Prepping a home to sell

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I am about accept a transfer at work and we're going to have to sell our home. No biggie, I was ready to move anyway.
We live in an area with a fairly hot market, 2 homes near me moved in 3 days. My house is in ok condition, it's not a showpiece. Old, solid, etc. Anyway, here are my questions. No flames, this is more of an informal survey.
1) The attic was painted purple by the previous owners. I've cleaned most of it out (it's about 800sq ft). Should I paint it - or at least prime it - a less obnoxious color? I could finish it in 4 or 5 hours. When we first looked at the house I thought "jeez, that is ugly".
2) Kitchen. It's old, the cabinets are sorta cheap and while they look ok they aren't great. The SO wants to replace them, I'm really not up for a kitchen redo if I have to be out of here in 3 months. I was thinking of just cleaning them as best as I can, repainting the kitchen, etc. The kitchen is semi bright, it's well light.
3) Wallpaper. Gawd I hate this mess (esp when it's old as dirt). I'm now redoing the bathrooms. One of the bathrooms has a wall of wallpaper that isn't responding to any of the removers. Would it be tacky to just paint over it? It's smooth and there are no seams that are peeling, it's just - ugly.
That's it, thanks.
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The problem I see with a lot of the stuff you are doing is that if the prospective buyer doesn't like yout tastes, they aren't going to pay extra for new stuff that they don't like. However, I'd probably prime the attic and clean the kitchen cabinets real good. #2 is hard to say without a pic. And painting over wallpaper is a poor practice, but common. Actualy wallpaper in a bathroom period is a poor practive. It will peel eventually.
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I was going to prime the attic with white primer. To me it isn't a "let's wow 'em" but to remove the "damn, that is one ugly color" thought. :) The other rooms are going to be painted standard colors, offwhites and the like. I looked at a house last week that had walls that had been painted dark colors then "sponged" with lighter colors. Every room - and they had just done it.
I just read about using vinegar and hot water to remove wallpaper, I'll give that a go. I hate wallpaper anyway, whoever put it in these bathrooms should be smacked. Neighbors had theirs done, even with a vent fan it peeled in several years (I questioned the quality of the install, but paint at least holds up a while).
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I bought a steam iron from walmart the kind you iron your clothes with. I filled it with tap water ,and steamed my wall paper off worked great.messy but works. you can reat a wall paper steamer.My way worked an the irons are cheap enough to throw away when they break. other then that it is another tool in my work shop /garage .
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On 26 Feb 2006 10:02:24 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The house I bought had wallpaper in the bathroom. Most of it peeled off and there was more wallpaper under that.
There was also the stinky carpet...
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
  Click to see the full signature.
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wrote:

The fact that the wallpaper in question won't come off with the standard removal techniques implies that it's some sort of plastic-coated steam-resistant crap. You'll probably need to perforate it with a ponce wheel before any chemical/steam treatment stands a chance.
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If I were you, I'd paint it a lighter color, for sure. If nothing else, it'll make the space look larger.

I agree, just clean them really well. Maybe change out the handles and drawer pulls if new ones would spiff up the cabinets.
Just don't overprice the house; make sure the house is value priced so it'll sell. A friend with a similar kind of kitchen has now had to drop her price $50k after 62 people went through the house over the last 6 months and not one offer.

*DO NOT* paint over the wallpaper. If you do, you will be consigned to Dante's fifth circle of hell or even circle 9.3. Actually, have you really exhausted all removal possibilities? Have you scored the paper itself and rented a steamer? That *ALWAYS* works if the water/vinegar (or DIF) soak isn't speedy enough for you.
You may think that just painting over the paper will be the perfect solution, but paint is wet and often will lift up loose areas of the paper underneath, creating a no-longer smooth surface, so best to just remove the wallpaper.
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.

