Friday, August 24, 2012

The Boston House - Our Home in the Flipping

We have had some exciting developments in our home recently! Sometime within the next 6 months we will be moving!


As everyone knows our economy is in the tank.  Josh and I bought our house in 2006 - right before the housing market crashed.  Yay for us!  I vividly remember saying, "We need to buy a house! Owning a house equals financial stability."  Well, for us it is our financial undoing.  We bought our house for 210k - it is now worth 95k.

I received a scam letter in the mail about how we need to short sale our house and this supposed "short sale specialist" had a buyer all lined up.  Yeah right, I know better than that, BUT the letter mentioned  The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 would expire at the end of the year.  What?  So I looked into it and yes, the tax act will be expiring on January first of 2013. Which means that the amount the bank "forgives" on a short sale, after 12/31/12 will be considered "income" and we would be taxed on this "income".  After talking to my father-in-law/CPA/personal financial advisor,  we found out this amount we would owe the IRS would be around 30k.   Well, we don't have 30k lying around!  We realize that whenever we DO sell our house it will have to be a short sale since our house will never recoop the amount it has lost - at least not our lifetime and therefore decided to try to sell it sooner (before 2013) rather than later.  In one week's time, we made the decision to short sale, called our realtor and got all the paperwork filled out, listed the house and after one day of showing it received 11 offers.  We accepted the one that we hope the bank will approve and the people won't back out of 3 months down the road and now the waiting game begins.  Do I think we will really get this short sale done by the end of the year?  No, not really, there is always hope but it will be an act of God if it happens. Especially since we are still making our monthly payments.  The bank is going to say "Why should we let you short sale?  You don't have any "hardships" and you can afford the house" But it is worth a try.  We are also keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 is extended.

A driving force behind our decision to sell now is that my parents recently bought their second flip house.  (also a short sale - which took nearly 6 months)  I was lucky enough to be with them when they first went to look at the house and make the offer.   I told my mom "I like this house, you should get it".  (Little did I know that I would be moving in less than a year later!) At the time it was occupied by the owners who were borderline hoarders.  It was a disaster.  By some miracle they took all their junk with them when they moved out.  (We were afraid some jalopies would be left behind!) Now my family is starting the renovation on it and the timeline is perfect for it to be done by the time we should need to move out of our house.  We will rent-to-own it from my parents at a reasonable price and my parents bought it cash so all our rent is pure profit for them.  It's a win-win situation.
The only negative about it is that it is in Chandler which means a long drive to church. (yet close to everything else!) It is the first glimmer of hope we have had of getting out from underneath the debt of our current house and ever being able to afford to buy another one.

The house needs A LOT of work but my family has never been afraid of hardwork.  My dad can fix/build/repair anything and it is actually going to be much less involved than their first flip.

Ready for the grand tour?  Here it is, we call it "the Boston house" as it is on Boston street

The front of the house.  I love the porch.  The posts will be replaced with non-dorky ones.  Obviously paint is needed along with new windows throughout the house.
 Entry way.  The 80's spindles and the half wall on your right were the first things to go on demo day.
 The door in front of Claire is a closet, the open door she's heading toward is the girls' future bathroom.  My mom already gutted most of it.  It also had a half wall with spindles too.  Yay.
 Down the hall to the master bedroom.  Notice the creepy hand prints.
The master has 2 closets (only one shown)
 and a lovely bathroom

 Nice.  These people lived in filth.

Across the hall from the master is Joy's room...

and then down a little further is Claire's...
She says she wants to keep the same color - not happening.

                                            Back down the hall to the main family room. 

I'm in love with the fireplace.  (Notice yet another wall with spindles - that is gone now too) 

 Bay window! Some window casing will dress this baby up!

View from the kitchen area.

 The kitchen - everything is going, we will open it up and put in an island, 
white cabinets and granite counter tops.

The most ridiculous fan ever.  The ceiling is really low in the kitchen for some reason.  We are going to raise them so the top of the fan hole will be the new height.

View from behind the kitchen counter.
See the room that is blue?  That is an addition to the house and for us it will be a play room for the girls.  Close to the kitchen so I can see them, but the toys will be out of sight when you first walk in the house.

