Home

Selling a Home

4 Comments

I am not an expert in a lot of areas.  Never ask me to knit, crochet, sew, or bake a soufflé.  I can’t grow anything that is is the least bit tricky (this month alone I have killed an orchid and it appears one of my succulents are dying), and car repair of any sort is not my thing.

What I have learned a little about in 34 years of marriage is how to sell a house.  As of now we have sold 4 homes, each one sold in less than a month, most in about a week.  House number 5 is currently under contract after being on the market for less than 5 days. You can see the home here.

I am pretty proud of our track record selling homes, but my guess is that my kids wished we did things a little differently when they were growing up.  My daughter commented once that we never finished any projects until we were putting the house on the market.  Guilty as charged.

Here is what we do, when we are selling a home:

  1. ” IZE “ your home.  You know what I am going to say here already:
    • Neutralize– Appeal to the masses.  Nothing that would be too taste specific.  Not the time for a purple wall or leopard print carpet.
    • img_1316
    • Depersonalize-You must detach from the home.  You are breaking up with this house anyway, so start moving on in your head.  Family photos, ribbons, medals, and shopping lists on the fridge must go.
    • img_1305
    • Minimize- Go ahead and get a start on moving out.  Have a garage sale, donate to Goodwill, and store anything that is not essential, in pristine condition, or that is too overpowering.  My green hutch and all of the milkglass got moved out.  This is not the best shot of my beloved hutch, but it was all I could find.  I will have an awesome picture of it when it moves in to my craft room.  Promise.
    • hutch on table
    • Sanitize- I am not saying you are dirty people, really I am not.  What I am saying is it needs to be cleaner than the way we, at our house, live on a daily basis.  We washed the windows inside and out, had the carpet professionally cleaned, weeded the flower beds, and scrubbed the grout in the bathrooms, organized the linen closets, and power washed the sidewalk, porches, and driveway.  The bathroom counters got emptied and cleaned.  I am sad to say that a lot of that only happens when we have a house on the market.
    • img_1313
  2. Upgrade your home.  It takes money, and/or elbow grease to make money.  In our case a little of both.  Mostly on the back of Mr. Math.
    • Lighting– This is honestly one of the areas that I do not understand why more people don’t take care of before putting their house on the market.  If your house is more than 5 years old, or is a builder basic, you probably have at least one light fixture that needs updating.  If you shop around, you can find some great lights for not a lot of money.  Mr. Math replaced the very builder basic light on the front porch and in the entry way.  I stood on the ground and begged him not to die.  Not all lighting is this challenging to change out.
    • img_1107img_1113
    • Flooring– Go with what is selling in your area.  I checked out the two recent sales in our neighborhood.  See what they both had?
    • img_1111img_1110
      • Both had hardwood flooring in the family room.   We had carpet so we knew we were going to have to up our game.  We shopped for the best deal on neutral engineered hardwood flooring and had it installed. We spent some serious money on the flooring, but we knew that it would not get any traffic if we weren’t on par with the other homes on the market.  It is really nice, but I probably would have gone a lot more rustic if I was purchasing for me and not the masses.
    • img_1308
  3. Make your home memorable.  I know I said neutralize, so why would I also say to make it memorable?  What I mean is make your home stand out from the rest in the minds of buyers- in a good way.  Keep the walls neutral but try to have at least three rooms with something in them that will be remembered by the buyers.
    • img_1276
    • We added this barn door and buyers can see it as soon as they walk in.
    • img_1109
    • Our neighbor had this awesome turquoise buffet in the entry way.
    • I love my teal dresser that we use as an entertainment center.
    • Oh that bathroom.  I am going to miss that beauty.  The dresser, the antique vanity, the fence board shelving unit and the light are all neutral but very memorable.
    • The faux shiplap wall is getting a lot of traffic right now on Pinterest.  It is easy, and makes quite a statement.
  4. Hire the realtor in your area that is actually selling homes and then listen to the realtor.  The person who is selling homes quickly in your area probably has potential clients already lined up.  The realtor we used sold the home next door quickly and for above listing a month before ours went on the market.  She had a list of people who are currently looking to move into our neighborhood from her last sale.  She also set the price for the house which was higher than I thought we should go.  She was right.  If she had told us our house was not worth what we believed, we would have had an opportunity to fix the problems before moving on or not list, but I would never list higher than the realtor believes it will sell for.  I would either need a different realtor or realistic expectations.  Our realtor walked through the house prior to listing to make sure we had everything done that would help the house sell.  She was honest and helped us see things that we had not considered with furniture placement.

img_1323

It made me proud of our hard work that we had more than one family want the home, and that the new buyers wanted to buy some of the furnishings as well.

