A Pool in Progress Phase 2: Gunite

Over the past couple of months I have learned a LOT about pool construction.  As my pool is being built many things I thought to be true about pool construction are proving false, in a good way.  For instance, I thought that they could not dig our pool in the rain, but they did.  I also thought that our pool filling with rain water was going to cause a huge delay, but they got it drained in a matter of days.

Gunite has been another one of those things I thought I knew about, but was proved wrong. The day that they planned to install the Gunite it was very dreary, grey, damp and misty and I thought for sure that they would have to delay the install, but it didn’t delay them at all!



It took the crew 2 days to spray in all of the Gunite and it was pretty amazing to watch.  Our pool went from being a hole filled with shaped re-bar to actually looking like a real pool!  The crew formed the seats, stairs and cascade waterfalls as the gunite was being sprayed in and in a matter of 2 days, wha la!

Here it is after Day 1 of Gunite

The weather was a bit dryer on day two and in less than a second full day the Gunite on our pool was complete!

Day 2 of Gunite COMPLETE!

An interesting thing about Gunite is that is has to dry from the inside out, so it actually has to be kept damp so that it dries properly.  The benefit of having a pool constructed in the winter is that the weather did that job for us for several days!  Normally you have to spray down the pool surface for about 20 minutes a few times a day to keep it damp so it dries correctly, but since the weather was damp and misty, we didn’t have to wet it down at all the first few days.  After that we only had to spray it down once a day for a few days.

Another benefit of constructing a pool in winter is that you’re not tempted to want to swim in it!  LOL!

So it’s coming right along! Next step, cement decking around the pool, then plaster and tile, then swim!

Here are some shots to show you the pool progress along the way

You can follow the whole story by checking out my first post on the Pool:



CalBRE #01984572

I’m a full time wife, mom and Real Estate Agent and I blog about the real dirty honest stuff about renovation; like what living through a house being torn apart is actually like, the real costs of upgrading, DIY vs hiring it out, etc.  If you like what you’ve read, follow this blog to receive an email with each new post!


A Pool in Progress

Three weeks ago I woke up to the most glorious sound. . . Tractors and an Excavator beginning work on our pool!  I honestly can’t tell you how excited it made me, though I’m sure my neighbors were not quite as ecstatic as I with digging and drilling so bright and early in the morning.

We have been dreaming of having a pool for years and honestly we didn’t know if that dream would ever be able to become a reality.  We bought our house because it had the potential for a pool, but turning potential into reality takes a lot of planning and a LOT of moola.  After meeting with our pool contractor back in September, we decided to go for it, but knew it would still be months before he could begin working on our pool depending on his schedule and the weather since we decided to begin the pool construction in winter.  Thanks to our uncommonly warm and dry winter they were able to begin on our pool in December!

Now when you’re planning to put a pool in, there are a lot of variables that add to the basic cost of having a pool construction.  There’s the basic size, shape and materials you choose to use, custom features like lights, waterfalls, ledges, and pool finishes.  Many, many tempting options to choose from and all of them cost money.  For us there were additional variables of unknown cost because our house is built on a lava cap.  For those of you with just soil under your homes, a pool estimate will include the dig for the pool which usually takes a day.  In our case, we had no idea how deep down the lava cap was, how thick it was or how many days it would take for them to drill through it.  What we did know is that each day beyond the 1 day of digging that had been worked into the estimate would cost us an additional $2000 roughly per day for the excavation.   Our pool contractor estimated 4 total days for excavation and no more than 7 days, so that’s a $6000-$12,000 variance depending on length of the dig. Yikes! So with fingers crossed and prayers lifted, they began the dig.

POOL DIG DAY 1:  The weather was lovely and we were pleasantly surprised to discover that we had at least 2-3 feet of excellent soil before we hit any lava cap!  The pool guys were able to dig the entire shallow end of the pool without hitting any lava cap and started in with the giant Excavator to chip away at the lava cap on the deep end.  Unfortunately I worked all day so I didn’t get a picture at the end of Day 1 because it was too dark out.


POOL DIG DAY 2: Lots and lots of jack-hammering today.  I’m sure my neighbors loved it LOL.  The pool crew built a ramp out of the soil to get the Excavator down into the pool area to chip, chip, chip away at the solid lava cap and then they’d scrape it out with the Tractor (sorry, I’m sure there’s a proper name for the tractor but I have no idea what it is) and dump it directly into the Dump Truck that made many many runs to drop the lava and be refilled.  Below is the progress of day 2.


