Boom and Bust

The history of the Gold Country is replete with tales of boom and bust, of peak-moments of crazy-fabulous riches followed by troughs of fire, depression, failed-crops, and broken dreams. In other words, the prospective house needs a whole new roof, entirely new attic ducting, and an electrical make-over. There’s some witches-brew of mis-wiring; the light/fan in the master-bedroom trips the GFI in the master bath, but then the fan continues to operate. One GFI circuit in a front bedroom trips a circuit on the other-side of the house out on the deck. Another GFI circuit in the kitchen is un-tripped by itself but is tripped by the non-GFI outlet on the other side of the sink. The carpet smells of smoke, and walls need patching – that’s trivial and cosmetic, but/and there’s no vent-stack for the stove/range. Venting into the attic is not a recommended procedure as I understand it. The vent-stack could be fixed at the time of the re-roofing, but the full inspection report and termite-report and will come tomorrow. And no dirtbike riding, too noisy! Pbbth! Other than that the HOA is pretty un-intrusive! I’m gonna go have a beer.


About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

25 thoughts on “Boom and Bust

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an HOA that cared about the inside, only what the exterior and property looked like, and what was being done with it. Also, the property value seldom had any bearing on how strict they were. FI: “The Pines”, next to the prison in Milpitas, was the cheapest houses in town, and the most controlling. Infamous, actually. Pre-web days were crazy, there.

    • If the common-interest development homes in the HOA share walls and ceilings (and roofs, and ducting – like in our Condo-complex), where noise transmission, odors, and water damage can be major issues to common-areas, then they (and the CC&R’s) really must care about the inside. The Owner of the unit actually only owns it from the paint, inward.

  2. Maybe you should be figuring out the value of the land, and deducting the cost of demo/removal of the existing “house”? 🙂

    • Can’t afford to actually build a whole new house, and land is kinda fungable depending on where you are and how it can be used (or not used). Like “horse property” vs woods.

  3. Oh, funsies!
    My ex has a little old cottage, with an early-60s garage-to-living-room conversion, out by Sacramento.
    On one occasion last year, I was out there trying to figure out why a (relatively new) ceiling fan was behaving so oddly. Turned out to be a failed protection module in the fan, but, before I figured that out, I’d gotten slightly familiar with the wiring.
    There’s the original crappy little fuse box. There’s also a crappy little breaker box associated with the garage conversion. There’s no sane mapping of fuses or breakers to anything.
    On the front wall of the front bedroom, there’s a built-in dimmer box, which doesn’t appear to connect anywhere.
    As near as I can tell, nothing is properly grounded.
    With a wall switch turned off, there’s nontrivial leakage to the wiring that it’s supposed to turn off. (This is one reason I was messing with fuses and breakers.)
    And I thought my early-50s house had Issues… but it just has woefully inadequate capacity, by modern standards, and no grounding of bedroom nor living room outlets; nothing actually wrong with the wiring.

    • Houses in Sacramento seem to almost routinely catch fire! A few years ago in the midst of the kitchen renovation we had to upgrade the panel and do a mini-electrical overhaul. The cheap, lowest-cost, builder-quality Zinsco breaker-panel of that era we removed was notorious for causing house-fires. Google “zinsco electrical panel fire hazard.”
      Your early 50’s house (IMHO and earlier homes) retained the high-standard quality-concepts associated with long-term construction and pride in ownership – before the 70’s get ‘er done cheap-and dirty mindset prevailed.

  4. This is why I left California decades ago. The houses (in silicon valley) were put together in such a hurry no one cared about anything. And WAY too expensive. I took a business trip to Nebraska and had to stay over the weekend for a Monday meeting. I could have bought a 4 bedroom Tudor for the same monthly payment that rented a crummy 1 bedroom apartment in an uninteresting part of San Jose. I almost moved on the spot.

    As for an HOA that is not “interfering,” that hasn’t been invented yet.

    • Having been VP on the board of our condo HOA I’m inclined to agree! But here it’s mainly for exterior look,, they don’t give a hoot about the inside, as the inspection report indicates! Blarg!

