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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dayton Housing

Property values in Dayton are our best kept secret. I posted about this before a couple of years ago. The real estate bubble bursting did not affect our values tremendously but has caused a surplus in vacant housing. We have another wave of foreclosures coming. Adjustable rate mortgages that are going to reset at a higher interest rate in the next two years. Then there are all those "interest only" loans that are going to affect the owners of the mcmansions in the suburbs. I would urge anyone to refinance if possible and lock in at a fixed rate and would always recommend 15 years over 30 years. If you have at least 20% equity in your house then a home equity loan used to pay off the first lien holder could save you thousands $$$ in refinancing fees and reduce the term left on a 30 year loan to 20 years.

I'm telling this to the world now and I will continue to over the next few years because we are poised to recover faster than many other parts of the country if people know about our low property values. You can buy decent houses here for less than $40,000. Old houses, big houses, fine houses. Why so cheap? Besides the fact that there are so many empty houses in the area, they are stripped of copper and heating systems in many cases. To fix them up yourself may cost as little as a few thousand $$$. To pay someone may cost $20,000. Not bad for a fixer upper. Most are in solid shape. Here is the real news though. In two years when the banks start loaning mortgage money they are going to go back to the old rules. That means 10% to 20% down on a house. It is going to be easier to save 20% for a house valued at $80,000 or less than for one that is $200,000. What about jobs? We need more well paying jobs here because we have lost many manufacturing positions (just like every where else) but if you ever had the inclination to start your own business, this is certainly the place to be. We have affordable housing and a cost of living that is below the national average. We are located almost equidistant between Indianapolis, Columbus and Cincinnati. If you own a home in New York City then you could sell it and retire here in a much bigger house!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Follow up to "The Crap In My Back Yard"


Last April I posted about the "Crap in Our Back Yard." In this post I complained about how our county sells tax liens on piece of sh*t properties that the lien holders don't have a hope in hell of collecting on. Well, in the last 9 months since writing the post the city and county were supposedly working together to identify properties like these so that they could prevent liens from being sold so that people could acquire the property through another program offered by our city. In the same 9 months one of the houses has had SUR 13 sprayed on it (which I'm guessing isn't good) and both properties have had significant reductions in property value while ours went up 43%. In the same 9 months two adjoining properties to ours have become vacated bringing the total number of vacant structures in the immediate vicinity to ours to 7 out of 18. In the same 9 months I mentioned these properties to city directors, a commissioner and if you recall from my April post, the mayor, who acknowledged my concern about such properties several times during the same nine months. I was told at least twice from different sources, that these properties were on the nuisance list and scheduled to be demolished. I reviewed that list on line last week and these properties were not listed at all. In fact, one is listed as having 3 code violations while the other has 6 code violations. I checked the online tax records this evening and noticed that the 2007 liens were sold. This means that these will sit ANOTHER 2 YEARS before I can attempt to acquire them in any way that is affordable because the total owed in liens for both properties is about $15,000 now. I have no way of knowing because the taxes are no longer delinquent. Way to go!

One other thing, 9 Months ago in my post I threatened to run for mayor and now I'm going through the process of making that a reality. So at least one person is willing to do something to improve the situation. Just like the old saying, "If you want a job done properly, do it yourself." I wish I could just go down to the courts and file a civil suit against the property owner for contributing to the demise in property values but the county auditor isn't co-operating with us!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Even More Cold Weather Crappity Crap

Here I am worrying about the pipes freezing at the "Crack House" during ultra cold weather. On Friday the pipes froze in the downstairs bathroom at the residence and low and behold, the pipe feeding the toilet was completely splintered were it sits in the wall. Of course I only discover this AFTER it has been thawed out for two or more hours. Did I ever tell you how much I hate plumbing? What, you don't remember?

I walked down to the basement where most of the floor was covered in water. Turned off the shut-off valve to the bathroom (I've been through this before!) Waded through the inch and a half deep puddle which was already draining itself down the floor drain and put on a small electric floor fan. Then I walked away. Two days later the floor was dry and I replaced the CPVC pipe that was cracked with some new CPVC (I keep a stash on hand at all times.) I need to buy a new shut off valve to the toilet but that repair will take 5 minutes. It is so nice not to be phased about what most people would consider to be a major plumbing problem. The wife wasn't even upset, so I guess I have finally arrived when it comes to plumbing woes!

More Cold Weather Crap!

When the thermostat for the pellet stove drops below 38 degrees, which it often does after running out of pellets on really cold days or nights, it registers 99.9 degrees and the whole heating plan for this place falls apart. So I have to go over to plan B which is to put this thing


within three feet of the thermostat to get it to read at least 38.4 degrees so that this



comes on. However, it turns out that on really cold nights like we had last week, I have to revert to our back up heat source



and our back up to the back up heat source



just to get the room temperature up enough to get the pellet stove to kick on! Eventually we can get the first floor up to a real toasty temperature as you can see here ....



Of course, Elizabeth running around the place adds a couple of degrees to the temperature so I make certain to take her along every day when I check on the pellet stove!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Another Day at the Auction

We went to ANOTHER auction on Sunday. Our favorite Auction House, Woods Auction, had an all-day er and we came home a little poorer than when we arrived there. I don't know about the rest of the country but it seems that the market for basic antique furniture has tanked. If you want beds, drawers, tables or chairs then buy at an auction. We kick ourselves for not buying stuff sometimes. Even if we don't need it!

We tend to buy things we like or things that we know that we need. Sometimes these become split second decisions at an auction. We bought two old irons for $15 to use as bookends or doorstops. Did we plan on buying these? No, but they would go with the house and we have a Godawful amount of books that we get at library book sales. Cast bookends sell for a lot more than $15! We bought a large Victorian oval picture frame with the curved glass for $20. I bought three of these several years ago in a box lot for $20 which was one of my better scoops. I put black and white or antiqued pictures of Elizabeth in them and hang them on the wall. Maybe we'll do a family portrait for this one.

We bought a set of three hip hugger chairs and a captains chair. Two are pictured here;



We got these for $17.50 each. Now, if you say that you are all about recycling or saving the rain forest, buy things at auction. The tree was cut down long before you were born and you can't save it now. Besides, a single, new wooden chair at IKEA will cost you $40 - $60 and isn't anywhere as nice as these. I learned a long time ago not to buy very much that is new. Old stuff like furniture is made better than anything you find today and is often solid wood if it was made before 1930 when plywood started becoming popular. You can't beat old iron cookware either. After it is seasoned it is better than any non-stick pan on the market. Teflon is just a thin layer of a carbon based compound that flakes off eventually. A seasoned iron pan has a decent residue of real carbon and is readily replaced by burning the remains of last nights meal onto the bottom of the pan then rinsing it with water!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Back of Beyond

Now here is a view of the house that you've never seen. I never really paid too much attention to it either. In the summer you can't see the house for the trees.




You can see the fire escape in it's full ugly glory. Complete with missing pieces that blow off every so often. This contraption is responsible for most of our roof leak problems. On rainy days I'm glad I kept all those empty joint compound buckets!