Posts Tagged ‘sell this house’

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!

Install Tile Backsplash: Using Silicone

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

We had planned on installing a tile backsplash in our kitchen after we got the countertops in.  I asked the countertop installers what their recommendations were based upon their experience going into hundreds of homes.  Without hesitation, they said “a tumbled stone, to hide the irregularities in the wall, and silicone.”  By irregularities, he meant – the damaged wall where they tore out the old backsplash, and by silicone, he meant – no thinset or mastic – just glue them suckers right on the wall!  He said it would be a super easy do it yourself project and inexpensive.

Oh, the horrors of not following the tile installer’s bible.  Just glue them on?  Really?  Yep.  He said that the backsplash was not a high water area like the shower/bathtub.  He also said the irregularities of the tumbled stone would blend in/hide the irregularities on the wall.  If we had used a smooth tile, we would have had to use thinset as a leveling compound.  For 4 inch tiles, silicone would be fine…  After all, the tiles in his own house have been adhered for over 10 years without a problem, so it’s gotta be true!

We couldn’t find a tube of just “silicone” at Lowes so we bought an uber silicone product from Loctite called, “Tub and Tile Ultra Sealant”.  The description says it will stick to just about anything.

We prepped by patching holes, by removing last remnants of wallpaper, and by cleaning the walls.  We then laid out our first row of tiles along the countertop to test fit them before we glued them on.  I then broke a bunch of toothpicks to use as spacers for the bottom of the first row of tiles.  We only need the slightest of clearances to caulk the tiles and countertop together.  For the rest of the tiles, we used 1/8 inch spacers.  Ready, set, go!

We squeezed out a dollop of silicone in the center of each tile and pressed it on the wall.  The goo took several minutes to set, which gave us wiggle room to get the spacing just right.

Once we locked a few tiles in place to use as anchors for the first row, the rest went up very, very quickly.  When I say locked, I meant that we let those tiles dry over night so they were rock solid.

We did 2 rows of the 4 inchers and then we did 2 strips of tumbled stone cut from a mosaic tile.

Looking good so far!  Come back to see tips on how to cut tiles and how to work with mosaics.

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!

Beat the heat and get things done

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

How do you let your two year old get some exercise when it’s sweltering outside?  Give him a water hose!  I dressed him in his thinnest jammies, so the bugs wouldn’t eat him, and let him get drenched with the hose.  He LoVeD it!

Come rain or shine, we still have to press on with the work.  In between torrential rain showers, I sprayed my dining room chandelier with a coat of primer.  I’m experimenting with a paint technique to rejuvinate our dated brass fixture (blog post coming).

The hubby kept working on the bricks.  We’ve finished this side of the house and the curve going to the porch looks really good (blog post coming).

We are SO close to finishing this side of the house.  We have about 3 square feet of the patio by the gate to finish.  Though we love the rain, it was frustrating trying to work between the storms all day long.  We had hoped to brush sand/cement/mortar in between the bricks to set them, but it was entirely too wet to try.

Instead of fighting it, the hubby decided to go with the storms and wash the cars!  Hey, free rain water – why not?

Inside, I kept the kids hydrated to stay cool while we gave the A/C a break during the storms.  Evelyn drinks out of a big girl cup and it is too cute to hear her little teeth clinking on the glass.

She’s got 4 big chompers now and I can see a few more coming in.  She’s just shy of 9 months and I can’t believe how fast she is growing.

I tried to give Oliver a haircut to help him stay cool, but he was having none of that!  I think he’s still traumatized from the last hair cut I gave him.  Not sure what we’ll do this time around…

We are almost 100% finished with the kids’ rooms.  We hung all the curtains and valances today, changed out the last of the plugs for new ones, brought down the closet doors from the attic, and brought in some toys from the living room.  I have some cool ideas for making wall art to hang in each room that I will be working on this week.

I refused to touch the kitchen until we started wrapping up the other rooms.  We’ll start on the kitchen tomorrow and hopefully knock it out over the week.  We have a busy week with Oliver starting a new school, the realtor coming by to fill out paperwork, a couple doctor’s appointments, a playdate for Evelyn, and a trip to Marbles for a family night out.  Busy much?  :-)

Hope everyone has a great week ahead!

Home Renovation Blues

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

It’s been 2 months now since we started working on the house to get it ready for listing.  It seems that every time we get one thing done, 3 more problems need to get fixed. 

Last weekend, we evicted the kids from their bedrooms and had those painted head to toe.

Oliver actually likes crashing in our bedroom.  I think he likes being close to mommy at night.  At least, that’s how I’ll remember the story…

Evelyn loves the chaos.  Every day she has a new mess in the living room to explore.  She crawls around the boxes like they were her very own obstacle course.

Can you believe that we have run out of stuff to pack?  Between the yard sale, the storage unit, and donations to various centers, our house if pretty empty.  We just made a trip today to the Habitat ReUse Center with a van full of stuff to donate.

