This Week’s Head Ache

There are bound to be hiccups during the home redevelopment process.  Sub-contractors quit, wood flooring is too thin to be sanded and refinished one more time and lumber for decking disappears – unfortunately all of these things have recently occurred and we have worked through them and kept going.  This week one of the head aches we have struggled with the most is trying to find a way to reuse the clawfoot tub for The Genessee Project.  As Kansas City’s environmentally friendly home redevelopment company we aim to repurpose what’s existing instead of buy new whenever possible.

The tub was left in the house by the previous homeowner but had never been installed.  Screenshot (15)Seeing as it goes with the character of this century old victorian property, we opted to reintegrate it into the hall bathroom.  With naive optimism we assumed finding hardware and installing plumbing would be as easy as a Sunday afternoon soak…  Select a tub faucet, handle, shower faucet done – right?  Let’s just say, after hours of searching, conversing about and re-searching faucet options – we still don’t feel like we have determined how this bathroom will take shape.

Vintage-clawfoot-bathtubIn place of continuing to shop for faucets that don’t exist, I turned to a google search for “clawfoot tub images.”  This will help give me some direction for what to look for, I thought.  It didn’t take me long to find almost exactly the tub we have in the house with the same three holes and where they are positioned.  Enlarging the image showed it was attached to an article link entitled “Why You Shouldn’t Install A Clawfoot Tub.”

Oh the irony…  If we hadn’t already invested so much time and been so stubborn about making it work – it may have ended up out in the yard as a planter.  I’m making this declaration heard:  We will be conquering the clawfoot and this bathroom will be a masterpiece!

tub planter

What’s happened to Midtown Blue?

This project is about ready to be listed.  We are indescribably proud of the energy and effort we put into this property to maintain the integrity of this 100-year-old shirtwaist home.  It is in a fantastic location just a few blocks South of the coveted Union Hill neighborhood and will have an easy connection to hop onto the Kansas City Streetcar as the expansion continues down Main Street.  This property is ideal for anyone who wants the luxury of their own house with easy access to downtown Kansas City.

The renovation of this house was not an easy project to tackle, however, we wanted to stay true to our mission and make environmentally sound decisions.  This meant we took time to hold an estate sale to sell off then donate remaining belongings in the house rather than send everything to a landfill.  We replaced all the windows to reduce energy loss and ensured all the new appliances carried an energy star rating.  Instead of tearing out the interior down to the studs; we worked to preserve original lathe and plaster, trim and flooring where possible.  This reduced waste and also maintained the character and charm.

The following are some before and after pictures of some of the improvements.  If you would like to know more about this property you can text 1632 to (913)246-5566 

Livingroomb&aOne of the first tasks to this project was reinforcing the main beam in the basement of the house to ensure it will continue to be structurally sound for another century.  The house had a noticeable droop in the middle and walls were cracking and some doors were not level because of this.  Then, throughout the main floor we refinished the wood floors and trim.  We fixed the pocket door between the dining room and office and opened part of the wall between the kitchen and dining room.  We removed the drop ceiling and paneling, updated all of the electrical and added new light fixtures.

kitchenb&aBeyond opening the kitchen to the dining room, we also reduced the full bathroom to a powder room in order to add more cabinet and counter top space into the kitchen.  The new cabinets, counter tops, tile and paint compliment the classic design of the property.  It was important to us to maximize the kitchen design to include the most storage space as possible while not interfering with the back entrance to the house or basement door.  We overcame this challenge while still maintaining the big open feeling everyone desires in a kitchen.

officeb&aThe office is on the main floor with access from three doorways; the front hall, dining room pocket door or the kitchen.  It was also a victim of the drop ceiling and paneling.  We also had some damage to the wood floors in this room which was able to be remedied to blend.mastersuiteb&aOne of the greatest improvements to Midtown Blue is the addition of a master suite.  Fortunately this room already had a grand size walk in closet which we know is not always the case in houses built in this era.  Once the clutter was cleared we were able to construct a plan to open a doorway between two bedrooms to add an en suite bathroom.  The second bedroom (the blue room) also provided a stairway to finish the attic into livable space.  The master suite is stunning and we are slightly jealous of the future homeowner who will get to lay their head down here each night.

This house will hit the market very soon so if you or someone you know is interested in a fantastic midtown location with a house you can be confident is redeveloped with integrity reach out to EcoLiving Property.   If you would like to know more about this property you can text 1632 to (913)246-5566. 

Kansas City Home Sales

soldimagesWith a decrease in inventory and an increase in sales price, Kansas City is currently in a hot seller’s market.  According to the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors there are 27% less homes listed for sale in the Kansas City then there were just three months ago.  And the median house price reflects the greater demand by increasing 6.7% in the same time period.  If you are hoping to buy this spring, you have a lot of competition.

On the opposite side, this is great news if you are considering putting your house on the market.  You may have heard some extraordinary stories of people who list their home, have dozens of showings and multiple offers within days.  Ordinarily we would think this kind of house would be in a prime location and listed below market value to gain this kind of response.  However, this situation is occurring all over the metro and in every different price point.  The offers have been flooding in for home owners over asking price, no contingencies, with high earnest money checks and all kinds of additional bonuses to get contracts to stand out above others.

