Archive for May 2014

selling the house

i'm not sure if i've mentioned this before, but at one point in his career, mike was a realtor.  we had always kind of thought that we might try to list the house ourselves, and do a for-sale-by-owner, since we had mike's real estate background to help us.  but, due to the quick timing of our move, we decided that it was probably best to go ahead and list with a realtor.


the first thing that we did was contact several realtors.  we decided to talk with 3 different people - to be honest we also wanted to get an idea of listing price and must-do projects from several sources.  we were very nervous about meeting with the realtors, the market was picking up but we weren't sure we'd be able to list the house for a fair price.  we weren't looking to make a huge profit, but with all of the time and money we'd spent on renovating the house, we were at least hoping to walk away feeling like we were in the positive with the sale.


realtor #1 was the person who helped us buy our house.  we loved working with him 6 years ago, so it made sense to talk to him as a potential listing agent.  after meeting with him, we walked away a little discouraged because he felt that our house had a max price (for the neighborhood), and it was a little lower than we had hoped.  but, we also wanted to be realistic about the sale price because we did not want our house to sit for too long.


realtor #2 was the person who actually listed our house when we bought it.  he was a neighbor, and someone we had kept in touch over the last 6 years.  he was much more optimistic about the list price, and had been having good luck with sales on our street recently.  we liked the idea that he was on our street, not only because he could easily keep an eye on our house, but he also had extra motivation to push for a good price.  he was very positive about our renovation too, since he had been so familiar with the "before".


realtor #3 was a person that we found online, based on her company's website.  the company offered many things that others did not - tons of professional photos, floor plans, tours, and a very impressive website.  the company also seemed to be selective about the listings that they take on, so we knew that having our house listed with them would set us slightly above the rest.  the realtor was very thorough with her questions and presentation, but did not want to give us a suggested price until we committed to listing with her.


after carefully reviewing all of the information and suggestions that the realtors provided, we decided to go with our neighbor, realtor #2.  we were hopeful that his streak of recent sales on our street would continue with our house.  we also liked that he was so familiar with our "before" house, since he would be able to thoroughly describe all of the changes that we had made to the house over the last 6 years, to hopefully justify the price.


after we finished up our remaining projects, the realtor had his photographer come over to take the listing photos.  since our timing was so tight, we decided to wait to formally list the house until a few days before we moved out, with no showings until after we left.  we figured that showing the house full of half packed boxes probably wasn't ideal :)  we packed up most of our belongings (except for staging decor and all of our furniture), super cleaned, and left on a friday.  our first open house was scheduled for sunday.  we wanted to leave the house staged, plus it didn't make sense to pay to keep our furniture in storage when we could just "store" it at the house.


our first open house had over 30 visitors, and the feedback was all positive.  the realtor also had an agent open house the following tuesday, and again had a great crowd and great feedback.  we had 5 or 6 showing requests in the week that followed, and we were feeling pretty good.  at the beginning of week two, a few couples even came back for second showings.  we were in the "top 3" on one couple's list.  we also started to hear our first negative feedback - the yard was too small and needed some work, and the price was "a little high", but in general everyone was still saying good things.


and then we had about a week or so with nothing - no showing requests, no calls.  not that concerning really, but we wanted to keep the momentum up, so the saturday morning about 2.5 weeks after we originally listed, we dropped the price by $4k.  just as we hit "send" on the formal price drop email, we received a showing request, go figure.  that couple toured the house that afternoon, and that evening we received a phone call from our realtor saying that the couple was preparing an offer!!


we received their offer the next day, and after some negotiations, we were in contract.  ahhh!!!


while we were obviously hoping that our house would sell quickly, i don't think that either one of us actually thought we'd be in contract in less than 3 weeks.  the new owners apparently really liked our kitchen and bathroom remodel, and the fact that the house still had all of it's original stained woodwork, stained glass windows, and character.

we hope that they love the house as much as we do.


preparing to sell

once we realized that we were most likely moving to ohio sooner than originally planned, we made a list of all of things that we would need to do to our house before listing it...  and then we panicked.