I just went through this decision process (wall paper, paint or remove) In my kitchen I removed it. What a nightmare. Used solution, with the tool that scores or makes holes so that the solution can get through. No dice. Went to the rent center and got a steamer. got the wallpaper off and a good portion of the drywall surface paper. Spent a week fairing out and repairing the drywall and then had to prime with a shellac based stain blocker because the adhesive residue after multiple cleanings would not let the paint stick. Came out OK after a lot of work.
After that nightmare I decided to paint over the dining room wall paper. Put on a coat of oil based stain blocker. Then used a lightweight vinyl spackling compound at the seams and silconized acrilic caulk at the chair rail and crown molding border with the walpaper. Then another coat of stain blocker. Then normal, high quality latex wall paint. The finished dining room is outstanding, much better than the kitchen. With far less work.
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It has been my experience that you will rarely get your money back. A house will sell for the going rate in your neighborhood. Imagine if you spent time and money fixing it up and the new owners just scraped everything you did.

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Well having sold a home just over a year ago....
People TODAY want move in condition! About 90% want NO WORK AT ALL! Now if you want a fast sale then give them exactly that, a nice pristine turn key home. If on the other hand your willing to wait endlessely for the rare buyer who wants some work, then leave things as is, be prepared for a BIG price hit, and a longer wait for the right buyer:(
Most max out the monthly mortage wanting more home and wouldnt have money after the sale for remodeling, nor a desire to do it.:(
FIRST GET A HOME INSPECTION! Sure it will cost you $250 but it will alert you to things buyers will be looking at:( and demanding a price cut for repairs, lots of stuff can be fixed DIY, but once the buyers home inspector checks things out they will demand receipts from registered electricians, plumbers, etc.
so that flakey light switch or leaking drain can cost you a LOT:(
repaint the entire home in a nice neutral color like white or off white, fix obvious things that are broke, and declutter the house, make it look spacious even if you have to rent a storage bin somewhere during the sale.
I heartily recommend you watch some shows like BUY ME, and HOUSE HUNTERS, and designed to sell!
Just a few episodes will give you a idea of what your up against:(
I think your wife is right, redo the kitchen, thats the first thing buyers look at, bad kitchen not interested:(
Oh yeah start preparing your disclosure list:( EVERYTHING that has ever been a issue and not exactly perfect, if you leave anything out the buyer can come back and sue you for the cost of repairs.
That happened to a old neighbor here. She sold her home and didnt disclose tree roots she knew were in sewer. new owner moved in and had clog:( Happened to call the same plumber , who had changed jobs but snaked the sewer for the old owner.
old owner paid 8 grand for all new sewer line including under basement floor all because she didnt disclose a year earlier it had been snaked. I heard the original owner spent 2 grand on lawers fees too but dont know for certain.
Things have changed GREATLY in real estate in the last 10 years, people USED to look at homes and see possibilties:(
Now they want a PERFECT HOME:(
If your lucky the buyer will accept your home inspection and not pay for a second one, but even if they do you will know what to expect...
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

I don't think I'd go through the hassle of a kitchen reno just to boost the selling price. Yes, it's _possible_ that there might be a profit from the renovation, but it's also possible that the costs of the renovation won't significantly boost the selling price, in which case you've taken on a huge PITA with no real return for your efforts.
Personally, I think that "before selling" renovations should be limited to basic things like ensuring all necessary minor repairs are completed, painting the home a neutral color, removing clutter, and cleaning everything thoroughly. These items are all guaranteed to make a buyer more comfortable with the home and don't cost too much to do.
If you do a search on the net for "renovation payback", you'll find plenty of averages of the cost recovery for various renovations. Very rarely are the percentages greater than 100%, meaning that you won't make back all of the money that you put into the renovation.
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Well having sold a home just over a year ago....
People TODAY want move in condition! About 90% want NO WORK AT ALL! Now if you want a fast sale then give them exactly that, a nice pristine turn key home. If on the other hand your willing to wait endlessely for the rare buyer who wants some work, then leave things as is, be prepared for a BIG price hit, and a longer wait for the right buyer:(
Most max out the monthly mortage wanting more home and wouldnt have money after the sale for remodeling, nor a desire to do it.:(
FIRST GET A HOME INSPECTION! Sure it will cost you $250 but it will alert you to things buyers will be looking at:( and demanding a price cut for repairs, lots of stuff can be fixed DIY, but once the buyers home inspector checks things out they will demand receipts from registered electricians, plumbers, etc.
so that flakey light switch or leaking drain can cost you a LOT:(
repaint the entire home in a nice neutral color like white or off white, fix obvious things that are broke, and declutter the house, make it look spacious even if you have to rent a storage bin somewhere during the sale.
I heartily recommend you watch some shows like BUY ME, and HOUSE HUNTERS, and designed to sell!
Just a few episodes will give you a idea of what your up against:(
I think your wife is right, redo the kitchen, thats the first thing buyers look at, bad kitchen not interested:(
Oh yeah start preparing your disclosure list:( EVERYTHING that has ever been a issue and not exactly perfect, if you leave anything out the buyer can come back and sue you for the cost of repairs.
That happened to a old neighbor here. She sold her home and didnt disclose tree roots she knew were in sewer. new owner moved in and had clog:( Happened to call the same plumber , who had changed jobs but snaked the sewer for the old owner.
old owner paid 8 grand for all new sewer line including under basement floor all because she didnt disclose a year earlier it had been snaked. I heard the original owner spent 2 grand on lawers fees too but dont know for certain.
Things have changed GREATLY in real estate in the last 10 years, people USED to look at homes and see possibilties:(
Now they want a PERFECT HOME:(
If your lucky the buyer will accept your home inspection and not pay for a second one, but even if they do you will know what to expect...
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

