And the moral of the story is….

We hadn’t planned to paint our trim. We were going to leave it. So, before the carpet came I went through every room and thoroughly cleaned the trim with Murphy’s Oil soap.

Every room that is except the entryway. Is the entryway even a room? Anyway, tile was going in there so I didn’t bother cleaning yet.

Fast forward a few weeks and we’re painting trim, see pervious post here.

When I started to paint the trim in the entryway I got a little drip on the closet door so I swiped it with my brush. And low and behold, the paint on my brush wasn’t white anymore. Ewwwww.

The nicotine residue and grime turned the paint on my brush from white to tan. Yuck!

The paint on the trim in the picture on the top is supposed to be the same color as the door! Double yuck!

So, the moral of the story is……make sure you wash down all of your trim before you start painting it, otherwise, more work.

Reinstalling trim after painting it can be confusing

Here’s some tips on how to reduce the stress of it all!

We got our carpet and it looks fabulous!!! I mean, it goes well with the colors on the walls and the house is starting to look like a home and you can lay down on the floor if you want and you’re not going to get up and be all dirty. And, going without shoes is a must! So cozy.

It’s awesome, until you look at the trim.

Yeah, it looks old and dated and gross. I thought the original dark wood trim would look charming. Nope, I was wrong, again.



And to reenforce how wrong I was, our awesome realtor Jill Collins (you may remember her from this post: 5 Tips for Buying a Home)  took one look into the first bedroom and said, “you’re going to paint the trim, right?”

I was like: Uhhhh.

She was like: Right?

I was like: But the carpet.

She was like: Right?

I was like: But…….yes, of course we’re going to paint the trim.

She was like: Great. 🙂

So, we thought about taping the carpet but that’s just crazy. It’s expensive. It’s risky. It’s time consuming.



The Mister said he’d take the trim off the walls and we could paint it that way. Which was fantastic because it literally took three coats each!

But then the nightmares started. We’d take it off and then not be able to figure out where the pieces went.

But alas, we devised a plan.

As he took each piece off the wall he left it laying on the floor. Then he carefully marked each piece with: which room it came out of, a number starting from the left and going clockwise, and which side of the room it was on.

This made it so much easier to remember where each piece went when it was time to put it back on.

Now our rooms look fantastic! I can’t wait to share the before and after pictures!



Ugh! Why is it taking so long?

Today marks three weeks since we closed.

Just 21 days.

I know that’s not very long. But yet I feel defeated, tired, like there’s no light at the end of this remodeling tunnel. I feel like we’ll never get this home finished.

Here I thought I was a somewhat patient person. As a career photographer and videographer you have to have some patience, you know, waiting for that decisive moment to make the picture. Somehow I thought it would transfer over. The patience. But noooooo, it didn’t.



Regular readers of this blog know that I like to do things fast. I wrote a whole post on it: I have a confession to make Oh, and I’m still not going near those edges. Here’s a look at the ceiling in the family room. Aren’t those beams beautiful? Original wood, don’t think we’ll be painting those. Squirrel!

Where was I? Oh yeah. But you can’t flip a home fast. Not if you’re going to do it right. And our goal is to create a home we’d live in. We’re not just slapping paint on the walls, rolling out new carpet and calling it a day. No way.  It takes time to do it right.



We are making progress though. We’ve already gutted and remodeled the master bathroom, the Mister is still putting finishing touches on it. I’m in the process of painting the cabinets. Boy, what a tedious job! And we’ve taken out one wall, and expanded a doorway.

And, we’ve scrapped more wallpaper than we thought was humanly possible. When we took the chair rail off in the dining room we found even more! Ugh!

We’ve removed the kitchen floor, yuck! That was a smelly job!

And, picking out this much paint takes time.

Choosing the right paint is really hard for us. Because, like I said, we want to make this home into something we’d like. But with the paint color selection we have to TONE IT DOWN.

The home we live in is filled with bright, bold colors.  Here’s a very flattering picture of me in front of two walls in our home. Our kitchen wall is bright yellow and our living room was green screen green.

Yes. It’s true. We painted our wall green screen green. It was both bright and functional. (We filmed a few scenes on it, check it out below around the 4:05 mark.)

We’ve since painted that wall orange. So, as you can imagine, it’s hard for us to tone it down!

I think we did ok though finding neutral colors. When the “after” happens, I’ll be sure to share pictures!

I just wish the “after” would hurry up and get here already!



