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Some Buyers Bring an Interior Designer Along in House Shopping

February 26, 2021

Real estate pros touring homes with buyers may find another person in the mix. Some home buyers are bringing an interior designer on home tours, seeking their feedback on how properties may be renovated to fit their design tastes.

As home prices surge, buyers may consider homes whose conditions bring a lower listing price but carry the potential to be overhauled into the property they desire.

In many cases, interior designers go beyond recommendations on furnishings and wall colors to give the buyer a bigger picture for renovating spaces, such as moving walls and windows or enhancing the home’s function and flow. They can evaluate whether the home has good bones for reasonably priced renovations that will fit within their client’s budgets, look for features that can be easily altered to make the property fit the buyers’ wish lists, and point out what can’t easily be changed without a significant investment, such as low ceiling heights.

“A designer’s expertise goes far beyond the selection of furnishings and accessories,” Allen Saunders, an interior and architectural designer in Miami, told Forbes.com. “Designers develop functional space plans, select appropriate finishes and products, plan natural and artificial lighting effects, and coordinate with the construction team. All [are] invaluable during the process of renovating a home. Retaining an interior design professional prior to the start of a renovation will provide a homeowner with the best prospect for success.”

Jennifer Bunsa, an interior designer and owner of Bunsa Studios in Miami, told Forbes.com that she’s been joining house hunters to view lower-cost houses for sale to help determine if the home can be remade to their liking within their budget. Bunsa may identify easy fixes like changing door positions on walls, replacing flooring, or repurposing certain areas.

“Being involved from the very beginning allows us to identify the best opportunities for designing to fit a client’s needs and to create value in the property,” Bunsa told Forbes.com. “Going with them on home tours helps us offer the full idea of what is required in a renovation or design, and offer an estimate of what it would cost to make the home fit their needs and become their dream home.”

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