Tuesday, March 17, 2015

House Hunting

We have been tossing around different destinations for a quite a while, and pretty well decided on the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Coupeville, La Conner.
So last weekend we headed out for Sequim. Neither one of us had ever spent any time in the area, so we kinda wanted to get a feel for the area and look at a few homes.
The weather was outstanding, with blue skies and mild temperatures. We had been perusing the house for sale adds, and lined up a half a dozen places to look at.
Most of them were not what we were looking for.
One was pretty much what we want, but was located WAY out on Hiway 12. The one I liked the best was located not far from town on 3,2 acres out in the woods. I loved it, but Mrs A wanted it to be more out in the open. I told her if we owned the property we could remove some of the brush and trees to open it up. It only has a two car garage, but that is twice the garage I have now, so it would do. With a little budgeting and a bunch of work I could probably get a shop put on the property. The building kit would be about ten grand, and I suppose local labor would double that.
Today there was another property showed up on the market, with an existing four car garage and shop. Looks promising.
My brother Bill just put his house up for sale, and it sold the day he listed it, so the market is pretty hot right now. If I can just get this place finished up and on the market, we may be moving soon.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Next steps

This selling your house and moving is a pain in the ass.
Admittedly I had let projects around here slide. Something about working six days a week, with the added benefit of being in my mid sixties is not conducive to anything getting accomplished around the house.
We had the real estate agent over the other day to discuss strategy.
There are a couple of very different strategies when putting your house on the market. The prevalent theory currently is that you want to empty your house out and put everything you don't immediately need into storage. This "opens up" the rooms and makes the house look bigger. It allows the prospective buyer to mentally place their furniture in the rooms without distraction. The thought is that if you have a bunch of stuff in the house, people will spend their time looking at your stuff and not your house.
The second school of thought is "Staging" your house. It is similar to the first, but leaves just enough stuff in the house to suggest how nice the house can be with the studied placement of a small amount of furniture in a tastefully created presentation.
While I agree that is is best to remove the majority of your possessions out of the house, I agree with the idea of staging the house for a couple of reasons. I think a few tastefully placed possessions add to the appeal of the house, and makes it more comfortable to live in while it is up for sale.
Mrs A on the other hand would empty the house of everything. As I told her the other day "You would empty the house of everything except one chair, and we would have to take turns sitting in it!"
Needless to say, this remark was counterproductive.
I have arranged for the moving and storage company to come and pick up the majority of our possessions and move them into storage next Tuesday. They will hold them until we have procured our new residence, when they will pick up the rest and move them to our new home. This isn't cheap, but I an getting a little old to be moving furniture.
Then comes step two of the plan.
The contractor comes in and finishes off the spare room in the basement. I have worked on this room off and on for several years. Pit in a vapor barrier and framing, with a sub floor. Insulated the walls, added wiring and lights, put up drywall and painted it. It still needs a ceiling installed and trim and some sheet rock done. Finishing the room out will add about 300 sq ft to the livable space of the house, bumping it up over 2.000 sq ft, making it 4 bedrooms instead of three with a corresponding rise in price.
The investment with be worth it, since it is so close to being done.
As soon as the contractor is finished, the house goes on the market.
We have several properties in mind in the Sequim/Port Angeles area that meet out requirements.
Maybe after this is all over I will be able to slow down and enjoy this retirement stuff.
What fun would that be.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Getting closer

I have been working my ass off getting the house ready for going on the market.
Very seldom does a day go by when I don't work on some project. The two biggest projects were the deck and rhe wiring. Both are done now. I just finished lag bolting the railing posts today.
We had a real estate agent over on Friday to get down to the business of marketing the house. We needed to take an impartial look at how much we can get for the house, with the intent of buying something in Sequim for cash, I want to walk in owning the new place outright, no mortgage. So far everything looks like it is working out.
We are going to move most of our belongings into storage, leaving just enough stuff to live with. A guy is coming over on Tuesday to give us an estimate on how much to move and store our stuff, and then deliver it to our new house.
Part of the reason for moving the stuff out, is that we have a big spare room in the basement that is currently stuffed with our packed possessions. The room is partly finished. I have built up a sub floor with the intention of installing carpet or pergo. But first we have to get the room empty. Then I can finish levelling the sub floor and laying flooring. I am getting an estimate from a contractor for putting up the ceiling. This would put the total living space of the house just over 2,000 sq ft, and push the price over the $300,000 range.
There is a pretty hot market in my area, and not a lot available, so it looks to be a pretty good sellers market.
If everything goes according to plan, we could be moving in less than a month.
I'm starting to get excited.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Deck Renovation

