Buying a new home is exciting and sometimes it's hard to take a step back and really look at a house logically without getting swept up in the whirlwind of it all. It could be simple things like not realizing you actually really hate the flooring in the living room because you were too busy marveling at the amazingly high ceilings (or the seller had well-placed area rugs). Or, it could be something more serious, such as spots indicating water damage or passing on a house that has tons of potential because you can't get past the dated fixtures or bad paint colors. Most people don't think of it but an interior designer is a great resource to turn to during the homebuying process.
Recently, a real estate agent reached out and asked us to do a consultation for her client. The client saw a really cute house and the agent knew it was the "one" but the client just couldn't envision herself in it. She was about to walk away from an excellent home - and bargain. We came in and did a walk-through with the client. We pointed out the positive features of the home and gave her ideas of how she could make the space her own. She ended up buying it and turning it into her dream home.
We love doing interior design consultations for potential buyers because we can be the objective third party (we don't benefit from the sale). We help take the emotion out of it. We're not inspectors and we're not looking at mechanical things – though we do often spot little red flags thanks to our eye for detail. However, we can say, "hey, this looks great" or "yeah, that idea isn't going to work but this will" so, off the bat, you'll have an idea of how much work and cost will go into updating the space to fit your personal style. We have the ability to see the bigger picture and envision how a space can look, which is something that's hard for a lot of people. When you're standing in a room, it's a challenge to look beyond what it is to how it could be but visualization is one of our super powers.
The caveat of hiring a designer to do walk-throughs with you is that you have to do it before you buy the house! A former client hired us to design her newly purchase brownstone in a historical area of Philadelphia. It was built in 1880 and has so much character. We don't blame her for falling in love instantly. However, after her offer was accepted, we looked around the house with her and saw that the crown moldings were damaged (almost two whole walls of them) and when we took the knee wall in the bathroom down, the wood was wet. Little by little, what she thought was going to be a decorating project turned into a full restoration.
Since then, we've tracked down a plaster restoration professional, painters, an electrician and brought in our go-to contractor and we're hard at work restoring her new home. While it's a long process, the end result will be worth it. Having the right team in place ensures the experience is as stress-free as possible and every detail is considered. Of course, asking for our help before signing the contracts can help you make an informed decision. But, even after the fact, we coordinate all the moving parts to create a house that's stunning, functional and reflects your personality.
We'll be posting our progress pictures as we go of our brownstone project. In the meantime, if you're buying a house in NY or NJ and want an observant third party to help you decide if it's the home for you, contact us and book a consultation!