Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Roofiing on a Snowy Day

With one more week left, it appears that the workers will come close to reaching the announced goal of having the structure "closed in" by the end of 2009. The photo above is of the East wing and you can see that trusses have been placed at one end and roofing boards nailed onto them. While this is taking place, the remaining trusses are being lifted up by a huge crane and put into position. Our apartment on the third floor corner will be among the last to receive its roof. Meanwhile, the West wing is fully covered and almost completely shingled.

So, the race to the finish is taking place. And it's happening while we continue to receive a fine dusting of snow each day, with temperatures ranging right around the freezing mark.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dusty Hands!

Have I mentioned that we have had the wall paper torn off the kitchen and lavatory walls? It needed to be done, having been on those walls for the past 27 years!! The area is a mess now with fine dust everywhere, but once the painter has finished, I'll go through the cabinets and sort out the stuff that I won't be taking to Beacon Hill.

In the meantime, we are still going through the crawl space. Today Stan brought out three boxes with my name on them containing old scrapbooks from my childhood, boarding school and college days. There also is a collection of letters my parents wrote to me while I was in college, as well as documents from my trip to France the summer of 1952. I'll look through them after we have moved to Beacon Hill. It's original source material for my memoirs!

We drove by the construction site this morning and were pleased to see roof trusses going up on the East wing. Meanwhile, the roof on the West wing is being completed and shingled. I hope to have a photo to post for you soon of our corner apartment with its roof trusses.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Realtor Decision

In my last post, I mentioned that the two Realtors whom we are interviewing were coming back for a second visit with us. We sat down with each of them earlier this week. We asked each of them how they would market our house and got a better feel of how it would work to have them as our realtor. While we were certain that either of them would do a good job for us, we had to make a choice.

One of them had personal knowledge of the community in which we live and could probably do a better job of selling the community. We are in an urban area, with sidewalks, neighborhood schools that kids can walk to, with shops and a good library nearby. Buyers who are looking for open spaces and rural settings would not be interested in our house. For buyers who want a good school system and don't want to have to transport their kids every day, our location is perfect.

The marketing plan was the deciding factor for me. One realtor, in addition to advertising on the Internet, would do the more traditional approach of monthly open houses and news print ads. The other realtor doesn't do open houses, relying instead on professional staging of the home and a professional photographer to market the house on the Internet. These days most people start their search for a home on the Internet. Gone are the days of driving through neighborhoods on a Sunday afternoon to visit Realtors' open houses.

I think that once we get the house ready for the photographer, with all the clutter and personal stuff put away, I will be able to keep it neat and tidy for the times when the realtor has a potential buyer who wants to see the house. As you have by now surmised, we decided to accept the services of the Internet savvy realtor who also has an excellent track record of sales.

I must close now and get back to cleaning out the basement!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

News Briefs

Forgive me for just giving brief comments in this post, but there is so much going on. Here's a drawing of our kitchen. Note the top mounted refrigerator, which I have chosen over the double door refrigerator with ice and water in the door. Beacon Hill offered it as standard but we don't need such an expensive appliance and we'll save on energy with this one.

Today is Saturday, and the workers are up on the roof of Beacon Hill at Eastgate installing roof panels, in spite of very cold weather and over 10 inches of snow having fallen. It's sunny, so I did some errands and drove past the place to see how it was coming along.

I took some old books to a used book store and the dealer bought all of them! I didn't get a lot of money, but it's better than nothing. I'll go back with more books another day His shop is right on the way to downtown.

The Salvation Army received most of our Christmas decorations - pine cone wreaths which I made years ago, our old tree stand, artificial garlands and miscellaneous other stuff.

My last errand was to pick up a floor lamp that I had rewired to make it safe to take to Beacon Hill.

Our television console arrived yesterday. It will be perfect in our apartment. I selected it at our town's oldest furniture company. A gift certificate that I won in a raffle helped pay for it.

The two real estate agents have called and made appointments to see us next week for further conversation about selling our house. I'll let you know how those visits went next week.

Friday, December 11, 2009

When to Sell the House?

The market analysis done by each of the two real estate brokers who have visited us arrived this week. Both agree with our Personal Relocation Manager that housing values are going to continue to decline through next year. Why? One reason is that there are still foreclosures occurring. Also, folks who don't have to sell right now are waiting for the slightest sign of improvement in the housing market before they put their homes up for sale. Finally, Michigan has been hit especially hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs. Our unemployment rate is among the highest in the country. People have been leaving the state for places where there are jobs. In other words, there will be more supply than demand for some time.

