Save The… Water!

So we’re all about saving the tigers, bears, seals and starving orphans, but are we focused enough on saving the one resource we all can’t live without?? Don’t get me wrong, these are all worthy causes – I used to volunteer for The Marine Mammal Center, where we’d save seals on a daily basis – but I don’t think there’s enough worldwide focus on saving THE most precious, and necessary resource of all: Water.

A water shortage has never been more apparent for California residents than now, as we enter the 5th year of drought, yet I still see sprinklers watering expanses of lush green lawns, with water running off and down the streets. Let your lawn die, people! If the drought ends you can always bring it back, or better yet, plant drought tolerant landscaping that can thrive on the minimal rainfall we naturally experience every year, and still look fabulous.

Having grown up in Australia, I’m accustomed to routine water restrictions during the summer, where you’re not allowed to water your lawn, nor wash your car, and that’s OK. We’d all have brown lawns and dirty cars by the end of summer, and guess what; it wasn’t the end of the world!

Australians have also been quick to adopt the practice of re-routing greywater (water that comes from the clothes-washer, shower and sinks) into the garden, and collecting rain water that falls on the roof in the rainy season. Californians definitely need to take a leaf from their book and each take more responsibility in conserving water, because looking around, it doesn’t seem like anyone realizes how close we are to running out – I’ve seen multiple news reports and articles claiming Californians have less than one year worth of water left… then what? We ship it in? Where from? And at what kind of expense? Then what happens when THAT runs out?

So what can we all do to conserve water (and save money, for those paying for municipal water)? A great place to start is not only to plant drought-tolerant landscaping and install low flow shower heads, toilets and faucets, but in your own habits of how you use water. For example, if you have to run the tap to wait for hot water, collect the water in a bucket or jug, and use it for your drinking water, or to water your plants. Shorten your shower by just a few minutes each day, even turning off the shower while you lather your hair… There are over 100 great water saving habits that you can find here!

Pretend water is something precious and expensive that you wouldn’t dare waste a drop of – like your favorite wine, or beer, or money itself! If 100 dollar bills were flowing out of the tap and down the sink, I’m sure you’d be able to come up with ways to redirect the extra notes into a container and save them for something else. At Pageburn Properties, we install water-saving plumbing fixtures and appliances in our renovated homes, to try and help the people that buy them save as much water as they can.

Without water, we’re in a whole world of hurt. And that’s a nice way of putting it. Save The Water!
Anne

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DIY WTF?

What is it with people thinking they can just do whatever they want to a house, without getting permits, nor getting professional contractors in to do the work – and then thinking that will add value to it??

I have viewed so many properties recently where the owner has decided to take it upon themselves (and probably their trusty You-Tube training in construction), to make changes to their home that not only weren’t permitted nor to code, but left me standing there scratching my head wondering, “What were they THINKING?”.

Not only did the work look terrible, but it affected how much I was willing to offer them to buy the house. All I could think about was how much extra it would cost me to have a professional contractor undo what they did, or even worse, rebuild it all correctly and to comply with building codes.  You wouldn’t believe what dreadful looking “improvements” I’ve seen; badly removed, added or moved walls; badly filled-in porches, and garages converted to bedrooms – without even removing the garage door (a bit-o-paint and carpet will do!).

In the photo below, the owner had begun the process of moving the exterior wall out a couple of feet for some extra square footage, but they never finished it… This is what their neighbor has gotten to look at from their driveway… for the last few years!IMG_8554 (640x480)

But my favorite so far, was an unpermitted ensuite that had been added to a bedroom – except they didn’t build a wall between the bedroom and the ensuite, it was just a bathroom sitting in the corner of the bedroom! Believe it or not, there was a shower right up against the toilet in this pic…IMG_8282 (640x480)And they think this adds value to their home!? Well, I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t folks – it actually detracts from the value of it. So the moral of the story is to ALWAYS use a professional contractor to do the work, and always have them pull the permits they need to to get the job done correctly, and to code!

What are some shocking DIY jobs that you have seen in your travels??
Anne

Happy Rehab Season!

Mmmmm – what a beautiful day it is today! The sun is shining, a grass-scented breeze is blowing, and there is a warmth in the air that reminds us that summer is on it’s way. Smells like Rehab Season to me!

Fortunately, here in sunny California, Rehab Season (a good time for house rehabilitation or renovations) is all year round, but I watch the weather reports in other parts of the country, and I wonder whether there are certain times of the year that Contractors are short on jobs, simply because of the weather?

How do you paint a house in temperatures too cold to paint? How do you protect a job-site in constantly pouring rain? How do you do anything outside in 120F temperatures?? Sure, there are tasks you can complete indoors, but does that mean that outdoor tasks can only be completed at certain times of the year, possibly creating an actual “Rehab Season”?? And, of course, that could be at different times of the year, for any given area.

When is “Rehab Season” in your area? When do you see the most construction going on? If you’re a fix & flip real estate investor, do you have to plan your projects around the weather? Or are there certain times of the year you don’t do any projects at all??

Contractors, do you find that there are certain times of the year that your business is affected by the weather – for better or for worse? Are there weather effects even in states where there is almost eternal sunshine – like in California??

I’m curious to know! Please comment below to fill me in on what it’s like for you, and how you combat “weather effects” to keep your business thriving year round.

Happy Rehab Season!
Anne

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What’s your “Why”?

What is your “Why”? The reason why you do what you do in life? Do you even know why you do what you do in life??

Unless you can pinpoint exactly what it is that gets you out of bed every day to go to work, work in your business, or stand in the unemployment line, then it is going to be harder for you to be successful at it. Whether your “Why” is your family, or financial freedom, or to save for that awesome vacation, you need that carrot dangling in front of your face to put pep in your steps to get there.

My “Why” is definitely my infant son, and being able to spend time with him. Almost as soon as I fell pregnant with him, I decided that I wanted to figure out a better way to earn money that freed up my time, so I could spend time with him and be a part of his life every day. My mum was always present in my early life, and I remember how wonderful that was, and I wanted that for my son. Working a 40 hour week away from him just didn’t make sense to me, but we still needed more than one income to get by. So I got thinking, and tried to figure out how I could redesign my life to match my dream.

I remembered that my mother and father most successfully built their wealth through real estate. They always owned rental properties while I was growing up, so I got to see first hand what a lifestyle based on passive income looked like. The most important part of it was that they had time to spend with me. We would spend great lengths of time on our farm, where some of my most cherished childhood memories were formed. In my Primary School years (known as Elementary School in the USA), my mum was always there to greet me after I walked home from school. As a kid, I didn’t think much about it, but as a newly pregnant mum-to-be, it hit me hard how wonderful that was, and just how valuable that was to how I myself, turned out to be. TIME with my family was precious to me, and I knew that I needed to provide my son with the same.

20 weeks into my pregnancy, we discovered he would be born with complex heart defects that would need open heart surgery soon after birth in order for him to survive. Once he was born, we almost lost him in the lead up to his surgery, but once the surgery was performed, he made a miraculous recovery and is positively thriving these days. Going through that whole journey with him, and coming face to face with the fear of losing someone that you love so much, made me even more resolute to provide him with the best life possible, and to build a way of life that freed up time for me – and my husband – to spend as many precious moments with him as we can. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone, but having that thrown very clearly and tangibly into your face really lights a fire in your soul.

So here I am, building my own business in real estate investing – riding the wild ride of ups and downs – but knowing it’s all worth it for my “Why”. He is what gets me out of bed (literally!), excited to see each and every new day. I get to spend an incredible amount of time with him – as does my mother who helps take care of him when I need uninterrupted time in the office. I am looking forward to when the business takes off enough for my husband to enjoy more time with him too. Thankfully he works an early shift and has a lot of time with him after work each day.

Getting a business off the ground is certainly not easy work, and I must make sure I keep my eye on the “Why”, so I don’t tip the balance scales too far in the wrong direction; ie, I need to make sure I don’t get too caught up spending too much time in the business, when the whole reason I’m on this adventure is to spend time with my son.

Don’t lose sight of your “Why” people! It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday slog of life, but make sure you stop and take stock once in a while, to make sure you’re really honoring your “Why”.

Be excellent to each other!
Anne

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