We love hearing from you.  Thank you for following along on our journey as we move into our forever home.

Blessings,

Karen

 

 

Sometimes the Answer is Not Yet

2 Comments

This week Mr. Math and I went to look at the home that is for sale to be moved.  He thought it was cute too and was also excited about it.  That thrilled me.  I sometimes run ahead of myself and was worried that I was stepping out where my husband wasn’t willing to go.  He gets me and what I want to do and for that I am grateful.

img_1013-2

As we walked around the house, there were some issues that are going to make moving the house very hard and expensive.

  • There is a concrete foundation wall completely around the perimeter that would have to be demolished before the under the house work could begin because of the design.
  • The porch is not stable and would have to be removed in order to move the house. The porch beams are attached to a concrete porch and the chances of us successfully removing the porch intact to reattach would be slim.
  • The bathroom was added on at a later time than the house was built and would have to come off.
  • The main support beam that runs along the bedroom side of the house has dry rot and would have to be replaced.          Mr. Math checked it out top to bottom. 

All of that information was a bummer, but still potentially doable.  (We still hadn’t given up at that point.) The nail in the coffin on this house for us was that chimney.  Well not exactly the chimney, because I already knew it had a chimney that would have to come out.  It was the dummy who removed that structural wall between the two front rooms that now has the chimney stack holding up the ceiling weight.  The chimney has to go for the house to be moved and in order for the house to be stabilized enough for that to happen.  The interior work required for that to happen would be an unreasonable amount of money and would destroy the flooring in the front room.

  
The brick showing through the Sheetrock

Soooo… the house is not the house is not the one for us.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a house for us out there.  I have Craig’s List set to notify me by email everytime a home to be moved is listed.  Today this showed up.  It is cute, and new, and I love the vaulted ceiling, but it is not what I am looking for.

We have decided to “be still” and wait.  I guess my version of being still may not be everyone’s version.  My version is to focus on getting things in order to make another life change so that when the opportunity arises we will be ready.  Yep.  I know you saw this one coming a mile away.  When I tell my friends this life change, no one is surprised.  NO. ONE.  How have I been so personally unaware?

We have decided to put our suburban home on the market, hopefully this spring, if we can get the list of “to do’s” taken care of.   We will be commuters to work which I never wanted to do, but our heart is in the country.  I never, ever, thought I would say that.

My Burb Home

Once our suburban house is sold, we will make the big move to the country.  We will be “one home” owners for the first time in 10 years.    Frankly, that scares me a little lot.  We currently furnish over 4800 square feet.  We have six bedrooms, two living rooms, two dining rooms, four bathrooms, and an office.  Paring down to 2200 square feet means that we will be getting rid of a lot of things and will have decide what stays and what goes.  I am committed to making the hard decisions as we go and letting go of things I do not need or does not have a spot in my home no matter how much I love it.  Things like my beloved mudroom bench, my funky bedroom furniture, and one of my media center dressers.

Finished Mudroom Bench

Hold me to that, friends.

I slept all night for the first time in weeks after thinking this all through and getting this post written.

Thank you all for following along on our mid life journey. 

 In the next six months we will have our first grandchild, put our house on the market and will hopefully make the move to our forever home.  There are plenty of projects ahead for me to keep busy.

Blessings,

Karen

 

  How to Install a Barn Door

Leave a comment

I love barn doors.  They solve the problem of swing out doors in small spaces, can be made to fit odd sizes, are easier to install than a pocket door and they look cool.  I love them so much that soon we will have three.  One on the giant bran door that allows us to close off a section of our suburban home when we have guests.

   
 
The wood in the barn door above came from my husband’s family barn.

