Each week on “Property Brothers: Buying and Selling,” Jonathan and Drew Scott dish as they drive to meet their latest clients. In the latest episode, “Downsizing to Maximize Living Space,” Jonathan asks Drew what’s the one thing he’d want if he were stranded on a desert island.
“A genie, so he could grant my wish to get off the island,” Drew replies.
Jonathan calls foul. What would Drew wish he had on the island to make his life better there?
“Okay then, a multitool,” says Drew. In fact, he adds, he wants Jonathan to be his living multitool. After all, he can pretty much fix anything!
It’s a sweet moment of brotherly love—all before the Scotts get down to business with Canadian couple Dave and Lisa, who are ready to downsize from their four-bedroom house to a smaller place that nonetheless has plenty of open space for reunions with their adult kids and their partners. They’re willing to pay $950,000 for the right house.
Meanwhile, Jonathan has to update the couple’s current home. As is, Drew estimates, it’s worth about $850,000. But after five weeks and $80,000 in renovations, he thinks they can expect to get their hoped-for price of $1 million-plus. Here are some smart real estate tips the Scotts impart as they get to work.
Nix the fully carpeted stairs
A little stylish carpeting on the steps to reduce slippage is perfectly acceptable, but the stairs in Lisa and Dave’s house have worn shag on the risers, the steps, and everywhere in between.
Jonathan intends to remove the carpeting and sand and polish the wood underneath. However, when he pries the carpet loose, he finds nothing more than plywood. He has to redo the entire staircase. While he’s at it, he replaces the wood railings and posts with modern metal.
The update makes all the difference—especially since the stairs are visible from the entryway.
Light floors make a room look bigger
Dark floors may be stately, and can make large rooms look more intimate, but when you want a room that feels airy and spacious, light wood is the way to go. In this case, they use light pine planks, and it does wonders.
Don’t skimp on the laundry room
“A lot of times, laundry rooms are the overlooked space that nobody puts extra effort into,” says Jonathan. “But if we’re going to have an amazing kitchen, we need to have an amazing laundry room. And then this will be the space that buyers didn’t even know was on their wish list.”
Lisa and Dave’s laundry room was originally a haphazard space with a mismatched washer and dryer and bright yellow walls. Jonathan puts in brand-new, stainless-steel appliances and paints the room a nice dove gray. Home buyers end up fawning over it once they get to tour the house.
Waterproof floor in wet room
While there is light pine used throughout the house, Jonathan decides to go in another direction for the laundry room.
“Because this is a wet room, you’ll have spills on the floors, so I don’t want to run hardwood in this space,” he says. “I’m going to run beautiful tile in here that looks like marble, but underneath that, I’m affixing a waterproofing layer right over the subfloor that will prevent anything from seeping through the grout, and with the vibrations from the dryer, it will keep the tiles from popping up.”
Good thinking, Jonathan!
How to update a fireplace
The painted brick fireplace that stops halfway up the wall looks extremely ’80s, so Jonathan decides to overhaul the entire wall by tearing out the bricks and carrying the fireplace all the way up the ceiling, and also expanding it a few feet on each side.
The end result looks very grand, but it didn’t cost a lot, he says: “All it is is decorative trim and molding. Now it looks like a stunning floor-to-ceiling feature.”
Do the Scott brothers deliver?
As promised, buyers are impressed. So impressed, in fact, that there are multiple offers on the home. In the end, Dave and Lisa accept the highest bid, which comes in at $1,075,000—or $25,000 over asking price.
Meanwhile, Drew has found them a brand-new home for $50,000 below their budget of $950,000.
It’s a win-win situation, and the Scotts prove themselves indispensable again.