Our Project List For Selling Our Home

March 9, 2021

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Our project list for 2021 no longer looks like a kitchen remodel or complete reconfiguration of the mud room or adding a bunch of box trim to the entry or any of the other projects we’ve mapped out here. Instead, we’ve turned our focus to what we feel we need to do before listing our house. I got a really great question on Instagram yesterday about the topic:

“What types of projects make sense to still go ahead with in a home once you decide to move? In other words what will you get your money back on and what would just be a waste investment. Going through this process as we’re deciding to move….”

This is going to vary state to state and market to market, to be honest. It also depends on what you may have already done in your home! We’ve already invested so much, at this point it doesn’t make sense for us to invest more money that we won’t get back into this home before moving in a few months. We already won’t get back what we’ve put in, although since this is our job, our situation is a little bit different. This is also a seller’s market, so while we have been looking at a new home to purchase, our realtor has explained that a lot of sellers aren’t doing the things that they would need to do to sell their home in a normal market. While you may not need to renovate your entire kitchen, maybe consider swapping out the lighting and faucets! Fresh paint around the house and clean baseboards and floors go a long way (refinish or refresh your floors and shampoo your carpet!). My sister was looking at a house and wanted to buy it based on the front door! And that can be just a couple hundred dollars–an easy swap that will definitely pay off! A lot of times these things will not only improve your sale price, but the speed at which your home will sell.

Our to-do list before we move is below. It’s a little more in depth and definitely specific to our home (since we’re used to taking you along for the ride for our projects). Most of it involves finishing what we started–which is always recommended. Haha

Whole Home
• Fill holes
• Caulk
• Touch up paint
• Add vent registers (I don’t know whyyyyyyyy this is taking so long)
• Install whole home water filter (something we ordered already)

Laundry Room
• Remove wallpaper
• Skim walls
• Limewash walls
• Paint laundry cabinets

Entry/Home Office/Bonus room?
• Add covers to floor outlets
• Check balusters and secure any that may be loose
• Swap out front door handleset
• Finish drywall
• Hang and paint new doors
• Add Flooring to the new closet
• Make sure new Lighting/Electrical is wired
• Add trim and baseboards
• Prime and paint

Fauxdenza, Cabinet Knobs, Ginger Jar, Art

Dining Room
• Rehang credenza and replace the top that’s currently a split piece of plywood.

• Replace faucets & potfiller (we spray-painted these and while we aren’t doing a new kitchen anymore, this feels like something we should update for the sale price of our home).
• Patch tile under arch cabinet where a base cabinet used to be
• Tighten any loose cabinet doors
• Replace window– the only window in the house that isn’t new, so we’re going to replace it to match.

Stools, Pendants, Vase, Stems, Arched Cabinet

Main Bedrooms/Bathroom
• Add pocket door hardware to bathroom doors
• Add vacuum port cover back on central vac system

Greta’s Bedroom
• Paint trim
• Neutralize this space a little bit. We made all of the girls’ rooms for them so they are naturally more girly, but Greta’s room is perhaps the least so–the wallpaper even has some insects! So, I’m going to stage this room a little more gender neutral.

Girls’ Bathroom
• Remove stick-on tile (we tried, here’s the update if you missed it!)
• Deep clean grout
• Silicone base of tub


Basement Bathroom: maybe a room you’ve never seen? It’s fine, but there are a few things I want to do to bring it up to par with the rest of our home.
• Swap out faucet, sink, light, mirror, and towel holder

• Add trim to windows
• Install seals above doors
• Install new handleset on exterior door

And then clean up, declutter and stage and…I’m sure I’m forgetting something! We’ll continue bringing you along for these projects! So stick around.

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What do you think?

  1. Deena says:

    I also think the basement bathroom looks good as is, at least what I can see. I think people coming in will want to change some things no matter what you do so probably wouldn’t do anything even if it’s not to your taste. I thought your laundry room was fine also but know you’ve already been working on it.

    Good luck with everything! Sherry & John are thrilled with their new home & lifestyle so am sure you’ll find something that works for your health.

  2. kim says:

    You guys have done a lovely job on the renovations, but will the real estate market in Idaho Falls, ID allow you to recoup all the money you have put into this house? I understand you have a lot of sponsored posts in exchange for free/deals on certain things and materials, but the amount of money you have put into this house has got to be staggering. After looking at zillow in your area, I don’t see how this could possibly pencil out financially, even in a sellers market.

