A to Z: Selling Our House (Letter U)

We are still waiting for special roofing material for the deck over the lanai of the rental house. It didn’t get ordered when it should have and we aren’t sure where it is en-route… Even this is for a purpose as it gives me needed time to pack and touch up.  I am being slow and would be getting a lot more done if I could stop coughing – it takes so much energy away. 

U for Upgrading

Upgrades are a common bragging point in many real estate listings. Something better than what was there before. But, better according to who? The whole upgrade issue is more of a problem with our rental house because upgrades are usually done by people who are living in the building themselves and care. Renters very seldom care. Renters are more associated with downgrading.

With an older house that has not been remodeled for a long time, the upgrading does not have a clear endpoint. It grows and grows. If we had been going to keep the rental and live in it ourselves I would have upgraded the kitchen with new cabinets, countertops, flooring and appliances. I would have taken out a half wall and made a peninsula with a seating area. I would have opened up the view to the living room. All this because I do watch HGTV. It would easily turn into a $15K upgrade. Instead, we painted the cabinets white. We left a lot of potential for the next owners.

Cabinets went white and we did upgrade the lighting from old fluorescent to LED.

The house we live in has some nice upgrades. The master bath is newly remodeled and handicap accessible. The kitchen has been remodeled and is still fairly contemporary. There are no smelly carpets anywhere – to me that is an upgrade. Our lifetime metal roof over the whole complex and the easy care vinyl siding could be considered upgrades.

My final thought on upgrades is that they are okay for a seller if they are cost effective. Can you add the price of the upgrade to your asking price and get it back? If not, don’t bother. An upgrade usually replaces something that can be considered functional and comfortable as it is, and it is fine to leave it alone.

The sign of the times for U:

Can you guess whose sign this is?


Mirror, mirror…

Disclaimer: don’t think I’m suggesting that anyone do this at home. I’m not. 

I’ve been learning some new things as a result of my latest remodeling project.  Some of these things about mirrors you might want to know someday so here goes…

Our house was built by a contractor who also did a lot remodeling jobs for other people, and of course he salvaged a lot of useful things. Things like mirrors. Shortly after we moved in he offered us some mirrors that he thought were way too good to throw away and we took them.  Back then we were still in the stage of life when we took anything that didn’t have a price tag on it.  For years now I have had a 4′ x 6′ heavy (HEAVY) piece of reflective glass leaning against the wall in my rec room. I only mind it when I have to clean behind it because it can hardly be moved.  I also have a triple mirror medicine cabinet attached to the wall in the master bedroom because that was the only wall big enough to hold it.  It’s wider than our king size bed and at least four feet tall.

The master bath is our present project and from it we removed a 4′ x 7′ mirror which has been leaning against the wall in the hall.  Getting a bit overwhelmed with large mirrors, I began to investigate what might be done with them.  The answer is, not much.  They are heavy, as I mentioned, and actually dangerous.  They aren’t made from safety glass so if they break the pieces are sharp and unpredictable.  You don’t just throw them in your pick up truck either.  They require a special method of transport.  I thought maybe I could use half of one mirror in the remodeled bath but the glass and mirror company would charge me $100 to come to my home and cut it.

A couple days ago I got tired of looking at the monstrosity in the hall and began to think about where I could put it, out of my way, until another day.  Because I don’t like to be talked out of my plans to move heavy, awkward furnishings, I don’t usually tell anyone I’m going to do it. I think about the plan at night when I should be sleeping or during random times in the day, until I know what I’m going to do, and then, I wait until the perfect time to carry out the plan.

The perfect time was last Tuesday after the remodeling handyman left.  I could have asked him to help but I’m thinking there will be lots of years when I have to ask people for help and I don’t want to start too soon and wear them out.  I had decided to put the mirror in the rec room since there was already one odd, huge mirror there anyway. They could kind of balance each other. I cleared the path of furniture and rugs and slid some of those handy, plastic furniture sliders under the edges of the mirror – let’s just give him a name. Waldo, I think.

Waldo and I successfully slid down the hall and into the rec room.  This was the first place there was room to put him flat on the floor.  Why do this, you ask?  Wally had been sitting on his long side in the hall and I needed him to stand up in order to fit in the spot I had chosen for him.  We do not have cathedral ceilings anywhere in our house, which means that in order to stand him up without hitting the ceiling, I had to lay him down first and then raise him up on his short side.  Those of you who have moved big bookcases or other tall things will know exactly what I’m talking about.  It’s an art.

You might be expecting this story to end in a display of cracked glass and a bloody trip to the ER, but no.  I planned well, and would have had no trouble at all if it had not been for the ceiling fan which I forgot to figure into the equation.  I was shaking from the exertion but quite satisfied with the end result, Waldo, leaning against the wall behind a dresser.  I’m just sayin’, I needed a mirror there anyway, right?

Waldo the mirror, after his trip down the hall.
Waldo the mirror, after his trip down the hall.

Men and Tools

I don’t have firmly entrenched ideas about what is men’s work and what is women’s work.  I am more about getting things done than about who does them. I have tools.  But nothing makes gratitude well up in me more than seeing a man use a tool to accomplish something, especially something that I’m glad I’m not having to do.

getting up there..., yeah that ought to be easy.
getting up there…, yeah that ought to be easy.

Our list of things to be done at the oneacrewoods got a bit shorter this month.  We’ve known for a couple years that there was some dry rot under the siding around some second story windows – not an easy place to work and also tricky when it involves making a big hole in the wall to replace windows in a climate where it rains nearly every day and is over 90° F (and a hot metal roof).  But our friends who have done quite a lot of work on our house over the years took it on, with ropes and ladders, patience and skill.  The finish work, inside and out, should be completed today.wpid-20140623_172906.jpg

Like most projects, this one grew midway through the process.  Once this bedroom had new windows, it was necessary to do some dry wall and sanding around them.  And while we’re making that kind of mess, maybe we should think about painting all the walls when we’re done.  And maybe since the carpet is in bad shape we should replace the flooring. Stop it, already.

The men took it in stride and added laying in a laminate flloor – in one day.  As I watched them painstakingly cut the pieces to fit and deal with all that pounding and sawing I was soooo glad that the only tool I had to wield was the broom.