Monday, September 19, 2016

Designing Renovations for Home Owners, Buyers, Sellers and Investors

Not all renovation designs are created equal. One of the most critical elements in the early stages of the design process is to determine who the client is and what the long-term goal of the project will be. These answers can vary greatly depending on if your client is a current home owner, buyer, seller, or investor.

Anyone who has owned and lived in a particular home for an extended period of time has likely discovered a few things that they would like to change. From structural issues to dated kitchens and baths, there are a lot of things a homeowner could want to change or fix! If they plan to stay in the home for a long time, their design recommendations are often more customized to their particular tastes and lifestyle. These customizations could be anything from handicap accessibility to designing an entire bathroom around a bold tile that they purchased while on vacation in another country. This group is also the most likely to build an addition to their home, especially as assisted living care costs rise and multi-generational homes become more common.

A recent or soon-to-be home buyer's design can include a long list of changes, or very few, depending on the condition of the existing home. Many of our clients that fall into this category are first-time buyers and young families, who usually have the smallest renovation budgets. Many of the homes that fall into their price range are foreclosures or otherwise neglected properties. We work with these clients to determine which items are a priority (like electrical or structural issues) and which can wait (like an ugly 1970's kitchen) and fine-tune the design to meet their budget restrictions. This group is also encouraged to customize their new home as much as their budget will allow as they will likely be staying for a while.

Sellers often have the shortest list of changes that they want to tackle. The most common reasons that sellers hire a building designer are because the home inspector uncovered some issues that they are required to fix or they are getting negative feedback during showings. For homes in more expensive or desirable areas, these designs can also include updating kitchens and baths to removing walls to create a more open floor plan. We advise sellers to stick with "safe" designs and materials that will appeal to a wider range of buyers. Depending on the home, some of our suggestions might include upgraded kitchen cabinets or repairs that would limit the number of items discovered during inspection.

The most varied group in terms of design are investors. This group is so varied because of both the condition of properties that they are purchasing and their long-term goals for the project. The most familiar type of investor is the "flipper". These types of investors are becoming more and more prevalent because of the popularity of television shows depicting it as a fast and relatively easy way to make a lot of money. We work with a wide variety of these investors, from first-timers to seasoned veterans. The common denominator between them is that they are looking for the best return for the least amount of investment. This isn't to say that they are always going to be "cheap" or "cheap-looking" renovations, but upgrades like quartz counters aren't common or recommended in most cases. These types of clients are also advised to go with "safe" material and color choices that will appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers.

The other common type of investor is one looking to rent their property after renovation is complete. The designs for these investors are not much different from those of "flippers", but more emphasis is put on choosing long-lasting and durable materials that are less likely to require repair or replacement between tenants. For example, we usually recommend a porcelain tile (or natural stone for higher-end properties) for flooring because it is less likely to show wear, crack, or chip, versus wood or laminate flooring that wears easily and would require repair or replacement between tenants. The initial investment is a little higher, but the likelihood of further investment down the road is minimized.

No matter which category a client falls into, we can create a customized renovation design that best meets their particular needs, budget, and long-term vision for the project. Give us a call today at (941) 462-0110 to discuss your needs and come up with a plan for your next project.

No comments:

Post a Comment