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How to Get Top Dollar for the Sale of Your Home

The Diamants need help selling their house so they can move and open a new business.

Judy and Mike Diamant are ready to pack up their active family and move across the country to open a fitness center. But first they need to pump up the bottom line on their out-of-shape home. That's where the Designed to Sell team comes into the picture. They intend to use their $2,000 budget and expertise to get top dollar from the sale.

The first team member on the scene is real estate expert Donna Freeman, who provides a very honest assessment of the house. The front of the house is not bad, but the dirt along the walk needs to be popped up with color, she says. If potential buyers like what they see on the outside, they will want to move on to the inside.

The interior needs a little more work. For example, the first room she enters does not have a clear purpose (it turns out to be a living room), though she notes the great hardwood floors and beautiful fireplace. Other rooms need general sprucing up and rearranging.

The main problem with the kitchen, though it's nice and spacious, is that it is dated.

The master bedroom is crowded with large furniture and uninspiring in general.

The den is just plain drab. Its best feature, the fireplace (to the left of the TV, in the wall), is not highlighted at all.

Designer Lisa LaPorta agrees with Donna's assessment and outlines a design plan to make it happen. She wants to focus on the living room, master bedroom, kitchen and den.

Step 1: Beat the clock! Update or replace old-fashioned elements so the entire house feels current.

Step 2: Reel 'em in. Grab prospective buyers when they first walk in the door to boost their interest and the home's bottom line.

Step 3: Set the stage. Create drama in important areas so potential buyers will want to linger.

Lisa knows she can't do all the work alone, so she pulls together her usual team of contractor Jim Collins and carpenters Brad Haviland and Nick Ralbovsky.

After just a few days and a lot of elbow grease The Diamants and Designed to Sell team are ready for the open house. Take a look:

Before the living room was bland and seemed to have no real purpose, but now it's a lovely greeting for all who enter. New furniture pieces were borrowed from a family member, and the colorful accessories came from other parts of the house.

The kitchen has a completely updated and custom look. The upper cabinets are gone, creating a much more open area, and new pendant lights, wall color and faux finishing on the lower cabinets make the space brighter. There's also a new banquette table that makes for a great place to dine and entertain.

The master bedroom is no longer stifled by furniture that doesn't fit. It boasts a new bed frame, attractive (and small) nightstands and lamps, new linens, pillows and vanity as well as a fresh coat of paint, elegant chandelier and sturdy carpet.

Though the den lacked purpose before, its primary function now is to turn heads. Fresh wall paint and faux finishing on the fireplace facade add a dash of warmth, and the new wicker chairs and decorative accessories combined with pieces the couple had in storage create a pleasant place to gather.

Cost Information

carpet $425
furniture $477
paint and supplies $145
linens and accessories $386
lighting $239
banquette $320

Total: $1,992

Makeover Information

Products from the Coaster Company of America:

dining-room table, 5372
two barstools for den, 2493
bed frame
two side tables for bedroom, 5423
two lamps for bedroom, 1533
floor lamp for living room, 1738
vanity, 7543

Products from Big Lots:

two tan pillows, 1463500121594
two yellow mugs, 1453400067930
towels and potholder, 1453400107983
wall decor, 1453400100251
four candles, 1453400047932
two Green candleholders, 1453400108569
Green vase

Products from Anna's Linens:

five Honey-colored pillows, 827001
Green pillows, 812975
two Yellow pillows, 827007
Hennessey comforter set, 819971
two pillows, 819975
one neckroll pillow, 819977
one set of Hennessey drapery panels, 819978
three Hennessey Ascot valances for bedroom, 819979

Products from Lowe's:

light fixture for kitchen, Portfolio, 170555
valance rods for kitchen and den, Levolor, 180437 and 180432
chandelier for bedroom, 79601

Product from Lamps Plus:

kitchen chandelier, 17623

Product from Carpet Mall:

carpet, CRP-000

Products from The Home Depot:

paint for master bedroom, Ralph Lauren's Devonshire NA-22
paint for the den and kitchen, Ralph Lauren's Parchment NA-49
paint for the kitchen ceiling, Ralph Lauren's Swiss Coffee
paint for the den fireplace, (mix of 3) Behr's Biloxi 300E-1, Calm Air 300E-2, and Clair De Lune 300E-3
paint for the kitchen cabinets, (mix of 3) Ralph Lauren's Parchment, American Traditions' Cliveden Leather and Olympic's Dusty Trail
wicker chairs, covered with Green spray paint
appliances, Rustoleum High Heat White
four-pendant light fixture, 008938204804
track for lighting, 008938275101
brackets for pendants for kitchen, 008938270304

Products from Target:

three window treatments for kitchen, 068030739
two window treatments for den, 060100315

Products from Pier 1:

two wicker chairs, Casbah, 1991349

Products from Leeds Mattress Stores:

mattress box spring and frame for bedroom, Golden (Yellow cover) Orthopedic Queen Mattress set

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