The hit HGTV show “Married to Real Estate” is back for Season 2, starring real estate broker/designer Egypt Sherrod and her builder husband, Mike Jackson. And they’re armed with major bragging rights after winning last season’s “Rock the Block.”
This season’s premiere of “Married to Real Estate” shows them laser-focused on what truly matters to today’s homeowners: renovations that boost a property’s value through the roof.
In the episode “Open to Entertaining,” they meet Mark and Rebecca, who are looking for a home in the Dunwoody suburb of Atlanta. They have an all-in budget of $700,000 and end up paying $579,000 for a 2,350-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath house Sherrod shows them. Jackson says he can renovate it into their dream home for an extra $110,000.
As the house undergoes a remarkable transformation, Sherrod and Jackson show how they’ve grown since last season with some incredibly smart moves that make a home more valuable as well as more functional and chic. Check out what we learned this week.
Avoid a bidding war with pocket listings
Because Sherrod is an experienced real estate broker, she has access to pocket listings and takes Mark and Rebecca to see one before the general public has access to it.
“We have a good opportunity to get in and not go through a bidding war,” says Sherrod.
A pocket listing, in case you were wondering, is a home that has not been listed publicly for sale, but only to certain real estate agents. The owner might not be in a rush or might not want to go through the hassle of putting their home on the multiple listing service.
In any case, buyers and sellers are usually happy with the outcome. Mark and Rebecca are thrilled when they find out they can buy the house without worrying about losing the property in a bidding war.
Watch: The Hosts of HGTV’s ‘Married to Real Estate’ Spill Secrets of Life Behind the Scenes
Fireplaces add value
One of the things Mark and Rebecca don’t like about the home they purchase is the big, bulky fireplace in the middle of a wall. They want to remove the eyesore.
Jackson says it will be possible to demolish the fireplace, but Sherrod is aware that a house with a fireplace appraises higher than one without.
Of course, she never brings up a problem without a solution for it, so she suggests, “We could even add a ventless fireplace—that way we’re not really removing a fireplace for appraisal’s sake.”
They install an attractive ventless fireplace against another wall, and it’s divine.
Always have a contingency fund
While trying to tie in the sunroom extension with the rest of the house, Jackson discovers that the roof was built incorrectly, is leaking, and has dry rot. He gives the owners two options: Do a quick fix on the existing roof for $3,000. Or add a new, raised roof so it will be level with the rest of the house and not look like an add-on. This will be considerably more expensive, costing $10,000.
When they call their clients to give them the news, they are relieved when Mark says, “I want to make sure that when we’re done down the road, I don’t have any regrets, so I think we’ve got to go with the new roof.”
Sherrod explains one of the many reasons Mark was OK with spending more money.
“The silver lining is we always prepare clients upfront that there could be additional costs,” she says. “Hopefully not, but you might want to have a little contingency fund on the side, because you never know what’s going to happen when you start opening walls and opening ceilings.”
A pantry is a huge selling feature
“The pantry is a big deal,” says Sherrod as she makes plans for Mark and Rebecca’s new, expanded kitchen. “Every house needs additional storage. Pantries are a huge selling feature for resale, especially for large families.”
She not only adds a pantry, but she also makes it into a luxe room with fabulous style.
“I do believe pantries should have a personality of their own,” she says. She does it up with wallpaper, a coffee nook, pullout shelves, and all sorts of bells and whistles.
Hide a closet with a ‘Murphy wall’
There’s a spare room at the front of the house with a nice window, and Sherrod thinks it would be ideal as Mark’s home office. If they add a closet to the space, it will also qualify as a fourth bedroom and raise the value of the home.
But Mark is very specific about not wanting his office to look like a spare bedroom. A closet full of clothes is usually a dead giveaway.
What to do? Sherrod designs a full closet, hidden behind the bookshelves. Jackson refers to it as a “Murphy wall.”
It’s beautiful, surprising, and fun. Mark and Rebecca are thrilled with the results.
“It marries design and function within the space,” says Sherrod. “You know I’m always trying to figure out how to make a room multipurpose.”
How does Mike Jackson and Egypt Sherrod’s latest renovation turn out?
When all is said and done, the couple spend $120,000 on the renovation, which is $10,000 more than budgeted, because of that extra roof expenditure. They’re all in at $699,000.
And since Jackson and Sherrod are able to add a bathroom, bedroom, and square footage to the house, the comps in the area say it is now worth as much as $799,000—$100,000 more than they paid!
That means Mark and Rebecca have gained an extra $100,000 in equity, as well as a stunning house to live in and enjoy.
“This is absolutely fantastic! This is amazing!” exclaims Mark. “I love the bold chances they took. They have a line of sight that I don’t have, and I love every inch of what they did here. I’m very thankful.”