POOL DIG DAY 3:  In the middle of the night between day 2 and day 3 of the dig I woke up to the sound of pouring rain and freaked out.  The Excavator was in the pool hole and all I could think was this rain was going to costs us a fortune if it delayed the dig AND, how on earth were they going to get a million pound Excavator out of a giant muddy hole? I literally got up out of bed at 2am and went outside to see if our pool was filling with water, but I couldn’t tell.  We woke up to this:


Thankfully and amazingly the rain stopped by morning and didn’t slow down the dig at all!  In fact, they were able to FINISH the pool dig on DAY 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!  There aren’t enough exclamation points in the world to describe how excited we were by that.  I attribute the amazingly fast dig completely to our fantastic pool contractor and his crew.  The lava cap didn’t phase them AT ALL, they busted right on through and completed the dig in record time, so our added cost on top of the original bid was “only” $4000!  Here’s what day 3’s dig looked like, and please excuse my fingers in the photos, I obviously was more excited about my pool than taking quality photos LOL!


With the excavation of the pool done, the pool construction crew jumped right onto the next step, framing out the pool and installing the plumbing.

DAY 4 POOL PROGRESS: I came home to the shape of a pool in my yard!  The crew got the whole pool framed out, including the 2 lighted waterfall features we opted for (added cost of $3000) as well as our “Caribbean Ledge” which is a 12 ft. x 8 ft. ledge off of the shallow end that will be 12 inches or so deep and have 2 umbrella holes (an added cost of $750).  I call it the “Christina Ledge” because that’s where I plan to plant myself and snap my fingers until someone brings me something tasty to drink lol. You can see in the pictures below where the lava cap is all throughout the deep end of the pool! We had about 2-3 feet of good soil and then solid lava cap the rest of the way.


DAY 5 POOL PROGRESS: Day 5 brought even more drastic changes! Framing continued and the filters and skimmers were installed.  They also laid out all of the plumbing for the pool, and poured a concrete pad for the pool equipment!  It truly amazed me how much work they got done in one day.


DAY 6 POOL PROGRESS:  On day 6 they added re-bar which is how they shape the pool. The transformation today was amazing. You can see the seats in the deep end and the shape and depth of the “Christina Ledge” and the pool in general.  It’s really starting to look like a pool now!


The first step of the pool is complete!  Next step. . .Gunite.  We’re now waiting patiently for the Gunite to be able to be installed, but the weather has decided to act like actual winter weather now so things are at a bit of a standstill until the ground drys out.  However, you could most definitely swim in our pool if you decided you’d like a mud bath. This weeks rain brought a LOT of water and apparently we have a significant amount water runoff coming off of the lava cap that we didn’t know existed until we dug an 18ft x 38 ft hole in our yard.  We woke up to this lovely site on Tuesday morning after a steady rain all night on Monday.  That’s roughly 5 ft. of water in our unfinished pool!  Thankfully our awesome pool contractor had installed a Sump Pump in the bottom of the pool for drainage in case of rains, so the pool is now steadily draining while the the rain continues to fall.



So far is has been very interested and extremely exciting watching a pool, OUR POOL, being built!  It’s a fascinating process and moves in waves of a lot getting done and nothing getting done, but that’s mostly because of the weather at this point.

There are definitely some pros of having a pool installed over the winter though!  First of all, pool contractors aren’t as busy.  This past summer I know people were waiting 5-6 months for a pool contractor to be able to begin because there was such a high demand for pools.  Our hope and our goal with beginning pool construction in winter is that we’ll have a finished pool to swim in this summer!


CalBRE #01984572

I’m a full time wife, mom and Real Estate Agent and I blog about the real dirty honest stuff about renovation; like what living through a house being torn apart is actually like, the real costs of upgrading, DIY vs hiring it out, etc.  If you like what you’ve read, follow this blog to receive an email with each new post!


Rainy Renovation

Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t posted in a few weeks. Well, not much new has happened. This is the downside of deciding to do outdoor renovations in the Fall and Winter.  Work getting done is subject to the weather and the past several weeks the weather here has been VERY wet!  The rain has turned my yard into a swamp, seriously.  I can’t even get to my wonderfully trimmed citrus orchard now without putting on galoshes and wading through the puddles LOL!  But, that’s the way it goes when you decide to do landscaping in the rainy season I suppose.


