"I should have taken 2 weeks off of work just to unpack this house..."
My thoughts every evening when I get home from work. We have a lot of stuff. We didn't realize just how much stuff we had until we couldn't find places for it in our new house. We ended up donating 9 bins of stuff to the Vietnam Vets who came to our house to pick up. That is so much better than me driving around town for 3 weeks with my donations in my car because I'm too lazy to drop them off.
While unpacking, organizing and yes, still cleaning (the former owners were so, so gross), we had a few main things we wanted to do: remove trees and replace siding.
While we were unloading our Pack-Rat, we had a team of tree guys show up at our house. We were in the middle of cutting down what we could, so they showed up at a very convenient time. We walked around the house and discussed the many, many trees that had to come out. The house had unfortunately been neglected for a long time and trees had grown into other trees, causing many to struggle for light and water. There are a ton of roots on top of the soil and a lot of dead branches where trees just couldn't get the nutrients they needed. We also couldn't see the house.
The tree guys removed a bunch of trees from the front and the sides, as well as two large trees from the back. They cleared out the out-of-control ground cover to the left of the driveway, as well. We chopped down the bushes in front of the windows. It's now November and because of our mild Fall, the bushes up there have already started growing again. By Summer 2017, the front should look pretty good if the grass in the front takes at all and once we get mulch down. One thing at a time.
As for the siding, we used the contractor that our real estate agent suggested and it turns out he was just a middle man. He found the guys to do the work and that's all he did. We had the wood guys working on our siding for 2 full days. The "few pieces of rotted siding" turned into replacing all of the siding around the far right window and finding out that window is cracked and needs to be replaced, along with the casing around it. We replaced the siding and rotted boards underneath and left the window for now. Windows will be replaced at some point but right now we are hemorrhaging money on the house and don't need one more thing added to it.
We had some rotted wood in the back of the house and didn't notice until a few months later that the contractor conveniently "missed" a few places in the back of the house that needed the siding fixed, as well. We were so done with him at that point that we have thrown in the towel and will just pay the wood guys, instead of going through the middle man again.
The hardest part about all of this is we hate paying other people to do jobs we can do. The problem is we have so many things on our to do list and some things are just best contracted out to save our sanity.
Once the boards had been replaced and the trim above the window had been replaced with PVC, we let the workers go and painted the siding ourselves. We are just happy we can finally see the house! While we have been out working, we have had 5 neighbors stop us and tell us how great it looks now. I guess this house had been hidden for about 10 years. Not anymore!