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Old 12-28-2010, 10:27 PM
Location: Durham UK
2,031 posts, read 4,194,169 times
Reputation: 1116


Have our 1980s ranch home for sale.
It sits in almost an acre on a residential street with houses of all sizes, ages and designs.
Lot is lawned but has lots of trees (pines and deciduous) and mature rhododendrons/azaleas hollys and laurels. So a woodland garden really. Drive is gravelled and we have lake views with our own deeded lake access lot and a boat dock right across the street.

Have had feedback that it's not updated enough, so we want to do some (more ) work.

Need to try and impart to you the feel of the home.

Wood siding- intend to repaint a light sage green with beige accent

Has a beamed ceiling in living room with tongue and groove (not painted) and some very rustic wood wall covering (in 2nd and 3rd pic) which we are going to dry wall/ tongue and groove.

In the kitchen there is a loft area and we intend to leave the beams (they are structural) but remove the tongue and groove boarding to let more light into the kitchen.
Kitchen has been updated and cabinets are quite traditional maple , which personally I wouldn't have chosen as I prefer something more modern even if it's shaker style.

Also considering SS appliances, new fans/light fixtures and door furniture.

There's also a loft area in the 2nd bed.

Whilst most of the doors are 80s 6 panelled, 3 doors off the dining room are from the 1930s? and are different sizes. One has stained glass and we have 2 stained glass windows high up in the dining room.

I'm not sure if we should paint the baseboards and the door frames and leave the doors.

In the dining room and under the loft area in bed 2 you can see the very rustic slatted doors which we intend to update, but do we go for panelled wood doors or just take out the slats and cover the doors with oak ply and then do we paint the same color as walls so they blend in, or stain to make them stand out?

We have a black, ornate wood burning stove in the dining room too.

I guess we're trying to decide if we just leave the beams and tongue and groove ceiling as the "wood" features and paint most of the doors/frames and baseboards except/as well as the stained glass door?

I would like to try and create a more modern feel, whilst still retaining the cosiness.

Sorry-lots of questions!!

If you need more pics just yell!- any/all suggestions welcome
Attached Thumbnails
Updating our 1980s ranch to sell-listing-front-house-300-x-200   Updating our 1980s ranch to sell-listing-dining-room-300-x-200   Updating our 1980s ranch to sell-d-room-door-1536-x-1024   Updating our 1980s ranch to sell-up-d-room-1536-x-1024   Updating our 1980s ranch to sell-new-kitchen-1536-x-1024-768  

Updating our 1980s ranch to sell-bed-2-loft-1536-x-1024   Updating our 1980s ranch to sell-listing-living-room-2.jpg   Updating our 1980s ranch to sell-side-house-600-x-450-.jpg  
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:19 AM
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
30,568 posts, read 38,134,997 times
Reputation: 49015
We just bought an 80s house and what sold us was that the expensive stuff had been done...new roof, new kitchen, and no big maintenance issues, and nice landscaping.
Your house is different-not cooky cutter. My feeling is, you can't predict what any given buyer will like or not like, so why spend a lot of money changing things like doors? It will appeal to some, but not to others.

I think it looks super nicely maintained and as long as your roof is not too old and you have fresh paint on it, it should be easy to sell. Also, how old is your HVAC? Are your windows original? We knew we would be facing a replacement of both our windows and HVAC within 5 years or so, so that affected the price we paid.
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:20 AM
27,629 posts, read 63,134,602 times
Reputation: 17001
Default Good suggestions above, be very careful when spending money on a house that is already listed...

I have seen houses that look much worse than your place. Your kitchen looks good except that the appliances are white, which really cries out for SS, hood is SS, are counters granite? SS might be worth the money...

I agree slated doors are NOT desirable, and the "rustic strap hinges" only work on vacation cottages or places where fools are going for a "blacksmith" look so I would head to a discount lumber yard and get some solid doors as inexpensively as possible. In the Midwest Menards markets a line that is amazingly affordable...

Paint over wood is a funny thing. It can look OK, but honestly a nice smooth drywall has much broader appeal. Tough thing is, without knowing if you can DIY or how much workmwpuld be required in your home, this couldmget real expensive. Rule of thumb, I tell folks if you spend more $2000 after you are listed it will be hard to get back unless house sells for over $250k, and even then gotta go for biggest negatives first.

