Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

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Jackson12
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Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:55 am

We plan on downsizing, Kids are grown. Walking up steps in a 2 story home is becoming harder for my spouse. No longer need 5 bedrooms. Want a ranch home.

When it comes to deciding what has to be done to sell our home as quickly as possible, we are having trouble stepping back and seeing our home through a buyer's eyes.

We need to prioritize.Here's what we think we need to tackle and in what order ( details about each room or issue are below this list)
What should we do first? What can be left alone?

1. Master bathroom
2. Utility room
3. Window replacement - 1 room
4. Popcorn ceilings
5. New carpeting ( small area)

The details:

1. Master bathroom :new vanity and sink, flooring, towel racks, repainting. The vanity is beyond salvageable. Same with the floor. The shower works fine and we could get the grout cleaned and sealed. There is only one sink in the master bathroom. If we're replacing the vanity, should we add a second sink? The single sink never bothered us. But supposedly double sinks matter to today's buyers.

2. Utility room - replace sink and counter, repaint cabinets, add new hardware, replace flooring.. The utility room ( washer/ dryer) cabinets and counters are 27 years old and it shows.

3. Bonus room - window replacement We have a large bonus room and none of the windows in there open.Or can we simply add a discount during sales negotiations? Would the windows detract too much from buyer appeal?

4. popcorn ceilings in family room, bonus room, master bedroom. We hear popcorn ceilings are out, are undesirable, detract from buyer appeal..

5. Replace Carpeting ( high quality) has lasted well but is extremely old. We have very little carpeting. What we have is on the stairs, a hallway, and a small bedroom..

We want to spend as little as possible to get the house in shape but also have it appeal to buyers and sell for a fair price.

We know decluttering is a huge " must" and so we've been getting rid of everything possible, paring down possessions, making each room look spacious and inviting.

When we bought our home, the former owners did very little and we fell in love with the home in spite of the cluttered living room ( which actually looked a bit homey to us), less than perfect wood flooring ( scratched by dog claws, some large-ish water stains from plants being watered and water splashing, etc) and dated flooring, wallpaper, etc

We loved the home's layout, the neighborhood, yard, etc.

Maybe most buyers want a more perfect looking home?

BigLaw Survivor
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby BigLaw Survivor » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:16 am

Honestly, you need to hire a realtor and ask their advice. The good ones have great eyes for this stuff -- and for what's cost effective to do and not to do,

JGoneRiding
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby JGoneRiding » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:16 am

Talk to your realator. I think your list looks reasonable and in the correct order. I can tell you as a buyer that is the order I would be concerned about things. The carpet I might give a kick back for. It killed me tearing out what I knew was 1-2 yr old carpeting in the house we just bought but what the!!! they put light carpeting in high traffic areas and I have 4 dogs and 4 cats and the cats hate moving. So we replaced it all with laminate wood. The bathroom they did a full remodel on and put in new sinks but with lousy counter space. So they didn't recoup what it cost them because I hate it! But I also can't justify changing it so really make sure your layout is good and practical (I would definitely do double sinks I might have walked away if they had just done one, seriously and I love everything else about my house)

Ruger
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Ruger » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:19 am

Are you planning to do much of the work yourself, or are you going to hire it out?

I would definitely put in double sinks in the master bath, buyers look for that.

Remove the popcorn ceiling, it's an easy but messy job and buyers probably don't want to mess with it.

I would not replace the carpeting. Many buyers now days want hard wood floors and would see it as a
waste to pay for new upgraded carpeting that they are going to remove anyway. I would either put in
hardwoods, or I would offer potential purchasers a flooring allowance and they can choose what they want.

pinecone
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby pinecone » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:40 am

I wouldn't do anything to the house until you've interviewed at least three listing agents. They know what buyers in your area and price point want and can help you prioritize and budget the to do list. I think today's buyers are more demanding, however, don't waste your time and money without getting professional advice first. Your priority should be on decluttering, cleaning, and yard curb appeal.

furikake
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby furikake » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:48 am

Yeah, talk to a realtor. When we were selling our house, we got our realtor to come walk the house, and he told us what needed to be done, we did them, and we got multiple offers and had to close the bid on day 3 and sold the house higher than asking.

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Pajamas
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Pajamas » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:48 am

Look at your house as a "flipper" would, someone who buys a house in poor cosmetic but good structural condition and cleans and fixes it up and puts in new finishes and landscaping to sell it for a profit.

