operation sell

as you may (or may not) know, ryan and i put our condo on the market in early january. we’ve owned our condo for almost four years, and as much as we love it and will be sad to leave, it’s time to move on, literally.

our condo is small — about 700 square feet — and while it has worked for us, nowadays we’re really feeling a space crunch and crave something bigger. we are in search of a single family home, still in chicago. one that has three bedrooms and could use some work to make it ours — but not a gut rehab (we did find one that was so great and made an offer. it didn’t work out and then i pouted for a couple days. buying and selling is an emotional roller coaster).

to ensure a sale, we need to get our place in tip top shape and cross things off our to-do list:

1. de-clutter: done! we removed: all picture frames not hanging on the wall, many decorative items (aka “crap” according to ryan) and all non-clear glass serving pieces from atop our fridge and cabinets. it really looked and felt like we were moving, and it was weird, but now we’ve gotten used to it.

2. install new kitchen faucet: done! somehow our less than four-year-old grohe faucet cracked, and we had been living with the leaks for a few months. since we were moving, we purchased a cheap but functional and nice looking faucet. it sat around for a while, but we finally installed it and dare we say, the $30 faucet works better than previous (non-cracked) grohe.

3. fix the neighbor’s porch ceiling: done! one of the largest projects we’ve (ryan and my dad) done is level out the porch and stairs (the coach house building our condo is in was built in 1892. back then they built the porch and stairs with a slant to drain off rain water, as they weren’t originally enclosed like ours is now). in the process of putting in the new flooring our neighbor’s ceiling was stepped through a couple times. not so much a good first impression.

4. repair living room window: not done yet. one of our window panes has a crack that needs to get repaired. luckily the windows are from a place in chicago that can replace just the glass, saving us money. unfortunately, that means having to take out our window for the duration of driving to the store, having them measure the pane, then driving back (and again when the glass is ready). and the average temperature in chicago is 20 degrees or less nowadays. hence the delay.

5. replace building door handle: not done yet. a while back a key was broken off in the door handle lock and is not able to be removed. to prevent more locking out incidents, our ghetto solution was to put tape over the lock twisty thing (technical term), with the goal of buying a new handle eventually. it will happen, some day. maybe. hopefully.

6. replace photos of ourselves with non-people (in the wall hung frames): not done. while i understand the concept of depersonalizing the space to help potential buyers picture themselves living there, we do still have to live there for as long as it takes to sell (and i already removed so many other photos). i did start choosing and editing some photos from our travels to print, but i never actually printed anything. this is a low priority in my eyes.

7. repairing and paint ceilings: done! one of the first changes we made when we moved in was to update the kitchen and living room lighting. the kitchen had a horrible 70’s-ish dome light that we switched out for a three-light fixture from ikea (like this, but with only the middle three. it’s not what i would pick if i was choosing a light now, but it’s a lot better than what was there). and the living room had awful 80’s track lighting that we replaced with a large pendant from cb2. when we replaced the light fixtures you could see where the old fixtures were, especially  the track lighting. we spackled the large holes left from the track lighting, but that was as far as we got to making our ceiling pretty again. after almost four years. until now.

what. a task. painting ceilings suck and painting your entire ceiling at one time sucks even more. luckily it was only 700 square feet (although that’s also why we’re moving). we had never painted a ceiling before, but we figured it was like painting walls, except harder and messier.

we made a trip to home depot to get our supplies: paint, tray liners and another drop cloth (already at home: a drop cloth, two roller frames, various roller covers  and paint brushes). our paint of choice:

ceiling paint
behr premium plus ultra pure white ceiling paint ($25 for a two gallon bucket). when i googled how many square feet a gallon of paint covered, i found “400-450” (so the two gallons should have covered 800-900 sq ft). internet lies! we ended up going back to home depot for another two gallon bucket (of which we used about another half gallon).

on our initial supplies trip to home depot, i examined an edger for 10 minutes, trying to decide if i should purchase. i was skeptical as i’ve tried one before and it sucked, but it was only $5. i could take a chance for $5.

edgerit was a champ! $5 well spent. it wasn’t perfect, but it saved us a lot of time. the next time we use it, we will go over the edge of the paint line with a brush to blend it, as you can see where we used the edger tool in a lot of places (oops. lesson learned). (i also recommend this adorable, short paint brush for edging work. the short, rubber handle is comfortable and easy to control).

just doing the trim got us a bit excited when we saw how new our ceilings were going to look. in the bedroom:

ceiling trim
(excuse the badly lit photo taken at night)

and in the living room:

lr ceiling
you can see the freshly painted ceiling on the right side of the photo, and non-painted ceiling on the left. we never realized how blah the ceilings were until now. (contractor, i don’t know what went through your head when picking a blah, off-white ceiling color).

after almost four years our ceiling is looking mighty pretty.

lr after
we didn’t do a perfect job, but it looks 1,000 times better. we were surprised how much a true white ceiling could make our place look so bright and fresh. next time we won’t wait so long to tackle the ceilings, but we will only do one room at a time.

it took the two of us approximately seven hours total over two days. seven brutal hours, not gonna lie. but we saved over $200 by doing it ourselves (we had gotten a quote from a friend’s brother).

and here’s our tip for tackling a long painting job:

we wrap our rollers (and paintbrushes) in plastic bags, making sure they are fully covered and twisted tight. the next day the rollers are still wet and good to use.

so there’s the looooong story of how we are getting our house primed to sell. we have a couple more items to complete, but it’s looking great already.

anyone have any tips for selling? i need more space, pronto, so i can decorate again, buy dressers to refinish and start some projects finally. and so i can have more exciting posts, since i’m sure i just bored you to tears. if you’re even reading still. if so, thanks. 🙂


p.s. know of someone in chicago looking for a one-bedroom near wicker park? i have just the place! please send them my way.


3 thoughts on “operation sell

  1. Pingback: the news | you're so martha

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