Two Mortgages Too Many

Cosmetic updates get a home ready for sale to free a couple from paying two mortgages.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThis couple recently bought a large home down the street and needs to sell this one fast so they don't get stuck with two mortgages.
Homeowners Sara and Jonathan Wolcott have outgrown their 1936 Cape Cod-style house in Alexandria, Va. They have already bought another home just a few blocks away, so they are anxious to sell because they can't afford two mortgages. The home is located in the Belle Haven neighborhood, a historic area that started out as Mount Vernon's first suburb.

Real estate expert Shirley Mattam-Male stops by to deliver her blunt critique, aimed at helping the homeowners make a quick sale. She adores the charming English-cottage look of the exterior, then she enters the dwelling and her praise dwindles. In the master bedroom, she loves the high ceiling but not the mismatched window treatments and dents in the wall. She thinks the bathroom is overly pink, is filled with too much clutter and has stains on the floor. Mattam-Male refers to the guest bedroom's dull deocr as simplicity taken to the extreme.

Designer Taniya Nayak agrees with Mattam-Male's comments and has a $2,000 design plan that will help get these homeowners back to paying just one mortgage.

Step 1: Add some color to the master bedroom, and coordinate the upholstery and windows.

Step 2: Declutter the bathroom, lay down a new floor, and paint over the pink.

Step 3: In the guest bedroom, replace the dull furnishings and refinish the scratched wooden floors.

Contractor Simon Ley and carpenter Lynn Kegan are on hand and ready to get the job done.