We manage to stay busy every day, every night, yet I still feel like we are so far away from listing.  Here’s what we did today:

– dug up the bricks from the side we did in 2008, cleared out all the weeds/debris, and relaid t hem.  finished 100% the bricks along the sidewalk to the house.  sunk the last metal supports for the brick patio.
– reinforced the kitchen floor from underneath the house in the crawlspace.
– cleaned both bathrooms, did the dishes, picked up the house, cleaned and vacuumed the kid’s rooms, actually took a shower in the morning, and squeezed in a 2 hour nap in the afternoon!  (these are huge accomplishments for me)
– cut the shelves for Oliver’s closet
– gave both kids a bath and got them squeaky clean.
– had home cooked food for all 3 meals (no Chick-fil-a this weekend) and precooked dinner for tomorrow.
– made a trip to the donation center.

Lastly, we finally watched a movie that we got from Netflix 2 months ago – the Departed.  Tomorrow, we have another jam packed day.  I cannot wait for all this mess to be finished!

Installing New Countertops Part 2

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

It took the installers a day to build the countertop at their shop and they came back the day after to install it.  First order of business, chisel and sand away all the liquid nail globs.

Evelyn munched on books and supervised from the living room.

Next, they hauled in the countertop in one solid piece.  Lucky for them it was a straight shot from our back deck, through the living room, and into the kitchen.  If they had to come through the front door, they would have been screwed! 

Evelyn is making sure they don’t ding the walls with that huge top.

Here it is!  We chose a brown granite looking laminate called Butterum Granite #7732-58.  I actually like it a lot!  The hubby thought it would be darker.  It matches the rest of our house and is a nice neutral color.  Not to mention all the stains it will hide.  :-) 

We had them narrow the bartop down from 36 inches to 30 inches.  I cannot believe how big of a difference 6 inches makes in our dining room.  Before, we had such a large overhang that you couldn’t even center the table underneath the light.  Now, people can actually move around the table while people are eating without squeezing by.  The dining room feels Huge!

Evelyn charmed all the contractors, even the grizzly one.  It’s so funny watching a crochety old man turn around and say in a high pitch voice, “Welllll, helloooo sweetheart.  You’re just a cutie pie aren’t you?”  She gave the counter top her seal of approval and I like it too.

Next up, installing the sink and new faucet.  This weekend we tile the backsplash, or attempt to if we can find the time!

Installing New Countertops Part 1

Monday, July 18th, 2011

We initially had no plans to replace the countertops before listing the house, but rather chose to throw in $1000 as an incentive for the buyer to have the countertops replaced.  Our realtor quickly nixed that idea and said that offering incentives automatically raise a red flag with the buyer that this is a fixer upper.  Due to the poor condition of the counters, he said we really needed to have them replaced before we listed.

This was almost 6 weeks ago…

We went to Lowes and Home Depot to price countertop installations.  Lowes came back with $1,800 and Home Depot $1,200.  Our countertops were custom built, which means we couldn’t use off the shelf laminate tops.  That raised the price at either store, but by $600 at Lowes for the exact same laminate?  Not only that, but Lowes charged us $35 to come out and do the quote.  Home Depot – zero. 

After about 6 weeks, the laminate finally arrived at the installers and they were coming out to tear out our old counters.  We had some fun with Sharpies and I drew the story of my life in this little house from 2000 – 2011.  I wanted to spill some achohol and light it on fire to see if it would burn the counters.   The hubby didn’t want to risk damaging the new puck lights that my dad installed.  Boo to sensible hubby.  (Yes dad, I’m still a little pyromaniac. Sorry for setting my bedroom on fire when I was little…)

We had to remove all the drawers and empty all the cabinets.  It seems that just when we make headway clearing and cleaning stuff up we just trash the house all over again.  It’s a bit demoralizing at times, but yadda yadda yadda its all for the greater good right?

Evelyn was an excellent foreman.  She kept those guys on track and moving fast.

The entire time they were here, all I could hear was grumbling about the crazy people who had installed it initially and what a crappy job they did.  Our counter had been liquid nailed to the cabinet AND screwed in.  It had also been relaminated and the glue that held the two sheets together failed causing all the bubbling on the counter.  It was one thing after another.  I’m very glad that we decided against tearing out the counters ourselves to save money!  Sometimes, it just isn’t worth it…

Buh- bye old counter! 

The tear out took about 2 hours and then they brought in particle board to make a template for the new countertops.  They are going to make the countertop at their shop and bring the entire thing back another day to install it.  The countertops will be scribed to fit the walls exactly and will match the pitch of the base cabinets.  In otherwords, they are not going to shim anything to level things out. hmmmm…

We are without a sink and have very little room left to move around.  I built a corral in the living room out of boxes so the kids have a safe area to play.  For the rest of us, it’s bruised shins, stubbed toes, and lots of careful maneuvering.  (Someone please tell me again why we are doing this???)

We are getting closer to listing the house.  The counters were a big hold up.  We plan to tile this weekend and clean/finish painting next week.  Nearing the home stretch people!

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