We will soon be putting a barn door over the opening to our mudroom.  It will be open most of the time but can be closed off.

  
And finally, we installed a door on barn door hardware last weekend.

Our master bathroom at Provdence didn’t have a door.  That bugged me.  

A lot. 

The opening was 36 inches wide so o immediately thought of a door we have had for 16 years or so.  I bought it for $20.00 at a community garage sale.  It was an unfinished, solid wood pine exterior door that I stained and used as my  daughter’s headboard.  It then became our headboard.   I knew it would work as our bathroom door and best of all, it wouldn’t cost us anything.

The reason there wasn’t a door on the bathroom was that there just wasn’t room for a swig out or in 36 inch door.  A pocket door should have been installed there 30 years ago when the home was built.

The best solution for the door was a solution I had already used before on an odd opening, a barn door.

I bought the hardware from Tractor Supply. 

The rails come in two styles, a rounded bottom rail and a square bottom style. 

We like the square style.

  The roller kit we buy comes with everything needed to attach the door to the rail.     

    
  

We are probably going to eventually paint the rail and hardware black, but right now it is about getting a bathroom door. Fast.

  

This particular door is heavy. Mr. Math had to make sure the door stays securely attached. The bolts go complexly through the door and are tightened down.
  

I recommend phoning a friend to hang the door.  Our frien, Larry saved the day.

  

I don’t have a picture of the first step.  Hang a 1 x 4 into the studs above the opening.  This allows for the door to move across the door facing.  The next step is to hang the rail.  You have to buy the hangers separately.  We bought 3 to hold up our 6′ 8″ rail.
    

The hangers are adjustable by twisting the nuts on the bolts.
    
   

I am so happy to have a door.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Blessings,

Karen

Quick Home Office Makeover

5 Comments

The one room that has been totally neglected since we moved in to our suburban home is my office.  It has been our dumping ground, a storage space, and an all around under used space in our home. 

   
   
I know what you are thinking, and you are right.  What a mess!

When I changed jobs recently the need for a home office became critical.  I am currently sharing a really small office at work and I need a quiet place to get some of my tasks done.  

As the closing on our property has been slow Mr. Math and I  came up with a plan to deal with one of the things that have piled up in the office,  paint.   I just can’t pass up samples of paint in the oops bin.  I also love spray paint and sometimes forget I have a color so I buy more.   We decided to use a 6 1/2 inch space behind the door to Store all of the spray paints and samples that I have.  I think that having them all in one place may stop me from buying more than I need…I hope anyway.

Mr. Math installed white brackets from Home Depot that were under $2.00 each and bought the plastic coated shelving.  He did have to notch around the door trim.

I am getting a ton of storage out of unused space here.

   
   
While the shelving unit went up, I sorted though my closet and made it more organized.  I donated a few loose items, and cleared the trash.    Believe me folks, this is organized in my world. 

  
A new rolling cart from Aldi will be where I keep the things currently. Getting worked on.  Check out the Wednesday ads for Aldi, folks.  They have some cool things that randomly pop up.   My vinyl cutter also now has a home that makes sense. 

  
The best part about the makeover were the curtains.  $29.99 for a pair of 96 inch long lined curtains from Homegoods.  I had to buy two sets but for $60.00 total they pack a punch.  

   
   
Everything else in the room came from around the house.

I added in some of my favorite sayings and an old drop leaf pine table tat can will be pulled out for projects and I rearranged.  All in this quick makeover was just over $100.00.  

  
   
I have more “S’s” but this weekend I couldn’t seem to put my finger on them.  They will be added to the wall as they turn up. 

 
A friend made this awesome sign doing a particularly tough time this last year and I love that I can see it when I walk in from the laundry room.

  
I hope you had a productive weekend.

Blessings,

Karen

Giving Birth to a Second Home

2 Comments

Right now I am so over the whole selling a house, buying a house, thing.  It is exhausting packing to move out of a lake house that we have had for the past eight years.  How in the world did we accumulate so much stuff in a 950 square foot house and an 800 square foot garage? 

