Archive for the ‘Sell This House’ Category

Going Once, Going Twice, SOLD!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

It has come to my attention that I never updated you with our house news.  Well, we sold it!

The house was on the market for 4 weeks at $128,900.  The hubby got a job in Atlanta and moved down there.  We dropped the price 4 grand to $124,900 and had an offer within 2 weeks.  Not just one, but two offers within 24 hours of each other.

The buyers wanted to close in one month’s time and we have been BUSY trying to get out of the house.  Between inspections, repairs, and packing, we’ve been busy trying to find a house in Atlanta after a fruitless weekend of apartment hunting. 

Last week I was up to my eyeballs in contractors and this week I’m up to my eyeballs in moving boxes.  The hubby has Veteran’s Day off, so we are using that day to move out of Raleigh.  The walk through is on Sunday and the closing is on Monday.  We are signing the papers early and hightailing it to Atlanta to unpack and move in.

I have to run and pack some more!  Big news, big changes, and big times ahead.

Time for a Trip to the Park

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

We had a showing today from 1145 – 1245pm.  These were the same people that came yesterday.  We thought we had Plenty of Time to get ready for this one and we were doing fine until… a half gallon of paint dumped in the middle of the living room rug at 1130am.

The hubby tosses the kids into Oliver’s room and locks the baby gate.  Here’s how things went after that:

stomp, stomp, stomp, jump, stomp, stomp

Me – “Get a towel!!! Grab the wet vac!!!”
Hubby – “Where’s the scraper??? I need a scraper!  I need something to put the paint into.”
Me – “Grab a bowl.  Grab a spatula. Grab something!  I don’t care what you grab, just do it!!!”

The hubby manages to scrape up the excess paint and dump it into a bowl.  We pour about 1 gallon of water onto the paint in several turns and suck the mess up in a wet vac.  After about 10 minutes, the water is coming out of the carpet clear and the dinner plate size stain is barely noticeable.  It is now 1145 and we are nowhere near ready to go. 

The hubby is walking around asking, “How do you clean this thing?  (the vac)”  I’m running around screaming, “There’s NO TIME!!! There’s NO TIME!!! Put it in a bag!!!”  I’ve got a garbage bag in hand and everything that is out and about gets chucked in from books, to socks, to dirty dishes, and hairbrushes.  Meanwhile, he’s walking around doing nit picky stuff and I’m yelling, “There’s NO TIME!!! Leave IT!!!  Get the kids and get in the car!  Grab the baskets and put them in the van!  Hurry, HURRY!!! We have to go!”

We all pile into the van by 12:05pm and tear out of the culdesac just in time.  Talk about shell shock!  I think the hubby is suffering from post traumatic stress.  After a morning like that, we all needed to blow off some steam.  What better place to go than the park?

Oliver hasn’t been to a park all summer.  He loved swinging high on the swings!

Evelyn didn’t share the sentiment!  She was fine swinging backwards, but not to thrilled coming down.  Don’t worry, we didn’t torture her (much). 

She was much happier with her feet on the “ground” and liked watching all the kids from the bench.

After a half hour or so, the hubby didn’t want to kill me anymore and we were beginning to enjoy ourselves.  It’s amazing how quickly you forget your problems when you have little ones to remind you what is important.

Now that we have the ball rolling, we want to find ways to make it easier for us to show the house.  We can’t be running around like crazy people every time someone wants to drop by (and the hubby will divorce me if I put him through the ringer again!).

First Showings

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Two significant things happened today: 1) we had our first showings and 2) our closest competitor dropped the price of their home 5 grand to come in at 124k.  We had listed our home at 128k to be 1k less than their house.  Their house has been on the market for a year now and started at 131, then dropped to 129k and then dropped to 124k the day our photos went online.  Coincidence?  I think not.  My awesome homestaging skills put the fear into them.  :-)

Speaking of home staging, it is officially impossible to keep a house clean for showings with 2 little rugrats constantly upending their toys.  It became a game to them – the cleaner the house got, the bigger the mess they made.

