Preparing to sell: To tile or not to tile?

VeggieLevisDecember 4, 2012

My partner and I bought our home about 3 years ago. It's our first home. We had initially planned to "make it our own" and bought a bank owned home with some cosmetic issues. Since then, I've returned to school to get my PhD and we are discussing selling the home for something more manageable. I am the one who does all the planning, the cleaning and the renovating so it obviously won't get done while I'm busy in school. So far I've put in all new hardwood floors, painted everything, replaced the baseboards, built a firepit in our backyard, built a front porch railing and we purchased new granite tile for the kitchen, bathrooms and entryway.

My problem: There are still some unfinished issues. For example: the kitchen and bathroom are half-par and we had intended on buying new cabinetry but it's not really an option if we want to move. So with that, do I put the new tile down around the existing cabinetry, or do I just leave the tile with the buyer and let them decide whether to use it or not. The big issue with the floor is it is in bad condition. It is nasty linoleum in both bathrooms and the kitchen. It has been peeling up since we bought the house. Placed up against my very expensive hardwood floors and it looks ridiculous. I'm afraid if I remove the cabinetry to put the floor down, the cabinets will fall apart. It was not put in by professionals and it has some damage already. They're definitely usable and could look fine with some paint but they're not in top condition.

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Do you have to move right now? or can it wait until you get out of school. I am sure the unfinished projects will count against you, UNLESS, you find that right person that wants to and can finish the house their way. The other issue is when it is appraised it probably will count against you and because there are some items not finished, the buyer may not be able to get a loan.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 4:58PM
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Do this over Christmas break. It doesn't sound like a whole lot of work. If you have an Ikea nearby, get a few Ikea cabinets. For the vanities--find some already assembled functional vanities from Costco (or similar)--the ones with the granite and sinks already attached to a freestanding furniture-like cabinet. Tile the floors properly.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:30PM
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If the floors are awful in the kitchen, I would make it neat with an inexpensive flooring of some kind. I think most people will want to redecorate and remodel to suit their tastes, so you just need to make it neat and clean to sell quickly. Pack the tile and take it to the next house in case you might want to use it.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 2:42AM
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The problem with houses that are left halfway rehabbed is that it gives the impression that the current owners just ran out of money. This gives the buyers the maybe false notion that the sellers are out of funds and thusly are very motivated.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 6:48AM
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You can get inexpensive bathroom vanities for a few hundred dollars at the big box stores. I'd replace the floor and vanity in the bathroom.

Kitchen cabinets are a pricier proposition, so I might just say put down new sheet vinyl around the cabinets. It depends somewhat on the price range of your house. Are you low-end, mid-point or high-end?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 9:13AM
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I'd sell the granite tile and have inexpensive vinyl flooring put in around the cabinets. Let the buyers do whatever else there is.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 12:38PM
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I would probably put down inexpensive peel and stick vinyl tiles from a big box store. It would be an improvement over the current peeling tiles but you could lay them down yourself and it would be much less expensive than sheet vinyl. We did this in our rental property and it looks good.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 1:02PM
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You can get nice looking but inexpensive sheet vinyl for $1/sf or less. And it looks way better than peel and stick tiles.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 1:42PM
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I'm with weedy on that. Peel and Stick look cheap to me.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 3:01PM
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Thanks for all the replies!

First, the house is about mid-cost for the area. I actually managed to find pictures of recently sold homes in the area and our house will look far more updated if I just finish the floors and do the cabinets. I've put a lot of effort into it, including (what I forgot to mention) knocking out a wall downstairs and setting up a mini bar, so I'd hate to end up selling it at a price barely what we bought for.

We have decided that we are going to use my partner's bonus this spring and buy some stock cabinetry along with a few bargain buys from our local Habitat for Humanity Restore for the bathroom vanity and stone for our front yard. We'll just take out the crappy stuff and put in the new. That should put is in the running with our neighbors. So long as the market doesn't plummet, we should be good to go.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:12PM
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I don't know about others..but when we were shopping for our first house, we preferred that nothing was upgraded(=top dollar). If I didn't like what they did with the upgrades I would tear it out, don't care if its a brand new kitchen or gorgeous marble counters... if I didn't like it it went and that would be a shame to purchase something that was recently renovated for more money only to tear it down. i'd rather buy a house that needed upgrades down the road but was still livable and cost less than the other way around.

Oh and I'm the kind of person that's afraid that the upgrades were made using subpar workmanship (no waterproofing etc) which was another reason why I'd rather see a lower price and no upgrades than a higher price with upgrades.

But thats just me.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 2:13PM
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You have to figure out who your target buying audience is. First time buyers want one thing, bottom-feeding investment hunters want something else.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 7:26PM
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A lot of great ideas here, and this is a decision that could hold you back if you take the wrong approach. To gain an advantage in the market you should always make sure your home is move-in ready. Meaning repairs and improvements need to be completed. This will make buyers much more comfortable with your property.

Competing with your neighbors could keep your home from selling quickly. Instead you should try to dominate your local area, by comparing three or your neighbors' properties to your property you can determine exactly what you need to improve to gain an advantage over them. If you want your home to sell for the price you asking for you need to make buyers believe your home offers a higher value than the asking price.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 5:10PM
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Check your spelling and grammar. A presentation riddled with errors such as yours would not win my listing.

"A great presentation"--rather ironic statement.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 9:05AM
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