 

 

 

 

 

9 Tips for removing wallpaper

I’m going to say it. I hate wallpaper. It’s too permanent for my tastes. It’s hard to put on, it’s hard to take off. It dates a house after just a few years. The flipper house has two whole rooms of wallpaper. The dining room and family room. And the people who put it up were very good at it! Here’s my tips for removing wallpaper.

1 Buy a scoring tool. This tool is used to put tiny cuts into the paper so when you apply the water, steam, or chemical to the outside it can get between the paper and the wall to loosen the paper. We’ve had the red one, made by Zinsser, for about a dozen years. And it still works great! Now, we haven’t used it every year but we’ve used it about half a dozen times and it’s still cutting like new.

The orange one, made by WP Chomp, we bought for this job. It lasted about three swirls around. It was junk. We returned it. Spend the extra 12 cents and go with the Zinsser.

2 Buy a scraper. Previously I used a putty knife because I’m so cheap. This week the Mister went behind my back and bought a scraper. And boy am I glad he did. It had a more ergonomic handle than my old putty knife and my hands were very thankful.

3 Rent a steamer. I thought we could get by without one, remember, I’m a cheap skate. But I’m so glad we got our hands on one. It made our work go so much faster! To save on the time we had it, we used it just to get the outside layer off. Be careful with the steamer, follow all the directions carefully. It gets very HOT. I know, Mr. Obvious. 

4 Skip the chemicals and make your own remover solution. I mix hot water and cheap fabric softner together and put it in a spray bottle. I’ve seen some posts that use vinegar. Spray an area, wait about 4-5 minutes, then spray the next area and scrap the first area. Repeat. The recipe I use varies. Usually it’s 1:1 fabric softner and water. As I start to run out of softner the ratio shifts and it still works.



5 Use a drop cloth. Live and learn, you can see we didn’t. We left the tack strips in because we plan to install carpet in this room. It made a huge mess, and this picture was taken after I swept up!

6 Protect your trim. If you don’t cover it, be sure to wipe it down as you work. The water or chemicals can ruin it.

7 Protect yourself. One of my besties was over helping me and she took one look at the walls and said, “you have to wear rubber gloves.” Our walls are heavily tobacco stained. She sited a recent case of a man who was restoring a bar and ended up in the hospital with nicotine poisoning. She’s a doc so it wasn’t some fake news story she read somewhere. It was legit.

8 Speaking of besties. Ask your friends for help. It’s always more fun working with a team than alone. And believe it or not, pealing wallpaper can be somewhat soothing.




9 Gotta have the tunes playing. The old CD player filled the rooms with Michael Martin Murphey’s Cowboy Songs; Mary Mary’s The Sound; Don Henley’s Building the Perfect Beast; and a mix tape featuring old school Newsboys our son made for me. I ventured away from memory lane for a bit to treat my ears to some new AA Sound of the Saints. That’s an incredible record! Their title track features images from their trip to Haiti. It just touches my heart so much. I love and miss our Haitian family.  Perhaps I’ll more about that another time.

What tip did I leave out? I’d love to hear from you!





 

 

Ew, what’s that smell?

Pet urine, that’s what. It’s a good thing this blog isn’t Scratch ‘n’ Sniff, just sayin’.

The last family that lived in the flipper wasn’t, how do I put this politely?, um, they weren’t good about putting Rover and Spot out to do their business. Thankfully the seller ripped out most of the carpets before we bought it, but the smell still lingered.

So, first things first, cover the subfloors with Kilz. After covering the family and dining rooms with a good layer of the magical solution, the smell in the house got so much better. It was a big area, here’s a before picture.

I know what you’re thinking, we must keep that sexy wallpaper!

As you can see, it’s a big area and the house immediately smelled so much better! I was thinking, “maybe that’s the only place we have to worry about.” Um, no. When we walked into the kitchen, it smelled like we were walking into a kennel. Ugh.

We had to do something about the kitchen. Pronto! Stat! Fast! Now!

It had this fantastic laminate tile, at least I think it’s laminate, it might be vinyl, here, see for yourself.

I asked the Mister if we could do the kitchen floor next. I’d need him to help me get that tile up and out of there.

He said, “no, we have a master plan, it will have to wait.” So, wait I did, for FOUR WHOLE DAYS! Then, while the Mister was in the back of the house working on his custom-tiled, master shower, featuring Italian tile, I tossed our plan out the window. I had to get that nasty floor out of the kitchen.

Armed with my mask, a box cutter and a crowbar I pushed play on the CD player and the air filled with vintage Audio Adrenaline. Underdog was one of my first Christian records and is still one of my favorites. But I digress. Squirrel!

Anyway, while he was distracted, I went to work on that floor. Surely the smell couldn’t get any worse.