Don't become a flipper just because you already own the house. Do you want to be a flipper and if so, will it pay to do so with your house? If not, only do things that will provide a dollar return or at least enable a buyer to get a mortgage in the context of all the other remaining, unresolved issues and save the time, effort, and expense of fixing everything up and simply accept the lower price for the current condition, which may put more money in your pocket after everything. There may be no point in putting money into cosmetic changes unless you make all of them.

Perhaps talk to a few real estate agents experienced with flips or even better, an experienced appraiser and go to some open houses of flips in your area. Find out if putting money into your house to fix it up will make a profit in your local market and neighborhood.
Last edited by Pajamas on Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:32 pm, edited 5 times in total.

whattodonow
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby whattodonow » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:49 am

If I were selling, I'd remove popcorn ceilings, update master bath, and then utility, in that order.
Ignore carpet for now.
Is it obvious that windows don't open in bonus room? I would't pay to upgrade the windows unless you hear people ask about it.

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:31 pm

BigLaw Survivor wrote:Honestly, you need to hire a realtor and ask their advice. The good ones have great eyes for this stuff -- and for what's cost effective to do and not to do,


Thanks. We appreciate the advice about getting a realtor's take on things...which is echoed by some others here. . We also appreciate all the perspectives offered thus far.

We have had at least one unfortunate experience with a realtor who clearly wanted a quick sale and nearly convinced us to consider listing the house "as is" .

But then we toured 2 homes in our street whuch sold recently and the - where me of the the owners put in a relatively minor investment on cosmetics, decluttered, and staged the home. It sold for $100,000 more than the other home!

I didn't add that one of the hardest parts of all this will be convincing my spouse we need to move. He's in denial but the costs of denial are adding up in home maintenance costs for rooms we aren't even using ( like the new new windows we're getting in 2 rooms) .

At least we should be able to use these for cost basis purposes when we sell.

I Was on the same page as my husband until the financial reality sunk in. We're close to retirement. We need to reduce home maintenance costs,.

Even so,this is the home where we raised our children and it was also a great comfort after my parents' died. It's the only other home I've ever known ( not counting an earlier shirt-term rental when I was a newlywed and we were saving for a home.

But moving on....

I wouldn't consider new carpet except for the fact that the current carpet still looks old, even when cleaned, and we can't put in inexpensive hard surfaces ( wood or laminate) on the stairway, instead of carpeting, because:

1. There are 5 layers of carpet under the first layer on the stairway , none of which were added by us -'and at least one layer was glued on and has some horrid rubber backing glued to the carpet layer below it.

It's a nightmare. We've essentially stuck with the awful but relatively practical carpet we've had from day one. It is some dark shag that doesn't show dirt. It just looks worn so it will have to go.,

Even if we could remove the carpeting, we'd have to put in new stair treads.

2. We think It would sound like a herd of elephants when shoes hit those hardwood stairs several times a day, driving us nuts until the house is sold. ..and I'll never get my spouse to agree to keep his shoes off when going up the stairs.

So we'll add carpeting just before putting the house on the market- after the decluttering and fixing up and painting etc.

Everyone's input is giving me much needed perspective.

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:40 pm

One other thing : covering the costs.

We are debt free, have reasonable emergency funds, and adequate retirement savings. However, we don't have extra funds to cover all the expenses of these updates, etc. There isn't that much slack in our budget.

This is the first time we've considered a home equity loan. We are that debt adverse. Our home maintenance savings have gone to the 2 new Windows and a sliding door as well as a driveway repair and sealing ( because first impressions count) .


Our off the cuff thoughts are that when we get through the decluttering stage, we'd take out a loan, do the renovations as quickly as possible, and minimize the home equity loan period.

We'd then sell, pay off the loan, and move. We wouldn't take out a loan higher than we could cover from emergency funds. But I'd like to keep the emergency fund in place rather than add even more debt in case of an emergency.

I'm not sure this makes financial sense. Thoughts?

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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Carefreeap » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:57 pm

With the HELOC, I'd go for it now rather than later, stating that you need to update your aging house. Some loan docs will ask you if you plan on selling your house within a certain period of time. Get the clock going now. You don't need to borrow the money right away but get the line of credit now.

When are you planning on putting your house on the market? For family-type houses you almost always want to put it on the market in April/May time frame.

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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Brewman » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:11 pm

I have only sold one house (21 yrs ago) and have bought a total of two in my life so take my comments with a grain of salt.

I always hear people saying that you never get the value out of home improvements that you put in when it comes time to sell so if you plan to make changes / improvements you should be sure they are ones you will enjoy while you are there. So in a situation like this where you plan to de-clutter, make some improvements then quickly sell. Why bother? Why not just price it accordingly and sell? I understand doing certain safety or necessary maintenance items but why bother with cosmetic issues? Or will it likely result in a price that more than covers the expense and hassle?