This weekend we cleared out my wood stash.  The wood I am keeping is now in storage and the rest is in a fire pit burn pile. Boo! I hated letting go of all those bits and pieces.  I know I will be needing something out of the stash as soon as I get the wood shop up and running.  Oh well.

Because we are selling a lot of the furniture in our current lake house and moving into a larger home, I have started collecting things that we need.  We are also keeping a lot of my son and daughter in law’s stuff while they are out of the country. Right now we have the furniture equivalent of 2.5 homes stashed in our suburban home and a storage unit.  The clutter is wearing on me.

Here is a tour of our house.  The following pictures may not be appropriate for young children, or my mother.

When you enter our front door there is a dry sink that is going to get a major overhaul and become a small buffet in our lake house dining area. ( Envision losing the curvy top section, chicken wire in the doors and reclaimed lumber top and you have the idea.)  The piece was a gift and I am grateful, it just can’t live in my front hallway. On a furniture dolly.  

   
 The green bedroom is a total disaster.  The room is stuffed with patio cushions, furniture for the new house, things I need to go through from the lake house, and other assorted things I have found and want to use in the new home.  I can’t wait to get the room all fixed up for company.

   
 The blue bedroom is right now the holding place for a queen sized bed, the kids’ turquoise furniture, and other bits that belong in various locations around the house but can’t be there because they have been displaced.  As soon as we move in to the new house it should return to some semblance of normalcy.

   
 My craft room is a train wreck.  I mean a total and complete mess.  I have unfinished projects, paperwork, and workout equipment that needs to be sold all jammed into this space.  This is my first priority.  I am going to have it cleared out by the end of the week.  Expect a post by Thursday.  I am holding myself accountable.

   
 The garage.  What can I say about the garage?  As soon as the lake house is officially sold we are staying home and we are cleaning that puppy out.  I mean drag it all into the driveway and figure out a better system kind of clean out.  If all goes well, that means in three weeks.  I didn’t even have the nerve to take a picture for you guys.  It is worse than the office. 

The family room is holding a few extra chairs, the closets are popping.  I am getting cranky.  

I know it is only temporary but I am going to have to start the purge very soon.

Wish me luck.  I am going in.

Have a great week,

Blessings,

Karen

Weekend Home Tour

4 Comments

i love to visit model homes. Near my sister in law’s house they have 7 model homes open for touring.  It was a muddy, stormy Sunday afternoon so she and I headed out to walk through the homes.  This builder’s homes are well built and are part of a 55+ neighborhood.  Today you get to see the first two. 

I have never seen this designer/ builder’s work, and I really enjoyed getting to see their ideas.  They had the most creative ceilings I have ever seen.  My favorite home happened to be the first home we visited. 

The very first room was… Navy and coral with a rustic, modern vibe.  I can honestly say it was the only room I could see myself in,  but I did take away some ideas.

We didn’t plan on going so excuse the iPhone photos. 

House One

I loved this house.

The front bedroom was so cool.  I really liked the china cabinet and the matching crib springs.  The stripes wet navy, burlap, and a cream color.  The art was stenciled canvas.   

 

Loved the coral tailored cloth on the night stands. 

     

Here is the rest of the house:

  The master was a little too fussy for me.  The side tables were way too full and the picture above the bed was too much.  The mosaic tile panels are throughout all the homes.

       

I had to ask myself if that design in the shower would get old?

I loved the zinc topped hammerd table.  

    

  I liked  the wood squares on the laundry wall.    

I loved the wood flooring!

  

House Two

This house was totally not my style but still fun to look at and even in this house there were elements I really liked.  I called this the mirror house.

  

Imagine dusting all those mirror frames.

  

A wall of mirrors in a 55+ guest bedroom? 

      

I really liked this piece.  

Loved the formal dining table.

     

I like the light fixture but two breakfast tables?

   

  

The backsplash was fun.

      

Oh my, the master was sensory overload. Tile and beam ceiling, tile insets on the wall, mirror edged headboard…

 

I did like the slate look ceramic tile.

Whitewashed Wood Faux Ship Lap Wall

17 Comments

This past weekend we started out with a plan to put in a faux ship lap wall and make a headboard from reclaimed wood for our bedroom.