We are pretty well done with the deck renovation. All new structure and underpinning, but the decking handrails and balusters are the same ones that were on before.
I still need to secure the bottoms of the balusters, and there is a five foot section of handrail that needs to be replaced and the balusters attached.
When I finish up with the deck, we need to get the house ready to sell. We have been packing everything up in totes and stashing the totes in the basement. I know that the real estate agent would like us to pretty much empty the place out for showing, but I really don't want to rent storage and move everything a couple of more times.
Oh well, we'll do what we need to do.
One of these days I'll be able to devote more time to doing the things I WANT to do. So far, retirement is more work that I anticipated.
We are still looking to move to somewhere in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, La Conner. We have seen several things we like, but until we know what we can get for our house. Realistically I hope to get $275,000 for our place, and we have seen several places that meet our needs in the $250,000 to $260,000 range. We just hope they are still there when we are ready.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


We are going to put our house up for sale, and there are some things we need to do to help with that.
The major undertaking is the deck. 420 sq.ft. of deck. I put it in about 10 years ago, and it has deteriorated some, so I am having it rebuilt. I spent the last three days tearing the old stuff loose.
My body is telling me that I am not used to doing that much physical labor.
This retirement stuff is a lot more work than I anticipated.
If things go right, the house should go on the market in a couple of weeks.
Then the crazy begins for real.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Molly, the Road Dog

Back when Mrs A and I first got together, she wanted a little dog she could mother. Mainly because I wouldn't let her fuss over me. I have never been a fan of little dogs, but it was something she needed.
So we found a Shi Tzu that we bought.
I chose her because she had a sweet mellow personality.
Shortly after we met her, we hooked up with Morning Light, a Christian Rock band. They specialized in performing in detention facilities, primarily youth facilities. The band members and most of the crew were recovering alcoholics and drug users We really believed that they were delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. Although it meant long days of hard work, we became Road Crew for the band, and Molly became a Road Dog.
She loved going places and being around all the people and going places. She was a comfort to the incarcerated.
After being an only dog for seven years, Mrs A found another pup in need of a home, and we bought Monk, a Brussels Griffon. When we brought him home, molly retired to the upstairs bedroom and refused to come down. She would come to the head of the stairs and let us know when she needed to go out. But we had to carry her through the living room to the back porch. She would not deign to set foot on the main floor.
This went on for several weeks. Finally she would come down the stairs, jump over to the chair, then to the couch, but would not touch the floor.
Eventually she mostly got over shock of having to share her time with her brother, but she always let him know that SHE was the top dog.
She turned 12 this fall, and started slowing down. She had bad kidneys. Some times her front end and back end didn't always track properly. She moved less and less.
She had visibly weakened and turned frail. Her favorite place was curled up on a blanket by my left foot. She really did not like being held, but was content to be near.
Tuesday, she collapsed on the kitchen floor, and didn't want to move. Her spine was hunched, and she was obviously in pain.
We called the Vet and told her we were bringing Molly in to be put down. As I type this, tears are welling up in my eyes. We rook her in. I carried her while Mrs A drove. Her breathing was labored and she would occasionally whine and shudder.
So She has now gone on her final road trip.
I'm going to miss her. She was a sweet little dog who loved everyone she ever met, and provided us with many hours of joy and companionship.
Pets come into our lives, and bring us many hours of joy. The downside is they are short lived and remind us how fleeting and fragile the things we value really are.
So long to my good and faithful companion.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Spiral staircase.

The only access between the main floor and upstairs in this house is a spiral staircase. It is something that immediately catches peoples eye, a distinguishing feature.
As with about everything else in this house, it is poorly designed and constructed. The main problem in that the balusters are too far apart. Per building code, there cannot be an opening larger that 4" between balusters. There are only 2 per step. There should be 4. That being said, the slate in blank as far as how I go about filling the space.
I have spent some time looking on line and sometime wandering around Home Depot and Lowe's looking for an inspiration. Something that will look classy and do the job. So I have considered everything from wood doweling to custom hand wrought iron. Price anywhere from a couple of hundred to five hundred or more.
Time to sit down with pencil and paper and do some doodling.