Realities of Staging a home

jane__nyMarch 10, 2010

Just sold my home last week and thought I'd share some hard facts about getting your house ready for the market.

After consulting with my Realtor and a stager I invested about $20,000 for minor updates, paint and decorations. It was suggested that I replace red carpeting in my office with a neutral. I also replaced bedroom carpet (sons's room) with new neutral. All the wood floors were refinished, stain and poly. Walls/ceilings were painted (most expensive of all updates.) Reglazed a tub, replaced all faucets and two bathrooms got new vanities and marble tops. I replaced medicine cabinets with mirrors and light fixtures were replaced in bathrooms, dinning room and kitchen.

Yesterday my old, next-door neighbor calls me at work to say the buyers were ripping up all my wood floors. Floor boards were stacked outside on my driveway. Today she calls and tells me they are ripping out my kitchen and all my new carpet was out on the driveway. Heaven knows what tomorrow will bring!

I do feel sprucing up the house sold it. I think I got a decent price and sold relatively fast in a very tough market. I still feel it was money well spent. I'm not thrilled that the floors (refinished last winter and hell to live through)were removed. Equally, the new carpeting was something they could have lived with for a few years.

I don't think I lost money with my updating and staging. I'm sure I made back the cost plus some. But it does bother me that in less than a week, they are tearing it out. They have not moved in and apparently are having all the work done before they do. They are scheduled to move in May 1.

Anyway, had to share...


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"Equally, the new carpeting was something they could have lived with for a few years. "

But why should they? If it wasn't their taste and they want to spend the money to change it, why not? You need to separate from the house. Why is your neighbor telling you all this? Tell her/him you don't need to know, then pretend you really don't care.

FWIW, it would bother me, too, to see the waste.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 1:13AM
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We made some immediate changes to this house when we bought it and would have made even more if we could have afforded to at the time. Mainly painted, redid wallpaper and some of the carpeting. Subsequently we've done other more major changes including a complete kitchen gutting and remodel.

I've sometimes wondered what the people we bought the house from would think about the changes. I imagine they've driven by the house since we bought it (back in 1998) as I sometimes drive by houses I've previously lived in occasionally if I happen to be nearby. The only changes they can see from the street are new windows and new front door.

I don't think anyone on the block still keeps in touch with them to keep them abreast of the changes, they were not that popular as neighbors (we found out shortly after moving in). But I agree, tell your ex-neighbor to quit telling you this stuff. It's not something you need to know.

It reminds me of that old I Love Lucy episode, they were moving to the country and the couple who were taking their old apartment offered to buy all the furniture. But when they started to talk about the changes they planned to make (the only one I remember was that they wanted to cut the legs off the coffee table, horrifying Lucy as if it were a person), Lucy couldn't stand it and she bought back every piece.

Once you've sold something and it's no longer yours, it's best to not look back. The best thing is that your changes paid off, you sold your house and made back the money. What could be better!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 10:13AM
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Hmm. I am on the other end of this situation. I closed on March 19th my new home, and the contractors got started the next day. The neighbors have stopped by to say hello and to say things, like "OMG, did you rip the tile up?"

That said, I don't think the sellers spent anything like 20K and everything I am taking out dates from the 90s. Still, I get the sense that my neighbors think I am being wasteful. I think this is my chance to make the place my own.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 10:14AM
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It would probably bother me too if I had put that much effort in it, but then again I did the same thing at our last house. I think at this point you have have to divorce yourself from the house and remember that you did what you needed to do to sell. You came out ok financially and you sold in a relatively quick amount of time. The house belongs to someone else now. It's now your turn to do what you will with whatever dwelling you you now live in.

Congrats on getting the house sold!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 10:20AM
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We are getting ready to sell our house and have spent a similar amount, well, closer to $23k. We replaced the original cooktop and oven (about 17 years old and very dated and the oven has been unreliable). We repainted all the walls and woodwork and some cabinets (not the ceilings though). We refinished wood floors in two rooms (they are right in the entry way and nearby and so are part of the first impression). We recarpeted upstairs. We had a cultured marble sink in the masterbath that was stained and we ended up ripping out the vanity and putting in granite there and in the powder room (expect now in the price range but wasn't when the house was built). We put in faux wood blinds in a few rooms. Whew. And we have had a stager working with us.

