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Old 10-21-2017, 06:45 PM
 
Location: Stevenson Ranch, CA
347 posts, read 722,023 times
Reputation: 472

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My parents' house was built in 1967 - they've kept up with its maintenance decently well - I am planning a trip to Florida to get some repairs done and get it ready to list.

I'm trying to sort out the things that will make a difference not just in asking price but maybe even in attracting a buyer at all ! - and the money from the sale will need to last my parents for awhile so I am up for putting in a ton of elbow grease and time to make it sparkling - and to bring in some vendors to do what I can't do myself - hoping to get a solid offer and a good price.

Our agent has said he is reluctant to put too much money into a house like this, which makes sense. The kitchen and both bathrooms are all original fixtures - cabinets, tub, sinks - with the exception that the appliances are not original, they've been replaced - and there is a sliding glass door to a standing tile shower in the master bath. There is no money to renovate these areas - we are hoping that a buyer will either want the retro feel or else like the floorplan and plan to put their own imprint on the house after a sale.


I think for sure we need to

- make it absolutely as clean as possible everywhere - slider door glass and screens and tracks, windows and screens and tracks, inside and outsides of cabinets and drawers, bathrooms, showers - super clean

- pressure wash the exterior (concrete block on the sides and rear with brick in front) - sidewalks - driveway

- replace the dim light bulbs with brighter ones throughout

- remove drapes - they are probably 35-40 years old - but leave the mounts (?)

- the drywall in the single car garage has holes in it and some of it is completely missing - it would be easy to throw up some new drywall

- remove the old carpet to expose the 1" tile in both bathrooms and the original hardwood in all of the bedrooms and living room

- the deck in the backyard has some rotten boards and is a hazard - but underneath it is all dirt, removing it would be a real eyesore plus which it's a stepdown into the yard, it's not all on the same level as the exit from the house - so we are thinking of having the deck redone if we can do it for a good price

- the fence is partially missing down one side of the back yard - there is chain link fence on one side and across the rear - but on the other side there is a solid wood fence which is incomplete - no way to match the existing fence, it has been there for years - we need to define the border and put up some type of fence before listing - would you keep the chain link for consistency and less expense ? I know solid wood all the way around would be way nicer and more private. But across the rear, there are trees and palms and shrubs and tall trees that block the view of the yard from the neighboring yards. And on the side that is completely chain link fenced, there is a solid wood fence on the other side of it that belongs to the neighbors.


I'm waffling about painting in the interior - it's all white flat paint now with plastered/textured walls except for the kitchen which is light yellow semigloss which doesn't seem good from a selling standpoint. The doors to bedrooms and bathrooms are brown woodgrain - retro hardware - I didn't know whether to sand and stain - or paint - or nothing. I wondered if painting the kitchen would make the rest of the walls look bad.

And - there is wood paneling in the den / fireplace room - I was curious about filling the cracks and painting that - a light neutral color - but if I did that then it would almost be a sure thing that the whole interior would need to be freshly painted.


I can spend three weeks on this, more if I was super close to finishing. I want to get in and out and get it done and get back home - yet my parents have not sold a house and I feel a real responsibility to get this done for them and walk them through. Tim and i have sold houses of our own but there was in no way the same sense of not wanting to make a mistake, like I feel with this one - plus which ours were newer (not new, but newer !) so there weren't nearly the same issues.

If we tried selling "as is" - making it super clean, getting rid of the carpet but then not doing as many of the other things that should be repaired above - I'm afraid we might not even get a buyer - although the property is really in good shape for its age and someone might see it as a good reclamation project if the price reflected that it needs some work - and the proximity to schools is awesome. Elementary, middle school, high school and a private school are all within a mile to a mile and a half of it.

I really appreciate whatever advice and information anyone can give - I'm hoping to go over in a week to dive into this - two weeks at the latest - and I need to have the priorities sorted out and know what I should ignore by the time I get there !

