The ultimate goal was to get my parents’ 1,700-square-foot ranch house empty, fixed up and on the market by the end of March. I had a lot to do in four weeks.
I called my good friend Bill Wood who owns a couple dozen rental houses and has a real estate license. Bill said if we updated the place and didn’t overspend, we’d net as much as $50,000 more and sell faster. Here’s what we did:
Walls and ceilings: The flowered wallpaper was cozy and right for its time. But today’s buyers want a fresh, neutral palette. We stripped the paper, re-textured the walls and painted them beige, and painted the doors and trim white. We also scraped the “cottage cheese” finish off the ceilings. Total cost: paint, removal of wallpaper, scrape ceilings, $7,150.
Floors: The floors were a patchwork of colors and types, so I had all the flooring torn out. We installed engineered wood laminate, 4-inch planks of Antique Teak in the entry, living room, family room, kitchen and laundry. We put a low-pile carpet in a light shade in the bedrooms and tiled the two bathroom floors. We replaced the baseboards with 4-inch moldings painted white. Laminate, carpet, baseboards, $3,835; tile, $106
Kitchen and bath: To spiff up the dark grainy wood cabinets and crusty bronze hardware, we sanded and painted them and replaced the old hardware with brushed nickel. We replaced the Formica counter with tile, put in new nickel faucets and towel bars, and replaced sinks and toilets in both baths. In the master bath, we traded out a rickety glass and aluminum door to the commode with café doors.
We swapped the large fluorescent kitchen light for six can lights and the brass bathroom light fixture for one in brushed nickel. Total cost: Can lights, $175; bathroom light, $100; bath counters, $150; bath sinks, $80; two nickel faucets, $60; towel bars, $40; two toilets, $196; café doors, $150; stovetop vent hood, $240.
Windows: We left the wood-paned windows undressed, which let in light and garden views. Over the aluminum windows, we hung 2-inch white wood blinds. Total cost: wood blinds, $695.
Other miscellaneous costs: ground fault interrupter-protected outlets, $40; new wall plates throughout, $40; a handyman for six days, $1,200.