If you want to get in on the real estate action, now is the prime time to sell.  There is some up front work to consider as buyers love clean, updated homes with great curb appeal.  However, being a sellers market means buyers are willing to put money into some updating and landscaping just to get themselves to the closing table with a home.  It still would be unreasonable to think you could sell a house at a premium if it needs a complete overhaul or major repairs.

But what if your house needs updating or big repair and you still are interested in taking advantage of the current market?  It may seem overwhelming to replace a roof, repair foundation, install new carpeting or update bathrooms or a kitchen.  We may be able to help, we won’t ask you to clean, we won’t expect you to declutter for showings, and we won’t ask you to make any updates or repairs.  We make fair market cash offers, pay closing costs and close on your timeline.  And as license real estate agents, we may recommend it would be to your benefit to list your property in the traditional way to maximize your profit and can refer a great agent to serve you.  Reach out to us for more information at contact@ecolivingproperty.com or (913)333-9643.  We would be happy to answer your questions and help you with real estate solutions.

 

 

 

Shopping and ReShopping

We will close on our first deal of the New Year next week and have eagerly begun design plans and purchasing for this renovation.  Our decision to start a home redevelopment company was simple.  The real and more important challenge became how to rehab homes to cleaner, greener living environments for the future families who would own them.  With each project we intend to take the care and thoughtfulness as if these were houses our families planned to move into.

Our passion for creating cleaner and greener homes comes from a deeply personal concern for human health and the health of the environment for future generations.  We, like many others, know how illness can devastate a person and their family.  Understanding the science of some diseases and the environmental factors which can cause them, drives us to be mindful of avoiding as many toxic chemicals as possible in our house flipping projects.  Again, we want to ensure the homes we create are environments we would feel confident about living in ourselves.

Yesterday was a productive day of shopping cabinets, counter tops, sinks and lighting fixtures.  We bought a few things to add to our stored items for this house and are beginning to see the design plans come together.  I like to actually have a visual of the items we are putting into each room while we continue shopping, so I started a spreadsheet with pictures of the items we have purchased so far.  I struggled to find a photo online for one of the vanity lights we bought and was disappointed when I did.  The light was listed for sale online with the following warning:

Prop 65 Warning

WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and/or birth defects or other reproductive harm.  

Upon further investigation…  This warning means a chemical material used to make this lighting fixture is included in the approximately 800 chemicals listed as hazardous to human health according to the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.  The list, determined by The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and the California Environmental Protection Agency, summarizes naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects.  The companies can knowingly continue to use these materials as long as they notify the consumer with the Prop 65 label.

Now do we believe by using this vanity light you are asking for cancer? No.  Do we believe this company manufacturing the lights maliciously plan to make people ill?  No.  Is it possible that businesses ignore the health of consumers over the profit for the company? Perhaps.  And do we, as a business trying to be profitable, have to also ignore the health of consumers?  Absolutely not.

Unfortunately it will be impossible for us to eliminate ALL the harmful chemicals which are utilized in housing materials, however, we are committed to reducing as many as possible.  And for all of the progress we made in buying products for our newest renovation, you can consider us in need of one more new vanity light.

The Key is Patience

One of the most difficult things about buying homes to rehab is falling in love the with character and charm of an older home and have a deal not work out.  As business women it is imperative to make business decisions, make them without emotions and make choices only in regards to the numbers.  Unfortunately for us, we not only chose real estate redevelopment for our business because of the viability of our investments but for the love of houses.

We swoon for great architectural bones, we are giddy with colorful patterns and rich textures, we ooh and aah like new mothers for built-in cabinets, glass door knobs and detailed crown molding.  We don’t turn our nose up at puzzling layouts, moldy odors, and layers of outdated wallpaper.  We seize the opportunity to explore our own creativity, make it functional and develop a home.  We have passion in this process so it’s not exactly ‘non-emotional.’

This week we had to make the difficult decision to let go of a house we had under contract.  The house itself was in an ugly state and in desperate need of love and attention.  We saw through the years of wear and neglect, the sagging roof, cracked stucco, over-sized fireplace and outdated lighting.  We knew the combination of our design plans to update with eco-friendly products and energy-efficient materials would bring new life to this home.  We knew a future homeowner would be able to enter into a warm inviting space where they could truly appreciate the original features we could highlight.  We were enthusiastic about this project and desperately wanted to fulfill the vision we had for this house with infinite potential.

In the end, we recognized the numbers didn’t make sense.  No amount of love for the original wood floors would cover the cost of a brand new HVAC system, the charm of the glass doorknobs was not financial compensation for replacing the front porch and the character of the neighborhood would not pay for replacing the kitchen and bathrooms.  In redeveloping properties there are daily lessons and this single one we return to more than all the rest: The Key Is Patience.

There will be more homes with these features, this one was not meant for us, the numbers have to make sense.  We love our business and we have to show our business love by following the numbers first.

Living Green Pays Off

As a small real estate redevelopment company we rely on the financial support of investors who value the mission of our company to provide ecologically safe and sustainable homes.  It is critical to the integrity of our organization for those individuals to not only be invested in the financial gain they will receive but also in the pride of knowing their backing has positively impacted the earth.

If you feel like EcoLiving Property meets the criteria you were looking for in an investment, we would like to meet with you.  Please contact us.

913-333-9643