Selling to Travel the World
Find out if Denise Samson's open house is a success.
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Denise Samson is ready to trade her Hawaiian-inspired home for a trip around the world. She bought her 1949 one-story home four years ago. Its 850 square feet includes a combined living room/dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom. Though she concedes it will be hard for her to give up her first home, she thinks being able to travel for a year will make it worth it.
The open house is one week away, so real-estate expert Shannon Freeman is brought in to assess the house. The first thing she notices is that holiday lights are still on display, and plastic wildlife adorns the yard. Both have to go. The landscape also needs sprucing up--sculpted shrubs are out, she says. The next red flag is a screen door--you don't want to "screen out" potential buyers with one of these on the front door.
Inside the house, she notes that the dining area is not sufficient, but the living room just needs some rearranging. The kitchen is bland and uninviting. Freeman says if you're going to put your money into improvements before selling, the kitchen is a recipe for success.
The green chair in the living room is awkwardly placed, and the furniture arrangement makes the area appear smaller than it really is.
The kitchen, typically an area where company gathers, has no real personality. Counter space has also been mismanaged, which makes the room stuffy.
Moving on to the office, she notes a good deal of clutter, which makes the room look smaller. There is too much furniture in a small room. Sometimes simple rearranging is all that's necessary.
The bedroom, decorated in a Hawaiian theme, actually works pretty well, she said. It just needs a softer touch.
The bathroom is boring. There is also some corrosion on the bottom of the shower and damaged flooring.
Designed to Sell designer Lisa LaPorta's assessment includes a three-step plan for improvement:
Step 1: Make it sparkle--the bathroom and the kitchen need to look brand new. These two rooms can be big selling points.
Step 2: Shake things up a bit. The furniture needs to be removed or rearranged in bedroom 2, for example.
Step 3: Liven up the landscaping. Curb appeal needs to stop traffic.
With help from carpenter Brad Haviland, LaPorta jumps right in to the project. She needs Samson to completely clean out the house first so she can start with a clean slate. Though the trio works diligently, they get down to the wire, but manage to have everything ready in time for the open house.
The exterior got its face-lift by trimming the shrubbery, putting out new planters and cleaning up the front door area.
Changes in the kitchen include a fresh paint job and accessories, new French door to allow more light in and make the space appear larger, and a new microwave/fan combination and dishwasher.
The "after" office also seems brighter and roomier, with its fresh coat of paint, new ceiling fan with light and warm-colored window treatments.
The master bedroom remains virtually unchanged, save for a softer-colored bed comforter and window treatments that allow more light inside.
The new bathroom looks seems twice the size, now that the shower doors are gone. Soft decorative accessories and paint as well as new ceramic tile have transformed this small room.
Half the budget was spent in the kitchen, while the rest was devoted to tile flooring, window treatments, landscaping and carpet cleaning. It was kept just below budget at $1,970.
The open house is such a success that Samson has a change of heart. She decides to lease her cottage so that when she finishes traveling she can move back.
Products from Lowe's:
bathroom tile, 6 x 6" Sandy Ridge Tile
4-inch brushed nickel
zinc single curtain, 180639
shower curtain/LI, 215610
nickel ball Hook, 72" tension rod
SN Laurel Entry
Products from Home Depot:
flowers and plants:
lily of the Nile
Ralph Lauren paint:
for the bathroom: Cymric Silver, TH09
for the office: Thunder Bay, TH30
Benjamin Moore kitchen paint:
Wheeling Neutral, HC92
Product from Contractors' Warehouse:
Clear Pine French 3 (French door)
bathroom accessories from Target:
dish cloth, 067071079
lotion pump, 064050784
bath towel, 064020260
pussy willow, 084111125
basket box, 065091897
window treatments from Target:
Product from Lamps Plus:
15" scroll arm semi
Products from GE:
host display dishwasher
1.3 cubic-foot microwave
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