I do think that doing this makes the house more appealing. It may be that the person moving in repaints immediately, or whatever. My concern was to make it a house where buyers wouldn't think that they immediately had to do a lot of work.

On our last house we spent about, oh, $15k getting it ready for sale. Paint, carpet, replaced some light fixtures and faucets. In that case we debated replacing the cooktop and elected not to do it. If we had we would have replaced an electric coil top with electric smooth top. Turns out that the buyers before moving in replaced the cooktop with a gas cooktop so I'm glad we didn't spend that money.

We are closing on our new house next week (we are downsizing) and it has mismatched carpet throughout, wallpaper in several rooms, wood paneling and lots of other very dated things. I can see through those but I realize a lot of buyers can't. So, for my house I want it to appeal to the largest buyer pool and for it to be where a buyer can simply move in without feeling that they must immediately do a lot of work.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 12:39PM
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Wow!! For buyers who were clueless about home ownership, they certainly managed to get their ducks in a row ASAP in terms of contractors and renovation.

IMO, they were not at all clueless as they pretended to be...however that is neither here nor there as you have gained your goal...the home was sold.

That said, I think you brought out an important point: people should set a budget for how much they are willing to spend to make their home "market ready". I think that any update that is costly, and is being done only to change to more of a neutral, and not to replace wear, can often be negotiated in the selling price, and should be carefully weighed in terms of cost effectiveness.

IMO, as far as staging is concerned, best to do in "stages" (no pun intended).

First do the less costly updates, then put the home on the market. After feedback, adjust the plan accordingly...

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 12:55PM
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Still, I get the sense that my neighbors think I am being wasteful. I think this is my chance to make the place my own.

Suzan, I don't think it's wasteful at all. You are making the house your own and stimulating the economy by employing people and buying products!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 1:39PM
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If I spent a bunch of money on updates just to sell a place, and then I learned that the buyer ripped out a lot of the updates, I think I'd feel frustrated at the waste. Even though, rationally, the updates probably helped sell the house, the wastefulness of it all (my time, my money, their time, their money, the actual items being thrown away) would really bother me.

You are right, the reality is that you have to make your house look clean and nice and not too outdated to sell it, and potential buyers are going to change it to how they want it. Presenting a clean, good condition house probably gives them the right mindset that the house has been cared for and would be a good place to live, which in this market is key.

By the way, I thought I read another post that these were the doctor buyers who wanted you to show them how the house worked? Now I have to go find that old thread b/c I'm curious what happened LOL!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 2:10PM
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logic - they may very well still be clueless. Whomever they hired may have convinced them to get rid of the hardwood floors etc. Nobody knows the whole story.

Jane - I can tell you are still attached to your home. Try to disengage yourself from it and maybe not find out anymore info on what they are doing. I completely remodeled my old house by myself and really don't want to know what they did with the house. I met the buyer on their walk through - I did FSBO and answered a lot of questions for them as well. Nice people and it is now their home and they can do what they want with it. I need to keep that in mind.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 2:11PM
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I know that it feels as though your efforts were for nothing. But they were not, you were able to sell your house for a price that you were comfortable with BECAUSE of the improvements you made. In your next sale, take the cost/benefit of making improvements and whether you will recoup your investment. Good luck

Here is a link that might be useful: Maui Real Estate

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 3:35PM
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We all need o remember that if we kept our homes as they should be and did the updating and repairs as they came about then much of what is being called staging in this post would not be needed.

We all seem to forget at times that updating our homes should not be just for the resale value but for our own enjoyment and benefit.

I'm amazed at the number of folks who redo a home before ever even living in it. It takes me a year after moving in to really decided how the house is going to be used, to understand it's quirks and how they are going to affect our living in the home. I can understand taking out nasty carpeting and even stripping ugly wallpaper but to rip out hardwood floors and toss new appliances before you even have time to unpack boxes and try the house on seems very wasteful. Seems to me those type of folks would be happier with brand new construction then something previously owned.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 6:00PM
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Great responses...thanks, I had a laugh! I actually drove by my house today and there was all my beautiful, stained oak flooring out on the driveway. My berber carpet (10 months old) rolled up.

