Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Remodeling for Resale

I've only been in the house 2 weeks and already I am ready to completely remodel. There are so many things I would like to change, (if I had an unlimited budget,) from the black and white splatter painted walls in the spare bedroom (though it does hide the fact the plaster is sagging) to the hardwood floors that need refinishing, to the garden fence that was put in wonky and now looks like a swayback mule. In every room I see things I would change, and being that I am broke and trying to earn more money a money, not spend it, this is very frustrating!

As I sat talking to a friend about it - and how I will have to do everything in my power to curb my urge to run to Lowes - he reminded me of something: My Three Year Plan. The Three Plan is fairly simple - live in the house and make it work for three years until I can build up equity and the housing market turns around. Then sell it for a smaller "Dawn sized" house, using additional profits to fund my plans to go back to school and get my Master's degree.

Duh! It was just the reminder I needed! I suppose all of us have an urge to make our "nests" the way we want them - to redo them to our liking. In my urge to make this house my own (and drive out the memories of my divorce,) I kind of had forgotten that.

So, now I am going to try to change my point of view. Whenever I feel the urge to grab the sawzall, I am going to take a breath and ask myself a few questions:

1. How much will this cost?
Then I will double my estimated cost, because projects always cost more (and take more time) than you think.

2. Will this help the resale value of the home?
Not every project has to help the value of the home. Putting in a few extra hooks in my closet won't effect the bottom line much, but it will make me happier. The cost will be under $20. Redoing the kitchen floor, which is in beautiful condition, but I hate, would pretty much be a waste of time and money.

3. Can I live with this for three years?
That's the biggie - is this something that I can wait out - knowing in a few years I won't have to look at it anymore? The next question then is, if I can't live with it for three years, how long can I live with it? That will help me prioritize projects. For example, the bedroom needs a new coat of paint. The cost will not be high and it will impact the resale value, since at the same time I will patch some drywall and make everything look clean and fresh. So, this is something I am going to do. Most of the rooms (including the splatter painted one) I can live with for three years, but because this is the same room my husband and I slept in, it is imperative to me to change it soon. After a divorce I think it is important to reclaim the space as your own. Even down to little things - like I currently have the bed facing another direction, anything to make it "mine."

As I move forward and start making choices on what projects I tackle (and which ones I reject) I'll try to write about them. I am going to try to think of myself as a tenant - as almost living here like a renter. If I know that this this only temporary, it may be easier to ignore this ugly duckling's flaws. I am also going to keep in mind my goal to sell it - so I will be looking at ways to make it more attractive to home buyers.

...especially ones who like splatter paint...

Photo by Jim Frazier

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