When we spoke with our Personal Relocation Manager (provided to us by Beacon Hill), she suggested we might want to get ahead of the falling prices by putting our house up for sale this coming February or March. We might get more for our house than we would almost a year later, but we would have to store our furniture and move to a temporary location until our apartment is ready. Fortunately we both agree that having the house ready to sell in early spring of 2010 is not a possibility. So, we'll take our chances with the housing market and put the house up for sale in early 2011. This will give us much needed time to clear out the basement and do the necessary sprucing up where needed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Putting Our Marks on the Designer's Plan

We had our meeting with Kevin, the project designer, yesterday. I took Stan along because I thought we would be asked to write a check to pay for our special requests. I want Stan to understand what the "upgrades" are and not be shocked by the additional expense. As it turned out, we won't know the total payment required until after Kevin has had time to price out everything. What do I mean by "everything"? Just those extras beyond the standard offered by Beacon Hill such as Berber carpeting in the guest bedroom/office, corner cabinets and a pull-out wastebasket in the kitchen, a roll-out clothes hamper in one linen closet, and a built in the wall ironing board which I discovered in the Internet. The latter fits between the studs and is electrified so that the iron plugs into the unit and turns off automatically when the board is raised and the door is closed. Neat and safe!

By the time we had gone through all our requests, Kevin had red marks all over a fresh copy of our apartment plan. One surprise for me was that the light fixtures have all been chosen for us. The chandelier over our dining table is not one which I would have chosen, but I'm willing to go with it as I know how difficult it is to chose those things. Besides, I didn't want to add another sum to the total that we will have to pay for our preferred "upgrades" and additions.

At the end of our time with Kevin, Laurie, our Beacon Hill Marketing Consultant, displayed my flooring, cabinet, and counter top samples for Stan's information. I'm so glad my husband is willing to turn those decisions over to me and trust that I will do a good job of planning an apartment that will be attractive and comfortable.

I'm glad to have all those decisions finalized. There is just one more construction related task remaining for me, and that is to think about the master closet. But, I'll wait to post a discussion of the closet plan another day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Design Details

There is so much going on right now that I find myself thinking about apartment details frequently during the day. Each time I come up with a new idea, and often it's a good one that changes the previous plan. That happened with my choices of flooring, cabinet finishes and counter tops. I went over to the display at the sales office three times, well maybe four times! I'm very thankful my husband is willing to turn this responsibility over to me as he would become very impatient with the process. I'm finally ready to meet with the building design staff next week and give him my list of decorating choices.

The kitchen plan needed quite a few changes. I was confronted with blind corner cabinets and I couldn't imagine myself on my knees with a flashlight peering into the inaccessible lower cabinet to see what I had stored there! I have changed that to a corner lazy susan with a corner wall cabinet over it.

Another major issue for me was the placement of the dishwasher at the end of the kitchen as far removed from the dish cabinet as possible. I have asked for it to be moved to the other side of the sink and a pull-out wastebasket to be put in its place. There was one other blind corner base cabinet at the end of the kitchen near the dining table. I will have a base cabinet there that will open into the main room which will give me an easily accessible drawer for place mats and pull out shelves for my Christmas dishes.

When I told my daughter that I was enjoying figuring out these details and that maybe I should have been an interior designer, she said "It's not too late to do that, Mom." Isn't it great that our kids have such confidence in us!

I did go over to see the construction in the snow yesterday, but it wasn't worth a photo. It was a dark day and there was no contrast between eight inches of snow on the roof of the West wing and the grey sky. I'll wait to put up a new photo until there is something dramatic to see on the East wing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Beacon Hill at Eastgate had its annual Christmas party for incoming residents last night. It was another opportunity to get acquainted with future residents. Much of the discussion centered around individual requests for changes to the kitchen plans and contacts with real estate people. One woman has learned that they recommend she remove wallpaper and paint certain areas. She has already hired someone to do that for her. I know that needs to be done in our kitchen and dinette also and have a handyman who will do that work later this month. Since we spend several months at our summer home, we need to do as much as possible during these winter months to get our house ready for the real estate market.

Speaking of winter, we found six inches of snow on the ground this morning, our first snowfall of the season. The photo above shows the roof on the West wing, partially completed. I'll trudge over in the snow later today to take a picture of our wing, with six of snow on the floor of our apartment!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The building is going up so fast, I'll have to post a new photo every day so that you can keep up with it. When I was out in the car this morning, traffic was blocked in both directions while a huge flatbed trailer turned into the construction site, loaded with roof trusses. Here's a photo of one of the guys up on the roof. Their goal is to get the roof on by the end of December. It will be tight, but at the rate they are working, I think they will do it.

While the builders are working hard, I've been working too, modifying the kitchen plan, adding some special touches, and choosing carpet, counter tops, cabinet finishes, etc. We have an appointment next Monday to share our choices and make our special requests for changes and/or upgrades to the basic apartment plan. Actually, I enjoy doing this sort of thing. Maybe I should have gone into interior design instead of sociology/social work!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Downsizing Details

Some time ago I set a goal of getting something out of the house every day in preparation for moving to Beacon Hill at Eastgate. I admit I haven't been very good at meeting this goal, but over Thanksgiving weekend I had a bit of help. The kids were here and took a small freezer, a three drawer file cabinet, bird feeding polls, their dad's old Flexible Flyer sled and other small items. In addition to this help from the family, I contributed some Christmas decorations to the Salvation Army.

In the meantime, Stan is making progress, going through old files and getting rid of papers. Our recycle bin is overflowing every week. We are thankful it gets collected every week.

But, there is still more to do...........