These are the items to complete on our condo before we sell! Paint, floor refinishing, and a kitchen backsplash all make the list.
We’re Selling, Now What?
After making the decision to sell our condo – the original yellow brick home! – our next thought was, now what?! Like most of the country right now, homes are moving fast in Chicago, but we were worried that our little condo might not be as enticing after more than a year of quarantine. Won’t people be looking for something… bigger?, we asked our realtor.
She assured us that she had plenty of clients looking for their first home together. A home just like our condo! (As a recap, the condo is 675 square feet with two bedrooms and one full bath.) And when I think back to the time we were hunting for our first home together, we thought we had hit the jackpot when we walked through the door. It’s small, but that makes it manageable. It’s walkable to some of the best restaurants, cocktail lounges, wine bars and green spaces in the city. It has a small back patio, and Chicagoans love a sliver of outdoor space to call their own! And the kitchen – well, the kitchen was packed with cabinetry, and our twenty-something selves said out loud, How will we ever fill all these cabinets?! #citylife
That said, our realtor recommended a few changes to make it stand out from the crowd of condos on the market. While we could leave our 2005-rehabbed-era codo as-is, we’re excited to really make her shine! The list isn’t terribly long, but we also don’t want to underestimate the time we’ll need to put in.
The Condo Checklist
- Remove the wallpaper in the hallway
- Paint all the walls, ceilings and millwork
- Refinish the hardwood floors
- Update (almost) all of the light fixtures
- Install solar shades in the main living area, blackout rollers in the bedrooms
- Paint the kitchen cabinets
- Add a tile backsplash
What We’re Hiring Out
Paint (Walls, Ceiling, Doors + Millwork) | After 8 years of tenants, every surface could use a refresh. We never loved the off-white trim and doors, so were looking forward to giving them a fresh coat of white paint! We hired the same painting crew that got us out of a pickle at the Two Flat, which is the same crew that painted our entryway. What would take us two to three weeks to complete, they can accomplish in a week.
Floors | There’s enough floor damage from previous tenants (dogs, water stains, life in general), that our realtor noted it was worth refinishing. Because the home is small, the cost of floor refinishing felt manageable. We’re hiring the same team that did the most amazing job at The Two Flat (Peter’s Wood Refinishing, if you’re in Chicago and on the hunt!), and we’ll even be picking out a new color! More on that… once we decide, haha.
What We’re Doing Ourselves
Paint (Cabinets) | We are so excited about this one. We’re confident that we can transform this kitchen into something that a future buyer will love with their whole heart. Most of all, we can’t wait to share this budget-friendly process with you! Our goal is to turn a 15-year-old kitchen – in other words, dated but still functional – into the showstopper.
Lighting | Dated ceiling fans and once-trendy fixtures need to go. We’ll be choosing fixtures that feel timeless, while having broader appeal.
Window Treatments | This is our cherry-on-top – not absolutely necessary, but definitely a perk! The window treatments throughout the home (all 4 windows, not kidding!) are mismatched in both style and color. We’ll be adding cohesive motorized treatments throughout.
The Design Direction
Anything we choose for the kitchen will need to mesh well with the black-and-tan flecked granite counters, but that’s a part of the challenge we’re excited to tackle! We’re thinking of putty colored cabinets, a marble backsplash with warm veining, antique brass hardware (or maybe matte back – we’re still on the fence!), brass lighting and dark grey / black accents throughout.
Walls will be painted a creamy white, and all the millwork and doors will get bright white trim. Although we tossed around the idea of contrast trim (you know we love it!), we didn’t want a future buyer to feel frustrated with making our former home their own. For example, if they want an eggplant-colored bedroom, we wouldn’t want our contrast trim choice to prevent them from choosing wall colors that make their heart sing.
We’re also grateful to share that a few of our longtime partners will be joining this journey with us! The Tile Shop, Valspar and Bali Blinds have all jumped on board to help us bring our vision to life. We’re so thankful that they continue to support our small business.
Now that we’re all vaccinated(!), my parents will be coming in from Pittsburgh to help with Lucy while we knock out this checklist. We absolutely couldn’t do this without them, and we’re still pinching ourselves that they could make it happen. Although promises of spending time with Goose certainly helped!
Our tenant moves out at the end of May (I mean next week, where is the time?), and we’re giving ourselves the month of June to complete every last item on the list so we can get her on the market by July. To say we’re excited about revisiting this home would be an understatement, and we can’t wait to take you along for the ride!