The Painters

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The painters were a critical part of the preparation for the sale of my house.  The exterior had relatively new siding, but the windows has not been painted in our 20-year residence. The interior was equally in need of refreshing. All rooms needed a coat of the light gray color selected by the Stager, as did all the closets.

The contractor (recommended by the real estate agent) provided the following quote <his text and grammar is reproduced> :

Exterior

Powerwashing paint all sinding and trim windows frames doors.

Interior 

Londry remove wall paper and paint cabinets White, Powder room paint walls and cieling family room paint only cieling office cieling walls and closet foyer cieling walls hallway walls and cieling, Bathroom walls and cieling hallway walls cieling master Bedroom walls cieling , Bedrom walls cieling closet, bed room remove wall paper paint cieling closet , Liven room paint cieling walls price labor material paint for all $3425

My move manager read the above, and summarized the necessary services:

– Power washing all of exterior

– Caulking as required outside

– Necessary repairs inside and out to the surfaces to be painted

– Includes all paint costs

– Priming to all repaired surfaces prior to painting inside and outside

– Interior ceilings

– Two coats of paint inside and outside

– Wall paper removal

Unfortunately, I looked at the two lists and thought that the painter’s looked complete.  A more methodical person would have looked at EACH of the spaces needing paint, and made sure that they were all covered.

The spaces that were omitted by the painter are in ALL CAPS in the following comprehensive list:

Exterior-

Power washing all vinyl siding, painting all non-vinyl siding (I had some in the garage),

Paint all doors and windows.

Interior –

Laundry, remove wall paper and paint walls and cabinets white (interior and exterior).

Powder room paint walls and ceilings AND CLOSETS

Family room, paint only ceiling (this was a paneled room)

Office paint ceiling and closet

Upper Foyer ceiling, walls AND CLOSET)/ Hallway ceiling, walls

Upper Hall Bathroom walls and ceiling

Bedroom (master) walls & ceiling AND CLOSETS(2), Bedroom 2, walls, ceiling, closet

MASTER BATH, WALLS,CEILING & CLOSET

Bedroom 3, remove wall paper, paint ceiling and closet.

Living room paint ceiling, walls

Other Spaces ADDED to original list :

Lower Foyer and Hall (paneled area that was dark) –

 -It was amazing how painting the stairwell white and adding a light carpet brightened the dark area

The Kitchen (mostly cabinets – little painted wall area).

-BUT – we should have had him paint the ceiling, which we did not think about until later.

Original Price $3425 (amazingly low, I thought for a 2800 sq. ft. home.)

He added painting the paneling in the lower hall, the four closets, and the master bath for an additional $200. I was very lucky.

The lesson learned was this: when dealing with a contractor doing a complex job with several possible options, be really diligent in defining the exact terms.  I have had success dealing with the contractors recommended on our Agent’s website.  I can be confident that those contractors are insured and bonded, and have a reputation for doing excellent work.

Preparation for Staging

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Manageable would probably not be a word that would occur to me now in describing where I am with the move process.  About three weeks ago my Move Manager and I sat down and picked a target date to have the house ready to go on the market.  Three weeks ago, we chose Thursday of this week. We’ll see.

Things have definitely progressed.  Last Saturday the “mini-move” removed all the non-essential pieces of furniture and about sixty boxes of stuff to a 10 x 10 storage room. I understand that when the door was finally closed not another item could have possibly fit.  The local team of four young men that came that day did an exceptional job of moving things out – including a little last minute packing that cleared the way for the carpet men coming on Monday.

Today was supposed to be carpet day.  It started with a delay in the team’s coming because we did not have all the required rooms totally cleared.  There was some misunderstanding about the interpretation for “totally cleared” (or perhaps it changed). So the team that was supposed to start at 8 came about 12.  The manager who had come and quoted the job had decided that we could use the current carpet as a pad for the new.  When the carpet-laying team came today they disagreed. The current carpet was not totally fixed to the floor.  It had some wrinkles in it, which the laying manager said would negatively affect the new carpet.  Sounded logical to me. So…then we needed another pad, a new quote, and a new day.  No carpet today.

The painter started with a power-wash that took most of the day, but was totally amazing when he had finished. No more dusty garage!  It is squeaky clean. Tomorrow, painting inside and out. Tonight I had to take everything that was remaining off the walls, including the wonderful poster collection in my adult son’s boyhood room. He had taken photos of them last weekend, so all are duely recorded, but it was still sad to see them go. Batman, Spiderman, favorite college teams, and inspirational sayings (You Already Are What You Want To Be When You Grow Up). Maybe the carpet guys will be back tomorrow. I have lost track, actually.

The sad thing that happened today was that I took my two lovely cats to a “kennel” for the day.  It has a good reputation, and the “girls” could be together but also had an opportunity for their own space. When I arrived (about 3:30 pm) my little Arya (a year old and solid black) was huddled in the back of her space, and hissed at the attendant, who asked me to come coax her out.  They will have to go back tomorrow, but it is troubling.  Tonight she seems fine.  We shall see.

Onward with painters & carpenters.

Happy Birthday

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I woke on my birthday with only two things on my “to do” list:

Prepare the documents for the lender I have chosen for the mortgage on my new house, and drive to the mountains for the weekend.

Silly me.

