November 6, 2008

Buying Store Display Products

One of the most expensive renovation in many houses is usually the kitchen area which can easily range from $5000 to $50,000. Most homeowners nowadays demand top-notch, high quality kitchen cabinets, state-of-the-art home appliances like refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove range. But these things dont come cheap at all. Most double door stainless steel refrigerator can range anywhere from $1000 to $3000, depending on brand, quality, performance, and added features. Dishwasher prices range anywhere from $200 to $1500 depending on variety of factors like branding, functions, design, maker, etc. One, if not the most expensive expense in kitchen renovation is cabinetries and countertops which can range anywhere from $1000 to $25,000 depending widely on quality, material, as well as branding and added functionalities and state-of-the-art upgrades and conveniences features like lazy susan in corner cabinets, pull-out drawers, etc.

Although, it is not widely advisable for everyone because you sometimes compromise best quality and flawless product, but buying store displays clearance can sometimes be great finds because they are mostly great bargains. Stores sometimes clearance off old store displays of their products inorder to replace it with new models and new arrivals. Although, some clearance items have damages and have signs of wear and tear from all the store customers examining such product displays, but most of these items are never been used before, and work just like brand new items fresh from the box! Minor scratches and bents maybe bothersome at times, but with savings of more than fifty (50) percent off or possibly more, sometimes it is worth dealing with little flaws and boxless products.

We recently bought a store display customed cabinets for more than 70 percent off the store listing price, it was such a great deal. It is in great shape, some little scratches in some of the wood, but the overall appearance is great and they still look very high-end. Although, we needed to modify the layout of the cabinets and countertops inorder to fit with the kitchen we are working on, with some rearranging and few ommissions of cabinets, we were able to work the clearanced store display cabinets and make it work with the kitchen. On the positive note, it is great to have a high quality cabinets without paying the high price.

The only pitfall with buying store display clearance items is that you have to learn to deal with imperfections, damages, and flaws sometimes, other times just boxless. To get an amazing deal, clearance buyer may need to do some thinking and lots of creativity to make the item work with the existing place somehow. Because with clearance items, what you see is what you get, there are not a lot of choices, you need to think outside the box and think of ways to make it work. If you cannot find ways to make it work, another option is to pay the full regular store price and save the headache :-)

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October 17, 2008

Painting Task Today

I was painting the ceiling today and consumed a little more than a gallon of paint. I was using a regular paint roller, so it was a little messy to handle specially that there is no drip cathcher that comes with the roller design. But the extension pole helped a lot, eliminating the need to use a scapolding or a ladder entirely. I personally think that using a ladder or scapolding while painting a ceiling can be dangerous at times and complicates ceiling painting all together. My painting job was not too bad, just required a lot of patience with the preparation, trying to cover all the furnishings and items that i didnt want any paint drips.

The good thing is, we recently bought a new non-stick paint tray that eliminate the need to wash it up with water after painting. The non-stick tray is such a great product, it saves me time and water during clean-up specially that the paint tray is usually the biggest painting tool in a regular painting job, and it eats up a lot of water trying to clean it up, not to mention scrubbing hardened paint residues! With non-stick paint tray, it is so easy, just let the paint dry in the tray after a painting job, and peel off dried paint afterward! I absolutely salute the person who thought of this idea, definitely time-saving tool!

Hint: Although the non-stick tray works really good with regular paint, basing on my experience, primer did not work really well with the non-stick tray.

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September 29, 2008

Challenges That Come With Replacing Windows

One of our building permit includes replacing windows in the house. The house has single pane windows with aluminum framing. When it comes to upgdraing windows, single pane windows are probably considered obsolete nowadays, and the upgrades are mostly being dual pane windows, which are more energy efficient because it had better control and proven performance over the air around it, both hot and cold air. Dual pane windows keep the warm air in and keep the cold air out, and vise versa, which minimize the use of heating or air conditioning furnace to keep the room cool during summer or warm during winter.

By replacing windows using different sizes, part of the indoor walls, sheetrock, had to be cut off inorder to remove the old windows and place the new ones. So there could be plenty of patching of the interior walls or the sheetrock specially if you are replacing a window with a different size. Even more difficult is when the existing sheetrock have texture in them, which means that patched wall had to be textured as well to match with the existing texture. Texturing is not an easy task, you need to find the right texture that match with what is existing and price wise, they usually dont come cheap. A single spray can of texture cost around $12 to $15 that have coverage around 50 to 100 square feet, depending also if its used sparingly or economically. After the texture application, primed paint had to be applied before the colored wall paint can be applied. Paint color has to match the existing wall paint, or else the whole room wall need to be repainted so that it will not have multi-colored or patchy finished end product.

