My client Sharon has been getting ready to move into her new house. It's a nice old house in Asheville with a lot of great features, but there was one thing that bothered her: the doors were kind of cheesy. They were those plain hollow-core doors that are so easy to accidentally knock a hole into. I replaced them with heavy doors made from real wood, and I think it adds a note of distinction. (Click any picture to enlarge.)
She also had an interesting space in her attic that wasn't going to use. It's too short to stand up in (at least for my six-foot self) but with the addition of a few bookshelves and a legless table, it makes a great little place to escape to with a book.
One of my new clients, a nice lady named Sharon, recently moved into a new home here in Asheville and needed a place for her cats to play. She didn't feel comfortable letting them roam the neighborhood, but she wanted them to have access to the fresh air, so she commissioned me to build this cat condo:
The kitties can enter through a cat door which has been inset into the window on the second story. There's also an access door at the bottom right in case she need to get in to clean. The condo is surrounded by chicken wire to keep the cats in while retaining the view. The cats can move around the tower by jumping down the shelves.
See the ivy growing to the right of the tower? Sharon plans to let the ivy grow partly up the tower. This will give the cats some shade in the summer time, and I'm sure they'll still be able to peer out around it.
This was a really fun project, and I hope I get the chance to build another one.
Here's my last thought in my series for home sellers...
Last time my wife and I sold our house, the buyer asked my wife, “What is your favorite thing about living here?” She answered, “I really like my neighbor Wayne who lives next door. He’s a good friend of mine.”
That was a very true answer; she and ol’ Wayne are good pals. But later she kicked herself; she said she should have mentioned the view, or the light off the river, or something else the buyer could appreciate. On the other hand, now the buyer knows about her great neighbor. Maybe they’ll be friends, too.
As you’re getting ready to sell your house, think about it from the buyer’s perspective. Make a few lists in answer to these questions:
It’s also wise to consider what time of day is best for showing your house. Does the sun shine in through the windows in the morning and blind you? Is the patio nicest in the evening?
Another important thing to keep in mind is how your house will look in photos. Is there a special view the Realtor should take a picture of? I would even go so far as to take a few photos myself. After all, you are home in all kinds of weather and at all times of day. You can get a good shot of the house in the fresh winter snow, or among the great autumn foliage, or overlooking the sunset view.
Don’t rely on your Realtor to pick out the best features in your home; do a little brainstorming of your own. After all, you’re the property owner, and you know your house best.
One of my favorite things is helping Asheville property owners get their houses ready to sell.
Give me a call to find out more.
I’ve talked about things you can do for yourself when preparing your house for sale, but some jobs are just too big to take on alone. Since I’m a handyman here in the Asheville area, I thought I’d offer a list of 6 ways a guy like me can help you get your house ready for sale.
1) A Walk-Through. This is probably the best service you can get from a good handyman: a walk-through of your home to help you decide what needs to be fixed. Even if you don’t hire a handyman, get a friend to walk through the house with you to make a checklist of things to fix up or clean before you put it on the market. You need someone who can look at your house with a detached eye and see the things you overlook from habit. After all, your buyer will see the house for the first time, and they will see many things you no longer notice.
2) Fixing Holes and Repainting. It’s easy enough to touch up the paint on your house, but if your walls have lots of little holes and dents, you might want to call in a professional to patch over all the little blemishes. Professional painters are also faster and neater than many amateurs, which makes a difference when you’re in a hurry to get your house ready to sell.
3) Patching Your Floor. If you’re planning to replace or repair the flooring in a large area, it’s best to call in a flooring specialist; but specialists often don’t want to do small jobs. For example, if you’ve got an older hardwood floor, you’ve probably noticed that it’s getting worn in high-traffic areas such as the spot just in front of the door. Replacing bits of flooring takes skill if you want to do it seamlessly, so hire it out to a handyman.
4) Replacing Faucets, Door Knobs and Locks. If you’re handy with a screwdriver or a pair of pliers, and you can read directions, you can probably replace these items yourself. But this kind of work can seem intimidating, especially with the more complicated locks. That’s when you should call a handyman.
5) Touching Up the Tub. You may not realize it, but your house is constantly in motion—very limited motion—due to changes in humidity and temperature. One thing that often moves a little bit is your bathroom wall; this often leaves an ugly little gap between the tub and the wall. Get your handyman to refresh the caulk line and brighten up the bathtub.
6) Replacing Appliances, Light Fixtures and Ceiling Fans. I’m not a huge fan of new appliances—those fancy electronic models seem to require more repairs than the old ones—but many home buyers like to see an updated kitchen and laundry area. Our local “big box” hardware store no longer offers appliance installation, so unless you can install your new fixtures yourself, you’ll need to call a handyman or appliance specialist.
This is really just a short list of the many ways a good handyman can help you. As I mentioned in the beginning, the most important thing you can get from a handyman is a fresh set of eyes to see what your house might need in order to look its best.
Need a little help making your “to do” list? If you’re in Asheville, give me a call.
I’ve talked about things you can buy to improve your curb appeal, but you don’t have to spend a dime to make your house buyer-ready. In fact, this is a great time for Elbow Grease.
Here are 12 exterior details you should clean up before you sell your house:
1) The yard. Mow the lawn, rake the leaves, and sweep the dirt off the sidewalks. But you already knew that.
2) Your siding. Does your house have dirt or mold on its siding? Now is the time to scrub it. If you can’t do it with elbow grease, get it pressure-washed.
3) Bee nests. You don’t want your potential buyers to be racing away from your house while desperately swatting at the wasps they disturbed when they opened the back door, do you? Now is the time to check for surprises.
4) Cobwebs. Not only should you get rid of active infestations, but you should also clean up any other debris under the eaves and in windowsills, such as cobwebs or abandoned nests.
5) Outdoor lights. These are magnets for dead bugs, aren’t they? Clean up those lights and make them shine. Dust off the blades on your porch fan while you’re at it.
6) Porch furniture. You’re probably past the age where you keep a stuffed easy chair on the porch (although I confess I would still do it if my wife would let me get away with it.) But is your porch furniture clean? Maybe it’s time to scrub or repaint it.
7) Doodads. Just as you want to reduce interior clutter, you should keep the doodads to a minimum. Pink flamingos and whirligigs are great, but their appeal is not universal.
8) The carport. Somehow junk always seems to pile up in a carport, but unlike garages, carports don’t hide the things within them. If possible, keep your carport completely empty. Let your buyers park there.
9) Moss on the roof. Unless you are a hobbit, you really shouldn’t have moss on the roof. It grows into the shingles and decays them. If you have a lot of moss on the roof, it’s probably time to re-roof your house. If there’s just a little moss, you can kill it with a solution of equal parts bleach and water. (Be careful not to get bleach on yourself or your shrubs).
10) Under the house. Your buyers might not look under your house, but their home inspector certainly will. Clean out any debris and make it accessible. Better yet, lay down fresh plastic underlayment if it’s within your budget.
11) Windows. Some say the eyes are the windows of the soul, but I might add that windows are the eyes of the house. Wash the windows and their sills, even on the upper stories if you can.
12) Window wells. If your basement has windows with “wells” to keep out debris, make sure they are cleaned out.
As you prepare to sell your house, take a long look at the outside. Make sure it looks as fresh and clean as possible. After all, it’s the first thing your buyers will see.
Need help sprucing up? Call your local Asheville handyman.