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So...we're under contract for a house.

I am REELING right now. We've been casually looking for a home and our realtor sent us a new listing this week. From the photos it looked perfect so we jumped all over it, had a showing and just knew that it was exactly what we were looking for. We were one of at least 6 other families viewing the house that day (its first day on the market) so we submitted a good offer, but we had zero expectations because it was already a multi-offer situation by the time we submitted. Plus our market is really nutty right now. Inventory, especially in the less than $350k range is very very low and there is a lot of competition. All the $600k homes are sitting, but anything between $200k and $350k is flying, most usually go under contract in a matter of days with higher than asking bids. So anyway, we definitely didn't expect an offer acceptance but they chose us!  Sooooooooo now we need to sell our house and we've got about 65 days to do it. What do I need to prioritize and how can I do this in the most MM way possible??? I'm really fighting internally with wanting to do all the things to make our house show as wonderfully as possible...but we also need to limit expenses as much as possible between now and then to further buffer our savings. Luckily we're in a good spot and all major projects and renovations are done. Obviously I want to sell for as much as we can so we can walk away with a bunch of extra cash at the end of this to buy some new furniture and fund some landscaping and other minor improvements at the new place.

Things we HAVE to do before listing:
Finish painting the basement and basement stairwell. We already own the paint and supplies so this is basically no extra cost. Has to be done because DH did a bunch of drywall work down here and it's very patchy looking until we paint.
Deep clean everything.

Things I want to do:
Add mulch around the back of the house because the garden beds are currently bare. We're probably talking $80-$100 worth of mulch because we have a lot of areas to fill in.
Repaint the kitchen beadboard because it's a brick red currently and I think it would show better in a more neutral color (SW has a 40% off sale this weekend and I probably need half a gallon paint max). Max $40 for a full gallon of paint.
Buy some cheap annuals like petunias to fill out my potted plants since I haven't done this yet and refill my hanging baskets, plus plant some around the mailbox for curb appeal. $60???
Toss down some fast germinating grass seed to fill in the bare spots in our fescue zones. $5 for a bag of seed. We have starter fertilizer already.
Buy some fresh potpourri - $20
Raid the 50% off rack at Hobby Lobby for some cheap hanging decor to fill in spaces on the wall where I'll be taking down some large personal portraits. $75-$100

So I guess all in all we're talking around a $325 investment. I feel like I'm going crazy and my head is spinning trying to come up with an action items list for the next few days so we can get on the market. We've made a ton of improvements over the past four years so I'm thinking of typing up a list as well of all the updates we've done. The sellers of the house we bid on did this and I thought it was a really nice touch since many of those updates aren't going to be revealed on a basic disclosure.
csuaveLillibetteVsmetter04als1982short+sassyblondie42107

Re: So...we're under contract for a house.

  • csuavecsuave
    500 Comments 250 Love Its Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    labro said:
    I am REELING right now. We've been casually looking for a home and our realtor sent us a new listing this week. From the photos it looked perfect so we jumped all over it, had a showing and just knew that it was exactly what we were looking for. We were one of at least 6 other families viewing the house that day (its first day on the market) so we submitted a good offer, but we had zero expectations because it was already a multi-offer situation by the time we submitted. Plus our market is really nutty right now. Inventory, especially in the less than $350k range is very very low and there is a lot of competition. All the $600k homes are sitting, but anything between $200k and $350k is flying, most usually go under contract in a matter of days with higher than asking bids. So anyway, we definitely didn't expect an offer acceptance but they chose us!  Sooooooooo now we need to sell our house and we've got about 65 days to do it. What do I need to prioritize and how can I do this in the most MM way possible??? I'm really fighting internally with wanting to do all the things to make our house show as wonderfully as possible...but we also need to limit expenses as much as possible between now and then to further buffer our savings. Luckily we're in a good spot and all major projects and renovations are done. Obviously I want to sell for as much as we can so we can walk away with a bunch of extra cash at the end of this to buy some new furniture and fund some landscaping and other minor improvements at the new place.