One the plus side, my landscaper has been able to get the new planters in place around the backyard which will add some character and dimension to the yard so it’s not just a big rectangle lawn. The best part of the planters is that our landscaper was incredibly resourceful and was able to re-use the cement mow-strips from the front yard to create the planter areas in the backyard. We love re-purposing, re-using and re-ducing waste so this made us very happy!  He also used a piece of the former walkway that was on the other side of the patio to create a large pass through step in the middle of this planter.  I can’t wait to see what they’ll look like with plants in them, but I guess I’ll just have to wait until it’s a little less wet outside lol.


The downside of re-using the mow strips from the front yard is that my front yard which had lawn, dead lawn, but none the less, lawn that was covering up the dirt, now looks like this LOL!

My “favorite” part of this muddy renovation is when my big happy dog comes in from outside with his sloppy muddy paws.  It’s just awesome.  Eventually this will all be beautiful yard space (that’s what I keep telling myself at least!)

Landscaping a yard in winter a slow very muddy process, but that’s what you get when you decide to do outdoor projects when it’s wet outside.  Progress is progress, even if it looks like a swamp.


CalBRE #01984572

I’m a full time wife, mom and Real Estate Agent and I blog about the real dirty honest stuff about renovation; like what living through a house being torn apart is actually like, the real costs of upgrading, DIY vs hiring it out, etc.  If you like what you’ve read, follow this blog to receive an email with each new post!

Location, Location, Renovation

You’ve probably heard the phrase “location, location, location” when it comes to Real Estate and it couldn’t be more true.  Location plays a HUGE role in a home buyers choice and for my family it was our top priority.  You can change a home through renovations, but you can’t change your location. . .unless you plan to pick up the house and move it.  When we were searching for a new home a lot of our friends, family and acquaintances thought we were crazy for wanting to move.  We had a beautiful home that we had just finished updating and it was located in a highly desirable area of Paradise.  Our home had incredible curb appeal, beautiful views of the canyon and was quite picturesque.  But for us, it just wasn’t home.  I honestly didn’t realize it until we moved, but the entire time we lived there, we felt like we were living in someone else’s house.  After we moved we came to the realization that it was the location that made it feel that way.  Even though our previous home was in a highly desirable part of town, it didn’t end up being the location that worked best for us, for our families lifestyle.

(This is the home our friends and family still think we’re a bit crazy for selling)

(And this is our new home, the one we’ll be ripping apart and renovating over the next several months LOL)

Our old house was in a very nice part of Paradise.  It was also a 30 minute drive for my husband to get to work everyday.  Now for some of you who live in the City, that sounds like nothing I’m sure.  But we don’t live in the City, and the 1 hour round trip commute for him was exhausting, for both of us.  I don’t mind having to commute as my job is driving people around to look at properties all over the place, so the placement on the map in relation to my office wasn’t as important to me.  We decided that it was a priority for us to find a home that was much closer to my husbands work so our home search took us to the next town over, Chico.  We are also very involved in our church which is also located in Chico.  For us, all arrows pointed to Chico as our desired location.  Our new home is actually situated in between Paradise and Chico, close to my husbands work and only about 3 minutes further for me that our previous home to my office!  The kids even get to finish this school year at their school in Paradise which has been an incredible Elementary school for them these past several years.

Another thing that was important for us when choosing a location was a flat usable lot.  Our previous home was on a sloped lot, with a million oak trees.  Okay, not a million, more like 30, but 30 oak trees equals a million leaves.  This time around we wanted a flat lot with no oak trees; somewhere that we could have a large flat lawn for the kids to play on and where we could plant a garden.  We could not have a garden at our last house because our overly friendly neighborhood deer thought that anything we planted was their own personal buffet. Our new home has almost an acre of flat land.  We don’t really have “lawns” yet, but starting in the next week or two the project of installing a functioning sprinkler system and sprawling lawns will begin!  The chore of raking leaves is gone and now the kids and my husband argue about who gets to mow the grass on the new riding lawn mower.  They also like to see how can drive it the fastest LOL.

On the flip-side we also loved watching wildlife come through our yard at our previous location.  We had all sorts of critters, from deer to wild turkeys and even a bear. The kids especially enjoyed watching the wildlife and I was worried after our move that we would really miss that part of our previous location.  Lucky for us, we were greeted by 13 turkeys in our front yard during our first week at our new house, and about 50 quail live in a couple of the trees in our yard, as well as a trillion tiny lizards that are constantly running around the property.  So all in all I think we’re good on the wildlife front.