And it's maybe a bad time of the year to try to list it - but my mom has only just now consented to sell it (my dad wishes it had been sold in June already) - and their homeowner insurance is getting canceled in February because the property is not owner-occupied - they moved to an independent living residence five months ago.
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Old 10-21-2017, 07:40 PM
 
912 posts, read 550,708 times
Reputation: 1543
My thoughts-

You're not going to get back most of the money you put into it. If the kitchen and bathrooms are dated, I don't think it would be worth doing much to the rest of the house, since those are the rooms people remember.

Same goes for any big exterior projects. If the deck is a safety hazard you should take care of that. But the fence probably won't make or break the sale, so maybe spend the money on curb appeal instead? Some colorful annuals are cheap and eye catching.

Other than the fence, your list seems like a good plan. Definitely remove carpet and drapes, improve the lighting, and do the cleaning and pressure washing.

Price it right and it will sell. Whatever money you don't spend on the house you can give to your parents to supplement the sale.
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:02 PM
 
25,800 posts, read 49,685,561 times
Reputation: 19248
I've been in the same situation and made sure the house was super clean, that it had the best curb appeal possible which meant doubling up on the watering and using fertilizer... had the BEST lawn on the block in 3 weeks.

Everything works... no damaged window screens or sticky locks or drippy faucets... all lights appropriate and no compact florescent that flicker coming on.

I did paint and refinish the hardwood... refinishing the hardwood was the best money I spent because real hardwood is a strong selling feature here and everyone commented on the nice hardwood and landscaping...
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Old 10-21-2017, 10:22 PM
 
Location: Stevenson Ranch, CA
347 posts, read 722,023 times
Reputation: 472
It's so hard to think of what to do just to get it ready for the sale for my parents - compared to what we would want to do if we ourselves were moving into it. Someone can buy it and spend some time and money and make it really nice inside and out for sure. Money is an object here, yet I want to be sure to do more than enough to make a good impression and snag an offer.

Pricing it correctly to sell will be important for sure. Any thoughts on offering a credit at closing for fixing up ?
Thinking further about snagging a buyer, bathroom fixtures are not all that expensive - would you replace the crystal-looking handles with new sets - or just leave everything retro and focus on floors and deck and paint ?

And any thoughts on this time of year for a new listing ? - inventory is low in their area and it seems like anyone looking around the holidays is in a position where they need to find a home - so here's hoping we will be ok with finishing everything so we can list it around Thanksgiving. There is not too much of a choice of waiting because of the insurance getting canceled in February. I'm actually surprised the insurance company didn't cancel it already because they no longer live in it.

The yard is in very good shape so that's a major plus.

Ideally all of this prep work and listing would have happened in June and the new owner (maybe with kids) could have moved in and gotten settled before school started in fall - but at that time and up until now, mom was hoping she could convince my dad to move back to the house ! She is finally realizing that's not going to happen - there was no way in the world he was going back to all of that responsibility after wanting for four or five years to move to the place they are living now - and finally making it there. It is going to be amazing once he no longer has to think about the yard at the ex-house and keeping the electricity and security system on.
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Old 10-21-2017, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,014 posts, read 37,656,456 times
Reputation: 73602
If you are leaving the original fixtures, don't waste time and money switching out handles and faucets. Just clean it.

When you replace the light bulbs and remove the drapes, you will notice just how much you NEED to paint the interior.

Painting is no big deal but it makes a huge impact.

Other than that, your list seems good.

Time of year really cannot be a factor now with the insurance issue looming. No credits at closing. Price it for its condition. I agree that finding a good realtor who knows your market and who can advise you on pricing it just right is the most important part of the process.
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Old 10-21-2017, 11:47 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
21,477 posts, read 26,078,274 times
Reputation: 26426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freebird View Post
My parents' house was built in 1967 - they've kept up with its maintenance decently well - I am planning a trip to Florida to get some repairs done and get it ready to list.

I'm trying to sort out the things that will make a difference not just in asking price but maybe even in attracting a buyer at all ! - and the money from the sale will need to last my parents for awhile so I am up for putting in a ton of elbow grease and time to make it sparkling - and to bring in some vendors to do what I can't do myself - hoping to get a solid offer and a good price.

Our agent has said he is reluctant to put too much money into a house like this, which makes sense. The kitchen and both bathrooms are all original fixtures - cabinets, tub, sinks - with the exception that the appliances are not original, they've been replaced - and there is a sliding glass door to a standing tile shower in the master bath. There is no money to renovate these areas - we are hoping that a buyer will either want the retro feel or else like the floorplan and plan to put their own imprint on the house after a sale.


