Monday, December 19, 2016

Diary of a House Flip "We got offers"!!!

The house went for sale on Saturday and we had several showings.  One person said it was just not the house for them, and we received no comments from the others.  Sunday, we had a busy day lined up and the house showed all day long.  One person said the neighborhood was too run down and people were not keeping their houses up.  Two others said the house showed great, but was not what they were looking for.  Several others left no comment.  Monday we had two people come back to look at the house a second time, but a huge rainstorm cancelled all other showings.

Tuesday we got 2 full price offers!

We are in negotiations about close dates, but it appears that we have sold the house.

Here are some of the final photos:

new mailbox

new bathroom fixtures

fresh towels


Saturday, December 17, 2016

How to Flip a House post #12

The end is near!  the carpet is installed, the counters are installed, the sink is hooked back up.  The place is a mess though, so today I plan on heading out and cleaning up.  The realtor is coming today to check up on things, and the photographer is coming tomorrow.  I work tomorrow, so that throws a wrench into things.  I need to finish today.

I need to clean both toilets and tubs, mop all the floors, vacuum the carpets, blow out the garage and driveway, wash the windows, and basically touch every surface with a cloth.  It will be a long day.

Friday, December 16, 2016

House Flip Post #11

What I learned this week:  The sink that is sold with the counters is not always the best sink for you, even if it's included in the price, it's not a bargain.

The counters were installed and the backsplash was not as long as the last one, so I had to call the painter back to try to repair the wall.  It looks like crap, but at this point, there isn't a lot I can do about it.  It isn't the painters fault, he was great.  It is the layer upon layer of paint in a small area.  There is no way to bridge from old paint to unpainted wall without hours of work.

Then the sink issue.  I called a plumber.  He said that if the sink was deep, the garbage disposal wouldn't fit and it would cost over $1000 to put it in.  I tried to explain this to my hubby, but he did not understand what I meant.  He "fired" my plumber and got another.  The new guy took the entire day to hook the sink back up, and could not get the disposal to fit.  In order for the disposal to fit, the sink would have to be drilled out or the brick wall cut into and the pipes reworked.  Loosing the garbage disposal is a real bummer.  Next time I will know that I need a shallow sink and I will refuse their free sink and buy my own.  I got what I paid for.

I was at the house with the plumber all morning, and he took a lunch break around 2pm. By that time, I smelled bad from sweating.  I could smell myself.  I had only intended on being there an hour or two, getting home and eating, showering and going back for the carpet installer, but my plans didn't work out.

I ran home and hopped in the shower.  I was still dripping when the carpet installer called.  I told him I would be there in an hour and he pitched a fit at me saying that I needed to approve the carpet. I skipped lunch and went back to the rental house to approve carpet.  They sent me one installer.  About 2 hours in, he phoned someone and another installer arrived.  It took them five hours to install the carpet.  It was after 7pm and I was exhausted and had not eaten.

I arrived home to a cranky husband.  He was cranky that I did not empty the litter box or run the dishwasher.  He kept flipping out at me over every little thing that I had not accomplished.  Apparently I need to be in two places at the same time.

I went to bed exhausted.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

House Flipping Day 1

We purchased a house 2 years ago.  The market was bad. There were foreclosed houses on the market and we picked up a trashed house for a steal.  Our problem was that even if we fixed it up, no one was buying houses.  We found out that the place could be rented out for $1000 a month if we fixed it and made it livable again.   We spent $10,000 including a new water heater to start with.  The second year, we added a new HVAC unit and a new roof, adding approximately another 10,000 to the purchase price.  We paid $70,000 for the house, put 20,000 into it and received 23,000 in rent for 2 years (our renter ripped us off of the last month rent, but that is another story).  On first inspection, we need to paint and carpet the entire house again, fix some rotten wood on the outside and see what else is broken before putting it onto the market.  Our realtor says that preliminary estimate for sale would be in the 130,000's.   The market was really hot and we sold for 25,000 more than our original estimate.

All I can say is gross. Our renter moved out and left the place disgusting. She did not pay her last months rent, she broke the door to the garage and bragged about cleaning the carpets. No amount of cleaning would have saved those carpets.

