Unsellable Houses reveals a $200 upgrade so glamorous it’s bound to catch on

On Unsellable Houses, twin sisters Leslie Davis and Lyndsay Lamm Working on houses that don’t sell as soon as they come on the market. Given the low inventory of homes for sale across the country, this is an unusual situation. Sometimes it has to do with the competition — like shiny new builds that make existing homes in the area look shabby by comparison.

In the Season 3 episode “Old Friends, New Upgrades,” Lamb and Davis meet up with an old middle school friend. Sonja. her and her husband Nate, have attempted to sell their home in Bothell, WA for $600,000 without much luck. The HGTV hosts know right away that Sonja and Nate’s dated two-bedroom apartment just can’t keep up with the new developments in the area.

“One of the big things we’re looking at in Bothell is all the new construction that’s popping up,” says Davis. “How can we compare your house with this new building?”

Read on to find out how Lamb and Davis are giving this old house a whole new look, with plenty of ideas that might inspire a refresh around your own home too.

Getting the exterior color right is money well spent

Before: This dated home needed some facelift.


Davis and Lamb have made careers investing in homes for sale, but their business will only thrive if they make smart, low-cost upgrades that have a good return on investment.

So Davis isn’t sure when Lamb plans to paint the exterior of the house. The current peach color is fine, and Davis knows that’s $3,500 not to spend. She eventually gives in, however, and they paint the house a soft gray-blue.

painted house
After: With a blue-grey color, this house looks refreshed.


When the paint is complete, Davis admits the new paint was a great investment.

“The whole curb appeal is so inviting now,” Davis tells Lamb. “They did a phenomenal job picking these colors. It is probably one of the best funds to be spent on this home.”

Set accents with colorful cabinets

blue cabinets
These blue cabinets are a bold addition.


Lamb wants to help this home stand out by adding new dark blue cabinets to the kitchen. When Davis first hears about the plan, she’s not happy.

“It’s a bold step. I didn’t know I could move into a house with a blue closet,” she says.

Still, Lamb sticks to the color and says a bold design will help this home compete with the beautiful new builds nearby.

“In this house, we need to offer something different to the buyer,” says Lamb.

To ensure the kitchen isn’t too crowded, Lamb selects large white subway tiles for a neutral backsplash at a modest $700. And in the end, the cabinets make a bold impression without going overboard.

Add storage to impress shoppers

These built-ins match the kitchen cabinets.


When Lamb and Davis begin work on this home, they are unfazed by the enclosed kitchen and tiny pantry. They come up with the idea of ​​installing built-ins on the opposite wall, and while it comes at an additional cost, the sisters know the extra storage space will impress shoppers.

“We have to compete with new builds,” says Davis. “A new building will not have a tiny pantry.”

The new fixtures are blue to match the new kitchen cabinets and they help the kitchen and dining area feel connected and cohesive.

To round out this buffet area and add a little more personality, the sisters add a herringbone butcher block counter that Davis knows shoppers will love.

“This custom feature gives us an edge over the standard new build homes in the area,” says Davis.

bathroom tile
The bathroom tile wall adds a classy touch to this master bathroom.


Lamb and Davis know buyers expect a beautiful kitchen, but what about a luxurious bathroom? When it comes to the master bathroom, Lamb has a great idea to add some glamor for not too much money.

“This is our master bathroom and I think we need to do as much as we can to make it extra here,” says Lamb as she shows her sister and her contractor Jeff Lawrence, the space. “So we’re going to tile the back wall all the way up, and I actually saved the tile for that.”

Showing off a simple gray subway tile in a herringbone pattern, Lamb points out that it will match the new herringbone butcher block counter in the kitchen.

Lawrence says the expansion will cost between $200 and $500, and surprisingly, the budget-conscious Davis is OK with the upgrade.

That I can follow,” she says. “It definitely makes our house stand out and is an inexpensive way to give us that little something extra.”

Find ways to make any room special

Before: This bedroom needed something special.


When Davis and Lamb are almost done with this house, they ask Lawrence to do something else: a built-in headboard for the master bedroom.

“It’s called built-in furniture, and it adds value,” Davis tells Lawrence. “Every new build here is $800,000 or more, okay? We have to give them value in every single space.”

Lawrence’s wooden headboard looks simple and earthy and gives the room a cozy vibe—the perfect vibe to fall asleep to.

After: This headboard stays for the next owner.


Can they finally sell this unsaleable house?

Sonja and Nate originally listed this 1,378-square-foot home for $600,000 in hopes of starting a bidding war. However, their house did not sell.

Lamb and Davis invest $80,000 in the renovation and list the home for $775,000. It’s clear the buyers are impressed with the home, as Sonja and Nate receive four offers, one of which they accept for $830,000.

After Lamb and Davis recoup their investment, the sisters and the homeowner split the profits, with each side walking away with $75,000.

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