Should you Buy a Fixer Upper? – Making a Sound Decision

Fixer Upper or Money Pit?

When considering whether to purchase a home as a fixer upper it is important to consider several key points.  First of all is time and money.  Fixer uppers typically need lots of both.  The other thing that is important to consider is how you will live while you making improvements.

If you have a lack of funds it would probably not be in your best interest to purchase a home that needs lots of love and attention otherwise you will see it continue its downward spiral into the money pit.  If you will be living in the same home that you will be making improvements on, consider where you will store furniture and such while you are remodeling.  It can get messy, crowded, dusty, etc and often you will live without modern conveniences for periods of time as you work on projects.

Who will do the work?  If its not you, you will need a budget the cost of having a professional come in to do the work and more time in selecting the contractor to help with that task.  Oh and by the way, they will be a lot less flexible if you have items in the work area.  They prefer to have a clean slate to work in/on.

As a family who does lots of do it yourself projects and yes on a fixer upper my advice is to start small if you haven’t done much of this to see if its for you.  Fixing a small plumbing problem might lead to a total redo of the old existing plumbing.  I am speaking from experience here and the water was shut off for days as we reworked and brought the existing plumbing up to today’s codes.

Looking for that fixer upper or that move in ready place, be sure to give me a call so I can help you to find that perfect home and get you moved in!

Let Paint Change your Style and Mood

Kim Woehl - Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459

Ah – What color can do!

Tired of looking at the same wall?  Is your room not giving you that happy to be in feel anymore?  Maybe its time to head to your favorite paint store to grab a new color.  Paint is one of the most cost effective ways to change up your room.  As a Realtor I show homes all of the time where a potential buyer walks into a room and just can’t get over the color of the room.  In fact, it is such a turn off that they talk about it for days and share their experience with others in conversation.  When they talk about that particular house it isn’t about the house on Green street, but rather they call it the purple house (meaning the one with the vibrant purple bedroom that glowed you you stepped in).  Do you suppose they pick this home to purchase or do they look at the next one?  When paint can make this much of a difference, it makes sense to notice how you feel while in these spaces.

Are you one of those persons who struggles in choosing the proper color?  As a visual person I too sometimes have a hard time picturing a whole room of that color.  I have learned that I start with a favorite piece from that room.  If I am painting a bedroom I might look at the colors in my favorite comforter and choose a color in that same family to paint the walls.  There are lots of sites online where you can grab suggestions as well.  Here are a few of them.

Take a moment to walk around your home today and see how you feel as you enter each room.  If it doesn’t make you feel happy, relaxed, etc but rather stressed, upset, etc.  Then perhaps now is the time to spend a little on paint and put a smile on your face.

The Toilet, the Throne, The Comode. No matter what you call it, its missed when your without it!

Kim Woehl - Keller Williams Premier Realty  651-214-1459

A resting place indeed!

The lake home is again blessed to have a place to rest for a few short minutes.  Yes, that’s right.  We have a working toilet again.

I have been sharing a bit of the remodeling story and we now enter a new chapter of successes.  We have been working on so many things in the lake home.  It wasn’t so long ago that the hubby pulled out all of the plumbing with the help of my son.

Well that is pretty much back in place but as a result of losing the plumbing he decided to also pull out the bathroom and kitchen.  Yes!  All of it!

Needless to say we have been without running water of any kind for quite some time.  A few weeks ago we got the hose outdoors working again and so while that was really appreciated, it sounds as though we are yet another step closer in the bathroom remodel.

If you look below and around the toilet you will see we are also tiling and  I am happy to report that the floor is done!  The walls are taking a bit more time but I understand that the bathtub will fall into place possibly before the next weekend!

I am beyond excited to have an indoor place to rest.  I cannot wait to share how the tile comes out.  The shower will be going together soon as well as the vanity.  It looks like we just might get this bathroom complete after all.

I almost forgot to mention that this toilet is green!  You can push one button for liquids (uses 1 gallon) or a differing button for solids (uses 2.6)  We have a holding tank at the lake so not only are we saving water but we are saving the cost of having the tank pumped as often.  This particular toilet sells for about $200.00.  An investment in going green, water conservation and cost savings in the long run.