 There were three bedrooms. In the master, someone had knocked something off of a table and it ran down the wall and stained the floor, which I guess wasn't too bad, but who doesn't clean the wall when they spill something?

 The master bath toilet had been cleaned, but the tub still had scum in it. I used an entire bottle of a cleaner called "The Works" with no luck. When you don't clean a bathtub for months, it just has to be cleaned over and over again until all the sweaty body yuk decides to break loose.

 The ceiling fan in the master bedroom had a fat layer of dust on it. I grabbed a face mask and the ladder and chunks of dust fell to the floor.

 The second bedroom had a light place on the carpet where the bed had been. The walls had some really good dings and the closet door was inside the closet.
The third bedroom looked like a couple of drunks had a party with gallons of grape juice. She bragged that she had cleaned it and I could see the marks, but I guess she doesn't understand that stains don't come up when they have been lying on the floor for a month or more.

 The threshold to the bedroom was also broken.

I did not get to the laundry area.  When we purchased the house, I had tile laid there thinking it would be easy maintenance.  I am so glad that I did that.  The pictures will tell the tale, I took two.

I wonder if the renter thought those were clean.

 The kitchen cabinets were sticky. Even the realtor commented on how gross they were. Since we plan on painting them, they have to be scrubbed. I started working on them, but hubby noticed a bad leak in the water in the laundry room and cut me off. *sigh* The light does not work. The renter had not called to tell us the light didn't work, so we have another surprise. I got to scrub cabinets in the dark.  The fridge had brown liquid inside it.

 The Great Room that has the family room and dining room combined was disgusting. Cobwebs and bugs were on every wall and under every window.  I am not 100% sure, but I believe all those brown specs are roach poo.  We hired an exterminator for her a few months ago, so these are not recent.

 There is also what appears to be human feces on the floor and the laminate has a place that is scratched beyond repair. The renter had broken the chandelier in half. The lights were on the floor. Short of hanging from it, I am not sure how that happened.

 A few months ago, we replaced the HVAC unit. I left the renter with a stack of filters for the intake vent. It was covered in dust so I grabbed a ladder to let the chunks fall and when I opened it I was shocked to find no filter at all inside the vent. Great. So my brand new heating system was being used without a filter. This was either done because the renter was really stupid, or on purpose. I can only guess which.

 We will hire someone to paint and carpet, but they cannot work until the house is clean enough to paint.  Our goal is to clean up the inside and outside and have the contractor come work.  We arrived at the house after work on Friday and I worked on the tubs. I took a cobweb duster and started with all the ceiling fans. I tried to knock the cobwebs off the walls and I started work on the window sills. I had to stop because I was getting sore, so we decided to pull the carpet up and get it ready to haul to the dump. It was 80 degrees in the house and I had just turned the A/C down so it had not had time to cool the place off. It was hot, hard work and because we had the garage door open, there was no time for the A/C unit to cool the house. It was miserable work and I was sweating inside my face mask. I washed the lower cabinets, but hubby turned the water off before I got to the fridge.

Tomorrow's goals:  Mow grass, cut bushes in front yard, see if more cleaning is possible inside house.  It's Saturday and the plumber would make an emergency call, but we would be charged for an emergency call, so we are going to see if we can figure out what is wrong with the valve for a temporary fix.  If we can temporarily fix the valve, we can turn the water back on and continue to clean.

Want to read more?  View Post #2 here:

Diary of a House Flip Post #8

Disappointing setback this weekend.  Last week I called and got estimates on granite counters.  The price was decent, just over $1400.  They wanted $100 to disconnect the sink, so we decided hubby would disconnect the sink to try to save a little cash.  The salesperson came out and measured and gave me an appointment for Wednesday.  Stupid me thought that Wednesday was the day they would be installing the counters, so I had hubby unhook the sink.   That was the start of a rough day.

First, when calling a plumber, I found out that because their sink is much deeper than the one that is there now, they cannot give me a firm price to reconnect the sink. The plumber said it would be "$500 to $1000 for a sink reconnect".  The problem is that the garbage disposal is too big to fit under the cabinet with the new sink.  I also talked to him about the products we bought to spruce up the master bath and found out that they won't work.  I have to buy more expensive ones and for him to install them was going to be another $300.  I think the master bath will just have to have an ugly faucet and drain.  It's just not worth $400 in product and $300 in service to make it look "nicer".

