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Sowing the Seeds of Profit

The Designed to Sell team helps a couple get their yard cleaned up before their open house.

Before: An Overgrown Mess
Ame Eichmann and Blair Korbel are getting married and need to sell his house — the layout and rooms are just too small for two.

The house is in pretty good shape on the inside, but the outside is an overgrown mess. They enlist the help of the Designed to Sell team of experts to get top dollar from the sale. Armed with a $2,000 budget and a lot of motivation, everyone is ready to get started.

Real estate expert Donna Freeman says they certainly have their work cut out for them after she sees that front yard. The curb appeal is the worst she's ever seen — so bad that she doesn't even see any offers being made. She is pleasantly surprised after going inside, though, and begins to change her mind about the selling potential.

Resident designer Lisa LaPorta agrees with Freeman's newfound optimism and lays out a plan packed with selling power:

Step 1: Weed through the wild. Buyers have to find the front door before they can go in and make offers.

Step 2: Spice it up. The outdated features need some new flavor.

Step 3: Polish it off! Taking care of all the little things could add up to big returns.

Contractor Jim Collins and carpenters Nick Ralbovsky and Brad Haviland are up for the challenge and start by clearing off land in front of the house. Clearly the exterior will take up the largest part of the budget, but the interior work is important, too. The biggest problem areas are in the family room and kitchen.

Before: Dated Family Room
Both Freeman and LaPorta note that this room lacks definition and purpose. And it's not in great shape. The wall paneling is bowed out and dated, plus there is an uncovered light switch plate and missing baseboard. There is no time to replace the paneling, so LaPorta wants to paint it a cozier color. New baseboards and furniture are on the list as well.

After: Fresh and Elegant
What once was a wood-paneled disaster is now an elegant space, thanks to furniture and accessories from Ame's place, a new light fixture purchased by Ame and Blair, plus fresh paint and molding.

Products from The Coaster Company of America:

table and chairs for kitchen, 7609 and 7018

Products/services from The Home Depot:

Ralph Lauren paint for kitchen and den, Blond
Olympic primer and paint for den, Toasted Almond
switch plate covers for den
tool rental — vibratory plate compactor for front yard

Products from Lowe's:

Williamsburg light fixture for kitchen, 218983
flowers for kitchen and front yard, marigolds and coleus
baseboard for den, MDF Base Molding, 099443774661
stones for front yard, California Gold, item# 3145/model# CS-035
paver stones for front yard, 6 x 6 Cobble Blend, 185667
truck rental

Products from Sig's Pottery:

fountain for front yard, BA400 Medium Fountain, Mini Sandoval

Products from Valley Sod:

sod for front yard

yard clearance for front yard:

Ford Brothers Gardening

Before: Drab and Outdated
The kitchen is stark white and desperate for updates. It's also not very clean, and there is an unused, awkward nook connected to it. The buyer needs to envision him/herself in the area, and that won't be possible until this space is redone. The kitchen can make or break the deal when selling a house. The one in this house is just screaming for a little TLC, some organization and a splash of color.

LaPorta intends to fix all the imperfections, repaint the cabinets and walls and make better use of that nook.

After: Warm Kitchen
The formerly dingy, drab kitchen has been warmed up with fresh paint on the cabinets and walls as well as various accessories from Ame's apartment.

Products from The Coaster Company of America:

table and chairs for kitchen, 7609 and 7018

Products/services from The Home Depot:

Ralph Lauren paint for kitchen and den, Blond
Olympic primer and paint for den, Toasted Almond
switch plate covers for den
tool rental — vibratory plate compactor for front yard

Products from Lowe's:

Williamsburg light fixture for kitchen, 218983
flowers for kitchen and front yard, marigolds and coleus
baseboard for den, MDF Base Molding, 099443774661
stones for front yard, California Gold, item# 3145/model# CS-035
paver stones for front yard, 6 x 6 Cobble Blend, 185667
truck rental

Products from Sig's Pottery:

fountain for front yard, BA400 Medium Fountain, Mini Sandoval

Products from Valley Sod:

sod for front yard

yard clearance for front yard:

Ford Brothers Gardening

Before: A Waste of Space
The corner area in the kitchen is underused and a waste of valuable space. LaPorta thinks the table and chairs from the dining room might work well here.

After: Functional Dining Area
The wasted space in the corner is now a diner's delight. The cozy eat-in area boasts a new dining set and light fixture. Total cost for the redo? Less than $300.

Products from The Coaster Company of America:

table and chairs for kitchen, 7609 and 7018

Products/services from The Home Depot:

Ralph Lauren paint for kitchen and den, Blond
Olympic primer and paint for den, Toasted Almond
switch plate covers for den
tool rental — vibratory plate compactor for front yard

Products from Lowe's:

Williamsburg light fixture for kitchen, 218983
flowers for kitchen and front yard, marigolds and coleus
baseboard for den, MDF Base Molding, 099443774661
stones for front yard, California Gold, item# 3145/model# CS-035
paver stones for front yard, 6 x 6 Cobble Blend, 185667
truck rental

Products from Sig's Pottery:

fountain for front yard, BA400 Medium Fountain, Mini Sandoval

Products from Valley Sod:

sod for front yard

yard clearance for front yard:

Ford Brothers Gardening

After: Gorgeous Front Yard
And what about that front yard? LaPorta and her crew started over from scratch, clearing it out completely, then planting sod and strategically placing flowers and shrubs. She decided to top it all off with a water fountain, front and center. The result is a gorgeous garden that will have potential buyers lining up at the door. The rock path around the fountain creates a park-like atmosphere and adds tremendous value and street attraction.

Here is the cost breakdown:

brush removal (overhaul of front yard) $500
landscaping materials $885
fountain $267
furniture $137
lighting $114
paint and supplies $65
lumber and materials $27

Total: $1,995

Products from The Coaster Company of America:

table and chairs for kitchen, 7609 and 7018

Products/services from The Home Depot:

Ralph Lauren paint for kitchen and den, Blond
Olympic primer and paint for den, Toasted Almond
switch plate covers for den
tool rental — vibratory plate compactor for front yard

Products from Lowe's:

Williamsburg light fixture for kitchen, 218983
flowers for kitchen and front yard, marigolds and coleus
baseboard for den, MDF Base Molding, 099443774661
stones for front yard, California Gold, item# 3145/model# CS-035
paver stones for front yard, 6 x 6 Cobble Blend, 185667
truck rental

Products from Sig's Pottery:

fountain for front yard, BA400 Medium Fountain, Mini Sandoval

Products from Valley Sod:

sod for front yard

yard clearance for front yard:

Ford Brothers Gardening

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