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How To Inspect A Renovation Prior To Listing For Sale
Brad and Jeremy are back out on the streets of Washington, DC again, this time on Ames Street, NE. It’s a Tuesday and they’re doing a walkthrough before listing on Friday. Come along and learn how to inspect a renovation prior to listing for sale. Jeremy’s going to share a bit about what he looks for when he does his final walkthroughs. He’ll also point out some design features or things that went well or didn’t go so well.
See the full transcription of the video below this article.
He starts with pointing out where there was a really weird, low ceiling over the outside front porch. We pulled it down a little bit to open it all up. Then we did a little trim work and painted it up. It turned out pretty nice.
He shows were they were able to tooth-in some of the siding. However, you can see some discoloration between the old and the new, so he might have to go back through and paint the side. Luckily, that is a pretty easy thing to do.
He points out the new front door and new side lights. Instead of ordering the door and two side windows, he ordered them individually and it costs about half as much.
As Brad and Jeremy step inside through the front door, Jeremy shows where they removed a few walls and moved the kitchen from the back corner of the house up more to the front. It opens it all up. Jeremy comments about the crazy way they used to block things off. In the back of the room, he shows where there was a door that came out on the side that he closed off and made a closet for the bedroom on the other side.
Looking out into the now cleaned up back yard area, he notes there was all kinds of stuff in the back. There was a boat. There was a shed. We put up the fence in the back and on the side as well.
Walking back toward the kitchen, he shows where the guys did a really good job on the finishing. You can see the tile is nice. The grout lines are good. All the grout is filled in. They installed a quartz countertop. The cabinets are from a local supplier. The cabinet handles still need to be put on.
Brad points out outlets that were installed in the island, on both sides, because people need to plug in their phones and other electronics.
Off the kitchen is a bathroom with a marble floor and marble bathtub surround. The tub, toilet and countertop are all white because white is in; you can never go wrong with white.
Keep 3 Bedrooms or Create a Master Suite?
They walk through a front bedroom, a small bedroom midway down the hall, and then a larger bedroom in the back. Originally they’d talked about consolidating these two bedrooms and adding another bathroom to create a master suite, but it didn’t make sense for the comps to do all the extra work.
Here’s the closet in what they earlier discussed was the exit door.
Looking out the window from this room, you get a little better look at the privacy fence and nice backyard. Jeremy mentions the boat that was back there again and says, we literally had to Sawzall it. You can’t tow it, because it didn’t have a tag or a title or anything, so that’s how they got rid of it. If you have a boat you need to get rid of, just saw it up and throw it in the back of a big dump truck.
What Is a French Drain?
Down in the basement, they changed the layout, finished the rooms and put in all new waterproofing. In the front room, they note it can’t technically count as a bedroom because of the non-egress windows. If we wanted to make this a legal bedroom, we would have to spend a few thousand dollars and again, with comps it just didn’t make sense.
Near the hot water heater, Jeremy references that while this property was under construction, we realized there was a water infiltration issue. So they dug down and put in a French drain. A French drain is where you excavate out the slab a little bit, come off the wall about a foot or so, and put in a piece of pipe that ultimately goes around to a sump pump and collects all the water from the perimeter walls and diverts it to a sump pump. Before this installation, if water ran down the foundation wall, it would come in the house. Now it goes down into the drain pipes that lead into a sump pump, and that pumps it out of the house. They added vapor barriers on the walls as well.
The electrical panel is back in the laundry room. They see they’re still working on the electrical panel and they won’t put the cover on until they’ve made the final connections, but he expects it to be done by Friday in time to list.
Also in the basement, they’ve installed another full bathroom. Despite the fact that they don’t usually use marble at a price point in a basement like this, Jeremy explains that it’s really not an expensive product. It is a couple bucks a square foot and you get a big wow factor with it. The tile is from Home Depot.
In this neighborhood, this house is probably worth around $375,000. The thought someone will come in and say, “Wow! This is amazing. Other $375,000 houses don’t have marble showers and bathrooms in the basement.”