Since the counters would be installed on Wednesday, I scheduled the plumber for Thursday.  They called twice to ask me if they could come Wednesday instead.  I had to explain both times that the counters will be installed Wednesday, they cant hook up a sink that isn't there.  I was tired of dealing with them.  It was after 6pm and I still needed to do household stuff like grocery shop and cook dinner.  I was shopping in the store, and I just happened to think, "What if my appointment is for some kind of template, not the counters?".  I phoned hubby, but he was not home yet, so I finished shopping and drove home to looked at my papers.  It was not clear.  I was confused.

The next morning, hubby said he wanted to phone the company that quoted on the counters because he had some other questions to ask them.  The next thing I know, he is calling me back and he is very very angry.  He said that the appointment is for a template, which was fine, but that the counters cannot be installed for about 3 weeks.  YIKES!  We had intended to have this house on the market in just over a week, and now I have to wait for two more weeks.    I hate deadline delays.  If I had known it would take so long, I would have called a few other places and asked about timeline, but since I have paid my deposit, I am stuck waiting.

I then had to get off the phone with him and cancel the plumber who was coming out tomorrow to reconnect a sink that is going to be disconnected for three weeks.  I can't believe I didn't ask.

I also looked at the bathroom cabinet I painted, and the paint did not level as it dried.  I had to sand a lot of the paint off and will have to put another coat on.  I am not doing it tomorrow though.  I am disappointed and it has made me tired.

I did finalize a paint color and the painter started work.  Here is the master bedroom.

This is flipping a house.  If I had phoned the granite company, I would have asked if I could pay a rush fee and get moved up the list, but since hubby lost his temper at them, I don't want to call them.

This week goals:
Hopefully the painter will start painting
Finish bathroom cabinet
Check progress of painter to see when I can order carpet

Are you cut out to be a landlord?

A few years ago, during the real estate crash, I saw properties near me going for less than the places had cost to build in the 1990's. I was shocked. I was a little apprehensive at getting involved, and looking back, that was my biggest mistake. We had saved up cash to buy a house, but with prices this cheap, we could have bought two, but we didn't. That was my first mistake, but since I did not really know what I was doing, I am not sure I could really count that as a mistake. I looked around and found a house to buy. Boy did it need work. It needed so much work that it was scaring people off. There was a dead bird in the family room and a wig in the driveway, not to mention the smell of urine left in toilets for months. I saw past all of that and the other unknown problems and saw a house that could be a great place to live. It had a decent yard, a garage and it seemed to be calling for someone to care for it again. The house had a list price and a note that said that in order to buy the house, a second mortgage of $5,000 must be paid.

 I later found out that the second mortgage was what cost a family their home. They took out a second mortgage to put in a "fabulous" water softening system, then when their water heater broke and flooded the garage, they could not afford to fix it. Since they couldn't live without water, they moved and allowed the house to go into foreclosure. It cost $10,000 for us to fix the house and make it livable. The house was built in the mid 1990's and it appeared that no maintenance had been performed on the house outside of painting rooms hideous colors. The dishwasher was not hooked up to drain, so anytime they wanted to run it, they had to pull a hose out of the cabinet and put it into the sink. It seemed a little risky to me and I have no idea why no one ever fixed that.

 With the help of a few contractors and a lot of work myself, I fixed the house up. The only problem was that nothing was selling. Even if I had listed the house, best case scenario would have been a gross profit of about 20,000 before the realtor was paid her 5%. I decided to rent the house out instead of trying to sell it right away. I had never been a landlord before and started out about as dumb as it gets. I printed off a lease form for my state online and put up an add online. I got calls, I got a LOT of calls. I got calls from people who wanted me to section 8 the house (must have been over twenty of them). In this area, it would take months to get that approval and I didn't want the hassle, but I still had to field the calls. I got a lot of people who couldn't afford the rent or were removed from their last house for non-payment. One person even admitted to me that he was removed for trashing the house he rented.

