24 June 2010

Selling Roberts Court

Our house on Roberts Court - Spring 2010

We first started marketing our house on Roberts Court for sale by owner on the FSBO Madison site in March 2010. On April 18, I signed a listing contract to put the house for sale on the MLS. The listing agent, Bill Lorge of Badger MLS, set the price. We thought the price was high and dropped it within the first week. The US First Home Buyer's credit was set to expire 30 April. We had showings all through April. We heard that Buyer's are expecting new cabinets in the bathroom. We also heard that we were "overpriced". We agreed with both comments, so we dropped the price again, however this time we felt we were really close to being priced "correctly". Then came up with a plan to have the bathroom remodeled.

We took the house off the market at the end of May so we could get the bathroom remodeled. We also determined to get the house appraised so we would know it's value. Besides, we did not receive any showing requests after April 30, after the credit expired.

The refinished stairs.

When I questioned Real Estate Agents what price they thought the house should be, I kept hearing a number that sounded a lot like the Assessed Value of our house. Suddenly I realized, the market in Madison believes the assessed value (or below) is what the market value of the house should be! No wonder we weren't getting any serious interest! Our asking price is $40K above the City's assessed value! My thesis was confirmed by a Realtor who ran the numbers based on sales data for Madison.

I called the City Assessor's office to determine what could be done to get the house reassessed. It turns out I missed the "deadline" - a deadline I was not notified of as my assessment was left unchanged - to have the house reassessed in 2010.

With this new understanding, we decided not to continue to market the house for sale until the assessment more closely reflects the appraised value.

We received the bank's appraisal yesterday. Our asking price was $4000 over the appraised value. We were right on!

Maybe we'll sell the house on Roberts Court next year......

06 June 2010

Home Improvements - March, April, and June 2010

Kitchen "before" - this is our rollaway dishwasher (where the cabinet was installed later)

With Spring quickly approaching, we had to get the house ready to be shown and hopefully sold.

I scraped all the paint off the woodwork in the kids room. Then stained and varnished it. When the floors and stairs were refinished on the 2nd floor, they also stained the new oak railing to match.

Kitchen with new built in dishwasher, new range fan, and counter tops.

We hired an excellent carpenter, Bob Reger, to complete all home improvements. We bought an under counter dishwasher, which Bob installed. This was the first built in dishwasher in this house. We moved the cabinet that was taken out to the other side of the kitchen. Then we bought new granite laminate counter tops to extend over the new area. Finally we bought a new stainless steel hood fan for over the stove. Now our kitchen is all stainless steel.

Living room color before repainted.

Bob also repaired the fence next to the house that had begun to sag and dug a couple of fence posts to complete the installation of the fence in the backyard.

I painted the living room off white after being a brilliant green for several years. I bought some oak trim and stained it. Bob took down the plastic trim and put up the new oak. The living room looks great.
Living room color and trim after repainted.

I painted the master bedroom, Clara's bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen, and two walls of the kids bedroom.

I created an ad to sell the house on FSBO Madison dot com in mid-March 2010. By April 18, I held my first open house. The next day, I listed the house on the Multiple Listing Service. After every showing, I called the Realtor and asked for feedback. I heard that the bathroom cabinets needed an update.

Once the April 30 deadline for the Home Buyer's Tax credit passed, the Realtors stopped calling. On May 20, we decided to pull the house from the MLS and get the bathroom remodeled. We hired Cyndi from the Cabinet Shop to design the layout for the new cabinets.
Bathroom before remodel - these cabinets were made from "scrap wood". I found an old schoolroom wood desk for the floor.

Bob Reger took out the old cabinets and tore down 2 walls on Tuesday June 1. I moved rubble to the neighbors trash cans. Larger cabinet pieces I dropped off at the City of Madison Recycling center. The ordered cabinets arrived June 2. The new walls were built. The new electrical outlets installed. Over the weekend, I stuffed the blown insulation I saved from the two walls we removed into the new wall. I primed. The cabinets went in on June 11, the last day of school. I painted on June 12. Bob Reger was diagnosed with lung cancer on June 10 but he came back to finish our job.
Bathroom Remodel completed June 12, 2010

March Trip to the Wisconsin Dells

The Wilderness Moose mascot with Neo. March was the beginning of Spring Break season (our kids Spring Break was in April).

Tristan on the edge of the ice and snow covered Lake Delton in March 201o

I had promised to tell the story of our trip to the Wisconsin Dells in March 2010. We rented a condo at The Wilderness. We have stayed at The Wilderness hotel before. It's a large water park hotel, golf course, condos, health spa, etc. Wisconsin Dells is well known for the number of water parks - in hotels and stand alone. It's a travel destination, especially in the summer.

Zoe and Neo at the water park. The older kids were sliding down dark tubes where I couldn't take pictures. Even Neo got to go down some tall, winding, dark tunnels on a family sized inner tube. He loved it!

One of the attractions there is the Tommy Bartlett Water Ski show on Lake Delton - an attraction that has been running for at least 20 years. In 2008, Lake Delton, a man made lake, flooded over and took a couple of houses down on it's way out. The News video of the day is very dramatic! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0bVsSWXG-I Here's the clip on YouTube.

Several ducks hung around the condo on Lake Delton

The Wilderness Condo is located along the shore of Lake Delton. The lake was recreated. There were signs every where that announced "new water".

Neo helping me grill out at the condo

We really enjoyed our stay, not just for the hotel water parks and game room, but also the jacuzzi tub in the condo and walks along the lake. The weather was unusually mild - into the 70s - generally March in Wisconsin is 30s/40s and gray. We even used the grill at the condo for a cook out.

In the kids room at the condo, enjoying pizza and kid shows on cable TV - cartoon network

Zoe and Neo in the black light, 3D mini golf. There were a few Nurse Sharks in a tank in there.

Copacabana hotel - another one at the Wisconsin Dells - had to take the picture because the kids went to school at Copacobana in Australia.