I agree that having the major "money items" addressed would be smart -- maybe if roof and windows are in good shape get a pre-sale seller's inspection that says so...

One thing you don't mention, but frankly I think you should think about, is the exterior. Lanscaping looks pretty good to me, but color of the home seems like a very old fashioned dark brown. I bet that even something a little lighter would make the place look a lot more up-to-date. Given that you have a wood stove I fear that you live somewhere painting is not really an option for another 3+ months -- looks like it might be a big job too. Could blow the budget... If you can figure out a way to get it done and not go crazy I would love to see what the exterior looks like in a "chamois" or even "pigskin tan".

For now I would shop for SS appliances (maybe budget about $1200 or so for stove, fridge, dw ...), try and swap out the doors, take a breather and see if that works to overcome the "dated" comments. Next up priority wise would be hard call between exterior and drywall.

First thing, get that inspection and if highlights anything easy to tackle knock that out, then consider the "big ticket" stuff (roof would not be cheap, and very hard to justify...) but maybe a "home buyers warranty" would be a nice sweetener...

Oh, for goodness sake, get RID of an extra stuff you can IMMEADIATELY. That air freshened thingy looks like something from a truck stop! Store your extra dinning room chair in a storage area or take it to a friend's basement or something. Get rid of the wires hanging between the TV and the pass thru. You house is MOSTLY decluttered, and that is good, but if you don't go 100% of the way then every little thing draws extra scrutiny! If that loft ladder is not doing anything remove it. If that "twig" handrail can go too get it gone. If the place seems "too cold / sterile" get some tips from a stager to soften it, don't just leave your glassware / knickknacks out if they do not helpmate sell the best features...

Really the home looks much better than many, and I suspect that if you had more local activity and got on the market at peak buying season priced right you would have been sold already. The sad reality is that screwed economy has hiurt nice but out of ordinary houses the hardest...

Last edited by chet everett; 12-29-2010 at 06:29 AM..
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:37 AM
Location: Bangor Maine
3,442 posts, read 5,120,077 times
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For the outside paint consider using cream trim with the light green instead of beige. To me beige is depressing and boring. Here in New England we have lots of houses of many styles with the cream trim and it looks lovely.
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:53 AM
Location: Prospect, KY
5,288 posts, read 16,714,506 times
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I actually love your house and I would not replace those doors or hinges - they are perfect for the organic/woodsy style of your house. Please don't start replacing perfectly designed original items with cheap Lowe's stuff.

One thing I would consider is to take down the wall (with the opening) that separates your dining room from the other room (living room?). I'd open that up - you will want to check to see if that is a supporting wall of course - make sure it is safe to remove.

I'm also not crazy about the bed loft - the shutters or the whole loft thing but I'm not sure what you can do with that...personally I would consider removing it all but that may be more work than you care to do. That would be one of the first things I would change if I could.

When we lived in Southern California there was an area down the street from us with ranch style homes that were built in the 1950's - they had inner courtyards, lots of glass and wood and that same feel as your home. Those homes were often bought by artists and were prized for their original architecture - they were desirable homes to own.

Please don't try to make your home something it isn't - you'll end up with something that no one wants.

I would paint the sunroom (I think that is what it is off white or white like the rest of your house) - get rid of the baby blue/teal paint.

Regarding your kitchen - I think stainless appliances are a good idea. It is unfortunate that your refrigerator sticks out into the room - it really makes the kitchen look smaller than it really is. Counter-depth fridges make a huge difference visually.

The outside of your house is what it is. The dark brown wood is not my cup of tea but again it is typical with that kind of architecture. I like the suggestion of cream colored trim.

Your lot sounds wonderful and seems to go with the style house you have - large treed lot. I'd really think about mainly leaving the house as is and putting it on the market to see how buyers view it. I would not try to modernize it or replace original items with cheap stuff - let it be what it is - a unique and interesting home.

Cheap changes that are in stark contrast with the rest of the home will turn some buyers off (it would me). Let the next owner decide if they want to keep things original or remodel. I really do like your house.

Last edited by Cattknap; 12-29-2010 at 07:01 AM..
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:17 AM
27,629 posts, read 63,134,602 times
Reputation: 17001
Default Not to be too arguementatitive...

