House Hunting for the New Abode Part 3

Welcome Back to House Hunting for the New Abode or as this part is titled – HOW NOT TO FLIP A HOUSE.

To recap, Part 1 is HERE and Part 2 is HERE.

So far we have learned two rules of house hunting:

RULE #1 – Pictures Lie

RULE #2 – Don’t Get Emotional

Last Sunday, I woke up thinking I can relax, but then the whole quote thing with the first house we made an offer on fell through. Now it was scramble time. The Mrs. found a house that just popped on the market in the neighborhood that she really liked. As it was occupied, our realtor had to make an appointment to see it. Because the price was very good, we decided to make an offer contingent on getting to view the property. The pictures looked good as usual, but they were from about 3 years previous. In the meantime, the place had been rented.

Uh-oh. As a landlord myself, I know the condition renters can leave a house.

Meanwhile, the Mrs. is busy making a list of houses for me to tour on Monday.

On Monday, I looked at the house that had renters and quickly decided against it. Surprisingly, they ended up with multiple bids. Sure glad I got out of that rat race, which leads us to RULE #3 – Bidding Wars Are BAD! In a Buyer’s market, that’s not a problem, but in a Seller’s market, bidding wars are common.

After looking at the train-wreck of a house, it was on to 3 other houses. 2 were obvious no-go’s after just a few minutes of looking. However, the 3rd one was a bit interesting. It was a flipped house and the flipper did excellent work at first glance. Very clean, nice flooring, new paint, new appliances.

Once I was in the kitchen, I naturally always look under the kitchen sink to see if there has been any leakage problems. But what is this? A wire just hanging down over the pipes? And where in the hell is the garbage disposal? Hmmm, time to take a closer look. The refrigerator, albeit new, was a cheap model and had a ding on the front. Okay then, now we are starting to see what is going on with the flip.

I check out the laundry room which is huge and has nice looking freshly painted cabinets. When I open a cabinet up, I can see rust on the hinge and partially painted. The shelves which were supposed to be adjustable have been painted in place. Not good. But still doable, so let’s continue the tour.

The Glassed/Screened porch looks wonderful overlooking a very clean nice swimming pool. But wait! There are no screens in the windows except for one lonely window. Taking a closer look, the screen is dirty, and has some rips in it and looks pretty weathered. Why in the hell did the flipper just not take the screen and throw it away?

Looking at the backyard which was very nicely landscaped with new wooden fencing all the way ….. well almost all the way around. They left about 10 panels of the old fencing. By this time, I had figured out that the flippers had either a solid ceiling to their flip budget or they had run out of money.  As they were asking top dollar for the house, I couldn’t help but think what else is just not right with the house. I’m going to keep an eye on the house to see if it does sell and at what price. I’m guessing at least $10,000 less than they asked but probably closer to $20,000 less.

So if you are thinking about flipping a house, for Gawd’s sake, don’t forget the details. Spend a few extra bucks on the necessities. All it takes is one wrong thing and the buyer will naturally start looking very, very close at everything. Too many wrong or cheap ways of doing stuff will lose you the sell.

All in all, Monday was a bust for looking for houses. I had a long day at work followed by traipsing around four houses. At this point, I’m exhausted but knew I had more houses to look at the next day. I’ll post about that day tomorrow.

If you are liking this series, say so in the comments. I’ll be sure to reply, especially if there are any questions.

House Hunting for the New Abode Part 2

Welcome to the on going saga of looking for a new Abode.

Part 1 is HERE

My second day of looking for a new house was once again an adventure. I learned Rule #2 of house hunting. For those that missed it in Part 1, Rule #1 is PICTURES LIE!

My realtor had scheduled two houses for me to look at. One was just a bit higher than we wanted to pay and the other one was right at our limit that the bank had set. First the lower price one. On paper, it sounded nice. 1.5 acres of land, a pool, a workshop with 110 and 220 wired in it.

After getting caught in traffic and being 20 minutes late, I finally arrived. The house looked nice. It wasn’t anything special, but we had expected that based on the pictures. For once Rule #1 didn’t apply. Then we went outside and saw the pool. Hmmm, a bit smaller and dirtier than the pictures led me to believe. Yep, back to Rule #1; PICTURES LIE!

No big deal as a pool wasn’t on our must have list. Then we took a tour of the property. It wasn’t very wide, but “OH MY GAWD!” it went on what seemed like forever. We walked and walked. Came to the workshop which was locked, but it was a newer building, so I felt I didn’t need to look inside. Then we walked back some more and kept walking and came across what used to be a cute little building that was now a bit run down. It wasn’t even on the listing, so I figured it was just a bonus.

