We are planning on selling our home and moving to a new one (still in the Springs!) this summer, God-willing. My husband, Jeremy, is a local Realtor and has a list of projects for us to do to help our house sell for top dollar. Here’s an update on what we’ve done in the past couple of weeks; read all of the updates here.
We’ve made a lot of progress on our loooong list of projects in the past week or two – but we perhaps got a little too thrilled with the results we got for the amount of effort and money it took, because we added a few things to the list.
We put down new vinyl tile in the kitchen. It used to have a sort of decent-looking linoleum… At least, it looked decent when it was new. After seven years of us living on it, it was pretty gross – a fact I didn’t fully understand until I got down close to it or looked at a new floor right next to it.
We decided to go with a vinyl tile that you can grout. Not only does it look a whole lot more like “real” tile than the linoleum-with-fake-grout-lines that we had, we were able to install it ourselves without any special tools like a wet saw – you can cut it with a utility knife. I’m super happy with the way it looks (it’s virtually indistinguishable from ceramic tile), and it was definitely a big bang for the buck.
The installation was a lot less painless than we thought it would be (Jeremy did most of the work, but I helped with the grout), so as we did the kitchen, Jeremy pondered putting it in the upstairs bathrooms (where we had even cheaper linoleum, though it wasn’t nearly as worn as the old kitchen floor). I almost cheered out loud when he suggested it because I had been thinking the same thing but didn’t really want to bring up yet another idea.
So, we got some more tile (a slightly different color to go better with the upstairs bathrooms), and got it installed the master bathroom on Friday night and the hall bathroom on Sunday night. I hesitate to say “it’s easy!” because we had a lot of practice in the kitchen, and it’s not our first DIY project, but I’ll say this: it was an easy enough upgrade that we got each bathroom completely done in 4-5 hours, including demo and putting things back together, and we are definitely going to be considering it as an option in whatever house we buy if it needs new kitchen or bathroom floors – I’m that happy with it.
The other thing we did when we were redoing the master bathroom floor was remove the big mirror above the sink. We totally would not have done this just for selling, but the adhesive that the builder had used to attach it to the wall had started to discolor the mirror – there were eight circles where the mirror was cloudy on the front from where the adhesive spots were on the back. It was still quite useable, but definitely an eyesore and most buyers would probably not relish the thought of having to replace it themselves.
So, we decided to take it down and replace it with a large framed mirror (much cheaper than buying a big mirror the same size, and looks nicer). Jeremy really didn’t want to do this himself, but between my insistence that surely he could do it, and a contractor telling him he could do it, he decided to go for it.
He got started on it one Friday night and asked me to go find his old leather gloves, so I headed downstairs to search for the gloves. As I was searching for the gloves, he yelled down “I’m done!” and I said “Uh… Does that mean you quit or that the project is done?!” :)
As you can see in the above picture, he got it down with just a little prying on one corner. There was some damage to the sheetrock in one place, but that should be covered up by the new mirror (and could easily be patched if it isn’t). So, now we have to get a new framed mirror and hang it and that bathroom will be done! (We also bought a new shower rod and towel holder to match the bath towel rod that we had gotten for free awhile back. It looks a whole lot better than the builder basic stuff that was in there!)
We’ve also been working on quite a few outdoor projects: watering the lawn (glad we got started early since we can only water twice a week), caulking, re-staining the fence, filling in the spaces between our paver sidewalk (above) with sand, and… painting the house which is another “that was easy – let’s do it some more!” project. Or, at least it might become that way.
The back of our house faces south, so the sun had really beat up that part of the house. It was quite faded and Jeremy wanted to paint it since potential buyers look at that type of thing as deferred maintenance that they will have to pay for themsleves. Actually he didn’t want to paint it, he wanted someone else to paint it. But, we got a quote and it was going to cost around $800 just to do the back of the house and touch up some trim – a lot more than what we were hoping for.