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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby bloom2708 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:24 pm

+1 for talking to a few realtors first.

Is your market "hot" where houses in any conditions get multiple offers quickly? If so, do none of your list other than clean, declutter and maybe some paint.

The risk of doing any upgrades (before selling) is you will do them to your taste and not the new owners.

Many houses have popcorn ceilings. The new owner may or may not care about that.

Set a realistic budget and only act on "must dos" after consulting with your future realtor.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead | | Want to buy something? Watch this first: https://vimeo.com/41152287

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:29 pm

Carefreeap wrote:With the HELOC, I'd go for it now rather than later, stating that you need to update your aging house. Some loan docs will ask you if you plan on selling your house within a certain period of time. Get the clock going now. You don't need to borrow the money right away but get the line of credit now.

When are you planning on putting your house on the market? For family-type houses you almost always want to put it on the market in April/May time frame.


We won't be able to list this summer but we hope to list by next May- when the established perennial garden looks loveliest and adds significantly to curb appeal.

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:43 pm

Brewman wrote:I have only sold one house (21 yrs ago) and have bought a total of two in my life so take my comments with a grain of salt.

I always hear people saying that you never get the value out of home improvements that you put in when it comes time to sell so if you plan to make changes / improvements you should be sure they are ones you will enjoy while you are there. So in a situation like this where you plan to de-clutter, make some improvements then quickly sell. Why bother? Why not just price it accordingly and sell? I understand doing certain safety or necessary maintenance items but why bother with cosmetic issues? Or will it likely result in a price that more than covers the expense and hassle?


I think the bathroom redo will pay for itself. It's small for a master bathroom and the bathroom is large ( with a private deck) so a bathroom with 2 sinks seems fitting. The current bathroom almost seems like an afterthought.

We do want a price that will cover the cost of our new home- or at least leave a minimal difference. We've done the comparisons and think that selling our 3500 sq foot home ( which wasn't expensive when purchased) and moving to a 2-3'bedroom home with only 2000 to 2200 sq feet will cost for less than our current home, especially in the long run.

It won't be super costly to redo the bathroom, although we plan to use the best quality options we can afford.... Or at least those that look more upscale.

As for the carpet, I do like to see newer carpet in a home, even if I'd plan to change it.

I don't think of carpet as particularly sanitary ( who washes their carpet weekly?) and an old carpet just bothers me. It makes me think of all the dirt it harbors. Having helped raise several boys, I am far from a germ-a-phobe but carpet is a sore point with me.

That may be just my take since my husband has allergies and we've limited carpet in our home. It has made a huge difference in his allergies. .

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Pajamas
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Pajamas » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:45 pm

Jackson12 wrote:Thanks. We appreciate the advice about getting a realtor's take on things...which is echoed by some others here. . We also appreciate all the perspectives offered thus far.

We have had at least one unfortunate experience with a realtor who clearly wanted a quick sale and nearly convinced us to consider listing the house "as is" .


You could use an appraiser instead and ask for a before and after appraisal including a list of upgrades.

At least we should be able to use these for cost basis purposes when we sell.


I'm not an expert on this but my understanding is that if you do things like just replace carpet or paint or even replace a broken water heater or window, you can't add it to the cost basis as it's considered a routine maintenance expense, but if it is part of a renovation that can be added to the cost basis legitimately, you could probably deduct it. Someone with more knowledge about this might give more information.

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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby LadyGeek » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:49 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (house).
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:52 pm

bloom2708 wrote:+1 for talking to a few realtors first.

Is your market "hot" where houses in any conditions get multiple offers quickly? If so, do none of your list other than clean, declutter and maybe some paint.

Nope, not super hot, although homes are moving more briskly than in the past few years. Home prices appreciate at 3% a year or stay flat. Mid-century homes are very hot here..

The risk of doing any upgrades (before selling) is you will do them to your taste and not the new owners.


We plan to use neutrals. Basic decor. Adaptable to change with accessories, different paint, etc, Hopefully, something with general appeal when showing a house or something that doesn't leave a bad impression

Many houses have popcorn ceilings. The new owner may or may not care about that.

Popcorn ceilings have never bothered us. We're on the fence about messing with them.

Set a realistic budget and only act on "must dos" after consulting with your future realtor.

it's distinguishing between the "must dos" and the "not necessary to change" list we need to tweak with a realtor.

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:54 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Jackson12 wrote:Thanks. We appreciate the advice about getting a realtor's take on things...which is echoed by some others here. . We also appreciate all the perspectives offered thus far.