What home improvement project are you currently working on?  Please share as I love to hear what everyone is doing.

Looking to buy or sell please give me a call.  I listen to my clients and help them find just what they need.  Call today!  651-214-1459

Budgeting Those Home Improvement Projects

Kim Woehl Keller Williams Premier Realty - - 651-214-1459

Some people budget when it comes to large home improvement projects but we tend to do projects as we have money to get things done.  My husband is also a rather good do it yourself, guy.  This means that if you can do it yourself why should you pay someone when you can do a quality job yourself.  While I think this is hugely valid and definitely saves lots of money, time is certainly a rather large challenge.

We have been working on our lake home for about a year and a half now and so far we have the structure up, a roof over our heads and have replaced all but 2 windows in the whole house.

Sometime during the winter months I lost all water to the house as my hubby thought it would be a better idea to totally redo what was there as it was mostly leaky anyway.  The last straw came in when the toilet began leaking and he realized the flooring needed work due to the leak.  Next thing I know I get a phone call to let me know I no longer have a toilet and oh by the way, No Running Water.

Roll ahead to June 19, 2012.  I have running water outside so I can at least get some fresh water.  Plumbing is ran except to the new kitchen which is in the new addition part of the house.  The bathroom is our focus as we all would love to have a toilet in the house again.  (Simple Pleasures).

So silly me, I assume I will get a toilet as soon as I get plumbing, but no. It turns out we have to do the tile on the floor and on the wall that the toilet will be near as it would be difficult to do this after the toilet is installed.

I am thrilled to report that the tile is starting to go down.  He has also done the concrete work for the walk in shower and I am pretty excited about the idea of a toilet and a place to wash off the day’s dirt.

Budget, well not exactly but this works really well for us.  Patience is a must and you certainly have to understand that you may be without life’s luxury’s for awhile.

If you can live with the mess and the loss if certain conveniences for a bit and you truly are that handy person you might consider a small home improvement project.  If you are a bit more savy, you might take on a bigger challenge.  By the way, we do hire services from time to time.  We hired the block work for the addition to be done and we hired a guy to shingle for us so we had the roof covered before the winter and we also payed that same guy to side the tall lake side of the house as we did not have scaffolding to reach the peak area.

Please share a do it yourself story of your own.  Sometimes we need to laugh about some of our challenges so that we have the strength to keep plugging along!

Cost worthy fixes before Listing your Home

Cluttered and unorganized old books

Image by Yuba College Public Space via Flickr

Read on for some great tips!

Some projects are not only time consuming but cost lots of money as well and the return on investment just isn’t there.   According to Marketing Company they came up with this list.  The great news is that these projects could all be done for $1000.00 or less.

At the top of the list was de-cluttering, which included cleaning off counter tops and removing most personal type items.  Take the time to clean closets and do a general deep clean on the home.  Don’t forget to wipe down heat vents and cold air returns.  Wash wall switch plates and clean all door knobs.  It’s the small things that can sometimes have a huge impact.

Clean windows inside and out to make the home as bright as possible.  Remove older curtains and open the windows to let in as much light as possible.  Update old fixtures and take away anything that is covering the windows or reducing light.

Everyone has heard about staging now a days, but what does this really mean?  Take a walk through your home and remove any extra furniture that makes your home seem small or crowded.  Add some artwork, a few new towels etc to make your home look inviting, new and clean.  Consider the senses by adding background music or even fresh baked goods.  These little things make your house your home and will appeal to buyers.

Next take a step out your front door.  Walk to your curb and take a look like it was your first time.  Adding a few bushes, plants and some mulch can make a huge difference when it comes to your homes curb appeal.  Keep the lawn mowed and trimmed.   Consider edging the driveway and or curb.   If existing bushes have become too large, give them a haircut to bring them back into shape.

Shampoo or replace any worn or soiled carpeting.  Take a few minutes to repair those creaky spots in the floor.  A bit of elbow grease now can bring in a buyer.