 So listing this house online was not working. It was making work for me. I researched and found that some realty companies here would list the house for you. They would vet the people applying and I would only hear from them when they found a qualified renter. For this they charged me a months rent. They also offered a service where they collected rent and fixed broken things too, but I was pretty naive and thinking that I had just fixed everything in the house, I wouldn't need the service. They found me three qualified renters the first weekend the house was listed. They explained the background checks to me and allowed me to pick which person seemed most qualified. I chose a person with some financial issues in her past, but one that was caught up from her debts and had nothing currently behind.

The first year, she was great. The second year, she always paid around the 8th of the month. I wasn't too upset because once she hit the 5th of the month, I got a late fee tacked onto the rent. Late in the year, she started paying around the 8th and claiming she paid before the 5th and leaving the fee off. I began to get annoyed, but she had been in the house for two years and had not once asked for anything, so I figured that was just part of being a landlord. The third year was a train wreck and it's not over yet. One month, she had not paid her rent on the 15th of the month. On the 15th, I looked online and found out that in my state, I had to send her a form letter giving her so many days to pay. So I emailed her the letter. She shot me back an email saying I was "rude" and that she had never been late on her rent and she did not appreciate me acting like she was. I asked her if the rent was lost in the mail and got no answer. A few days later, I got payment post marked the 18th. This started to be a habit, but instead of waiting until the 15th, the law here says that after the 5th of the month, I can send the letter, so I started sending it to her on the 6th. She sent my husband emails saying I was rude. Mind you, there was no correspondence in the letter, it was a state supplied form with her name and address pasted into it. So by expecting her to pay rent, I was "rude". Anyway, her lease is up at the end of August, and as of the 7th, she has not paid July's rent. I sent the notice and she emailed saying she will pay for the entire month of July and part of August on the 7th of August and she will be out by then. At this point, I suspect she will not pay July or August's rent and she will be out by August 30th. I want to go to the courthouse and file eviction on her immediately, but my husband wants to wait and see what happens. He says we have her deposit and that we can "hand" it to her and she can "hand' it back for a months rent. If we had hired the rental company to service this house, she would have paid on time or been evicted.

 I know now that I am cold-hearted enough to evict someone, but that my husband is not, so in the future, we would have to hire the rental company to service the rental house as well as find a renter. So these are the questions you need to ask yourself before you decide to purchase your first rental home. 1 Am I the type of person who could evict someone if I had to? 2 Would I make a profit if the renter did not pay rent? 3 Could I eat the loss if we went to court and the person still refused to pay? 4 Do I have time to fix things when the renter calls at midnight saying something is broken? 5 Can you handle doing the taxes or do you need to hire someone to do them? Prior to purchasing a home to rent, you will need to figure out if you need a loan or not. I have heard that there are places that require less down, but most lenders require a minimum of 30% down payment. If you put 30% down and can rent at the local average, would you make money? How much will taxes be on the rental house? Will it need any major repairs? In the three years we owned ours, we put in a new heating system and a new roof, both of which were high cost items. If we had a loan, we would have lost money those years. I do not believe in taking out a loan to purchase rental property, but that is my opinion and you are free to have your own.

I did make mistakes. Since I had no experience as a landlord, it would have been well worth it to pay the rental company to manage the property for me. Even if I had chosen not to hire them, I should have looked up the rental laws and known them prior to getting a renter in the house. I should have been strict from the start. By allowing the renter to pay the rent late without a late fee, I set a standard that she expected me to follow from that point onward. As mean as it sounds, from this point on, I will treat renters like they are two. They will have rules to follow and if they are not followed, there is a punishment. That punishment just might be that I would not be willing to renew their lease. Looking back, I was very lucky. My renter is not the type of person to trash a house, she has only damaged a few small things in three years. What if I had taken one of those potential renters from the online ad? I could have been dealing with a lot more. Being a landlord is a job. It might be a job that takes only a few minutes a month, or it might take hours and hours per month, but it is a job. Before becoming a landlord, ask yourself if you have the time to spend, or if you could afford a rental company and still make money. Is this a pain that you want to deal with? My three years of renting are up, and after fresh paint and carpet, the house will have gone up in value over 50,000 and possibly even 60,000 prior to the realtor being paid, plus I had someone paying me $1000 a month to live there for three years.

 Are you cut out to be a landlord? Are you a landlord with stories to tell? Post them below and let me know what you think.

Diary of a House Flip post #10

The stove was installed and we did a few other things around the house today.  Here is an affiliate link to the stove we picked.