We have had at least one unfortunate experience with a realtor who clearly wanted a quick sale and nearly convinced us to consider listing the house "as is" .


You could use an appraiser instead and ask for a before and after appraisal including a list of upgrades.We hadn't thought of that. Thanks for the idea.

At least we should be able to use these for cost basis purposes when we sell.


I'm not an expert on this but my understanding is that if you do things like just replace carpet or paint or even replace a broken water heater or window, you can't add it to the cost basis as it's considered a routine maintenance expense, but if it is part of a renovation that can be added to the cost basis legitimately, you could probably deduct it. Someone with more knowledge about this might give more information.


We'll research this.

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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby bloom2708 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:08 pm

If you over update, you will get your house EXACTLY the way you want it just in time to sell. :oops:
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby rebellovw » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:24 pm

Check out Zillow and the other popular Realestate sites and get the best reviewed realtor you can find and try and hire them.

They should be able to tell you want needs to be done and in what order to sell your house fast and for a great price.

Don't try to figure it out yourself - you will likely choose something that will not help much (ex adding granite countertops..)

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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby white_water » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:42 pm

Find 3 local long time, knowledgeable real estate agents to advise about the remodel questions. Then it's easier to prioritize the to do list.

I think you're exactly right to seriously de-clutter even before talking to RE people.

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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby boomer » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:00 pm

We are going to be doing something similar in the near future-maybe going on the market next May, as well!

I've been watching youtube videos for advice on staging, so you could try that, too. Some of the ideas are free or low cost.

We definitely plan to do decluttering, cleaning, and getting the yard in good shape.

We've sold three homes in the past. One was our rental condo that we had completely repainted and recarpeted, but it really needed it. We also replaced the old kitchen countertop with some nice granite-look laminate. It was in a lower price range area, so we wouldn't have recouped costly upgrades. Sold it as a vacant unit. It sold pretty quickly as the market was beginning to warm up.

Two were our private family homes. On the first that we sold, the carpet wasn't new but looked ok, so the real estate agent said to leave it. Said we wouldn't get back the cost to replace. We had a swamp cooler instead of an air conditioner, and she also advised against replacing that, saying again that we wouldn't get the money back from an upgrade. The second house we had only lived in for a year and a half, as it was an unexpected move. It was a newer home, so we just made sure it was very clean. The buyer commented on how clean it was. One thing we did when we sold the second house was to get a market analysis from three different real estate agents. Both of these homes were sold long before home-staging became a thing.

If I were you, I would get a market analysis from a few seasoned realtors and pick their brains. I personally would only do upgrades that are either 1) low cost, like painting and cleaning, or 2) absolutely need to be done to sell (like maybe the carpeting, if it looks bad) or 3) might be needed to pull in a buyer (like maybe the master bathroom). You may end up picking one of the realtors that you interview to sell the house for you. I'm wondering about the popcorn ceilings and hope you can get some good advice as to what is best to do on those. If they are dirty you can make them look nice with a fresh coat of white paint. If you have them scraped and retextured that looks nice, but it is a mess. And it could be costly. We have done it ourselves when a house is vacant. So I would skip that if you can.

Some realtors may want you to do a bunch of expensive upgrades so that they can sell the house easier. But you have to weigh the cost against what price your home can reasonably fetch in your neighborhood, area, etc. So you need a reasonable and scrupulous realtor.

A home equity loan will usually have an early-pay off fee if you close it before a designated time, like two years. The fee could be around $400. And your home can't be for sale when you get the loan, so as was mentioned get your loan in place asap. It won't cost you until you use the funds.

On my current home, in addition to cleaning, decluttering, and some staging, I plan to paint and will likely just clean the existing carpet. Unfortunately, I will need to have the wood floor in the kitchen refinished, so that will cost some bucks.

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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby azurekep » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:00 pm

(will ask in a separate thread.)
Last edited by azurekep on Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

btenny
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby btenny » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:46 pm

How are you going to downsize and not move twice? Do you have to sell your current home before buying you new smaller home? Or can you finance and cover a mortgage for the new home until you sell the old home? So I suggest you figure out your move plan first.

Then I would sell the home as is. I might paint a few things at most and remove the clutter but not remodel. Yes you will take a price hit but IMO not that big. The issue is you have to finance the updates and you are not a builder or decorator. So you will not get the changes done cheaply nor to current marketable tastes. The master bath renovation is likely to be $15K or so alone. They are just expensive to do right. How do you get the style right? And then if you do revise this room a lot it will mismatch the rest of the house so then what?

