Remodeling to sell

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by almostthere, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    we want outa this house but it won't happen for a good 2 years, at best. Mike just started teaching 2 days a week along with a regular job and we simply wont get out of this house any quicker than that. Sooooooo.....I have time to implement a plan to give this house some curb appeal. Its a small house on a semi large lot...more than enough room for a large garden, fruit trees/bushes mixed in with the existing 1 car garage and 950 sq ft house. I will do the garden this spring, and I understand that some of the fuit trees/bushes take a couple years to produce fruit. If you had to downsize, or maybe get a "starter", what would you look for, as big selling(or not selling) points of interest? Things that we could to make the yard look more useable for more that just a swingset? This town doesnt have much in the ways of zoning laws and permits are not required...there are both single and double wides mixed in with stick built, historic and there's even a really nice custom built log home with a pool on the corner. Its just a nice small town but we need to stretch our legs a bit. One thing about the house itself is that we have kicked around the idea of adding a third bedroom. I just thought that with the way the town is a "hobby farm" type feel would be appropriate. We are also looking to a shed/storage building...could be built rectangle shaped to hide the fence of the neighbor who doesn't like kids and dogs, LOL. Theres also a nice little nook behind the garage where I talk with another neighbor over the fence...thought about making a path with some pavers, maybe a trellis. Sorry this was long, I tend to ramble, LOL. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I think the general rule is pre-sale adds on help the house sell, but don't necessarily increase the price from their not being there. I have heard story after story of a house sitting forever and being sold quickly after it was freshly painted inside and new carpeting put in. Look at listings in the paper marked as "Sale Pending" or "Sold". Do a drive by to see if they is a commonality to them vs others which have been on the market for a while. Adding a third bedroom does up it from a starter to a young family, and lord knows people want a den/computer room these days.

    Do you know someone who is a retired real estate agent? If so, ask them to come by for coffee and their opinion.

    Ken Scharabok
     

  3. CarlaWVgal

    CarlaWVgal Well-Known Member

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    How well do two bedroom houses sell in your area? If there is a market for them, I wouldn't spend the money on an addition. I would look for cheap and easy upgrades. Landscaping really draws people in, the trellis idea sounds good, maybe you could put a bench or swing under it so it looks like a nice place to sit and relax. Crown molding or a chair rail can make a big difference in a room. Can't remodel the kitchen? You can change the whole look with new flooring and counter tops, or you could do the whole thing if you want.

    You could always ask a friend or two to come over and tell you what they notice and would change, or add. I know there are things here that I am used to that others probably think are strange, so anothers opinion could be great.

    Carla
     
  4. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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    Although landscaping adds curb appeal, if your showing your house in the winter months you don't see much. I'd go with the fresh paint (neutrals), new owners will probably repaint themselves, but it's makes the house look fresher. New carpeting (if there is any) or refinish wood floors.

    If the buyer is a gardener they'll probably have their own ideas about landscaping once they get in the home. If they have no desire for gardening, your work goes to pot anyway. Just keep the lawn clipped and maybe some flowers along the house.
     
  5. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    I would wait until just before you sell to make most of the changes. Paint, carpeting, and landscaping look best when fresh. That said:

    1. Make sure there are no large shrubs or trees to close to the house, or obscure it's view.

    2. New paint and floor coverings if needed prior to selling - neutral colors as mentioned above.

    3. Plant some flowers if it's not too cold. Fresh mulch in flower beds always looks nice. Keep the shrubs trimmed, yard mowed and groomed, etc.

    4. When showing the home, de-clutter and minimize furnishings to show off the "space".

    I definitely wouldn't worry about adding buildings or spending too much money. Just fix anything that needs to be repaired and do the above.
     
  6. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    I'll probably get a lot of flack from you men, but if there is paneling...paint it. There is nothing uglier than someone else's paneling. Unless, of course, it is REAL knotty pine or something like that. Painted paneling gives the place a "cottage feel".

    Another thing...nothing turns people off more when looking at a house than if it smells like musty basement or aniamals or cigarettes.

    I agree with the clutter thing too. People have to be able to see the house. They don't want to see your stuff.

    Just make sure the place is bright, clean and nice-smelling.
     
  7. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Fresh Paint, nothing broken.