This is a great reason to sell As-Is, if your market is at all hot.
We just sold a house in Columbia, MD over the summer. The house was in great condition but the last thing we wanted was some disclosure issue to come back and bite us later. In hot markets, most people sell as-is for this reason.
In slow markets, such as where we bought, this isn't an option, though. People will make an assumption that there's something wrong with the home.
Customs vary widely from market to market, so rely on your sellers' agent to advise you.
Marc
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I've never seen these disclosures everyone talks about here. In my area, every house sells with a disclaimer. The last place I sold had zero problems and I knew it's history from day one. The realtor still insisted that I list the place with a disclaimer instead of disclosure because "It's just how they do it".
Then there's "As-Is", which basically means the well or septic is bad or it's a termite farm.
-rev
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On 27 Feb 2006 08:13:50 -0800, "The Reverend Natural Light"

Here we use "disclosures", the seller must disclose any previously known problems, problems fixed, etc. It's legal to bury a body on my property in Las Vegas, but I MUST disclose this information to the buyer. They can back out of the deal if they don't like the information disclosed. I don't know about disclaimers, but I imagine they both provide similar information. I won't mention every nail hole I patch, but I will say "yes the AC compressor was replaced under warranty"...

Zackly...... I have a house listed with an above ground spa and it is clearly stated "as-is" for the spa. I didn't want to move it.
Oren "My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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The disclaimer basically says that you don't have to tell the buyer anything. As a buyer, it's a damn scary document to see attached to the contract, but it's "the way they do it" around here and you have to.
-rev
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Ever watch the TV show "Sell This House"? Amazing how much return there is on a couple of hundred properly spent dollars. Who cares if the new owners re-paint the day they move in, as long as they liked the house and paid top dollar for it.
I'd pain the attic, spruce up the kitchen. I'd not replace cabinets, but I'd paint, maybe add a shelf or planter if needed, maybe a new light fixture or under cabinet light on the counter if you have none. Light, bright, colors everywhere in the house.
Remove any clutter you may have lurking in the garage or basement, even some furniture if crowded, to give the illusion of being a large house.
As for the going rate for the neighborhood, you want to be on top of it or even exceed it if possible.
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Lowes sells very nice low cost kitchen cabinets, that along with new countertops and sink can pay back more than they cost.
a couple more great tv shows
Flip THIS house
Flip THAT house
the names similiar and both explain what sells and why
flip this house often says new kitchen 6 grand payback 13 grand in added home value
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True, but you aren't going to re-d9o a kitchen, cabinets and all, for a couple of hundred.
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True - if you're going to reno a whole kitchen (and do a decent job of it), you're probably going to end up spending something like $15,000 to $30,000, and the chances of recovering all of that money in the selling price is pretty slim, not to mention the fact that you're not going to get compensated for the PITA of having a kitchen under renovation for God-knows-how-long.
That said, spending some limited money in the kitchen might be worthwhile - things like thoroughly cleaning everything, refacing cabinet doors, putting in a tile backsplash, or replacing old faucets, could be a good way of sprucing up the kitchen for a limited amount of money, and making the house more appealing to a potential buyer.
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