As they come back through the basement, Brad asks Jeremy exactly what he’s looking for at this stage, three days before listing, as he walks through the house. Jeremy’s looking for drywall imperfections, especially right at eye level. He points out he finds and supports his point by saying once you see one imperfection, then your eye starts wandering. Well now look, now you’ve got this over here. If I didn’t see this, I wouldn’t have stopped and I wouldn’t have started looking anywhere else. But because your eye is automatically drawn there, you start looking at additional things.
So Jeremy will have the guys fix that one area where there’s an imperfection.
Additionally, he wants to make sure all the finishes match. He noticed wooden knobs on a couple bi-fold closet doors, whereas everywhere else in the house has the brushed nickel. They need to change those out and put on brushed nickel knobs to make sure it all matches. It looks ratty if you have different finishes and it’s not all consistent.
He’s looking to see the trim kits on the recessed lights. He’s checking how easily the doors open, because if they drag, even though that’s an easy fix, people think the quality of construction was poor. It’s really important to get those things working.
Once all the appliances are installed and everything is set, we’ll test everything. We’ll run the dishwasher, make sure it works, and make sure the other appliances work.
Coming by a house three days before and knowing how to inspect a renovation prior to listing for sale gives you a good feel of whether or not it’ll be done in time. Sometimes contractors get a little over-zealous on what they think they can get done.
As they pass through the kitchen again, Brad praises the addition of hanging lights over the island, which add a little extra touch. And Jeremy takes another look at all the final touches. You need to make sure everything is the way you need it to look in order to get the most bang for your buck.
Stepping outside, back through the front door, it’s a bit messy on the porch. But no worries, the outside work is some of the last stuff done. They’ll clean up inside and move on through to the outside. Everything will be ready by Friday.
How To Inspect A Renovation Prior To Listing For Sale
Brad: Hello ladies and gentleman. We’re on Ames street Northeast. This is actually a property that we hope to list in the next couple days. Today is Tuesday and we have to list it by Friday.
So, Jeremy is going to do a walkthrough. Jeremy is our director of construction, and he is going to do a walk through, and just tell us a little bit of what he is looking for when he does his final walkthroughs, and maybe point out some design features or things that went well or things that didn’t go so well.
Jeremy: Yeah, so, on here there was a really weird ceiling that was low here and we pulled it down a little bit to open it all up. Did a little trim work on here, painted it up, looks like it turned out pretty nice.
We were able to tooth-in some of the siding. We may actually have to go back and change some of it. I can see some discoloration between the old and the new, so we might have to go back through and paint the side which is luckily a pretty easy thing to do.
New front door, new side lights.
Brad: So was this open before? Was there glass here?
Jeremy: Yeah there was glass here before. We were able to save some money; we individually ordered each one of these things, as opposed to ordering it as a whole thing. So we were able to save, maybe half…
Brad: That’s a great tip. Instead of ordering this all as one piece with the door and the two side windows, order them individually and it costs about half as much.
Jeremy: In here there were little walls here. We had to open this all up, reconfigure the kitchen, and the kitchen actually was in the back corner, so you can see…
Brad: The kitchen was all the way in the back, and we pulled it up front?
Jeremy: Yeah, lot different. There was a wall back here, so we took that down and made it a little more open. There was obviously a return here that kind of came across, too, but overall it made it a little more open with the railing.
Brad: So what was the point of the wall back here?
Jeremy: It’s crazy the way they used to block things off. There was a door that actually came out over here on this side. There was a little area that you’ll find when we go on the other side. We actually walled this off and made it a closet for the other bedroom.
There was a ton of stuff in the back. There was a boat. There was a shed. There was all kinds of stuff in the back.
Brad: We put the fence in the back there?
Jeremy: Yep. We put the fence on that side as well.
Jeremy: So the guys did a really good job on the finishing things. You can see that the tile is nice. The grout lines are good, and all the grout is filled in.
Brad: The material for the countertop is what?
Jeremy: This is quartz.
Brad: Quartz, okay.
