Tag Archives: real estate

Baby Bear Cabin Renovations 2017

I am incredibly excited about the the recent renovations to one of my cabins up in Big Bear, and very pleased with how everything turned out. In late 2015 I bought several cozy cabins in Big Bear Lake, CA and while all they are all awesome in their own way, some needed a little bit of tender loving care to bring them into the 21st century.

After a couple weeks of renovations, many one day trips up to Bear and back, and several dozen trips to hardware store, the immediate work is done. And while there is always something more to do, I am proud to show off “Baby Bear 2017”.

It was a journey. When I bought the home, this unit was tenant occupied and she owned a cat. The place was a wreck. There was cat fur everywhere and traces of kitty litter all over the bedroom and bathroom. The lighting was outdated and the room was very dark. Several floor lamps were required to illuminate the living area and even then it was reminiscent of a mausoleum. The kitchen had a 7 foot ceiling so head space was at a minimum. A drop down room divider prevented light from the living room from breaking into the kitchen, which made the cooking area incredibly dark as well. The kitchen had an all-in-one sink/oven/stove/refrigerator/freeze that I think had been there since the 1960’s if not earlier. Amazingly, this antique still worked, but it was not efficient, and was more suitable for elves than humans. Cabinetry and storage was sparse, and counter top space was non-existent.

We gutted the kitchen entirely. We took it down to the studs and put up new dry wall with a fresh coat of paint. I hauled lightly used cabinets from a kitchen demo a homeowner in La Mesa was doing. For $200 I got an entire kitchen worth of cabinets, almost sink, faucet and garbage disposal, and brand new cabinet stainless steel hardware. Left over tiles from my bathroom remodel in San Diego that had been taking up space in my garage for a decade became the new counter top and back splash, and left over grout from our winter 2016 kitchen remodel helped as well.

The all-in-one appliance was replaced with the new sink, open box but new studio sized gas stove/oven combo, and a studio sized fridge/freezer combo. It still needs a microwave but for the time being, the appliances are almost good to go.

The drop down room divider was removed. It’s amazing the difference that extra 12 inches of unencumbered space has on the brightness of the kitchen. The kitchen is now replete with pots, pans, utensils, glasses and dining ware as well as miscellaneous kitchen nick-knacks like pizza cutters and ice cream scoopers.

The old, cat tainted green carpet was ripped out and replaced with new wood laminate flooring which extends from the living room into the kitchen. This one feature made the whole home brighter even before tinkering with the actual light fixtures. Carpet absorbed light, while the floor reflects it. It makes the room feel more spacious as well.

A new ceiling light/fan combo was mounted high on the ceiling to help illuminate the entire room, which it does nicely. The fan will help circulate the heat in the winter, and the cool air in the stuff.

Jenny replaced some of the older curtains with newer, lighter ones which again brightened up the room. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, this cabin was dark before the renovations. It would have felt like medieval living.

The old linens, pillows, blankets, towels and throws, were replaced with new, lively ones, complete with new mattress and pillow protectors. And we stocked the restroom with nice, thick Charmin toilet paper, none of that cheap single ply for our vacationers!

Several drafts around windows and doors were sealed, and sealed well. Remember, Big Bear days can get down to 30, and Big Bear nights can get down to single digits, so retaining heat is just as important as producing it. A little bit of caulk, foam sealer, and rubber tube gaskets goes a long way. This home is now air tight.

Last but most importantly is the home got a great scrub down. New stuff and niceties won’t last long if things are maintained and even a home complete with top of the line everything can be an utter dump if not clean. Cobwebs be damned! This place is spic and span now.

Am I happy? Absolutely?

Is there more to be done? Always. I do have a laundry list of things I would like to eventually do like insulate the floor and crawlspace, and re-floor the deck. But the immediate future holds a futon sleeper and double pane windows. But for now, I am very pleased with how it all turned out and am looking forward to putting this bad boy to work in 2017.

