Tribune Print Share Text

The right moves: Basement makeover makes sale

Created date

April 30th, 2009

Heather Leah Huddleston


When the Petryk sisters, Phyllis and Florence, decided to move to Maris Grove, they had the opportunity to spruce up the single family ranch home they had lived in for the last 25 years. Located in Wilmington, Del., the rancher was in a great location and catered well to younger potential buyers, says Suzy McAllister, personal moving consultant for Erickson Realty & Moving Services at Maris Grove.

The sisters had a challenge, however. They had to make the home look brighter, especially the basement a space the sisters didn t utilize but that potential buyers would crave. "The house was to our comfort," Flo says, and they had to remove their personalized comfort in order for the house to sell.

Flo preferred carpeted floors, but Suzy recommended removing the mauve-colored carpet in the living room, dining room, and hallway to expose the underlying hardwood floor. McAllister also recommended taking away the neutral colored tablecloth that graced the dining room table. Phyllis couldn t believe how open and bright the space looked after following McAllister s advice. The sisters never imagined that removing a beige lace tablecloth would make a space seem bigger and brighter, "but it worked," Phyllis says.

The room that underwent the biggest transformation was the basement. "We noticed that other homes that had sold in this community had featured the basements," Suzy says. "Although the Petryk s basement was finished and there was a half-bath down there, the space was dark and dated." The sisters only used the space to store items, like a piano. It had dark-colored paneling on the walls, dark linoleum flooring, and small, high windows.

With Suzy s advice, the paneled walls were painted off-white, wall-to-wall neutral Berber carpeting was laid, and the basement suddenly looked as if the sun were shining in. "It improved the look a lot," Phyllis says.

"Suzy was so gentle with us while we were downsizing," Flo says. The real estate and moving expert laid out the sisters new apartment home at Maris Grove and showed them which pieces of furniture would work and which would need to be given away. "Moving can be a challenging time," Phyllis says, "but Suzy s cheerful, upbeat, and encouraging personality made everything easier."