Covington House

How We Got Our First Home Ready To Sell

By | Covington House, Room Makeovers | 8 Comments

We never planned to put our first home up for sale a few weeks ago, but I am so glad we did. It sold! And in 3 days! So here’s what happened. Our renter notified us that she was planning a move, with May 31 being her last day. We had to make a quick decision–do we rent again or do we try to sell? We made the decision to sell for all the reasons we shared, and thought we could get the place ready in about 30 days. But that 30 days became 12 days, as we were advised to try to beat the doldrums of real estate in July.

12 days was insanity, but we did it. (And we had a lot of help.) Here was our plan:

Our Goals

  • Brighten up (and refresh!) the entire house
  • Fix/replace/repaint “high touch” areas like doors and door knobs
  • Reduce and simplify to make each space seem bigger
  • Make everything at eye level near perfect
  • Show off the light fixtures (because the good ones were staying!)
  • Make the floors and trim shine
  • Add thorough staging with super neutral, “everyone loves it” type of style

The Exterior

  • Powerwashing all the concrete and window sills
  • Replacing all exterior door hardware and locks
  • Landscaping—aka taming the giant jungle that had grown while we had been gone
  • Painting the porch floor and porch rails
  • Painting the front door
  • Painting the awning
  • Painting the back steps
  • “Refacing” the backyard’s chain link fence
  • Fixing the gate (it never closed properly)
  • Staging—plants, planters, etc.

All of that to say, things were looking rough…

I posted about the chipped door hardware on my Instagram stories (@gohausgo) last night. For those of you that have been reading for a long time, that was a project from over 6 years ago. (Holy crap!) Would I spray paint door hardware again? Probably not. It’s one of those DIY projects where the time invested and the end result do not at all equal just buying new. A deadbolt/privacy knob combo for two doors cost just $33 to replace. And no chipping. 🙂

Staging Our House To Sell (In 3 Days!)

I mention “refacing” the backyard’s chain link fence and here it is! The backyard fence is made up of three different fences (our neighbors each have a different style) and the most prominent one is a beat up chain link fence. I had been wanting to cover it up for years—it ended up being so easy! We bought three 16′ rolls of this reed fencing, which cost around $75 and took about two hours to do. We attached the reeds to the fence with brown zip ties.

Staging Our House To Sell (In 3 Days!)

A freshly painted porch… there’s nothing better! For the porch, I used all Sherwin Williams paint colors. Anonymous for the stairs, Tricorn Black for the front door and Shoji White for the railings. Here’s the front of the house when we were all done. I wish I would have painted the metal awnings… they look shabby in this photo, but throughout this entire thing I had to hold myself back. We only wanted to spend so much money (about $5k) to get everything done, so I had to pick the things that had the biggest impact. And we definitely had bigger fish to fry.

Staging Our House To Sell (In 3 Days!)

The Interior

  • Replacing all door hardware
  • Re-hanging the bedroom door
  • New carpet
  • Painting the office—doors, trim, ceiling and walls
  • Replacing the bedroom light
  • Adding a fresh coat of paint to living room walls and trims
  • Painting doors
  • Fixing the bathroom lighting
  • Major deep clean throughout
  • Clean out basement
  • And of course, staging staging staging

I had so much fun with the interior. One of the biggest changes we made inside was to the office. We neutralized the heck out of it! What once was a bold, dark and boldly patterned space with a million different purposes (office, dressing room, second bedroom, etc.) became a simple office space with a single desk and fresh carpet. It was painful to make that change (one of my favorite spaces!) but I was trying to keep my eye on the prize.

Staging Our House To Sell (In 3 Days!)

The bathroom more or less stayed the same, but you may notice one big thing missing—the brass mirror! There’s no way I was going to let that one go–you’d have to pry it out of my cold, dead fingers. We replaced it with a simple black framed mirror from Home Depot. (Also, the vanity color did not change, the lighting is just off here.)

Staging Our House To Sell (In 3 Days!)

Ok, moving on to the bedroom. First off, we downsized the bed and bought a queen bed frame, which fit the space much better than our gigantic king. We also toned down all the bedding and accessories and added a rug to the floor.  Most of the furniture was also removed (like that IKEA dresser), so only the bed and a chair in the corner remained. It’s a small house, so the less packed it felt, the better.

The bed frame was awesomely inexpensive—it’s this one from AllModern.

Staging Our House To Sell (In 3 Days!)

Same thing in the kitchen—removed most of the color and simplified. I tried to forego a lot of big rugs overall (although I did manage to sneak one in the bedroom) because I was trying to show off the floors. Plus, for whatever reason, rooms without rugs always seem bigger.

Staging Our House To Sell (In 3 Days!)

And finally, the living room. My version was always a little wack-a-doo (in a way that I loved), so I needed something a little safer. And also way less furniture. I used our old CB2 Lubi daybed to act as a couch, and purchased an accent chair to finish off the space. We added some oversized generic art last, which tied in with the blue pillows below.

Staging Our House To Sell (In 3 Days!)

It was a very exciting 12 days. We relied on an outside handyman to do a lot of the heavy lifting, which was the only way we were able to finish as fast as we did. Best decision we ever made, plus freed me up to spend my last maternity leave days with my main man Otto. It felt like such a big risk at the time, not knowing when/how fast it would sell, but now that we’re on the other side we can see we did the right thing. We still haven’t closed (scheduled for the end of this month) so I’m still holding my breath a bit, but overall, I’m feeling at peace in ending this big chapter of our lives.

I’m skipping over a lot of the heavy work here—all the DIYs and projects and spray painting (so much spray painting)—mainly because it’s almost 1 am and I’m tired! And at the same time, I’m also just sort of done talking about this house? My current house needs so much love and I haven’t been able to work on it as much as I would like, so a lot of my excitement comes from a renewed opportunity to freshen up our current space. And lordy, it needs it!

Also, staging is super fun. I would totally do that as a full-time job! The schlepping seems like a drag, but getting to makeover several rooms over a few days? Count me in on that instant gratification goodness. I’m just glad I had most of the decor and furniture on hand to make it all happen. See, I knew there was a reason for my hoard. 😉