    Things we HAVE to do before listing:
    Finish painting the basement and basement stairwell. We already own the paint and supplies so this is basically no extra cost. Has to be done because DH did a bunch of drywall work down here and it's very patchy looking until we paint.
    Deep clean everything.

    Things I want to do:
    1. Add mulch around the back of the house because the garden beds are currently bare. We're probably talking $80-$100 worth of mulch because we have a lot of areas to fill in.
    2. Repaint the kitchen beadboard because it's a brick red currently and I think it would show better in a more neutral color (SW has a 40% off sale this weekend and I probably need half a gallon paint max). Max $40 for a full gallon of paint.
    3. Buy some cheap annuals like petunias to fill out my potted plants since I haven't done this yet and refill my hanging baskets, plus plant some around the mailbox for curb appeal. $60???
    4. Toss down some fast germinating grass seed to fill in the bare spots in our fescue zones. $5 for a bag of seed. We have starter fertilizer already.
    5. Buy some fresh potpourri - $20
    6. Raid the 50% off rack at Hobby Lobby for some cheap hanging decor to fill in spaces on the wall where I'll be taking down some large personal portraits. $75-$100

    So I guess all in all we're talking around a $325 investment. I feel like I'm going crazy and my head is spinning trying to come up with an action items list for the next few days so we can get on the market. We've made a ton of improvements over the past four years so I'm thinking of typing up a list as well of all the updates we've done. The sellers of the house we bid on did this and I thought it was a really nice touch since many of those updates aren't going to be revealed on a basic disclosure.
    That is great news!  painting the basement sounds like a good place to start. Your agent will probably have ideas about improvements and staging so your list may grow. When I tackled my list I did quick, easy and cheap first. Everything else went on the if it doesn't sell fast back burner--it sold fast and the additional work wasn't needed.

    I am not a stager but I think this is a good priority: 1, 4, 2. 

    #5 do you have a can of Lysol or something that doesn't need a purchase? Burn more candles when you are home to leave a nice smell for later?

    I would skip 3 and 6 but again, I am not an expert.
  • YAY! I would definitely finish up the painting in the basement so it doesn't look like you start projects without finishing them, but if your market is that hot I don't think you'll have a problem with getting offers because you're a little low on mulch. As long as the house is spotless and well maintained I wouldn't change out paint colors just for looks. We had a house on our street that was listed at $375k and advertised as a "total gut" sell for $510k lol. The sellers didn't even try to sugar coat how much work needed to be done and they still got way over asking price. Hot markets allow you to relax a little bit! 
    short+sassy
  • hoffsehoffse
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    YAY! I would definitely finish up the painting in the basement so it doesn't look like you start projects without finishing them, but if your market is that hot I don't think you'll have a problem with getting offers because you're a little low on mulch. As long as the house is spotless and well maintained I wouldn't change out paint colors just for looks. We had a house on our street that was listed at $375k and advertised as a "total gut" sell for $510k lol. The sellers didn't even try to sugar coat how much work needed to be done and they still got way over asking price. Hot markets allow you to relax a little bit! 
    I agree with this.  Don't stress yourself out trying to make it perfect.  If houses in your price range are getting multiple offers then I don't think a lack of flowers or mulch is going to change much.

    And congrats!!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • smerkasmerka
    Ancient Membership 250 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    I would not buy potpourri. Some people are allergic. Bake some cookies - the kind you snap apart and bake. Or some other baked good. Or just boil some oranges, spices, etc on the stove. 

    I also would buy cheaper paint. You can get a gallon at Home Depot for $25 and it's pretty good paint. 

    For big spaces to fill, I like to use wood frames with fabric stretched over it. Or you can do foam insulated boards (they're pink) and cover with fabric using tape or staples. 
    LillibetteVals1982abrewer5
  • labrolabro
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    edited April 19
    @smerka OH! That's a really awesome idea! I'd probably do a wood frame since DH always seems to have some 2x4's lying around anyway so that makes the project even easier.

    @LillibetteV @hoffse Thank you...I need to slow my roll. My realtor is very much 'don't worry about it' but I keep feeling like if it's not perfectly perfect then people won't want it. I need to remind myself that our house IS in good shape, there are no major defects that we're conscious of, we've fixed all the 'bad' things from when we bought the house and then some, now it's up to finding a buyer. This is just the first time I've been on the side of actually selling a house and it's scary.