Choosing a stove was a difficult decision because I knew that a cook is going to look at the stove, and a person that does not cook won't care.  I had to find a good middle ground.  This is a starter home, so spending thousands on a stove would be senseless, but I still wanted functional.  I decided for getting convection.  I have a convection oven at home and I love it.  My cookies don't burn on the bottom before they are finished cooking on the top in a convection oven.

We are still deciding if we should leave the fridge or cart it home and store it for our next rental, but we are using it for waters right now, so it's staying put.

I also put the finishing touches on the bathroom cabinet today.  A coat of paint, which isn't perfect, but will do, and some new hardware.

I am also going to see if I can find something to clean the brass off.  The original owners name is engraved on the knocker and while some people think that might be a little weird, it's very light and hard to see and I like it.  It means that someone loved this house at one point.  Even though it was an awful mess when I purchased it, at one time, this house was loved.

Diary of a House Flip post #9

Today the new stove will be installed.  We purchased this one:

I hired an electrician to install the new light fixture because the renter had broken the chandelier.  It was no huge loss though because the chandelier was ugly.
Here is before:

Here is after:

I bought the fixture off of amazon and if you want to see it, my affiliate link to it is here:

Here is the kitchen before the stove.  Hubby was unhooking the sink in this photo:

Gotta love the coils on the stove.

While I wanted to go with stainless steel appliances, the fridge and the dishwasher are new, so it would have been a big expense to go to stainless.  The counters are going to be black and white, so the black appliances will look better than the stainless ones anyway.

The painter has also started work today.  I am heading out to the house now.

Diary of a House Flip Post #3

I need to pick paint colors.  This is pretty hard.  I found several really nice colors from sherwin williams, but when I go darker, their undertones become almost tacky.    I love Useful Gray, but using this color would make my cabinets a color called Suitable Brown.  So how did I jump from gray to brown?  Conservative Gray takes me to a shade called Rosemary, which I would call green.  This is not easy.  I want a nice neutral gray that takes the cabinets into a dark gray, not a gray that goes off some tangent and into a different color.

I am at this point considering Worldly Gray and Urbane Bronze.  I actually had to work backwards to get this combination.  I found a dark color that was a nice deep gray with maybe some bronze undertone because I am not looking for "Elephant Bum" for a color.  When I found the Urbane Bronze, I worked my way down it's color chart to Worldly Gray.

Now I need to drive to the paint store to see if my hunch was right...

Back to Post #2 here:

Onto post #4 here:

Diary of a House Flip Post #2

OUCH!  I am so sore.  We worked the entire weekend on the house just trying to clean it.  We did hardly anything to make it sell!  Our renter was not a neat person, that is for sure.

I mowed the grass and cut some of the bushes back.  I started weeding, but the heat index was over 100, so I did not get much done there.
I removed all the screens and put them in the garage.  Nearly all of them somehow got holes in them over the past two years.

Inside the house, I attempted to clean the bathtubs, but found that after I worked my way through all the body scum, the tubs were stained and still appeared dirty.
I also removed all the carpet and padding.  Ok, Ok, I admit....I had to get my son to help me remove the padding because it was glued down.  I spent about an hour making myself sore and didn't get a single room finished.  He came over and in 30 minutes did all three bedrooms and the hallway.  Yay!
I made a trip to the dump with the old carpet, but the dump closed before I could get the pad loaded.

The grosses thing that happened was that I was wiping up in the bathroom and ran my cloth up the vanity.  GROSS!  I nearly tossed my cookies on this one.

The entire house was so dirty that it took the entire weekend to clean.  Below is a photo from the average floor in the house, and an extra special floor....yup, that is what it looks like, and I got to clean it up.

Next I have a pic of the Great Room.  The ceiling fan we installed when we bought the house and thank goodness it still works and isn't broken.  The chandelier that goes above the dining room table didn't survive.  I made a trip to Lowes to buy a new one.   I am going to have an electrician install it on Tuesday.  While he is there, he will see if he cannot fix the light in the kitchen.  It would be nice to be able to see in there.  I have no idea how she broke that one.

In the Great Room you can also see the fireplace.  Hubby made the fireplace mantle for me when we bought the house.  The builder didn't put one in, so we bought one that was a similar size and cut it to fit.  It's beautiful compared to the nothing that was there before.
In this room I also pulled down the wooden curtain rods leftover from the 1980's.