With an innocent little faces like these, how could I get mad at them?

I had two separate showings today and was running around like a crazy woman trying to clean, declutter, and organize.  The kids were so good playing together and staying out of the way. 

I’m such a horrible mom though for putting them on the back burner.  Oliver stepped up and fed the both of them when they were hungry.  He went into the fridge twice and pulled out a loaf of bread.  He ate a slice and gave Evie a slice too.  He also grabbed a can of soda and sat there for 20 minutes trying to get it open before I realized what he was doing!

I hope the stress pays off.  We have a second showing tomorrow for the people who came last today.  The hubby is also home tonight from a business trip and will be able to help me get the house ready tomorrow. 

With Evelyn as my sales person, how could they refuse?

Sell, Baby, Sell!

Thursday, September 1st, 2011


It’s official!  The house is on the market and we are ready to rock and roll.  It was listed on Tuesday and on Wednesday they came to take photos.  The hubby and I probably slept 3 out of 48 hours trying to get ready for the big day.

These are the photos off the property listing.  The hubby was upset that his brickwork can’t be seen.

Our living room looks huge!  My dad was right, the clock belongs with the house.  We hauled all the extraneous kid’s stuff to the shed for the pics.

I am in love with our dining room!  Anyone who’s been here in the last year or so, will know what I mean when I say that I am not missing the industrial shelving that lined our dining room.

Our kitchen looks so clean and bright (dirty dishes are in the oven)!  I love the new countertops and backsplash.  I especially love the undercabinet lights.  We plan to do similar upgrades in the next house we buy.

I can’t believe that we actually have carpet in our bedroom!  For the past 2 years our master bedroom has been the junk catchall as the kids took over the other 2 bedrooms in the house.  We had huge industrial shelving units in our room piled high with Rubbermaid totes.  Now, we can actually relax and sleep…

I can’t believe this is our bathroom either.  It’s so clean!  No clutter on the countertop…wow.

Oliver has a true big boy bedroom now and he loves it.  His little dresser holds all his clothes and he picks out his outfits every morning by himself.  Well, dad usually picks his pants and he picks the shirt and socks. 

And after 10 months, I finally have a nursery for Evelyn!  Makes me want to have another baby just so we can use the nursery again… (and yes, we used to have industrial shelving units in her room too.)

I cannot believe the difference that a coat of paint made to our deck.  It also helped that we cleared off 4 years worth of junk too.  We gave our chest freezer to my brother and with that gone, I was up until 11pm painting the deck – in the dark – Tuesday night.

The pictures turned out nice, even though the wide angle lense threw the rooms out of proportion a bit.  Believe it or not, we have more to do still.  There are a handful of little projects that we need to finish.  I’m willing to show the house now, but we will be working hard this holiday weekend to finish EVERYTHING.  I will be so happy to stow the tools and other gear in the storage unit.

On Tuesday, our realtor’s company will do a tour of our house.   They round up between 15-20 other realtors and they check out 3-5 new listings.  We’ve been forewarned that the house needs to be in immaculate show condition and that our curb appeal needs to be rockin’.  The realtors do this to a) provide feedback to us on the condition of the house, b) give their opinions on what the house should be priced at, and c) check out the house for their clients.

Just when I thought we could relax, we’ve got to bust more butt for Tuesday.  After that, we will be truly DONE and can sit around and eat bonbons.  Wish us luck!

Curb Appeal Always Includes Flowers

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

We met with the realtor yesterday and he did a walk through of the house to let us know what else needs to be done before we list.  He sympathized with our renovation fatigue and said this:  The bottom line is curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal, NO CLUTTER, and cleanliness. 

One of the best ways to amp up your curb appeal?  Flowers!

Adding flowers to your landscape seemed like a no brainer.  Here’s a lesson learned – save it for the end.  Don’t add your flowers until you are ready to sell.  Otherwise, you will have to devote too much time and effort into maintaining them and keeping them alive before you sell.  Case in point, we bought a ton of flowers at the end of May thinking that we wanted them to become well established before we listed.  I had visions of huge blooming mounds of marigolds and geraniums dancing in my head.  Two months later? Over half of those flowers are deader than a door nail.  With regular temps in the 100s, little to no rain, a crazy busy remodeling schedule, and two kids to raise the poor plants went the way of the dodo.

