What permits do you need?

So we set up an LLC for our investment property, primarily for keeping ‘the biz’ separate from our personal finances. It also helps at tax time and for keeping liability or damages away from your person if something were to happen at your investment or rental property.

We added some floor supports in the basement early on to level the floor

We added some floor supports in the basement early on to level the floor

Most complex to me is the permit situation. Because we have an LLC, the city is going to treat us like any other outside business improving a property – not as homeowners. Here is a breakdown of all the permits we needed…I highlighted the 3 permits where you must have a licensed tradesman do the work (you cannot work on these yourself):

Taking apart the kitchen

Taking apart the kitchen

  • The first permit you need is a general building permit. You can get this yourself. The LLC purchases this to improve a property and it details the general scope of the project. There are a few different inspections required with the general permit.
    • Framing inspection: Checks all the walls ensuring the structure is secure.
    • Insulation inspection: Checks to make sure the house is properly insulated.
    • Vapor barrier: Keeps the moisture out of the house.
    • Fire block: Stops backdrafts in the event of a fire.
  • You will need a permit for a new roof.
  • You will need a permit for siding, but we were lucky; we did not have to replace any siding.
  • You will need a permit for any new windows you install.
  • You will need a licensed electrical outfit to pull a permit for any electrical work you do.
    • Electricians are expensive, but we are lucky that my brother is an electrician and is able to pull permits and do the work himself.
  • You will need an HVAC permit and you cannot do the work yourself unless you are the homeowner. HVAC is heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
  • You will need a plumbing inspection and a permit from a licensed plumber.
Removing the paneling and underneath that was wallpaper....lots of wallpaper

Removing the paneling and underneath that was wallpaper….lots of wallpaper

This is all null and void, of course, if you are the primary homeowner, As a homeowner you are encouraged to make improvements to your property as needed. As a business, they want to ensure you are not doing shoddy work for a quick buck to the deprecation of a property.

Julius Gives Thanks

Julius was driving around his little plastic dodge truck. We have a Thanksgiving Little People set and he happened to have the little Thanksgiving Native American figure in the back of the pickup.

Ross:”The Native Americans showed their love of Dodge V8 Lariat package. They showed us how to use four-wheel drive… and it was good.”

Jill:”…and every year we give thanks.”

New exterior lights from ReStore!

The ReStore had a huge clearance sale and I wanted to check it out, mostly for subway tile. Unfortunately, most of the tile was either not the style I wanted or not enough quantity to be useful. We’ve also bought windows at the ReStore, that we ended up painting white with Rustoleum and they look great.

Our itty bitty outdoor lights before

Our itty bitty outdoor lights before

However I did walk by the light section, for curiosity’s sake. I saw three of those huge outdoor wall sconces and I picked them up to check for cracks. They were in perfect condition! I want to say they were $12 on sale for $7 (each). I texted my brother, who’s an electrician, to ask if there was anything I needed to check for (like missing wires or something), and Ross, to get his opinion, but neither texted me back. So I thought, what’s the worst that could happen, we spend $21 and can’t use them?

I bought three of these rust-colored outdoor sconces

I bought three of these rust-colored outdoor sconces

Our beautiful new sconce installed

Our beautiful new sconce installed

I bought them, of course, and sure enough my brother said that price was amazing and basically unheard of! Ross liked them as much as I did, and he actually suggested we switch out the exterior lights at our house instead of using them over at the rental. Because the ReStore lights are so large, they probably would look odd on such a small house anyway, and our little white sconces will look perfect over there with the white siding.

Connecting the new wires to the old wires with a wire nut

Connecting the new wires to the old wires with a wire nut

Ross installed our “new-to-us” lights and they look like they were always meant to be on our house! I love that they blend in so nicely with the brick – the white ones stood out a lot, and not in a good way. They kind of stood out in a here’s our meager outdoor lights try not to trip in the dark kind of way. We love our new lights – thanks ReStore!

The new lights installed on our house

The new lights installed on our house

Craftsman-style exterior columns

As I artfully detailed in this post about our exterior brick, I’ve been dreaming up our new front steps for a long time. Guys, they are coming to life right before my eyes and it looks so cool.

Columns being built!

Columns being built!

Columns being trimmed out

Columns being trimmed out

Ross did the half-posts (not sure what to call them) at the bottom of the columns and it took us awhile to figure out the stone cap pieces. Once we figured out what pieces to buy and how to install them, we were ready to trim out the columns.

