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Real estate agents and architects haven’t always seen eye to eye – a weird revelation considering one can scarcely exist without the other.

Real estate agents and architects haven’t always seen eye to eye – a weird revelation considering one can scarcely exist without the other. One designs the building, works with clients and engineers to manifest a conceptual melting pot of ideas and constraints into a code-compliant dream made up of wood, steel and herringbone curtains. The other sells that dream…
So why all the animosity?

The easy answer is: architects are pretentious, ego-maniacal, status-quo disruptors who look down on real estate agents as a mother pig would look down on her teet-feeding piglets, all the while real estate agents speak nothing but ill-will towards architects at company cocktail parties due in large part to their misunderstanding of the words “budget” and “schedule”. While faint hints of accuracy pepper these brash assessments, there is so much to gain between a healthy relationship between the two stubborn sides… and all I can really say is:
Can’t we all just get along?

I’d like to start this session of couples therapy by focusing on an important aspect of that relationship: marketing. An architect’s design is only as good its hype train. Since Don King is busy reminiscing about the good ole days of Tyson, Holyfield and Foreman, it’s up to designers and real estate agents to pack that train full of fast burning coal.

Architects are great at making things. They are an eclectic bunch who think weird and dream big. They are idea men and women who take bold risks and champion quality of design and cultivation of unique human experience above all else. So, how do you sell experience? How do you sell quality?

It all starts with the communication of design from the architect’s pencil to the consumer’s eye. The buyer must be told what the thing is before the thing is made. More often than not, speculative development is sold before it’s fully constructed. A tour of a half-framed building surrounded by a construction site filled to the brim with discarded red bull cans and rusty nails is nice, but often leaves people with an apprehensive taste in their mouth. There has to be something to facilitate the finished design so the perspective clients can digest the entire meal before forming a proper opinion.

In these instances, real estate marketers can rely on 3D rendering and other architectural drawings to spoon feed them what they weren’t able to get from the site visit. Elegant animations and spatial processions put together with 3D rendering software such as VRAY, 3D Studio Max, and Maxwell and platform such as Easy Render provide the tools architects and designers rely on to give buyers the experience of living before the paint dries and the keys are turned. This is where agents must work closely with architects to best develop an imaging strategy that sells the most essential components of valuable real estate.

These should be represented in the house itself, but also in important views, landscape and garden potential, as well as location and context in the form of bird’s eye drawings of an entire neighbourhood. When potential clients get fatigues with numbers, closing costs and construction schedules, these 3d rendering and visualisation images can put a positive spin on the process of purchasing a home. Find out more about How 3D Rendering Has Revolutionized Interior Design.

More important than the beautiful images at the end of the marketing brochure, though, is the up-front collaboration between the architect and the agent. I’m talking about the groundwork – the conversations about site potential, target market and design possibility. This is where the foundation of the entire project gets ironed out, and it all boils down to what “can we get in this particular market for this particular location”. That’s all the real estate agent is really concerned with, and it’s up to the architect in speculative projects to squeeze the most design out of limited opportunities for compelling architecture.
How do you do this? Frame every question and every solution in terms of value.

Floor to ceiling windows and exposed steel columns don’t just look nice, they add tangible dollars and cents to an already profitable endeavour. The only real way to accomplish this is by making a case through 3d visualization and 3d design communication techniques. Explain to developers and agents through 3D renderings and images exactly how increasing the quality of the final project adds more value than simply cranking up the square footage. This isn’t always an easy task to take on, and requires the proper tools and skills to pull off.

The tools architects and agents utilize together to woo prospective clients are, in fact, the same tools architects use to legitimize their designs to real estate agents in the first place. That’s where the first sale takes place, and can be the point in their relationship where things fall off the rails. If the two entities can’t move forward with an agreed upon set of criteria for the end product, distrust seeps in and ruins a potential mutually beneficial relationship. The architect must communicate the design intent to the real estate agent just as they would to a contractor, albeit with a different set of rules and goals.

Let’s take a look at a few design components that can add value to a project strictly through good architecture and smart design.

– View Potential. This is a no brainer for any architect. The site must be analysed in order to identify the best views from the site. This might be towards a mountain range or body of water, or perhaps between structures in an urban environment. Framing views appropriately can add immense value to a realtor looking to sell high (and which ones aren’t?). Google Earth is a great tool to quickly get an idea of lines of site, with tools that allow you to import 3D models and explore potential using their mapping data.

