Selling your house with a shop


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My basement is unfinished.

So I was thinking today that if I ever sold my house, I'd likely need to 'stage' the shop for potential buyers. The big tools would all be there anyway when the lookie-loos show up, the 220 is all wired up, and I can't leave it a mess. Might as well use it as a selling point. '

'The basement is unfinished, but look what you could do down here!' Impress the wife! Emasculate your friends in front of their wives!'

So then I get to thinking about how I'd finish out the open stud walls, hang the tools and clamps all nice on the wall, label all the drawers so I look really organized, replace the utility tub...pretty much all the work you'd do to build a dream shop.

Has anyone ever had to actually do this when they moved? It would be bittersweet to make the shop look so pretty...just to leave it!

I realize the buyer could give a crap about woodworking, but you can't have them see a messy shop either.

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I have several friends that have sold their houses in the last few years. One upgraded their cabinets but all at least put in new floors and painted. I often wondered why they would do this for someone they've never met and not do it while they lived there.

I would say make the changes you suggest and make good use of them up until the time you do sell. It will be win,win for all!

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I had trouble selling my first home and when I finally got a serious buyer it was contingent the basement got refinished. So, I did what I had put off for 6 years and finished it off. I raised all the pipes up and sheetrocked, painted, trimmed and had new carpet installed. It came out really nice.

Moral of the story..I was pissed that the new owner got to enjoy the basement I nevet gave myself. If your gonna do it, do it now.

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I very much doubt that pimping your shop would help sell your house.  It would take a very specific buyer to get at all excited about something like that.  Especially a potential buyer in your neighborhood...not exactly blue collar if I'm making accurate assumptions.  A finished basement, different story...but a decked out shop space?  Nah.  Make sure it's cleaned up and dust free and that's all the effort I'd put into it.  By all means...finish the shop for your own sake.  But if you're planning to sell, I wouldn't waste my time or money fixing it up...you'll never get either back.  Save it for the next house.

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I very much doubt that pimping your shop would help sell your house.  It would take a very specific buyer to get at all excited about something like that.  Especially a potential buyer in your neighborhood...not exactly blue collar if I'm making accurate assumptions.  A finished basement, different story...but a decked out shop space?  Nah.  Make sure it's cleaned up and dust free and that's all the effort I'd put into it.  By all means...finish the shop for your own sake.  But if you're planning to sell, I wouldn't waste my time or money fixing it up...you'll never get either back.  Save it for the next house.

 

That makes a lot of sense to me.  I doubt that you will be much more likely to sell or to get a better price by dolling up the shop.  Stopping at cleaning it up is probably the best bang for your effort.

 

On the other hand having the space emptier would make it look larger, so maybe moving the big tools out might help.  I guess that for most that isn't really an option unless they were buying the new house before selling the old one.

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When I was buying the house I currently own, I wanted an unfinished basement. There are so many hack jobs out there, that I wanted a clean slate for building what I wanted.

Now, clearly you would not do a hack job, and if you plan on staying for the foreseeable future, make the space what u like and enjoy it.

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Suppose I could clarify.

I recall looking at houses that maybe had a bar and a pool table in the basement. Neither of these items were staying in the basement and would surely go with the owner. and the owners probably added a few extra features when staging that area... Neon sign on the wall...maybe a couple new barstools...a couple of draft beer taps that don't connect to anything...new sink..newly painted walls. It always looks better to the prospective buyer... I would think that same goes for the wood shop as well. Might as well make it look better and sharper if someone's going to be looking at it...

Kind of like what you do to your shop when friends come over and see it for the first time. I know I always put a hand playing on the bench with a couple shavings peeling off it :)

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I’d ask a real estate agent....

 

Unless it’s a really nice (and obviously high-quality build-out), I don’t think a finished basement will sell a house...

 

I’ve been on the other side... When shopping for our last home, we came across a nice ranch on a decent piece of property – somewhere along the way the agent mentioned the owner had been an ‘avid woodworker’ -- so we looked... Wife hated the house, so it was out – but we went into the basement anyway...

 

To this day, I’ve never seen a nicer hobby-based shop – it was amazing and surpassed many of the local commercial shops... I stood there and just stared – at some point I probably started drooling.... The husband had passed and the wife was going to give it away.... My wife silently glided-up to me and whispered ‘no’ in my ear in a tone that brooked no argument... I could describe the shop because the image is permanently etched on my brain, but it would drive me crazy -- it was almost mine...

 

 

A shop can’t sell a sell a house because the wife makes the final home-purchase decisions...

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I had trouble selling my first home and when I finally got a serious buyer it was contingent the basement got refinished. So, I did what I had put off for 6 years and finished it off. I raised all the pipes up and sheetrocked, painted, trimmed and had new carpet installed. It came out really nice.

