As principal designer of Meade Design Group I am often asked how certain choices my clients make for their homes will affect their home’s value. I always try to stay up-to-date with changes in the real estate market and popular trends with homeowners.
I decided homeowners such as my blog followers may be interested in this information as well; and during a time of economic uncertainty it is always good to know that the money you are investing in your home will be a wise choice.
I wanted to take my questions to the experts so I asked my favourite local realtors in Victoria B.C. Canada to give me their insight on the relationship between designers and the housing market. Our panel includes:
Brenda has been a realtor since 1990, specializing in the Fairfield/Oak Bay area and is also a registered relocation specialist. The proof is in her sales: she has been the recipient of the Award of Excellence 5 out of 7 consecutive years, this award means that she is in the top percentile of sales within Vancouver Island, Royal LePage. She is not only accessible, but she is the most pleasant and warm individual one can imagine, we were so pleased to help her create her new image in 2007.
Roger's career as a Real Estate Salesperson began in 2000 and has been driven almost exclusively by repeat and referral based business. Being a consistent MLS sales award winner and having grown up in Victoria, he has the local market expertise to help facilitate his clients' real estate related goals. Roger understands that every buyer or seller is unique and recognizes the importance of providing highly responsive service in building ongoing relationships with his clientele.
A very active member of the Victoria Real Estate Board, Tony was born and raised in Victoria and knows his market well. A multiple award winner with RE/MAX, Tony has been practicing real estate since 1991 and has the sales and testimonials to prove his knowledge and success. Tony’s professionalism and easy-going personality makes each client’s real estate transaction a breeze. We were lucky enough to work with Tony on the interior design of his own home in 2006.
Iván Meade - Do you feel that any money a client invests in their homes is money well spent?
Brenda Russell - This is a difficult question because it depends so much on where and when the money is spent so I would have to say that my answer would be no.
Roger Jones - There are definitely rules that determine where money ought to be spent - consider local market factors (an outdoor swimming pool or air conditioning might be considered to add little value or even to be a liability in a climate such as ours, yet it is considered essential by many prospective buyers in Palm Springs). Also consider whether the renovation is strictly for resale or whether it is to increase your own enjoyment during your ownership of the property - most people will likely find that their position lies somewhere in between.
Tony Joe - This depends where. Swimming pools and other lifestyle upgrades are poor investments, as are overly unique or expensive fixtures. An owner cannot expect to upgrade certain items, enjoy them and hope that a prospective buyer has the same appreciation for them.
Before & After Kona Residence - Meade Design Group
Iván Meade - If your answer is no, where do you think it is most important to invest or upgrade?
Brenda Russell - Buyers like to see all the latest trends such as granite counter tops in the kitchen or a spa tub in the bath or the latest wall colours or flooring. To what extent is a matter of budget and the times. A lovingly cared for home shows stability and good maintenance, a bit of style gives it taste and pizzazz and comfort.
Roger Jones - Fresh paint, wood flooring and kitchens and bathrooms (whether a complete renovation or a simple 'face lift') continue to be the higher return areas of the home from an investment point of view.
Tony Joe - Sound investments are increasing liveable area, kitchens and baths, flooring and colours.
Before & After Maple Bay - Meade Design Group
Iván Meade - Do you see value in bringing an interior designer into one of your clients homes for resale purposes?
Brenda Russell - I have upon several occasions seen the aesthetic value in using a designer to make even a few minor changes which have resulted in making a noticeable difference in the look and feel of a place. Even when it's something simple like a matter of un-cluttering or a photo grouping or furniture placement or a throw pillow here and there, the liveability of a room or area or house is suddenly highlighted and its potential is easier for a buyer to see.
Roger Jones - Definitely - particularly in a strong buyer's market such as we are currently experiencing. There is a lot of inventory for prospective buyers to choose from, so any way in which a homeowner can differentiate their property and make it really stand out (in a good way, of course!) could be of significant benefit.
Tony Joe - Most definitely, I recommend it often. Homes are very personal in nature and oftentimes a seller may be attached to themes or tones which may detract from the selling process, thereby resulting in either an extended or lower value sale.
Before & After Maple Bay - Meade Design Group
Iván Meade - What are the 3 biggest changes a designer can help your clients do to improve the value of your home?
Brenda Russell - A theme. A style. A specialness.
1. Helping to create a consistent look throughout the home
2. Helping with organization and the elimination of 'clutter'
3. Assisting with appropriate colour selections.
1. Colours. Having an expert help with colour selection is an excellent idea and often inexpensive relative to other upgrades
2. Kitchen and baths. Unfortunately pricey renovations but here’s where the money goes a long way. Don’t renovate them to sell- you should at least enjoy them for a while before moving.
3. Exterior approach. There’s nothing like ownership pride when pulling up the driveway of your own home. Very helpful during resale as well.
Before & After Shoal Point - Meade Design Group
Please stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 coming soon.