...but when I see the "blacksmith" style hardware I think "Salem MA circa 1680" or maybe some part of Virgina where our founding fathers kept slaves. There is NO WAY that anybody who sees a house with casement windows in white vinyl, funky 1980's ranch with "loft" style celestroy windows and other hallmarks of "builders grade" design elements will be impressed with strap hinges and some kind of "pickled driftwood" looking louver doors.

Frankly Lowes does NOT have stuff that is priced attractively for the kind of replacement I would recommend. Menards has a line of Mastercraft doors that are nice and heavy with a solid feel that will be in keeping with the kind of upgrades appropriate to a home built 30 years ago.

I agree that the color in the sunroom is defiantly "jarring" and ought to be repainted. Repainting the other rooms would also go along way to making things look more harmonious -- my guess is that a stager might even suggest some ways to use accent colors in a couple of rooms.

The problem with trying to remain "true to an architectural style" is that some styles are so bastardized and far removed from the original that "honesty" looks more like a pastiche then just trying to "go with the faux"...99% of buyers want a place FOR THEIR STUFF and a canvas that has too many details "carved in" will make them run.

Do you think Clint Eastwood dresses in the same poncho he did in his Westerns when he is hanging out with his hip Caramel friends? Of course not. That is a costume for a role. Those "pickled driftwood louver doors with strap hinges" are like a set piece or prop from a "movie" that very few buyers are going to want to have a "starring role" in...
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:38 AM
Location: Durham UK
2,031 posts, read 4,194,169 times
Reputation: 1116
Thanks for all the feedback!
Will try and answer all.

One thing you don't mention, but frankly I think you should think about, is the exterior. Lanscaping looks pretty good to me, but color of the home seems like a very old fashioned dark brown.
I did mention light sage green to paint exterior- we completely agree with the "poop" brown color looking pretty awful and will think about cream instead of beige.
We are in the Charlotte area of NC, so hope we won't have to wait 3 months to paint, but had thought of this.
What is lowest temp for exterior paint to dry?

Selling for under $280,000 isn't an option.
We bought in 2006 but then it took 3 years for us to get visas to be able to get here permanently. I can't work (been waiting for GC for almost 4 yrs now) and we used much of our small amount of savings travelling back and forth across the pond and maintaining the home.
We are selling really to release some $$$, so will be moving down the ladder.
WV homes on the street with boat dock and deeded lake access sold in April and August for $310,000 (that was a 70s time warp with shag pile, low ceilings,vinyl flooring and colored bath suites and just a pier, no floating dock, smaller lot) and $440,000 (much newer and bigger, but smaller lot)

Roof is metal and don't know age. Not painted, so not ideal.
No problems with it as far as we are aware.
???? to paint it.

We will probably get a home inspection done as these new Due diligence contracts for home sales are coming out 1st Jan in NC.
A shorter D/D time is obv' referable for the seller and if a home insection has been carried out recently then it makes a request for a longer D/D time less justifiable

The new NC Purchase contract which will go into effect January 1, 2011 requires a buyer’s Realtor to name a period of time for the buyer to get fully approved for a loan, inspect the house, and make sure there is clean title. This is called the “due diligence” period for the buyer. The consequences of any failure such as: low appraisal value, unable to qualify for financing, large inspection issues, and title defects found after this negotiated time will result in the buyer losing their earnest money to the seller (at a minimum).

Most of windows are UPVC-original windows left (6 small ones) are in good condition, but we could look at that.

Have sep' LPG furnace and electric A/C unit.
A/C is about 6 yrs old but furnace is older.

Have an older tankless water heater.

Counter tops in kitchen are quartz I think.
Yes thought about swaping the doors, but seems a shame as they are a higher grade (solid wood) kraftmaid and only 3 years old.
Guess we could sell the old doors.

Oh, for goodness sake, get RID of an extra stuff you can IMMEADIATELY. That air freshened thingy looks like something from a truck stop! Store your extra dinning room chair in a storage area or take it to a friend's basement or something. Get rid of the wires hanging between the TV and the pass thru. You house is MOSTLY decluttered, and that is good, but if you don't go 100% of the way then every little thing draws extra scrutiny! If that loft ladder is not doing anything remove it. If that "twig" handrail can go too get it gone. If the place seems "too cold / sterile" get some tips from a stager to soften it, don't just leave your glassware / knickknacks out if they do not helpmate sell the best features...