We also have a bunch of fruit trees at our new property.  We’ve discovered at least 10 different citrus trees, some of which we haven’t even figured out what they are yet.  So far we know we have Meyers lemons, tangerines, oranges, kumquats, grapefruits and Key limes as well as an avocado tree, peach tree and pomegranate tree.  The fruit trees were one of the things our kids were most excited about when we first looked at this house.  They were fine with a smaller house and smaller bedrooms if we had fruit trees LOL. We also have a large area in our backyard that will be the future site of a garden.

(Our first grapefruit from our own trees!)

When it comes down to it, for us the phrase “location, location, location” means a whole lot more than just where a house is located.  The priority of location meant finding a home and property where our family could be happy; with space to run and play, laugh and make memories.  With land to garden and lawns to play football on.  With a neighborhood we not only felt comfortable in, but felt at home in.  We were fortunate enough to find an amazing location that we absolutely LOVE.  Not only did we find a property close to both of our jobs so we spend less time commuting to and from our home and more time enjoying being home, we also found a large flat lot in a neighborhood that we love.  Our neighbors are all amazing.  One of them even came over the day we were moving in and greeted us with fresh homemade fig bars with figs from their tree and several of our neighbors have come over and welcomed us to the neighborhood.  Our road is a large loop and our kids adore riding bikes all over the neighborhood.  Even our dog loves our new location and gets to run freely around the large backyard.  Our home and yard will be going through a huge transformation as we renovate, but the renovation of our personal lives has already begun.  Sappy but true. We have found “home” for us (even if we will be tearing it apart it the near future!).


CalBRE #01984572

I’m a full time wife, mom and Real Estate Agent and I blog about the real dirty honest stuff about renovation; like what living through a house being torn apart is actually like, the real costs of upgrading, DIY vs hiring it out, etc.  If you like what you’ve read, follow this blog to receive an email with each new post!


The Skinny on Stainless Appliances

If you’ve ever shopped for appliances then you know that the options seem endless.  Just take refrigerators for example.  There are French door refrigerators, Side-by-side refrigerators, freezer on top refrigerators, freezer on bottom refrigerators, not to mention all of the extra options that come for each of these styles, like door in door french door options, or french door with a refrigerator drawer option, or TV in the door option or ice maker in the door vs in the fridge option, or dual ice-maker option or no ice maker at all option, or. . . you get the point.   Some of the options are quite ridiculous if you ask me, I mean, unless my fridge can do the grocery shopping and cook dinner for me, then I don’t think my fridge needs to have WiFi or an App, but I digress. The reason I know all of these options is because we had to buy a new refrigerator for our new house because we left our old one with the home that we sold.

As I shopped for our new fridge I had to take quite a few things into consideration because our current kitchen will be remodeled in the nearish future, so I needed a refrigerator that would work for us now, but would also fit into our new kitchen design once it is complete.  We also knew what options we liked and didn’t like from our previous fridge, and those options just come down to personal preference really.  For us, our old fridge was a french door style with the ice maker in the fridge and an extra refrigerator drawer above the freezer drawer.  After using that fridge for almost 5 years we realized we REALLY didn’t like the ice maker in the fridge because it takes up a lot of space.  Our new fridge has the ice maker in the fridge door and we LOVE IT! Regained the space in the fridge for storage but still have ice in the door!  We also didn’t like the refrigerator drawer option, it seemed to take up space not give extra space and we often found ourselves having to open that and then open the fridge doors to find what we were looking for.  So this time we chose a fridge that had a large drawer inside the refrigerator section so I can still put large trays in my refrigerator, but don’t loose space with an extra large exterior drawer.  But again, those sorts of design options just come down to personal preference.

