The three bedroom rambler

I have sold many ramblers over the years. First time home buyers buy them and so do older home buyers.

Ramblers have a lot to offer and some of them still have the original bathroom tiles from the 50’s and 60′ s in shades of pink, yellow, green or orange with thin rows or black tiles for accents.

There is a light above the kitchen sink which has cabinets above it on either side with that scalloped wood trim in between them.

Some have finished basements with a wet bar and a reck room and maybe a bathroom that consists of nothing but a toilet or a shower. Often the homeowner did some or all of the work finishing the basement. I find paneling and flooring that was popular in the 1960s.

The homes had solid oak floors until about 1957 or 1958 when they started using some kind of fiber wood board stuff. Often if the home is still in the hands of the original owner which is not as uncommon as you might think the floors have been covered with carpet since the home was built and are in pristine condition.

These fine one story three bedroom homes can be found almost anywhere in the city but the greatest number of them are in the highland park, upper east side and battle creek neighborhoods.

Some of the ramblers are small like 900-1400 square feet of finished space but there was a time when a family of four could live comfortably in that amount of space and I suppose some were even happy but that was a simpler time.

This rambler is located near White Bear Avenue in St. Paul and has that classic tuck under garage and the awnings.

Rambler with tuck under garage

There are a lot of brick ramblers with attached and detached garages in the highland park neighborhood. Some have fireplaces and shutters, most have large “picture” windows.  Some even have original appliances.

Tappan 4000
Tappan400 – original stove and it still works

 

You might be ready to sell but is your kitchen ready?

Getting a house ready to sell is often about cleaning, painting and small repairs. Your kitchen may need extra attention and deeper cleaning. Here are some suggestions on what you can do to get your kitchen ready.

  1. Clear the countertops.  Remove anything that doesn’t need to be there and about half of the stuff that does need to be there. (My own math but it works)
  2. Clean cupboards inside and out. Put in some shelf liner.
  3. Remove any items from the cupboards that you will not be used during the next six weeks and then remove half of that.
  4. Clean out the fridge. Try to keep it clean with the minimum amount of food in it.
  5. Run the cleaning cycle on your oven(s). If you don’t know how to clean it find the model number, usually inside on the door frame and ask google for instructions. (Don’t ask Facebook, that takes too long.)
  6. Wipe everything down. Make those appliances sparkle. Clean that countertop and the windows too. Scrub the floor.
  7. Find a vanilla scented candle that can be left in the middle of the stove or cooktop during showings.
  8. If your kitchen is smallish remove any throw rugs.

Make sure that all light fixtures have light bulbs in them. Check the walls and ceilings for grease and dirt. Clean them if needed and repaint if necessary. Consider using a plug-in air freshener.

Personally, I like the candles that smell like various baked good or like apple and cinnamon.  Anything vanilla scented will remind the buyer of fresh baked cookies.

Some stagers like to put fake fruit and cookbooks in kitchens. Today’s buyers especially the younger buyers often prefer a more minimalist approach and kitchens with less in them look bigger.

Kitchens really do sell houses, make the most of the space.

kitchen

Small houses and storage

There are some advantages to owning a small house:

  • Less expensive to buy
  • Lower heating and cooling costs
  • Fewer rooms to furnish
  • Less square footage to clean
  • lower maintenance costs

Those are some of the obvious advantages.

Most of us see having less storage space as a disadvantage but it doesn’t have to be.

Do we really need to own a lot of things that we never or rarely ever use but that we store? What about things that have sentimental value that we look at now and then?

Most of us don’t even know what we have or where it is. Have you ever run out and bought something that you already own but couldn’t find?

Living in a smaller house with fewer belongings can be life-changing. Having fewer belongings can mean more freedom. Downsizing from a larger house can be hellish, but is easier if you think in terms of having less stuff rather than about having less storage space.

We have small houses in St. Paul. They were built long ago during a simpler time when people had fewer belongings. People did not need huge walk-in closets. If you are planning on buying a house this year consider thinking small.

Also, see Still obsessed with tiny houses

Plan ahead, downsizing isn’t easy

Minimalists have more space

Will our children ever take their stuff?

Adult children leave stuff behind

Having less is hard work

What is clutter?

Staging in an era of minimalism

There are various ways to stage a house. Hiring someone to come in and furnish every square inch of the home isn’t the way to stage a home.  The goal of staging should be to make a room look more inviting or in some cases to show how the room could be enjoyed.

Often when I see professionally staged homes I see too much stuff. Too much furniture and too many objects, a cluttered look.

Having less in a room makes it look larger and can help the buyer imagine the potential of the room.

Personally, I think empty or nearly empty rooms can really show off living spaces. Once the stuff is gone I notice the lighting and the layout and I start to imagine the room with my belongings in it.

Some of my clients feel the same way. The idea of minimalism and of smaller houses with smaller rooms is more attractive than rooms filled with furniture.

Recently I have read a raft of articles about the advantages of living without furniture. The articles include pictures of rugs, mats, and pillows. There may even be some health benefits in sitting on the floor vs. in a chair. I’ll keep my furniture but I won’t ignore the trend.

Furniture is expensive, it takes up space and limits how a room can be used.

I am not ready to get rid of my furniture but I am open to the idea that houses are not about furniture.

Often removing items from a house make it more salable.

Sometimes removing some furniture and re-arranging what is left can make a big difference in how a room looks. Rooms with some rugs and a few pillows, a chair or rocker, end table or coffee table and some window treatments are enough, especially in some of our older smaller St. Paul homes.

Moving into the dumpster

I can understand how it happens. People have to move in a hurry, or maybe they got evicted. For whatever reason, they decide not to move their stuff and throw it in the dumpster instead.

Towards the beginning of every month, I see dumpsters filled with furniture and household items. Those items won’t be recycled or re-used, they will end up in a landfill.

It costs money to move. Stuff costs money. Having space for stuff costs money.

There are many, many organizations that accept used household items. Some organizations will even come and pick up your reusable furniture. I have occasionally pulled furniture from the alley behind my house and donated it to the local thrift shop.

There has to be a better way. A more environmentally friendly way and a way to get these household items back to their owners or get them in the hands of someone who can use them.