Trading Down

Our team of experts helps a family spruce up their house before they sell.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe bathroom was screaming shabby rehab, according to real estate expert Bethany Souza.
Laura and Keith Houghteling have decided to downsize so that Laura can stay at home with their two sons, Sam and Max. They need help bolstering the bottom line of their 1920s bungalow, so they enlist the expertise of the Designed to Sell team.

Real estate expert Bethany Souza is first on the scene. Staring with the exterior, she notes that there is really nice brickwork and landscaping, but there is also an aging window box with no flowers in it, dilapidated shutters and cracks on front steps. Once inside, she is blown away! The interior is "gorgeous--a classic example of 'don't judge a book by its cover,'" she says.

The next team member to weigh in is designer Monica Pedersen, who is charged with implementing the changes Souza suggests by squeezing every penny out of the $2,000 budget. She intends to focus on the exterior, bathroom and master suite.

Step 1: Stick to the style. Play up the home's architectural design and pack it with selling power.

Step 2: Polish it off. Take care of the little details that can add up to big returns.

Step 3: Make it sing. Highlight the home's selling features with decorative touches.

Pitching in to help turn house around are carpenters Robert North and Chad Lopez. The results of their hard work are below.

The outdated, dingy fixtures and ceiling, plus poor tile work on the walls overshadowed the wonderful original tile flooring and glass block window above the tub.

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