The biggest thing I knew I wanted was FINGERPRINT RESISTANT Stainless Steel.  Whoever decided that the name “stainless steel” was an accurate description needs to have their eyes checked, seriously, the title stainless steel has to be the most deceptive title EVER!  If you’ve never owned a Stainless Steel appliance let me tell you a little something, STAINLESS STEEL IS NOT STAINLESS. Stainless steel shows every little mark, fingerprint, water spot, everything.  It looks nice and shiny and clean for all of 5 minutes after you take the protective plastic off of your new appliance and then your sweet dear child (or husband) walks by and rubs their grubby little hand across the front of your beautiful stainless appliance and it’s covered in smudges for the rest of it’s days.  But Stainless is the modern trend, so what do you do about it?  Well, some companies are now making a Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel and let me tell you, it’s amazing!!!  We opted for a Maytag Refrigerator with the Fingerprint Resistant finish and is truly lives up to it’s name.  Not one smudge on it and we’ve been using it for almost 2 weeks now!  Not all companies make this finish though and that was something we discovered in our fridge search.

You’ll also want to know that not all Stainless Steel finishes are the same color.  “Stainless Steel” is a generic term but does not look the same in all brands.  It’s like saying you have a Red shirt.  There are many shades of red.  There are also many “shades” of stainless steel.  That is a very important piece of information to know if you are buying appliances at different times or if you opt for various brands.  Some brands have a lighter and brighter looking Stainless Steel finish than others.  Some are more shiny and others have a more matte look to them.  And then you have your specialty finishes, like Black Stainless, which are even MORE brand specific.  If you are opting for a specialty finish like a Black Stainless and you want your appliance finishes to match, be prepared to buy all of your appliances in the same brand and model style.  For some this isn’t a problem, like if you’re buying the whole appliance suite (fridge, dishwasher, stove top, oven, etc.) at the same time.  But many of you are like myself, upgrading once appliance at a time.  We only needed to buy a refrigerator right now because we will be remodeling our entire kitchen and will be upgrading our other appliances at that point, but we needed a fridge right now because well, people apparently want to eat in my house.  Our current appliances do not match. They are all Stainless, but they are all different brands and so all vary just a bit in color and sheen and all have different handles as you can see.

If you’re like me and you end up upgrading your appliances at varying times, then there are some other things you might also want to consider before you buy.  Other than the Stainless color, you’ll want to consider your handle options.  Each brand seems to have it’s own style of handle for it’s appliances.  They generally keep the same handle or a very similar handle for all of their appliances in a certain model style.  Also, and this is important, companies update their handle styles from time to time!  So if you buy say a Whirlpool Fridge this year and then plan to buy a Whirlpool stove next year, the handles may not match, even though they’re the same brand.  This was something I learned during our fridge buying process. Another thing to consider is that some companies do not make all appliances in the same model style, or certain appliances may be harder to come by (which usually means more money).  For instance, I came across a gorgeous refrigerator in a slate color that I loved, but quickly discovered that the wall oven in the same color wasn’t readily available so was very expensive to get.  I also discovered that this company had discontinued the unique slate color appliance line (this information wasn’t on any of their websites, I found out from our local appliance store), so even if I was able to find the oven I wanted, if one of my appliances needed to be replaced in the future, finding a replacement would be extremely challenging if not impossible.

Another thing you’ll want to consider is where to buy your appliances from.  There are so many options, from local mom and pop stores to big box stores to technology stores or even online.  I’m a hands on kinda girl so I could never buy an appliance online without being able to open it up and look inside and test drawers and stuff first.  We decided to buy our fridge from a local hometown store rather than a big box store, for a few reasons.  First of all, local stores are usually well educated on all of their appliances.  In fact, they were the ones who told me about the handle options and let me know that the brand we opted for had just updated their handles so before I checked out, they made sure that the fridge we wanted was the most updated version.  Another reason we went with a local store, and perhaps the most important reason for me was their excellent customer service.  With soooooooo many appliance options, I had a lot of questions, and I needed someone who had answers, knew what they were talking about and treated  me well.  I mean, we’re talking about potentially spending thousands of dollars on an appliance, so the person selling it to me better know what they’re talking about.  A bit of a tangent here but customer service is HUGE to me, probably because it’s such a large part of my job, but also because it seems to be lacking in so many industries today, so if you provide excellent customer service, you win my business.

If you’re wondering how much you’re going to spend on a shiny new stainless steel appliance, well, that’s all over the board depending on what kind of appliance you’re in need of, what brand, what model level (each brand usually has several models varying in price) and what finish.  The specialty finishes, like black stainless, can sometimes cost you a bit more depending on the brand.  Our refrigerator came in at just under $2400 delivered and installed.  That sounds like a lot of money, because it is, but it’s also an investment.  It’s going to stand the time of the Stainless Trend, it has the features we absolutely wanted and no extra frills (which are usually just one more thing that can break) is FINGERPRINT RESISTANT (YAY!!!!), is a brand that has excellent reviews and stands by their products, we will be able to match our other appliances to it when we remodel our kitchen and, mostly importantly, it keeps our food cold LOL!

