Monday, March 15, 2010

Paper on Walls, Popcorn on Ceilings, Ugh!

It took me two full days, but the condo’s wallpaper is history. I didn’t have to use the wallpaper steamer because the paper came off fairly easily. A steamer is a handy thing to own or rent when walls have not been properly prepped before papering. 

The papered bathroom. In a staged home, wallpaper needs to get gone,
because everyone's  taste is different and because styles change with time.
Mr. Lucky and I once bought a house with wallpaper in every room, so we bought a steamer on eBay for what it would cost to rent one for a day.   Removing old wallpaper is a nasty job, something I hope you won’t have to do.

Does this wallpaper steamer make my butt look big?  I'm taking
away layers of paper from plaster walls in this 2002 photo. 

Ceilings the Limit

Another nasty, nasty job is removing popcorn texture from ceilings. That’s what Mr. Lucky has been working on. Once renovation begins, one thing leads to another.

We needed to fix the loose drywall tape around the ceiling edges, but doing so would have ruined the popcorn texture, so we had two choices -- add crown mold to cover the repairs, or remove all the popcorn.

We decided that since adding crown mold would cost money for materials and labor, while removing the popcorn would be our own labor only, we chose the smooth ceiling route. I say “our” but to be accurate I should say “his,” referring to Mr. Lucky’s labor.   

Who doesn’t hate those cottage cheese ceilings? Builders blow it on because it’s cheaper than perfectly finishing the ceilings.  It hides all flaws of mediocre drywall finishing. We liked the fact that smooth ceilings would be a selling point.

We have to remember that local realtors know what this unit has looked like for the past year. We want the changes we make to be obvious. Wooing the brokers is part of staging’s job.

Financing Made too Easy

We’ve decided to open a Lowe’s Project Account, something we’ve never done before.  Here’s how it works. We’re approved for a certain limit, in our case, $8,000, which is more than enough to finance our renovations. We need to open the account with a single purchase that amounts to at least $1,000, and then we’re able to make purchases in any amount and pay only 1% of the total for six months. At the end of six months, the usual credit card terms apply.  

We’re so optimistic that the property will sell before the six month period ends that we’re willing to take the small risk that we might end up paying interest on an amount that could total $6,000. In a worse case scenario, we could afford the payments, based on our projected profits and ordinary household cash flow.

I don’t know if I would recommend this approach to financing for everyone, but we felt comfortable with the arrangement.

Initial Purchases

So, we picked out a new electric smoothtop range, a combination microwave and exhaust fan, our laminate countertops for the kitchen (cut to our specs) and two vanity tops with built-in sinks. We also ordered a sliding patio door to replace the double doors leading to the deck which presently hold fogged glass.

Ordering all these items met Lowe’s $1,000 opening purchase requirement, and it will all be delivered at once, next week.  

It was cheaper to replace the doors to the deck with new ones than it was to simply replace the fogged glass. We learned this when we received the quote from a local glass company after they came to measure the problem doors and window. The window is a different story. It will cost $316 to replace both panes, but that will give buyers a crystal clear view of the water, and that's a selling point!

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