Thursday, February 21, 2013

Call 811 and Hope They Know What's Below

     Let's get the bad news over with before we get to the good stuff. You may remember from my last post that we were going to hire a contractor to do an exterior overhaul (i.e., framing the exterior wall in the future dining room, plus windows and siding for the whole house). Right after meeting with the contractor about his estimate, we went straight to the bank to begin the loan process. Then we came to a screeching halt. There was just no possible way we could qualify to borrow the amount needed to cover the exterior work from the contractor, even with great credit and our mortgage being our only debt. 
     We attempted to bring down his price by focusing on what really NEEDS to be done now instead of the whole exterior. The contractor certainly tried to work with us on that, but the reduced job would have just been too small for his crew. It was pretty frustrating for us, but I completely understand that contractors, carpenters, etc. would prefer jobs that last longer than a week or two. We took it as a compliment when he said we were not like his typical clients; he also said we would get more bang for our buck by doing the work ourselves.

     To anyone out there considering a 203(k) rehabilitation loan, I would say that I wish we had included more remodeling work in our mortgage amount because it will be several years before we can qualify for a home equity loan. After regrouping and working out a smaller loan amount, it feels like we're back on track :)

     Time for good news! Since the last post, we hired out the job of laying the foundation needed to bump out the exterior wall for the dining room. Just last weekend, we got some neighborly help with running new low-voltage cables - thank you Craig and Allen! It's pretty awesome that these new cables are neatly hidden and not running along the siding/foundation like the icky old one.
     On Tuesday, the electricians came out to consolidate our trio of breaker boxes and bury the lines running to the house. The trench for the buried lines would have to run across a public gravel alleyway, so of course the "Call Before You Dig" folks came out before things got started.

Yay for buried cable trench!
Doh! Call Before You Dig somehow missed the neighbors' water main. 
     Huntsville Utilities came right away to make the needed repairs, which we weren't responsible for since the line wasn't marked - whew! Steven was told "this happens all the time," and I could see why in an older neighborhood like ours. I'm sure plenty of our utility lines were installed before Huntsville Utilities existed. They had to pump out the water that had filled the trench, and it ended up in another neighbor's yard... If the waterline situation hadn't happened, the electricians would have been finished in one day. But alas, it took a second visit to complete the job, and a short visit this morning because they somehow missed reconnecting our first-floor HVAC. Yesterday's high was just a few degrees above freezing, so I was definitely feeling like a popsicle overnight and this morning. It's pretty close, but I think a cold Mary Lee just might be grumpier than a hungry Mary Lee. Sorry, everyone.

Lastly, the electrical box from a downstairs bedroom (left) and the two in the garage (right) have been replaced with a single box in the laundry room, a.k.a. future utility closet. Hooray!
Sweet! Makes much more sense to have all this in one place :)

     We've got a big project planned for Saturday, so I'll do my best to post an update before the weekend is out. I'm so excited!

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