Then the pop corn ceilings are definitely bad but removing them is tough. The exposed ceilings with no popcorn will look like a wavy ocean. So they will need to be re-plastered and leveled. Then the whole room will need repainting. But do you add crown molding? Other ceiling features? Other wall features? So again there is taste issues?

And so on for the rest of the changes. Any updates beyond a little paint and some carpeting are just not a good idea IMO. Young people that are buying 5 bedroom homes have tastes a lot different than us old folks. If they like the "bones of the house" they will buy it and fix it to their tastes. So if you do remodel how do you propose to address this mismatch?

But do not stop down sizing. The end result is great. I did it in 2001. It has worked out great for us. We have a nice small single story home.

Good Luck.

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:08 am

btenny wrote:How are you going to downsize and not move twice? Do you have to sell your current home before buying you new smaller home? Or can you finance and cover a mortgage for the new home until you sell the old home? So I suggest you figure out your move plan first.

When we purchased our current home, many years ago, we actually took on a mortgage on the next before we sold our previous home ( we lived there 2 years, horrid house, made no profit but broke even). It was a rough financial stretch for about 6 months but at least being out of our soon-to-be-sold home allowed us to keep it decluttered and clean. It was a quick sell once we listed it..and we listed it unfurnished, not always a plus, but right for that house - where architectural features, inside and out, were a selling point

Then I would sell the home as is. I might paint a few things at most and remove the clutter but not remodel. Yes you will take a price hit but IMO not that big. The issue is you have to finance the updates and you are not a builder or decorator. So you will not get the changes done cheaply nor to current marketable tastes. The master bath renovation is likely to be $15K or so alone. They are just expensive to do right. How do you get the style right? And then if you do revise this room a lot it will mismatch the rest of the house so then what?

Good points.i do think we'd recoup the $15,000 on the master bathroom but might reconsider other options for the home.

Then the pop corn ceilings are definitely bad but removing them is tough. The exposed ceilings with no popcorn will look like a wavy ocean. So they will need to be re-plastered and leveled. Then the whole room will need repainting. But do you add crown molding? Other ceiling features? Other wall features? So again there is taste issues?

We'll take a chance and leave the popcorn ceilings as they are. They do need painting.

And so on for the rest of the changes. Any updates beyond a little paint and some carpeting are just not a good idea IMO. Young people that are buying 5 bedroom homes have tastes a lot different than us old folks. If they like the "bones of the house" they will buy it and fix it to their tastes. So if you do remodel how do you propose to address this mismatch?

But do not stop down sizing. The end result is great. I did it in 2001. It has worked out great for us. We have a nice small single story home.

Thanks for the encouragement on the downsizing, I'm more than ready to move. I hope your move helped save you money on home expenses ( we anticipate making some changes to suit our tastes in the short run, funds permitting).

In a home this size, it seems maintenance issues crop up far too frequently. In a smaller home, we anticipate smaller utility bills as well. We have several friends who have downsized and they are definitely saving money.

The trick will be finding a home that works for us. We don't want open concept. We don't mind a home that needs a little work. We can tell if a home has good bones and has been maintained.


Good Luck.


Thanks!

mouses
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby mouses » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:26 am

I would declutter, clean, paint, and make the yard look very inviting. That's it.

It seems to me that major upgrading is expensive, time consuming and you have no way of knowing if it will appeal to a buyer's taste.

For your new downsized house, since you're older, make sure it has accessibility features.

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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby TLC1957 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:36 am

We lived in our home for 28 years and raised our kids, 2 years ago we retired, downsized and moved 120 miles from the country to a university town and just love what we did. Do not miss the yard work, we had 2 acres and all the upkeep we had 3200 sq. ft. home. The move put us closer to our kids.

As others have said get a good realtor to help you with your decision they know the market. That is what we did, her suggestions, remove all wall paper, paint the rooms a neutral color, do Not change the carpet( folks will install wood or what a different color, some of our rugs were 20 years old) de clutter, we gave away a lot of furniture and made several trips to the dump. She hired a professional photographer and included a floor plan with the listing. We sold the home in 3 weeks, some homes in our neighborhood development have been on the market for 18 months. When I look at the homes they have all the same things we had before we did our realtor suggestions, it does make a difference.

Our move from NJ to PA also resulted in significant reduction in taxes both property and income, and car insurance, same insurance carrier, car, coverage went from $1200 to $600.

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:00 am

TLC1957 wrote:We lived in our home for 28 years and raised our kids, 2 years ago we retired, downsized and moved 120 miles from the country to a university town and just love what we did. Do not miss the yard work, we had 2 acres and all the upkeep we had 3200 sq. ft. home. The move put us closer to our kids.