So if you’re still wondering if Stainless is the way to go, from a Realtor’s perspective, YES! Home buyers prefer a home with Stainless Steel appliances. And from a Home owners perspective? YES, just make sure you’re well educated in the options and choose the stainless that’s best for you!


CalBRE #01984572

I’m a full time wife, mom and Real Estate Agent and I blog about the real dirty honest stuff about renovation; like what living through a house being torn apart is actually like, the real costs of upgrading, DIY vs hiring it out, etc.  If you like what you’ve read, follow this blog to receive an email with each new post!

The “Discover What’s Missing In Our New Home” Game

We moved into our new house one week and one day ago. There are still about half a dozen boxes or so that need to be unpacked, which I’d say isn’t too bad considering the kids started school last week and we both work full time. Pictures and art still needs to be hung on the walls but the house is functional, for the most part.  One “fun” thing we’ve been doing this week is playing the “Discover What’s Missing In Our New House” game. Now as mentioned before we downsized by almost 1000 square feet so I’m not talking about size that’s missing. Rather this game is about discovering the things you expect to be in a home because they were in your previous home and in most homes but you soon discover when you go to use it that they’re not in your new home.  Simple game, really “fun” lol.

As a Realtor I often point out to my buyers things that are missing. For instance many homes, especially new construction homes or homes that have been flipped are often missing window treatments, like blinds. Something to consider when you as the buyer are the one who will be spending the dollars on that item and they can get pricey.  Our house was no exception but that was an item we took into account.  Since we’ll be doing a bunch of renovations, including adding and moving windows in several locations, we’ve opted for the highly classy and mostly functional but mainly cheap peel and stick paper blinds for our bedrooms for now and everything else is blind free for the time being.

I know you’re jealous of my gorgeous paper shades, don’t act like you’re not lol.
One of the items we noticed missing during our fun game is towel bars. One of our three bathrooms was staged while it was listed and it has a towel ring and towel bar, the other two main bathrooms, the master and our kids bathroom have none! And I didn’t even notice until I took my first shower! Seriously a rookie mistake and I’m no Rookie! So for the past week our bathrooms have looked like a locker room with towels laying wherever they happen to land. Towel bars were not something I planned on purchasing right away since we don’t plan to remodel our bathrooms until later on down the line, but unless I wanted to feel like I was getting ready in a locker room (though my husband would probably appreciate being snapped with a towel), towel bars, rings, hooks were a necessary expense. So I went and purchased towel bars and rings and they’ve been sitting on the counter for the past 4 days lol, so my bathrooms still have towels on the ground, but a least we’re half way there.

I know you all want my beautiful blue sea shell sink and counter. It’s the newest trend, didn’t you know? 😉 Thanks 90s for your rockin laminate style.

Another item our game made us aware of was doorstoppers. No joke, not a single door in my entire house has a stopper on it. That probably should have been my first purchase because my kids are not the most gentle of door openers so I may end up patching some walls as well. So yeah, those are on my “must get” list and will be installed this weekend.

Look! There’s even a hole where the stopper goes but no stoppers, anywhere, in the whole house. Oh well, cheap fix.

The absolute worst discovery during this fun game this week has been the discovery of no Internet. Ok maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, we can get Internet services, we just don’t have any yet. But people I’ve been without the internet for over a week now, OVER A WEEK and I’m a Realtor. A lot of my work needs to be accessed online and working from my phone just isn’t cutting it. Why do you have no internet you may ask? Well, I called our previous internet provider only to discover that they do not service our new area. So I arranged with another provider who told me I should be able to set it up on my own and then they could activate the service. Later that day as I’m connecting all the parts and wires and I call to activate I’m told my equipment isn’t supported by their system. Day 1 of internet frustration. Day 2, I head to the store buy myself a fancy shmancy new modem and router and get them all set up only to realize I’m missing the main cord I need to connect it to my cable connection. So back to the store I go. I call to get it activated after I’ve set everything up and they can’t find my cable connection. So they suggest I plug it into another outlet, which is in another room, which is NOT where my computer will he set up. Yeah, no, that’s not going to work. Day 3, I call back and finally get the company to set up an appointment to send out a technician to get it all set up. What they actually said was “due to self installation failure, we will send out a technician”. Today is that day, day 5, two days since that call and the technician is currently climbing through my attic and under my house trying to run the correct cords so I can have internet. Yeah I’m pretty sure there was no way I would have succeeded at self installation lol!!!  So while I sit here and wait for the wonderful miracle of the internet to be installed in my house, I’m tapping out this post with my index finger on my phone screen, now that’s dedication to this blog if you ask me.