– Solar Orientation. Not only can proper tracking of solar exposure give way to passive heating and cooling techniques, it also has a massive effect on interior natural light. It’s an easy design step that can lower monthly electric bills (something to put in the marketing brochure) and promote bright and interesting interiors. With the help of 3D rendering and 3D modeling software, designers can give realtors and buyers location specific 3D renderings that will replicate realistic sun tracking to show exactly where the best solar exposure is at any time of the year.

– Exterior Space. In many cases, the subtraction of sellable interior square footage can make for a more desirable piece of real estate. Designing exterior spaces that are site and region specific can expand upon interior space and present a total package that is worth more than simply maximizing lot potential. Cantilevered building mass to produce covered exterior gardens, patios and decks add a lot of value, especially in urban centres where greenery can be scarce.

These are just to name a few. These visual and experiential components of the design can’t be properly measured by numbers on a page. That’s where the intersection between architecture and real estate marketing works its magic. Because the fact is, people who are about to send a pirate’s ship full of money on a stunning new home want to know every nook and cranny their money is giving them. They want the whole picture – a picture that can only be properly painted by the left hand of the designer and the right hand of the agent.

Architects and realtors might not always get along. They might take underhand (and overhand) jabs at their respective place in the development process. They might think they’re better and more important and the real reason the perfect client finds themselves the perfect home. But at the end of the day, both parties go to bed at night whispering to themselves an undeniable fact:

 

You complete me.

Home decor is all about reflecting your own personal style. It’s an opportunity to use your home as a blank canvas and paint a masterpiece that is decidedly you. And that style is never more apparent than in your living room—the spot where your guests gather and your personality is most on display.

We’ll never tell you to betray your decor desires in this room (or the rest of your home). But if you’ve gone nuts painting your living room in wild colours or spent thousands laying down Moroccan tile, bear in mind how potential buyers might perceive your choices.

Buyers need to picture themselves living and loving that space: throwing parties, entertaining guests, enjoying a lazy Saturday with a book. If your favourite living room design looks are dated or divisive, buyers might give your home a pass. So ditch these seven polarizing decor choices while you still can—before they sink your chance of a sale.

1.TV looming over the fireplace

Photo by Catalano Architects

No matter which side you fall on in the great TV-over-the-fireplace debate, none of that matters when it comes time to sell. Find somewhere else for your flat-screen TV—at least temporarily.

“Today’s buyers are interested in beautiful, serene rooms with seating revolved around a focal point of beauty,” says Chicago interior designer and stager Kara O’Connor. A personality-free black box is neither serene nor beautiful.

Heads up: If you’ve already mounted your television on a wall or over the fireplace, you may have to remove the evidence after you take it down. No buyer wants to see unpatched holes in your walls.\

2. Dead things

Photo by Margot Hartford Photography

Obviously, you’re not leaving dead mice lying around your living room (we hope!). Perhaps you should get rid of the enormous steer head hanging over your fireplace, too.

“We totally get it. Cowhides and taxidermy are super kitschy and trendy,” says Justin M. Riordan, a Portland designer with Spade and Archer Design Agency. “The combination of creepy and beautiful is all the rage. Unfortunately, for many, the creepy is far more powerful than the beautiful.”

Real or not, you don’t have to say goodbye to your animal skulls. Just tuck them away until the home is sold. Far away.

  1. Blond wood

Photo by GDG Designworks

Don’t stain your hardwood just because you’re listing your home, but if you’re thinking about doing it anyway, O’Connor has some advice: Go dark.

“Dark, wide-plank floors are ‘in,’ and blond wood is ‘out,'” she says. “If the floors are dated, I encourage refinishing. The impact is huge.”

Alongside new baseboards and neutral paint, deep chocolate floors will give your home the modern edge that could attract on-the-fence buyers.

  1. Saturated walls

Photo by designjunction

Yes, your deep teal walls look rad alongside your dark wood credenza and velvet chaise. But all potential buyers see are dollar signs.

“More likely than not, your home’s next owner has some very distinct taste in furniture, which they recently spent quite a bit of money on,” Riordan says. “They are not going to buy new furniture to match your saturated wall colours.”

Many buyers do repaint before moving in, but painting oversaturated tones requires more coats, more time, and, naturally, more money. And some buyers don’t want to deal with any of that.

To get the highest selling price—and the most interested buyers—paint the entire place in simple neutrals.

  1. Outdated furniture

Is your vintage look intentional?

Buyers bring their own furniture. But picturing their gorgeous modern furniture in your space can be daunting if everything you own is outdated and overwhelming.

“If the furniture distracts the buyer from the square footage, a focal point, or hardwood floors, then it should be carefully edited out,” says Jill Hosking-Cartland, an interior designer in Windham, NH.

Not only might they struggle to see themselves in your place, they might also worry about the quality of your home.

