Monday, May 2, 2016

Downsizing & Moving Update - #2

Well it turns out that we are only moving a handful of books so all 3 bookshelves need to find new homes! In addition to the books that left the house a lot more decorative items/gifted items left to find new homes too. We only kept about 20 books including cookbooks and a dictionary.

We also curbside donated the old white plastic patio furniture. Space is appearing in our home quickly. This is good as you want your home to look as spacious and light as possible to potential buyers.

We did decide to redo the main floor bathroom so that is on the to do list for sure.

I found a table cloth we don't use that will make an attractive crate cover. Much better than a striped beach towel!

While on vacation next week we will be driving by houses that are currently for rent in one of our targeted areas. We are slowly narrowing down where to look for housing in the huge Southern California area. I think it will help if we decide our new "jobs" are frequently spending time with and helping my FIL while our sons and DILs will be who we drive to see. After all the 4 of them work all week!

I am being sure to get receipts for all of our donated items and logging them into
as this will be our highest income year for a while and maximizing our deductions just makes so much sense.

We have let parts of the yard get away from us the last couple of years which is easy to do with the crazy growing season we have here in the South. My husband started major pruning on Sunday. With a year to fill back in we can cut bushes quite a bit and know they will look great next Spring.

And of course there is ongoing maintenance as well as an upcoming vacation and then a family visit to keep us occupied.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy May!

When I was quite a little girl my Mom and I used to make May baskets like these out of construction paper. I would then carefully pick violets and put them in the "basket", hang them on a neighbor's door, ring the doorbell and run away. I'm so sure they had no idea who left it LOL.

No May baskets today but recognition that this will be a busy and fun month. Once it ends we start the 12 month countdown to my husband's retirement from the job that brought us to Atlanta 19 years ago.

This is going to be a family oriented month. A 10 day trip to CA with time with both sons and DILs as well as my FIL. A nice drive up the coast as we have family at both ends of the state. Our dog will get a vacation too as she boards with her second family who fostered her when she was rescued. She gets so happy to go to their home and loves their dogs and cat too.

Memorial Day weekend will bring my brother and SIL down from the NE for a 3 day visit and that will be fun too.

When there is no vacation or family visit going on I have the rest of my OLLI class sessions, ongoing projects in the house, book club and exercise sessions. I have decided to stop my private (expensive) Pilates sessions and rejoin a wellness center to have lap swimming, exercise classes and equipment available for an eighth of the monthly cost. A further drive but I will simply schedule it as a non-negotiable time.

I'm really looking forward to this month and hope you are too.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Downsizing & Moving Update - #1

We will get this done!

1. Went to an open house down the street to see what is on the market right now.

2. Two bags of items donated to thrift store.

3. Maximum number of partial cans of paint plus other items to semi-annual toxic waste collection event. Glad we will be moving somewhere that has these weekly not just twice a year.

4. Agreement reached as to next steps:
     - Ruthlessly declutter 2 bookshelves in guest room and 1 in study
     - Pick one bookshelf to move to California and move into study
     - Move dresser in study into guest room
     - Donate 2 extra bookshelves, a lamp and a recliner
     - Paint dark feature walls in 3 rooms in lighter neutral color of other walls
     - Talk to realtor further about need remodel bathroom vs selling price
     That should keep us out of trouble for a while.

5. Found enough appropriate color leftover paint to prime one of the feature walls - yeah savings!

Spent so far on preparing the house for sale
$ 90.89 - patio and sun porch furniture that we will take with us to CA

We are headed to California for vacation at the end of this week so getting a start on most of this will wait until we get back in mid-May but before we have family visiting over Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

First attempt at home staging - sunporch and courtyard

These are old photos so this isn't exactly what I started with but that 25+ year old white plastic furniture and the plant stand as well as lots of stuff on the shelves were definately there!

So I took everything out but another plant stand and started redoing it using what we have with one exception. The exception is a small outdoor table purchased for half price at RiteAid  ($13). The stager had recommended a 2 chair cafe set for the courtyard but the least expensive one I found that we were willing to keep was $99 plus tax at Ikea. We have 4 outdoor chairs and a larger table and umbrella so 2 can go in the courtyard and 2 at the table on the patio.

I followed the recommendations to move the black bench in front of the soon to be replaced windows and decided to add two more chairs to make a conversation area. She said to have only 1 to 3 items on each shelf so that has been edited as have the 2 wind chimes we had up. I like it a lot more now myself so we will see what my husband thinks when he gets home from work.

