Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Financing and Shower Tile

The guy from the bank we've been working with called us today and said that the appraisal was complete. The appraised value was enough that they will definitely be able to loan us the money for the purchase plus the money for the improvements we want to do.

It seems, then, that everything is ready to go for the March 14th closing date. However, with all the work we've done so far, it's easy to forget that March 14th is actually when the real work begins.

Until then, we'll be inundating ourselves with knowledge of tiling, sink installation, and plaster walls. Besides the bit of rewiring we're going to have done, we think we're going to able to do almost everything without hiring contractors, which will help greatly to keep our costs down. I'm looking forward to tackling the challenges, but it's also quite intimidating; the better the quality and thoroughness of our work, the better off we'll be when we close on permanent financing (at which point the house will be re-appraised and a conventional mortgage will initiate).

I reckon now is as good a time as any to ask for tiling advice. After doing some research, it seems that tiling the kitchen and bathroom floors won't be too much trouble, but I'm particularly concerned about the complexity and tedium of tiling the shower/tub walls. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of task? Any advice, warnings, etc.? Thanks in advance!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


We're slowly getting closer to closing the deal on the house.

I met with two electricians yesterday (never could get in touch with anyone from Foster Electric) to get some estimates, and costs were right around what we expected, if not a little lower, so that was good news. The selective rewiring we want done is right at the top of our priority list.

I also talked to our loan guy yesterday and he said the appraisal should by complete by Tuesdsay. The bank needs to know how much the home will be worth after all our work is done, so the appraisal is to be done with the idea that the house has already undergone all the work we want to do with the extra money they'll loan us. So we expect to hear a final word on the financing by Wednesday.

Nothing to do now but wait....and discuss interior paint colors. More to come next week!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


First, today is Jessica's birthday. Happy birthday, wife!

After the home inspection, we learned that the wiring in the house is, predictably, outdated and obsolete. We want to get the worst of this taken care of immediately by upgrading/ consolidating our breaker panels and upgrading some outlets to grounded and, in some cases, GCFI-protected circuits.

I didn't have any electricians recommended to me, so I just flipped through the Yellow Pages and emerged with these: Mr. Electric, PRO Electric, and Foster Electric. For Mr. Electric and Foster, I visited their websites and investigated them for grammatical and spelling errors; things looked good. All three are "licensed, bonded, and insured" and the last two are BBB members, so I figured I couldn't easily go wrong. Then, in a manner not unlike that of an air traffic controller, I set about carefully orchestrating consecutive, non-overlapping appointments with three different electricians to give me (free) estimates on the work we want done.

I also set up an inspection by our homeowner's insurance agent. They have to check out the ancient wiring before we can get an insurance policy on it. If this sounds paradoxical given the preceding paragraphs, that's because it is. I suppose it will be something like...
Agent: "Yes, the condition of this wiring is acceptable to our underwriters; we'll insure the house."
Us: "Thanks! ...Now, let's call Mr. Electric and get this old wiring replaced!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I took a bunch of pictures of the house a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully, we'll be able to look at these "before" pictures a few months from now and be amazed at their contrast with the "after" pictures. Below are a few of these shots; the rest can be viewed here.


If we can get the oddly-configured financing we need, Jessica and I will take possession of our new house on Hickory View Lane on Friday, March 14. If all goes as expected, we will soon be totally enveloped by matters related to our outdated, dilapidated, new house--and for quite awhile. I cannot imagine a better tool than a blog for keeping a journal of and sharing with friends and family the events that will ensue.

Please feel free to add comments to the blog entries--words of encouragement; home improvement advice, criticisms, recommendations, and warnings; or just simple discussion.

(Blog authors always begin with the grandiose idea that they're going to write and post blog entries at least weekly on a consistent basis for the rest of their lives, but, inevitably, most will lose their motivation after a week or two. I am no exception, but I'll do my best.)