. The owners have really captured the South of Market Artist Loft aesthetic here. I hear Justin Beiber has a room just like this!!!!

Continuing on to the other side of the top floor you have yet more South Of Market Hipness...Look at the single lonely ceiling light hanging by its wires. Tres Chic.

Can't you imagine sitting up here and banging out the next great American novel on your manual royal typewriter??

Exit the amazing main house and through a separate entrance we have this amazing space. Imagine yourself in your own art studio, with warm heated floors, creating your next masterpiece.

The brawny exposed woodwork subconsciously pushing your work in a more marketable masculine direction.

Did I mention just how amazingly attractive the owners are??? It's obviously still on my mind as I'm writing this.

Through this hallway, done up in some new post modern spare aesthetic is the rest of the bottom unit. Through the doorway on the left is,

A generously proportioned bedroom. I didn't have a tape measure on me but I estimate this room to be at least 2000sq ft.

Don't you just love how the bright blue of the empty electrical boxes plays of the brown of the exposed exterior sheathing? Visionary!

On the other side of the hallway is this masterpiece in the making, a bathroom. I simply adore the 'everything is still in boxes waiting to be installed' aesthetic. I hear Bill Gates has several rooms in his mansion done up like this!

Stepping through the doorway at the end of the hallway you'll feel like you've just stepped out into a Wonderland. A wonderland of stamped concrete and imposing metal sculptures. I've recently learned that along with being so darned pretty the owners are also famous artists.

Their pieces typically sell for many hundreds of thousands of dollars but they told me they might include some of the minor pieces with the house, for the right offer. They feel that the neighbors would miss the 30' fire balls...

This house is an amazing find!!! New foundation, slab, amazing radiant heat, 200amp electrical service with subpanels on each floor, shockingly good looking current owners (I heard they were both models), the amazing, breath taking avant garde shabby chic atmosphere. So what if it still needs a little work!!! With a 203k loan the new owners can put their personal stamp on the property and have a personalized, customized home. All for less than it will be worth!!

Out of all the houses that I have reviewed, this house, I can say without a doubt, is in the best condition for the money and is by far and away the best deal on the market right now!!!

*Obviously this is a joke review if you can't see that take a deeeeep breath and stop taking yourself so seriously.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Storage Loft O Halloween Goodness

Man, Do We Need Storage!!
We decided that the center bay of the 3 bay garage would be a good place for a storage loft. Its ~5' to the bottom of the ridge board from the ceiling joists and its a low enough slope roof that we still have good height at the edges.

If we could use all the area above the ceiling joists in this bay we would have a 9' wide by 20' long by 5' high storage loft. This area was originally not designed even for 'light attic storage' so a lot of re-enforcing of the structure would have to happen.
The existing 2by6 joists spanned 9' were on 4' centers and half of them were spliced in the center!?!?!? I mean, its only 9' use a 10' 2by6 for petes sake!!!

My plan was to add new structural select 2by6's that would bear fully on the 2by4 double top plates of the walls separating the bays at 16" centers and to jack up the sistered joists and sister a complete 2by6 onto them. Then I would screw 3/4" plywood to the rafters to make my floor.

Here's a scary shot of one of the sistered joists. They only overlapped like two feet and where held together with only four nails!! Look how the wood is splitting and how they are sagging! Of course people are going to use this space for storage its perfect for it.

Using my Harbor Fright MultiMaster ripoff I cut hole in the drywall for the new joists. Love that sag in the joists visible in this shot.

New joists in and toe nailed to the top plates with 3 16D nails.

Here's me fixing one of the worst splices by sistering on two new joists. I predrilled for some long lags and lagged the heck out of it from both sides. It seems SUPER beefy and stable.

Adding the plywood subfloor. I love screwing plywood down...lots and lots and lots of screws.

Here's a shot of the framing I did for the opening. As you can see I didn't exactly plan my plywood seams and I didn't block the edges either...I'm not making a floor that's going to be tiled ya know....

One side of the storage loft finished.

Other side of the loft finished.
Look at all that space!!! No way we could fill that right? We'll have plenty of space for all of our Halloween stuff and the xmass stuff and heck lots of stuff right???

Here's the long side again..pretty much packed with bins and boxes and what not.

To the left of the access is all the big random stuff that can't be packed well...can you see Slappys hand?

Here's the short side...absolutely packed with bags of fake pumpkins and tombstones...holy moly are we going to have a lot of funkins for the Haunted Pumpkin Patch this year...guess its a good thing we finally got the yard for it. Picture the pumpkins from this years Halloween and at least double it!

I think we've entered a zero sum game with the Halloween decorations...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

We Got All Of Our Stuff!!!

We Finally Have All Of Our Stuff!!!!!

Woo-hoo no more storage units or storage containers and their associated fees.

Here's a video of the storage company dropping off our 10' storage container...we haven't seen what's inside there in uh...four years...

videoWatch how it unloads...they guarantee that the container stays level through out the process.

Look its a car!! My custom 1969 Datsun Roadster! Poor baby...I blew the engine shortly before we moved so it just made sense to store it...

My baby got damaged during storage. Somehow the car banged up against the doors hard enough to dent the bumper and push the bumper mount in...this was a perfect recently redone and rechromed bumper before we put it in storage....I didn't strap the car down which in retrospect I guess was not a good idea...

Look we have a lathe!! This thing weighs many hundreds of pounds and the B.S. dolly I put together for it disintegrated...we had to pry off the wheels and slide it out onto the ever capable Harbor Fright movers dollys we own. It went okay and pushing it up the slight hill into the garage was not disastrous.

Here's most of the stuff out of the container. That big pile on the left is all of our Halloween stuff that we stored...yes all the stuff you've seen on this blog is new since we moved...We probably have that same amount again now....WOW do we have a lot of Halloween Decorations...

Here's one of the garages with the car and one mc...not enough room in there right now for the other mc and the bikes! Gotta figure out some seriously clever storage solutions for this space...its an excuse to buy go-jacks for my car so I can schooch it around and get it REALLY close to the side wall. Wonder if it will run anytime soon...

Here we are after a hard day of watching us work...grandpa and baby are napping in our 'nice furniture' which we haven't seen in many years...

Its nice to have everything here at the new'll still take us weeks to unpack and get the place 100% squared away...