Raw cedar posts...lookin' fine!

Raw cedar posts…lookin’ fine!

I’m that weird person that will totally take a picture wherever, whenever, and I picked up some Pottery Barn boys bedding off Craigslist (for the downstairs bedroom I’m designing in my head haha) and snapped a picture of some columns I liked in that neighborhood. The lady I was waiting for was about 20 minutes late so I had to make use of my time. So next time you see a random park their car at your neighbor’s house, get out and walk around to houses snapping pics, it’s probably me. Coming to a neighborhood near you…

The picture I took driving around random neighborhoods...

The picture I took driving around random neighborhoods…

So I sent Ross the picture of the columns I liked, and he liked them as well. The only moment of hesitation came as he was installing them. He sent me a snap of the columns naked and suggested maybe we just stain them. However, one of the neighbors has cedar columns and I didn’t want to be a copy cat neighbor; that would look pretty obvious. He also thought maybe we should have the columns white but paint the trim black. I shot that down because I can envision that in my head and it would look janky. Black trim on the house, yes, black trim on the columns, no. He came around and admitted all white looked great! #loveit

Finished white columns versus black trim columns...

Finished white columns versus black trim columns…

Finished columns! *BOOM*

Finished columns! *BOOM*

P.S. I love this video and had to share it, from my insta-friend @ladyslittleloves because it is so funny I even had to show Ross…dads are just the best. The best. I swear, dads have a fun gene that mommies lack. #willtryhardertobefun

Birthday gift ideas

Me: “It’s Ashley’s birthday! [our regular sitter] We should get her some flowers.”

George: “…and some cupcakes.”

Me: “Sure…we could get cupcakes. Good idea George! Maybe we get her a balloon too.”

George: “…and some fireworks!”

Me: “Uhh…probably not fireworks.”

How we do allowance

George is about 3 and a half so we just started doing allowance. I made an appointment at the bank and basically took out $50 in all coins (yeah, my bank loves me). Each week, we give George a $1 and teach him what each of the coins mean. He was able to go to the dollar store and pick out something already and I have the best story to tell…!

Get this…..he didn’t just want something for himself – he wanted to buy a My Little Pony for a girl at his daycare, Catherine. How CUTE is that!? Melts my heart…I am so proud! He is giving…because it makes him feel good to give…and he wants to give more than receive, which is the way it should be.

Teaching George about money is important to us because with money comes power, but more importantly, with money comes responsibility  – stewardship. You can lump money in with evil, and I’ll try not to get preachy, but my own personal experience has been a growth in faith, growth in responsibility, and growth in giving from the growth of money.

I know this is not everyone’s experience with money, only mine. It’s not a sob story, but I was raised by a single mother who had a chronic disease so I basically raised myself from 13 on up. I refer to it as having a rug pulled out from under you at a young age. This taught me that you can have something one day, and nothing the next, and you must save for a rainy day.

We talk to George about money often, partly because it is our belief that parents who ignore the issue of money are setting their children up for disaster. There is a big, conniving commercial world that is going to come after your kids’ money as soon as they turn 18, if not before. We want George to have the tools to know what to do when faced with a decision involving money.

We give out $1 in coins each week and will increase it each year

We give out $1 in coins each week and will increase it each year

The truth is, we live in the wealthiest country in the world and while a lot of us think we are poor, poor is relative. If you have access to clean drinking water, shelter and food, how poor are you? If you can get a job (any job), how poor are you? Having traveled a bit, there are countries that simply don’t provide infrastructure for clean water or safe roads –> you are on your own so you had better be able to buy those things or purchase what is needed to make those things. We’d like to travel more with George and show him how lucky we are, but first things first! We set him up with three jars:

  1. Save 10%
  2. Give 10%
  3. Manage 80%
George with his three jars

George with his three jars

I don’t think he understands the percentages but we’ll get there eventually. By using the word manage instead of spend I’m hoping he understands you should never spend 80% of what you take in…actually much less. That 80% would be the part you get to decide what big ticket items you want…whether a house, an investment, or a business, etc.

