Having decided to move, we first set about fixing those things we knew were wrong with the house. There was a shingle loose, a bit of rotten siding (damn you masonite
!), a stair railing on the front porch that needed replacement.
We also looked into painting inside and out, and getting new carpeting. We had this excellent plan for painting the inside of the house while Carly and the kids were down at the beach at my aunt and uncle's place. But it meant acting quickly, we thought, given the siding issues, it might be best to paint the outside as well, so we signed on to the first paint crew that was able to promise completion before the kids got back. It was a day or two later that we met with a realtor who didn't think the house needed painting. Oh well. What is a couple thousand dollars.
At the time, I was pissed we hadn't scheduled the meeting with the realtor first. But in retrospect, I am not sad we painted when we did. I think it is adding to the resale, if only by making the house more attractive than our neighbors.
As that was happening we rented a PODS which is a big crate you fill with stuff and they haul away, allegedly to a warehouse so you can retrieve it later. We tried to put as much of our stuff in there as we could live without. It took a long time. If you've never moved boxes in the afternoons, during a summer in the South, well, you've never really sweat. Especially clearing the attic. But, the house is considerably lighter. I would say we got rid of about a 5th
of our stuff (to goodwill mostly), threw away another 5th
and put half of the left over in storage. There are no mathematics available to represent the amount left over. Sadly.
The house was painted inside and out. The repairs were completed without much ado (however see below). And it looks great. We were done in time to start showing the house considerably earlier than we originally planned.
We decided to paint our kitchen but feared the painters would not remove the wall paper. So we did it. What fun! Nothing like holding a wall paper steamer (in the Southern Summer) while balanced on the countertops
. I ended up scraping away a quarter inch of drywall in my enthusiasm, but ultimately it did the trick. I felt pretty foolish when I saw the big gash on the wall, and began to question whether I was the do-it-yourself kind of guy.
We also had to come out and fix the door Carly installed when we first moved in. The master bath has doorways inside to the vanity and shower area. But there was only one door, originally to the shower/toilet area, so Carly moved that door to the bath entrance to allow early risers (I think she got up at 5:30 those days) to use the bathroom without flooding the bedroom with light. Anyway, she bought another door and installed it herself. This included mounting the door and installing all the hardware, and drilling the hole for the doornob
. So pretty impressive all things considered. However, the door she bought was a quarter inch too wide for the doorway, so for five years it has never closed all the way. Oh well, no biggie, it is really just meant for a little privacy. Of course, now that we were selling the house, that needed to be fixed. So we looked around. Interior door can run as much as $150 and most of them won't be cut or measured, or given hardware. So that sucked.
But we went to the Habitat for Humanity Reclaim center and found a used door ($25) that seemed like it would fit. We did the whole operation to get it installed. And no, it wouldn't fit. So we went back, and tried again. Still no luck. Our confidence in our abilities was waning rapidly. Eventually my cousin's husband Andy came by and planed the door down, and helped line up the hardware. I painted it and went to hang it, and it still wouldn't close and lock. It would close, but not lock. The lock was half and inch off. Sigh. I took out my router and played with it a little until voila! the door would shut and lock. A small success after many many fumbles. Remember that every trip to Habitat or Home Depot means lugging two kids in 98 degree weather, so every little extra step seemed agonizing.
Andy and I fixed the storage room door with speed and reasonable precision, so long as don't look too closely.
Years ago I was toasting some pita with oil and the toaster oven caught fire. I was able to extinguish the blaze with mostly cosmetic damage. On one of our laminated cabinet doors the laminate bubbles and shrunk from the fire, but we figured we'd get around to fixing it some day. I spent hours calling, trolling the interwebs
, and driving from one home store to another, from one cabinet maker to another trying to find a replacement door. The results. They don't make them, can't fix them, and generally would prefer that I stand somewhere else unless I was serious about remodeling the whole kitchen.
However, having stared at the door for countless hours, I eventually decided I might make a repair of my own. My initial though smacked of homeopathy. If fire did the damage, surely heat could repair it! So I planned this complex use of a clothes iron, and various other implements to coax the laminate back into place. Part of me still thinks that might of worked. But instead I opted for Gorilla Glue and strapping tape. It took three tries, but the damage is pretty much invisible, and certainly no worse than the wear elsewhere in the kitchen. I consider this, my greatest victory in the realm of home repair.
By July 1st, we had the house in reasonable shape, the POD people came to take the PODS away. Carly had spent many dark evenings in the garden and doing other landscaping so the house had real "curb appeal." And we were ready to roll. Well, the house was ready, we were panicking. Nevertheless we met with the realtor, settled on an embarrassing low asking price (given what we just put into the house, and what we originally paid for it). That Monday we put out the sign, and opened the doors to strangers.