The 4 Little Projects I’m Doing Before Selling My Condo

published May 19, 2021
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“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” This iconic quote from the classic rom-com When Harry Met Sally has replayed in my mind through the tail end of lockdown, since my best guy friend of six years, Ryan, and I came to the realization: Oops, we’re in love!?

Cut to starry-eyed dreaming and house-hunting planning. In anticipation of moving in together at the end of Ryan’s lease next spring, I have one big task to do: sell my one-bedroom condo. I called in my expert realtor, Amy, who shared some handy tricks for prepping to buy. But in terms of selling, I soon learned that the one big task includes dozens of smaller ones, too. Here are the four home improvement projects I’m taking on before listing my condo.

If It’s Broke… Fix It!

After my dishwasher said, “To heck with all these pandemic dishes, you incessantly eating monster,” and quit on me, I had no choice but to spend my New Oven Fund on the dishwasher. Not only does this mean I’ll be baking with a busted oven longer, but also I need to fix some cosmetic flooring issues caused by the old leaky dishwasher. Deep sigh.

With minor issues, such as a light that won’t turn on in an otherwise perfectly functioning oven, sellers can confidently list the appliance to sell “as is” and not expect any major issues from potential buyers. But water-damaged floorboards and an oven with a mind of its own just won’t do. I’ll be replacing both within the next couple of months in advance of listing, and the modest investment will be reflected in the sale.

A Little Elbow Grease

When I say that I am a Clean Freak, I mean I am Danny Tanner’s toughest competitor. With that said, my roommate is a small furry critter who sheds everywhere and chews everything. To prepare my condo for photographing and listing, I’m going to have to dedicate some time to making the details shine. Painting scuffs along floorboard trim, tightening loose knobs, scrubbing the sink and hardware — attention to these little details make a condo stand out. And that’s particularly important right now, when condos are sitting on the market for about three months at a time. I will gladly block out a Sunday, send my corgi to my boyfriend’s house for the day, and really get at it if it means a greater return when I sell. 

Tone Down the Personality

I’m an accidental maximalist. Friends visit my condo and say, “Wow, this is YOU” — which is great for me. But most people would be distracted by a jackalope bust mounted in the kitchen, a collection of travel photos à la the home of Titanic’s 100-year-old Rose Dawson Calvert, and a weird number of framed art pieces featuring bats. My realtor lovingly requested it be removed before photography. 

Highly specific styling can make it difficult for house hunters to imagine themselves dwelling in a space. And further, ordinary objects like wedding invitations, awards, framed diplomas, or travel photographs may lead a potential buyer to make assumptions about the seller’s financial situation. I’ll be tucking all of those items away before the selling process kicks into high gear, lest someone erroneously confuse my multiple diplomas with wealth *cries in millennial.*

Study Up on the Rules and Regs

Does my building have rental restrictions? How much money is in the condo association reserves? What’s the deal with special assessments? No clue, friends! High up on my to-do list is poring over my building’s rules and regulations. This will shed light on what can and can’t take place in the building, offer procedures for buying and selling, and provide potential buyers with critical information on the building they’d (hopefully!) choose to call home.