I think for sure we need to

- make it absolutely as clean as possible everywhere - slider door glass and screens and tracks, windows and screens and tracks, inside and outsides of cabinets and drawers, bathrooms, showers - super clean

- pressure wash the exterior (concrete block on the sides and rear with brick in front) - sidewalks - driveway

- replace the dim light bulbs with brighter ones throughout

- remove drapes - they are probably 35-40 years old - but leave the mounts (?)

- the drywall in the single car garage has holes in it and some of it is completely missing - it would be easy to throw up some new drywall

- remove the old carpet to expose the 1" tile in both bathrooms and the original hardwood in all of the bedrooms and living room

- the deck in the backyard has some rotten boards and is a hazard - but underneath it is all dirt, removing it would be a real eyesore plus which it's a stepdown into the yard, it's not all on the same level as the exit from the house - so we are thinking of having the deck redone if we can do it for a good price

- the fence is partially missing down one side of the back yard - there is chain link fence on one side and across the rear - but on the other side there is a solid wood fence which is incomplete - no way to match the existing fence, it has been there for years - we need to define the border and put up some type of fence before listing - would you keep the chain link for consistency and less expense ? I know solid wood all the way around would be way nicer and more private. But across the rear, there are trees and palms and shrubs and tall trees that block the view of the yard from the neighboring yards. And on the side that is completely chain link fenced, there is a solid wood fence on the other side of it that belongs to the neighbors.


I'm waffling about painting in the interior - it's all white flat paint now with plastered/textured walls except for the kitchen which is light yellow semigloss which doesn't seem good from a selling standpoint. The doors to bedrooms and bathrooms are brown woodgrain - retro hardware - I didn't know whether to sand and stain - or paint - or nothing. I wondered if painting the kitchen would make the rest of the walls look bad.

And - there is wood paneling in the den / fireplace room - I was curious about filling the cracks and painting that - a light neutral color - but if I did that then it would almost be a sure thing that the whole interior would need to be freshly painted.


I can spend three weeks on this, more if I was super close to finishing. I want to get in and out and get it done and get back home - yet my parents have not sold a house and I feel a real responsibility to get this done for them and walk them through. Tim and i have sold houses of our own but there was in no way the same sense of not wanting to make a mistake, like I feel with this one - plus which ours were newer (not new, but newer !) so there weren't nearly the same issues.

If we tried selling "as is" - making it super clean, getting rid of the carpet but then not doing as many of the other things that should be repaired above - I'm afraid we might not even get a buyer - although the property is really in good shape for its age and someone might see it as a good reclamation project if the price reflected that it needs some work - and the proximity to schools is awesome. Elementary, middle school, high school and a private school are all within a mile to a mile and a half of it.

I really appreciate whatever advice and information anyone can give - I'm hoping to go over in a week to dive into this - two weeks at the latest - and I need to have the priorities sorted out and know what I should ignore by the time I get there !

And it's maybe a bad time of the year to try to list it - but my mom has only just now consented to sell it (my dad wishes it had been sold in June already) - and their homeowner insurance is getting canceled in February because the property is not owner-occupied - they moved to an independent living residence five months ago.
Clean, clean, clean. Discard the drapes and the hardware. Spruce up the exterior as you have described.

Fix any holes in the wall from pictures and decorations. Paint the interior. Is the panelling real wood in good condition? Is it consistent with the style of the house? If so, I would leave it and just clean it. If not, paint it. Don't worry about the grooves between the panels. I had an office once with cheap imitation panelling. We painted it and it looked amazingly good. Is the molding around the doors painted? If so, I would paint the doors, too.

Fix the drywall in the garage and paint.

Is the fence necessary? If not, just remove all of it. Let the buyer put up a new fence if it's wanted.

Remove the carpet and refinish the hardwood floors. The floors should help as a selling point.

The deck needs to be repaired or replaced.

How large is the house? The most expensive project would be the floors I suspect, but I think the return on the investment would be pretty good.

