Longing for Condo Life

A suburban couple gets help selling their house so they can move into a condo closer to downtown Chicago.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionReal estate expert Brandie Malay was concerned about the fraternity-house decor in the living room. With mismatched furniture pieces, a blanket for a door and deferred maintenance at the windows, she was afraid buyers would drop out before graduation.
While many 30-something couples are moving to the suburbs to start a family, Heather and Brendan Gately want to move closer to downtown Chicago. They currently own a vintage single-family home in the city's trendy Wicker Park neighborhood, but they are overwhelmed with the responsibilities that come with owning a house and are longing for easier condo life. That's where the Designed to Sell team comes into the picture. They sign on to help get the Gatelys get top dollar for their current place.

Real estate expert Brandie Malay makes her assessment of the property. Though she likes the outside, she says this late 1800s-era cottage is showing its age on the inside. She thinks the exposed light bulb and meter box in the entry will be an immediate turnoff to buyers. Further inside, she is appalled to see a blanket serving as a door covering as well as deferred maintenance at the window. Once in the kitchen, Brandie's eye goes straight to the bug-filled overhead light fixture. She then notes that the kitchen is not current enough and she thinks buyers will be disappointed in the most important room in the house.

Design expert Monica Pedersen has her work cut out for her, and she has a great plan to make it happen. First off, she wants to make the foyer a welcoming space. In the living room she wants to show off the room's moldings, play up the beautiful windows and use sophisticated furniture to appeal to update the look. She wants to create a workspace in the kitchen that will appeal to cooks. She'll play up the counterspace and give the room an island that will provide additional counterspace and a spot to dine. Here's how she makes it happen:

Step 1: Welcome a great offer. Draw buyers in with a sophisticated entry that will set the tone for the rest of the property.

Step 2: Put your money where their mouth is. Kitchens sell homes, so invest in kitchen updates to see a return on your investment.

Step 3: Graduate to a new level of style. Mismatched furnishings are an eye-trap for buyers. Create a sophisticated space where buyers can picture themselves.

Carpenters Robert North and Chad Lopez are ready to help the team give this home contemporary style and function.

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