  3. Victoria Gilbert says:

    You’ve done an amazing job. I’m so sad to see you leave after watching you pour your hearts into this home. Do you think your move will be permanent? If you aren’t sure maybe you could rent it out for awhile, just in case. If it’s permanent move I’m sure you will continue to do amazing things. ❤️ Hope your health improves.

  4. Danielle says:

    I really appreciate you sharing how selling without recouping renovation costs is different for you because of your profession. While it is your personal family home, it is refreshing to see the acknowledgement that it’s also tied into your business. Following along for this will be so fun! Thanks for the honesty and perspective!

  5. Kate Sawyer says:

    I feel so rude for saying this, and I apologize, but have you considered repainting Polly’s room as part of your pre-move tasks? Purple is such a polarizing color and that shade looks so unexpected and jarring (to me) in comparison to the rest of your house. That room could look pretty gender-neutral if it were painted a cream that coordinated with the papered ceiling and the carpeting, perhaps more so than Gretta’s room.

  6. Jenny W says:

    I’ve enjoyed following your past 2 houses. I’d love a post about what you’re looking for in your next place. Must haves vs negotiable nice to haves. Your past houses were so different. Ideal square footage? Small yard vs acres? Ranch vs 2 story, things like that. Good luck on your next adventure! ????

  7. Ashley says:

    I so appreciate you bringing every area of your home up to the same standards as the renovated areas. I understand that sellers can get away with doing absolutely nothing given the current market, but when a house has been shown as much love and attention as yours has, the neglected parts stick out like a sore thumb.

    It must be so bittersweet to close the chapter on this house. My husband and I (quite accidentally) flipped our first home. After four years of constant renovating (every bit of it with our own hands), our family had grown and we had to find something larger. We still sometimes sit and talk about everything we would have done if we had been able to stay. We loved that house and cried when we left. My thoughts are with you as you prepare for your next adventure and say goodbye to this one.

  8. Olivia says:

    Wouldn’t it be fun if the new owners hired you to consult on all your unfinished projects that are on your list even if its virtual. Change is hard for me and I would hate not be able to finish the vision that I had for a house esp one as stunning as yours. I would have such mixed feelings about the unfinished projects part of me would want the new owner to love it as much as I do but then realizing it needs to be their home, their vision. Ugh! Such hard decisions.

  9. Is there a chance for a YHL-CLJ Sherry/Julia crossover for staging a home? Sherry’s post on staging for herself and her clients a few years ago have stuck with me and it’d be so fun!

    I’d also agree that the basement bath seems perfect as-is unless there’s some issues you haven’t talked about before. I wouldn’t bother doing anything to it!

  10. Christina says:

    So curious on how you are going to stage the house when the list is all finished. Will we get to see? Especially the old CLJ office that is now a question mark?? Wish you guys the best of luck!

  11. Catherine says:

    I would maybe not do any of the handle sets unless anything is broken, the first thing we do when we buy a house is replace all the locks, etc. because you honestly just don’t know who has old keys out there – so unless they are a massive problem (or I guess rekeyable) you’ll probably just be putting in new, to have it replaced straight away.

  12. Allison says:

    It’s definitely a seller’s market, but I would be curious what realtors would advise for homes at different price points. The group of buyers looking for a million dollar home in your community is obviously going to be much smaller than those looking for a more average home. I am interested in hearing how that affects your approach to selling, if you’re willing to share.

    • Julia says:

      I think that is why our list looks more extensive than others, for sure. However, we have already received a few offers on our home and we are hoping to sell it privately.

  13. Carrie says:

    I have a nosy question. :) I’m curious if you would consider leaving your kitchen plans with whomever purchases your house. Mostly curious because I have my kitchen plans all done, but every time I save enough money to tackle the project it get spent on health stuff, so I keep not being able to do my kitchen. I would like to move in the next few years and it will totally bum me out if my kitchen doesn’t get the love and layout it deserves. So I will pass them on to the new owner and if they want to remodel it they can already have the renderings.

    • Julia says:

      I have been thinking about this and the last thing I want to do is give a future buyer the impression that the kitchen in this house is less than. So I don’t think we would leave plans or anything like that. I want them to be excited about it! But I can still see us potentially doing a kitchen renovation first in our next house (if it needs it) since Chris has been waiting so long. Standby!