    @csuave I like that plan of prioritizing based on if we don't get a ton of activity right away.
  • Well that's exciting!  As a former home stager, I don't think it hurts to spend less than $500 on what you've listed, as those will help the curb appeal and make the house appear awesome in photos, which is important.  

    The only thing you could probably skimp on is the wall decor.  I like @smerka's ideas of just doing fabric on frames.  I don't think you should spend a lot on decor "just because" to fill up space, especially if it's stuff you wouldn't hang in your next house.

    I just helped my mom get ready to sell, and she has lots of blank walls because she just painted the house and took down all the family photos before that.  So, we did buy a few new things, but they were item she said she would even use in her new house.  She still had a lot of blank walls but it didn't matter.  Her house sold in 3 days with 2 offers, 1 at asking and the other above asking.  
  • julieanne912julieanne912
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    edited April 19
    And oh yeah, nothing that smells florally or anything like potpourri.  Buyers just want it to smell like it's freshly cleaned or maybe something light and citrusy.  Anything stronger and they might think you're trying to cover something up.
    LillibetteVlabroshort+sassyabrewer5
  • smerka said:
    I would not buy potpourri. Some people are allergic. Bake some cookies - the kind you snap apart and bake. Or some other baked good. Or just boil some oranges, spices, etc on the stove. 

    I also would buy cheaper paint. You can get a gallon at Home Depot for $25 and it's pretty good paint. 

    For big spaces to fill, I like to use wood frames with fabric stretched over it. Or you can do foam insulated boards (they're pink) and cover with fabric using tape or staples. 


    Exciting!  Congrats!

    It's only a small savings, but I agree with @smerka.  I'll use higher quality paints like SW, for exteriors.  But for interiors, a decent quality paint like Behr is fine.  Even with a good SW sale, you'll still come out cheaper.  I have WAY too much experience with paint, lol.

    Use a primer coat first and then a "one coat" quality paint.  "One coat" is a LIE, especially for brick red, lol.  But you might be able to get away with 3-4 coats instead of 10.  I'm only a little bit joking.  Red is the most difficult color to cover and you'll need multiple coats to do it.  If it doesn't look too bad, I might just leave it.

    I think you picked up a GREAT tip from the sellers on the house you are buying to have a convenient list of all the renos and upgrades that have been done since you all have owned the house.  Where possible, have month/years, who did the work, any warranties that will carry over, etc.  Any other helpful info for the next owner.  For example, include the brand and paint color you're using in the basement.

    Granted, I'm not the typical homebuyer, but I would be WOWED if I ever looked at a house and was handed a list of -roof replaced in '08 by ABC Roofers, -HVAC replaced in '11 by XYZ HVAC (two years left on transferable warranty), etc.  I'm still waiting for that day, lol.

    Overall, you're not talking about a lot of money to spruce things up a little.  Just make sure none of it takes too much time either, though definitely paint the basement.  Your agent has already told you not to worry about it.  I'm sure that's good advice for your hot market.

    The most important thing sellers can do to show their property in the best light is to keep it really clean, organized, and no clutter.

    I hope you sell quickly and for top dollar!  I'm sure it would be great to come away with some cash in your pocket.  Good luck and keep us posted!

      

    labro
  • labrolabro
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    @short+sassy LOL the color of the beadboard is exactly why I was thinking of SW. We're totally a big box store family when it comes to paint generally but I was thinking something higher end would provide better coverage. I don't even know what I was thinking with that color other than we have wood trim and it's hard to find coordinating colors for it! My DH is like "I was wondering why you used that color" and I'm like "Why didn't you say something at the time then????". But again, we'll hold off on the beadboard anyway...a buyer can ALWAYS repaint to their liking.
    short+sassy
  • I have no experience with selling a house but congrats on the acceptance of an offer!  I know there was a house down the street from us that was put on the market last month and it sold the first day.  It's crazy how fast houses are getting sold these days.  GL selling yours.
  • labro said:
    @short+sassy LOL the color of the beadboard is exactly why I was thinking of SW. We're totally a big box store family when it comes to paint generally but I was thinking something higher end would provide better coverage. I don't even know what I was thinking with that color other than we have wood trim and it's hard to find coordinating colors for it! My DH is like "I was wondering why you used that color" and I'm like "Why didn't you say something at the time then????". But again, we'll hold off on the beadboard anyway...a buyer can ALWAYS repaint to their liking.