Jeremy: Still have to put on the handles and a few little minor things.
Brad: Where are the cabinets from?
Jeremy: The cabinets are from a local supplier.
Brad: We put in an outlet there, in the island, on both sides. So we have outlets on both the islands because people love to plug in their phones and other electronics.
Jeremy: Yep. A bathroom there.
Brad: The floor is marble. And that is marble as well?
So white is the color?
Jeremy: White is in; you can never go wrong with white.
Brad: So this is a front bedroom?
Jeremy: There’s a small bedroom in the middle, and then a larger bedroom in the back. Originally we talked about potentially consolidating this and adding another bathroom here, and making this a master suite, but it just didn’t make sense for the comps to do all the extra work.
Brad: So, it would have just been a two bedroom?
Jeremy: Yeah, we would have added another bedroom in the basement.
Here’s what used to be the exit door.
Brad: So that used to be the exit door, so if you look right, this is what used to be where the door was. They walled this in to make a nice size closet in here. And there’s a little better look at the privacy fence. Nice backyard.
Jeremy: There was a boat with a trailer, and we literally had to Sawzall it, because you can’t tow it, because it didn’t have a tag or a title or anything for it so. That’s how they got rid of it – just with a Sawzall.
Brad: So if you have a boat you need to get rid of, just saw it up and throw it in the back of a big dump truck.
Jeremy: That’s it. I’m going to kick my shoes off; your shoes are probably okay, but I’ll kick mine off.
Brad: Was this finished, or did we finish it?
Jeremy: No, we finished it. The layout was all changed. There was all new waterproofing put in. You can see in the unfinished area here how the…
Brad: This is a bedroom, but it can’t count as a bedroom because non egress windows. So, if we wanted to make this a legal bedroom, we would have to spend probably two or three thousand dollars to dig that out and make it an egress, and with comps it just doesn’t make sense.
Jeremy: Yeah, it just didn’t make sense here.
Brad: So you were saying about the waterproofing?
Jeremy: Yeah, while we were under construction we realized that there was a water infiltration issue, so what they did was they dug down and put in a French drain, and they have the vapor barriers on the walls as well.
Brad: Can you explain what French drain is?
Jeremy: It’s where you excavate out the slab a little bit, come off the wall a few feet, or about a foot or so, and you put in a piece of pipe that ultimately goes around to a sump pump and collects all the water from the perimeter walls and diverts it to a sump pump.
Brad: So if the water runs down the foundation wall before this was the case, before we did the French drain, it would come in the house. Now it goes down into the drain pipes that lead into a sump pump, and that pumps it out of the house.
Jeremy: Yeah. So this black tile that you see on the floor there, that kind of kicks everything back into the drain itself.
Brad: Okay. This is a brand new water heater, and can you explain what that white little tank is up there?
Jeremy: It’s just a pressure tank.
Brad: Pressure tank. In the event of pressure building up, this keeps the hot water from exploding in the tank or backing up or something. Brand new HVAC.
Jeremy: We have some closets in here, then around we reconfigured; the laundry room is straight ahead so that we could put in the rest of the panel…
Brad: So they’re still working on the electrical panel.
Jeremy: Yeah, they have to put the cover on the panel; they’re making final connections, but the sump pump and everything is back there.
Brad: And you think we are going to be done by Friday to list this?
Brad: So that is the sump pump, so down in there is where the water collects, and then these pipes pipe it out somewhere outside, away from the house.
Jeremy: Yeah just right out the side there.
Brad: So what kind of things are you looking for in a house? Oh, and there is a bathroom down here.
So, I have never seen us put in marble at a price point in a basement like this. What was the thought process behind that?
Jeremy: The thought is that it’s really not an expensive product. It is a couple bucks a square foot, and you get a big wow for it, you know?
Brad: It looks awesome. This is a basement bathroom of a house that I’m going to guess is…
Jeremy: Three seventy-five.
