The Big To-Do List in Order to Sell the House

Now that I’ve decided I’m going to be moving to Auburn (actual date TBD), the time has come to get things in order at my little Ugg-Duck and prepare to sell it.

I can’t say it’s not bittersweet.  I’ve lived in this house for just over four years now, and only threw one party shortly after the flooring was installed.  Since then, my ex moved out and being alone changed the game considerably.  It’s kinda been too much of an under-construction mess to entertain ever again (with the exception of the occasional stop-by).  Which both makes me feel like a hermit and like there’s a whole lot of unfinished business in this house.

new house pic

Will I rent in my new city?  Probably at first, but for how long is still undetermined.  Maybe I can even find a property owner who likes the idea of having me work on some cosmetic upgrades ;)  But before I can even truly afford to move there, I have to free up the dollars and cents that I’m currently spending on a mortgage back in Atlanta.  Which means getting the house in “good enough” shape to sell (plus getting rid of all of the things I don’t want to move with me).  Putting all of my future planning for bigger changes aside, I’ve whittled down the list to the essentials (using the Wunderlist app on my phone, which made it pretty easy to meander around the house and jot down every last detail):

Must-Dos to Get the House Ready to Sell

Exterior
  • Tidy up the front and back yards (pinestraw/cones)
  • New plantings (just for curb appeal)
  • Paint remaining trim*
  • Paint front stoop ceiling (I started painting it haint blue over last summer & never got back around to it… I will just paint it back to match the existing house color)
Stairs + Entryway

new stairs

  • Re-install & paint railing (removed when I first moved in & never put back up)
  • Stain & install the bullnose trim on the top step
  • Finish wall paint (will need scaffolding for this, just borrow from Dad)
  • Add shoe molding to finish off top step area
  • Paint the hall closet baseboards
  • Finish painting the hall closet door
Living Room
  • Paint last corner of the walls (the part I can’t get to right now with the dining room furniture stacked in there while I finish off that room!)
  • Craigslist the couch, coffee table, & side tables (it’s time for a new set anyway, might as well not move with it!)
  • Pack up my TV
  • Pack up the rest of the tree (yes, I may have just ignored this while focusing on the kitchen like a total hillbilly, coughcough)
  • Go through all of my books for donating (no sense carrying the extra weight if I won’t read them twice)
  • Paint & add trim around bow windows (since I added trim to both the kitchen and dining room, it would make the room look odd not to have it)
Dining Room (one of the easiest rooms to complete, IMO)
  • Finish sanding & smoothing the patched drywall*
  • Prime & paint the room above the wainscoting
  • Caulk the shoe molding
  • Hang curtains
  • Find a new light fixture that makes the room look a little more dressed up (the one I bought when I moved in is just soooo wrong for the room).
  • Move the furniture back in
Kitchen

sofa king excited

  • Repair drywall*
  • Prime & paint the walls (color already picked out)
  • Grout remaining tile behind stove
  • Caulk tile & around the window
  • Prime/paint doors & base molding
  • Add threshold transition piece between laminate floor in kitchen & tile in laundry room
  • Add shoe molding around the base cabinets (paint them too)
  • Paint the underside of the upper cabinets white (brings in more light, even without installing under cabinet lighting)
  • Prime & paint old ceiling stain from a leak years ago
  • Install breakfast nook light fixture
  • Finish upper cabinet door paint
  • Install cabinet hardware
  • Re-hang pantry doors
  • Fix sliding glass door track
Laundry Room

LG laundry set

Garage
  • Install missing sheet of drywall (also from that day)*
Powder Room
  • Add some art to make it look more finished off
Guest bedroom
  • Sand & paint patch from electrical work
  • Clear out all of the items not move-worthy
Guest bath

guest bathroom after

  • Finish & paint one corner of drywall I never got around to
  • Fix light fixture (one of the shades broke while trying to reconnect the back end & make it more flush with the wall… basically one fix causing new problems)
  • Paint the back of the bathroom door
  • Add missing piece of base molding near vanity
Office/second guest bedroom (formerly “Study-o” room)
  • Clear out remaining items for move
  • Pack remaining items
  • For selling: shelving unit that will make the room look more “finished”?
Master bedroom
  • Sand & paint patch from electrical work
  • Get rid of broken TV
  • New, more formal light fixture (nix the cheap boob light)
  • Rake & deep clean carpet
  • Stretch & reinstall carpet near bathroom hall
  • Add threshold transition piece between tile in master bath & carpet
  • Paint doors for master closet & bathroom
Master bathroom

tile

  • Spray paint mirror frame
  • Tile floor , grout, seal (tile sitting in kitchen)*
  • Install toilet (sitting in garage)
  • Paint windowsill
  • Add blinds
  • Install baseboard
  • Install vanity (sitting in garage)*
  • Install & hook up sink (part of vanity)*
  • Install & hook up faucet (also sitting in garage)*
  • Clean & repair shower tile