    Surprisingly, that actually hasn't been our experience.  SW does do a great job with coverage, but its not any better/worse than brands like Behr.  I think SW excels in being a longer lasting paint.  It really keeps it color and that's why I like to use it for exteriors.  But, ugh, for rentals?  I need cheaper, not longer lasting.  Because they just need a fresh coat at least every few years anyway.

    In fact, with our last rental renovation, we established our official "paint color".  From here on out, all our rentals will be painted Dolphin Fin by Behr.  So much simpler and easier to keep everything the same color.

    Aside from all that, bailing altogether on repainting the beadboard sounds best! 

  • vlagrl35 said:
    I have no experience with selling a house but congrats on the acceptance of an offer!  I know there was a house down the street from us that was put on the market last month and it sold the first day.  It's crazy how fast houses are getting sold these days.  GL selling yours.


    I had a similar experience recently.  A house about two blocks from mine was put on the market on a Saturday.  It was under contract by Monday morning!  And it was listed on the higher side for comps.  There was nothing about it that was some "killer deal" to get scooped up so quick.  Though it was super cute, had nice upgrades, and looked like it was in great condition.

    I have no desire to sell my house but, man, stuff like that makes you stop and think for a sec!

  • als1982als1982
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    I'd go ahead and do all of the things you have listed, but I'd go with a less expensive paint and forego the cheap generic wall hangings.  Congrats and good luck!!
    HeartlandHustle | Personal Finance and Betterment Blog  
  • labrolabro
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    Well Operation Curb Appeal has begun! Everyone has been so awesome and helpful!

    Doing well though...under budget after spending $50 on annuals to fill out my pots on my front porch and grass seed at Home Depot! The grass seed is supposed to germinate in 3 days so it'll be sprouted JUST enough to hide the bare areas before we get pictures done! Score!

    Last night I took down all of our personal photos and started removing some kitschy stuff from the shelves to add a bit more space. I ended up moving some existing paintings and art around and I think we're actually good on wall decor so I'll be able to save a bit there too. There's only one bare area that really needs something so I'm thinking of borrowing some wall sconces from my sister to fill it in since there are existing nail holes anyway.
  • vlagrl35 said:
    I have no experience with selling a house but congrats on the acceptance of an offer!  I know there was a house down the street from us that was put on the market last month and it sold the first day.  It's crazy how fast houses are getting sold these days.  GL selling yours.


    I had a similar experience recently.  A house about two blocks from mine was put on the market on a Saturday.  It was under contract by Monday morning!  And it was listed on the higher side for comps.  There was nothing about it that was some "killer deal" to get scooped up so quick.  Though it was super cute, had nice upgrades, and looked like it was in great condition.

    I have no desire to sell my house but, man, stuff like that makes you stop and think for a sec!

    doesn't it!!  I've never seen houses sell this fast.  Every single one of the houses on our cul de sac have sold within the month.  I just saw another house in our hood got listed today.  I give it until the end of the month max.
    short+sassy
  • My mom's house is in a lower income area with 10% unemployment... her house still sold fast.  Rates are still really low so there's lots of motivation to buy I guess.  

    Here in CO it's been nuts for a few years.  I found out the house we sold in May of 2014 for $260,000 just resold for $340,000.  
  • Yay!  Congrats!  It's awesome it was that quick.  Though, boo!, on having to fix water company's mess.  Talk about Murphy's Law.
    labro
  • labrolabro
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    @short+sassy No kidding! Tuesday night one of our garage doors broke too! Luckily it was just some bolts that had either not been tightened properly or had come loose so it was an easy fix but omg! I was ready to cry!
    short+sassy
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