Friday, August 30, 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Putting the House Down


This morning, they put my house down! (One of the videos actually shows it being raised, as they did quite a bit of back and forth to get things just right.) They also filled in the rest of the foundation (where they took out the steel) and replaced the beams that hold up the carport. It looks like a real house again!

Monday, June 24, 2013

gaps in the doorframe

gaps in the doorframe by misspico
gaps in the doorframe, a photo by misspico on Flickr.

Gaps in the doorframe show how far off square the house was. I was used to how it was so there is a sense of off-kilter like you'd feel in a fun house now that it is square.

House Up!

House Up! by misspico
House Up!, a photo by misspico on Flickr.

You can see JingMen in his temporary fence through the lifted house.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Inspections - Meth Testing

Part of the process of buying a house is making as sure as possible that you know what you are getting. Inspections are one of the key ways of doing this. This is particularly important when buying a foreclosure, since the seller has no idea what has been going on with the house.

One of the things I did was test the house for meth residue. Apparently this is unusual as neither the Realtor's representative nor the house inspector, both of whom were there at the time I tested, were familiar with the idea. I ruled out the option of having a test done because it requires state certification and the local company that used to do it just lost their certified employee. I did a little bit of research into test kits and picked a product called MethAlert, which is a quick screening test than you can run yourself in a few minutes. The main drawback of the test is that it only registers to 15 µg and Oregon will require homeowners to decontaminate if there is contamination present at a level of µg. However,  most properties I've heard of are far more contaminated than that (plus the instructions tell you how to find the most-likely-to-be-contaminated areas.) Also I felt I could carry out the test accurately and didn't feel so comfortable with some of the more accurate ones given that I'd be in a messy ad-hoc test area, not a lab.  Plus it was inexpensive and simple enough to do multiple tests for confirmation.

Needless to say, my house tested clean or I wouldn't have bought it. However my friend sent me a link today to an article about a family a bit south of here who didn't test in advance and weren't so lucky - Oregon Meth House Owners Settle with Freddie Mac

Friday, June 7, 2013

Dehumidifier = Magic

Given how damp and musty the whole house is, I bought a dehumidifier. After reading a bunch of reviews, I picked the SoleusAir Energy Star 45 Pint Dehumidifier, #DP1-45-03 I'm trying to buy efficient appliances and fixtures for the house when ever I can - although I'm sure that at some point I'll come up against a place where I can't get the function I want at a price I can afford. It actually had pretty-mixed reviews, but that seems to be par for the course for dehumidifiers at this point. Which is rather disappointing, because I'm pretty sure the dehumidifier I bought 20 years ago is still drying out my neighbor's basement. It did lose a wheel from our rolling it back and forth across the street depending on whose basement was flooded (until I got the problem taken care of - her basement was hopeless, it had literally been built with a small creek running through it so people would have somewhere to keep their milk cool.)

Anyway, after a couple weeks of dehumidifying, my house smells significantly less musty and is staying drier. Living there actually seems like a reasonable idea (which is a good thing, since I need to move out of my apartment in a week.) I still need to get a hose so it won't stop when the pan fills (and the drain pan is really small), but it's been such an improvement just running to full once a day. Of course, once the house isn't sitting on the ground and I get the sump pump fixed, things will be even better!

(Disclaimer: If you actually follow the links and buy something, I get affiliate commission from Amazon - I'm not holding my breath.)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Dog In His Yard

 JingMen LOVES his new yard! As soon as I got the keys we headed over there and I let him into the yard. We were there for several hours and while I had the door open so he could come in, he  had no interest in doing anything but wandering around in the yard making his usual circles.

Pitched Too High

My house needs some roof repairs - there are 2 missing vents and a couple missing asphalt shingles near them. The North side needs moss removing too. I've done that kind of work. It's only one story up. The pitch isn't very steep. Last night when the house closed, I was all ready with all the tools and supplies I needed to get up on the roof and fix it. It was raining on and off yesterday, so I got up there and it was a little wet (hence slippery) and just a little steeper than the roofs I'd been comfortable on. I pretty much immediately realized that I wasn't going to be fixing that roof without a lot more equipment and that it would probably be cheaper to just hire someone. So I have someone coming first thing Monday to fix it - in the meantime, I still have 2 holes in my roof!

I'm still going to do the moss removal myself. I got a spray on pet safe moss removal product that can be done from 30' away, so I won't actually have to get on the roof. It, however, requires a rain-free day, but whenever summer gets here, I'm ready.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lack of Perspective

From RMLS Listing
Photo by @laprice
These photos were not taken with weird perspective, the floor actually slants that way. There's a 3 plus inch floor height difference across the house, much of it in this room.

Sadly it is not the Eugene branch of the Oregon Vortex.  New foundation is at the top of the list. Luckily, it was also in my budget from the first time I set eyes on the house (pro tip: cement block foundations should not have canted blocks.)

Or I guess I could just claim it's an Ames Room
and call it good.

So, yes, I'm looking for foundation replacement contractors if anyone knows one.

Not My First Rodeo


RMLS Listing Photo

I found the house because I was driving by to look for a rental, this one was down the street and for sale. It's not anyone's dream home, it's a major fixer-upper. I still own the duplex I bought and fixed up in Portland in my 20's and I can see this one working out the same way - work on it while I live there and end up with a nice rental when it no longer works for me. This one is probably in worse shape but I'm more experienced. 

The whole inspection and bidding process has been pretty funny, because people are really cautious with their words and concerned that maybe I think this is my beautiful dream home and they need to tell me it is a decrepit shack. I think it can be a nice home, but it will be a lot of work to get there. On the other hand it's not an expensive house and I love the location. It has a nice yard as well.

My Realtor, Amy Thompson, has done a kick-ass job of getting the price down to a reasonable level for the condition and dealing with the extra difficulties of buying a home owned by Fannie Mae. She probably worked harder than she would have to help me buy more expensive house. Needless to say, if you need a Realtor in Eugene, I highly recommend her.