A to Z: Selling Our House (Letter H)

This was written ahead, but yesterday was way too full to even sit down and post it. The painter is coming and I only had a partial day to clean before him. We  don’t want to paint over dirt (anymore). 

H for Handyman

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The handyman list was the longest.

There are very few houses that would not benefit from the services of a handyman. The name is so apt. Any smart homeowner should know at least two of them. Over the years we have not always fixed things that were not crucial to daily operations. Now that we are getting ready to sell, we have a lot of catching up to do.

After the home inspection, I ended up with several to-do lists. One of them was for the handyman. The realtor gave me the name of one that he trusted, but this man was booked up for weeks. That’s why I’m saying that you need to know of more than one.

I, fortunately, have a realtor who has done time as a contractor/handyman. And because he like to gets houses on the market as soon as possible, he sometimes steps down and grabs his tools again. I also know a multi-talented Hispanic friend, Joe, who does work for me when he’s not doing cement contracting. On day one of tackling the list,  Joe was working with the caulk gun when Tory, the realtor, showed up. To my surprise, a few seconds later they were chattering away in Spanish and had several list items all figured out. Teamwork is sweet.

Joe often stores his ladders and ropes at our house, probably because our house always needs pressure washing and those are necessary tools. Joe is very good at yard work too. I can ask him to make it look nice, and he figures out how. After seeing “the list” he got busy and worked on places where the siding was loose and where caulking was needed. He cleaned all the gutters and downspouts. A week later Tory spent a whole day doing finishing carpentry and replacing small areas of bad wood. He removed the barrier fence around the second story patio that was going to be re-roofed. These guys have tools and know how to use them. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

What I appreciate about Joe is that if something is broken, he will always try to fix it. He has an optimism and a curiosity about how things work and he is sure he can make that broken thing work fine again. I take advantage of that and give him my broken appliances just for the relief of having them off the premises. Today he took a washer and a stove. Made a nice big empty spot in our garage.

I am a handy woman, and although I’m not quite as handy as a handyman, I got a lot done yesterday. My favorite tool is a drill. My favorite thing to do with it is remove screws. All of our kitchen cabinet fronts are getting painted white so all the doors, had to be removed and the hardware completely taken off – several hundred screws I would say. And then I had to scrub them all. The whir of the drill and the aroma of bleach… handywoman ambiance.

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This is not the first time I’ve been photographed with a drill in my hand.

Do you have a handyman? You should. Get one before you have a crisis. Just sayin’…

A to Z: Selling Our House (Letter F)

Yesterday I breathed a lot of bleach fumes (an F word), scrubbing tile grout in the rental house, so today I mowed and did yard work in the fresh air and sunshine. The renters moved some more things out after work but are now exhausted. They asked if they could come back to clean in the morning. “Well, of course you can,” said I. 

F for Floors

Deciding to sell our house awoke a whole set of fears I didn’t know I had. One of them was the fear of people walking into our house with a critical eye and saying “what on earth were these people trying to do with their floors?” Floor fear.

Although I love things to be visually beautiful and pleasing, I’m not really a fussy person. If you combine that with my other fear of spending too much money, you get a house full of floors that resemble a quilt, with surfaces changing as you pass from room to room.

I pretty much hate carpet, at least for my family’s lifestyle, so we have done away with it. About ten years ago I put cork flooring in the kitchen and dining room. About the same time I went for interlocking bamboo in the living room and hall. The money ran out so I decided to paint the cement in my bedroom and lived with it for years.  I finally put cork down there too, because I love the way it feels, but it wasn’t the same cork as the kitchen floor.

Vinyl sticky back tiles went down in the guest bath and laundry room – that was probably a mistake. The daughter living at  home at the time tried to stop me, but again, the money… I learned my lesson so when we upgraded the master bath we splurged on ceramic tile. The holdouts have been the guest bedroom, which has the original, dark, shiny, sheet vinyl and the lanai which has the original green indoor-outdoor fake turf. Original means 30+ years.

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My flooring “quilt”. At least they are all soothing, woodsy colors – like the forest floor.

I’ve watched those shows on HG TV. Those renovators snobbishly rip out perfectly good floors just so they can have their seamless beauty running consistently throughout. I might do that too if I had a house no one was living in, and $50K to spiff things up a bit. But no, as I said, I’m not fussy. In fact, I’m fairly happy walking on any surface that isn’t slippery, sticky or covered with dangerous objects.

Our rental house has even more ancient flooring, and it’s there that I’m most tempted to put down something new. But suppose I put down something I liked but the new owner did not. What a waste of time and resources! How to make it appealing and contemporary without wasting time and money… that is the question.

My sign for F was taken in Hayward, Wisconsin. The Feed Mill really is a feed mill and has sold animal food  and field/garden seed since I was a small child. 

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