Updated: Mar 24
When New Jersey Real Estate Agents Kelly Knight and her colleague Carol Apprendi were given a mere 4 months to prepare 121 Beverly Road, they knew that they were in for an incredibly unique challenge.
The previous owners of the Montclair home had left the state months earlier, and there were no funds available to contribute to renovations and staging. This ultimately led Knight and Appendi to take on this "extreme experiment," setting out to make 121 Beverly Road a dream home to potential buyers. With an invested budget of $5000, the average cost to hire a team of professional home stagers, Knight and Appendi confronted the project head-on.
What they found was a property that was far from ready to be listed. The home was in a state of total disarray: trash scattered about, old battered furniture, and boxes strewn everywhere. Beyond the cosmetic issues, existed a set of possible inspection issues. The home's toilets were nonfunctioning, every room needed a fresh coat of paint, the backyard was uninhabitable, and the entrance ceiling had massive hole.
Each day, Knight and Apprendi would complete a variety of tasks—packing and painting, hauling garbage, raking leaves, repeated cleaning, etc.—often working into the night. The only help they enlisted was a plumber for the toilet and a handyman for the ceiling. By the time the home was ready to be staged for listing pictures, they had long exceeded their original budget and despite the setback, made due with utilizing their own furniture.
Cleverly, the two were able to use the home's base design as a foundation. In the kitchen, for instance, they utilized existing fixtures while updating details like drawer and cabinet handles, as well as including attractive kitchenware in the kitchen's windowed cabinets. A few, fresh plants helped set the mood.
"...when it came time to stage the house for pictures, we emptied out our own homes of furniture. My husband literally thought we had been robbed when he got home one day." --- Kelly Knight
Listing the home at $899,000, and with 17 bids in a short amount of time, Knight and Apprendi advised the home's sellers to be patient and wait for the the best offer. In the end, they accepted an offer of $1.426 million, which had waived a large portion of the inspection issues they initially confronted.
In reflection of their passion project, which had brought 121 Beverly Road back to life, Knight shared the most important lesson learned throughout the process:
"The take-home lesson Carol and I got is the home preparation really matters. You only have one chance to make a first impression on agents and buyers, and the steps you take can make a difference..." --- Kelly Knight