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Old 06-15-2012, 09:58 AM   #1
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hoping to sell home soon...


Hello. I own a 3 bdrm/2 bath house that is 112 years old in an old neighborhood- centrally located in town of 19,000 in central Wis. Quiet curb and gutter street and most keep their houses and yards maintained pretty good. I do have a rental house on one side of me. I think we have about 300+ homes for sale in town right now.
I've lived here for 26 years, but, due to my income, not much updating has been done. I'll start with the bad stuff:

An electrician told me my elec. circuit breaker box is called a 60 amp. service. I don't want to pay for upgrading that if I don't have to. I would give buyers a credit if I have to, or sell home "as is."

I have plaster walls covered with decent looking paneling, one wall in kitchen is wallpaper, one wall in living-room is wallpaper, popcorn ceiling in kitchen, and old carpet throughout the house. (yukky carpet in kitchen and bath, and shag in good condition in 2 upper bedrooms.) I plan to replace kitchen and bath carpet with vinyl.

I need to replace the shower in the main bathroom. It is an old homemade? metal shower that is very rusty.
I've patched it with duct tape over the years, but now I haven't used it in over a year because I'm afraid it might leak. That bathroom also has a tub, sink, and toilet which are all pink.

The unfinished basement gets a little damp or wet in the corners sometimes but nothing major. I don't have a sump pump, don't need one. I have a dehumidifier that I run once in a while.

The house is on a 80 x 132 lot with several mature trees, I clean the gutters out 4 times a year.


Last edited by Sue K 1857; 06-15-2012 at 10:36 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:37 AM   #2
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House is ~1200 sq ft. There is a concrete driveway leading to a one (1 and 1/2?) car garage (18' x 22') built in 1985, which is attached to a carpeted SW-facing mudroom (1985), which is attached to the original house. Garage has nice attic and is finished inside with particle board and drywall. Another gravel half-circle driveway out back. Semi-private yard and several flower beds with perennials.
I also have an enclosed carpeted front porch with an old storm door and 11 aluminum storm windows. It faces north.

Separate utility room right off the kitchen, contains washer/dryer and lots of cupboards and storage closet.
All 3 bedrooms have a closet, closet under stairway, more storage in bathrooms, and back hallway.
Kitchen has lots of cabinets with decent faces. Plenty of storage areas in the whole house!

New 30-year shingle roof installed in 2007, on the whole house. The 112 yr old part still had original cedar shakes, covered with 2 layers of shingles!
The upstairs bedroom windows are old double-hungs, with alum. storms. I had the putty replaced last summer in the two that face north. The south bdrm windows I'll probably leave in place, and go sit on the kitchen roof and caulk the missing putty.

Homes like mine are selling for between $90,000 and $120,000 here right now. Last year one down the street sold in a month and the one across the street just sold in a week. We have a big medical center in town, so people come from all over.

Oh, I almost forgot... my Heil high-eff. gas furnace is 25 years old. The gas water heater is 20 yrs old.
And I don't have A/C. The house stays pretty cool- it's insulated, has white vinyl siding, and lots of shade from the big trees.

I am still in the process of clearing out all the stuff I've accumulated over 25 years. My plans are to replace the shower, and the carpet in bathroom and kitchen. And de-clutter and clean clean clean!!!
Mine is the nicest looking property in the neighborhood, from the outside. I don't know what the insides of my neighbors' homes look like.
What else should I do? or not bother with? I don't have much money to spend and want to list my house in 2 months or less.


Last edited by Sue K 1857; 06-15-2012 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:56 AM   #3
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It is very hard to comment on real estate not having seen your house, or knowing your neighborhood or municipality. But with the number of outdated systems you describe and it sounding like it generally needs A LOT of cosmetic work (I have never seen a carpeted kitchen before), I would be inclined to recommend selling it as is and not throwing any money into it. I hope you will consult with a real estate professional in your area before you commit to having any work done.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:32 PM   #4
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Can't offer you much advice as I don't know the house or what it looks like. It does remind me of a story though...Years ago my buddies parents were moving south and were going to sell their house. It needed some sprucing up and some repairs. New siding on the south side, new roof Finished the drywall in the garage new carpet throughout, new kitchen countertops, painting, Re-did a bathroom, ETC, ETC. My buddy asked his dad when all was said and done why he did not keep up with all of that while they lived there and the response was he wanted more in the sell price of the house. The original appraisal came in at 160,000...the sell price was 165,000. Believe me, he put in way more than 5,000. Should have sold it as it was.
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:02 PM   #5
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I worked on antique homes almost exclusively and would find it annoying if, given your situation you did cheap patch jobs on things. If buying your place I would already be expecting to redo the kitchen and baths so money you put into them would be wasted. I would also be thinking about demolishing the walls to get new wiring, plumbing and insulation in.

Old houses have lots of surprises and people that work on them know this. We don't expect to find everything perfect unless you have done major renovations and then we can be fairly critical and skeptical if they were not done right and look like band-aid cover-ups. Given the shape the house is in, I don't think you will gain a lot sinking money into it. You probably will not get new money back out of it in fact.

So, I guess I agree with the comments so far. Get a real estate agent THAT UNDERSTANDS OLD HOUSES AND THE PEOPLE THAT BUY AND RESTORE THEM out and come up with a price that is fair and works for you. Be realistic about offers and be done with the sale as quickly as possible. You do not want to leave an old house on the market for too long or it makes people suspiscious. Worse if you keep dropping the price. Sell the place "as is" and fully disclosing the stuff you have to legally of course. If you don't you will get the buyer from Hell that will try to nickle and dime you for concessions on the dumbest of things. And you may actually find yourself in a situation where the buyers try to hold you responsible long after the sale.