Moral of the story..I was pissed that the new owner got to enjoy the basement I nevet gave myself. If your gonna do it, do it now.

 

This happened to me on the house I lived in previously.  Wife and I had grand plans to completely re-do the inside.  Wood floors throughout, replace all the painted base with stained natural wood, add matching crown molding throughout, replace all the interior doors with natural wood 6 panel doors that are stained to our taste...

 

Were in the house for around 5 years, and one thing lead to another and a lot of those projects were never finished at the point where I needed to sell the house.  When we decided to move, I paid a couple family members to come in and we finished all the projects up in a week.  I lived in the house for all of a couple weeks with all of the projects done, but they were all nice and new for the people who bought it.

 

 

Now a basement shop would be totally different from main level projects...i.e. it wouldn't be a requirement to get the house sold...but my recommendation would be to do it like you want it now so you can enjoy it a little bit.  I'm sure there are ways you can finish it off that would be universal...by that I mean finish steps that would help your shop organization yet aren't so specific to woodshop that they could be of benefit if the buyer ends up making it storage or a game room or a workout room or whatever.

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I’d ask a real estate agent....

Unless it’s a really nice (and obviously high-quality build-out), I don’t think a finished basement will sell a house...

I’ve been on the other side... When shopping for our last home, we came across a nice ranch on a decent piece of property – somewhere along the way the agent mentioned the owner had been an ‘avid woodworker’ -- so we looked... Wife hated the house, so it was out – but we went into the basement anyway...

To this day, I’ve never seen a nicer hobby-based shop – it was amazing and surpassed many of the local commercial shops... I stood there and just stared – at some point I probably started drooling.... The husband had passed and the wife was going to give it away.... My wife silently glided-up to me and whispered ‘no’ in my ear in a tone that brooked no argument... I could describe the shop because the image is permanently etched on my brain, but it would drive me crazy -- it was almost mine...

A shop can’t sell a sell a house because the wife makes the final home-purchase decisions...

Might have been easier to find a new wife than that shop again.
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Oh, it gets worse --- when we did get the new home, she ‘requisitioned’ around 500sqft of my shop space for a wine cellar...

 

 

Women. Can’t live with ’em. Can’t kill ’em*...

 

Pop culture references for $100 Alex?

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Suppose I could clarify.

I recall looking at houses that maybe had a bar and a pool table in the basement. Neither of these items were staying in the basement and would surely go with the owner. and the owners probably added a few extra features when staging that area... Neon sign on the wall...maybe a couple new barstools...a couple of draft beer taps that don't connect to anything...new sink..newly painted walls. It always looks better to the prospective buyer... I would think that same goes for the wood shop as well. Might as well make it look better and sharper if someone's going to be looking at it...

Kind of like what you do to your shop when friends come over and see it for the first time. I know I always put a hand playing on the bench with a couple shavings peeling off it :)

 

 

Yeah but bars and pool tables appeal to a much wider range of potential home buyers, making it a more logical staging scenario.  You know how many people in this entire world give a hoot about woodworking?  Like seven.

 

Neat and tidy is always better when it comes to selling a house, but I think spending the time to pimp out the shop just to sell it would be a monumental waste of time and money.  If it already looks killer because you made it that way for yourself over the course of your residence there, great.  But frankly, you'd be better off getting everything OUT of the basement before showing the house so the buyers won't think they'll have to get a duct cleaning before they even move in.

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Yeah. When I eventually list my house for sale I'll be renting a storage unit somewhere nearby and taking the vast majority of my tools and stuff there to clear out the garage. Some sawhorses and a miter saw, maybe my workbench and some hand tools, and a small amount of lumber will stay behind. Most of what I would be working on would be fix-up projects inside the house anyway, and I want the buyer to see the garage as nice and spacious, not crammed to the gills with tools and rolling cabinets and all sorts of other stuff.

If the guy happens to be a woodworker he'll notice the sub-panel with numerous outlets, the roubo bench, and the substantial amount of pegboard on some of the walls and hopefully it'll be a nice added feature. Otherwise, whatever.

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All great points.

Since it came up, for those of you that have moved, have you had the movers transfer the 50lb bench, cabinet saw, and the rest of the shop...or have you rented truck to move that stuff yourself?

Not sure if I'd ever trust the movers with any of it...and couldn't imagine the extra cost if I'd incur for the weight.

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A guy once told me that women make the decision to buy a particular house 85% of the time.

He bought an older house to fix up and resell. He updated all of the plumbing, electrical, put in central heat & air and put a new roof on the house. The house sat and set for sale for eight months and was shown to about 25 prospective buyers but NO takers. Finally he put more money into painting the entire inside and put down new carpeting and the house sold within ONE week!

