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Preparing a house for market - frugally?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

We are planning to sell our house at some point (between now and a year from now, hopefully). 

 

We've already done some major decluttering and organizing, as well as some interior painting. 

 

Obviously, I don't want to sink a ton of money into this house. Our house is good and solid, but it is small and very typical and does not have any high-end fixtures, charm, etc. It would be considered a starter home in our area and is worth between $190 and $200K.

 

My first question is about our hot water heater. It's from 1998 but is still working fine. However, I've been told by our HVAC guy and our plumber that it won't last much longer and could make a mess out of our (unfinished) basement when it dies. Their quotes ranged from $750 to $850. Is this worth replacing before selling the house? 

 

I'm also wondering about more minor things. For example, I just decluttered the two small closets in our master bedroom. I'm storing the items I want to keep in mismatched plastic bins and cardboard boxes. They're arranged neatly on the shelf. However, I think the closet would look even better with matching, decorative storage containers on the shelf, instead. So the question is: do I spend money on that kind of stuff? 

 

Any and all frugal home preparation tips are appreciated! I am planning to post pictures of each room for advice once I have everything "ready."

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by taubel View Post

We are planning to sell our house at some point (between now and a year from now, hopefully). 

 

We've already done some major decluttering and organizing, as well as some interior painting. 

 

Obviously, I don't want to sink a ton of money into this house. Our house is good and solid, but it is small and very typical and does not have any high-end fixtures, charm, etc. It would be considered a starter home in our area and is worth between $190 and $200K.

 

My first question is about our hot water heater. It's from 1998 but is still working fine. However, I've been told by our HVAC guy and our plumber that it won't last much longer and could make a mess out of our (unfinished) basement when it dies. Their quotes ranged from $750 to $850. Is this worth replacing before selling the house? 

 

I'm also wondering about more minor things. For example, I just decluttered the two small closets in our master bedroom. I'm storing the items I want to keep in mismatched plastic bins and cardboard boxes. They're arranged neatly on the shelf. However, I think the closet would look even better with matching, decorative storage containers on the shelf, instead. So the question is: do I spend money on that kind of stuff? 

 

Any and all frugal home preparation tips are appreciated! I am planning to post pictures of each room for advice once I have everything "ready."

 

Thanks!


We were advised to change out our hot water heater and didn't since it still worked.  As we were about to go out of town for a wedding for the weekend, I noticed our water pressure was low and was cold.  Ran down to the basement and.....water everywhere.  Huge mess.  Luckily we weren't gone for several days or I don't know how bad the damage would have been.  I would definitely change it.  You probably won't gain anything on the sale of the house, but at least you won't have a huge mess on your hands right before a showing.  If there are water marks from it, people will be suspicous that you have a "wet basement."  That seems to be one of the number one things that scares buyers off. 

 

As far as the closets, I think it is a toss up.  If you have the money to do it easily, I would.  If not, I wouldn't worry about it at all.  Good luck! 
 

 

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

We were advised to change out our hot water heater and didn't since it still worked.  As we were about to go out of town for a wedding for the weekend, I noticed our water pressure was low and was cold.  Ran down to the basement and.....water everywhere.  Huge mess.  Luckily we weren't gone for several days or I don't know how bad the damage would have been.  I would definitely change it.  You probably won't gain anything on the sale of the house, but at least you won't have a huge mess on your hands right before a showing.  If there are water marks from it, people will be suspicous that you have a "wet basement."  That seems to be one of the number one things that scares buyers off. 

 

As far as the closets, I think it is a toss up.  If you have the money to do it easily, I would.  If not, I wouldn't worry about it at all.  Good luck!  

 

 

 

Great story! I imagined the hot water heater going on a relaxed day when we have lots of time on our hands (and every plumber in town is readily available). But of course it would go on the day before we were going away for the weekend! I think we'll go ahead and replace it.
 

 

post #4 of 6

Maintence things that will follow the house YES, organizational items that only 'look' good for now NO.

 

Water heater, A/c unit, Appliances, Clean carpets, things like that go much further than mis-matching in your packing.  Neat and clean storage is important but honestly, a variety of storage containers is fine.

 

In this market buyers want to know that the home is in good condition.  Things have been repaired or replaced as needed.  Put the money into the 'bones' of the house.

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

Maintence things that will follow the house YES, organizational items that only 'look' good for now NO.

 

Water heater, A/c unit, Appliances, Clean carpets, things like that go much further than mis-matching in your packing.  Neat and clean storage is important but honestly, a variety of storage containers is fine.

 

In this market buyers want to know that the home is in good condition.  Things have been repaired or replaced as needed.  Put the money into the 'bones' of the house.


Outside of something like a water heater that will actually damage your home, I would not put money in appliances, AC, etc at all.  We went through two years trying to sell our house and had three realtors.  They all told us that paying for new AC (ours was literally 20 years old and about to die) was pointless because we'd never get our money out of it...and we didn't. 
 

 

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

I guess there's really no clear answer on what to upgrade/not to upgrade. We already have new windows, new kitchen appliances (purchased over the last three years), and a newer furnace (we put it in 8 years ago). 

 

I'll just continue to try and make the house look as nice as possible. I'm trying to make my closets, storage, etc. about 50% full so it looks like there's more space.

 

And I never realized it before, but a fresh coat of paint really does work wonders.

 

 

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