Our Big Dilemma

13a2bda8d9c6ce383fcc876223f6b9e0The thing that Jon and I have been debating is whether we will actually move into this house, or just sell it. We initially bought it with the intention of renovating it and flipping it as an investment regardless, the questions was just whether we would sell it right after the renovations were done, or wait until the first year of ownership was up, so we didn’t have to pay any capital gains tax. ( If you sell you primary residence, you don’t have to pay capital gain tax on any profit you make, unless you have owned the property for less than a year).

Even after all the work that has gone into this house, although still not quite fully complete ( really, when is a house ever really finished??), there are pros and cons to this house that have remained constant about it since we took a first look at it. I hesitate to outline them here, because if we do decide to sell, having what I see as the shortcomings of the house out there in the blogosphere  for anyone to see, including potential buyers. Some of these things are things that were absolutely unchangeable about the house, despite our best efforts.

That being said, the house had some great features that sold us on it originally, that have remained throughout the reno. The renovation has allowed us to make some major improvements and additions to the property as well. The house is right in the downtown core, in a great location within walking distance to downtown and the parks along the river. It has great curb appeal and is the cutest thing from the street, and has great established gardens, a great little private backyard, with a cute flagstone patio and large trees. The siding on the house was newer  & in great shape and it has a 50 year metal roof only about 7 years old. So it was great from the outside even before, and we were able to alter the interior to match.

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On the inside, we made huge changes to the layout and usable space of the house, drastically improving the functionality of it. We were able to turn a very very small( like, 4′ x 8′  small) 2nd bedroom/ nursery into an ensuite bathroom for the master,turning the whole second floor a master retreat, making much better use of the space, and relocating the full 5- piece bath to the second floor, instead of having it on the main level, which I hate ( said from experience). In my opinion, that is a vast improvement, as I will never again live in a house with the main bath on the main floor. And the bathroom is pretty amazing, with the same cabinetry and countertops as the kitchen downstairs, vessel sinks and waterfall faucets, and a huge soaker tub.


We were able to finish off an addition at the back that was previously unfinished utility space to add to the usable space inside. We tore down the interior wall dividing the spaces, insulated and drywalled to create a new living room space that is open to the kitchen/ dining area. We closed up the open cellar stairway down to the basement by putting a trap door so that there was no gaping hole in the middle of the space. We were able to add a 2 piece powder room to this space as well, thus adding great value to the home by increasing the number of bathrooms in it.


By relocating the main bath upstairs, we were able to reclaim a good chunk of space on the main floor to double to size of the kitchen. By doing that, we were able to build an absolutely amazing kitchen that I am totally in love with. We relocated the laundry to a corner of the kitchen and hid it in cabinetry for convenient main- floor laundry. The kitchen has white shaker-style doors that are made of solid wood, as are all the drawers. Only the frames of the cabinets are made of MDF. We chose a black solid surface countertop that will last through anything and all brand- new stainless steel appliances. It has a huge island with pot drawers and a breakfast bar.  There is also space under the window for a small dining table, which is great because  there isn’t a separate dining room (a con for me). The kitchen is pretty much my dream kitchen, and the largest PRO factor of the house, in my opinion.


The space that was originally the combo living/ dining room, a long, narrow-ish open space across the front of the house that faces the street that the front doors leads into, we divided into a proper front hallway and  two small-ish rooms. I much prefer having a front hallway/ foyer that you can come into and hang up your coat, instead of walking straight into the living space. For me that is always a bit of an awkward introduction to a house.


The two rooms can be considered bedrooms and both have built- in closets, one huge, one not so much, but still there. So we managed to increase the number of bedrooms from 2 (really, the house should have been a 1+1, with the second bedroom upstairs only considered a den, as it legally wasn’t large enough to be called a bedroom) to 3. And up goes the property value once again. If you didn’t t need the rooms to function as bedrooms, they would be great as a secondary living spaces, a den/ office,  2nd living/ family room, etc, which would free up the space in the back living room to be used as a separate dining room, if you so chose. I always said if Jon and I stay in this house, that is how we would use the space, making sure the couches were all pull- outs for any friends who came to stay the night, in lieu of a separate guest room.

Overall, we have done quite the number on the house, and really tried to make it into all that it could be. There is even the possibility of finishing further living space, as there is the 3-season sunroom that is quite large, that if insulated and finished off properly  could provide additional living space. That would provide probably an ideal amount of living space for any type of family to live in. I promise a full before and after post once the house is all polished up.

The real estate market in our city is booming right now, so if we sell, now is the time to do it. We’ve been keeping our eyes on the market, and there is absolutes nothing like our house, renovated as it is, certainly in our neighborhood, if not in the whole city, and it has made us think we could get more for the house than we had originally thought.  If we are going to sell, I would rather do it now, before we go through the hassle of moving out of my mother-in-law’s house and unpacking our storage unit. Moving sucks, so I would rather do it only once.

After putting in so much time ( almost 5 months) and a considerably large sum of money as we have with this house, would you be inclined to live in the house, or put it up for sale? Would the lure of being able to get  a sizable return for your investment persuade you to sell? How crazy do you think we are??


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