I feel like calling Habitat for Humanity - what a waste. My floors were beautiful and I lived through refinishing in the dead of winter. Two rooms of new carpet should be used somewhere needed, not just thrown out.

Logic, you are right. I think these people got taken by a contractor and convinced to remove all the floors. Makes no sense. I know he wanted wood floors in the kitchen, but they didn't need to pull out the rest of the house. Enough, I need to move on.

Got a call from the buyer last night, seemed very stressed. I had trouble understanding what he was saying as he was on a cell and his accent is strong. He was saying something about a tree and my neighbors roof. Seems one of my trees was damaged during that freak snow storm and was laying on the next door neighbors roof. He wanted to know what he should do. He thought the neighbor was away and didn't know. I told him I wasn't sure but he can't send a tree man over there on someone's property to take the tree down. The tree is on my (new buyers) property but fell over and is leaning on their house.

I guess I am responsible for the work since the damn storm happened 3 days before closing. Cost me a few grand to clear up the damage to my property. Now this. Not sure how to proceed. Haven't heard from the neighbor so I told the buyer to keep quiet and wait to see if he gets contacted. I'll pay whatever. That's why I did a driveby.

If I hear they tear out the new vanities with the marble and granite tops, I'll drive by and throw them in my car. Yes, I got my money back but it just seems such a terrible waste.

Okay, enough with my rants.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 6:41PM
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This reminds me that many years ago when my SIL was selling a house the buyer wanted a credit for new flooring. In his culture you always replaced the floors when you bought a house. I don't remember their nationality. Could have been Korean?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 9:55PM
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jane ny: "Haven't heard from the neighbor so I told the buyer to keep quiet and wait to see if he gets contacted. I'll pay whatever. That's why I did a driveby."

You may want to reconsider giving this much advice to the buyer. The tree may have caused damage that is allowing water to seep in (it doesn't take much for a leak to start), and if so, a stitch in time will save nine...and if the neighbor is away, he will want to know why no one tried to contact him. Hopefully the buyer won't say to your neighbor "Jane told me to keep quiet and wait to see if you called".

Its one thing to decide to not pursue the matter on your own until contacted, and a whole other scenario where you have actually told the buyer to not contact the neighbor.

You don't want to position yourself to have to pay more in damages than may already be neccessary....or get in the middle between the buyer and the neighbor.

Food for thought.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 12:20AM
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Good point! Just not sure how to proceed. I can't understand why the neighbor hasn't contacted us.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 9:50AM
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A 20k renovation doesn't qualify as "staging" in my book. Staging is arranging furniture and setting up rooms so they invoke a certain feeling or purpose for the buyer. Clean white linens, fresh flowers, dressing up a bathtub, a few "romantic" touches in the bedroom etc. Those usually pay off.

Replacing all the floor, vanities, fixtures, lighting etc isn't "staging." Those are pretty unlikely to pay off unless the prior items were total eyesores or completely dated.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 10:07AM
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The neighbor may be away. However, if he checks his voice mail messages, upon his return and he sees the tree issue, chances are high that he will ask why no one tried to call or drop a note in his mailbox.

If he asks his new neigbor (the buyer), and the neighbor tells him you advised him to keep quiet, I don't think your old neigbor is going to be too happy about that...especially if there is any damage...especially if it is apparent that quick action could have prevented further damage.

It is a sticky issue, as there is no way to know for sure exactly when the tree fell on the roof...could have been before closing..or could have been after closing.

And...IF the buyer did not have you number, you would be out of the loop. As you are now in the loop, you are left to figure out what your buyer is trying to say, what he may or may not have told the neighbor, and now, what to do about the tree. bet is to phone your attorney who handled the closing. Explain the story, and go with his/her advice.

That said, I think this is one of the reasons why it is best to keep buyer contact to a bare minimum in general when selling ones home.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 10:50AM
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I agree Bill...I also wouldn't call 20K in renovations staging.....painting, furniture rearranging, decluttering, adding accessories where needed, all relatively inexpensive little touches that help to stage the home for selling.