Lastly take a look at electrical and plumbing problems.  Make sure you don’t have any leaking sinks, showers or toilets.  Remove any mildewed areas.  Update electrical outlets and replace wiring if needed.   Make sure that the wiring will work with modern appliances.  If something doesn’t work, replace it with a fixture that does.

For many of us we may have went ahead and tackled these projects anyway, but when you know that your return will be worth your effort, it sure makes the job more worthy of your time and energy.

Forest Lake MN Realtor Has Some Great Seller Tips

Look for this logo when considering your new r...

Image via Wikipedia

Be smart when it comes to making home improvements before putting your home on the market.  Some things make good sense while others simply cost money and are impossible to recoup.

I found a great article by author Sid Davis that shares some great tips for choosing makeovers that sell. I thought I would include some of his great home age related tips below.  I agreed with his statement that in this market that potential homebuyers will be passing up your home if there are others with better landscaping, less flaws, less handyman work and even if they don’t like the way the home smells.

I really liked his tip of paying for a pre-sale inspection (typically $300-$350) then fix these issues prior to putting your home on the market.  The items fixed can be added toa pre-sale buyers folder.  What a great marketing tool!  Now they look at your home and see that it is move in ready.

Homes often have items to be fixed due to their age while also offering some great appeal.  Below is a great tip sheet on areas you might consider first in making updates to market your home.  These are according to “Making Hard Cash in  a Soft Real Estate Market.”

Pre-’60s homes: Add power, check pipes, remove carpeting
Below those carpets is often hardwood flooring a huge bonus in today’s homes.  On the down side most pre 60’s homes need to have the electric service updated.  Between the 1960’s until today we have gone from having 60amp service to200 amp service in today’s homes.  It takes lots of energy to run today’s electronics and appliances.  Wiring is another consideration.  Older homes sometimes have aluminum wiring that no longer meets codes and should be replaced.  Plumbing is your next consideration.  If your lucky you have copper pipes as galvanized pipes corrode over time and can begin leaking.

’60s homes: Replace windows, update cabinets
Changing out those old, single paned aluminum slider windows can save you 25% on heating and cooling and you can update that kitchen by replacing kitchen cabinet hardware.  If your cabinets are hardwood you will want to consider cleaning, or re-facing the cabinets.

’70s homes: Update kitchens and baths, lose wild colors
Tone down those crazy colors.  I grew up in a home with a puce green tub and toilet.  What were we all thinking back then?  I had friends who had the bright orange or red carpets and countertops.  Luckily these went out of style, but sadly they are still our there in homes of the 70’s era.  Simply bringing in some updates will bring these homes up to date.  This is sometimes as easy as a fresh coat of paint.  Modern epoxies can be used to bring new life to those green bathtubs and toilets.  Good news!  Dated exteriors can be transformed reasonably in the same fashion.

’80s homes: Upgrade countertops, ditch wallpaper, detail

Here I really liked the author’s advice.  Look at your neighbor’s homes.  If they have granite then so will you.  If they have Corian then that is what you will go with.  Wallpaper was another 80’s trend that will totally date your home.  Consider getting rid of all of the wallpaper and opt instead for some neutral painted walls.  Take some time to replace or upgrade dingy switchplates, worn doorknobs and trim molding.

’90s homes: Upgrade appliances, clean or replace carpeting
One would think that with a 90’s home you would have less upgrades than something from the 80’s but often those appliances only last 10-15 years so updating them is a good idea.  Generally furnaces last 12-14 years, air conditioning about 10 years, and the water heater, stove/oven, washer/dryer and the dishwasher will be going soon too.  These are good items to replace sooner rather than later.  The bonus is that with the new Energy Star appliances you will find that these new appliances might actually pay for themselves.  Davis recommends waiting on the roof however.  Instead have it inspected and include the information in your buyer’s packet.  Lastly, make sure those carpets are clean.  When potential buyers see clean carpets they immediately think that they can move in rather than having to do a bunch of immediate clean up work before they can move in.  You want them to see your house as their next home!