 It took me over an hour to clean the laundry area.   That is the before pic.

This is what she did to the Great Room floor.  Next time I will make sure that the lease says you must use rugs under furniture.

I was able to make it somewhat less noticeable by using one of those furniture pens, but it is still really bad.

So this weekend we accomplished:
a basic cleanup of the house inside and out

Next week:
Electrician coming to install light and fix light
Flooring company coming to give estimate for floors
Realtor coming to give opinion of what else needs to be done
Find someone who can paint entire house quickly
Try to find a way to remove stains from the tubs

What I think we will do is carpet the bedrooms, paint the entire house including kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets.  After that we need to decide how much more to do.  We could replace the counters and that ruined floor, but our realtor thinks it may not benefit us to do that at this time because the market is so hot.

So far we have spent about $200 including supplies to clean and a new light.

Back to post #1 here:

On to post #3 here

Deciding Between 50 Shades Of Gray - Diary of a House Flip Post #7

weekend I got so much less done than I had planned to.  This coming week is a little hard because I have to work two days.  I don't have the kind of job where I can make personal calls or get any of that sort of thing done, so it will have to wait until Tuesday.

I did however, finalize the paint colors.  That was the hardest task I have ever had to do.  I wanted grey.  I wanted a simple, true grey.  What I found out was that there are no simple true shades of grey, that all greys have an undertone.  Those undertones can go to bronze, blue, green and many many other shades.  I grabbed a few samples from Sherwin Williams and was stunned by how different they look in the house. 

I also needed to go dark enough that it would cover the dark spot the renter left on the wall

I finally decided:

I went with the gray that went to bronze.  The bathroom cabinet is Urbane Bronze.  The wall is going to be Agreeable Gray and the bathroom walls will be Sea Salt.  These are all Sherwin Williams colors and can easily be found online if you like them too. 

My plan for the next week:

Get someone to give me an estimate on granite counters.
Finish Painting bathroom cabinet
Get a second estimate on carpet
Research and buy remodel kit for master bathroom tub (the tub is kinda gross)
Buy new toilet paper holder for master bathroom and install it.

Find the next post here:

Diary of a House Flip Post 5- How to paint a cabinet

Step 1: remove the cabinet doors and drawers.
Step 2: wash cabinet with Tsp per package directions
Step 3:  rinse
Step 4:  allow to dry
Step 5:  fill any holes with wood filler
Step 6:  allow to dry
Step 7:  sand wood filler area and repeat if necessary
Step 8: Prime surfaces
Step 9: allow to dry
Step 10:  paint 1 coat of paint onto surfaces
Step 11:  allow to dry
Step 12:  apply 2nd coat of paint
Step 13: allow to dry
Step 14:  replace hardware and put cabinet back together

ps: try not to paint your arm

back to post #4 here:

Diary of a House Flip Post 4

I am so sore.  Seriously...

Yesterday was Saturday and we started the day with a trip to the hardware store for a few things.  $158 dollars later, we headed to the Flip House.   Our plan for today was for me to mop the disgusting floors to see if they would be ok not to replace, to replace the kitchen outlet covers with white covers instead of beige, to replace the heating vent covers because the ones there have never been cleaned and are beyond repair.

When we were at the hardware store, we stopped by their granite counter area to get some idea of price on counters.  If we want laminate, it will cost $26 a square foot installed.  If we want granite, we will have to pay $80 for a plumber to unhook the sink, $50 a square foot for the granite, $250 and up for a new sink, $125 for a basic faucet and $250 for a plumber to put the plumbing all back together.  I am just not sure a sink is worth $ the same time, I don't want to cheap out.  This hardware store will not let us unhook the sink ourselves, which we are perfectly capable of doing.  They claim there is too much risk of us flooding our sink, that they are only trying to protect us.  Did you hear the sarcasm when I typed that?  I decided I like these two choices:

We are trying to save the laminate in the main room because our estimate came back for carpet and laminate and it was around $5000.  We are trying to save some money by putting in only carpet for right around $1500 and keeping the laminate that is there.