Another major challenge when replacing windows is when the new window had to be move to a new location, or move few inches away from the original location because the header above the existing window will be affected and had to be moved as well. And if the header will be move, you will have to deal with the wall studs as well, possibly add or relocate the 2x4 studs to properly support the new header location, the windows, etc.

But having new dual pane windows are definitely worth it! As simple as replacing windows have dramatic transformation in the look of your home.

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September 18, 2008

Buying Oops Paints

Earlier today we went to Lowes to buy some stuff for the house. We passed by a clearance isle in the painting department. Everytime we pass by in the painting department, we always try to check out their oops paint to make sure that we dont miss any great deals on some paints that we might need. Normally, a semi-gloss gallon of paint can cost around $19 to $27, depending on the brand. But with oops paints, most paints in a gallon is priced-to-sell at around $5, which is a huge deal compare to $19 to $27! The only pitfall about buying oops paint is that you get what is available, what is there is there. With oops paints, you really dont have a lot of choices. The reason why it is called oops paint in the first place is that the paint was mixed wrong (oops!) or whatever else is wrong with the paint (oops!).

Just for the record, we dont really buy every single oops paint there is. We only buy one when there are paint colors in the oops section that we like that we think we can use later on in a project or a job. There is really no reason to buy a bargain oops paint if we know that we can never use it even if it is a bargain price. It is not making sense to buy oops paint and ended up just storing it, taking valuable space, and after years of having it we will realize that it will never be used! So we only buy ones that we think we can use, or paint colors that we can bear to stare.

If you have limited budget for painting in one of your to-do project, why not check out the clearance section in a painting department, who knows, there might be a paint that will work for you, for a fraction of the cost. Saving, is never a bad thing :-)

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August 10, 2008

Paints Combined Into One

We have several different color paints in our garage. The other day, we decided to check them out one by one, to see if there are anything we can use to paint a bedroom wall. Unfortunately, none of the colors were satisfactory enough, paints were either too dark or too light. We even tested each paint in the wall, walls where we wanted to paint, to see how the color would appear if applied in the wall, but none of the paints worked. Most of the paints we have in the garage come from all different sources, some were leftovers from old painting projects, others were bought in the opps paint sections of stores that we couldnt resist the prices, while others were special orders with high prices but we changed our mind about the color and couldnt return the paint and decided not to use it. All different reasons how and why each paint ended up in the garage, in the effort to find a common ground and a use for it, since most of the paints have been stored for awhile unused, and who-knows-when we are going to really use it individually. We decided to mix some of the paints, the same type paints, all water-based, indoor and acrylic. We decided to combine the dark orangy color with the white and the cream ones, hoping to achieve a lighter version of the dark orange. In the end, we ended up with a nice lively peachy color, which we ended up using by painting it in the bedroom wall.

When you try to mix different colored paints, do make sure that they are the same types and classifications, to make sure that it will mix properly and not flake on you, etc.

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July 26, 2008

Energy Efficiency Report

Inorder to determine and plan the overall energy consumption and efficiency of the whole state, applying for a permit for a home remodeling or room addition in CA may require a Title 24 Report, showing the performance of its units like the central air and heat, lightings, and other energy consumming devices. It is definitely more additional work and complication for a home flipper or contractor inorder to obtain such report to get a permit approved. Just like a home inspection, a Title 24 Report requires a licensed or trained HERS Provider to analyze the report and such report will further undergo documentation review for accurary before it will be forwared to the city hall during the permit application process for approval making sure that the home remodeling or addition is in compliance with the energy efficiency standards. I guess the Title 24 Report will help ensure that each dwelling will be more energy efficient and consume less energy specially with the growing concern of global warming nowadays. Oh well, never filed for a Title 24 Report before, so its gonna be a learning process, as we go along.

