Category Archives: Investment Homes

We’re just beyond the half-way point!

I say we’re just beyond the 1/2 way point because I’ve spent a little more than 1/2 my money, so we’d BETTER be past the 1/2 way point!

We are getting Sheetrock and Brick this week and probably a bit of next week too.  Both are going well!

Brick on Left Side
Brick on Left Side

Here we have the left side of the house.  They are almost finished with it.  I didn’t bother to look at the back side.  The front and Right sides are only about 48″ high, but in a day or two they’ll all be finished.

The front porch, which I believe I’ve talked about previously, can’t have a window at the bottom of the stairs (unless we bought a really expensive one), so we cut that window, but to keep it from looking so bad/plain, we are adding a pair of closed shutters to give the front a little “pretty”.  Those haven’t been put up yet, but it will give a punch of “non” color to the front. (They are black, which really isn’t a color… go ask your art teacher.)

Here’s a bit of the front.

Front porch partial brick
Front porch partial brick

There really isn’t much to see as far as the sheetrock is concerned, so I’ll save photos of that for a later post.




Getting brick on the new house!

Because of the rain, the brick has been waiting for about a week. More rain tonight. The ground is so muddy they can’t set up the scaffolding. Ahhhhh! Rain!!!!!

Note to self, start next house during the summer!!



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I like color.  I especially love seeing a house come together, the entire process impresses and thrills me.  A friend asked me the other day how things were going with this, my first investment home build… I told her I was equally thrilled and freaked out by the entire process.  I was worried about interest payments, etc., then I calm myself down when I realize I only have to pay 3, or maybe 4 months worth of interest.  It’s all good!

Anyway, We were supposed to be getting brick laid starting yesterday, however, it’s been raining off and on for the past few days so the  sand for the morter is too wet, so the brick-layers have not yet begun their work, but the painters came  today said that the wood was dry enough to put a layer of primer on the wood-work, so here we have some primer.

The siding will be about this color, but the trim/cornice will be much lighter as well as the trim around the windows and the garage door and column at the front porch.  The shutters will be solid black and will be inset on the porch to the left of the front door to give the illusion of a window (but a window can no t be placed here because of the staircase directly beyond.  Well, it COULD be a window, but it would have been very expensive tempered glass, and I didn’t want the liability of someone falling down the stairs, through the glass and out onto the front porch, so we simply omitted that window.  There will be shutters at the tiny window above the front porch as well as the window above the garage door.  This house should be really cute when finished.

The new house build continues

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My builder has been doing this technique for years (even before it was cool).  She has an inch of foam insulation sprayed into the house, then adds bat insulation on top of that.  The foam seals the entire wall and the bats increase the R value.  I believe we will have about an R15 in the walls.

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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.

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

Getting Started

I know it’s been an awfully long time since I blogged last… I have never been disciplined at writing a diary like my mom and my grandmom were. I just get so distracted by everyday life that I seem to find it hard to sit and write on a consistant basis.  HOWEVER,  I am going to try to be better, but no promises.

Today’s topic is Getting Started.

So where does my new Rent House stand?  Just to catch up, I bought four building lots late last year from the Shelby Co. (TN) Land Bank.  This took a lot longer to do than I thought it would, but they are all mine now.

I designed a couple of houses just to make sure that I COULD design something that would fit on the weird lots with easements running through them before I put money on the table.

I finalized the house for lot 11 since it was going to be almost impossible to fit something great on it.  I wanted a double garage but the buildable area of the lot was only 23′ wide, so there is only a single garage, so I plan to pour a double wide driveway out front so that someone can park in the garage and if there is another car involved, they don’t constantly need to move their car out of the drive way in order to let the other car out of the garage.  Plus this is a neighborhood with lots of kids, so this will also give the kids a nice place to play (sidewalk chalk and all).

I’ve pulled a permit to begin construction.

There is lumber laying on the lot waiting for the ground to get a bit firmer (we’ve had a bit of rain lately) so that the foundation can be started and the plumber can do his initial thing.

We’ve got the steel for the foundation all bought, so once the plumber does his thing, my slab guys can get out there and hop to it!  Can’t wait until the framing starts!

Three houses have recently been built about 10 -15 houses away from mine.  They look a LOT like my house will look in that they were also very narrow lots (20′ wide footprint for the house).  They too, have a single garage, but they chose to put more grass and only a single driveway.  The subdivision has such narrow lots that there really isn’t a place to park a second car if not on the lot.  But that’s their problem.