But it's just semantics, staging or remodeling, still 20K spent that is now being taken out by the new owners. I learned a long time ago to divorce myself from a home after selling. The one time that was so difficult was the home where we planted a rose garden and each of the children would buy me a new rose bush for mother's day every year. The new owners ripped out the roses and I cried when I heard that. But it wasn't my house anymore so I moved on.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 10:57AM
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Jane, I would feel the same as you do about the wasted hardwood and carpeting.

Call your former neighbor about the tree.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 1:56PM
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Bill, I didn't put in new floors, just carpet in two rooms. I refinished the wood floors and that cost about $8,000. I don't know where you live, but to paint my entire house cost about $10,000. Bought everything else in Lowes, Home Depot or JC Penney. I had four, very outdated bathrooms. By replacing the faucets, two vanities with tops, old medicine cabinets, old shower doors with shower curtains, the baths looked updated and new. I was amazed at the transformation of the bathrooms for not much money.

I got my money back plus some. My house sold relatively fast in a miserable market. I refused 3 other offers until I got what I wanted. I wouldn't have been so smug if I hadn't put the work into the house, I'm certain of that. The house looked great and young. Too bad I had to move!

Logic, the neighbor has been home, my other neighbor has seen him daily. We were not on friendly terms for 30 years, although we were cordial. I can't imagine why we weren't contacted. I'll follow your suggestion and call my lawyer before initiating contact. Another strange twist is I can't get in touch with my insurance broker. I have been trying for over a week and only get a machine and they never call back. My luck, they went out of business due to the storm.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 12:43AM
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It would bother me a little, too. Are they repainting, also?

I am surprised about the floors but not everyone likes wood floors or maybe they didn't care for the kind of wood you had. As for the carpet, you mentioned you put in berber. I personally don't like berber, maybe they don't either.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 10:50AM
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We recently did work to get our house ready for sale. I was surprised that replaced our cultured marble vanity with granite in the bathroom -- this was a long vanity with two sinks -- was relatively inexpensive. It cost only $675 for the granite and the installation plus a very small cost for 2 drop in sinks. Undermounted sinks would have been more.

It was well worth the cost. Painting was the largest expense (almost $7000) with carpet (upstairs only) about $4200 + $1850 to refinish two wood floors.

For people doing this for resale, get multiple bids. We received two full bids plus a painting bid. One bid was about a little over $15000 while the other was over $26000. We also had a bid done for some yard work/landscaping. The bid we accepted was $1100. The competing bid was over $6000!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 3:59PM
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The floor replacement could be cultural, could be smart. The best time to replace flooring is when no one lives there.

It is too bad they did not offer up the flooring and carpet to Habitat For Humanity.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 6:10PM
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When I decided to change the vanities and tops I went around the area to various stone yards and asked if they had any pieces laying around they wanted to get rid of. Found a place with two top, one Cararra Marble which had a deep scratch but was already cut and would fit my sink. Bought a vanity off the floor cheap from him. The small vanity with marble top cost, $325.00. My painter said he's put it in and he did and didn't charge me (he was working at the house painting). My other bathroom was double sink with a 68" top. I made it a single sink and got a piece of cut granite which he was stuck with. Fit perfectly on the old vanity. I put new pulls and faucet and everything looked new. I paid $200.00 for the piece of granite and he threw in the sink.

What amazed me was shopping around myself for this stuff. I saved so much money. If I had been doing this for myself, I would have hired a contractor and bought everything through him. Would have paid top price. I bargained on everything even things in Lowes and Home Depot. Carpet was bought through Empire Carpet (the one advertising same day). It was cheap and they came the next day and put it down. I never would have bought from them for myself. But it looked good and fresh.

