See How Two NJ Real Estate Agents Transformed a Client's Home

3 Min Read

When New Jersey Real Estate Agents Kelly Knight and her colleague Carol Apprendi were given a mere 4 months to prepare 121 Beverly Road, for a short sale for the spring market, they knew that they were in for an incredibly unique experience.

The previous owners of the Montclair home had left the state months earlier, when the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions had expired. Legally, the previous occupants owned the property but had racked up about $1.1 million in debt, and no funds to contribute to the home's staging. This ultimately led Knight and Appendi to take on the massive project, viewing it as "an extreme experiment", and used their own money to make 121 Beverly Road a dream home to potential buyers. With a 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 much more taxing issues. The home's toilets were nonfunctioning, every room needed a fresh coat of paint, the backyard inhabitable, and the entrance ceiling had massive hole.

Despite the seemingly immeasurable obstacle that lie before Knight and Append, they rolled up their sleeves and immediately got to work. Like any large-scale job, the women drafted a list of exactly what the home needed in repairs and cosmetic improvements. Each day, they would complete the necessary tasks, often working into the night -- a few hours each day, spent packing and painting, hauling garbage, raking the leaves, and repeated cleaning. They hired a plumber and a handyman to repair the ceiling, while they completed all else themselves.

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.

"...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 17 bids in a short amount of time, Knight and Apprendi advised the home's sellers to have patience, and to wait for the the best offer. In the end, they accepted the offer of $1.426 million, which had waived a large portion of the inspection issues they 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