Of these three new homes, two have sold, and rather quickly too!  The builder sold the first one last May and the second around September and the third one is almost finished, they just poured the driveway.  Even though I’m not looking to sell mine, at least the comps for the bank (and my eventual mortgage) will be really nice given that there have been a lot of foreclosures in this subdivision in the last few years, these 3 new sales will help me greatly.

I’ll keep you posted as to how the construction progresses.  Already a million questions from my builder about windows, cabinets, stained concrete floors, etc.

I’m terifyingly excited!  Never done this before and want it to go well!


Riggins Hills LOT 11
Lot 11


Deer View

So, while out and about… while waiting for my lots to be listed on the County Register’s site, I thought I’d drive by them the other day just to see what traffic is like at that time of the day… are neighbors home at 9 a.m. or are most gone off to a job of some sort? So, I’m driving through after dropping off my hubby’s dry cleaning and discovered his little thing hanging out on my lots.

deer 2

deer 1


I watched her for a while, then did the block and came back to see if the sound of my car would scare her off.  Not a chance, as it turns out.  She was still there munching on grass.

I find it fascinating as these lots are TINY and they are right in the middle of a subdivision with cars passing by often.  This, by the way, will be the view out the Master Bedroom of 2 of my houses… just some nice woods.  No one knows for how long, but the land behind these lots is totally undeveloped.  At least for now, the view will be wonderful!  Maybe I’ll add a small deck off the Master Bedroom (on the back of the 2nd floor) so that the future tenants can sit out there and watch this kind of wildlife.  I wouldn’t mind that at all!




Finally in the Game!

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I’m FINALLY in the game.  It’s been a LONG time coming, but I’m finally able to say that we are moving forward… FINALLY!!!!

Let’s just get one thing out there in the open… when you buy property from the government you can expect that they don’t move very quickly… it’s pretty much like waiting in line at the DMV!

I believe I mentioned in a post that I had bought 4 lots from the Shelby County Land Bank.  Well, there is a process that has to be followed… in triplicate it seems, like all government work.  I had to put a sizeable deposit down and pay for the newspaper ads that told the world (well, anyone who reads that paper) that I had made an offer to purchase the 4 lots to a tune of $200 per LOT! OUCH!  BUT I kept a cool head knowing that the purchase price was really a great deal.

After waiting 3 weeks I discovered that no one came forward to  bid against me for these lots, WHEW! My first hurdle down… 47 more to go!

Then, there was a City Council vote… who knew!  That would happen at the end of the month… yet another 3 weeks waiting for that to happen.  It was a mere formality, so just time served I suppose was my payment for that bit.

Then, the letter stating that I had 30 days to pay the balance on the lots, or if I failed to purchase them, I’d be barred from buying any more properties for a year.  So, I got my attorney on the horn and got him to get HIS stuff going… Lord only knows what all he did, but he did manage to get me Title Insurance and Surveys and things of this nature so that I wouldn’t lose anything else if I went through with this deal.

All that came back good to go, so I went and paid for my lots the last week before I lost them.

Now, there is another waiting period, the Land Bank said that it would take 7 – 8 weeks for me to receive my Deed in the mail.  Seven – Eight WEEKS!?!?!  My attorney wanted to go down and pick up the paperwork and walk it over to the court and have it registered immediately, but the Land Bank kept not wanting to do that for some odd reason, so now I’m in a holding pattern yet again, but this too shall pass.  My attorney also said that I didn’t have to wait to get the mailed Deed before construction, only had to wait until the Deed showed up as Registered through our county Register’s office.  So now, I check daily to see if it got registered.  Not only am I chomping at the bit to get going, so is my builder.  It turned off cold here this week and it has rained a bit over the last few weeks.  I really just want to get the foundation in the ground before all the winter rain and nastiness starts.  If that can happen, I can keep a few folks employed this winter, which works out well for all of us.

So, above you see the plan.  This is the final plan. I do not plan to change it again, but reserve that right as I am a woman after all.

Hopefully this will be a profitable venture and the other 3 lots remaining will have an easier go at this home building venture.

{{{{{{   Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!   }}}}}}}

I hate waiting, but better cool my jets down so that I don’t make mistakes… especially those with lots of “zeros” at the end!

Visit again soon to see how things are going.  I hope to post photographs as we go.  First step already accomplished, we have an address now…. Well, the builder got one, so just holding on until the gate opens!