As others have said get a good realtor to help you with your decision they know the market. That is what we did, her suggestions, remove all wall paper, paint the rooms a neutral color, do Not change the carpet( folks will install wood or what a different color, some of our rugs were 20 years old) de clutter, we gave away a lot of furniture and made several trips to the dump. She hired a professional photographer and included a floor plan with the listing. We sold the home in 3 weeks, some homes in our neighborhood development have been on the market for 18 months. When I look at the homes they have all the same things we had before we did our realtor suggestions, it does make a difference.

Our move from NJ to PA also resulted in significant reduction in taxes both property and income, and car insurance, same insurance carrier, car, coverage went from $1200 to $600.

This is inspiring. We're tied to our community, Hough, and a move to be closer to our kids would most likely mean moving from the Midwest to Seattle....which is a fine city but far outside our price range. A friend moved to New Orkeans, though, and she and her spouse knew no one there...at first. They're loving it.,

As for us, if we're leaving this house, we want to stay in our community. .

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Watty
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Watty » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:53 am

Jackson12 wrote:We won't be able to list this summer but we hope to list by next May- when the established perennial garden looks loveliest and adds significantly to curb appeal.


You might not be ready to sell until next spring for other reasons but if you wanted to you could have the house on the market within a month.

As others have said, talk to several good real local estate agents to find out what work is worth doing. The last time I sold a house I talked to about a half a dozen real estate agents on the phone then let the three that I liked the most meet with me to give a formal marketing proposal. I then picked out the one that I thought would do the best with dealing with some issues that the house had. Some agents will be much better than others with dealing with a less than perfect house.

The biggest thing to deal with is sorting through all your stuff but after you decide what you want to keep you can have an estate sale company come in and help you get rid of the rest of your stuff.

By trying to fix up the house you have multiple problems;

1) There is no telling what the real estate market will be next spring. Most areas are sellers markets now and by then the market could be much worse and the house could be hard to sell.

2) You would be living in a construction zone for six months or more while the work is being done. I can't imagine trying to remove the popcorn ceiling while you are living in the house.

3) When the work is being done it is almost 100% certain that more problems will be found that will need to be fixed.

4) The way that you fix up something will likely not fit potential buyers taste for things like the color of the carpet and some buyers would want wood floors.

5) To get your money back you will have to sell the house for a higher price. If you increase the price by $50,000 that will make your house too expensive for some buyers.

The real estate agent may suggest fixing some smaller things that are actually broken but you could have the house on the market by mid July if you wanted to. A good real estate agent will also have contacts of repair people that can do the work. In addition to having been vetted by the real estate agent the contractors will be motivated to do good work to keep getting referrals from that real estate agents office.

BigLaw Survivor wrote:We want to spend as little as possible to get the house in shape but also have it appeal to buyers and sell for a fair price.


This is a big red flag.

Any fixes that you do should be appropriate for the price range of your house. A huge risk is that doing something like a cheap bathroom remodel would actually make the house harder to sell. In my mid-range neighborhood a flipper bought a house and did things like a cheap kitchen remodel and cheap carpets. They then tried to sell the house but no one would buy it because of the poor quality of the remodel. They gave up trying to sell the house and rented it.

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:35 am

Watty wrote:
Jackson12 wrote:


BigLaw Survivor wrote:We want to spend as little as possible to get the house in shape but also have it appeal to buyers and sell for a fair price.


This is a big red flag.

Any fixes that you do should be appropriate for the price range of your house. A huge risk is that doing something like a cheap bathroom remodel would actually make the house harder to sell. In my mid-range neighborhood a flipper bought a house and did things like a cheap kitchen remodel and cheap carpets. They then tried to sell the house but no one would buy it because of the poor quality of the remodel. They gave up trying to sell the house and rented it.

Thanks. We'll go with a good bathroom remodel. There won't be any way of getting around the fact that the bathroom is small but we're not sweating that. It was never a fector for us...but when we bought our home, having 2 sinks in a master bedroom wan't a given.

We want to move quickly on the sale but my spouse also needs to phase out a small online business ( supplements his other job) which made our budget more flexible but is not necessary, especially if we have reduced expenses in a smaller home as well as Social Security to offset the loss of the other job.

He wants that other job gone. We want more free time as we head into retirement and our retirement plan is in line with that.

We've made plans for a phase-out of the sideline job. His stock is stored neatly in our home but we need to sell the remaining stock. Pronto. That's do- able. Tax implications from the business closing will be negligible and won't raise our bracket.