Make sure you are upfront about any landmark status on the house or the neighborhood. I think it great communities have them in place but some buyers seem to act like they were never told about them and then whine about having to comply.

That said, clean, clean, clean and de-clutter for sure but you are already planning on doing this. If the carpeting is in really bad shape or is severely dated, I would pull it up. Make sure you clean up the yard too so people can see the property. Scoop out the gutters so they are not overflowing if it rains.

One thing that helps sell old houses is anything you can share about the history, chain of ownership, construction and past renovations, and so forth. If your library archivist or planning office has old photos or drawings see if you can get copies to go in the sales book for the house.

Good luck to you! It sounds like a lovely old house with some good project potential for someone.

Last edited by user1007; 06-15-2012 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:26 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies!
Yes, I understand about not putting a lot of money into it... besides, I don't HAVE much money! I just want to make it presentable to other buyers, not just flippers who want to buy it for less than half price.
It is perfectly livable the way it is. It's a good starter home for a young couple.
They could update things as they can afford to.

HI Danpik, I was making min. wage for years, so I could not afford to do much. Just pay the taxes and try to pay off the mortgage early, and pay for the new roof. Now I am not spending any money on anything I don't need, and I make a little more than min. wage, but less than $9/hr, so I still can't afford to do much. If I don't replace the shower or the 2 floors, I may not have ANY offers at all! See?

Painting, cleaning, replace the shower, and replace the 2 floors is all I really want to do. They are the things that stand out most to me. I will be almost broke after that anyway.

I also spent 2 months last summer/fall on scraping/sanding/priming/painting all 42 of my outside windows and doors.
The yard looks good. The gutters are always empty. I'd say the curb appeal is pretty darn good, better than inside.
The house has a lot of character, hopefully someone will come along that will appreciate it.

Last edited by Sue K 1857; 06-15-2012 at 03:19 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue K 1857 View Post
not just flippers who want to buy it for less than half price.
Flippers do not generally find antique homes appealing and never if they are bound by historical preservation or other ordinances that spot their "under cover of darkness" practices. Old houses involve too much work for flippers and they cannot muck them up with their crappy approach to cheap building materials and tacky appliances and sell them.

However, do not make the mistake of getting overly attached to the idea of who should buy the house at this point.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
I worked on antique homes almost exclusively and would find it annoying if, given your situation you did cheap patch jobs on things. If buying your place I would already be expecting to redo the kitchen and baths so money you put into them would be wasted. I would also be thinking about demolishing the walls to get new wiring, plumbing and insulation in.

Old houses have lots of surprises and people that work on them know this. We don't expect to find everything perfect unless you have done major renovations and then we can be fairly critical and skeptical if they were not done right and look like band-aid cover-ups. Given the shape the house is in, I don't think you will gain a lot sinking money into it. You probably will not get new money back out of it in fact.

So, I guess I agree with the comments so far. Get a real estate agent THAT UNDERSTANDS OLD HOUSES AND THE PEOPLE THAT BUY AND RESTORE THEM out and come up with a price that is fair and works for you. Be realistic about offers and be done with the sale as quickly as possible. You do not want to leave an old house on the market for too long or it makes people suspiscious. Worse if you keep dropping the price. Sell the place "as is" and fully disclosing the stuff you have to legally of course. If you don't you will get the buyer from Hell that will try to nickle and dime you for concessions on the dumbest of things. And you may actually find yourself in a situation where the buyers try to hold you responsible long after the sale.
.....................................
Very good advice...

Basically....any money you put into the house now, you will not get back...

Your house is the kind of thing my wife and I were looking for when we were house shopping....your not going to attract the "Ready to live in" crowd who know nothing about DIY....

Your going to get the couple that wants to restore the house....hence, any improvements you make are of little use to them.

Fix up the front yard. That is low cost but gets them in the door.

Just be mentally prepaired that it will take awhile to sell....hence, a good reason for not putting money into it.

BTW....on that shower...if there is a tub in the same bathroom...the smart thing would be to just remove the shower. Our bathroom had both a shower and tub....due to extensive sub floor damage from the leaking shower...we yanked it out and left if out...gained lots of space in the bathroom and adjacent bedroom. Maybe suggest that to prospective buyers and it might really perk up their interest even more....enough so to overlook the rust.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
Very good advice...


BTW....on that shower...if there is a tub in the same bathroom...the smart thing would be to just remove the shower. Our bathroom had both a shower and tub....due to extensive sub floor damage from the leaking shower...we yanked it out and left if out...gained lots of space in the bathroom and adjacent bedroom. Maybe suggest that to prospective buyers and it might really perk up their interest even more....enough so to overlook the rust.
True. Chances are, behind an old shower like that, there is damage to the subfloor and the walls, which has implications for the rest of the bathroom. THere is no way to remediate this type of thing easily or cheaply.
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:30 PM   #10
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My house is not in the historic district of our town. That is a few blocks away.
My neighborhood is a mix of 1985 homes and homes going back to 1895.

Yes, there is a shower and a tub in that 1st floor bathroom. But I am putting in a new shower soon. I'm sick of not having a shower. (The upstairs bathroom has only a tub.)
The shower is only 32 x 32, so leaving it out won't gain much space.

I'm going to check under the carpet for floor damage soon. Hope it's not bad.
When I look at that area with a flashlight from the basement, I don't see any damage at all.


Last edited by Sue K 1857; 06-15-2012 at 05:03 PM.
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