George puts some of his coins in his piggy bank car

George puts some of his coins in his piggy bank car

I’ve considered introducing stocks to my children but I don’t want to glorify the stock market. An old boss of mine told me about letting their child trade stocks as a learning activity, which I think is fine, but I don’t want George to get the idea that the stock market is a game, or a get-rich-quick activity – I want him to understand it is basically just buying a share of a business, but with less control than owning your own business. The stock market is not the answer to managing money. It is simply one investment option. Among many, many options, and the best option for you is the one you feel more knowledgeable about and comfortable with.

George splitting his money between jars

George splitting his money between jars

We are really happy with how George has managed his money so far…by primarily giving gifts! It shows me his heart and having a few dollars to manage has not turned him evil. Doesn’t it feel good to give!?

Shoe bin storage

We have a metal bin in the entryway for shoes. It’s mostly my shoes & the kids’ because Ross’ clodhoppers fill the whole bin, so he usually uses the bench or closet for his shoes. As we were rushing out the door to get to church I set my coffee cup on the top of the bin nestled between two shoes (I bent over to put my shoes on and needed a free hand). When we came home, I remembered I set my coffee there and went to grab it.

Me: “Oh no…you threw your shoes on top of my coffee.”

Ross: “What? What are you talking about?”

Me: “My coffee. I set it on top of the shoe bin.”

Ross: “Oh. I didn’t realize I had to check for coffee mugs in the shoe bin. I’ll be sure to check for dishes next time before I throw shoes in the shoe bin.”

Legit point. But I take my coffee wherever I can get it.

Downstairs bedroom painting

I wanted to get the whole family over to the rental so I suggested to Ross that we paint the downstairs bedroom. It was a horrible sponge-pattern of purple shades and we just bought ten gallons of white paint so I thought that was the perfect something I could help with. What I said [in my head] was “let’s lock the kids in the bedroom and get it done,” but Ross didn’t read my mind and cleaned the whole house so the kids could run amok. Needless to say, I wasn’t comfortable with them running around unattended with open outlets and shtuff so we ended up locking them in the bedroom [with us] while we painted.

Julius loving the purple walls

Julius loving the purple walls

Running around like a nut

Running around like a nut

It worked out fine except we didn’t bring any toys, so the iPhone came out, and now all of my apps are in different places…urgh. But the walls look so fresh and clean and I am all kinds of excited now that I have a bedroom to dream about in my head. I forgot how high the ceilings were until I tried to paint the walls with the roller brush and had to stand on my tippy-toes, and I’m pretty tall. Ross stood on a bucket (totally safe) and painted the inside of the closet. We talked about what we wanted to do for closet shelving and closet doors, which made me even more excited because I know I can find closet doors on the cheap and make them look stunna.

The purple bedroom before painting

The purple bedroom before painting

Purple sponge paint.... ack!

Purple sponge paint…. ack! I’m hoping whoever did it was 7 yrs old

I got a little workout as I was ripping trim off of the floor – Ross showed me some techniques but it was still a lot of work! I told him I was sore and he thought that was funny…apparently he did not think it was all that difficult… while I worked my little heart out.

Once we brought out the paint and rollers, George wanted to help, so I was able to get some video of him before things got really messy. These boys are the cutest. George seems so old to me…with the way he talks and how he runs around…I forget he is actually only three years old! Julius is pretty much all smiles all the time – he’s a total cheeze-face with his big grin and makes me want to do nothing else but snuggle him. Laundry? No, just snuggles please.

The new white paint

The new white paint

The closet that I'm hunting down doors for...

The closet that I’m hunting down doors for…

I am going a little crazy planning this room -because I can, and it is the one area that I can actually work on (paint I can do). I’ve scored a few things that I want to use in George’s room at home, but will put in the rental house first, to stage it to sell. Because I’m too, too, too excited about decor, I even made a little picture with Bamboo Paper so Ross could envision what the hell I’m talking about when I say something like “I bought a moose head for the downstairs bedroom:”

I have every little detail of this room planned out #weirdo

I have every little detail of this room planned out #weirdo

As you may be able to tell, I’m anxiously awaiting the day I get to decorate this house.

Hulu’s 11.22.63

We love this Hulu show 11.22.63 but we always miss episodes because KIDS. So we were super excited to put the kids to bed early and spend the night with Netflix and Hulu.

Ross: “There’s new episodes of 11.22.63….we should put the kids to bed early.”

Me: “Ohhhhh…Netflix and chill?”

Ross: “Netflix it up?”

Me: “Flickin-the-Net?”

Ross: [looks at kids] “Your mother. Has a dirty mind.”