The work day came early for me in wanting to get soon started on some projects that have been hanging over my head for far too long. It seems no matter how much we believe we’ve got all bases covered when looking at the whole picture of something we want to work on, there’s always those nasty little blind-sides that take all the more time and work. My biggest frustration when taking on a project is finding myself having to un-do before I can do. Not long ago I spent nearly an entire Sunday pulling nails and un-screwing screws that someone had become possessed to pound and screw hundreds of them into the basement walls and ceilings. Of course when working on a home that’s changed hands a number of times, one will find “layers” of preferences of each of the previous owners. Instead of one layer of wallpaper, you’ll likely find five or six. Ceilings and floors are the worst as far as I’m concerned. You may find yourself removing two or three layers of flooring before you’ll reach the original floor and it’ll likely be red fir, oak, or maple. Looking to buy a home that has suspended ceilings? You’ll not be happy should you find two or tree layers of ceiling before you reach the original plaster which more than likely is in terrible shape and in need of removal. Basement walls are again tricky when finding finished rooms down there. The more an owner tries to cover every square foot of a basement’s walls, the more likely there’s a reason. I understand having part of a basement finished for a rec room or additional bedroom, but to conceal every wall is questionable. When showing a home that has a “blank canvas” basement where the concrete block or poured walls are painted gives potential buyers an opportunity to see everything as well as envision future possibilities. Believe it or not, the amount of money it takes to do an expensive build-out of a basement usually gives the least return to the sellers when they go to sell it. To remain keenly attentive to detail when doing improvements is paramount. Seasoned agents are quick to notice sloppy work, and with all their resources online, smart buyers are far more savvy about what to look for during their initial viewings. Of course landscaping is critical if you want to at least get someone through the front door. Unkempt yards and flower gardens are real buyer deterrents since most lookers do a drive-by of a home before they call the agent for a viewing. I happened to show a home this afternoon that had tall weeds growing out of several of the bushes near the house. I managed to get them pulled before the buyers arrived.
One of my listings located at 1029 – 12th St. NE which should have been sold months ago, is now getting quite a bit of activity since we reduced the price to $84,500. The assessed value on the home is almost $100K. Yes, it needs some sprucing up along with a decorator’s touch, but the home’s bones are great. To everyone’s recollection, there’s not ever been any water seepage in its basement. I showed it to a young couple several days ago and I couldn’t have been more vocal in giving them a few ideas of how to create real future value with the home. Too many of the younger crowd find it difficult to envision something being done as well as actually making the improvements themselves. When they finished looking I said, “With a solid home like this, you should never be afraid of spending money on improvements.” I hope they become fearless and buy it.