Would You Buy the Sandlot House Today If The Beast Was Still In The Yard?

Well, would you?

Massive spoilers ensue, but this movie is 25 years old. No excuses.

Sandlot is an American cinematic staple. Who can forget our gang of baseball-loving adolescent misfits? From Smalls’ quest for acceptance to Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez’ continued athletic dominance to Ham’s unforgettable one-liners, the Sandlot crew has embedded itself in our country’s national conscience for good reason. And it’s not just the crew. The setting is timeless: a perfect 1960s suburban playground with multiple Little League teams and good weather. It’s a dream neighborhood for a small family looking to buy a home. But would it be smart to buy the same property in today’s market, with the Beast still roaming in the backyard? We’re about to find out.

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Let’s talk about the property itself. We’ll assume that the house in question is still owned by Mr. Mertle, a junkyard owner and former Negro League baseball player. Let’s presume his credit is still in good standing. The house itself has a major fixer-upper vibe to it, especially in regards to the back fence after the events of the film. Safe to say, in its film state, the exterior is not the ideal landscape for a small family. Your Realtor will probably take this time to explain to you the value of “rustic,” and suggest that you contact the area’s landscaping experts.

The interior, however, seems adequate. Agents will stress the unique lighting, and ample opportunity to showcase personal hardware like certain baseball memorabilia. On your first visit, you may be apprehensive of booby traps — don’t be. The neighborhood kids keep spreading that rumor around, even today. The interior has seen better days, but it’s completely reasonable to suggest that the foundations haven’t cracked since Smalls gave up that fateful Babe Ruth ball. Still, potential buyers should not forget that this investment will come with the unforeseen costs of outside renovation. (That extends inside, too. Mr. Mertle’s paneling style needed an update 25 years ago.)

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The film never states exactly what town the events take place in, so we’re going to assume it’s in the Glendale neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah, where it was filmed. The approximate location of the lot itself is 1388 Glenrose Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. This narrows our search considerably. According to Realtor.com, one 3 bedroom single-family property on Glenrose Drive is currently on the market for $120,000. As of this post, other available properties range from a nearby town home valued at $247,800 to a single-family home with an expansive front yard at $86,900. Let’s peg this home on the lower end of that spectrum, and put it at a flat $100,000. That’s not the best, but it’s certainly not the worst. With a backyard that size, you could be reaping rewards sooner than later.

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Note that the property is near a shopping mall, and great public schools. Finding value in the local community will be key, especially since you’ll have to deal with the kid-eating fury of the Beast very shortly.

Now it might seem that “The Beast” is just a tragically misunderstood English Mastiff. You may have heard your agent pitch the property as pet-friendly. Few would blanch at the prospect of a backyard large enough to accommodate all of those forgotten baseballs. At the point of first contact, however, you’ll quickly realize that The Beast is actually a near-mythical savage demon-spawn. Words cannot substitute for actual near-death experience. When you venture into the yard for the first time, attempt to keep The Beast distracted by tossing a few baseballs around in different directions. Feel free to comment on the paint job near the back windows while you fervently placate the gaping maw of the furry deathtrap inches from your toes.

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It’s a walkable neighborhood, and the shopping mall a mere two blocks away is sure to have enough gardening equipment to keep The Beast away while you train it to learn that you are Mr. Mertle’s long-lost family, and deserve safe passage.

But, much like the Sandlot boys, you too will soon learn that The Beast is really just a lovable Mastiff after all, and that honesty and good sportsmanship trump all. Not to mention, with a dog that size, you’ll be sure to never have pesky raccoons — a real deal breaker for families with small children in the backyard.

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To summarize: yes, The Beast deserves respect and safety measures while you accommodate to its habits. But the property itself is an opportunity to buy low and fix up as you watch your family grow. It’s in a nice area, dependably great weather, and well worth the risk.

And of course, there’s sure to be plenty of local youth sports leagues.

Shabby Chic Redecorating on a Budget: How to Make Your New Furniture Look Vintage

If you pay attention to design trends, you’ve likely noticed old is new again. Weathered furniture now fills the house of some of the most stylish homes in America, displaying a hot trend known as shabby chic.

One trip to a furniture store will show you how expensive distressed furniture can be. However there is good news, you can save money by using furniture you already have in your home. Here are a few tips for turning ordinary items into beautiful vintage furniture.

Find the Right Items

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Chances are there’s a dresser, end table, or chair in your house that you’re ready to toss to the curb. Maybe there’s a piece you aren’t ready to discard or you’ve never really liked, but thought had potential to be something more. If you don’t have such an item,  you can head out to garage sales or secondhand shops and purchase a piece of furniture that you can then turn into your weekend project.

