The Mind of a Seller

So we’re moving

This seems like a very appropriate place to discuss some of the things that are going through our minds as we prepare to sell our current home and buy a new home in a new city… Interestingly, my knowledge of “good” improvements to make is very limited and probably much closer to the typical home owner than an experienced real estate agent. With that in mind, I’m going to throw a bunch of ideas against the wall and see what sticks.

So where to start?

[photopress:tree_house.jpg,thumb,alignright]We have a wonderful Tudor in North Seattle that we’re going to be selling. The home is not perfect, but it has some features that make is pretty darn desirable (Good size, big backyard, a good school district, great access to Downtown, great neighbors, etc). However, it is an old home, so I’m thinking that we could add some value and make the house more “marketable” if we made a few improvements.

Here are some of the potential improvements that come to mind.


  • Elimination of old wiring. There are some remnants of the original knob-and-tube wiring in the house. As far as our inspector could tell when we moved into the house (two-and-a-half years ago), the old wiring only supplied power to one light in the attic. I have no idea what it would cost to simply eliminate this wiring, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t be much if combined with some additional electrical work. My guesstimate for the cost: $1000.
  • Ground the computer room. At some point, someone went through and grounded the outlets in the kitchen. I think it would be good to do something similar in the computer room (which is very close to the kitchen and directly above the electrical panel which is located in the basement). My guesstimate for the cost: $1000.

New Appliances:

  • [photopress:dishwasher.JPG,thumb,alignright]Dish Washer. There is a small dishwasher in the kitchen which as never worked. It definitely get electricity and water, so I’m thinking we simply would need to find another (small) dishwasher that fits in this space. I see this as an improvement that makes the house more “acceptable” rather than one that really adds value. My guesstimate for the cost: $500 to buy and install.


  • New Windows. We’ve got single pane windows throughout the house. They’re really old, more than half of them are painted shut, and cold air leaks in through cracks on many of them. Would we be best off fixing these before we sell? My guesstimate for the cost: $10,000.


  • Refinish Wooden Floors. The wooden floors through the living room and hallways have potential to really shine should we refinish them. My guesstimate of the cost: $2000.


  • Finish Basement. Our basement (which includes a separate bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, game room and utility room) has been 95% finished. However there is one wall that needs to be finished (i.e. add drywall) and I think a few other small projects (like adding a door to the closet in the bedroom) could make a big difference in making it feel “finished”. My guesstimate for this cost: $2000

Of course there are some other things on our mind as we get ready to sell:

  • Contractors? Would it be better to hire specialists for each of these jobs (i.e. contract with a window replacement firm, an electrician, etc) or just hire one contractor?
  • List in the MLS. Of course, Anna would list the house under her name, so we will really only be paying 3% of the typical 6% fee if we listed the home in the MLS. But do we really need to even go there? I’m telling Anna that we need to put the home on the auction site I installed on the back-end of Rain City Guide, but she’s not ready to be that “innovative”. 🙂
  • Time. We’d obviously like to get everything done relatively soon. My hope is that we can complete the improvements we decide to make relatively soon, but that is probably asking too much…

Also, if you are, or know of, a contractor interested in this high visibility project, definitely feel free to contact me.

I think my next post will be “The Mind of a Buyer” where I talk about some of the things that is going through our minds as we look to buy a home in a new city. Either way, look for frequent updates on our move.