So if you’ve moved recently or you plan to move soon I’m sure you’ll be playing the “discover what’s missing in our new home” game too. I’d love to hear what fun things you discover! And if you’re out looking for a new home, keep your eyes peeled (random note, that’s seriously the weirdest quote ever) for those things that you’ll need to spend money on right when you move in. You might be surprised what you don’t find!


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The Magic of HVAC

From the first day we viewed our new house as potential home buyers, we noticed right away that there was something not right.  Our home search began in the middle of summer, and here in Northern California our summer this year felt more like the depths of hell with temperatures in the 100’s on a regular basis.  When we first viewed our house one very warm summer evening,  we opened the door are were hit with a wall of extremely hot stale heat. . . .inside the house.  We walked over to the thermostat to turn on the A/C and NOTHING!  The air conditioner did not work at all.  It was a balmy 94 degrees inside our house the first time we viewed it.  It was actually cooler outside than it was inside that evening, LOL!  From that moment until this week, our new home had not been less than 85 degrees inside anytime we saw it.

Let me tell you, it’s a bit hard to fully view a house and take in all of it’s potential when you have to keep going outside to get “fresh air” in the 100 degree weather because the inside air feels too hot to breath.  We knew right from the get go that there was something wrong with at least the Air-Conditioner, and during our inspection period we had the HVAC inspected.  In case you’re wondering what HVAC stands for, because I get asked that question all of the time by clients,  HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning.  We quickly learned from our inspector that our HVAC system was completely shot, not repairable, but needing to be completely replaced. The seller attempted to have the unit fixed, but during our repair negotiations we made it clear we would much rather take on the repair ourselves after the home was ours than have the seller “fix” it (with some price negotiations to compensate of course).

Now some of you might think that it would have been wiser to have the seller install a new working HVAC unit instead of taking on the hassle of doing it ourselves.  Here’s where I’m going to let you in on a tip of mine as a Realtor.  I often highly recommend taking on your own repairs rather than having a seller fix it for you (unless of course you don’t have the finances to fix it on your own).  As I mentioned in my last post, the reason being is that a seller most times will do a fix that is least expensive to them.  As a home buyer, you are the one who will be living with that repair.  In this case, we wanted to make sure we had an HVAC unit that would be best for our family and the most energy efficient for our home.  We got a bid on the potential new unit for our negotiations, but we also got a bid for an upgraded system, that is around 20% more energy efficient which came out to $1000 more.

We closed escrow last week and as I mentioned earlier, we had not been in the house when it was under 85 degrees, bleh.  Until today!!!!  Today I took a load of stuff to the new house and when I opened the door this time, instead of being hit in the face with hot air, the magic of HVAC welcomed me. . .cool air flowing from every vent in my house, aaaaah!  It was heavenly as I’m sure you can tell from my picture below (Don’t mind my beautiful appearance. I call this look Renovation Chic as demonstrated by the day 4 messy hair, comfortable clothes and face au natural).

In case you’re wondering what this magic cool air making machine known as an HVAC system might run you if you needed to replace yours, well, you’d have to contact your local HVAC installer as the cost would be determined by the size of your home and your HVAC needs.  You also should consider contacting more than one company as they often have different pricing.  For us, we needed a dual unit, one that was both Heating and Air-Conditioning as we do not have a separate furnace.  We also needed a unit that would service our roughly 2000 square foot home, but we also wanted to take into consideration the addition we plan to do to the house in the not so distant future, so we made sure to discuss that with our HVAC installer and they added some extra ductwork that will be tied into the new addition.  All in all this project came in at a cool (see what I did there) $9300, for the brand spankin new HVAC unit and repairs done to the ducts under the house.  We opted for the upgraded more energy efficient option which cost us $1000 over the basic model.

Let me tell you, money well spent now that I can be in my house for longer than 10 minutes and not have to go outside to get a breath of fresh air.