The paint job came in at $3000 including trim and ceilings, but the painter wants $1100 to paint the kitchen cabinets.  At this point, we need to focus on one thing to spend money on and let some others go.  I think we will have to pick either floors, painted cabinets or a granite counter top.   I know the kitchen would look fabulous with painted cabinets and new counters, but at this point I think it's just too expensive to do both.    This isn't a high end house, so I feel that it is ok to pick something and to let the buyer do some other things.  I feel like I could put $30,000 into this house easily, but I would not make any additional money from it, so I am cutting back.

I called a carpenter in to fix the damage the renter has done to some parts of the house.  She broke a door beyond repair and it has to be replaced, and she broke the laundry room doors beyond repair.  I do not yet have an estimate from him though.

We arrived at the rental house and I started mopping the laminate.  I learned that when someone does not properly mop that the dirt gets really hard to clean up.  I started with a big flat head mop with a terry cloth head.  I took one swipe and the mop head was too full of dirt to continue, so I started swiping, removing it and wringing it out.  After a while, it lost it's stretch, kept falling off the mop and I had to figure something else out.  I tried the wet jet, but it was not removing enough dirt from the floor per mop head.  I drove to the store and bought a sponge mop, but it was not taking dirt off either.  I got on my hands and knees with a sponge and the floor finally started to come clean.  The problem is that I am not young and this is back breaking work without knee pads.  I finished about 1/4th of the floor.  I also filled some small holes with wood putty while I was on my hands and knees.

I was mopping and went to clean up a stain on the floor and realized that the renter had put a hole in the laminate flooring so deep that it went through the product and a red color was showing. There were four of these areas.  Note to self, next time I have a renter, require that they put rugs over laminate floors.  I realize that I am a little hard on our renter, but we replaced our carpets in our own house and they look good five years later.  She trashed carpets and laminate in three years, she broke doors, she didn't leave the place clean and there were things I cannot believe she broke.  I realize that things break and that there is a certain amount of upkeep everyone has to do on a property each year, but I really feel that she could have taken a little more care of the place, or at least mopped the floor on her way out.

When I felt that if I did not stop mopping, I would not be able to get out of bed the next day, I took a break and sprayed poison ivy in the yard.  I found a few patches of it along the fence and under a tree.  I was swarmed by mosquitoes and my arms were bit multiple times, even with me swatting at them.

I went back into the house to find that hubby had finished all the ceiling vent replacements and was working on the outlets in the kitchen.  He said some of his outlets were not working so he would need to go back to the store.  It was getting late and I was very sore.  I had expected to get a layer of primer on the bathroom cabinet today, but I realized that this wasn't going to happen.

I washed the cabinet with tsp cleaner and removed hardware and doors.  I was not strong enough to remove the drawer pulls, and as I was trying to get the screw to loosen, my hand started hurting very badly and I realized that I had reached my limit for the day.  I put some wood filler into the holes where we removed the toilet paper and called it a day.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Christmas Bargain Find! Happy Frugal Christmas

First off I need to start by saying that there are no product affiliate links on this article.  I have links to the two teapots, but if you go visit one or the other, I do not make any money.  I wrote this because I could not believe the bargain I found.

I asked my daughter what she wanted for her birthday and she said she wanted a cast iron teapot.  She sent me a suggestion for what she wanted.  It was a purple pot, but she said if possible, she wanted blue or teal, not purple.  I nearly lost it when I saw the price tag of $149.99.  I am positive that this teapot is of the highest quality and will last a lifetime, but wow.

Here is a link to the teapot she wanted.

I did not post a photo of the pot because I did not buy it.

I was out shopping one day and scooted into World Market to look at their wall art.  I walked past a display of teapots.  They had a cast iron teapot for $12.49 and it was teal, not purple.  I snapped it up and took it to the register and it rang up $10.99.  I leaned forward and told the cashier that the sign said $12.49 and it was already a bargain at that price.  She said, "Oh, they are extra off today only".

