Several readers have asked for more details about what we’ve done to get our house ready to put on the market. We’re just about to the end of our very long list, and planning to call our Realtor this week to get things moving. We started sprucing up our house back in January, when we first decided that we wanted to sell it. Honestly, it was in pretty good shape at that point – we’ve kept it well maintained throughout the years we’ve lived here, and have done plenty of remodeling and improvement just for our own benefit. So it amazes me that we’ve found so many things to do over the last few months. In case any of my readers are considering putting their house on the market soon, here’s a list of what we’ve done. I loved reading what other people had done to their homes, and found it very inspiring. So I hope our list gives you some ideas if you’re looking for any. I’ll also include approximately what we spent on each project. (I’m not counting time/effort, some of which was extensive).
- Painted all the interior trim a nice bright white, including stair risers (free – we already had the paint left over from painting the master bathroom a few years ago).
- Bathroom makeover (about $40)
- Bedroom makeover (about $130)
- New wooden blinds in our four upstairs windows (about $200)
- Painted our front porch (about $40)
- Painted the garage (free – paint was left over from other projects)
- Hauled a huge truckload of stuff to a vacant house that my parents own. It cost us $169 for the rental truck, and my parents have kindly let us store our stuff there for free. The house seems much bigger and more open with less stuff in it.
- Put new mulch in our front yard around our perennial plants. We Xeriscaped the yard a couple years ago so that it doesn’t need much water. We put in beautiful perennial flowers, lots of rocks, and plenty of mulch (on top of weedblocking fabric, which works very well). The mulch was starting to look a bit tired, so we got a bunch of mulch from our local recycle center yesterday, and spread it over the yard. It looks SO much better now. The mulch is free, and it smells wonderful. Lots of chipped up Christmas trees.
- Thoroughly cleaned the fridge. Took everything out (drawers, shelves, door shelves, etc.), cleaned everything in the sink, and put it all back together. Banished all magnets from the doors. Much better. (And free).
- Cleaned all the closets. They all have lots of empty space in them now. The floors are clear, the shelves are not jammed full of stuff, and there’s space between hanging clothes. (free)
- Cleaned the kitchen cabinets and pantry. Got rid of lots of stuff, arranged things so that there’s plenty of open space. Organized the pantry so that everything can be seen easily. (free)
- Caulked lots of things. Around our sliding patio door, around our window seat, around the kitchen counter – anywhere there was a crack or gap, there is now caulk. (about $3)
- Thoroughly cleaned the garage. Painted the pegboard on the walls, bought a bunch of new pegboard hooks and hung everything up neatly. White pegboard makes the room feel much cleaner than the wood-colored pegboard that we had before. ($7 for the pegboard hooks)
- Cleaned everything out of our bathroom cupboards, put back only what we really need on a regular basis. Our bathrooms are from the 80s – they don’t have a ton of storage space, so we have to maximize what we do have. Not having a bunch of stuff jammed under the sink helps a lot. (free)
- Bought a new doormat for our front porch. The old one was in front of my husband’s apartment when I met him eight years ago. I think it had lived it’s useful life. ($15, at Costco)
- Washed all the windows, inside and out. It was the first time we had ever washed the outside of our upstairs windows, and it made a huge difference. (free)
- Used paint stripped on our driveway to get rid of paint marks from when we made our greenhouse last fall. ($12 for eco-friendly paint stripper).
- Sanded, stained, and varnished the cabinet doors in the master bathroom. (free – we had all the supplies on hand)
- New microwave to replace our 1985 model. ($200, from Home Depot. We installed it ourselves)
- Put a beautiful mirror in our living room in an alcove that used to house a cluttered bookshelf. ($15, at a local thrift store)
- Dismantled our hydroponic garden. We decided that anyone looking at the house would probably want the crawl space for storage, so we transplanted the plants and put the equipment into storage. Hopefully we’ll have it up and running again soon at a new house!
- Our one big splurge: A Solatube for our main bathroom. It cost $600, and was worth every penny as far as we’re concerned. Since we spent so little on the rest of our sprucing up projects, we felt that we could afford to do this, and we’re really glad we did. Our bathroom is an interior room with no windows; it always felt sort of cave-like, and you had to turn on the light no matter what time of day it was. Now it’s got tons of natural sun light all day. We did this to market our house, but we like it so much that if we end up with an interior room in our new house, we will have a Solatube installed there for ourselves.
- Lots of general cleaning!
All told, we’ve spent about $1500 on our projects. Plus many many hours of labor. But we are certain that the effort and money we’ve put in will pay off when we get the house on the market. We don’t know how long it will take to sell, or how much we’ll get. But we know that it will sell faster and for more money than it would have if we had just put it on the market as is. I feel like we’ve been in our own little version of an HGTV show for the last few months. We’re tired, but it’s been very much worth the effort.
We bought our house for $190K in January 2003. We’re hoping to put it on the market for $200K, but we’ll have to see what our Realtor thinks he can sell it for. It would be nice to have a bigger gain than that, especially considering all of the work we’ve done on our house over the years. But with the housing market the way it is, I think we can consider ourselves lucky to be selling for more than we paid for it.
We’re down to the last few details: I’m going to plant some flowers in hanging baskets tomorrow, and finish cleaning. Then we’ll put it on the market and see what happens. Stay tuned for details!