1 of 52 – 52 Things To Do Now & Increase Resale Value Later

Every Friday I post an idea or project to enhance your house now with an eye to selling down the road someday.

When I walk through houses on listing appointments, I always – always – hear, “we meant to fix that, replace that, update that, change that for years  – or since we moved in.” It’s easy for what-ever-it-is to become background noise and suddenly it’s 10 years later and what-ever-it-is has never been done.

So on Fridays I’ll post “52 things to do now that will improve your resale value/chances later.” Why do them now? Because you’ll enjoy your house more. Let’s face it – if you don’t do it now, you’ll pay for it later – either because you’ll have to do it as part of your preparing the house for sale, or if you don’t do it at all, you’ll pay for it in your sales price. (Tip: buyers always discount a problem more than it actually costs to fix.) Why not enjoy the benefits of your labor now? What is the second most-common comment I hear when I list properties -after the prep work has been done to put the house on the market? “I wish we’d done this a long time ago -we love it!”

#1 of 52 – Remove that wallpaper 1) you’ve hated since the day you moved in, or 2) looks like hell.

I can’t tell you how many houses I’ve sold with awful wallpaper. The buyer says, “That’s the first thing that’s going!” and 10 years later that wallpaper is still there. It just becomes invisible – a “someday I’ll get to that but right now I have to _________.” Fill in the blank with the activities of your own life. Take the kids to soccer practice. Finish your dissertation. Laundry. You get the picture.

So now is the time to get it done. How many houses have you seen with really awful wallpaper? How much would you discount that house if you had to spend weekends stripping the wallpaper before you moved in? A lot, I’ll tell you.

Note: Wallpaper that looks okay with paintings hanging on the wall usually looks awful once all the personal decor has been taken down. You can see exactly where paintings hung because the wallpaper in that square looks so much cleaner!

This Old House, one of my all-time favorite magazines, don’cha know, has a great video, tips, and shopping list on removing wallpaper and preparing the wall for paint or some other wall treatment.

Time: In 1 hour you can remove 35 to 50 square feet of paper
Cost: $75 for tools and supplies

There is one kind of wallpaper that is really a devil to remove – Grass-cloth wallpaper. I’ve done it – it’s not pretty. But it’s worth it in the long run. Check here for advice on removing grass-cloth.

So, what do you do to the walls once the wallpaper is gone? That’s another topic for another Friday.

© 2011 Susan Pruden

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2 Responses to 1 of 52 – 52 Things To Do Now & Increase Resale Value Later

  1. You are soooooo right. Wallpaper, generally, is a bad decorating decision (IMHO). However, old wallpaper, ugly wallpaper or wallpaper with little rips or peeling from the edges is really bad news.

    First impressions matter a lot. If a buyer walks into a home and sees wallpaper that was cool in 1972 (and has been on the wall since 1972) chances are it’ll be a “No Sale” or low-ball offer to “compensate” for removing the wallpaper later.
    Ken Montville recently posted..Will Housing In The MD Suburbs Ever Recover

    • susanpruden says:

      Yep – wallpaper is probably one of the most “personal” things an owner does. It definitely makes a statement that says “this is MY house”. I have seen wallpaper that works, but it generally works with the current owner’s furnishings. And in the mind of a buyer, it represents a WHOLE lot of hassle!

      Thanks for the comments, Ken!

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