Four tips agents can use to help clients choose the right interior designer and contractor for home remodels

Photo credit: Charis Brice.

As much as we like to talk about “curb appeal,” the interior design of a home is just as important to buyers and sellers. For sellers, a home’s design needs to be inviting, warm, and reflect what buyers are looking for in this market. For buyers, they are focused on creating an interior space that reflects their unique personalities, lifestyles, and aesthetic tastes. It needs to say clearly and passionately: “this is me.”

Summer is one of the hottest times of the year for homeowners to remodel. Whether you are working with buyers or sellers, a thoughtfully remodeled home can make a huge difference. Rae Duncan of Rae Duncan Interior Design in Chicago offers the following four tips to guide agents in helping their clients choose the right interior designer and contractor to make their goals a reality:

Tip 1: When working with sellers, help them choose a designer who understands curb appeal (both inside and out) and is a crowd pleaser. It’s critical to research and select a designer with great reviews and testimonials. Design can get frustrating and complicated, so it’s important to hire a firm that is comfortable and easy to work with and who “gets” your client’s vision. Meet with them. Talk in depth about what they are hoping to achieve. A remodel can be one of the most stressful things a homeowner ever does. Help your clients choose carefully who goes through that process with them.

Tip 2: Everyone wants a contractor with great technical skill and all the proper licenses and insurance, but it’s equally important that they have excellent communication skills. Words matter as much if not more than blueprints. Good communication limits “surprises” and pricing changes mid job. Choose someone with integrity and lots of referrals, too.

Tip 3: When working with buyers, coach them to be wary of buying a home that is too funky or “unique.” Previous owners may have done some bizarre things to structures, and while potentially charming, those oddball decisions can be very expensive and difficult to change. Your clients want their new home to be a unified masterpiece, not choppy and all over the place. Don’t make it harder to achieve that vision by buying the wrong home.

Tip 4: Don’t break the bank, especially for sellers. When it’s a home a client plans on living in for years to come, they should do what their heart desires. But when clients are looking to sell, certain improvements may not give a good return on investment, such as tiles and fixtures. Those choices should be made carefully with a design professional who is knowledgeable about real estate and knows what appeals to buyers. Making things look luxe without them actually being luxe is the key.

You want to do everything you can to surprise and delight your clients. For those considering a remodel, sharing these four tips will help make the whole experience seem less daunting and provide them with peace of mind in their decisions, ultimately resulting in a more satisfied client.   

Rae Duncan Interior Design (RDID) is a full-service design firm based in Chicago that works with both residential and commercial clients with a wide range of needs, including full renovations, selection of interior finishes and fixtures. The RDID team provides residential, commercial, and hospitality design as well as creating branded environments. They help their clients reimagine how they live, work and play in an imaginative, creative and environmentally sustainable way.