The first challenge was the microwave issue.  It wouldn’t work. The control panel was dark – so I went out to the breaker box (in a room off my garage), read the labels, and looked to see if any of the switches were out of line.  None appeared to be, but I selected the one that I thought controlled the microwave, switched it back and forth, and went back inside.  Still no life in the microwave.

Unfortunately, the “handyman” whose amazing talents were praised in an earlier post has since retired. But I texted him, and the person who recommended him to me, asking for a referral to someone who could help. They supplied the name of a local store that employed electricians, with the name of a person to chat with.

My daughter had since joined me in the kitchen, declaring “You can’t leave me here without a microwave this weekend!” So…next to the cousins, my two guardian angels who live about 45 minutes away that are helping with moral support and decluttering. Unfortunately, I knew one was out of town.  When I connected with the other, she was standing in front of a hotel in another city, waiting to go in to a conference – BUT – reminded me that her (retired) husband was an electrical engineer and had wired their house – YAY!!

Now – the true hero of my story appears.  When I call the cousin’s husband (Knight in Shining Armor) is temporarily stumped, and we hang up.  BUT – five minutes later calls back. It turns out that the problem was a “ground fault breaker” (go to this link – there are pictures http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/gfi.html). I pushed the designated button, and my microwave magically reactivated.  Life was good. [Now, for future reference, keep in mind this is a temporary fix. If the breaker clicks off again, it’s time to call the electrician].

The truly amazing occurrence surrounding this activity was that my “Knight for the Day” called back not long after and volunteered to come and re-label my breaker box and put it on an excel spreadsheet.  Then he volunteered to paint the inside of my house prior to my putting it on the market. 

So, I went back to the primary activity for the day. Documents for the mortgage lender. The documents that I needed to provide were the following:

_____    30 DAYS OF PAYSTUBS (if applicable)

_____    SOCIAL SECURITY AWARDS LETTER

_____    PAST 2 YEARS W2’s

_____    CHECKING, SAVINGS, RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS-LAST 2 MONTHS (all pages even if blank)

_____    2 YEARS PERSONAL AND BUSINESS (if applicable) TAX RETURNS (all schedules signed)

_____    COMPLETED SIGNED SALES CONTRACT

_____    CHECK FOR APPRAISAL AND CREDIT REPORT ($425.00+18.00=$443.00 made payable to the bank)

_____    CURRENT HOMEOWNERS POLICY (for the residence you live in currently)

The gathering and copying of the above documents took me until mid-afternoon (I had hoped to be on the road by noon). Surprisingly enough the most time consuming were the two months statements for the various checking/saving/retirement accounts – going online to find them, print them, etc. And of course, I couldn’t find one of my 1099’s for last year (I still have not filed my 2013 tax return yet) and had to request a new one, which, miraculously, came within a short period of time. And they needed to be delivered to the bank and copied there.

So I made the decision to just go finish packing quickly, take the documents with me, and see if I could deliver them to a branch close to my mountain get-away. So – thirty minutes later I am out of the driveway, started on my five hour drive.

Except – that I texted my daughter “good bye” at a stoplight on the way out of town and she is distraught because we probably passed each other on the road as she returned from work. “No, we can’t meet, I have to get on the road” – rush-hour traffic around a large town is now a possibility, and I really could not delay. So…FINALLY on the road. I make it traffic free, and then the National Weather Service warnings started about heavy thunder storms and possibility of tornadoes.

At about two hours away from my goal, the rain starts…but, luckily, it is only rain, and not nearly as bad as it was in other areas. I was very glad to be driving the new Subaru with all-wheel-drive.  The traction was noticeably better than in prior cars I had driven.

And then I reached my favorite exit.  There is one on the interstate where you crest a hill and the mountains are there before you like all those lovely postcards.  It was clear driving the rest of the way.  And my dear brother-in-law had a toddy waiting as I drove in. 

Finally, the banker returned my email explaining that the documents would not be in until  the next day (and then only at an out of town location) and said she would just meet me in my local branch on Monday morning. 

Life is good.  

The Handyman and the House

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After a couple of months alone in the house, its interjections of needed repairs have surfaced about ten items.

One of the joys of my recent, “mostly at home” status has been a chance to meet and talk with people who have wide-ranging interests.  Service providers necessary for living alone come and go because I can’t do everything in the house by myself, especially the things that my husband used to deal with—plumbing, carpentry, yard upkeep, etc.   Thankfully, a friend recommended a “handy man” for my list of a dozen needed repairs.

On his first visit, “Handy” was able to check off several things: an exterior door that would not latch (”Did you know someone tried to break in here?”); a drooping cabinet door.  The “fancy” lighting installed by a marginally competent contractor during a major kitchen overhaul is a more complex problem – it appears that there are issues with the fixtures themselves (under counter and track lights). This, along with the plumbing challenges, introduced a needed trip to the hardware store. Another great advantage of my new status is more willingness to say NO to some tasks.  The hardware store was one of my “no’s”. Handy will make that trip on his own, so the completion was postponed until next week.

The most important part of the half repair day was a reversal of the feeling that “things really might not be sustainable” to “this will all have a solution eventually”.

All of this excitement is jumbled in with the housing decision – huge, cluttered house, needs painting, large yard to maintain…isolated in a big city subdivision with lawn moats yielding little to no interaction with neighbors – vs. moving close to family in a much smaller town, smaller house, close knit community. That will come eventually.  I have no idea when yet.

But for now it’s The House And Me… and Handy.