We are grappling somewhat with the financial risks of moving from the known to the unknown, especially after living in a smaller house ( for only a year). which cost more - per square foot- in maintenance than our current home. It looked great, passed inspection fine, but was a nightmare of constant home maintenance issues.

So we know a smaller home isn't automatically less expensive. We have relatively one property taxes here, lower than our old home (and we're even in a better neighborhood now)

But we're determined to move. The number crunching and comparisons of the ongoing expenses of varied homes will be vital. Plus a detailed looks tthe home, not just from an inspector's view but based on our own take on the materials used in and outside the home, quality of construction, etc

We even considered condis but friends have had some unpleasant and surprising " one- time" HOA fees. They weren't just one- time fees but extra assessments for new roofs, community swimming pool maintenance and repair, etc. .So we're wary of condos.
Last edited by Jackson12 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

tomd37
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby tomd37 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:34 am

I totally agree with many of the other comments to contact several realtors and get their consensus of what your best options are.

However, my opinion of what you should consider doing is going to vary greatly. In my opinion you are not going to recover anywhere near the investment cost of the repairs. My estimate would be you would be lucky to recover 60% of the cost of renovations and you will be paying the realtor's fee on that additional amount recouped. Making significant improvements just to immediately sell the home may not really help you financially. Also making improvements that a prospective buyer really may not want is too risky in my opinion. I would consider seeing if you can find someone that likes the home for what it is now and recognizes the potential for them if they do the renovations the way they want and would like.

We are an 81 year old couple who decided our then eighteen year old home needed major renovations and we wanted to stay in it until we absolutely had to move. So six years ago we went through a very major renovation and we have been able to enjoy all those renovations for the past six years and possibly many more years to come. Other homes in our subdivision that have done similar renovations have increased in value significantly and their recent sale prices have reflected the improvements. But to do the renovations with the possibility/probability of not getting any significant value out of it does not make sense to me.
Tom D.

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:38 pm

tomd37 wrote:I totally agree with many of the other comments to contact several realtors and get their consensus of what your best options are.

However, my opinion of what you should consider doing is going to vary greatly. In my opinion you are not going to recover anywhere near the investment cost of the repairs. My estimate would be you would be lucky to recover 60% of the cost of renovations and you will be paying the realtor's fee on that additional amount recouped.


Based on where we are located, I tend to agree that most renovations would not pay off. My sister spent $30,000 on upgrades before selling her home in California and got a return of far more than she spent, based on realtor appraisals before and after the upgrades.

She bought the home for $600,000 and sold it for over $1,700,000. That's California. Santa Cruz.

We don't have that kind of home appreciation here.

However, our bathroom is more than an eyesore. It is horrid. It was never top of the line and we've pushed it to its limits.

Within the last year, the vanity drawers, resting on very old glides, completely broke down. They are behind repair...and I write that as someone who will repair anything which can be repaired ( raised by Depression era parents). We can get them to close only with great effort and even then there are huge gaps.

The vanity top is also stained and older. The walls need to be repainted. We can repair and seal the grout in the shower and replace the shower door. It's a fine shower with quality shower heads, handles etc.

The floor tile , however, is a different matter. It is white and shows even the tiniest speck of dirt. We don't think it will be too expensive to get the bathroom into shape, mainly because it is a very small bsthroom.




Making significant improvements just to immediately sell the home may not really help you financially. Also making improvements that a prospective buyer really may not want is too risky in my opinion. I would consider seeing if you can find someone that likes the home for what it is now and recognizes the potential for them if they do the renovations the way they want and would like.

We are an 81 year old couple who decided our then eighteen year old home needed major renovations and we wanted to stay in it until we absolutely had to move. So six years ago we went through a very major renovation and we have been able to enjoy all those renovations for the past six years and possibly many more years to come. Other homes in our subdivision that have done similar renovations have increased in value significantly and their recent sale prices have reflected the improvements. But to do the renovations with the possibility/probability of not getting any significant value out of it does not make sense to me.

tomd37
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby tomd37 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:19 pm

Jackson12,
Based on what you just posted the bathroom appears to be a "must do" and I agree with your thinking. My understanding is that bathrooms and kitchens play the most significant roles in the sale of a home when it comes to renovations. Thanks for the updated info.
Tom D.

btenny
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby btenny » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:49 pm