  5. lmao.
    I’m right there with you.
    15 years of living in my own house like a renter has resulted in a to do list as long as my leg.

    • If you have a job and work for a living you probably have a reason for the deferred maintenance! As an unemployed/retired guy I have nothing but a list of to-do’s.

  6. If possible, get your financing arranged as a “pre-approval”, and not a mere “pre-qualified”. Pre-Approval gets you pretty close to having a Line of Credit at the ready when at the negotiating table.

    Having the ability to demonstrate your ability to stroke a check to escrow and go directly to the title research and other pre-closing steps will separate you from the “looky loos”.

    It also means you can confidently table a “take it right now, or leave it forever” offer. That’s a lot of buying power, there.

    Just be careful with it. It also means you can have an instant buying mistake, but a mere pen-stroke away.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

    • Thanks!! I’m just stuck on stupid. Money’s important but I’m stupid about making money. I couldn’t sell hot-water to Eskimos or ice to Hawaiians.

  7. Another two cents worth: never worry about any house as being “the one”. Look at 30 or 40 houses before you buy. There is literally a house on every corner and around every bend. If this is an investment property, look for the right buy, not the perfect house. Be patient, it will come, and the benefits of buying right pay unbelievably huge cash rewards on the financial end.

    Also, as handy as you are and as hard as you’re willing to work on it, don’t be afraid of a house with a major list of projects or even deficiencies. That may be where you build your best benefit. That’s probably kind of your sweet spot.

    • We’ve rejected over 230 houses on the “client portal” already for various reasons; manufactured (low re-sale, non-standard construction), mobile (no resale), ugly power-lines overhead, school-proximity, heavy-industry neighbors with (unpleasant noise ) everything up here is mixed-use and a lot can happen.
      I’m a creative. I have to at least think it’s “the one” or I cant even engage drive. Which mainly explains my career-fail.

  8. Yeah, VTR (or out the wall, if the inspector approves) ought to be figured in your offer, methinks.

    What’s the existing roof, 3-tab asphalt? Easy enough to re-roof that. Any competent crew can pull that out in a day or two.

    My two cents.

    • Re-roofing est. says about $9k. UPDATE: What’s VTR? Problem is we can’t make the master bedroom grow – it won’t fit a king-size bed and be able to open the french-doors. There is a weird chop to the room arrangement and inaccessible areas beyond the attic trusses that can’t be inspected.

  9. Sounds like LOTS of ammunition for re-negotiation! When I have my pre-purchase inspections done, I have my contractor follow the inspector. For every deficiency, I have a matching bid. Makes the process simpler. . . .

    • Forgot to mention the next step: They have a copy of the inspection report, so match it deficiency for deficiency. Present the list of repairs and a synopsis of the cost to have the contractor fix them, emphasizing these are the KNOWN repairs (do not give them the contractor’s writeup, because they will attack the detail, just list things like “Attic ducting: $2700, total rewire: $11,750”) Stress that you typically budget 50% above known deficiencies to arrive at likely rehabilitation costs, as repairs will uncover other damage and violations.

      Then deduct the whole shooting match, including the 50%, from your lowest offer. Then, if forced to negotiate, start on the 50%, not the other total. Ask them if, in their agent’s experience, any rehab EVER came in at the original budget?

      The fact that you’ll be doing much of the work yourself isn’t relevant, because that’s still the market cost of that work. Your time has value.

      Then see if that drops the cost enough to cover the renovation. By the way, their agent will now have to disclose any deficiencies your inspection turned up (in most markets, anyway) so they’re going to have a harder time selling it to anyone else now, and you’re still sitting there with a valid offer, something they might now have trouble replacing. You’d be surprised how much this can move the needle off their “firm” price.

      Just my $.02 worth. You probably know all this already, so feel free to disregard the above. . . . .

    • UPDATE: Actually I guess we’re pretty much amateurs at this. We don’t have a contractor or even a budget – more like a target. But the inspector is the same guy who did this home, he’s a part of our Agent’s network of people. I am now deflated and rather unsure about this propriety at-all being the “one.”
      Thank-you, that’s all good and helpful! A lot is stuff we/I never considered.

Comments are closed.