My biggest expense was refinishing the floors and painting.

xamsx, I totally agree, what a waste!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 7:58PM
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Hi, I am trying to sell my home and have been reviewing "staging" and at this point with the market in our area, it doesn't matter how much staging I do with the exception of making sure the place is clean for a showing. Any offers we've received are offers that reflect homes in our area that are fixer uppers! I am wondering if most of you out there that put the $20k into their homes for projects that you pretty much have alot of equity into your home? It sure can be frustrating!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 4:15PM
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When the dust clears we will have put roughly $25k into getting our house ready for sale and, alas, we do not have a lot of equity in the house. We will be happy to break even and ecstatic to have $20k or so left over.

I would not put $25k into a $150k house, of course. We are likely to list our house a little under $600k which in this area is higher end. So we are spending a little under 5% of the house value to get it ready for sale.

I did call in stagers to help me decide what to do and what not to do (staging is costing roughly $1000).

The things we did fell within 3 basic areas"

1. Fixing things not in good shape. This included the very worn upstairs carpet, refinishing a couple of doors scratched by our dogs, painting some rooms that had walls that that had lots of stains, marks on them (perils of having kids) and things of that nature. These costs were I believe absolutely necessary if we wanted people to have serious interest in the house.

2. Making the house more neutral. Not everyone does this. And I debated it. Ironically the walls that didn't need to be painted (such as master bed and bath and living room) were the rooms with non-neutral colors. And they were colors that would appeal to very few people. It didn't cost all that much to repaint those rooms. Years ago we tried to sell a house with non-neutral walls and carpet and it didn't get a single offer in a year. We took it off the market for awhile, made it neutral and sold it the first day it was listed.

3. Updating. This was the area where it is hard to know where to draw the line. The house is 17 years old. It is older than many houses it competes with but is not so old that people will expect it to be out of date. The prior owners had already updated a lot of it. The main things we did here were replace cooktop and oven (they were original to the house and looked it) and replaced cultural marble vanities in the master bath and powder room with granite. The total cost of all of that was roughly $4000 and makes the house roughly comparable with most of its competition.

In our case, we are already guying our replacement house so we want to sell quickly. Anything we can reasonably do to appeal to more buyers we want to do.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 1:45PM
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My thinking was to sell quickly. There were many houses on the market but some had been sitting since the year before. My house was 50 yrs old and had to compete with newer homes with more square feet. I knew if I didn't try to compete I'd never get what I wanted. I did have equity in my home.

It was a gamble, but I thought I could win if I targeted the updates. I did small things with the kitchen which I had updated 18 yrs previous, but did change lighting, added under-cabinet lights and regrouted the old tile. I also changed the cabinet pulls. I think it worked. The kichen looked fresh and not as dated.

One other note, I had a number of offers which were at a level I think the house would have sold for if I hadn't updated. I could have accepted those but would have lost the $20,000. I held out for a higher bid and I got it. I still sold for $45,000 below list, but I expected to.

Staging enhances a house. It helps it compete and I think brings in more interest. If you are competing with other starter homes, then you must make your house better. Go to Open Houses and see what your competition is. I did, and it was very helpful.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 5:01PM
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It really is hard to know how far to go with staging a house. I've posted my "before" pictures on this forum and got some very good advice that I'm slowly but surely implementing. Updating my kitchen alone will cost $20K (ouch!) When there's no "control" (for those of you who are scientifically-minded) then there's no way to know if adding $20K of improvements to a kitchen will result in a quicker sale or a higher sales price. We can certainly hope this is the case, that all our hard work will pay off, but there's no way to test this hypothesis.

Repainting all of the non-neutral bedrooms plus family room will cost me around $3000. DH just replaced 2 outdoor lights: $200. We're going to reface several flat-panel cabinet doors ourselves: $100 in materials. We have other projects that will cost $200 here, $500 there, all of which will probably add up to another $3000-$5000. Fortunately we have a lot of equity in the house, but money is tight and I'm shopping for bargains.

I went out to look at 2 comparable homes that had open houses today. One was 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, listed for close to what I'd like to list my house for (mine has 5 bedrooms). It's on a cul de sac while mine backs on to a residential street, so it has that advantage. However, the kitchen was dated, the back yard hadn't been cleaned up with new mulch, the rooms had a lot of extra furniture in them, and the bookshelves & display cases were quite cluttered. The owners clearly hadn't gotten the memo about removing 90% of the stuff (books, knick-knacks, dishes, wall art, etc) from the house!

