Reality TV stars Jonathan and Drew Scott are pros at renovating homes, but in the latest “Property Brothers: Buying & Selling,” you have to wonder if they’re a bit off their rockers when they vow to take the “ugliest house on the block” and—through a few smart upgrades—turn it around and sell it for a million bucks. Come on, guys, is that really possible?
To be sure, the home featured in the latest episode, “Plans to Expand,” does look pretty darn homely.
“Kinda looks like an Italian bistro in Las Vegas,” says Jonathan as he surveys the bizarre plaster pillars, cracked stucco, and rusted awnings that make up the house’s exterior.
The homeowners, New Yorkers Paul and Mary, are in dire need of more space due to their 3-year-old twins. So, the Scott brothers get to work finding them a great new house, while also making improvements to their current digs. Check out their top beauty tricks and feel free to try them on your own home, too.
Focus on the kitchen
Jonathan thinks he can do everything the house needs to bring it up to the seven-figure threshold with a $65,000 renovation budget. He’s going to spend the biggest chunk of that on the kitchen.
“The kitchen is what sells the house,” the brothers always say, and Jonathan plans on making it unlike anything else in the neighborhood, without breaking the bank.
Work with the existing plumbing whenever possible
Jonathan believes the kitchen actually has a decent layout—it even has an island. But the cheap cabinetry and tile have to go, he decides. So he demolishes everything and carts it all away. Ultimately it’s determined that almost nothing can be saved, except the plumbing. At the very least, the sinks are in the ideal places.
“If you don’t have to relocate [the sinks], it won’t cost as much,” he explains.
Unique features make the house
“To stand out in this market, you have to have a feature that no one else has,” says Drew. And Jonathan’s redesigned kitchen is just the thing.
Among its unique features are a backsplash made of handcut marble tiles with metallic gold edging, reclaimed wood shelving, and pendant lighting achieved by grouping different-size lights together.
Radiant heating can save a room
There’s an odd, narrow mudroom at the back of the house adjacent to the kitchen that gets too cold and damp in the winter to actually use. So Jonathan decides to make it more functional by adding in-floor heating.
Radiant heating “is a cost-effective solution that will make this a very comfortable, usable area,” he explains.
When possible, put the laundry room upstairs
Meanwhile, Realtor® Drew is showing Paul and Mary a number of houses that they might like to buy. One is huge and luxurious, but with one glaring flaw: The laundry room is in the basement. Sure, down there, there’s room for an entire “laundry suite,” but Mary doesn’t think it’s worth the “calves of steel” that Drew tells her she’ll develop schlepping all the laundry up and down those stairs.
Don’t discount composite decks
The front porch’s clunky concrete pillars and garish railings get completely demoed, and in their place Jonathan must build something new. Rather than be a wood snob, he fully embraces composite materials that look like wood but aren’t.
“I decided to go with composite decking because this will last so much longer, and even though it’s a little more expensive, I decided ‘let’s do it right,’” he says. “You never have to repaint it, and it will look like this for 10 times longer than any other wood deck.”
A nice front door wows visitors before they even knock
The front door is forgettably drab—so much so that, as Drew remarks, buyers won’t even want to enter. So Jonathan orders a custom front door with a bevel-edged window. Once it’s installed, everyone agrees it was worth it.
How does it all end up?
The “ugliest house on the block” is now all prettied up. Drew lists it for $950,000, and a bidding war drives up the selling price to a cool million. Bravo, bros!
This makeover also gives the family plenty of cash to funnel toward the purchase of a much larger house with a big backyard where the twins can play. Paul and Mary snag this new place for $1.1 million—and, in one fell swoop, go from owning the ugliest house on the block to one of the best.
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