Real estate and interior design may seem worlds apart, but it’s no secret that I love my Realtor, Carol. She helped me purchase my last two homes. She was the voice of reason when North’s water damage looked irreparable. The responsible one when I bought Dryden, a home with one bathroom for my family of four. I think her exact words for both homes were, “Not this one. Run!”

Of course, I listened, but didn’t take her advice. I’m an interior designer after all, and I love a good challenge. While I saw the beauty under the rubble, I never would have gotten those homes without Carol. I think she’d agree that we make a good pair. Real estate and interior design is a match made in heaven.

Real Estate and Interior Design

The Property Brothers have built a massive empire on this partnership. Jonathan and Drew Scott make it clear that if you want the home of your dreams, you’re going to have to renovate. (Or, buy a lot and build a custom home.) I’ve walked homes with Carol before to show buyers the potential of a dated space.

Our Willowick project is a stunning example. This home had great bones, but was stuck in the early ’80s. It’s hard to envision the end result when all you see is dark wood paneling. Today, I want to breakdown the beneficial relationship Realtors and interior designers share.

Why Realtors Need to Work with Interior Designers

One of the main reasons Realtors need interior designers is to help buyers understand the big picture. Again, HGTV’s list of reno shows really proves this point. If you’re looking to buy for “character” with modern upgrades, an interior designer can certainly help. If you’re in the real estate market to sell, an interior designer can assist with making the best upgrades to increase your home’s value.

We Help Home Buyer See What a Home Could Be…

I live in Houston where the residential landscape is a smorgasbord of design styles. One neighborhood alone could host mid-century ranches, craftsman-style bungalows, Spanish abodes, and modern 3-flats. It’s exciting to have these opportunities! But for a home buyer, this real estate market is also daunting. Great homes can be overlooked if their potential isn’t seen clearly.

When I walk a home with a Realtor, I encourage clients to take design risks and consider high-end upgrades. There is great value in real estate when you renovate, especially when you update the kitchen and bathrooms. Even the most stubborn buyers can be persuaded with a huge spike in resale value! When the end result is an inspiring, singular home it’s a win/win.

…Especially After Damage and Disaster

After Hurricane Harvey, the Houston real estate market was interesting to say the least. Remediated homes provided once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to snag a dream home at a fraction of the pre-hurricane sale price. But there was a lot of misinformation around which homes were really salvageable. An interior designer can remove the worry. Experienced in structural soundness, we honestly tell clients what’s a go and what’s a no. We can point out the not-so-obvious issues like land erosion and suggest a licensed professional who can help.

Some interior designers and decorators specialize in home staging. I recommend getting a great photographer! If a home’s listing has stunning photos, it’s more likely that people will visit the house in person. An interior designer will bring in the furnishings and accessories that are poised to sell that home.

The Laura U Design Collective is on the leading edge of the latest design trends and sources furnishings professionally. For home buyers who can’t visualize the potential of an empty room, pro staging is a game changer. I bring value when I effectively communicate the purpose of a room. An interior designer can help real estate clients see an alcove on the stair landing as a reading nook. Or a spare bedroom as a home office.

Why Interior Designers Work With Realtors

I like walking homes with Realtors because I love real estate and interior design! I will walk through a home in my downtime, no Realtor required. Professionally walking a home gives me the opportunity to find my next project or simply share my expertise. To feed my hobby of walkthroughs, here are my favorite ways to work with Realtors:

1. Consult on Home Renovations

Give me the extensive, can’t-bring-back-from-the-dead kind of home renovation! Many homeowners skip over real estate that needs renovation, especially if it’s a large-scale renovation project. These, however, are my favorite. We’re able to design spaces that celebrate the home’s character, while bringing it into the modern.

I’ve heard some wildly low renovations estimates from newbies in the Houston market. I like to dispel that misinformation. While it takes just 10 minutes to pull a home to its studs on TV, it takes much longer in real life. Setting realistic expectations is crucial, and you a need a professional to do so.

2. Act as a Liasion Between Client and Contractor

One of the reasons people don’t want to purchase less desirable real estate is because of the construction process. Having clear communication and a liaison can help ease the uncertainty. Our residential building design firm works hand in hand with your builder. We manage the project from top to bottom, ensuring the home has a singular design vision throughout the process. I love being the one Realtors count on for extensive restorations.

3. Transition Repeat Client Into Multiple Homes

Many of my clients relocate, have vacation homes, or split their time between Houston and another office. I help clients solidify their expectations when they move from one home to the next. Sometimes, you want to start fresh. Our “wholistic” practice, specializing in ground up planning and interior design, ensures your home has a unified, cohesive design.

Other times you want to bring owned furnishings into a new home. I’ll tell you beloved pieces can be re-upholstered and re-imagined quite easily. I source furnishings all over the country. I’ll happily recommend trusted, local shops to new home buyers seeking a design refresh from coast to coast.

4. Help Sell The Home

There are simple ways to use interior design to increase a home’s market value. I say (and Realtors will tell you the same thing) to focus on the kitchen and bathrooms. Although, if you bring in a great interior designer, you may be tempted to stay put!

Functionality is important. For older homes where the rooms feel closed off and the lighting isolated, I provide structural recommendations. Bringing an older home into the modern world appeals to real estate buyers. While capitalizing on interior design trends does appeal to some home buyers, I’m not one for focusing on fads. I suggest more iconic fixtures like statement chandeliers or a high-contrast color palette.

Real Estate and Interior Design Work Together

As a client, find a Realtor that knows a little bit about ground up planning and a little about design. If they can recommend an interior designer that matches your style, it’s a huge plus! Realtors and interior designers are able to find and create the perfect spaces for their clients. And if you’re doing a walkthrough, let me know! They really are one of my favorite pastimes.