Our second attempt is looking good.  Lowes has hanging planters of flowers for $5 each.  The planters are stuffed with many plants and they are blooming like crazy.  I plan on planting an entire pot at a time in the ground.  For the yellow ones, the flowers are so dense I will subdivide each pot into two separate “plants”.  In the end, I actually saved more money by purchasing the hanging baskets than if I bought individual flower plants.

OMG, I have hostas in the front yard!  With all the junk we had piled on our driveway and the weeds a mile high, I was never able to tend to my front of house.

I gave all the shrubberies up front a buzz cut, pulled out the rotted fencing, weeded and mulched the flowerbed and dropped my pots in the ground.  It’s not a bad start.  I have one more layer of plants that I will add in between the bushes and flowers, but that step isn’t critical right now. 

As for my own advice about waiting to plant until the end?  You heard it here… We are 2 weeks away from listing – at least, that is what we are pushing for.  The realtor will be back next Tuesday to check on progress and the following week to hopefully post the house.  Fingers crossed!

And the Painting Begins

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

To get some practice under our belts and test our techniques we started painting in the main bathroom first.  I had a lovely blue/grey faux finish on the walls, but the realtor said they had to go.  I think the color is a little dark for the room, but compared to the blue I guess it’s nuetral enough.

I started off with the ceiling and painted it a bright white.  Look at the color difference!!!  By the way, the original color used to be white back in its day.  We didn’t really notice how dingy the ceiling was until we painted.  It just felt sort of dreary and blah in there.  Now it pOps.

For the walls we used a shorter nap roller.  Look on the roller packaging and it will tell you what roller is good for what surface. 

I did not cut in the edges of either the ceiling or walls yet.  Since I did this painting during the kid’s naps, it was hard to take the time for “finish” work.  I’ll have to come back to it later.  We will also be painting the doors and replacing the hinges/knobs.  The hubby has to finish installing the wainscotting and trim and more paint it is!

Renew House Numbers and Doorbell with Paint

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

One way to kick up your curb appeal is to trade out your worn out house numbers and doorbell for something new.  The 2Pennies way is to give them a fresh look with spray paint.

My old house numbers were a dingy, tarnished, and faded heavy metal (maybe brass?). The doorbell was also grimy and worn from years of dirty finger use.  The first thing to do is to remove them from your house and give them a good scrubbing with soap and water.  Be careful not to soak the doorbell in water.  Next, LIGHTLY rub them with some fine grit sandpaper – 220 or higher.  The point is to take away the sheen or shine.  This helps the spray paint to adhere.

Layer your workspace with newspaper and work in a well ventilated area.  Spray paint has serious fumes.  I elevated my items on some crushed balls of aluminum foil.  This method ensures the paper doesn’t stick to the pieces as they dry and you can spray the sides along with the tops. 

Shake your spray paint the recommended time that is posted on the can and do a few test sprays to make sure the nozzle is clear.  Start the spray away from the object being painted, sweep the can over the object, and end the spray away from the object.  You never want to aim the can directly at the piece and push the nozzle.  The paint will immediately pool and run. 

Make several passes and let the pieces dry.  Spray a second or third time if it needs it.  If the edges of the pieces are not fully covered, don’t despair, we will fix that later on.

For the door bell, use masking tape to tape off the button and/or the ring around the button.  Press it on firmly and use a sharp knife to cut away the excess.

It will take at least 24 hours for the pieces to fully dry and cure with low humidity.  When they are ready, you can now touch up the edges. 

Spray some paint into a little aluminum foil bowl and break the end of a toothpick off to use as a brush. 

Dip the toothpick in the paint and then touch it to the edge of your item.  The paint almost wicks itself off the brush and onto the metal!  Keep dipping and dabbing until all your edges are set.  Be sure to make some new foil balls to set your pieces on to dry.

