My Old House

Issues and Events involving our Home in Independence, Missouri
My Old House on Winner Road


Filed under: General — Admin @ 12:49 pm

My apologies… I’ve let this site kind of slide for the past few years.

Once we finished our work for the city’s 353 Tax Abatement program, we kind of went “whew!” and did nothing for a while. Then I had problems with the hosting of this WordPress blog. Switched hosting providers a couple of times. Managed to get myself locked out of it and just didn’t set aside the time to fix things.

I really need to fix the site’s layout and get that Image Gallery back working again.

As far as news for the house goes: It’s time to paint the exterior again (sigh). Nothing major has been done lately. If I try to think of anything recent that we’ve done or fixed… well, the garage exterior light has been replaced with a nice LED one. You can’t find replacement bulbs for it, though, because they never INTENDED you to replace the bulb: supposedly, the bulb will last 30 years! I really like the quality and spread of light that it gives off.

We did have our asphalt driveway resealed last year. Typical maintenance for that. Looks like we’re having a very mild winter, which will help that last longer.

I’m weaning myself away from x-10 home automation and the use of Homeseer Home Automation software. We have some ZWave light controls now. But we’ve separated lighting from motion sensors and alarms by buying a Simplisafe security system, which I really like!

I’ve also gotten a bit away from gardening and landscaping in recent years, as it just gets so hot in the late Spring so quickly, I’d rather do stuff inside. But there’s always that annual Spring burst of enthusiasm where one needs to go out and buy things to plant!

Well, hopefully I’ll get on here soon and fix the darned theme and other stuff on this site.


-= Dave =-


353 Tax Abatement Program: FINALLY, we’re done

Filed under: General — Admin @ 2:43 pm

Well, as of last week, we signed the concluding paperwork for the 353 Tax Abatement Program in our area. As we were getting ready to leave, the head of the program for the City advised us to call our mortgage lender. She said we should be able to tell them that we just finished up on a Tax Abatement program and that we’d like them to:

a) NOT pay this year’s real estate property tax bill (which I’m sure they were about to do; it’s time).
b) REFUND us that money.

I THOUGHT I was going to have a rough time explaining it to them. But after giving my initial speech to Bank of Kansas City Mortgage, and …


353 program… almost finished

Filed under: General — Admin @ 4:22 pm

So, a little over a week ago, we had the “final inspection” of the 353 tax abatement program.

I was not happy.

There are a few things the City of Independence does NOT tell you about the 353 program.

1) OK, so you’ve got this list of improvements you have to make, but if anything ELSE deteriorates to the point where they see it on the final inspection (especially any peeling paint), then you’ll have 30 days to fix that up.

So, in other words, a 100-plus year old house needs to be in almost PERFECT condition to pass their inspection.

2) Things that they MISSED on their inspection four years ago… are FAIR GAME to now be REQUIRED for you to have 30 …


Last big project of our 353 Tax Abatement –> Concrete Walk replaced!

Filed under: Landscaping and Property — Admin @ 3:30 pm

Last week, we had our concrete sidewalk, which leads from our back door all the way around the south side of the house to our front door, totally replaced.

While the old concrete was in OK shape, the 353 inspector had said we needed to get the cracks within that sidewalk fixed. And of course, when you have a fair number of cracks, total replacement becomes less time-consuming and expensive than repairing one crack at a time.

Still, this project ended up costing us a pretty penny.

Getting an Estimate

I started calling concrete contractors on Angie’s List in late May / early June. Only TWO came out to measure and give us an estimate. One other said they’d call me …


Insulation Work

Filed under: Attic,Basement,General,Heating and Cooling,Systems — Admin @ 9:04 am

On Monday and Tuesday (05/06 – 05/07/13), we finally got around to addressing our “Top 2 To-Do’s” that resulted from our Home Energy Audit from a few years back.
#1 — Sealing the Rim Joists in the Basement

This is the area where the house meets the foundation. In our case, this is where the wood walls of the house met the stone foundation of the basement. This border was found previously to be a large source of air leakage.
#2 — Insulating the Attic

We had a choice here: Did we want to use the attic as livable space someday? Or did we want to keep it as storage and treat it as “outside” …

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