Purchase Supplies

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For your shabby chic remodel, you’ll need water-based acrylic eggshell paint and primer. You’ll also need basic paint supplies, as well as something to place beneath your furniture item to protect the floor from paint. If you plan to replace the handles, you may want to go ahead and purchase those so you’ll be able to finish off your look once the paint dries.

Prepare to Paint

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Once you’re ready to get started, you’ll first need to remove any handles or knobs on your piece of furniture. If the furniture has paint on it, you need to strip it first. If not, you can head straight to the next step, which is sanding it down. Once you’ve primed it, paint as you normally would and allow the paint to dry completely.

Distress the Furniture

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Using different types of sandpaper, rub off paint in areas where the piece of furniture would normally receive the most wear. As you work, step back often and view your piece of furniture objectively to see how the piece looks. Wipe the dust off and allow the item to dry before wiping furniture wax all over. This process is demonstrated in photos here.

Alternative Method

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Another way to give furniture a distressed look is to apply one coat of paint, allow it to dry, then apply clear furniture polish to areas you want to appear distressed. Crackle paint kits are also available to easily give a surface the look of cracked paint.

If you feel uncomfortable with the way your furniture will turn out, consider starting with a piece you would be discarding anyway. It could be a small item like an end table. You could even purchase an old piece of furniture from a garage sale, practice on it, then progress to distressing the furniture in your own house.

If you want to give your home a more contemporary look without spending a fortune, DIY shabby chic projects are a great option. There are different ways to approach distressing furniture, giving you a chance to choose the method that works best for your own unique work style.

The Perfect Mortgage to Finance a Fixer-Upper

One of the best ways to develop equity and wealth through real estate is to fix up a property that’s in serious need of some TLC. If you’ve got the foresight to see the potential in a fixer-upper, and are willing to put in the elbow grease to bring it up to par, there’s some serious money to be made if you decide to flip the property at some point in the future.

If you’ve got your sights set on a fixer-upper but don’t think you can afford the cost of renovations on top of the mortgage, think again.

Finance Your Fixer-Upper With an FHA 203(k) Loan Program

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A Federal Housing Administration (FHA) 203(k) rehabilitation loan is a great option for those looking to finance a fixer-upper home purchase.

Once the mortgage loan closes, part of it pays for the property while the other portion is put into an escrow account. As the repairs are done, the lender will send an inspector to oversee the work completed. It the work complies with the local and state codes, and is in line with the intended final product, money is released to pay for the work done.

Basically, an FHA 203k loan lets you combine the costs for renovations with your mortgage so you’re left with one loan and one closing. The amount of money you borrow is essentially the combination of the selling price of the property and the cost of repairs.

Qualifying for an FHA 203(k) Loan

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A minimum down payment of 3.5 percent of the entire loan amount is required in order to qualify for an FHA loan. Monthly mortgage payments will be higher because the cost of repairs and renovations is included in the same loan. Your lender will determine your eligibility for approval for an FHA loan; namely, you’ll need a credit score of at least 640, and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 43 percent.

In addition to the typical documentation you’ll have to provide when applying for any other type of mortgage, you’ll also need to submit a detailed proposal for the property, including a cost estimate and scope of work you intend to do. Your lender will arrange for an appraiser to visit the property and estimate its current value, as well as its future value based on the cost of renovations.

Every area in the country will have a maximum loan amount. In many real estate markets, this number is $417,500. Your real estate agent will be able to help you find out exactly what this amount is.

In general, the loan amount will depend on the appraised value of the property, and your renovation plans. The scope of the work will need to comply with what the neighborhood commands, and the value of comparable homes in the area will dictate the home’s post-renovation value. Putting the value of the home way over the value of comparable homes simply makes no sense.

Streamlined Variation of the FHA 203(k)

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A streamlined version of the FHA 203(k) loan program exists, which is designed for properties that don’t require major structural repairs, and come with a $35,000 cap for repairs. Unlike a traditional FHA program which requires a minimum of $5,000 for repairs, the streamlined version does not have any minimum requirement. Both types of loans require repairs and renovations to begin no later than 30 days from the closing of the loan, and the work must be done within a six month period.

If you’re planning to invest in a fixer-upper using an FHA 203(k), you’ll need to partner up with an experienced mortgage specialist who fully understands this type of loan product. The process can be a complicated one, but as long as you work with a professional mortgage and real estate agent, you’ll be able to afford both the home as well as the work needed to bring it up to snuff.