After a few hours, everything is ready to go!  If you want to further weather proof your stuff , buy some semi-gloss or gloss polyurethane spray and spray on several coats.  My spray paint was already exterior semi-gloss so I did not take this extra step.

We tacked up the new numbers on the front porch post where they would be more visible.  Not to shabby!

The doorbell turned out decent as well.

A new doorbell would have cost $14 and comparable new numbers were $4 bucks each.  Buying new would have cost $30.  Instead, I used a can of spray paint that I already had to pull of this redo for free.  Even if I had to buy a quality can of Rustoleum Interior/Exterior High Gloss Black Spray Paint, it would have only cost me $3.98.

I’m going to break out my trusty toothpick again and touch up the old screwheads with black paint to finish it off.  Not to shabby!

Vinyl Siding Project Finished – Overview

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

After 10 days, the contractors finally finished the vinyl siding on our house.  It cost around 7 grand and took 4 weeks from the time that Lowes gave us an estimate, to ordering and delivering materials, and installing the siding.  Here are some before and after shots.

After several years of drought and massive water restrictions, we created an extensive rainwater collection system.  Our plants loved it, but so did the mosquitos!

After the siding, the house fits into our woodsy lot much better.

The infamous chimney after the woodpecker damage, but before the ant invasion.

Looks totally different!  I am so happy to get rid of the green trim.

The vertical siding always made the front of the house look too large for it’s size.  The green also seemed drab to me.

The horizontal vinyl really brings the house back down to scale.  The white trim makes the house pop!  We added a decorative vent to the front and the back of the house for a little something something and painted the shutters and door a reddish brown.

So what do you think? I like it!

Here are a few things I learned from the experience:

1) Everybody has a job to do and nobody knows what the other person is doing.  The people at Lowes, the installation company and the actual installers themselves all had a different story as to what was going on.  Lowes handled the money and materials.  The install company gave Lowes the material order after a walk through and gave the installers the general plan.  The installers just did their job.  In other words, don’t ask them any questions about the materials or money.  If the installers are doing something that isn’t in the contract, call Lowes right away and don’t argue with the installers.

2) The onsite installers are the only people who know when they will be finished. Lowes said they would start on a Tuesday and be done by Friday (4 days).  The install boss said they would be done the following Tuesday or Wednesday.  The installers laughed and said they would push to be done by the following Thursday (10 days).  The guys onsite know exactly what is going on with your house, what needs to be done, and how long it will take them.

3) The installers will remove anything attached to your house (ie. light fixtures, door bells, house numbers, shutters) and will help you put them back on if you ask.  Some things they have to do per contract (ie. remove and reinstall the light fixture and doorbell), but others they will do if you ask nicely.  When I told them on the first day that I was going to paint the shutters, doorbell, and numbers, they removed those first so I could get to it.  They also installed a brand new porch light straight out of the box for us.  At the end, they reinstalled everything no problem and even suggested a new location for the house numbers on the porch post.

4) Work with your installers to ensure a smooth project from start to finish.  Talk to your installers on the first day to find out what they will do and when.  Share any ideas, wants, and desires with them.  They will do their best to work with you.  For example, I told them that I was going to paint the front porch and back deck floors.  They suggested that I paint a 12 inch border on the floor wherever the vinyl would touch it well in advance of them working on it.  After I painted and they installed the starter strip, we had a nice clean edge where the vinyl rested on the floor.  Other things they did for us:  They worked on the opposite side of the house when my kids had their afternoon naps.  They took our bug sprayer to the top of the chimney and killed an ant colony before putting up the vinyl siding.  They moved all the materials out of the yard where Lowes had dropped it and over to the driveway so our grass wouldn’t die.

5) Show your appreciation for a job well done.  I wouldn’t have thought to do this if my mother inlaw hadn’t suggested it, but I gave each guy a $40 tip when the job was done.  These guys worked diligently through 90+ degree weather on a 12 sided house with a 4 gabled roof, and two covered porch/deck.  They never complained, were always friendly, and did alot of little extras for us like working with the naps, killing the bugs, and hanging my stuff back up.  I put each tip in a little thank you card and wrote a little note expressing my appreciation.  They seemed to be very grateful and were a bit happier when they left.