* items I can probably hire help for to speed things along

Fact of the matter is, none of these items by themselves are all that difficult to do, or all that time-consuming.  And the stuff I’ve earmarked for hire are just in the interest of time, not because I don’t think I can tackle them on my own (and knowing that really irks me; it’s a matter of pride).  BUT, when you add them up, it’s quite a lot to do.  And I need to focus on what’s really important (like not dragging on a super-stressful event like moving), which would mean trying not to force myself to be the one to finish ALL THE THINGS.

fence

And of course, I’m going to be a little sad about the things I never got the chance to do, like installing built-ins in the living room (covering the entire span of the wall that separates the living room from the dining room).  Or industrial-looking pipe shelving in the office.  Or a pegboard wall in the breakfast nook (to display all of my pots/pans).  Or build one mega-badass workshop in the garage.  And especially: creating a backyard oasis with a firepit & stepup deck around the trees.

me and charlie

I always knew this house wasn’t going to be my forever home.  I know that in time, I’ll simply look back and say that it was a great first house.  But the realization that I have to say farewell this year is still an unexpected shift.  The house will be an unfinished thing in my memories.  Filled with more potential than the time I had to spend on it.  But then again, there will always be another house.  I can fall in love again.  After all, I saw the potential in this one when I spotted listing photos like this:

living room before 2

And next time, I’ll learn even more.  I may even get a freaking awesome clawfoot tub out of it (something I’ve always wanted but have no room for in the tiny bathrooms in this house).

How about you guys?  What were the things you miss most from a house you used to live in?  What are you glad you left behind?  What if you had to move out of your home this year?  What projects would always be unfinished?

(P.S. EMAIL subscribers: I’m planning on moving you guys over this weekend to a new subscription service.  Feedburner is just kind of a bore.  I am hoping that it goes smoothly, and the email should look a LOT swankier, but I’m going to do my best to make sure it disturbs exactly no one in terms of whether or not they regularly get posts.  So if you find it buggy or something, please let me know and I’ll try to get that resolved asap!)

Comments

  1. says

    We sold our house about 6 months after we finished gutting it and completely redoing it also because of a job offer (in Fl vs MA). Part of the reno included taking out an in ground pool and building an amazing deck and we never actually got to use it which still makes me sad since we put sooo much work into it. We’re in a bigger/nicer house now with a lot of new projects but I totally get the feeling of having to say a quick goodbye.

  2. says

    I think I hit on this in my last comment. We had our dream home on 64 acres in the Blue Ridge Mtns. Yeah…..If I stop and let myself think about it (because it could make me sad but I know everything about our move was for the better) the rolling hills, the cows and barn across the way, our chickens, the absolutely stunning house with all timeless top notch work, the mtn. top school with only 62 total students for k-5, the people. What do I not miss? The amazing, huge house that would take more money than we had to furnish and keep up, the wood wrap around porch that needed upkeep of time and money we didn’t have. More? Watching my husband try to mow part of that 64 acres (most wooded so about 5-7 acres grass/field?) on major hills, hoping he didn’t die like the man many generations before on that land (who was buried in the family plot on our land). I don’t miss the small school–as great as it was, in a very good school system. My daughter was one girl in a class of ten. Yeah. I miss the beauty of the land and the people. I am very content and happy with where we are now. We were meant to be here. Life is good. This is part of your journey…life will be good–perhaps great. :)

  3. says

    it’s an overwhelming thought to get every title thing done. but, if you end up not getting to it, just know you did your best. that’s what happened with us. we had an ambitious list and didn’t get to all of it, but we ended up selling our hours in just a few days for asking. good luck to you!

  4. says

    I love the list you put together. I love lists :) If you stack construction and installation together and then plan it with the paint prep and paint jobs you can work on the first two during drying times of the last two to make it go faster. If you want to :). That is how I am tackling our master reno at the moment. Congrats on the new job.
    I did a tally while I was reading. I would love to know your own time estimate.

  5. Cat says

    Don’t think about your house as being something unfinished in your memory. It will be finished and you will be able to stand back and see from whence you came with lots of pride. It will make it even sweeter when you get the ca-ching you want for it. Life is like a book. You hope to finish the book but sometimes you just have to start a new one. This is your time for new beginnings. Not too many people can do that. Proud of what you have done and will be equally as proud of what you will accomplish in the future.

  6. Carla says

    Dang girl…I’m tired for you! I’ve got the same kind of list, but I’m not going anywhere so no deadline for me!

    I’m on my 5th house, but the two things I miss most are from my 2nd and 3rd. From the second, freakishly deep built ins that could store way more crap than I needed, but they were so, so nice! From the third, the backyard that was carefully planned and hired out to install. It was pretty for the short time I was there, but it really has grown in to its own the last 5 years. (I can spy it when I drive by!)

    P.S. I, too, HATE hiring things out when I know I can do them myself.

  7. Guerrina says

    I miss my grandparents home – I could see the ocean from the front yard. I miss the first house bought when I was married because it was about 3200 sq.ft.! I now live in 1280 sq. ft. I get stubborn, too, about the things I know I could do rather than pay for, but in your situation, moving as quickly as possible seems the productive route!

