Home Renovation

Love It Or List It? A BIRDHOME Recap!


We had the joy of participating in an amazing event last night with the incredible Amity Worrel & Co. that we just had to share with you! Over the past few month they have been putting on their Design 101 events to help share professional advice on interior design, architecture, and real estate amongst other things. We were ask to contribute to their Love It or List It event last night and it went so well that we decided we need to share some of the knowledge and advice from the event with you! So read our recap below and be sure to check out the three amazing ladies that we had the pleasure of speaking with last night: Amity Worrel, Dianne Kett, and Maureen Hodges. They are inspirations to us and we can't recommend them enough!

1. Make a list of what you love and what you don't love!

Even if you think you already know you want to renovate your house, its always good to go through and make a list of everything you love and don't love just to make sure you don't miss anything. And be sure to include things beyond just what is in the house itself, consider the neighborhood, neighbors, commute, and location as well! This will help you narrow down your list to the things you can change versus the things you can't and you can decide if you can just renovate or if you need to sell and something different.  

2. Talk to an interior designer and architect

Once you have your list of what you love and don't love you can talk to an interior designer and/or an architect to get their opinion on budget and feasibility. A good general rule is that if you are just changing the setup of a room its okay just to reach out to an interior designer, but once you start talking about moving walls, changes plumbing or electrical, or adding on the house you'll need the knowledge and expertise of an architect as well. And any good interior designer will help you find one that you can trust! So make sure to reach out to them early and often - they are always will to help and get you moving in the right direction.  

3. Decide - Love it or list it!

Now that you've talked to an interior designer and an architect its time to make that decision. Are you going to love it or are you going to list it.  Maybe the architect comes to you and tells you that you can't add a second story or there is a heritage oak preventing you from extending that porch. Or maybe the budget and time just doesn't work for you. Or perhaps everything lines up perfectly and you're ready to move forward with making your house into a dream home. Either way - you'll be confident that you've got all the information to make the right decision for you!

4. Run the numbers

Either way though, once you've decided on what you're going to do make sure to reach out to a trusted real estate professional. Because a good agent will help you run the numbers. As we tell people all the time, buying or selling your house is a business transaction so its important to treat it like one. We can provide a valuation of your house currently and then what it would be after you renovate. If you are going to sell, we can help you through the process to make sure you can get top market value for your house. So don't hesitate to reach out to us, we understand that while this can be a very emotional moment it is also a very important financial one as well. 

5. Think Like a Buyer

So once you've decided to sell and interviewed and hired your real estate agent its important that the goal of selling your house becomes the priority. And the best way to do this is to take it from being your home to becoming a house that someone else can turn into their home. We always recommend to our clients to run through our Seller's Checklist and start to think like a buyer. The easiest way to do this is to have a stager come in and make your house appeal to potential buyers, they can remove the emotion from the process of selling your house and make it so much easier for a buyer to imagine and dream of living there. This is such an important part of selling a house that we started our own staging company!


We hope this helped you as you consider remodeling or selling your house and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out to us or the wonderful women that spoke (we'd be happy to connect you as well). And if you're interested in attending the next Design 101 class be sure to sign up to be on Amity's mailing list!

Tip, Tricks and Resources For Finding a Good Contractor!

3 Tips for Finding a Good Contractor

Before you ever get started on a new project around the house, my first recommendation is to consider the resale value of the project. Are you doing the project for you, for resale or both?

The average homeowner moves every 5-7 years. If you plan on never moving, go ahead and make a very personal choice on your updates. However if you think you might move again its important to consider the value a properly done remodel or renovation can add to the final sale price. Since I see so many homes, I’m happy to tell you what I think. We can also recommend architects and interior designers to provide some insight as well. We also recommend looking at the National Association Cost versus Value Report.


1.Get recomendations

Once you’ve decided on the project, start talking to anyone and everyone who’s taken on a similar project. They can usually recommend some trustworthy contractors. We also deal with a a lot of contractors as we help our sellers prepare for the market. Always consider us a resource for all things real estate. As a last resort, Angie’s List and Thumbtack are typically good resources. You can usually get a good idea of what a project will cost based on some of the bids you will get from these sites. Both sites are now FREE to use as well.

2. Interview multiple people

Next, you want to make sure an interview a few different contractors for any given project. I always like to let the contractors know that we are getting multiple bids so they will put their best foot forward. I also recommend this because timing can prove to be a challenge. Sometimes the contractor you want to work with won’t be available for 6 months and you need it done in 2 weeks. It’s also important that you have a good line of communication. Some projects can take several weeks or months and it’s important that you can get along with your contractor for that length of time. Along with all of this you want to make sure that you get along with your contractor and that they understand your vision for the project. Home renovations are always a big investment and good communication can make or break the project. 

3. Always negotiate

Lastly, once you decide on a contractor ask them one more time to give you their best price. It never hurts to ask and sometimes you can save a little bit more money on a project. It also helps to get to the bottom dollar in case you run into snags and have more expenses with the project than anticipated. I always recommend adding a 10-20% cushion into your budget to account for any issues that may come up. I also recommend paying your contractor after the job is done. Sometimes they will want money up front to cover costs, etc. If this is the case, break it into payments depending on the size and time the project requires. NEVER Pay a contractor in full up front. If any contractor is insistent that this is the only way they will work, get a new contractor.

In summary, think through your project and do your research. Ask friends or your favorite Realtor (hint, hint) who they recommend. Finally, push them to get to their best price, accounting for issues that may arise in your budget and never pay up front.