So, he decided we could do it (we had some negotiations about if we did it ourselves to save money, then I would totally be OK with him buying a couple of tools he’s been wanting :) and he borrowed a ladder from his parents and we got to work while the weather was nice last week. (He primed over some parts that were worn, which is the white that you see in the picture).
With him rolling and me brushing, we got the back of the house painted in just a few hours! Since we were painting the same color, and the bottom half of the house was what was most faded, we didn’t have to do a ton of detail work near the top – mostly just a good coat with the roller.
It looks so shiny and new that, yep, we are considering painting the whole house. It definitely doesn’t have to be entirely repainted, but seeing how awesome it looks when it’s freshly painted (and that it didn’t take a ton of time) is making us seriously consider doing the whole thing. We might just be crazy…
(Oh, if anyone else is thinking about repainting – I called Sherwin Williams and found out that their next 30% off sale starts April 19th. It is so tempting to do it, especially at 30% off!)
More projects & more packing
We’ve done a lot of miscellaneous stuff inside:
- Added new baseboard trim on the main level – will show pictures once we get the new floors in the main living area!Patched drywall holes in the garage – from attending dozens of his clients’ home inspections, Jeremy knew that drywall holes in the garage would come up as damage to the firewall so he took care of it now since it would have come up on inspection.
- Patched drywall hole in the powder room – there used to be a builder-basic medicine cabinet in the powder room, but we removed it and upgraded it to a framed mirror. But, since the medicine cabinet had been recessed into the wall, it left a hole so Jeremy patched the drywall behind it lest it come up on the inspection. It was behind the mirror so you couldn’t even see it, but we figured better to be safe and get it done now than to try to scramble around and fix it at the last minute.
- Replacing the very-weathered light on the back patio (see above picture) with an inexpensive but much nicer-looking light
- Touched up trim in upstairs – I took a small artist’s paintbrush and touched up the trim in places we aren’t replacing it. So nice to have those paint blobs and scuffs gone; I should have done it sooner.
- Cleaned out some cabinets – I want to leave the new owners with a clean house, but I’m thinking that I am not going to want to spend time cleaning my old house when I could be cleaning my new one! So, I’m trying to do some stuff like wiping down kitchen cabinet shelves now and hopefully it will only need a quick touchup as we are moving
I also continued packing stuff up, but I’m kind of at a standstill until I can get some bigger boxes. I’m mostly concentrating on reducing clutter in our home decor and also in my kitchen cabinets.
Oh, and you might be wondering if I’ve regretted packing anything yet. The answer is not yet – I think there was one thing that I had to retrieve out of a box that I had packed, but that’s it so hopefully that continues! We didn’t tape any boxes until we took them to be put in storage, so that makes it easier to retrieve things if need be.
Speaking of storage, we took about two vanloads of stuff to my in-law’s to be stored in their garage. (Thank you, Mom and Dad Isaac!) It has made our basement feel so much more open and larger without those boxes down there! Getting rid of stuff helps people be able to visualize their own stuff, so it’s pretty important when selling your house. (Jeremy actually offers his home selling clients a credit towards a storage unit while they are selling so that they can have a place to put stuff, too – since my in-law’s garage isn’t available for just anyone. ;)
Whew. So basically, we are sort of remodeling our entire house in order to get ready to sell, haha. We are doing a lot of projects that definitely aren’t have to do before you sell type of things, but most of them are things that should bring a big return on investment financially and will make the house stand out in the crowd.
Anyone else doing any home improvement projects right now? Or are we the only ones that have been running to Lowe’s and Home Depot every other day?
PS – If you are thinking about selling your home even in next year or two, don’t think that it’s too early to talk to my husband, Jeremy, about the things you might want to do to sell your house for the maximum possible! He frequently talks to people that are a year or two out from selling, but want to know what types of things they can improve now to help when they sell (and then you still get awhile to enjoy it yourself, too!). You can call or text him at 719.231.9043, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his website to find out more.