  8. says

    I’ll be moving out of my house this year. I too bought it a little over four years ago. I had a lot of big plans for this house, but none of them were completed, and it makes me feel pretty awful. The guy I bought the house with bailed, and my roommate after him started a bunch of projects but didn’t finish them, so now the house is in an unsell-able state of disrepair. I bought the house thinking I’d live here forever, but that story is ending a bit sadly.

  9. Lisa Welsh says

    I, too, have been renovating the first house I bought on my own. It has been an amazing experience. Overwhelming, stressful, satisfying, confusing, and never ending. Travel nursing has allowed me to leave my projects behind, living without the daily reminders of what needs to be done and my frustration of not getting it all done, and income to afford to finish them upon my return. The next 5 weeks I will be doing what you are doing, completing my “lists” and hiring a realtor to sell my place. I don’t have to sell it, but it would make me happy if someone could enjoy this home, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, while I continue my travels, unencumbered. We shall see. Good luck to you. You are an inspiration to this new DIYer. : )

  10. says

    I haven’t commented since you wrote about your new job and big move. I think it’s very cool and a great opportunity for you. There is nothing like a new adventure. Life is like that elephant I wrote about some time ago. It comes in small bites.

    Your list is probably overwhelming. A good realtor can help you prioritize what’s important to help you sell your the house. The low priority items are made up of expenses that will never go back in your wallet. Inexpensive things like paint make a big difference. Although the toilet bowl missing from your master bath would be helpful…

    When I sold my last house, I worked like a madman to get things done. Then I realized that I needed to give the next owner some things to do too. So I relaxed and took care of the important things.

  11. says

    Oh I totally get you! We are doing the same thing. We have a list and I’ve had to knock a few things off – from what I want to do vs. what needs to be done. It’s so hard to let go of things when you had a vision for how you wanted it. just focus on “finishing this means I can go to my dream job” has helped me. I also listened to the audio book ‘You are a badass’ by Jen Sincero- its the best self help book ever that doesnt seem self helpy. Very motivating! We’re just a few projects away from putting ours on the market! Good luck :)

  12. Sarah In Illinois says

    I lived in what I thought was my dream home for 11 years. It was an old farm house that needed LOTS of tlc. I sold it and moved in with my boyfriend a year ago and I thought that I would miss my old house a lot more than I do. It was just way more than a single girl with my income could tackle. Now that I have the chance to work on a house with a lot less serious issues and with the privilige of double income it makes diy MUCH MORE enjoyable. And even makes me more excited that this is not our forever home and I can’t wait to see what the future brings!

    I hope that you won’t miss the Ugg Duck for too long and I can’t wait to see where the future takes you!

  13. says

    Congratulations on your new adventure! I am sure that the Ugg Duck will always have a special place in your heart, but you are going to have a lot of fun fixing up another place. I look forward to seeing what you do before you leave and what you will do when you arrive in your new abode.

  14. Molly says

    Hello! Thanks to a random Google search, I just found your blog, and I have to say… I. LOVE. YOU. I love your sense of humor, your posts, your information… EVERYTHING. My husband and I have tossed around the idea of creating a blog full of sarcasm and honesty and hilarity, and yours is exactly what we’ve been wanting to become. Thank you for making this blog, and for posting the progress of your home! I love your writing so much! :)

  15. says

    Oh girl. I am pretty much in the same boat as you right now. My bf got a new job in Portland, and I’m hustling to get our home ready to sell. It is sad to not see the house reach the potential you saw in it, but the future is so exciting that it takes the pain away. And I’m really looking forward to keeping the listing pictures (where everything is looking the best it ever will under our ownership) as an awesome reminder of all the love and hard work put into it.

    I’m excited for you (and that someone is going through the same thing at the same time as me) and your new adventure!

    P.S. I linked up to the dueling diy this week, gotta get that kitchen ready!

  16. James Mason says

    The tough thing about finishing all those items to sell the house is when you sit back and look at the finished product and say why didn’t i do all of this sooner….

  17. says

    I’ve been in my home just about 4 years now also and I have a list just like yours, lol. So glad I’m not the only one who never has anyone over because they have a dozen half finished projects going on :).

  18. Adam says

    Sounds like a lot to do! I’m sure it’ll be worth it though. Looking forward to future updates.

  19. says

    This is a great list Sarah even if your not moving. However big changes in life can be the kick in the butt we need to get more done in the time we have. Thank you for the good ideas.

  20. says

    Your list of things you need to get done is quite a long list! Just reading it, is daunting to me. Good luck and I’ll definitely check back in to see your progress. I’m impressed already:).

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy: I love comments, especially if they make me laugh. Feel free to let your words of wisdom and humor fly (there's no swear jar on this blog), but if you're overly spammy, rude, or just plain boring, you're just going to have to accept that your comment may not see the light of day.