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My First Radio Appearance

Big news that I am excited about! Last week I was a featured guest on Real Talk San Diego, ESPN 1700 AM. This was my first time actually being featured on the radio, as opposed to a call-in.

The host was my good friend Elizabeth O’Daly, aka the Loan Whisperer. Elizabeth does a show every so often where she discusses trends in the mortgage industry and related financial fields.

I was asked to speak about insurance, specifically home insurance and what homeowners in areas like Escondido, Fallbrook, Julian, Ramona, and similar rural areas might want to look out for when it comes to insurance.

My fellow guest was the very knowledgeable Mrs. Nino Kiria. Nino and I happened to meet in the lobby before the show and she is an extraordinarily talented and smart lady, and well traveled. She started her journey in the biology field in Georgia, moving to South America, then to Texas, and finally to beautiful San Diego where she settled and now is an accomplished real estate agent.

I guess I can’t really call this news since it happened last week but I just recently got the link to the podcast hence the untimely post.

Thank you to everyone who tuned in to listen, Jenny, Ashley, Josh, JVM and mom.

I didn’t get a whole lot of ‘face time’ but it was still a great experience and I was told I did rather well! I’m hoping to get invited back. Fingers crossed! Follow the link below to listen to the radio session on podcast (03-23-16). You can quickly jump to some of my segments at 19:00-25:30, and 54:10.

Listen to the whole radio session here

Thankful 2015

As with most of my posts I meant to do this a couple days ago, and it seems a little ill-timed that I would write a Thankgiving-esque posted 4 days after Thanksgiving. But it’s still November, so back off!

I am glad though, that I delayed, because I got to do and experience a few more things to be grateful for that otherwise might not have made its way into this.

First off all, 2015 has been my busiest year ever. Not just the typical sensation that this year flew by faster than the others. In fact 2015 to me was so busy that this year has actually felt slower, which is a blessing in itself.

Friends

My friends take the cake this year. As we all grow older, it tends to become more difficult to spend quality time with our friends. This was certainly the case for me, and I would have loved to have spent more time with my friends. But again as with getting older, perhaps the biggest lesson I have to learn is that friendship (and most things in life) is about quality, not quantity. The number of regular faces has declined, as people grow up, move away, get occupied, and grow apart. The relationships that remain intact become even more impressive, and important, and I am very grateful to have the friends that I do.

One friend and I spent over two months just trying to find an hour or two to grab a quick beer and shoot the shit, but an ever demanding schedule made it nearly impossible for either of us to land squarely on a date and time. We finally did, and the experience was that much more rewarding. What’s impressive though is that in this day of impersonal communication, this friend actually called me, called me, at least once a week to chit chat on the phone, catch up, and just rant like we used to in the old days. As precipitous as these phone calls were, both unexpected, short, and without forum, they were awesome and heartwarming.

I am very grateful for my friends, all of them. And to/in honor of those friends, here’s a quick list of inside jokes and anonymous shout outs.

You know I’ll show up with the shovel. Whose car we taking?

Yarggg! Ye scurvy scum! Give us all yer rubbing alcohol and lemonade! Yarrr

Water plant with cry!

Annndddrrrreeeeeeeeeewwwww

Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach gym. Those who can’t teach gym work for the government.

AAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

Accomplishments

2015 was a hodgepodge of accomplishments that I am quite proud of and thankful for.

Professionally, 2015 was incredibly rewarding. Business has been booming and as stressful as it is, I am eternally grateful. I always figured that it I have to choose between be stressed over having too little work, and being stressed over having too much work, I choose the latter. So many people are struggling to find work, to find clients, and I would take my 60 hour weeks over that any day. Yes I’m busy, but I’m also thriving and I wouldn’t give it up, and I won’t even hint at bad mouthing it. Never stop being thankful for your blessings, because when you do, life has a knack for taking them away.

I’ve hit 1,000 clients, which is a huge milestone for me, especially considering I’ve only been doing this for about 5 years. Just 2 years ago I remember trying to make it to 300, which know seems like a humbling experience, and makes me all the more thankful.

