Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Selling the House

When we put our house on the market back in January, the most common question we got was, "Why are you selling?  You guys have put so much work into your house!"  And, yeah, we had, but a big reason why we put so much work into that house was exactly so that we could sell it when the time was right.  We didn't really have any timeline in mind as to when we'd eventually sell it; we just figured we'd know when the time was right.

Back in November or so, we heard news that the federal government was going to extend a tax credit to people selling their homes that had lived in them for over 5 years and luckily, we fell into that category.  Looking into it a bit further, we saw that mortgage rates were incredibly low, so we figured we'd consult the realtor that sold us the house in July 2004 to get her recommendations as far as an asking price.  She came over, we looked at a ton of comps and decided that the time felt right. 

We put in fresh carpet in early December and got to work staging the house.  We rented a storage unit and put everything we could live without for four months in there, cleaned extensively (made easier by the fact that we had a lot less stuff in the house), and strategically placed some cleaning items throughout the house to make impromptu showings a bit easier (Windex in both bathroom vanities, extra trash can liners in all the trash cans, dust rags in all the bedrooms, etc.). 

Something must have worked--we had the centralized showing service calling almost immediately after the listing went live online on a Sunday in mid-January.  We had our first showing Monday, several showings that Tuesday, an offer by Wednesday, and a deal by Thursday.  And we had a backup offer that Saturday.  We kept the listing live until we got through the inspection process and once that was finalized (after some hand-wringing, some negotiations and some lost sleep), we were good to go! 

Once we found the new house (that's another post), we all settled on a closing date (no small feat, since 4 families were involved in all) and the rest is history.  I was really worried that something would go wrong at the last minute and the whole thing would fall through, but I didn't dare voice those concerns out loud.  Thankfully nothing too awful went wrong.  We closed on the old house and the new house and moved right in.  This was the worst of moving weekend:

Someone backed into my parked car when I was picking the cat up from being boarded at the vet.  Luckily the guy who hit me was super nice and his insurance is covering everything.  I thought it'd be a max of maybe $500, but $3,600 later I'm really glad his insurance is taking care of it!

So, that's the long and short of selling the old house!  I'll write tomorrow about the whole house-hunting process, then it'll be on to pictures!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kitchen Makeover

Before I move on to posting about the new house, there's one room I didn't post about yet.  The kitchen!

Back in 2007, Chris and I tackled our largest and most expensive remodel yet: the kitchen.  After living in the house a few years, we knew what we wanted to do to make the space a lot more functional.  The fact that the kitchen was a small galley kitchen kept the project from getting too out-of-hand budget-wise, but we also planned well so that we could recoup the costs of the remodel when we would inevitably sell the house a few years down the road:
  1. We decided early on not to change the footprint;
  2. We decided we'd install everything ourselves;
  3. We decided to forgo the shiny stainless appliances and instead get the most basic white appliances (which still functioned far better than the original appliances we'd replace).
That said, there were a few things that we wanted for sure:  solid surface countertops, drawers for pots and pans, slide out shelves for other large items (no more crawling around on the floor to dig into the depths of the cabinets!), a deep one-bowl sink (as opposed to the divided kind), and glass door fronts on the upper cabinets.  All of these were functional issues, except for the glass door fronts, but I was fairly adamant that we have ribbed glass.  Even though the remodel would have been far cheaper without them, I don't think it would have looked as good at all.

Without further ado, here's what the old kitchen looked like:

So, we started ripping out the old cabinets and installing the new.  Removing the old and installing the new cabinetry took four weekends and we maintained a functional kitchen throughout the whole process, cuz we're super awesome like that.

New pot and pan drawers!

I was a little excited to get rid of the old cabinets:
Some weekends were worse than others:

We got a cabinet above the fridge that extended past the front of the other cabinet.  We were able to get much more functional storage space out of the cabinet that way.  The other advantage was that we no longer had to stand on a stool in order to open those cabinet doors.  Also below, check out the glass!

The finished product:

Note the one-bowl sink, the Corian countertop and the goose-neck faucet

We also added a microwave to the project.  This kitchen didn't have a built-in microwave and there wasn't enough room to have a microwave on the countertop, so we added a built-in for our convenience and for resale value.

One of my favorite fixtures were the knobs.  I loved these. 

So, that's it for the kitchen remodel and that wraps up the tour of the old house!  We had a great 5 and a half years in that house and we loved making it our home.  In the next few days I'll post a bit of detail about the ups and downs of the whole buying and selling process.  I'll also post pictures of the new house, for those of you (SCOTT!) that haven't seen photos on Facebook yet. 
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