We've been watching the house at 10 Mission Drive, Petaluma CA on Redfin.com. It's slightly small for us, a late 1940s redwood framed cottage that's roughly 768 square feet, with an attached garage, but we think we could make it work for us, and the lot's large enough that we could add a dining room or (with more shuffling) an extra bedroom later.
It and its direct neighbor are the two smallest houses in the neighborhood, it's in decent shape, solidly in West Petaluma, out of the flood plane, but still has a level lot, walking distance from downtown but off the main drag.
Yesterday there was an open house there, so we went up to give the place a thorough going over. Overall it looks good, the place hasn't been updated since it was built, although it's been meticulously maintained, but there are some possible dry-rot issues under the bathroom (when aren't there?), one wall patch where a window was shortened that gave us a bit of a shock when we were checking for the plumb-ness of walls, and the electrical...
Well... It's fuses and two-wire. There are several places where extension cords have been stapled behind baseboards to provide greater reach. Needless to say, this will not do.
So we've started the process of making an offer, and we've called a few electrical contractors to try to figure out how we can go about reworking this.
Purchasing a level
I lack a big level, so the first stop was at Fairfax Lumber & Hardware to get that, a lead test kit, and a good big framing square.
4 foot levels run from $14.95 for an extruded aluminum frame with a ruler screen printed on the side to $24.95 for an extruded aluminum frame without the numbers to $33.95 for a mahogany frame with brass rails to $85 for a cast aluminum frame with machined edges.
So I grabbed the expensive one, put it against the wood framed one, and convinced myself that the wood framed one had a bow in it. So I compared a few end of the low-end extruded ones to each other and to the expensive one. After going and getting Charlene from the car to help me make my decision, we decided to go with the expensive one because:
- I've never had the experience of saying "I wish I'd bought the cheaper tool".
In the back bedroom room we noticed cracks in the plaster, so we checked the wall for flatness and it was way out of true. Went outside and noticed that there was a patched up window, so we've chalked it up to that.
There's a sump pump in the crawlspace. Don't know yet what to make of it.