Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kitchen Remodel - Demo done, ready for tile...

Day 1 and most of Day 2 are behind us.  Day 1 was very stressful for me. Since we are doing some of the work the responsibility to not hold up the process is a little overwhelming at times but I'm doing much better today as we have a little breathing room.

Things I've learned so far:
Blue line in plastic is the Zipper
1.  Good protection for dust is HUGE and our contractors have done a great job.  I had no idea they make zippers you can put in plastic sheeting so you can have entry/exit points into the sealed off area.  Very clever and handy, too.

2. Don't even waste time with being good to the environment when it comes to dishes and cups.  Just stock up on paper plates, plastic ware and other disposable items.  Doing dishes in the bathroom sink is beyond ridiculous.  I guess the earth is just going to have to withstand our increase in trash for the next 2 weeks.  We couldn't take it for one more meal.
3.  If you're going to take on some of the work yourself you need to completely clear your schedule so you can be flexible about when you can get in to do your part of the work.  We didn't have dinner until 9 pm last night.  Not letting that happen again!
4.  I am incredibly grateful that I work from home, although having people working in your home and making an incredible amount of noise can be a tad annoying at least one of us is always here to answer questions and as mentioned above we can be prepared to get our work done whenever the area is freed up.
5.  It helps if your contractors are not only good at what they do but are also friendly and considerate.  We are very fortunate and very grateful to Mike, Kevin, Brett, Miriam and Mike (the tile guy)

All the demo is done.  All the 'stuff' has been removed and our new 1/2 wall is framed and ready for drywall.  About half of the electrical is done (that is the part we are doing) and the under-layment for the tile is in and drying. I don't have a picture of the under-layment for tile.  It is a metal screen mesh with a skim coat of some type of concrete mix.  It reduces the height of the finished floor, which is something we requested.

South Wall

Looking North

Dust Protection

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kitchen Remodel-Getting Ready

 I am by nature a planner and I find comfort in routine.  I am doing my best to plan how we can survive the next 3 or 4 weeks without a kitchen.  The planning is the easy part for me but adjusting to the disruption to my routine may be my biggest personal challenge.  I found a number of crockpot recipes on the internet and planned for each meal to last for two dinners.  We have set up a temporary work area and pantry and are planning to wash our dishes in the bathroom. 

The part I am finding most difficult is the disruption to my routine.  My cat and I have our morning ritual and the change is not easy for either of us.  Both my husband and I find ourselves continually heading to the 'kitchen' which is basically an empty room and then having to stop and figure out where we put whatever it is we are trying to find.

We've been thinking about remodeling the kitchen since we moved into this house 5 years ago. Our  house is a 1959 brick ranch and we bought this house because it had great 'bones' and we knew we could change the interior to suit our needs over time. We tackled one room at a time, taking the time to save up the money for the remodel in between each project.  The kitchen is the biggest and most expensive project on our list and it is the last one for quite a while.

Most of our appliances were early 1980's vintage but they just kept on working.  We have actually
Our 1984 Microwave
lived with a microwave that had a push button release on the handle to open the door and no turn-table.  Our electric range was likely top of the line in it's day, but the burners stayed hot for what seemed like an hour after turning them off.  The dishwasher did it's job as long as the dishes were relatively clean when you loaded it.  The anticipation of all new appliances is a wonderful feeling.

We are lucky to have our good friend as our general contractor which allows us the luxury of doing some things ourselves to save money. I plan to blog frequently as we go through the process and will post pictures too as our kitchen transforms.

My husband and I removed all of our old cabinets, disconnected the sink, faucet, garbage disposal and dishwasher.  We've carted all of our cabinets out to the garage for pick up by the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  We were originally planning to have this remodel done between Thanksgiving and Christmas but when our GC's schedule opened up we reserved our spot right away so we didn't have time to schedule the Habitat De-Construction crew to do the cabinet removal for us.  If you're planning on doing any major remodel projects and want to donate your old stuff, you can contact the deconstruction group to come out, remove the items and then take them to one of their Restores to be resold.

Here are some before pictures.  We had already started removing some cabinets when I remembered to get the camera out.


Looking north from dining room

Looking S into dining room
SW Corner

Friday, October 4, 2013

Government Shut Down and Real Estate Transations

Quick Summary:
  1. Loan processing MAY be delayed depending on your lender and type of loan because the IRS is closed an cannot provide copies of your tax returns and the SSA is closed and cannot verify social security numbers.
  2. HUD will endorse loans for single family homes but it not multi-family loans (condo's and townhomes)
  3. VA loans are being processed but expect delays.
  4. USDA loans are NOT being processed.                                                                                                                                                  
Below is a shortened version of and is DIRECTLY QUOTED from, an update that was published on-line by the National Association of Realtors (direct link here)

Oct. 3, 2013 - What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for REALTORS®?

The information below is based on NAR staff review of agency agency contingency plans for the current shutdown and past experience with previous shutdowns and near-shutdowns. Download PDF summary.

Latest Status Information

(as of Oct. 3, 2013 2PM ET)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS is closed and has suspended the processing of all forms, including requests for tax return transcripts (Form 4506T). While FHA and VA do not require these transcripts, they are required by many lenders for many kinds of loans, including FHA and VA, so delays can be expected if the shutdown is protracted...

Social Security Administration (SSA)
The Social Security Administration is closed and has suspended most customer service functions. According to the SSA Contingency Plan, verifying Social Security numbers through the Consent Based SSN Verification Service will also be suspended during the shutdown, a further complication for mortgage processing...

Additional Status Information

(as of Oct. 1, 2013 7AM ET)
Federal Housing Administration
HUD’s Contingency Plan states that FHA will endorse new loans in the Single Family Mortgage Loan Program, but it will not make new commitments in the Multi-family Program during the shutdown..

VA Loan Guaranty Program
Lenders will continue to process and guaranty mortgages through the Loan Guaranty program in the event of a government shutdown. Expect some delays during the shutdown.

Flood Insurance
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confirmed that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will not be impacted by a government shutdown...

Rural Housing Programs
For the U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, essential personnel working during a shutdown do not include field office staff who typically issue conditional commitments, loan note guarantees, and modification approvals. Thus, lenders will not receive approvals during the shutdown...

Government Sponsored Enterprises
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue operating normally, as will their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, since they are not reliant on appropriated funds.

The Making Home Affordable program, including HAMP and HAFA, will not be affected as the program is funded through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act which is mandatory spending not discretionary.