One of the things that my wife and I agreed to do once we were married was sell our townhouse and move up to something bigger. We had plans to start a family relatively shortly after the wedding and doing so in a 2 bedroom townhouse was possible, but not optimal.
So starting at the beginning of the year, we rented some storage units and proceeded to move all of the clutter that filed our lives into storage in preparation for selling the townhouse and so that there wouldn't be as much to move at one time once we found a new place. Every weekend, we'd fill our cars to capacity with boxes and drive them over and load up the unit. It quickly became quite obvious that we had a lot of crap (still do).
With the house cleared of clutter, the organization and decorating began. We'd torn up the planter areas on the patio during the summer but then didn't get much further because of the wedding and because I wasn't sure what to plant in the middle of August that would last. The only thing we had done was put down sod along one side so that we could train the dogs to "go papers" on the grass. This was effective, but also a nuisance as the grass would die pretty quickly from the urine and I'd have to go back to Home Depot and start all over again. As the market date approached now, it became imperative that we do something, anything to make the backyard look better. We picked up an aluminum/stone table and chair set from Costco for about $300 and I began the task of gardening.
We had originally thought to put plants along the back fence and only sod the left side, but when reality came crashing down, we decided it would be easier to sod the back as well. I used Mexican beach stones (round, flat, black/grey stones about 3 inches in diameter), large smooth rocks extracted from our planters (there were at least 10 that were almost bowling ball size) and a nice shrub to create a quasi-bonsai garden in the right corner near the door.
I used the smaller, flatter planter stones to create a cobblestone effect in the corners that I was actually really proud of and that the house photographer praised later when he came to take his pictures.
Then we sodded the left and rear and finished off the right with Alyssum and Geraniums
A wall decoration on the fence and the blown glass butterfly bath that my sister and her husband gave as a bridal shower gift and the backyard was complete. Believe it or not, we were planting and doing cleanup almost right up to the arrival of the photographer. You can plainly see that our backyard is still wet in the photos he took from me trying to spray away all the sod dirt.
Inside the house, we bought a new dining room table and completely rearranged the furniture in the living area to open up the room. We got one of those wrought iron candle-holder sculptures for over the fireplace... $20 at Target, but it made such a difference. Most of the rest of the house was pretty well completed. We'd repainted our kitchen a year earlier with one wall a textured mix of dark reds and the rest a nice light Pecan. Coupled with the tan Corian counters, light maple cabinets and the black appliances, the kitchen really looked sharp. The bedrooms upstairs needed some minor tidying and then our house was ready for market.
The photographer took some amazing photos and the resulting flyer looked fantastic. The Broker Caravan on day one went well and we had planned to have an open house on the second weekend. Because of the dogs, we wanted to make the listing "by appointment only" which meant that my cell phone was the contact and agents were calling me at the rate of 2-3 per day to stop over and see the place with their clients. I'd usually get the dogs and step out, but I'd either hear comments through the windows or some people would say nice things about the place on their way out. The only real sticking point for most people was the construction going on in the lot next door. It was a commercial building and people were worried about how high it would be, how much traffic, etc. Figures, they leave that lot dirt for the entire 5 years I lived there and then they decide to build on it when I want to sell. The kicker: it was my own company that was going to be putting in new medical offices there. Go figure.
On the eve of our open house, we got an offer. It was lower than we expected and we decided to go through with the open house anyway, but they answered our counter with a more reasonable offer so we took it. 13 days on the market. Incredible considering one unit in our complex had been on the market for almost 6 months. The escrow went relatively smoothly with nothing major turning up in the inspection. 45 days later, we closed and I'll be happy not to sign my name to anything for a while.
So where are we living now? Ah, let's not get ahead of ourselves, there's still at least 3 updates to go. :)