    Then take everything out, only have two coats, one suit, a few shirts, no things on the dresser - better yet no dresser.

    If you get rid of all the stuff on the counter, on the walls and above the cupboards, and paint, then you will sell. Nothing in any closet, cupboard, under the bed, in the bathroom, in the attic or garage - NOTHING.

    Move it to storage for a while - move almost everything - vacant and big.

    Good Luck.

    Alex
     
  8. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    People don't want to buy work when they buy a house. I grassed everything over so it was just lawn, no garden. Most people are not interested in fruit trees, gardens or workshops. Especially the people that spend money.
     
  9. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    Fresh paint inside and out, repair anything and everything that's broken, replace worn out carpet and linoleum, use neutral colors as the new owners will want to probably paint/decorate in their color scheme. Clean the grout well in the bathroom, update the toilet seat if needed, make sure the bathroom and kitchen sparkle.

    Nothing turns me off faster than walking in a house that has stained or torn carpet, rips in linoleum or windows that will not open/close easily. That's if I am buying, if it's a friend, I might help redo the floors when they get ready!

    As far as outside the house, having nice landscaping is a bonus, but if you want to do it on the cheap, I'd fertilize the grass so it is nice and green if you are planning to sell in the spring, keep it cut and trim any hedges, etc. I wouldn't put in a garden as most folks see that as work, but would plant some annuals in a bed next to the house if possible. That's cheap and looks nice. Keep the yard clean of clutter (like bikes, turned over trash cans that your neighbor's dog flipped, etc.).

    Make sure the house has little or no furniture in it so it will appear bigger, if you paint with light colors the rooms look bigger, wash the windows to let more light in.

    Those are all things you can do which won't cost an arm and a leg, but will enhance the sellability of the house. Adding a bedroom might help sell it, but them again, it will cost you some bucks and it may not add much to the selling price. Usually kitchen and bath upgrades pay off but then again, unless you want to put a lot of money into the house, you may be better off, just sprucing it up.

    Sidepasser
     
  10. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much for the replies, you all gave me some great ideas. The bench by the trellis is a great thought. I might just do that anyway, selling soon or not :). We already had a list of stuff to do in the house, and had planned on paneling over the living room walls. My neighbor has painted paneling and it looks really nice. I guess maybe just seeding the yard will be good enough. The storage barn idea was just b/c the house lacks a serious amount of storage and the garage is small. It would also hide a fence to a neighbor that isn't always so friendly. I know it would make her happy, anyway. :) We have no choice about the bathroom remodel, if you saw that room you'd understand. I'll check into the sale prices in our area. The kitchen is actually not bad, we'll get the gas line checked and list in the ad that the new homeowners will have a choice of electric or gas. Maybe that will look good, the line is already there. The water is terrible here tho so a softener is in the works. The list is so long...glad Im not in a hurry!!!
     
  11. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    See if you can get a local realtor to come look it over and give you ideas. They know the market and what sells.

    Jena
     
  12. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We sold 2 houses due to moves in the last 5 years. One was 1400 square feet, one under 900. The first was on the market officially 3 weeks, but the first two was shown only to realtors. The second was on the market less than a week. First viewer bought it. Here is what the realtors told us: clean sells. Clean the yard up, but do not do new plantings except annuals for color in warm weather. Paint the walls a warm off white. Either shine the wood floors if you have them, or put in beige berber carpeting and keep it very clean. Get rid of as much junk as possible. When you get to the active showing stage, consider a rental storage unit for anything, including furniture, that you can live without. Put up minimal white curtains. When our houses showed I always either left bread baking in a bread machine, lasagne on low in the oven, or if in a hurry put cinnimon(sp?) and vanilla in a pan in a warm oven, then turned the oven off. Clean out the basement, the attic, and the garage. Remember, the 3 keys are clean, bright, and smells good.
     
  13. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Drive by the house and see if it appeals to you. Then drive by and think of all the reasons you hate it. The front door is a sets the tone. It should be (you guessed it) clean. A porch with a roof, even a small one adds a great deal of appeal, especially if it is painted well (good color choices). The door should not be hidden, even a little. Trim trees and bushes to look picture perfect and let the air move through. Color around the door adds appeal, either a beautiful door, or dressing around the door says, "come in". The garden should say, "this way" and lead you into the front door. As stated previously, many people do not want gardens to take care of, but you can dress up the front with small gardens, small bushes, rocks, and rock gardens where the grass won't grow. In the summer, you can add to the garden by putting out potted plants on the steps (if wide enough) and on either side of the door. Ditto for the back door.