I’m thankful that my job allows me a degree of autonomy and freedom. And as childish as this sounds, I am thankful I am able to come to work in my PJs, and keep beers in my office mini-fridge next to my Avengers poster and bobble-head Groot figurine.

That job I’m thankful for allowed me to accomplish something else, homeownership. I didn’t blast it on social media but as of November 13 I am a happy homeowner!

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I could go on for days about the things I am thankful, but I’m hungry so I’m gonna cut this short. I’ve thankful for my health, for my friends, for my family, for my eternally shedding and drooling dog, for my job and professional success, for my accomplishments, for living in San Diego, for Oreos, and for comic book movies. I’m thankful for a lot of things, I am thankful if you read this post.

99 Homes: Movie Review

A little late I know, but better later than never, right?

99 Houses was a very different movie from anything I have ever seen. It stars Andrew Garfield, the short lived Spider-Man star. It also stars Michael Shannon, the guy who played General Zod in Man of Steel, but you might also mention him from a dozen other works like 8 Mile, Iceman, and Boardwalk Empire.

The story is about Dennis Nash (Garfield), a young blue collar man trying to single handedly raise his son and his mom in a rough economy, in the midst of losing their home. That wasn’t a typo.  Dennis practically raises his mom, who acts more like an irresponsible 19 year old daughter who dropped out of high school and is going to a trade school, than a mother.

Nash loses his home to the bank, and his eviction is overseen by a strict, no nonsense real estate developer, Rick Carver, played perfectly by Michael Shannon.

After initially losing his home, Nash despises Carver and naturally sees him as the person responsible for his misfortune. However a chance encounter with some of Carver’s home-flipping laborers turns into small time, small paying labor jobs. In short time Dennis Nash has a lucrative career not only working for his former nemesis, but along side him.

In the trailers, Shannon’s character was portrayed as this evil, corporate, heartless business tycoon who steps on the innocent, hard working little man Dennis Nash, for his own greed. After all, that is the song being sung by almost everyone in the country these days, regardless of your political affiliation. The narrative being painted today is that homeowners are all saints who have done no wrong, and financial institutions are all secretly owned by Hitler death squads.

You definitely do sympathize with Garfield’s character. The movie pulls no punches in the heart area, when you are forced to watch this dad get kicked to his hands and knees, and struggle to support his family.

But interestingly, over the course of the movie the character I really took a liking to, was Shannon’s character Rick Carver. Yes, I liked the “bad guy” more than the “good guy”. Was the guy a stone cold hard ass? Yes. But he was also a smart, hard working son of a bitch. He was also a loving father who wanted nothing but the best for his children. But he also did everything he could to teach Nash how to earn, spend,and invest his money properly.

Without spoiling the movie too much, this is perhaps the most interesting part of the film. Despite our cultural views of bankers, businessmen, and wall street, this movie attempts to show you a different angle, and in many ways approaches a paradigm shift between the contemporary views of “good guy” and “bad guy”. In fact, I didn’t think Carver was the bad guy in the movie at all until a hiccup at the very end of the movie, but again, no spoilers here!

Our two leads did an amazing job. You forget about Garfield’s most recent web slinging hurrah and you really do see him as a father trying desperately to make ends meet for his family. His grief, his stress, and his struggles are portrayed perfectly, and you feel every ounce of emotion Garfield brings to the set.

Michael Shannon of course needs no introduction. This actor has always floated in that narrow corridor between A-list and B-list actor. He acts better than most A-list stars but just could never get the cinematic boost needed to rise into full stardom. Nonetheless, I couldn’t have thought of a better actor to take on the roll of the tough as nails Rick Carver. Shannon’s intensity, and rigidity make him a one man force of nature, and his presence on screen is heart stopping.

I highly recommend 99 Homes to anyone who wants to see a genuinely well written, well casted, well acted, and well directed movie. No negative feedback about this movie whatsoever. 5 stars.