Monthly Archives: July 2009

Flip That House?

I spent the greater part of July in Utah doing essentially what I do every day at my job–bossing people around. My brother and I decided to buy our dad’s house from our two sibs and do some fixing up, with an eye to selling it in about a year. I don’t think either one of us is really in it to make a lot of money–for me, it was primarily emotional–that, and wanting a really big project to work on!

I arrived in Utah June 22 and returned home July 20. During the time I was there, my brother and I got a
TON done on the house. It sounds rude, but there’s a big advantage to having some money to spend during a recession. I was able to get multiple bids (quickly) and get projects done and completed quickly. There were ads on the radio stations that I heard over and over again saying, “If you have the means, now is the time to help your neighbors by spending your money.” I helped my neighbors in spades. The main floor of the house has had the walls repaired, the ceiling textured, and everything painted. We took out the kitchen ceiling, repaired and reinforced beams (including having a hydraulic jack that lifted the sagging roof) and put in more insulation over the entire attic. We removed everything from the kitchen, moved electrical for the stove, and added 4 new outlets and installed 8 can lights in the new ceiling. We took out the bushes in front of the house and put in new landscaping, re-roofed the patio, and put in a new circuit box. We also bought cabinets, countertop, sink, new stainless steel appliances, and arranged to have a plumber create plumbing for a built-in dishwasher and water to the icemaker in the refrigerator. We trimmed the back tree that had dead branches. I cut back the overgrown grass and put weed killer on a lot of it (that is not going to last very long, but it made me feel better! ) Paul D. fixed a toilet (that was a 5-hour job that involved injury!) and Paul H. put in a new faucet in the pink bathroom to replace the one that was leaking (that one almost required an emergency call to the utility office, since we realized we didn’t know where the main water turn off valve was! I put in a cement ridge in front of the basement door to try to divert water, and spot painted that back bedroom. I also scraped and spot painted some outside places that were peeling. It was a lot to do in just a little over 3 weeks! In fact just looking at this list makes me tired.

Here’s a photo of the front of the house with the bushes removed and the new landscaping. There’s still lots of junk on the porch from the kitchen:


On the last day I was there all I had to do was wait for the cabinets to be delivered. In the time it took me to go put my shoes on, the driver had managed to slip his brakes and slide into the ledgestone wall in front of the house with his semi. The driver was infuriating–he immediately tried to pretend it wasn’t really damaged and started trying to replace the stones (which of course made me furious). The shipping company has assured me they will cover it–but now I need more bids, etc. and I’m not around to follow up and harrass people about how they’re doing their work the way I was when I spending my full effort on it! Here’s the poor wall: