A new Investment home to consider



I had a conversation with an Engineer yesterday morning.  He actually did the inspections on my current investment house that is being built.  During our conversation he mentioned that a LOT of investment homes/rent homes are being built in our area, especially North Mississippi.  I was surprised to learn this, it is rather a weird thing to build a brand new house strictly as an investment property, well, in my circle it is.  Apparently it is done in other places quite often… I’ve always thought that apartments were built just to rent which seems to be normal in most areas until they convert them to condos and sell them, which is strange to me as apartments in our area tend to become war zones, a place where sane people don’t even think of entering.  But I digress.

This is a new plan that I developed specifically to fit onto some lots in a particular neighborhood.  The footprint is really small, but given the available building area, it works.  It really isn’t a bad layout, if it were a house for SALE, I would like to fix a lot of things, the master bedroom/bathroom situation for starters, and the laundry room location and size for another.  But if you think about it, this could really be a great living plan given it’s size.  The bedrooms upstairs are actually pretty large!  There are even 3 walk-in closets in this house, which is unheard of as a rule in a 1300 sq. ft. house.

In 1388 sq. ft. there are  4 dedicated bedrooms!  There is even an expandable area over the garage which could make yet another bedroom (if a window were added).

Think about the life many people live today with blended families.  One week you have 2 kids a dog and a cat.  But twice a month (or more) you have 6 kids and stuff everywhere!  A bunch of kids who all want to watch a different TV program, half of the kids wanting to play video games.  A bonus room in a small home like this could be invaluable!

This 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 2-car garage works, though tight.  It was designed as a rental, for people passing through a phase, however, with a few tweaks it could be the ideal down-size home for those who don’t want much space.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this one.

Freshly designed – open concept – with a SAFE room!

I get questions from people in the south every day… do you design houses with storm rooms for when there are tornadoes in the area.


Here is a prime example.  I recently designed this home for a couple who will be living in North Mississippi.  Tornadoes tear through our area of the country every year killing hundreds of people.  New homes are required to have Earthquake equipment, and hurricane clips to help hold the roof on during high winds, such as are present in a tornado, but there is no code that requires a storm shelter of any sort.

 This is one of those things that makes me do one of those silly side-cocked head movements (not unlike a dog) and ask myself WHY!?

I don’t know why, but when people want one I am so happy to oblige!

 The safe room has 8″ concrete blocks with rebar and poured concrete in the voids of the blocks.  The ceiling of the the safe room is 8″ of concrete with rebar.  The closet will be finished out with sheetrock and will look like a normal closet.  The door to the safe room will be metal and will swing INTO the closet in the event a bog tree falls across the bathroom, the door will still be able to be opened.  There will also be 3 vents for air exchange in the event the occupants have to spend a long time in the room.  The owners have been advised to always keep water/food, batteries, etc. inside the closet for emergencies.

So, here’s the house.  It will be pretty when completely built and I hope to have pictures once it is under way, but for now, take a look and give me your thoughts:

2500 - A25-034-01

  • Overall, on a scale of 1 – 10 do you like it (1-bad; 10 = excellent)
  • How do you like the safe room?
  • Would you rather have the safe room somewhere else?
  • Do you like the open concept personally? Do you think you would enjoy living in a space like this?


I think of the marines who served with my son often.  I tend to keep up with them on Facebook as they tend to post often and I read their stuff, see their kids and feel their pain.

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Garrett’s 4th anniversary passed on 27 Dec. 2014 and for the Christmas season, things are often hard for me.  Once Christmas passes, the Anniversary of Garrett’s death hits.  The truth of the matter is, he was actually killed on 26 Dec, but the military records say the 27th.  I can honestly say this because I was in the tub in Southern California when I received a call from my daughter who was at home when 2 uniformed Marines showed up on my front porch with the news that he was killed.  It was December 26th in the evening.  By the time I got the call, it was approximately 9:30 p.m. California time.

Eli Stone posted this 12-27-2014
Eli Stone posted this 12-27-2014

Anyway, because my mind has trouble saying “yes it was the 27th,” and not explaining that it really was the 26th every time, I just suffer for 2 days rather than one… although, every day holds its own suffering.  Someone once said that it was like carrying around a rock in your pocket.  It is always there, but you get accustomed to it being there, so you don’t always notice the bulk or weight of it all, but it wears on you and suddenly you notice its there.  You beat yourself up because you kind-of forgot it was there for a few moments or days, then because you forgot, your mind makes you feel awful for forgetting though in forgetting you were able to get along a few days as if life was normal.

There’s nothing normal about your kid being murdered by terrorists.

I say all that to say this.  During those days surrounding the 25th, 26th and 27th of December, many of Garrett’s friends stop by my Facebook page (or tag me) to let me know they don’t forget.  They truly don’t!  They remember the day as much as I remember the day.  I don’t know how they do that, but it certainly feels good that they do.  They post photos and tell stories about their time with him.  Here are just a few pictures that they shared this year.


Plans Change

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So, while working with my builder on the new investment house construction, we made an executive decision about the Master Bathroom.  In trying to keep a great bathroom, but reduce costs, we decided to flip the entire bathroom so that we could change the window that was over the shower.  I am adamant about having natural light in bathrooms, but the long window over the shower was going to be more expensive because I wanted to have a cultured marble window sill (knowing that tenants will store their shampoo bottles, etc., on the window sill and it needed to be indestructible!)

SO, rather than having that expense, we decided to just flip the room so that we could put a regular window and wooden window sill.  This window will open so that during the 2 weeks of the year that Memphis has nice weather, it can be opened to let the four breezes blow!

Personally, I think this helped the overall decorating possibilities of the Master Suite anyway.  It allowed for a HUGE LONG WALL for decorating.  (I’m assuming that the BED will be along the left wall and directly across from the bed will be a great place for a long dresser with a TV on it, etc.

New Construction – Investment Home

I mentioned a while back that I was going to build a new home for the Rental market.  I recently bought 4 lots in a subdivision at literally 10 cents on the dollar, so this helped make my new venture affordable.  So far the construction is going as planned.  Well, maybe not as planned as I didn’t really know how it would go exactly, but it is as I expected having seen homes being built in the past.

I pulled the permit back last year and the slab was poured around the 1st of February (2015).  We have had an extraordinary amount of rain, ice and snow this year, so this has made construction progress a bit more slowly than summertime building, however, I am pleasantly surprised at how quickly it is going in spite of the weather.  Here are some pics of the progress.

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Here we have our slab and our first delivery of lumber… the fun is only just beginning! Slabs ALWAYS look tiny no matter the size of the house.  This will eventually be a 1700 sq. ft. house! (Believe it or not!)

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I just love seeing the hits on my credit card for lumber… it’s more expensive than you think! BUT just think of all those miles I’m getting!  After this is all done we should be able to fly somewhere warm for vacation!

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Framing begins…  excitement grows!

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Yes, I’m sure we are annoying the neighbors, but they are rarely home during the day.

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Not a lot of new framing going on because of this skiff of snow which turned into a huge icy road situation.

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Second floor framing begins.

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They are cutting the rafters and getting them all ready to go on top.

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Doesn’t it look bigger now that there is framing going on? Man that slab looked SO SMALL!

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Notice the right side of the garage has a big space where the sheathing is above the door?  There is a piece missing there… it’s for our Earthquake codes.  Although Memphis has not seen an earthquake since the 1800’s with any magnitude to hurt anything, we are still required to put certain products related to earthquakes in each build.  It’s crazy, but alas…. government at its finest!

Fun Fact:  Memphis’s Earthquake Seismic Zone is the SAME as San Francisco’s!  Really?!  Yep!

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Now the sheathing goes on.

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More exterior work going on… we now have a cornice and roof decking.  It’s really starting to look like a real house!

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The balance of the house will be brick.  This will keep the structure very low maintenance.  The siding was put on the front to help make it pretty.  This should be very low maintenance as well if we will just keep it painted well.

Lot 11 Riggins Hills
Lot 11 Riggins Hills

As of today, we have some windows in and we are getting our jacket put on (this is the house wrap).  It is made out of the same material that “wind breaker” jackets were made out of back in the 80’s.

BY THE WAY:  Thanks 84 Lumber for giving me GREAT PRICES on my products!  Gotta love my 84 Lumber dudes!

House Wrap
House Wrap