Finally got to the very back of the property that abutted on to a creek.  Wow, in the Florida heat and humidity that was a bit of a workout. On the way back to the house, I’m talking with the wife and she loved what she saw. (We were Face-timing the whole time.)

So we decided to make an offer. They asked for 217,500 and we offered $215,000. Yay, after only two days, I’ve made an offer on the new Abode.

Which brings us to Rule #2 of house hunting; DON’T GET EMOTIONAL!

The Mrs. and I were blinded by the amount of land. The landscaping was actually pretty darn good. However, by the next day after we had both slept on it, we were both feeling “Buyer’s remorse”.  The house was dated and actually pretty small. The fences needed lots of work.

CRAP! Did we just make a $215,000 mistake?

Luckily, the seller’s came back with a counter offer of $212,000 and that we would pay all closing costs. Wait? What? Closing costs would be about 5k to 6k which we would have to pay in cash at closing. What the hell is that kind of counter offer? I’ll tell you what it was, it was a blessing in disguise. It allowed us to escape our initial offer and to walk away from the house. Whew!

We had violated Rule #2 by getting emotional about the property and overlooking the finer details. It’s pretty common to fall in love with a new house based on first impressions and then afterward discover all the rot behind the first impression.

I’ll continue the ever going saga this evening or tomorrow with Part 3. Stay tuned!

House Hunting for the New Abode Part 1

Well, the Mrs. and I are now officially looking for a new Abode. Last January, I move myself to North Florida to stay with my mother-in-law while the Mrs. stayed back to look after the farm and animals.  I landed a job as a Temp to Hire for 90 days. Finally after the FULL 90 days, I was hired permanently. WOOHOO!

So last Thursday, we got our pre-qualification letter. For those who have never bought a house, most realtors won’t even talk to you without a pre-qual letter. Last Friday, which coincidentally happened to be our youngest daughter’s birthday, was our first day of house hunting.

Keep in mind, the Mrs. is 1500 miles away and it is yours truly who is looking for a house for us. This is fraught with peril as most married men will attest to. Happily for me, we have iPhone’s and we came up with using Face-time to have her there virtually during the house tours.

The first house I went to see after a grueling 8 hour shift at work was one that the Mrs. absolutely adored based on the pictures on Zillow. 3000 square feet and only 205K asking price. It was out in the country a bit, so that’s why we figured the price was a bit low for that big of a house. I learned RULE #1 of house hunting: PICTURES LIE!

The house was a mess. It was in pre-foreclosure and the previous occupants had stripped the house. No appliances, half the lighting fixtures were missing. I counted at least 5 outlet boxes with no outlets. But what was amazing is that they even took the hardware off the kitchen cabinets!?!?!?

So that was a bit of a disappointment. No worries, on to the next house. Again, refer back to Rule #1; PICTURES LIE. It looked nice in the pictures, and it looked nice in person, but was tiny! I’m not sure we could have fit a Queen size bed in the master bedroom.

All in all, day 1 was a bit of a let down. However, our realtor scheduled two more houses for me to look at on Saturday. I will detail that and Rule #2 in tomorrow’s post.


I am of the mind to do a few philosophical posts here at the abode on select subjects.

However, I am beset by doubt.

Firstly, can I do a philosophical post that will actually mean something to someone other than myself? I’m afraid that it may make sense to my twisted mind, but look like gibberish to others.

Second, even if it isn’t total gibberish, will it make me look like a whiny irresponsible millennial?

Thirdly and probably the biggest doubt is whether I have the time to sit and type 5k to 10k words. As you know, philosophical posts tend to be a bit wordy.

Do I need encouragement? Hell no. I’d probably ignore any advice to just do it because I’m contrary that way. Stay tuned or not. It may happen or not.


I’ve Played Once

So today at work, I was asked to work on hanging doors on 7 foot tall cabinets. Probably because I’m a bit tall. Not that tall, just 6′ 3″. One of the guys, a young guy, was working near me and we got to talking. He asked how tall I was. I told him and being a bit snarky, I told him I was the shortest in my family as smoking stunted my growth.

That got a chuckle out of him. He then asked the QUESTION! Yes, the question I’ve been asked over and over throughout my life.

“Did you ever play basketball?”