Vinyl Siding Update: Day 8

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

It’s been over a week since the contractors have been working on our house.  They had the 3 day weekend off and they are pretty sure they will be finished tomorrow.  I sure hope so.  All the pounding and the mess is getting to me.  I have a ton of things to do and I can’t get to them with all that’s going on.

The big project today was the chimney.  The wood has been rotting for some time and we’ve been battling one ant infestation after another.  When they started pulling off the rotted wood, we saw that the ants had burrowed into the insulation.  They were living in the blue stuff and eating away at all the wet wood.

The dude was surprised at how much wood had to come off.  We told him the entire chimney had to be rebuilt!  Luckily, the framing underneath was 100% solid.  Before he put up the OSB, he took our bug sprayer up there and doused remaining ants. 

The other guy kept on keeping on with the soffits and trim.  He said that our house was as much work as 2 houses due to the design.  Most houses have 4 sides and 2 roof peaks.  Ours has 12 sides and 4 roof peaks.  Not to mention, we have a covered porch and a covered deck that they have to work with as well.

I can’t wait for tomorrow to come!  They will be hanging the shutters that I painted, the house numbers, and the doorbell.  They’ll also wrap all the trim around the doors with metal and finish up the chimney and soffits.  It will be done in time for our big party this weekend.  YAY!

Replacing Mailbox and Post

Monday, May 30th, 2011

I’m not sure where my friend read it, but she said that it helps to give your mailbox a facelift when you sell your house.  I guess it’s all a part of that nebulous concept called “curb appeal”. 

Our mailbox was in sad shape.  The first day we moved into the house, the hubby ran over the mailbox with the moving truck.  He then splinted the broken post between two pieces of wood and the poor thing had been tilting forward ever sine.  The ugly green mailbox itself was rusted and dented from some hooligan’s cherry bomb.  No facelift could rejuvenate this baby.  Time for a new setup.

I had been priming our new fence post over the past few days.  We decided to install it today as the mailman is off for the holiday.  The old mailbox post is underneath the new one.  See the sad little splint at the bottom?  You can also see the new post is much shorter than the old one.

The original post was just stuck in the ground.  We borrowed a post hole digger from a neighbor and made the hole a bit bigger so we could cement the post in place.  We backfilled the hole and tamped the dirt down so our little shorty post would be the proper height.

Now that the hole was bigger, the post wouldn’t stay upright for us to dump in cement.  The hubby improvised with 2 sawhorses, 2 pieces of wood, and 4 bar clamps.  He clamped one piece of wood to both sawhorses and then clamped another piece of wood behind the post to the first piece of wood.  He used a level to position the post.

We were so glad that we bought a half dozen bar clamps from Harbor Freight.  Every now and then, we get Harbor Freight’s circular and see them on sale for $1.99 each.  Normally, there is a limit that you can buy.  These little guys are well worth it.

To cement the post in place, he poured 1/2 to 3/4 of a bag of dry Quickcrete mix into the hole.  He then added water from a hose (following the directions on the box) and mixed it up with a broom handle.  Two hours later the concrete had set and it was rock hard!

He then cut a piece of wood that would go underneath the mailbox and attach to the mailbox post.  We had bought a precut mailbox plank from Lowes, but found that it was too wide for the mailbox that we bought.  The first time he attached the mailbox, we had it flush against the back of the post.  While pretty, the door wouldn’t open all the way because it was getting jammed on the wood underneath the mailbox.  We pulled the box forward an inch and voila – we now have the best mailbox on the block!

I have to go back and put a topcoat of paint over the primer and plant some flowers around the base still.  I’ll tackle that tomorrow!  Right now, it’s back to packing up our bedroom while the hubby is tamping rocks in the dark for our brick walkway.  We have realtors coming tomorrow and our target date to list the house is 6/19.  The clock is ticking!

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