    If I were to put an addition onto a small house, I'd think about living space. Would bumping out the kitchen to add a breakfast nook or a pantry work? How about adding a small addition to the front to creat a porch and entry with a closet and room for a bench or chair? This gives a little house a bigger feel and feeling of granduer. Depending on where you live, a little tiny addition like this could cost a pile of money and not be worth it.

    A kitchen will sell a house, but if you redo the entire kitchen you may not get your money out of it. Just putting new doors on the cupboards can spruce up a kitchen a great deal. Counters should be in excellent shape, or replace them. Kitchens should be well lit. A new dishwasher, better made, is a cheap investment and can add a great deal of appeal for some people. Besides, if you wait until about four months before putting the house on the market, at least you will get some use of it.

    If you are going to paint the exterior, drive around the expensive neighborhoods. The older small homes are probably painted in three colors, main color, trim, and a third color that adds demension. A mediocre home can look much better if it is painted like an expensive home. If you are putting in a vegetable garden, put it well away from the house and have it looking good, mulched, weeded and everything, as though it were a flower garden.

    We've sold two houses in bad markets. We could have gotten more in good markets, but not much more.
     
  14. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    As noted above, some people are very sensitive to smells (musty, smoky or animal in particular). Musty is out with everyone. Smoky or animal may not distract to someone use to it, but may to others - certainly would to me. If you are a smoker ban it inside for several months ahead of selling, put smoke absorbing furniture in storage and have the carpets and drapes thoroughly cleaned. Before a showing perhaps go through the house spraying a fairly neutral scent of Glade or something.
     
  15. Jo

    Jo Well-Known Member

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    If you want more ideas go to the hgtv.com site.......they have a forum (message board)and lots of friendly people who have great ideas and a lot of people show pictures of their homes......theres a section on selling homes. Any way a fun place to visit when its cold outside and were inside.
     
  16. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Don't neglect the state of the sidewalk and handrails outside, as well as the graevel or pavement to your garage. Makes a big difference on it appearing neat vs. uncared for. Make a note of all your repairs/warranties on current major appliances staying with the house. This would be a list of say, when you put the furnace in, who did it, how to contact them. This is nice to provide to a new owner (or briefly show an interested one) to show you have cared for things. Include info on the roof as well. Make sure the roof is clean, free of debris and any mold/mildew. I actually got an extra $5 K from spending $500 on a roof over the front room for my dad's place when we sold it.
     
  17. Peg

    Peg Well-Known Member

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    There's a show called Designed to Sell. HGTV??
    Someone goes through the person's house and points out all the good and bad features with respect to trying to sell it. The homeowners along with the show's people fix things up for under $2000. Of the episodes I've watched, the homeowners have recooped much more than their $2000 in the sale. The key is spending the $ on the right things. It's a very informative show.

    Another point is, you're selling a lifestyle. People like to picture themselves living a wonderful life in their (your) house.

    Good luck!
    Peg
     
  18. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    "...the homeowners have recooped much more than their $2000 in the sale."

    How can they really calculate that with any accuracy? How can they isolate the added value by the new features?

    About like a football game and someone saying if one team had made a field goal in the first quarter they would have one as the final score had them down by two points. No, if they had made the field goal it would have changed the nature of the rest of the game. For example, the missed field goal may have given their opponent the ball on their 20-yard line. If they had made the field goal and kicked off, their opponents might have scored a TD on it.

    It is purely speculation.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  19. Grizz

    Grizz Well-Known Member

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    Get advice from a few realtors in the area!! Ask each one what they think to do to improve on the houses's worth if you list it to sell!! BUT and i say But dont let them talking you into listing it till YOU are ready to!! I agree with most of all of the above First Impresions are the most important !!
     
  20. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    It seems like more and more realtors are encouraging potential buyers to do a 'drive-by' before scheduleing a viewing appointment. Thus, the outside does have to make them want to see the inside.

    Ken Scharabok