Front door

Right after closing we headed to the house and started work. After taking a bunch of “before” pictures to feature in our various projects, the first order of business was changing the locks. Even though the tenants were gone, we wanted to make sure they stayed gone and with the house empty and us not yet living there, it was important for it to be secure from vandals, squatters, and kids.

I’m a technophile, so I’m planning to eventually have some home automation tech for the lights, security, and HVAC. We bought some Kwikset locks because they sell a line of remote-controllable, combination dead bolt locks that are compatible with Z-Wave. We’d order those right away except they’re pretty expensive. I found one on eBay, but I’m holding off on getting any more for now. They also have a neat “SmartKey” technology that lets you re-key your own locks without having to go to a locksmith. I got those installed on the garage, front and back doors. For now we’ve left the interior front and back doors as-is, and we barricaded the lower back door with a board. If we’d gotten full lock sets for all of the doors it would have been a ton of money, and since we’re not going to have two units anyway, most of it would be a waste once we convert things.

With the disgusting state of the house and the roach infestation we decided to set up base camp in the relatively clean garage. In order to prevent any contamination of our condo, we’re changing clothes there and not bringing anything back with us. We brought, bought, and ordered tools, cleaning supplies, clothes, snacks and got our operations center up and running. We even brought our toaster oven and this weekend our grill so that we can cook food. Sarah’s able to work on the house during the day most days, but I’m at work until the evening. Since our condo is twenty-five minutes away, not having to go back and forth is pretty important.

Our first orders of business were “pre-cleaning” and extermination. Sarah started by getting some of the remaining garbage thrown out and I boarded up the basement windows that were letting rats in and out. In order to get rid of them you have to first isolate them: divide and conquer. Then, anything that the roaches were hiding in and feeding on had to be thrown out. That meant tearing out the carpeting, both kitchens, and taking down some of the trim. Then we removed the tile in the second floor kitchen and part of the first floor. This was much more demo than we’d planned on doing right away.

First floor kitchen demo

There are four “toter” style garbage cans for the house and we’d filled all of them within a day and a half. Once they were emptied we filled them up with a bunch more stuff. Because we’re in a bit of a hurry, we’re taking a multi-pronged attack on the bugs. We’ve used pyrethrin spray cans, boric acid, foggers, and sprayers. We’re killing them in droves, but we won’t be happy until they’re completely gone, and that will take a bit. We set a bunch of baited traps for the rats, but thus far haven’t caught a one.  We’re pretty sure they’re there, but until we’ve got all of the holes sealed they may just be feeding outside. Once they’re stuck and it’s the only thing to eat, they’ll probably go for it.

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