I am finding that I want to follow the spirit/objective of her recommendations but do so in a way that works for us. One room at a time!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Session with home stager

We are listing our house in 11 months and moving across the country. We currently live in Atlanta so some of these observations may be for this housing market and not for yours. Keep in mind that our part of town mostly attracts young high dual income professionals as well as some older professors, lawyers and doctors.

It was very interesting to spend 2 hours going through our house with a home stager and getting her advice as to what we need to do to maximize the appeal of our house without buying a lot or spending a lot of money. I have 3 1/2 pages of notes. She said some things that I think are key to getting any home ready to sell.

1. Don't confuse interior design with home staging! There is nothing wrong with how you prefer to decorate your home but the typical buyer reacts well to certain things that you may not prefer to live with.

2. Maximize the light in your home. Extend curtain rods so that curtain panels fall to the outside of the window frame so as much light comes in as  possible.

3. Light colored neutrals are the in paint and decor colors. Graphic design accents in darker neutrals are also in. So with dark furniture add light throw pillow. Pull up dark area rugs. Paint your walls light neutral colors and accent walls are definately out! (Sorry honey - I like them too).

4. Don't be afraid of empty space. You may want those tables, chairs, etc. for the way you live but deleting some will make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

5. Bookshelves are also out. Minimize and only keep what you will move or put those books and bookshelves in storage.

6. Simple decorative accents help. A single item on display per shelf. A single bowl with boxwood balls on a coffee table.

7. Make all of your indoor and outdoor spaces look appealing for someone else's lifestyle. This is called staging for a reason. Move furniture around to better showcase your home even if it doesn't fit with your lifestyle.

Or course there was the standard advice about removing personal photos in frames or on the frig. Clear the kitchen counter as much as possible. Don't storethings in spaces that don't reflect there use - e.g. no turkey roaster in the guest room closet. Declutter or pack and store offsite. Paint/pressure wash/repair the outside of your home thoroughly.

She did not say we needed to change our artwork or make major changes in decor. Apparently though empty houses with a few staged rooms are popular with buyers - so if we want to move out and then sell - Hah hah!!!!

We still haven't decided if we are going to renovate the main floor bathroom so I asked her for some ideas on how to stage it if we don't. Wisdom would be doing it though and we will have to make that decision after we get back from vacation in mid-May. We also have to decide how much of the interior painting to do ourselves vs. pay to have it done.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Starting to spend on a house we are selling LOL

We would really like to sell this house as is but that would probably be foolish. It also seems difficult to determine how much we will need to spend to get it ready but the expenses are starting to roll in.

1. We need to replace 2 large windows in our sun porch as the seal is broken and they are cloudy. Weird size and need to match to other windows and we had to go high end sash replacements. Also learned that since the are near the floor the code requires tempered glass in the bottom sash. Ordered and that is done.

2. We do have almost a year to get the house ready so we have decided to pay for a stager to give us recommendations now instead of after we sign the sales contract. That way we can look for bargains and do some of the work ourselves such as painting. It will be interesting to hear what she recommends on this coming Monday.

3. We know we have to remodel the main floor bathroom and really don't want to - sigh. We will be hiring an interior designer to help pick out the finishing materials as of course we need an odd sized vanity and countertop, etc.

We haven't even gotten to the cost of painting the outside of the house, yard and tree prep, etc. I hope next Spring is a seller's market here!

Any advice or hard learned lessons from others who have been through this recently are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Shed cleared, toxic waste ready for disposal day and other house sale prep

Yeah! The garden shed is clean and much emptied out from it. We also pulled stuff out of the carport storage area but haven't cleaned it yet. The trash can is full and quite a nice pile is at the curb for free to passers by. Great progress as we only kept things that have a high likelihood of being used in the next year.

We also pulled a bunch of toxic waste from the basement shelves and shed. It may be easier where you live, but in my county we can only dispose of toxic waste properly twice a year and e-waste once a year (perhaps). Luckily I thought to look up when the next toxic waste collection day is going to be and it is on April 30th. We will have to do it one more time, but this is a good start.

If you are like us and have lived in your home quite a few years and done quite a few projects there is a collection of partially used toxic products in your home. You can't move any of it unless you are moving yourself and even then it would be potentially dangerous unless just driving across town.

We also are getting serious about making decisions regarding what home improvements we are willing to make before listing the house. We will definately replace the two sunporch windows with a  broken seal between glass layers. We are still discussing the downstairs bath remodel but I think it has to happen too.

My home sale and moving prep list keeps expanding but we are starting to check things off too.