People (particularly women) do not care about the important things in owning a house, they just want it to look nice inside.

If I were to try to sell my house (which won't happen) I would empty my shop out completely. My shop is an addition to the back of the garage and has a garage door and walk door connecting the two. It started out to be a shop for my Go Kart racing hobby and worked quite well. Then it got changed into a warehouse storage for my business of being a mobile tool salesman. And finally a shop for my wood working hobby. As you can see, any extra space, basement, free standing shop or add on room can be used for a variety of things that may be of interest to a new home owner.

Rog

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Since it came up, for those of you that have moved, have you had the movers transfer the 50lb bench, cabinet saw, and the rest of the shop...or have you rented truck to move that stuff yourself?

 

I moved everything myself in a couple trips with a rental truck.  We did pay for two guys for a few hours of help loading one of the loads.  That load didn't include my tools though. 

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My dad used to be a real estate agent.  I went with him a couple of times to show houses to clients.  Each time, he would direct clients to houses that fit the bill of what they were looking for.  If they wanted an area to put in a shop, that would go on the list.  Not having to sink $5,000 into a basement build after sinking $200,000 into a house purchase would also go on the list.

 

Of all the houses he showed, none had an unfinished basement section.  Doesn't mean there weren't some out there, just means I never saw one.

 

My brother in law purchased a house (prior to being transferred to Georgia) that had a workshop room in the basement.  The benches stayed (wrap-around heavy construction grade lumber) and had minimal outlets.  He was excited by it because he didn't do a lot of wood working.  (And if he wanted to do any, he just had to run to the neighbor's house, which had a stand alone shop in the back yard.  Joe offered.  Several times.)

 

My suggestion?  1: talk to a real estate agent.  2: move out your tools, except for one or two to stage the room.  3: consider hiring a staging crew for the rest of the house, as well.  4: At least put up a coat of paint and clean the dust/webs out of the corners.  It doesn't matter what you have the room set at right now; what matters is that a prospective buyer can see what options the room has for their needs, and thinks the place is a match.

 

(Besides, most home owners put up a new coat of paint shortly after purchasing, changing the colors you just put up to hide the repairs you had to do to sell the place.  Besides purchasing it, making the new place feel like "theirs" is the most important thing home buyers do.  Oh, and making you finish off the basement as a condition of closing is a little harsh.  Just my opinion, but I hope you got to include some of the expense as a closing cost.)

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My wife and I just moved into our new to us house May 8th. We had movers move all of the furniture and my shop. I made it perfectly clear that my tablesaw weighed more than 700 lbs. The sales guy who bid out the move said no problem. The workers who did it weren't happy. (I didn't care) They asked/wanted to have me take it partially apart and I said no. I was there every step od the way and helped with nothing. Their insurance needed to pay out if needed not mine. The movers are day labor guys but they were an ok bunch. I would do it again the same way if need be.

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I just bought my home a couple of months ago. The existence of a place I could make a shop or have one built was top priority for my fiance and I. She had seen me drive over an hour to use other shops and wanted me closer to home so that part was an easy sale. I ended up with a detached garage/home office for a shop which is fine by me. Talking to a friend from work who is looking right now, its amazing how unlike my tastes and concerns run his own. Where I was automatically nixing any property that didn't have a large unfinished space or one I could tear out and make unfinished, he is nixing any property that has an unfinished space. This forum is probably a terrible statistical model for the general population, the folks here either have the skills to finish any space themselves or have the confidence that they can learn to do the job and get er done as needed. I think the majority of people out there rather have a finished space then a project. Whether you should stage a shop, finish the space or leave it empty will likely depend on your local market, how much each will cost and your available funds.

My regular moving company said they could move my shop, but I might try for professional equipment movers when the time comes.

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My wife and I just moved into our new to us house May 8th. We had movers move all of the furniture and my shop. I made it perfectly clear that my tablesaw weighed more than 700 lbs. The sales guy who bid out the move said no problem. The workers who did it weren't happy. (I didn't care) They asked/wanted to have me take it partially apart and I said no. I was there every step od the way and helped with nothing. Their insurance needed to pay out if needed not mine. The movers are day labor guys but they were an ok bunch. I would do it again the same way if need be.

The problem with salesmen is they always say "sure, that's no problem at all!" I deal with the end result of idiotic salesmen selling stuff we don't have, selling service in areas we don't service, or saying we can deliver or fix something on short notice that puts us in a serious bind.
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The problem with salesmen is they always say "sure, that's no problem at all!" I deal with the end result of idiotic salesmen selling stuff we don't have, selling service in areas we don't service, or saying we can deliver or fix something on short notice that puts us in a serious bind.

You're preaching to the choir. I was a tech and salesmen always said we could and then panicked and asked if I could bail them out for free. My whole career it was always NO.

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