We Have Walls! (Finally)

So walls didn’t happen last Thursday, when they were supposed to start. Or Friday, when we found out they hadn’t started on Thursday. I sent an angry text to my contractor, who of course did not say a word to us about the delay, and he said tomorrow tomorrow. Whole crew. He said. They will be done in one day.

So I walked over to the house on Saturday, hoping I wasn’t catching him in another lie. The train station that lets us off right at the house is under construction until August (fun times) so the walk over is usually the same amount of time as waiting for the bus. Or at least less annoying.

As I got closer to the house, I started looking for cars I didn’t recognize on the block but it looked normal. I did hear a generator coming out of the backyard so I knew something was going on.

The door was ajar as I walked up and I could hear someone on the other side. I gave a warning knock and slowly opened the door. A man on a ladder with a drill nodded. I smiled and told him I was the owner.

The hallway walls were already up and I could hear a bunch of drills going so I walked through what was now a real doorway and saw a ton of guys working away. It was 2 pm and most of the first floor was done:

photo 2 photo 3

And most of the second floor:

photo 3  photo 1

I didn’t get a chance to see the basement because this guy was doing this:

photo 4

One of the guys on the first floor asked me if I bought the house. I nodded and couldn’t help myself – I started thanking him profusely for putting up the walls.

It’s messy right now, lots of trash, he said.

Oh you should have seen the place when we first bought it. Trash bags, needles, rats, everything!


I nodded. You guys are working really fast!

You think this is fast? He laughed.

Yeah, so much is done already!

We want to finish today.

Wow that would be awesome.

I think we can do it. This place is going to be really nice once you fix it up. Probably one more month.

Ha, finally a real timeline estimate. I pulled out my phone and pulled up the before pictures blog entry to show him what it looked like before we cleaned it out.

Wow, he said.

Yeah, so seriously, thank you so so much for doing this. Thank you.

I told him I was going to walk around and take more pictures before I left.

There were guys working on every floor. Every floor. It was awesome to see. There were guys assigned to ceilings, guys spotting each other on ladders, and guys helping each other hold up large pieces of wall.

Now I see where these time estimates get it wrong. The actual amount of time it can take for people to get something done is relatively short. These guys finished most of the work in one day and had to come back just to touch a few things up.

The reason it takes three times as long to actually finish something is all the bullshit in between. Case in point – we talked to our contractor on Sunday, who said the spackle guys can’t come until Tuesday and he had a bunch of stuff to clean up anyway.

Yesterday, I text him to confirm the day the spackle guy is coming and now they are coming on Wednesday and our contractor isn’t going to start cleaning stuff out until Tuesday (other lesson learned – I have to text my contractor every day and multiple times a day to get him to tell me anything, literally anything).

So today I hound text him all day until he finally confirms that the spackle guy is, in fact, coming on Wednesday.

I’ll believe it when I see it.


4 thoughts on “We Have Walls! (Finally)

  1. Congratulations on the walls going up! I’ve been feeling your pain all through the process cuz I know you can’t wait to just get in there and live. From here it should start to come together nicely. After the walls, in with the black mamba flooring, kitchen and baths and you got your self a house! And a whole lot of stories to tell. One question. My wife and I have been looking for a modest building in Bushwick or Bed Stuy or Crown Hights and find there’s almost nothing remotely affordable. Do you know if it’s still even possible to find a short sale in bushwick? And if so how do you find them? I don’t mind something completely trashed as I can do a lot of the work myself. Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. Best of luck as you hit the home stretch!!!

    • Hi Mateo – thanks for the kind words. From this point, it does start to seem like it’s coming together faster, although also at this point, it doesn’t seem like it’s coming together fast enough!

      Also congrats on deciding to buy a house! That’s a big step in itself. In terms of what you can find in Bushwick/Bed-Stuy, it’s honestly a matter of being obsessive about finding a place. Generally speaking, there is pretty much nothing out there because most of the market is going to be priced pretty high right now. BUT, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing, it just means that you really have to stay on top of internet listings (trulia, zillow, propertyshark, etc.) and follow up like a maniac. With this house we ended up buying, I called and emailed the seller’s agent at least once per week for about a month to get him to let me into the house. I was doing the same with 2 or 3 other houses at the time as well (all short sales) and this was the agent who ended up letting us see the house. There are definitely still short sales around, but you have to be incredibly persistent to 1. get an agent to pay attention to you in the first place (most short sales are really good deals and often have a number of all cash buyers in the mix) and 2. get the short sale through (for us, it was a 4-month process, but only because I called the agent, the attorney, and/or the lender almost every single day. Usually short sales can take as long as a year).

      I hope this doesn’t sound super discouraging, I just know what we had to to through with our limited budget and it definitely wasn’t easy and it often felt like we were never going to find anything in our price range (we started looking in 2010 and found this house in 2012), but we stayed really persistent and went after everything we could wholeheartedly. I like to think of it as putting in sweat equity 🙂

      Good luck on the hunt and please feel free to ask more questions!!

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