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Update and Neutralize

Now that I have a good repair list and a cost estimate, I need to look at what remains of my budget and allocate it where it will make the most impact.  In general, neutral colors are better throughout and so paint is a good first step. Paint is cheep and most homeowners can do it themselves.  I have no idea what the furnishings of a potential buyer make look like, so if the pallet is neutral, no matter what colors and styles, they can move right in without having to paint.  Lighter colors tend to enlarge a space and create a brighter look.   New paint makes the home feel clean and fresh in addition to its impact on the look of the interior. We’ve talked about listing our home for a few years now so in preparation,  I’ve recently painted a number of the rooms in neutral tones of gray and taupe.

As a realtor, I know that curb appeal, kitchens and mater suites sell homes.  While I want the overall look of all of the home to be pleasing and fresh, I really want to put any remaining budget in those areas of updating or improving. My kitchen will be a significant project.  The cabinets are a honey oak relic of the 90s.  The counter tops are laminate because I had planned to upgrade for many years but family expenses always took priority. The flow is also problematic in a couple of areas. The master bedroom and bath have been painted but otherwise need updated finishes.  We’ve cleaned-up the exterior landscaping and had all of the trim painted with a bright white.  The budget that remains after the kitchen and master will likely dictate what else might be done here.  I already have a new roof on my repair list that is taking a huge chunk of my budget.

Now that I know what needs to be done, I just have to set about doing it.  Things that I can do myself will save a great deal of money, but will take longer to accomplish as I will need to work it into work and family schedules. I’m really excited about what’s ahead and the projects that I have in mind.  I know at times it will be frustrating, as all projects are but I know with the help of my trusty assistant, Mendel, this home will be beautiful and attract a buyer quickly.

What ideas do you have about good finishes when you’re preparing a home for listing?


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How Much Should I Improve My Home?

Now that the decision to sell our home has been made, I need to put on my realtor hat.  A realtor will be able to optimize where to spend the money and how much to spend for a home to be ready to list. I get involved with my listing clients from the point where the decision is made to make sure they spend whatever their budget is, wisely. This is where me, acting as my own realtor is an advantage.  I have access to the data needed to get an idea of potential list price and to determine the approximate value of our home in its current condition.  With this data and some knowledge of comparable homes in the area I know what our maximum budget should be.  I want to bring my home up to the standard of the comparable homes without over-improving. Over-improving is often a waste of money.

Once I have my budget, I need to make some decisions about where to put the money.  I know all repairs must be done.  There is no point is waiting to “see if a buyer finds the problem” before paying for it.  As a seller, I am required to complete Seller’s Disclosure documents to disclose any problems that I know of with the house.  This is a signed, legal document.  In addition, buyers are going to have an inspection of the home done prior to closing, uncovering repairs that were not previously completed.  Bottom line is, I’m going to have to pay to repair it eventually, so I may as well take care of it before I list it.  From a buyer’s perspective, it shows that the home has been well cared for.  When buyers see needed repairs, they wonder what else is not visible that may turn up later. There are some minor repairs that my husband and I can take care of.  The two big items are a hot water heater and a new roof. Some insurance companies will not offer homeowners insurance on an older roof.  With all of our covered porches and the steep pitch of the roof, it is going to be very expensive, but if a buyer can’t get insurance approval, our home will never sell.

What elements of a home do you think buyers care most about? 




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Preparing My Home for Listing: Being My Own Client

So this is the family home.  For 20 years, my family celebrated, laughed, cried and made memories here in our home in Pewee Valley, KY.  We purchased at a time when there were still larger lots available and have a wonderful, wooded 3 acre lot.  It truly is picturesque with daily visits from the local deer just to put it over the top.  As a realtor, I have listing appointments with clients that would describe their home in a similar fashion;  with all of the love that comes from the memories of lives in their homes.  It has been my job and pleasure to get clients just like my husband and I into a home they love and that makes their lives easier.

My husband and I need to downsize.  While 3,800 square feet in the woods was a dream for years, it is too much maintenance as we are getting a bit older and with our children off starting their own lives.  It is difficult to let go even though I know its needed.  I’ve decided to approach our life change as our own realtor.  Those things that I do to help my clients through what can be an emotional process, can help us as we navigate the process.  I’m hoping that approach will help me to be more decisive and give me better perspective. Our ultimate goal is to sell our current home, to buy two homes: one, smaller, maintenance-free home here in the Louisville area where we have some of our family and a second place in the Tampa area of Florida where we also have family and where we hope to make a lot of new memories vacationing with family and friends.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey through a life change that many people face at some point in their lives, when time to enjoy life takes priority over home care and maintenance. Maybe you will be inspired to take on some projects in your own home.  Heck, if a woman in her 50’s can do the projects I’m going to tackle, you can too.

Do your parents still live in your family home?