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July 19, 2008

Saving Those Original Hardwood Floors

When you buy older homes, lets say, houses that were built around 1960s to 1970s, it is more likely the you will uncover a genuine hardwood floors underneath those headious carpets! Nowadays, hardwood floors are a crowd favorite flooring for a lot of homeowners and buyers. But real hardwood floors nowadays cost a lot per square foot, easily ranging from $3 to $10 per square foot, and if you are lucky to have a hardwood floor hidden underneath an old ruined carpet that had seen better days, repolishing those hardwood floor maybe worth all the works to save it. There maybe a lot of other alternative as far as recreating the look of those hardwood floors like using laminate flooring or vinyl flooring with wood designs, but nothing can compare to have the original hardwood floors that originally came with the house when it was first built! If you are selling the house, hardwood floors that comes originally with the house is definitely a great selling feature and it is a definite hot item for many prospective buyers! You gain a lot of benefit by saving the original hardwood floors, not counting the cost you save if you have to recreate the same material, nowadays, this type of flooring will easily cost you a fortune. By saving the original hardwood floors and putting it back to its original glory can be quite a task for a house flipper or a house investor or a homewoner, but if sanded and properly stained or protected, all the effort that is put into saving those real hardwood floors maybe all worth it, not only because it looks great and natural, but also because it could save you tons of money trying to replace it with the same exact materials. So, if by all means, you uncover an original hardwood floors, it might be all worth it to save those genuine stuff!

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June 2, 2008

Easier Clean Up After Siding Demolition

House siding demolition can be extremely messy and the demolition crew or house flipper may have to deal with all types of nails both big and small falling all over the ground, sometimes hard to see and spot them all. When the nails fall into the grass lawn, or in the dirt, cleaning up the mess may tend to be even more challenging and difficult. So for easy clean up, job would turn out to be so much easier if a canvas tarp is spread against the wall prior for siding demolition. For safety, it might be best if the ladder will not be positioned on top of the spreaded canvas specially if the canvas tarp have a plastic lining on the other side. With the tarp being spread below, it is so much easier and faster to collect most of the fallen nails and tiny little pieces by gathering the ends of tarp together and pour all the collected items in a bucket or into the trash. If you dont have the tarp spread in the ground to catch all the nails and other little pieces, it might be extremely hard to spot them all one by one specially in a loose dirt or grassy lawn.

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April 23, 2008

Replacing The Bedroom Windows

After talking to the city building and planning official, we just learned that replacing the existing single pane windows in the bedrooms will not only require a permit but a detailed and drawn to scale drawing as well. The official said that the new city code in the area requires that a new or a replacement bedroom windows must have maximum 44 inches length from the floor and more than 5 square feet of opening for fire safety to allow easy exit for anyone out of the house incase of fire in the house. This make sense in a way, but what doesnt make sense is that the original plan is that just trying to upgrade the single pane windows to more energy efficient ones using Star Energy Low E windows, but the replacement windows will remain the same dimensions, but in order to implement the new city codes, it would mean that the existing sheet racks will need to be opened up and existing framing will need to be modified inorder to lower the framing and the headers to accomodate the required 44 inches length or less. So instead of just replacing windows, it will turn out to be a whole redo of the walls and sidings as well, which is turning into a very complicated process and a permit is now required with detailed and drawn to scale drawing. Inorder to implement this new city codes, not only will it double the work load but the budget as well because not only do we need to buy the replacement windows but have to worry about header and framing modifications and patching the opened sheet rack as well.

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April 22, 2008

Saying Goodbye To The Dark Green Walls

It is amazing what a coat of paint can do. Its only been few days ago when we were staring at a dark evergreen bathroom wall in the house, that didnt take very long for us to decide that the paint color just doesnt seem to work in anyway with the bathroom tiles and floor. It took us two major coats of super strong white primer to cover the dark evergreen paint in the wall. Although, after two hard coats of paint primer, we still noticed several holidays in the wall, it is looking so much better than the dark wall that was previously there. The third coat and final coat will be the paint that we will decide to put in the wall, but we are still in the process what paint color to put up in the bathroom since we are not sure if the tub tiles will be removed or we will just keep it, since there is really nothing wrong with it but the color is neautral not quite colorful.

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April 7, 2008

Flippers We Will Be

I would like to do some flipping in the very near future, and would like to share my experiences and adventures here as I go along with all the different projects that we tackle, fix up and renovate.

This blog will house all things renovations, tips on how to fix things up, and any other concerns and interests that comes with flipping like choosing the right floor, why the carpet needs to go, or should the wall be knock down or not!

Please check back soon, I will be updating this blog as soon as new data and experiences comes along.
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My other flipping blog is sharing my thoughts, experiences, and actual hands-on as a real estate flipper. This site is about flipping houses, transforming homes from run down or ordinary into a nice upgraded and stylish dwellings. Hopefully you learn something here, get inspired to learn new skills of your own, or learn from our mistakes. Read Disclosure Policy