We live in a really nice five year old home in a master planned community.  Our home is one of the models sold and has a great layout.  What the home does not have is character.  Last summer we started adding in a little character to the house by updating our bathroom.  Bathroom makeover

bathroom vanity using restoration hardware finish

I love the look of our bathroom now.  It feels like it has been around a while and has a story to tell.

Our master bedroom got mini makeover this past weekend.  One of the things that I wanted to do was add some texture to the walls.  I am a Fixer Upper fan, especially the white ship lap walls.  I love the look that the slightly irregular horizontal wood adds to a house.

A quick search online led me to several sights that looked easy enough and not super expensive.

Sawdust 2 Stitches

Faux Ship Lap sawdust2stitches planks

The House of Smiths

Sweet Pickens

Armed with the information from the sights we started planning the wall.  First we measured the wall and got the square footage ( see that math stuff does pay off).  Hubby headed off to Lowe’s after work to get the utility plywood mentioned where he found out that they don’t carry that any longer but they have something similar.  He asked for the wood to be cut in 6″ sections and told them he would pick it up the next day.  Long story short after two more trips to Lowe’s with no wood cut he headed to our Home Depot where he found this product: Underlayment

IMG_0872

Just like the stuff from Lowe’s, it also comes in four foot by eight foot sheets.  We had them cut the sheets into 5 7/8 inch strips.  FYI- Mr. Math is the one who figured out to do 5 7/8″ to take into account the saw blade width.  If you ask for them to be cut in 6 inch sections you will come out with one that is way thinner than the others.  This stuff is just over a quarter centimeter thick so it is super thin and flexible.  The wood at Lowe’s is a half centimeter thick which would make the gaps more noticeable and would be less flexible.

Here is what six sheets cut into strips looks like.

IMG_0871faux ship lap

We started at the top of the wall and worked our way down so that any trimming would be done at the baseboard, not at the top of the ceiling.  Here is our room before we got started:

IMG_0874

The wall was about three inches longer than two sections.  We used our air nailer to put the wood up

IMG_0876

We cut the first section of each row into random lengths and started each row at opposite ends of the room.

IMG_0879

The effect was a staggered wood look.  If a piece had a sticker on the front, we used the back side. (We tried getting one sticker off and it was clear that it would be a pain in the neck to get them off.) The darker sections were the back sides of some boards.  I used wood filler in the nail holes and Hubby sanded over the wood filler to get a smooth surface.  At this point is was my intention to get busy painting the wall white but Mr. Math, my long-suffering husband, loves wood and really liked the look.  He rarely asks me to do something specifically for him but this time he did ask if there was any way that the wood grain could show through.  I remembered on that on the Remodelaholic blog a while back they had a color washing technique.  

color washing

I decided to give it a try.  I got busy with watered down white paint, a brush and rags, lots of rags.  I could only work in about 18 inch square sections at a time so I had to work fast to eliminate dry lines.  It was a workout my friends! like an Advil and Epsom salt kind of workout.  The room has 10 foot ceilings and my fear of height did not help the process.  I think I got better as I went along but I really do like the look of the wall.  I used a brush to paint on the watered down paint then a rag to rub it in and take off the excess.  I sort of felt like the Karate Kid (paint on, wipe off, repeat).

IMG_0883

Against the dark wall it looked terrible and I started to panic a little but as I moved on it really started to look the way I hoped.

IMG_0884 IMG_0888

The two pictures above really don’t reflect the color that it turned out but you can see that there are not any major overlap marks and that it is consistent.

The photo below shows the color as it actually looks but I could only get this one small picture to give you the real look.

IMG_0051

Here is the finished wall.  I love the effect even if this is not what I started out to do.  Those happy accidents are always the best.

IMG_0913

   

 

The plywood was $12.97 per sheet and it took 6 sheets for this big wall.  The white wash used 2 cups  of cheap flat white paint.  (I know what you are thinking but it really did only take two cups of paint.)  The nice folks at Home Depot waived the 25 cent per cut fee because they were backed up and we were willing to come back to pick it up.  All in the wall took about $80.00 to complete.

This was a project that provided you have access to an air compressor and nail gun, anyone could do.

It was nice to get something accomplished this weekend.

I would love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Older Entries