We are buying a new round dining table with 4 chairs.
Home def' isn't sterile or cold, in fact the opposite.
Have twig handrail in hand.
I don't do knick knacks!
Don't know what you mean re the air freshened thingy? Some of the pics are older.
The loft ladder is the one that is used to get up onto the loft over the kitchen, but if we remove the floor of that area then we can get rid of them.

No one gave any advice regarding painting baseboards and door frames, but I guess you are really saying get the big/major impact stuff done.

Thanks to everyone.

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Old 12-29-2010, 08:00 AM
Location: Asheville
1,162 posts, read 3,370,748 times
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I think in general, on the inside, wood should be an accent, so most of your ideas about minimizing large areas of wood is good. I don't think on the outside you should paint at all, that dark color looks really nice in the woodsy type setting.

The first photo you put of the dining room, which is the pic facing the ladder and brown door, all that looks just fine, I wouldn't change anything about it. So, that means the stained glass green door wood should be painted brown to match the other door, and replace the doorknob to match the other door, too. Now, I'll tell you what's gotta change big-time, and that's the slat doors barely hanging off long hinges, which you mentioned, in two locations, one in dining room and one under loft. Take the slat doors off and replace them with two bifold doors in similar style to other doors in those rooms, with normal hinges, and paint those doors to match the walls, leave the trim wood around them the same. And while that piece of wood for a rail up above one of those sets of slat doors is neat, you might consider making that an ordinary short railing out of the same color wood as other woods in that room.

The living room, it needs a couple little things. One is to put tall curtain panels, they can be "dummy" ones, in the corners at both ends of the length of windows, a print with background in that color you have the walls painted, and the print color itself matching the door, you could get exactly the correct material and sew them yourself if necessary. If the blinds on those windows can be lifted up, then do so for showings, leaving perhaps a couple down provide coziness. I do not like the wall wood on the left of the living room, it's too rustic, so your plan to wallboard over it and paint it the color of the walls would be a good idea. Don't worry about the wood "molding' that goes to the floor.

The living room steps stick out, so to minimize the effect, move that long and low chest over to against that wall where the steps are, move the plant out to the edge of where the step is, and balance the other side with more plants. Maybe use wood to close in the open front of steps, and definitely take up and move inward the door floorplank that sticks out.

To open the room better, move that loveseat right over about a foot inside the armrest of the sofa, in other words closer to the windows, and then you can slide both of them towards the wood door a few feet, and do not use a coffee table or that rug there. If you want a rug in there, get an inexpensive darker fake oriental type area rug to connect the outside edges of the two couches, no further out, and keep it in the color range of the door. If the rug clashes with the couches, just buy inexpensive solid brown covers for the furniture. Consider a taller type lampshade.

I think the kitchen looks great, don't worry with the stainless thing. If you want to brighten the kitchen, simply paint white the ceiling wood over the stove between the beams or, as you said, remove those planks. I like the ceiling wood in the middle, a lot. One thing you must do when you list your home, and that's insist that your realtor put "rustic" in the writeup somewhere. That way, people who want that wood touch that's everywhere, won't be "turned off" by seeing a lot of wood. I had that problem with one big room of barnwood in my home, so the moment I had my realtor change to that word, we had an offer and sold it. The buyers themselves told us that's what they liked about the house.

Don't do too much to your home, just enough to make it look "normal" for its style and age. I think your impulse to minimize wood is correct, just don't overdo it, becuz you run into the problem of where to stop, and besides, some of it does have some charm.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:27 AM
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
1,553 posts, read 2,192,072 times
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Personally I really like the wood on the kitchen ceilings and the stained glass doors - very unique and not something you see in many houses. One of my cousins has wood on her bathroom ceiling (in sort of a turret style) and it is gorgeous. We're about to put pine tongue-and-groove on our porch ceilings to give them a more custom look. I would, however, get rid of those slatted doors.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:50 AM
Location: A Yankee in TN
8,266 posts, read 11,902,883 times
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I also don't care for the slatted doors.
I would not paint the trim and door frames. A lot of people, like me, like the look of wood but once it's painted it can't be easily undone. A house with too much painted wood would be dropped from any list of potential homes I'd buy. OTOH I suppose if I liked painted wood, and a home I liked didn't have that, it would be cheap and easy to remedy that on my own.
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