From what you say I expect the location to be the best feature of the house.

Please let us know what you decide to do.

Before and after pictures, maybe?
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Old 10-22-2017, 05:02 AM
 
1,528 posts, read 724,410 times
Reputation: 2062
Just about everything in real estate is local so it's hard for anyone to give advice on the impact of various updates or what you should or should not be doing. What may be the case in one market/neighborhood may be completely wrong for another.

I once had a 50s house in a very hot area that was all original except for some new lighting, appliances, roof, hvac. It sold quickly and for a lot of money (bidding war) based on it being an immaculate and 100% original example of a great house with unique architecture. While not every house is like this, in some areas there is a strong attraction to 'retro' homes that are timeless and fit well with modern life.

A lot of your strategy in preparing a home for sale will depend on your target buyer profile and the dynamics of your market. For example, in some hot areas, tear downs of homes like these are (sadly) common. Or if it's a hot area for younger people, you might be targeting young higher income 'creatives' who will renovate the place to a high spec, wanting to retain original features. Or young couples just wanting to get on the property ladder doing as little work as possible until they trade up. Or investor buyers who will rent it out or flip it. Of course, you never can know who exactly will buy the home in the end but it should be clear to anyone who knows the market what the potential buyer profile(s) will be and that will be a strong indicator of what you should do to prepare it. You can figure this out yourself or talk to/work with an agent.

Some general things that probably apply broadly:
Often it can be just a few key easy updates to make a place look more contemporary, stylish and minimalist - light fixtures, kitchen cabinet/drawer pulls, new high quality european faucets (check ebay as plumbing shops often do deep discounts), quality door hardware, modern house numbers, light switch/outlet plates, etc. Sometimes just a few strategic high quality items (like faucets) can suggest high quality across the whole house. Sometimes just removing dated decorative things can make a big difference - for example, imitation shutters, screen doors, aluminum awnings, fireplace surround/screens, etc. Anything 'ornate'. If similar homes in the neighborhood have been turned over to the next generation, look at what they've done.

Be very careful with pressure washing. Masonry (and just about everything else) can be easily destroyed/compromised by high pressure spray. It also forces water in places where it does not belong.

I would avoid doing anything that you can't do 'right'. For example, if you're going to paint, be prepared to prepare the walls properly (sometimes 80% of the job making walls smooth) or don't bother doing it. Buyers will be turned off to work that screams 'DIY' or looks like a quick solution (e.g. painting paneling might look like this).
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Old 10-22-2017, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Virginia
3,462 posts, read 1,641,512 times
Reputation: 9263
As someone who loves old and vintage homes, I would love to have well-maintained or refinished hardwood floors and original bathrooms that are in pristine shape. I'm one of those "Save the Pink Bathroom" types. For a buyer like me, the best thing you could do would be to replace the rotting deck, clean and paint the interior, refinish the floors if they need it, take the carpet out of the bathrooms (ew!), and then just leave everything else in its' original pristine state. Mid-century homes rock right now, so I hope it sells fast!
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Old 10-22-2017, 08:28 AM
 
5,076 posts, read 6,225,432 times
Reputation: 7825
I would definitely expose the wood and clean them up a bit. No need to refinish, just clean up. If there is carpet in the bathroom, by all means get rid of it; that's just gross. I would also paint. Aside from making it look cleaner, it makes it smell cleaner and "newer," if that makes sense. Stark white is usually not the best color to go with. Pick a neutral that has a little more warmth to it.
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Old 10-22-2017, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,470 posts, read 15,905,878 times
Reputation: 38730
Another point of view. We recently sold our 30 year old condo. We did nothing to it besides clean it. It sold in a few weeks for about the same amount as a condo in the same complex that was completely redone (new carpets, new fixtures, new paint, new windows, new blinds/drapes, etc. etc.) once you consider that condo sat on the market for a full year (while the owner in a nursing home still paid their utilities, mortgage and property taxes) and the owner did thousands of dollars of upgrading to "pretty it up".

Our new owner complexly gutted the place and changed everything from flooring to fixtures to appliances to kitchen cabinets. They even tore out a wall. If we had done anything it would have been removed/redone by the new owner.
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