The second house was 5 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths, but about 25% more square footage than mine. The price was about 15% over what I'd like to price my house at. These owners had staged the house fairly nicely as far as removing clutter, but the colors were pretty bold. Dark purple master bedroom, red dining room, pink girl's bedroom.

I'll be watching these 2 houses carefully to see how quickly they sell. The first house has been on the market twice before in the past year. The first time the owners priced it around 15% higher than its current price. They pulled it off after a couple of months, waited another 3-4 months, and then put it back on at its current price. When it didn't sell they pulled it off again, and now it's on the market a third time at the same price as the 2nd time.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 12:21AM
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PS: Jane I would be heartsick over the waste of your gorgeous wood floors too.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 12:26AM
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I've been hearing that almost everyone who buys into our complex has been ripping everything out. New bathrooms, new kitchens, new floors, etc.

It has influenced what I am interested in worrying about. I'll remove the things that are distracting, but I'm not going to bother that the bathroom would look SO much spiffier, etc.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 1:29PM
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Carol wrote: "We all need o remember that if we kept our homes as they should be and did the updating and repairs as they came about then much of what is being called staging in this post would not be needed.

We all seem to forget at times that updating our homes should not be just for the resale value but for our own enjoyment and benefit."

Boy, is THAT the truth. It's what I'm trying to get through my DH's head.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 1:30PM
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Carol wrote: "We all need o remember that if we kept our homes as they should be and did the updating and repairs as they came about then much of what is being called staging in this post would not be needed.

We all seem to forget at times that updating our homes should not be just for the resale value but for our own enjoyment and benefit."

While I completely agree that an updated house will sell faster and for a higher price, I resent the idea that I should update any perfectly functional but out-of-style elements of my home. My values tell me that I should send my kids to college and save for retirement before remodeling the kitchen even for my own enjoyment.

There is a difference between updating and repairing.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 10:16PM
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Although what you say Susan is true,
I think the purpose of the statement is that people are making the house nice to sell it for the next buyer to enjoy, they should really do some of these things for themselves to get the enjoyment.

Also, some of the items mentioned like paint, if a room needs paint, it needs paint. If the floors needed to be refinished, they needed to be refinished, and if the carpet was worn and old that needed to be done as well. Do I think any of these should take priority over education and retirement? no, but the point was, these can be considered maintaince issues, not just staging.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 1:19PM
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Not that I pop into this forum much these days as we've just gone through the sell/buy process - I totally agree with chrisk327 and along the posters with this thought.

Our price bracket was probably lower than most but the story is the same.

We updated throughout the 10 years of being there and more/most importantly - maintained what we had done.

When it came time to sell - not much of it was brand new (other than the furnace) but it was all super duper clean as a whistle, organized and in highly working order. We didn't stage anything - nothing.

We sold in 18 days in the middle of a snowy January.

We are approaching our new purchased the same way. Already ripped out all the old ragged carpets and repainted the inside top to bottom.

We've updated to make it comfortable for us and will maintain it to tip top shape. With any luck when we sell (perhaps in 7-10 years) hopefully we'll get the same result.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 4:25PM
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Of course, if something is broken or worn out it needs to be replaced and will probably be updated in the process.

My point is the attitude that a homeowner is obligated to keep their home in fashion just to please the next owner. You can't really win it seems. If you remodel your kitchen, someone will hate your taste in granite. If you don't remodel it, the same person will wonder what kind of low-life-hick could live with that dreadful laminate.

When you live in a house you repair as needed and update as desired and feasible. When you sell a house you make a business decision about what is necessary to get a buyer.

Maybe the problem is in the words. When someone says, "The kitchen needs to be updated." what they really mean is, "I hate this old out-of-style kitchen." It really has nothing to do with need in a functional sense.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 10:59PM
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"susanjn - My point is the attitude that a homeowner is obligated to keep their home in fashion just to please the next owner."

I can't agree more!!! Point well made.

We didn't do anything "fashionable" - plain and simple didn't want to dump that much money into anything we intended on leaving.