not only did we have a 2+ page list of "to-do" items, we also were also still dealing with the insurance roof repair issue.  plus we had/have a strong emotional attachment to our house and we were struggling with the idea of leaving it after all of the time, effort, and money that we had spent on the house over the last 5.5 years.  we love that house, and deciding to sell was not easy.

the projects that we needed to do before we sold the house pretty much fit into one of three categories.  we had 1) the roof issue, both exterior and interior, 2) projects that we had started but had not yet completed, and 3) things that we thought a building inspector might find and force us to repair later.

starting with the roof issue - as i mentioned way back in jaunary, the weather was preventing us from getting the roof replaced.  once we knew we were going to sell, we set a listing date goal (end of march) and starting pushing the roofing company to make sure that they completed our project as soon as they could.  we also decided to upgrade to a white tpo roof with a transferable warranty, thinking that it would be a good selling point.  meanwhile, we were trying to line up a contractor to do the interior repair as soon as the new roof was complete, but we were not having much luck.  due to the below average temperatures this past winter, the qualified contractors were very busy dealing with pipe burst repairs, and were either overbooked and unable to get to our project on time, or they were giving us quotes for outrageous amounts that were way above what insurance was willing to cover.  it took us months to find a contractor who could do the repair within our budget.  he was working up until the last minute before listing the house, which is why none of our listing photos show the guest room.  he did a great job, and at the end of the day we were please with how everything turned out - we just couldn't believe how frustrating the process was along the way.


moving on to the unfinished projects - the biggest things on our list were finishing the cabinet / closet in the upstairs bathroom, and finally finishing our entryway and stairs.  our full bath had a linen closet located behind the door.  when we moved in, we took the door off of the linen closet for easier access, and liked the way it functioned without the door.  except that it looked a little odd - so when we renovated our bathroom last year, we decided to build a cabinet at the bottom of the closet with shelving above, making it look more like a storage alcove and less like a door-less closet.  we ran out of time on the bathroom project before wesley was born, and hadn't gotten around to finishing it up.  we were actually able to find a stock kitchen cabinet at lowes that fit in the space, and used that as a starting point.  we had to modify it slightly, but it was much easier than having to custom build a cabinet.  we added a wood countertop, and painted everything else, and were very pleased with how it turned out.  unfortunately i must have forgotten to take a photo of the closet, so i will have to post one later.


while we were pleasantly surprised with how quickly the bathroom came together, the entry was much more
complicated.  at the same time, we were also debating whether or not to replace our front door (with the original front door).  the front door project had always been my #1 must do project for this house, and it killed me that we weren't able to make it happen.  the original front door and sidelites were in our basement, and i always wanted to have the door restored and rebuilt.  after much debate, we just couldn't justify the final cost, especially if we were getting ready to sell the house.  perhaps the new owners will be able to complete that project.  more importantly, we needed to rebuild the bottom flight of stairs, sand and seal the top flight of stairs, repair the baseboards along that entire wall, and we wanted to add molding around the front door since it had been previously removed.  we ended up hiring a finish carpenter to help us with these projects, and i am so so glad that we did.  it took them twice as long as they predicted and they do these types of things everyday - i can only imagine how much time it would have taken us!  to save money, they did not do any of the sanding or finishing, so we still had some work to do to complete the space.  we decided to at least paint the door and updated the door hardware, which you can barely see in the photo below.  while time consuming, i wish that we would have done both of these projects earlier so that we could enjoy them!  the stairs and entry especially made a huge difference.


the last big item that we did was tuckpointing the front of the house.  tuckpointing is an expensive task, but one that we were worried would get flagged during inspections.  the front of the house needed to be repaired, so we went ahead and had that done proactively, so that we could be in control of the process (vs waiting for a potential buyer to start making demands).  the tuckpointing, along with the roof, were the last big items that the house needed.  we felt good knowing that we would be listing a completely renovated and upgraded home.

other than that, we had some minor painting throughout and a few small touch up items.  and then we had to deep clean the entire house...

up next - listing!

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