When I downsized (in 2001) we took almost a year to find a home we liked that fit our new needs. Our kid home was 3300 sq ft on 1.5 acres with 4 bdrms/3 baths. We lived there 21 years. That home had a giant detached garage and two huge grass yards and 30 trees and play courts and so forth. When our last kid left home for college and I retired we started looking. We bought a 2100 sq ft. 3bdrm/2bath home on a small city lot in a HOA area that is 4 miles or so from our old home. When we bought it we knew it needed some remodeling. So we spent 3 months doing lots of fixing and renovations and redoing some of the landscaping. We had a overlap and owned two homes for 6 months while we sold the old place. We spend a lot less on utilities and taxes and up keep on our new home. Our taxes are half. Our water bill is 25% of the previous amount (no pool and only a few trees). Yard maintenance expenses are similar but now I hire everything and then I did a lot of the work. Now I have no pool repair costs or chemical costs or pool guy costs. I like my new home a lot. It fits us. It is single story and close to shopping and the mall and doctors and lots of stuff. The only down side is Phoenix is really hot in the summer so we snow bird to cooler climes for the summer.

And the most important benefit of downsizing was spending less than half on the new home versus the selling price of our old home. Downsizing gave me enough extra $$ for investing to FIRE and stay retired. In my case it was integral to my early retirement. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Good Luck.

btenny
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby btenny » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:14 pm

I also wanted to tell you I sold my old kid home my self to a builder. I did some renovation prior to selling but nothing major. I did most of this work my self so the costs were just materials. The sale was complicated as the first builder did not complete the sale. So I had to sell it a 2nd time to another builder and that fell though as well due to 9-11. But I was very lucky and sold it quickly a third time to a third builder. In all the cases the builders were razing my home and building giant custom homes. So all my renovations were for naught. The builders even let me take out my special light fixtures to move them to the new home. I also wanted to point out there are risks to owning two homes as once but if you are diligent and move fast things can work out.

Good Luck.

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:48 am

btenny wrote:When I downsized (in 2001) we took almost a year to find a home we liked that fit our new needs. Our kid home was 3300 sq ft on 1.5 acres with 4 bdrms/3 baths. We lived there 21 years. That home had a giant detached garage and two huge grass yards and 30 trees and play courts and so forth. When our last kid left home for college and I retired we started looking. We bought a 2100 sq ft. 3bdrm/2bath home on a small city lot in a HOA area that is 4 miles or so from our old home. When we bought it we knew it needed some remodeling. So we spent 3 months doing lots of fixing and renovations and redoing some of the landscaping. We had a overlap and owned two homes for 6 months while we sold the old place. We spend a lot less on utilities and taxes and up keep on our new home. Our taxes are half. Our water bill is 25% of the previous amount (no pool and only a few trees). Yard maintenance expenses are similar but now I hire everything and then I did a lot of the work. Now I have no pool repair costs or chemical costs or pool guy costs. I like my new home a lot. It fits us. It is single story and close to shopping and the mall and doctors and lots of stuff. The only down side is Phoenix is really hot in the summer so we snow bird to cooler climes for the summer.

And the most important benefit of downsizing was spending less than half on the new home versus the selling price of our old home. Downsizing gave me enough extra $$ for investing to FIRE and stay retired. In my case it was integral to my early retirement. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Good Luck.

This is encouraging. My husband and I discussed downsizing again tonight. We're finally on the same page about the need to move. We recently spent part of a day trying to pull weeds in a large yard. Maybe that helped us with the decision.

We're both nervous about leaving our close-knit neighborhood, one where we have regular pitch-ins and annual meetings to discuss how to spend the very modest neighborhood HOA fees, primarily used for snow removal and some neighborhood landscaping.

It's that kind of neighborhood and there's a certain comfort in that.

But we're ready for the next stage of life and eager to save money as we head into retirement. The most challenging part will be finding a home in a seller's market. We know the area we want to live and there's fewer homes available than the number of potential buyers. Even so, we'll keep looking.,

Jackson12
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Re: Want to downsize, see "to do" list. What to tackle first?

Postby Jackson12 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:52 am

btenny wrote:I also wanted to tell you I sold my old kid home my self to a builder. I did some renovation prior to selling but nothing major. I did most of this work my self so the costs were just materials. The sale was complicated as the first builder did not complete the sale. So I had to sell it a 2nd time to another builder and that fell though as well due to 9-11. But I was very lucky and sold it quickly a third time to a third builder. In all the cases the builders were razing my home and building giant custom homes. So all my renovations were for naught. The builders even let me take out my special light fixtures to move them to the new home. I also wanted to point out there are risks to owning two homes as once but if you are diligent and move fast things can work out.

Good Luck.

Before we bought our current home, we actually owned 2 homes for sbout 6 months. It was simewhat nerve wracking but it all worked out. We only lived in the first home for a few years. It was a terrible home for us but at least it taught us what we truly wanted in a home.


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