“Unsellable Houses” hosts Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis are twin sisters on a mission to move real estate that’s been lingering on the market. And while many homes just need some updating, what if it’s just too small?
In the episode “Small House Save,” the sisters help homeowner Marty fix up his Everett, WA, house. This home is just 850 square feet, with two bedrooms and one bathroom, so Lamb and Davis know Marty’s asking price of $440,000 is likely too much in the property’s current condition—which explains why the home has been on the market for two months.
Still, they know that with a little work and a $40,000 renovation, this place will be perfect for a first-time home buyer. Here’s how Lamb and Davis sell this starter home, which may inspire some ideas for updating your own abode.
Add built-ins on the cheap
When Lamb and Davis first see this house, they’re unimpressed with the family room. They want to build a custom mantel, but realize they don’t have it in the budget to build anything from scratch. However, when they find two large bookshelves, they realize that they can create built-ins.
After painting the shelves and adding some detail work to make them seem custom, the sisters say the shelves look amazing.
“It gives you a focal point to look at,” Lamb says. “We have storage now built in, and it feels like it was meant to be there.”
Creativity with paint can pay off
When it comes to decorating the bedrooms, Lamb and Davis need to get creative. They decide to paint a mural on one of the bedroom walls.
Davis points out that a painted mural is very on-trend tight now, and explains that paint is an inexpensive way customize a house without risk.
“Paint is something that’s always fun to play with because it’s so easy to change,” Davis says.
Don’t replace tile if it’s in good shape
Lamb and Davis know it’s important to save money wherever possible, so Lamb decides to replace only the floor tile in the bathroom, leaving the ’50s blush tile on the walls.
“We keep the blush, which I love,” Lamb tells Davis, “and then we put in a really cool modern tile floor, which is going to now make this blush feel as if it has been updated and modernized.”
She uses a modern black and white tile, and when the bathroom is finished, the space has a fun midcentury modern feel. It’s a great look and a clever money saver.
If a kitchen isn’t working, rearrange the appliances
Marty’s kitchen is dated, but the real problem is the layout. The range is situated in the corner, so there’s space behind the stove that’s hard to reach, which makes this small kitchen seem even smaller.
“When you’re under 1,000 square foot, you have to give the buyer functionality in every single space,” Lamb says.
So Lamb suggests moving the oven and creating more usable counter space.
“We can make your kitchen feel more spacious by rethinking the space,” Lamb tells Marty. “If we relocate some of the appliances, we’re going to create more workspace and give it a more open feel.”
In addition to rearranging the layout, they give the kitchen beautiful cabinets to update the look. In the end, this small kitchen seems much larger and looks beautiful!
A garage can be a great second living room
This home may be small, but it does have a great bonus space: a detached garage. The sisters decide to turn it into a media room. However, instead of fully transforming the space, they leave the garage door in place and simply build a wall behind it.
“We could save $2,000 by just doing the wall inside, and give our buyers options should they want to convert this back into a garage,” Davis points out.
When the house is finished, Lamb and Davis list the house for $500,000 and get a full-price offer in just a few days—proving that even small homes with a few fixes can have a big payoff!
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