We replaced the counters with a high grade laminate - not granite (even though many of our neighbors were doing granite).

We put in a good grade stainless steel kitchen sink from one of the big box stores - not anything "popular" - but totally reasonably functional. Faucets - same.

Place sold with original kitchen cabinets (20 years old) that we worked hard to clean the grease and grime off over the years.

We don't believe in overkill either - just keeping it presentable.

Then again, we live in neighborhoods that have an average modest / middle of the road single family homes for about 150-175K.

Though we can afford more - we decide to manage our money otherwise at the time being.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 8:19AM
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Yes, it's a shame that the HW flooring and carpet were not recycled/reused. However, there are no such organizations as Habitat for Humanity and Urban Ore in South Korea. They probably would be astonished that anyone in the middle-class would be interested in other people's 'trash'. Asians (I'm AsAm and my DH Chinese-Portugese from HK) tend to be class- and status-conscious, so hand-me-downs would be a sign of lower-class economic status. It's okay (marginally) if kept within the family circle, but you wouldn't offer it to a friend unless it was a high-class or brand-name item.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 10:21PM
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Hi Jane! So glad to hear you sold your house! I know you are breathing a big sign of relief!!
Who knows what goes through buyers minds when they start to rip our perfectly good items in a home. I keep on thinking back to one of the TV shows with Doug from "Trading Spaces" where they show three homebuyers who buy each others homes and follow them through the process. At the end the old owners go back to see what the new owners have done. Most of the time it's good improvements, but some times the buyers just rip so many good things out. So much for saving the environment and the crappy economy! What I learned is that as a seller, you really have to detatch yourself from the home before the sign goes up.
We staged and decluttered like crazy. Didn't spend a lot of $$$ to redo much but made sure that anything that could have been an issue was repaired (except for the furnace with ended up being a HUGE issue!). I was glad I switched out some expensive fixtures I had even though I only was able to use one in our new place. I just had this feeling that no one really cared that I spent a fortune on my Waterford fixture and would probably trash it which would have killed me - so it sits in a box in my new basement and will be handed down to my kids!! lol Same with a few other things that were negotaited in to the buyers contract due to their power tripping agent, and I then personally spoke to the buyers to get some things back and they were fine with it since they really didn't want them anyway!!
Absolutely IN LOVE with our new place and surprised that I don't miss the old place at all. Too much work to keep it up and after living there for 6 years the neighbors still weren't friendly. Our new move was the best thing we ever did!!
Best of luck in your new place!!! ~

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 9:39AM
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Thanks elle! Didn't check back and just read your post. Glad you held on to your Waterford. I'm sure glad I didn't update my kitchen, I'm sure that would be out in the dumpster too!

Attended a wedding shower this past weekend and a bunch of my old neighbors were there. They were shocked at what's going on at my house. They seemed sincerely shocked and worried. One asked if I was sure the new buyers were really planning on moving in. I said I was sure they would. One told me an old neighbor, 86yrs old and lives directly across from my house, was scared with all the construction and the huge dumpster out front. My neighbors kept saying, 'Have you seen what's going on at your house?' I said I didn't want to know.

I moved 8 miles away and haven't driven past my old house. I don't want to see.

I dread the thought of moving again, but at least my heart won't be in this place.

Good luck in your new home.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 1:32AM
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"Who knows what goes through buyers minds when they start to rip our perfectly good items in a home."

I am just in the process of selling one house but have bought the new house. I wonder if the sellers would wonder about things we are taking out. For example, they had a dishwasher that was less than a year old. Perfectly OK dishwasher. However, it has the long door of typical dishwashers now and the layout is such that I was either going to have to get a narrow refrigerator (what the prior owner had done) or I was not going to be able to fully open the dishwasher. Neither alternative appealed to me. So we bought the refrigerator we wanted and replaced the almost new dishwasher with dish drawers.

Other things I plan to do. A prior owner had converted the formal living room to a study putting in wood paneling and builtin shelves. The shelves don't work for our planned usage and so we plan to demolish them and get rid of the paneling and make other changes as well. Someone might feel that those shelves are perfectly good and they are...but they limit flexibility in our use of the room.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 11:03AM
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