The Steps We Took to Fix Up and Sell Our House

The Steps We Took to Fix Up and Sell Our House

Selling our house and moving into an RV didn’t happen overnight. The steps we took to fix up and sell our house took months and months of planning and hard work. We didn’t have enough money to rent an apartment while we waited for our house to sell and close; so we opted to get an RV (exactly what we had done in order to first purchase our house) to live in while our house sold and we looked for land.

Before we could even begin to look for property to buy, we first had to sell our house. However, there was a lot more to selling our house than simply cleaning it up and putting it on the market. Our roof had a small leak, our furnace had just stopped working, we had some windows to replace,  our floors needed attention; the list went on and on. Furthermore, we wanted to move out of the house to make completing these tasks easier to do. So, during this whole process that we will describe below, we were packing the stuff we wanted to keep and selling/donating anything that was non-essential.

Roof

Our first step was to reshingle the roof. Luckily for us, the roof only had one layer of shingles, so the process of re-roofing was a lot simpler than it otherwise could have been. Unluckily for us, it was the middle of June and quite a hot summer. We enlisted the help of a couple of family members and a friend to make getting the job done easier and faster. We bought shingles from a company who gladly delivered them directly to our roof for a nominal fee; a fee that was well worth paying, considering just how long it would have taken to carry those many bundles of shingles up a ladder. After only one day of work (12 hours), with 4  guys, we had a new roof. The project cost just over $1000 and the brand new shingles really made the house look new again.

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Kitchen

Experts say that updating your kitchen and bathrooms are the two places that add the most value when selling a house; so we wanted to focus on those next. We first turned our attention towards updating the kitchen. The back door, located in the kitchen, was an old aluminum slider. The sliding glass door was coming off its tracks, didn’t open and close correctly and was generally causing us all sorts of problems. We searched high and low for a used slider at our local rebuilding centers, but, since it was an odd sized door, we had no such luck. We ended up having to purchase a new slider from a big-box store for around $300. Once we bought the new door, we installed it, and agree that it was money well spent.

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Next, we had to do something about the outdated kitchen counter-tops; they were an ugly blue, plastic laminate that looked to be about as old as the house itself (the late 50s). This time, we were lucky enough to find the exact amount of tile we needed at the rebuilding center to recover the countertops and create a backsplash; this completely transformed the way the kitchen looked. We found tile that matched the existing cabinets, so we did not have to refinish or replace those as well.

However, as many of you probably know, very few remodeling projects go off with out a hitch; as we took out the sink to replace the countertops, we realized it was rather old and somewhat rusted out. Luckily, we found a new kitchen sink that matched the dimension of the old one exactly at a big box store for under $100 and installed it.

The floors of our kitchen were just as outdated as the counter-tops had been. They were also a blueish vinyl that once (probably) matched the old counter-tops, but after years of traffic had faded and begun to look quite beat up. Therefore, we opted to redo the kitchen floor with a new vinyl as well. Instead of tearing up the old laminate flooring, we simply cleaned them to the best of our ability and put down a feather finish so that the new vinyl could adhere to the old properly. We found vinyl for under $100 that matched our new countertops extremely well and installed it.

Lastly, we added a couple of coats of paint to the kitchen walls and our kitchen transformation was complete. Our house wasn’t in a “high-end” neighborhood, where granite countertops and tile floors would have given much more of a return on investment. Furthermore, we were looking to spend the least amount of money as we could because we needed as much money as possible for our future property purchase. We only ended up spending about $1000 on the entire kitchen remodel. Side note: this is something to consider when updating your own house; go with similar materials that are common in your area. If your neighborhood generally doesn’t have higher-end materials, then don’t opt for the expensive stuff because your return really won’t be that much better, if it is any better at all.

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Bathroom

The next project we needed to tackle was the bathroom. Everything in the bathroom screamed “old,” “outdated,” and “please, replace me!” The wood framed window in the bathroom leaked and the wood was beginning to rot, so that was first and foremost on our bathroom list. We found a window that matched the dimensions quite well at the rebuilding center for a whole, whopping $10! We tore the old window out and had the new one framed in and complete within a few hours.