      • Carrie Puffinbarger says:

        That’s a really good point! My kitchen is obviously less than unless you eat takeout every night(It doesn’t even have a dishwasher!), but your kitchen is lovely. It just didn’t work well for your family and, most importantly, your primary cook. Thanks for the thoughtful response! I look forward to the next journey, all while knowing this is bittersweet.

  14. Angie says:

    I hate to admit that I’m a little sad for you, because I was looking forward to you having a break from construction, taking some time to relax, and just enjoying your beautiful home. BUT I love that you’re doing what’s right for you and taking care of you. I do hope that some rest is in the near future for you, though. I look forward to following along with you on this journey, and I admire your courage and how brave you are! I’ve always wished that I had the nerve to up and move, but I feel so tied by the things/people of my hometown. Wishing you the best in this next adventure!

  15. Amanda says:

    Congrats on deciding to move! Just a suggestion—have a moving sale for furniture/decor you don’t want to bring with you for us locals! ????

  16. Julia says:

    This is an incredible list. It’s basically what we’ve done since moving in. Sellers market, especially in desirable areas, often means homes are left in whatever condition and you’re lucky to have it. We love our home, but caulked baseboards for days a f just swapped out a bunch of original to the mid century home windows. I appreciate the list you put together! It’s a dream list to move in to that scenario.

  17. Jillian says:

    Completely relate to finishing what we started…. ????. This list is super helpful and we’re excited to follow along as you get things ready to list — and then stage.

    Kudos on taking a big leap. I can’t imagine how hard it’s been, but deeply respect putting health first and making the choices that feel right for your family.

    Cheering you on from Canada.

  18. Cori says:

    Honestly, this sounds like a great “pre-spring to do list” like choose a month to get those odds and ends done, moving or not.

  19. Amanda says:

    Honestly you don’t need to much of these projects at all. Whoever owns this home next is far and away ahead of the game in terms of beautiful and safe home. My first thought about selling vs transferring your furniture: how would you even go about getting your main bed frame out of that house ???? after all it took to get it in!

  20. GINA MYKLESETH says:

    Just throwing it out there, clj buying an apartment complex for your whole group that’s moving and making improvements.

  21. Annie says:

    I think it’s important to emphasize your point about a seller’s market right now, because this is true across the US. We just purchased our (first!) home in central NC, and the seller did nothing! I mean, he didn’t even replace the missing ceiling tiles in the basement, let alone paint or swap out light fixtures (and let’s be honest, left behind almost every piece of art that and frozen pizzas in the freezer…). And, we paid full asking and the house, which was already top of our budget, the first day it was on the market. Your house is beautiful and any buyer will appreciate these updates, but I’m just emphasizing the point for others who are looking right now–the market is so hot that there’s a chance that sellers may do absolutely nothing to the house!

  22. Sharon says:

    Congratulations on the decision to move. Definitely a brave one, and a wise one as well.

    I wanted to add another vote for a “kitchen we would have done” post.

    I also have a few questions- are the garage items the exterior to-dos that were never done/ why there was never an official exterior reveal?

    I noticed interior doors (beside pocket doors for bathroom) are not on the list. I know you were planning on replacing all hallway doors. I thought you guys currently have some old, some new. Is that correct?

    Thanks for answering questions!

  23. jasmine says:

    I love that you say “this feels like something we should update for the sale price of our home” – I’m often astounded at some finishes and details that aren’t addressed on very expensive homes in my local market. Congratulations again on your decision to move! And thank you for including us along the way.

  24. Jess says:

    Are you going to be able to get all the money out of this house that you have put into it? I know this was supposed to be your forever house, but is the Idaho Falls real estate market strong enough for you get everything out that you have sunk into this place?
    Best of luck!

  25. Gigi says:

    I’ll be interested in your ideas about staging a house for sale: how much stuff to leave in a room, how to create an appealing scene while keeping the design neutral for prospective buyers, etc. Good luck!

  26. Kathy says:

    re: vent registers. for some reason, it took me over a year to get the last vent register up in the kitchen. we lived with the gaping hole of the end of the HVAC run for basically forever, and every time I looked at it, I was like yeah I should put the register up there and then I would just. go do something else. I don’t know why it’s so hard either!

  27. Julie says:

    I’m looking forward to these small little updates too. Can you please share your kitchen vision? I’m dying to see how it aligns with that I was thinking you were thinking.

