Help Us Renovate
UPDATE -- June 2:
It looks like my home loan source is a go. We should be closing on the loan within a few weeks! So now we just need to get this place rehabbed. I have no idea how much money this will take, but I will chronicle every step that we take in the process.
This weekend we started with the entry stairs. The roof has serious leaks over those stairs, and over my computer room (about five feet from where I'm sitting right now). And the porch/porch roof is in bad shape as well. Plus there is still damage in the former laundry room from the fire we had in 2008.
Thanks again, and wish us luck!
My kids and I are about to be thrown out of our house. We have an eviction date of June 1st. Please help us stay or find somewhere to go. The goal amount is just a number off the top of my head for informational purposes at the moment. I will be fleshing this page out with more information, photos, etc. over the next few days.
Thank you from the people (Heidi, Lizzie, Justin & Krysti)
the cats (D'Argo, Buddy, Cuddles & Stormia)
and the dog (Spirit) at my house.
I also posted a mockup photo from the roofing site of what my house will look like once we get the new roof! Thanks to those of you who helped advise me on colors!
We've done a bit more work on the yard, cleaning up, putting patio chairs outside in front of the bay window near the little peach tree and such. Now we can sit outside and enjoy any decent weather we happen to have.
This whole process has been overwhelming, and I feel like we are just stalled inside until we get the roof replaced. There are some things we can do, but many of them require the roof to stop leaking first.
Now the lawyer is telling me I need to get a lot more done before I can apply for the community loan, which... if I get most of it done, why the heck would I need a loan? So. Frustrating. And for some reason, he thinks we should just knock the whole front porch off and leave it that way. With doors that lead to the air? I don't even think that's legal. And I'm pretty sure the gaping holes that would leave in the siding would not help the leak situation.
Up side: Some of the electrical problems appear to have been related to an improperly installed electric range (gee, thanks Home Depot). It was arcing and trying to kill us. But it was still under warranty, so Maytag sent a guy. Could this be the end of power issues in that part of the house? I hope so. So far, so good.
Until next time!
We have done a bit of landscaping this year, hacking back some more vegetation and the like. The kids planted a peach tree for mother's day, and they also planted some flower bulbs and a blueberry shrub. They'll probably put in another blueberry next year for the cross-pollination. But Lizzie is getting mad about the limitations of our unimpressive 5b growing zone. lol.
We did leave some of the overgrowth. It's small, but it's getting a bit of a wildernessy feeling. We even hear and see fun birds. I saw a bird that may have been some kind of tanager (scarlet, probably) the other day. Bright red but didn't have a cardinal head. I also saw a tiny bird the size of a hummingbird, but it didn't seem to move like a hummingbird. It was sort of colored like a chickadee, but without the dark cap. Hard to explain. But hooray birds!
As for the house itself, after all the problems we had with securing extra funding, I've finally decided that I'm going to just go ahead and use the insurance money from the fire we had in 2008 to completely replace the roof. The fire damages I'll just have to figure out on my own and repair piece by piece once the new roof goes up.
Where we stand now is that I have a guy whose crew will do the entire main roof for $8450, and they'll do the damaged chimney for $1250. That uses basically all of the insurance money, but it's gotta be done. And since the last guy wanted $15K, I think it's a fair deal. They are currently scheduling for mid-summer, but he's going to try and squeeze us in sooner, if he can. I assume that means weather permitting, so wish for warm dry weather at my house. Quit laughing. It could happen. And no, my guy is not the drunk guy who was stumbling around the neighborhood the other night offering me a free roof. He'd fall off and die, and I just can not deal with that.
After the roof is done we'll be focusing on repairing any water damage, abating the lead paint on the stairs, and replacing the basement windows and floor in the room where the fire was. Anybody who can swing a hammer, lift heavy things, or raise your arms above your head without partially (or fully) dislocating a shoulder is welcome to stop by and help out whenever you can. If we're not working when you get here, we'll figure out something to work on anyway. ;-) Unless I'm asleep; then you're at the kids' mercy.
I have to start all over again trying for the community loan. But I'm hoping to need a much smaller loan than I would have if I'd gone the other way round, getting it before doing these repairs. I spend most of my time lately researching repair projects and/or asking people "how hard is it to..."
So anyway, thanks again to everyone who has helped contribute to the repair fund, and thanks to anyone who has a few bucks or some other kind of assistance, advice, repair skill, manual labor, free materials, good info on where to get cheap materials, etc. to throw my way.
More info as it happens.
The Good News: We closed on the house!! Everything is set except for filing the actual mortgage, which we're working on now. But all the othr paperwork is filed, and Mass Housing is out of the picture. (yay!!)
Over the summer we got most of the yard work done. There's still a bit of work to do before winter, but nothing I'm worried about. It's mostly just clearing out bits of trees growing where they shouldn't, and picking up random crap that has blown into the yard since the last time we picked up random crap.
The Bad News: The roof leak is getting worse. And now we're having electrical problems. I don't know whether the two are related. But I'm going to have to get an electrician out here this week, and find someone to put up a roof tarp. And after I had to spend $1K on car repairs last month, I'm even less flush with cash than normal. Which is saying something. (And I may have either a power steering or transmission problem coming up, so idk what I'll do then. Sell it and get something else if it's the transmission, I guess.)
I'm still in limbo as far as the community grant for the new roof. We have to get the actual mortgage filed first, and probably do a few other things my lawyer hasn't bothered to mention. And then I still have no idea if I'm likely to qualify. I qualified the last time I applied, but that was B.C. (before crash). But I filled out and sent the loan paperwork, so the holdup is not at my end.
I will be calling the city later today to ask for an emergency tax abatement so I don't have to figure the $3K back taxes into my funding equation. So everybody cross your fingers for that. I have a water bill due, too. The city was sending those to Mass Housing instead of to me, so the first one I got was an overdue notice. Nice. But if I get these other bills off my back, at least I can probably pay most if not all of the water bill.
I'm rambling at this point, but anyway, I still have no idea how much I'll be in for with all of this. But if anybody can spare some money toward keeping my house from falling down around my ears, or shooting lightning out of it's electrical-problemed butt, I'd totally appreciate it. I'd also appreciate being pointed toward any money-making opportunities anybody knows about that don't involve me having a panic attack. I have basically no resources or people to pull nepotism strings, so... yeah.
And again, a big thank you to anyone who has sent financial and/or emotional support. I have been so stressed out for so long, I don't even remember what it's like not to be.
Justin did do a bunch of weed whacking out front, getting rid of a lot of overgrowth. So it does look significantly better. (And he approves of the new weed whacker.) He did some of the back, as well. I think I might buy an inexpensive wood chipper to get rid of the small branches that are left over. Anyway, I'm kind of afraid to have him do too much work on the side yard, because I don't want the walk over there to collapse. I think when we get to that, I'm probably going to have to hire people to rebuild it. It's just a slope right now, but I think it may need to become a retaining wall. And I don't want to do that wrong. Probably needs permits, too.
Biggest news: we've started the closing process on the purchase! My lawyer decided that we are going to do it by mail. So I sent him $125 for the deed yesterday. The next steps are $75 to discharge the lead-paint removal loan we had from when the kids were little, and $175 to record my new mortgage. And then that's it for the purchasing process, and it's all demolition of the walls where the roof leaked, and repairs from water and fire damage. Well and We still have to replace the roof, obviously.
Thank you again to everyone who has helped so far. :-)