Brad: Three seventy-five – I was going to say four hundred, so pretty impressive that we’re doing this level of finishes in a $375,000 house. However, our thought is that if someone comes in and is like “Wow! This is amazing. Other $375,000 houses don’t have marble showers and bathrooms in the basement.”
Jeremy: And again, it wasn’t an expensive tile – just Home Depot.
Brad: So will we put a shower rod in here, or is that the responsibility of the homeowner?
Jeremy: Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. We usually consult with Greg to see exactly what’s required – property to property. Sometimes we do.
Brad: Greg is a member of our team that helps a lot with the scope. He’s great at valuing properties and kind of knowing what the market will bear.
So what are you looking for at this stage? We are three days before listing. What are you looking for?
Jeremy: So ultimately, you’ll see a lot of drywall type imperfections, but usually what you look for is like, right at eye level. Because, once you’re at eye level and looking at something, for example, I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this. And this wasn’t finished a hundred percent of the way, well I don’t know how well you can see that in the video.
Brad: Yep, you can see it.
Jeremy: But if you’re looking at that and you see that and you’re like, okay and you see that and then your eye starts wandering. Well now look, now you’ve got this over here. So, if I didn’t see this, I wouldn’t have stopped and I wouldn’t have started looking anywhere else, right. I would have just kept going.
Because your eye is just automatically drawn, so you start looking at additional things. That’s what I usually tell the guys – we have to make sure that this right here is pretty good. And then, some of this stuff, well that’s not perfect; that’s a quick fix, but it’s not necessarily going to draw your eye to it.
Brad: So is this something that you would change?
Jeremy: Yeah, absolutely. I’d have the guys come down here and hit that really quick. I’d come down here with some blue tape or even a video. I’d just walk through and show them.
Brad: What else are you looking for Jeremy?
Jeremy: You want to make sure that all the finishes match. I noticed on a couple doors, if you look at that bi-fold door over there, see how it has the wooden, and everything else has the brushed nickel. They need to get dummy brushed nickel knobs to make sure that it matches.
Brad: So we’ll switch those out to be consistent. It looks kind of ratty when you see different finishes.
Jeremy: Yeah, exactly. That’s really, you’re just making sure everything is cohesive. Your trim kits are on your recessed lights, making sure that the… Because whenever people start coming in and the doors drag, a lot of people don’t understand that it is just a quick, easy fix.
Brad: They think that the quality of construction was poor. So it’s really important to get those things working.
Jeremy: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Once we have all the appliances, and everything is set, then we’ll test everything. We’ll run the dishwasher, make sure that works, and make sure the other appliances work.
Brad: So specifically for three days before a house, do you typically come by three days before a house, and was one of the reasons to get a feel of if it will be done in time?
Jeremy: Correct, so you kind of get a feeling of, is it in fact going to work? Sometimes contractors get a little over-zealous on what they think they can get done. I was here, actually yesterday, midmorning. It’s come a long way.
Brad: So you think we’ll be good by Friday?
Jeremy: I think so.
Brad: What about the ceiling here? Is that just shadows or is that something that, you probably can’t see it here on my camera?
Jeremy: It may be shadows. I think it is. I think it has to do with the plastic on the cabinets to the left, kind of getting a weird reflection.
And we did some hanging lights over the island, which I just did at my house last week. It looks really good. Instead of just having all recessed lights, it adds a little extra touch.
Anything else Jeremy you want to add?
Jeremy: Yeah, it’s just making sure that all the final touches, whenever we put the final product on the market, we have to make sure that everything is the way we need it to look in order to get the most bang for your buck.
Brad: Would we do anything out here on the…
Jeremy: Yeah, that’s what we’re paving. It was poured yesterday. The outside work is going to be some of the last stuff done.
What they’ll do is, they’ll clean up in there, and they’ll just start coming outside from the inside.
Brad: Okay, guys that’s a wrap on the close to being ready house. If you want to get more of these awesome videos, just fill out the form below and we’ll send you a little short email when we post new stuff; and/or subscribe to the Express Homebuyers YouTube channel. So hopefully you got something out of this. Thanks.