Let me tell you, nothing is more annoying to someone who is tall than to be asked that question. Especially as I only played 1/2 season in 7th grade before being told by the coach that I was probably a better player manager than a player. Yeah, I was super uncoordinated at that age.

Years ago, I can up with a standard reply whenever someone asks the QUESTION. I stand up straight and look down at them as usually the ones who ask the QUESTION are pretty short. Then I reply:

“Have you ever played miniature golf?”


I always get one of two responses from that. 1) They become indignant about me disparaging their shortness or 2) They recognize that their question was in bad taste.

Today I got a third response that has never happened before in over 30 years.  The kid in all sincerity responded to my question about miniature golf by saying:

“Yeah, I played once.”

I was absolutely floored.

The Irony is Lost on This One

I have a twitter account, but don’t use it much. In fact, I only look at twitter maybe once a month, sometimes longer. Today I was bored and opened up twitter. Then I saw a tweet and responded to it. The tweet was 2 hours old, so I figured nothing would happen to it. Not 15 minutes went by and it got a like.

Here’s where the irony comes in. See if you can spot it?

See that little heart? That means the tweet got a like. I’ll give you one guess as to who “LIKED” it.

Yep, @RemarkableJamie

My Pledge (Sorry, a Political Post)

I’ve tried really hard to stay away from politics this last year or so. Mostly because I’m tired of arguing with people that normally are smart, but when it comes to politics are absolutely stupid.

Normally, when I do vote, I have voted for the Republican candidate. Not because I believe in them wholeheartedly (Bush, McCain, Romney), but because I felt the alternative was a whole lot worse. (Gore, Obama) At times, I had to really struggle to find a reason to vote.

This year, I decided to go the George Carlin route.quote-if-you-vote-and-you-elect-dishonest-incompetent-people-into-office-who-screw-everything-george-carlin-84-34-84

That’s right, I’m not voting for anyone! Having recently move to Florida, when I got my driver’s license, I was asked what party I belonged to. I told them none. They told me I couldn’t vote in the primaries then. I was fine with that.

Lately though, I’ve changed my mind. There is a chance I will be voting this year in November. Will it be for the Republican nominee? Nope. Frankly, I don’t care about any of them as they are all crooks. However, the biggest crooks of all are the GOP establishment. (GOPe)

With the momentum that Trump has, it should be a no-brainer that he will win the Republican nomination. However there are signs that the GOPe has plans to thwart the nomination of Trump or Cruz. By the rules they set up, then can legally put up another candidate as the nominee. For those so inclined, goto Yes, they are rabidly pro-Trump, but also they laid out the GOPe roadmap for this election almost three years ago.

Anyways, if you are still here and reading this drivel, here is my pledge. If the GOPe manages to thwart the normal nomination process and Trump or Cruz does not get to be the nominee, then and only then will I vote. I won’t be voting for the GOPe candidate, rather I will be voting for someone I truly detest which is Hillary ClintonHillary-Vegas-top-640x480

I know, I know. You ask why on earth would I vote for this crook, liar and generally nasty politician. Simple, my vote is not a vote for Clinton, rather it is a vote against the GOPe. They figure that all the conservative voters that they have boned over once again will either vote for the GOPe establishment candidate or simply stay home. Screw that! By voting for Clinton, I’ve effectively cast a double vote against the GOPe.

I truly hope that this will not come to pass, but I fear the bleak future is ahead of us. In case that happens, the GOPe screws over the conservatives once again, then I’m firmly in the camp of “LET IT ALL BURN!”maxresdefault

It’s time for conservatives to throw off the shackles of their overlords, the GOPe. If we have to, then we must LET IT BURN.

Ace over at Ace of Spades says it so much more eloquently than I do. Especially in this post about the GOPe.  Here’s a tidbit of the post:

Is this a Big Tent party, or is this a party an exclusive little cocktail party for a certain breed of government-friendly, liberal-assumption-conceding, Upwardly Mobile Middle Class Professional (or Aspriational) Country-Club types?

And yeah, let me once again repeat my observation that the same people saying that Trump is the New Hitler are still unwilling to even consider rallying behind Cruz, because Cruz is Not Quite Our Class, Dear.

He’s Annoying and Loves Jesus, so, obviously, he won’t do.

Gotta be the guy who most represents our class — or we’ll Burn it all down our own damn selves.

That’s it, no more politics from me.  I’ve said my piece and stand by it. Don’t really care whether you agree with it or not. I’m done!