Check out photos of one of my latest pride-and-joy summer projects, posted on Houzz!

Outdoor Entertaining at Oak Street, designed by Linda M. White

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Thinking About Resale Value

Do you have the future resale value of your home in the back of your mind?  Most real estate agents will have good input when it comes to discussing improvements that will or will not help make your home more attractive to buyers.  After all, they work with buyers and sellers every day of the week.  But, I have a few cents to put in, too.

Not too long ago I worked with a couple who wanted to renovate their bathroom.  We designed option after option after option only to come to the conclusion that we would keep everything in its place and simply replace the fixtures.  The hang up was that the owners were overly concerned about what the next buyers would want.  They had no plans to sell soon, but they just couldn’t get beyond that hump of wondering what the next people who lived there would want.

Another couple was convinced that they would not be able to sell their house unless they renovated the kitchen.  They spent loads of time in planning and about $50,000 to do the construction.  Then, the next owners came in and tore the whole thing apart again to make it their own.

So, here’s the deal.  You cannot interpret the tastes of the people who are going to buy your house.  If you are certain you are going to sell in a relatively short amount of time then you should be as conservative as possible with the money you spend and styles you choose when renovating and decorating.  (Check out this brief article on Home Renovations That Could Hurt Resale.)

However, if you do not have definite plans to move soon, I whole-heartedly recommend making your home a place in which you love to live.  After all, why not?  It’s yours!

Client Relationships

In the business of home remodeling, relationships with clients are different than in any other industry.   The upmost sensitivity and care is required when working in and on someone else’s home.  The process puts the clients in a very vulnerable state and they are at the very mercy of the builder and his team.   Unfortunately, the average builder has no recognition and compassion for this fact.

A few days ago I decided to put my philosophies in writing and place them where I can see them every morning upon arrival at the office.   These philosophies are ones I’ve held internally as long as I can remember, but had never before actually put them into words.  Seeing these beliefs written seems to make them absolute and insoluble.

1.   Infuse passion in our work.  (We LOVE what we do! Let it show! Excitement is contagious.)

2.  Ensure our clients know we care every day in communications and actions. (Let them know they are important to you and your business!)

3.  Take time to plan, be efficient and productive. (Rushing costs more in the end.)

4.  Make team bonding a priority. (Because we are only as good as or weakest link.)

5.  Communicate, communicate, communicate with everyone on the team.  (It is how things get done and mistakes are few.)

A happy client = a successful project = positive referrals and repeat business = a healthy business and a happy owner!

 

Project Bloopers, Episode 1

I once had a client who called me in to help figure a very basic bathroom remodel. They had a limited budget.  I told them we could help them get what they needed within their budget as long as we stuck to inexpensive finishes and fixtures.

The next thing I knew the clients wanted to add finishing a portion of their basement. We went through the exercise of design for both the bathroom and basement, keeping things simple for a low budget project.

It wasn’t until I delivered the renovation estimate that the clients broke out into a sweat and told me they had expected me to stay within the budget of that very first ball-park number, the one I gave when the project was for the bathroom only.  I had assumed it was understood that the cost would increase as the project scope increased.

Sometimes what you think is obvious is not so clear to someone else.  I learned it’s best to communicate, put it out there, state the obvious, never assume.

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