The vanity was also extremely old and beginning to look its age, so we tore that out. We did the same thing with the bathroom floor that we had done with the kitchen; clean, feather finished, and laid new vinyl. Luckily for us, Derek’s brother was looking to get rid of a vanity and sink that he was given for free, so we jumped on that and installed it. With a fresh coat of paint, we had a brand new (looking) vanity.

Lastly, we decided to replace the older toilet with a new low flow, dual-flush toilet which cost less than $100 at the big box store. The entire bathroom project cost us under $200, with almost half that price going towards the new toilet; it completely transformed the way our bathroom looked. You can save a fortune if you’re willing to shop around and do the work yourself.

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Furnace

Next on our list was the furnace. Our original intent was to have someone inspect it and let us know what needed to be done to repair it. So we did just that and we installed the piece that they suggested. We turned it on and…nothing. It still wouldn’t work. After some deliberation on what to do, we decided to purchase a new and more efficient furnace. Luckily, a relative is an HVAC guy and has some connections. We were, therefore, able to get a brand new furnace for about $750.

Before installing the furnace, we pulled a few permits; with the help of our relative, we installed the furnace within two days. However, permitting offices can be notoriously difficult to deal with; they told us we should have also pulled an electrical permit. So we did that and had the furnace inspected by a licensed electrician, who immediately gave it his approval. After all was said and done, we replaced the furnace in our home for a little over $1000.

Floors

Once we had made it this far, we had our realtor come by to let us know what he thought our next step should be. It amazed him by how much these projects had changed the look of our house. He suggested we refinish the floors to add some extra shine to the entire house. We had debated this before he suggested it and decided against it, thinking that it wouldn’t be worth it (considering it would be another $1000). Our realtor talked us into it though, and, man, are we glad he did. It completely transformed the whole house! The house felt bigger, brighter, and all-around cleaner.

Before refinishing the floors, we decided it would be easier to be moved out completely. So we bought an RV and moved the items we had been busy packing into storage. We then had the floors done by a professional. We are extremely glad we decided to move out before having the floors done; the smell of the stain lasted for days (even weeks). We aired the house out every day and, finally, the smell dissipated.

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Finishing Touches

So now that we were moved out and our roof, kitchen, bathroom, furnace, and floors were all done, all that was left was some finishing touches. We painted the entire interior and exterior of the house and (obviously) cleaned it thoroughly. Lastly, we landscaped the entire front and back yards; trimming plants, laying mulch, edging the lawn, and planting bright flowers. We then put our house on the market on a Friday. We held an open house that Saturday and got an offer above asking that same evening, which we promptly accepted the following morning.

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Now that everything was done, it was bittersweet; the house looked great and it was a little sad to say goodbye to our first home. But we knew this wasn’t our forever home. It helped us begin our dreams though; it gave us the initial investment we needed to make our next step. We made many great memories there and it will always hold a special place in our hearts.

 

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If you’d like to read about how we were able to afford our first home, it all has to do with budgeting. Click here to read about it!

We would love to hear from you about your house selling experience. Feel free to contact us or comment below!

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6 Replies to “The Steps We Took to Fix Up and Sell Our House”

  1. I have a dream of living in an RV one day too 🙂
    Your before and after photos are great! It’s amazing that it is the same house and your hard work is very evident in how the house turned out. It seems that the hard work paid off too, as you were able to sell your home so quickly. Congrats! Although I’m sure it’s a very bittersweet feeling. I’m excited to follow along on your homesteading and RV living!

    1. That’s awesome that you want to live in an RV too. It is quite an adjustment, but when you think of the “why” it makes it that much easier and better.
      It was very bittersweet to sell, as it was our first home, but we are so much happier now to be out of the city! And we agree, it really does look like a different house, doesn’t it?

  2. This is something that we will need to do, again, one day, so it was great to read about how you were able to do it so inexpensively. Our older neighborhood is right next door to a higher end neighborhood, so we do have to spend more to compete.
    I am all about being frugal, and I love how you went through the process including those moments where things didn’t go as planned. The floors looked great, unfortunately our home does not have hard wood floors 🙁

  3. You did an amazing job updating your house. We did remodeling on our house before we put it up for sale and had to live in it. It was tough.

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