A New Perspective: Yes, Alice, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole | Real Estate Insights

When small home improvement projects balloon into larger ones

The personal stories of one Realtor’s battles and triumphs in the highly-competitive Bay Area Real Estate Market, seeking to illuminate and humanize the very real ups-and-downs of homeownership.

“You’re doing WHAT?” my husband, Cliff, asked, his patience clearly tested.

“My clients have offered me their 60″ double oven Wolfe Range at a bargain rate,” I said, pleased with my “find.” “Our kitchen has always NEEDED a second oven,” I added, “and now we have the opportunity to finally “get it right.'”

Of course, “getting it right” isn’t quite as easy as I make it sound.

​Accommodating a much larger range means removing a bank of drawers and relocating the microwave. Additionally, I’ll be eliminating overhead cabinets for the 60″ hood (included in the sale), and retiling the backsplash as well (a slight miss from the get-go). And I’ve added pantry-depth cabinets on the opposite wall to house the items that will need a new home. But why stop there? I’ve had a custom butcher block extension built for the island, AND because the island has grown considerably, I’ve had to replace the current lighting with three large pendants to anchor the room. (They look AMAZING.)

Yes, Alice, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole . . .To be fair, Cliff’s dismay isn’t entirely without reason, watching this small makeover morph into something much more extensive (and more expensive) is no doubt unsettling, but I make no apologies for this latest reiteration. What Cliff views as overkill, I view as necessary, with the professional understanding that good kitchens sell homes and reap strong dividends in return. Consequently, I’m staying the course in spite of his objections.

Besides, did I put up a fight when Cliff decided to meet the boys in Patagonia for an extended trip come February? (No, I did not.) Think of this as my Patagonia splurge. I don’t buy bags, shoes, or jewelry; I buy wallpaper, lighting fixtures, plants for the garden, and slightly used furniture (but that’s just me).

Keeping your property in good shape

Here’s the thing, even though we took our current home down to the studs seven years ago, it’s now beginning to show its age. Some of the woodwork is chipped and worn, the stairway runner could use another cleaning, the dogs have scratched the floors, and my wheels are turning regarding expanding our too-small laundry room closet into an actual laundry room. (Perhaps that’s next year’s renovation project?)

As I consider my home my calling card, I tend to practice what I preach. In other words, keeping our property relevant and in good shape is part and parcel of the job as I’ve spent the better part of my career advising and helping others update theirs . . . . In the end, homes are NOT static entities; they are breathing, living things: expanding, contracting, peeling, settling and leaking (especially now). But for many of us, they are also our single-largest investment. In the same way you tune up the car, you should periodically tune up your house, especially as real estate is an appreciating commodity (unlike your car).

Did you know? Design has a shelf life

Keep in mind, that design is generally dated within 10 years, so your house, no matter how stylish, hip, or current it was when you remolded several years ago, is now dated by today’s standards. (Please don’t shoot the messenger.)

Ironically, while Sellers often push back, once Jill, Sarah, and I have refreshed bathrooms, kitchens, and public spaces, these same Sellers often walk in – post prep – and exclaim, “I wish we’d done this while we lived here.” (No doubt.)

With the understanding that properties sold “AS IS” tend to suffer by comparison, and because COMPASS offers the Concierge Program that helps offset any market-ready improvements, and because we’re going to encourage you to update your house come time to sell anyway, you may as well do some work now and enjoy it while you can.

So whether your home is destined for the market now – or never – pull out your “To Do” list and start checking off those boxes. (You can thank me later.) I’ll meet you in Wonderland.

How can we help you?

Julie Gardner & Sarah Abel | Compass Realty

Not just Realtors, but consultants in all things house and home, we’re here to educate, explore, examine and refer . . . In short, you may count on us to take care of your home as if it were our own and anyone who knows us, knows we take pretty darn good care of our homes.

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