    • Mari-Ann Russell says:

      Yes please share your kitchen vision/plans with us since we are never going to see what you had in mind!
      I get it about baseboards and vents haha! I’ve been in my home for 25 years (everything has been renovated-sometimes twice!) and when I read that I realized that needs to get done this year!

  28. Mira says:

    The only thing on this list I wouldn’t do is swap out the kitchen window. If the kitchen doesn’t work for you, I’d guess the new owners will probably want to change it too and it looks great as is. Also would love to see what could have been for the kitchen.

    • Jenny B says:

      100% agree. No one is going to not buy the house or lowball because of the kitchen window. It looks fine!! I think that’s more your design mind and wanting to finish what you started, rather than your seller mind.

      • Julia says:

        That’s probably true.

      • Maggie says:

        Wasn’t the window painted? Doesn’t that void the warranty? Replacing the window, removing the peel and stick tiles, and replacing the painted kitchen fixtures seem like they should be at the top of the list since it seems what was done to them diminished or wiped out the value of those items. At this price point, who is going to look kindly on those quick fixes that cheapen things? Things like removing wall paper in the laundry room seem funny if you don’t plan on removing wall paper elsewhere, unless there is a difference in how hard it is to remove from the wall paper you installed. It’s all buyer preference as to whether they keep it or ditch it, though buyers tend to wince at wall paper and having to remove it. Lime washing the laundry room seems funny since it will be buyer’s preference as to whether they want to keep it or not.

      • Tara T says:

        I think at this price point, the new homeowners will have zero issues hiring someone to remove wallpaper and/or paint. Probably a DIY couple won’t purchase it since it is mostly done anyway. Just a thought.

    • Brittany Prahl says:

      Kind of agree with this–don’t worry about the window. I feel if it’s enough of a sticking point for a new homeowner, they’ll include it in their offer.

  29. Cortney says:

    Curious if you plan to offer the sale of some/all of your furniture with this home as well. Some of it seems so perfect for the space.

    • Julia says:

      I know! Once we get a new house, we’ll see what would fit well and what wouldn’t and then sell what won’t transfer. But we’d like to bring what we can!

  30. Haley says:

    I’m curious if with this house you’ll be trying to sell furnishings as well or if more things will come with this time.

  31. Pam says:

    How about changing the floors in the kitchen to match the rest of the house? I’m sure the new owners would appreciate that.

    • Julia says:

      It’s not unusual to have tile in the kitchen but we will leave the extra wood flooring if they’d like to do that

      • Mary says:

        Congratulations on the big move!

        Honestly, I’d only do things in the list that are repairs: patching, drywall, covers, and painted faucets, front office (neutral finish), laundry room (neutral paint).

        Don’t replace the kitchen window, limestone the laundry room, or do anything in the basement bath. The changes in your list are all preferences, and in a sellers market you’re throwing money away.

        Folks would like to hear from CLJ what you’re working on in the moving process (less finished camera ready photos) and more nitty gritty!

        In the move, are you sure about the location? Your photo showed tall pine trees. Is that climat warm enough for your health? This is not a criticism, just a point of consideration as we all root for you to feel healthy!! HUGS!

  32. Aly says:

    Excited to see how you all transition to staging to sell!

    I definitely understand why you want to leave things as finished as possible but my vote is to skip the inoffensive basement bathroom and take the water filtration system with you! :)

    • JL says:

      I agree. I would even skip the limewash in the laundry room and just add a nice dark paint color to the walls and only do the cabinets if needed.

      • Bethany says:

        I think Julia said something about always wanting to try limewash, so I’m guessing that’s why that’s still on the list. Otherwise I’d agree it doesn’t seem to NEED more than a coat of paint, but it would be fun to try a new technique!

      • Jill says:

        I agree with Aly and JL! I do agree with Julia’s thoughts that the window in the kitchen should be replaced, it’s weird to have one lone window that’s older. But the inoffensive bathroom isn’t bad, just not CLJ style. Someone else could love it! And lime washing is soooo specific. I personally wouldn’t want it in my house so it would be the first thing I’d repaint.

    • Haley says:

      Had the exact same thought!!!

  33. Katy says:

    I would love to see a post about the kitchen that could have been. How you were going to change the layout, what finishes you were planning to go with, all the plans that won’t get to come to fruition. If you’re willing to share! :)

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