Across from the play room is the laundry room.  It is HUGE!

 Some general filth.  There are mouse droppings everywhere in the kitchen and laundry room.

When we first came to look at the house when my parents officially owned it and the people had moved out, we found this coffin and electric chair in the shed in the backyard.

 I was a little scared when I opened the coffin to see what was inside but thankfully it was just some lighting equipment and a fog machine.  These people were really into halloween.

The backyard at this house it to die for!  It is on a quarter acre lot.  Lots of cement for roller skating, bike riding, baskteball etc.  New gate coming soon.

There are no two-story houses in the neighborhood.  That is a GOOD thing.  In our current house we are surrounded by two-stories and our neighbors like to watch us in our tiny backyard.  I hate that.

 Those palm trees are going and eventually it will be mostly a grass lawn.
It has 4 different shade trees that are all staying.

 IT HAS A MULBERRY TREE!  I'm in love.  It shades the master bedroom window.  
We are going to put Claire's playhouse under it.
It also has a lemon and orange tree along with another tree that we think is a plum. 

The front yard also has a big driveway great for the girls to play on.

Pretty much everything  in the house is going to be ripped out and replaced.  In one demo day my mom and I removed all the baseboards, door frames, doors, carpet, carpet pad, and all the half walls with spindles.

We have a lot of work ahead of us!  Let the fun begin! (No, I'm not being sarcastic) 

I will update with our progress as we go.  I am so excited!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On My Mind

I'm sure everyone has read or heard this touching poem.

Isn't it funny how times have changed? I believe we young mothers have so many more distractions to pull us from our children than a late 50's mother did.  I'm sure not tempted to get up from snuggling with Joy or Claire to go dust the blinds or mop the floors. For me this poem should read.

Oh, blogging and pinning
can wait til tomorrow,
but children grow up,
as I've learned to my sorrow.
so quiet down facebook,
phone go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby.
Babies don't keep.

I have been feeling convicted in this area for awhile now.  I always hear those heart-warming stories of women whose children recount that "Every morning I came downstairs, my mom was sitting in her chair reading her Bible."   What are my children going to say about me?  That every morning they came downstairs I was looking at pointless status updates on facebook?  There are so many productive things I should be doing but all too often I get online to "look up a recipe" and before I know it an hour has gone by and I can't even remember what I originally got on the computer for in the first place.

I was talking about this topic with my mom so when she came across a blog post, How To Miss a Childhood, she sent it to me.  I highly recommend all parents read, not just mothers.  Talk about convicting!  Now, just to set the record straight, I do not spend hours and hours online each day and thankfully I have a cell phone that can only text and make calls, but after reading that post I became aware of how many times Claire says "Look at me Mommy!" and I answer with "hold on" while I click on one more link, picture, page, tutorial etc.  I don't think we realize that children are not as impressed with technology as we are and they have no idea what we are doing when we are at the computer.  All they see is that whatever game being played, e-mail being read, or photo being posted is more important to us than they are.  I could be looking up a play-doh recipe to try later in the day but Claire does not know or appreciate that, she wants me watch her as she practices a new skill or show me that she can now write a perfect letter "e".

Babies do grow up, childhood is short.  How many precious and irreplaceable moments are missed each day while we unknowingly use technology to isolate ourselves from our families?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Refashioned Tube Top

  It seems that every year at this time we run into a shirt shortage for Claire.  The same tops are worn over and over and over. Or maybe it just seems that way since the majority of them are pink.   Either way it was time for something new.

I was at our local Goodwill a few weeks ago on dollar day and spotted this cute red and gray striped fabric peeking out of the over-crowded rack.   It was a ladies' tube top with elastic around the bust and waist that had rotted out.  I looked at the tag, it was $1 and I just knew it had potential.

The design and pattern changed as I went.  I orginally had this in mind,  but I decided it just didn't look right so I made the bias tape cover the neckline as well.  The only thing I was able to salvage from the old tube top was the ruffle.  The rest of it was just a square of fabric when I started.

I am pleased with it!  It is my most "store bought" looking shirt so far.