After I pulled the first two tiles up I couldn’t believe my eyes and nose. The smell got worse. The linoleum underneath was wet! Wet with pet urine! How long had that been trapped in there? Did I mention it was still wet? Ew, yuck, gag!

I was praying the urine hadn’t found a way through to the subfloor and those prayers were answered, whomever installed it did a great job! Our subfloors were safe from the damaging effects of the urine.

Removing the tiles and tearing up the linoleum was hard work but I persevered and I got most of it up. And, the Mister didn’t blink an eye when I enlisted him to help carry out the discarded floor. I think he knew I might not follow all the rules. Bless his heart.




7 Tips to buying a home without a realtor

I’m just going to say it, buying a home without a realtor is risky business. But if you must, here’s some tips that I found helped with the process.

Top 7 tips to buying a FSBO property:

1. Get it in writing. I can’t stress this enough. Your lender should be able to provide you with a purchase agreement. Go over it closely, fill out every field, leave nothing blank and spell out everything (i.e. it must appraise, it must pass inspection, etc.). This is your opportunity to negotiate everything. If you have questions about an area on the agreement, ask your lender or consult a real estate attorney.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. The great thing about a realtor is they can do all the negotiating for you. They can offer a lower price, they can tell the buyer you don’t like their carpet or wallpaper and ask for replacement money, they can address that weird smell coming from the back bedroom. When you’re FSBO, you must do all of that yourself. Put on your big girl or boy pants and just address it. The worst that can happen is they’ll say no.

3. Keep excellent records. Save a folder of all the communication and paperwork between you and the seller, you and the lender, you and the title company, etc. You will likely need to refer to one or more of them again. I saved one on my desktop so when my lender said, “I need the insurance document.” I could send it again. Yes, I said again. Expect to send them documents more than once. There are so many, I’m not surprised they get lost. If you’re old school and are faxing the documents, get a pocket folder to keep them in.




4. Don’t skip the inspection. This is vital. You need to know what you’re getting into. You may find the most beautiful home, in your price range, but you may not want it if the foundation is crumbling, if it’s infested by termites or the electrical is bad. Don’t trust Uncle Ralph to give it “a good once-over,” hire a professional.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Stay in touch with your lender and your seller. You may need to help coordinate the inspection, the appraisal and any contractor quotes you want done. Texting may be fine, others may prefer a phone call. This is not the time to be shy. See number 2.




6. Use a reputable title company. If you’re getting a mortgage your lender will be able to recommend someone one. If you’re paying cash call a local realtor and ask who they recommend. Title work is something you don’t want to mess around with, it can wreak havoc if not done right. Hire someone local if possible.

7. Make sure you have an “out” if the property doesn’t appraise. A lender won’t lend over the appraised value. To protect yourself, include an out in your purchase agreement if the property doesn’t appraise.

I’d love to hear from you. What tips do you have when buying a FSBO property?




It all started when he got bored… Part II

 

Editor’s note: To see Part I of this story click on “It all started when he got bored” in the archive.

Crazy right?? Buying a house from some stranger on Facebook didn’t seem like a good idea. I mean, we’ve all heard stories of people being lured into a dangerous situation by a stranger online, clears throat, Craigslist. It’s not like I could meet this person in the parking lot of the local Chick-fil-a to make the exchange.

But it looked like too good of a deal to pass up. Wait, could that be another red flag? Maybe. So, I did what any self-respecting cyber-sleuth would do. I Facebook stalked the seller. Afterall, we live in a small community, surely we had a friend or two in common. Low and behold, we had 10 mutual friends! And, wait for it, two of them are in our small group! If you’ve ever been in a small group you know how close you get to these people. I mean, when you meet weekly to study the Bible, you start to really do life together and a family is created. So, I reached out to one of them. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hey, do you know So-and-So”?

Bible study friend: “Yes, why?”

Me: “Well, they listed this house on Facebook and I’m thinking about buying it. But don’t want to get kidnapped and killed when I go look at it.”

Bible study friend: “That’s one of my BFFs.”

Me: “U R kidding me!!!!”

Bible study friend: “I promise, you won’t get kidnapped and killed.”

We set a time to have a look at it and in the mean time my Bible study friend contacted her BFF and had her send us the inspection report! What? How does that even happen? The inspection report shared the good, the bad and the ugly.

During the walk through we saw, and smelled, some of the ugly. It would require a lot of elbow grease, some renovating and help from a contactor.

Now, to figure out how to do all the paperwork and negotiating without our beloved realtor friend Jill.