I could not believe the bargain.  They have a lot of other teapots.  She loves her teapot and when I confessed that I did not spend $149 on it, she was perfectly ok with it.  She said it was very pretty and she loves it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Week 4 Cleaning List

Daily list:
Take out trash
Make sure all items for dinner are available and make a list of anything needed
Clean up all breakfast dishes. Wash them and put them away
Quick clean main bathroom: Wipe off counter and sink, wipe off mirror. Put anything away that was left out. 
Make beds 
Start a load of laundry
Fold and put away a load of laundry
Wipe off kitchen counters and sink after each meal
Sweep kitchen floor after dinner
Scoop litter box 
Go through mail and either throw it out, deal with it or put it into the decision file
Run the dishwasher
Unload the dishwasher
Close the kitchen at the end of the day
What does close the kitchen mean? Click here to find out: Close The Kitchen

Weeklies this week:

Clean out the fridge before you grocery shop
Write your menu if you do it weekly
Grocery shop
Clean out the car
Deep clean your main bathroom and change the towels out
Wipe inside and outside of garbage can
Water plants
Wash bedding
Deep clean kitchen
Dust house
Pay bills
Vacuum entire house

Monthly or more list:
Remove cushions from sofa and vacuum under them...vacuum under sofa
Organize Bookcases and dust as you go
Organize Entry (any winter stuff gets put away)
Organize Family Room
Organize Office Space or Room

5 Weeks to a Clean House!

You CAN do it!!!

This is a four week rotating schedule of house cleaning.  It seems like a lot, but I recruit my family to help and it is also a list that is the ideal list, not the one I actually accomplish.  This list has every thing on it that I intend to do, but I have found that if I keep rotating through the list, if I miss something the entire house does not fall apart.   I take holidays OFF.  Holidays are for family, not for cleaning!!!!  That is the entire point of the schedule.

Week 4 Cleaning List

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Leftover Turkey Recipes!

There are plenty of things you can do with leftover turkey.  The best part is that if your family gets bored  of it, you can freeze it in a casserole for later use...and they won't have a clue they are eating leftovers!

On Thursday, I plan on serving the turkey.  If anyone wants a second meal, they can have turkey sandwiches or just carved turkey.  After today, I will use the leftovers in my favorite recipes.

I start the day off with my families absolute favorite use of leftover turkey.  I substitute turkey for chicken in this recipe for Chicken Pot Pie.  Since it's the day after Thanksgiving, and cooking is not on my mind, I use refrigerator biscuits instead of making my own.  The family eats the entire thing.

I substitute turkey for chicken in this recipe.  Again my family loves this one.  It has potatoes and cheese and they eat it up.

Another casserole.  If the family is tired of turkey by today, we order out pizza and I make this casserole and freeze it.  Just substitute shredded turkey for the chicken.

I make stacked turkey enchiladas.  The beef in this recipe can be switched out for chicken or turkey and it adds enough variety that the family still loves it.

Mahagony Turkey!  Again switch out the chicken for turkey in this recipe.  I serve it with rice and a green vegetable.

Wednesday:  Soup with leftovers.  This recipe calls for ham, but I add some cooked bacon and any leftover turkey I can find.  It's so easy!

I am always out of turkey at this point.  If the family gets tired of turkey, I make the Tex Mex casserole and freeze it to later.  We love our turkey, but generally not for an entire week.  Here is to no leftovers!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Potato Appetizer: Great For Bunco or Book Club

This is one of my favorite super easy recipes for bunco or book club. 

Wash potatoes and scrub them thoroughly.  Place potatoes into a 3 quart saucepan and cover with water.  Turn stove on and set timer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  Drain and cool your potatoes. 

Cut potatoes in half and with a spoon, scoop out a small amount potato from the center of each.

  Mix your butter, mayo and mustard together with a fork.

 Place a small amount of mixture into each potato and cover with cheese. 

Broil on high until cheese melts.  Serve warm.

You will need

1 lb of small red potatoes
3 T. butter, softened
1 T. mayonnaise
1 T. mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Wash potatoes and scrub them thoroughly.  Place potatoes into a 3 quart saucepan and cover with water.  Turn stove on and set timer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  Drain and cool your potatoes.  Cut potatoes in half and with a spoon, scoop out a small amount potato from the center of each.  Mix your butter, mayo and mustard together with a fork.  place a small amount of mixture into each potato and cover with cheese.  Broil on high until cheese melts.  Serve warm.

You can vary these by omitting the mustard, adding bacon, adding chives or using different cheeses.  YUM!

Want to see my other recipes?  Check them out here: