Do I Now Qualify as a Budding Real Estate Mogul?

(Post 91 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

Well, the deed has been done! Yesterday, I signed two contracts. One is for the actual transfer of the property over the next three years, which will get notarized, and the other sets out the terms of what is essentially a rent-to-own agreement. It was a lot of signatures! They provided an English copy that frankly was not that useful to me. Like with the rental contract, I had no trouble with the Spanish version and was once again grateful for all the leaps and bounds my Spanish proficiency has made in these nearly 7 years off and on in Mexico (and Spain!).

I have also paid the first property tax bill. So I am now the proud owner and property tax payer of properties in two countries! I own 5,000 square feet each of Canada and Mexico. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that! Or that this lot is as big as the one in Canada — funny how that lot size seems so small there but is sizeable here!

I’m feeling so grateful on this beautiful, quiet morning.

Now, to come up with a name for this property… I’m thinking Casa de los cedros (the house of cedars), but I’m not sure if the cedars will be staying or not in the long-term. Mexican visitors tell me they look very exotic, but I’ve had enough home offices overlooking cedars to last a lifetime. So I think I’d like to switch them out (as they naturally die out!) with something more tropical. 🙂

Kitchen Upgrade Bonanza

(Post 90 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

As promised, the pump for my water tanks returned at lunchtime today, and right at the start, too, just past 1PM! I was surprised to see three guys, my handyman Don Wilbert as well as his son and a helper. SURPRISE. They decided to knock out all my projects! Thank goodness I trust them because otherwise this would have been a bad surprise as I was working in real time with a proceeding in the U.S. and had to edit behind a court reporter while staying quite close to her. So I told the team to have at it and to come get me if they had any questions, but otherwise, they were on their own.

(The pump sounds SO much better now!)

Here’s a tour of the projects, with more detail below.

The first thing they did was unblock my very clogged sink. Oh my goodness what a mess that made. It was really blocked and the smells that were coming up, augh. But they finally got it done! I was a bit distraught after they left to discover my sink and new faucet stained with acid, especially since they normally work so cleanly and take care. I forgot to take before pictures, but you can see the mess in the video above.

I scoured with Barkeeper’s Friend and a green scrubbie, which shocked me by being useless.

Then I remembered I have this stuff, a penetrating cleaner. I let it work while I had dinner.

And then polished with this one, which makes the sink water repellent (water beads up when it hits it).

The end result was great for the sink, satisfactory for the faucet. In a few weeks, everything is going to be hard water damaged anyway and I won’t notice the remaining stains.

Next up, the old fans had to go. They had very cheap blades that were sagging. I did consider replacing the blades and having the fixtures cleaned, but they were just so disgusting and the one in the far part of the kitchen only worked intermittently.

The kitchen fans were rather a “forever” change, so why not just do it instead of expending the effort to clean up the old ones (which my cleaning lady asked for, so they will be recycled).

Fan shopping was a bit overwhelming. I figured out I wanted a rustic style and to keep the three bulbs. That narrowed the choices down considerably. I had a coup de foudre with a Hampton Bay model at Home Depot but wanted to support a local business. No local fan store had anything close to what I wanted and the Home Depot ones were surprisingly inexpensive (1,700 pesos each).

With them, I ordered an extension for the one going into main part of the kitchen as the ceiling is much higher and the old fan had one. I ordered a “chocolate” one and the sans-desseins at Home Depot sent me a grey one. Augh! Well, the guys looked over everything today and said that the extension I bought wouldn’t have worked anyway and we would have to recycle the old one because there was no way I’d find a chocolate extension locally. They were actually surprised that I found a dark brown fan!

So imagine my surprise when I went to the kitchen to check in a few hours later and found that the extension was now chocolate. Amazing how fast some paints can dry!

I also had to decide what side of the blades to have facing down, light or dark brown. I decided the dark brown would look better against the yellow.

The colour match is perfection. Well done them!

The fans look better than I dreamed they would! I thought the lampshades would be too yellow and dim the lights, but nope!

The next project was the new range hood. The old one was held by two screws and plugged in behind the stove, so I expected a simple project. When I said that to Don Wilbert, I got maniacal laugh and shake of the head. He was worried about the cord catching fire, so the only way he was installing the range hood is if I let him bring cabling up above to add an outlet. He’s the expert, so I let him do his thing. I’m not a huge fan of the look, but I agree it was the right call. I’ll be glad to have the wiring up there when I install a fancy extractor range hood in the future.

I bought the absolute cheapest range hood in the size of the old one. It was available for about 1,800 pesos at every store I could think to check, but they all wanted a ridiculous 500 pesos for delivery — maybe acceptable for a mom & pop place, not for a big chain. I ended up ordering it on Amazon for 2,000 delivered.

It fits perfectly to cover the wall damage from removing the old one.

The light doesn’t look like much, but beautifully illuminates all six burners. The fan has three speeds and should at least catch some grease even if it’s not venting outside.

The final project was the outlet below the sink counter for the microwave! I cannot wait to get shelving in there and move it in!

So all that’s left for the kitchen is a thorough clean from today’s activities, the shelving under the sink, and maybe another stainless steel table as an island. I’ve definitely gone over my kitchen refresh budget, with the carpentry still outstanding, but I think it was all money well spent and still cheaper than a full kitchen redo!

Next up, the master suite!

New Kitchen Faucet

(Post 89 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

My handyman surprised me today, like showed up unannounced because he happened to be nearby. I have a huge list for him but he’s in high demand, so we’re taking it one small project at a time. Today was my new kitchen faucet!!!

(Last week, I was able on my own to add two pump dispensers, one for detergent and one for white vinegar, to use in my rinse water. Oh, the luxury!)

He also left with my water pump that fills my rooftop tinaco. It is in bad shape and needs new ball bearings and other maintenance, but is still salvageable. He promises to have it back in tomorrow. So I should be fine for water until then as long as I don’t shower or do laundry. When he comes back tomorrow, he will be doing some work on the kitchen sink drain as it is clogged. That will be the end of plumbing-related upgrades in the kitchen for now.

We also talked about future electrical projects and prep I need to do ahead of them. One of the projects is to move an outlet below the sink for the microwave. He thinks that is a good idea and will be a cleaner job than I expected as he will be routing the cables outside rather than through the counter itself. So now, I get the fun task of designing my undersink shelving and sending that project off to a carpenter!

Last night, the previous owners’ son came by with his fiancĂ©e to say goodbye to his childhood home. It was a very emotional visit. I wish we had had more time for him to share more stories, but I did get some answers! And I got his blessing as well. He’s as happy as his parents are that I’m the new custodian of this very special house. That handoff made things more real for me than the contract signing next week will.

My head is still spinning with how fast this happened. But when things are meant to be, this is how it is!

Feeling Grape

(Post 88 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I managed to get in one coat of paint under the sink area today! I had bought this paint for a furniture refinishing project I gave up on. The paint was very expensive and I had barely used any of it, so I’m thrilled that I was able to put it to good use! This wasn’t on purpose, but I very nearly colour-matched the baskets under the steel island!

It’s been brought to my attention that some folks don’t realise that the house I bought is the one I’ve been renting all this time! So now’s a good time as any to refer you back to my pre-move-in post from September of 2017 that has a full house tour!

Modest Designs

(Post 87 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I’ve given up on having any time off in the nearish future to do in-person shopping and figure I really shouldn’t be in-person shopping anyway, so today I went on quite the online shopping spree to get what I was missing for the kitchen to be able to schedule my handyman:

– a new faucet (with a hose!)
– under sink soap dispensers (will use one for white vinegar)
– a new range hood
– two new ceiling fans

It’s taking every ounce of restraint I have not to replace the sink, but this is supposed to be a small freshening up of the kitchen, so I’m going to live with it, but I will have the seal around it replaced.

While my handyman is here, I will also have him do maintenance on the noisy exterior pump that transfers water from the ground tinaco (tank) to the one on the roof and also get his advice about installing an outlet for the microwave in the area under the built-in counters.

Speaking of the area under the built-in counters, I completed a satisfying project last night, one done over the course of a week or so, in 15- to 20-minute breaks. I complete removed the rotten, stinky, and bug infested wood, then scrubbed the area out completely.

I will be painting the area a bright colour (but of course) and having custom shelving built. I’m just waiting for my electrician’s opinion on the microwave project before I start designing the shelving unit and put in an order to a carpenter. Once all of that is done, the only other thing the kitchen might need is a better island, but that doesn’t feel super pressing.

Next project will be the master bathroom — improving water pressure and hot water access. Once that is done, it will be time to start working on the office makeover. For that one, I’m doing my “forever” makeover, floors, new electrical, custom blinds and furniture, the works. I feel very grateful that for once in my life, I have income to match my ambition and vision. 🙂