Friday, June 30, 2017

Prepping a House for Sale

Some of you may have noticed that my blog posts have been a bit sparse recently.
That's because I have been working like a dog, actually, not like a dog, because frankly most dogs just lie around panting all day. I have been working like a short-order cook in a busy restaurant, trying to get our house ready to sell. Why? So we can  move to France next year.
I have not been in this alone; my husband is also working hard, and he has a number of jobs to do that I cannot, which leaves me to tackle things that are within my ability.
My biggest job has been painting every room in the house.
For weeks now I've been telling my friends that I'm busy painting the rooms in our house. I'm sure they are thinking, how long can that take? It's a small house.
Just let me say that it's a much more complicated process when preparing to move.
Last week, I finished our bedroom and the hallway, which completes every room.
Painting each room required multiple steps. For example, in our bedroom, the first step was winnowing belongings and packing up others. Since we moved here, I've had a lingerie chest in the corner of the room. And it held my lingerie along with running clothes and socks.
I had to get rid of some clothes in my main chest of drawers so that I could combine the belongings from the lingerie chest. I also stored winter clothes and donated a bunch of things that I don't wear regularly.
A nearby neighbor took the lingerie chest off my hands -- she paints furniture -- and I moved my chest of drawers into the other upstairs bedroom where we are shifting for the sale of the house.
The next day, I moved our bed into the new room. I did need help from my son and my husband at different points to get the bed put back together. Then, of course, I had to wash the sheets, make the bed.
But the real work came in the old room as I sorted through the boxes and storage bins that had hidden under the bed. Come on, I'm not the only one who just runs a dust mop or vacuum under the bed occasionally and then is shocked at the amount of dust under there.
Once I'd figured out where all of that stuff needed to go, then I had to clean. Sweeping with the broom first and then mopping.
The only item remaining in the bedroom was my husband's chest of drawers. I moved that into the middle of the room and figured I'd cover it while I painted. I can't move it into the other bedroom yet because there's a desk that needs to be moved out and into this room.
Exhausted, I shut the door on another day of not painting.
Each room has been equally intense, as I put away items we plan to keep and make runs to Goodwill with the things we are giving away.  Even giving things to Goodwill isn't as simple as it should be because I have to make a list of everything so that we can take it off our taxes.
In addition, I've been teaching two classes and starting next week I'll have three classes.
Spencer, who is living at home since college graduation while he saves up a  nest egg, asked last week if I was not going to go to the grocery store again until we moved.
We have all the basics, I explained. Milk, eggs, bread. "What do you want that we don't have?" I asked.
"Cream horns," he said.
You  know those quasi pastries that look like a long shell filled with cream. And it's not even good cream. Since I've come home from France, spoiled by those delicious coffee eclairs, nothing else is tempting.

A couple who used to live in the neighborhood reached out to us. They want to move back. Would we show them our house even though it wasn't ready to go on the market?
That took two full days of cleaning the main rooms so we could walk them through it. My husband and children did not appreciate my suggestions that they eat outside, but I threatened them if they took any food out of the kitchen or even thought about cooking.
The couple ended up not taking our house, but I thought I'd show you the fruits of my labors.

Some glares from the lights and windows, but you can see our Shaker-style cabinets, black granite counters and porcelain tile floors. 

Here's a view of the other side of the kitchen. 

Here's a shot of the dining room and living room. The walls have been removed between each room. 

And here's a shot straight into the light of the living room.
We fell in love with this house because of its openness and the windows. It's a Craftsman-style house built in 1924. The floors squeak and tilt a bit in the corners, but the thick trim around the windows and the moldings along the ceilings are not something we would sacrifice.
Here's our former bedroom, now turned into an office. I opened the shutters
 and I'm looking into the treetops as I write this post. 
You might be imagining that we are finished, but I have to admit that the laundry room, the basement storage room and the garage have yet to be tackled. Of course, they are the worst.
I had hoped to have the house on the market next weekend. The painter is coming to finish the trim outside.
The bathroom guy is coming to regrout our white subway tiles. Then more bathtub guys arrive on Thursday to reglaze the white cast-iron tub. Everything should be ready by next Saturday, if I just buckle down and clean some more.
Wish me luck. 


Anonymous said...

Good luck. You will not regret doing this now and not years from now. And your kids should be kissing your feet in gratitude.

Paulita said...

Francetaste, Thanks for the encouragement. I'll keep working at it

Just Me said...

Swooh !! Good Luck PK. You guys are doing one heck of a job. Your house looks wonderful.

Sim Carter said...

Your place looks amazing! I don't know if you were aware I'm a licensed Realtor so I feel pretty confident in saying all the hard work you're putting in now is totally going to pay off.
Getting rid of clutter —our prized possessions!- is the first thing I recommend on my Honey Do list. As homeowners, people don't see it but buyers can't see anything else. And while we all think we have imagination and vision buyers lose it when it comes to the color of your walls. I can't tell you the number of times I've shown a client a house and they've commented on a paint or carpet color. "Oh no! I can't live with that color!" which is a ridiculous comment. "It's easy to change the color" I have to remind them. Paint is easy, paint is cheap. To object to a home because of the color is absurd but you'd be surprised how turned off people can get.
ANYWAY ... well done, and good luck!

Paulita said...

Just Me, Thanks. First realtor arrives tonight with her feedback.
Sim, I'm doing all the painting and all the decluttering. Husband is busy adding cordaround to the floor molding and making sure all of the windows open and close smoothly with well polished hardware. We're working hard. We'll see if it pays off.

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