“Old furniture can leave a buyer with the impression that there is a lack of attention to routine maintenance and updating,” Hosking-Cartland says.

Work with your Realtor® to stage your property using updated, on-trend furniture.

  1. Narrow baseboards

We’re all ’bout that baseboard, ’bout that baseboard.

New baseboards and crown moulding can take a room from blah to bangin’ with an afternoon’s worth of work. But make sure the sizes and designs you choose look modern.

“Crisp, white baseboards that are a minimum of 5 inches high are preferable to the dated, 2- or 3-inch baseboards from the ’90s and early 2000s,” O’Connor says.

Teeny-tiny baseboards might not be a deal breaker, but they can make a room feel kind of off. Beware of going too big—though it is possible to overwhelm a room with your moulding. Find the right size trim for your space before you embark on that weekend project.

  1. Faux finishes

Photo by Nick Noyes Architecture

You might hate ordinary paint, but funking up your living space with a faux finish can be a sticking point. Even if your DIY job looks amazing, buyers see only another thing they need to change. Paint over your fake Venetian plaster, reclaimed wood, or “textured” walls before the first showing.

“Asking a buyer to adopt your specific design style is risky,” Hosking-Cartland says. “Most buyers see these polarizing design elements as work they will have to do and spend money on to make the home a reflection of their own personal style.”

You want your home to look its best, and maybe you’ve been inspired by the interior design trends you’ve seen in magazines, on TV, or on design websites.

But following some of the hottest home remodelling and interior design trends can backfire when it comes time to sell your home.

Interior design trends don’t necessarily work for open houses

Buyers want to picture themselves in a home, and highly individualistic touches can get in the way of that.

When you’re ready to sell your home, it’s best to put things in pristine, move-in condition and remove all of the individual touches that made your house a home.

After all, your goal is to get potential buyers to picture themselves in the home—and they won’t be able to do that if your decorating style still dominates.

Check out the caveats that go along with these home interior design trends.

  1. Boldly painted walls

Decorators often tout black or another bold paint colour as the perfect backdrop to metallic accessories or appliances in modern home design.

The reality is that people prefer the exterior and interior walls of a home to be neutral. Even though repainting is cheap and relatively easy to do, it’s still a pain and buyers might not want to bother.

When decorating, your best bet is to stick to an appealing hue for the walls and use accessories to provide pops of colour.

  1. Wallpaper

Bold, graphic patterns increasingly are being incorporated into the interior design, often in the form of wallpaper.

But wallpaper—even if it’s only on one wall—is an extremely personal choice and time-consuming to remove if it doesn’t appeal to the buyer

Consider replacing wallpaper with a neutral paint for broader appeal.

  1. Lavish light fixtures

While potential buyers want rooms that seem airy and bright, beware of installing a showpiece light fixture that is too modern or ornate.

Fixtures should enhance your home—not steal the spotlight.

  1. Gleaming gold

Designers may be mixing silver and gold to give homes star quality, but it might be wise to change out fixtures if they have the wrong metallic sheen.

Gold can give a home an outdated, the ’80s feel. Switching out the faucet and door handles with a more appealing finish—such as brushed nickel—is relatively inexpensive and can help make your home appear sleek rather than out of style.

  1. Converted garages

People want a covered parking space so that they have a safe place for their car—especially in areas where street parking is at a premium. Additionally, people often use their garage as storage space.

If you convert your garage into a space tailored your specific needs, such as a music practice room, it may not suit your potential buyers.

  1. Converted bedrooms

Like with the garage, people want rooms built for their original purpose.

If you’ve converted an unused bedroom to an office, walk-in closet, or a game room, make sure you can easily convert it back to a bedroom when you’re ready to sell.

  1. Carpets

While designers love to play with the texture of shag carpeting as it feels soft underfoot, the majority of home buyers prefer hardwood floors.

People assume carpets trap dirt, germs and odours, and they don’t want to go through the hassle of steam cleaning their home before they can move in. Potential buyers also don’t want to spend time removing the carpet to expose hardwood floors.

If someone really loves carpet, it’s much easier for them to add it themselves—after the purchase.

  1. Too-lush landscaping

The “outdoor living room” is all the rage, and you may be tempted to build out your backyard into a lavish wilderness of flowers.

But potential buyers may be hesitant to buy a home with an overly landscaped property requiring a lot of maintenance.

Focus on creating or maintaining a nice and neat outdoor space that people can enjoy without too much fuss.

  1. Pools and hot tubs

A pool may seem like a luxurious feature, but it can be a big turnoff for buyers.

Pools are perceived to be expensive to maintain and potential safety hazards, especially for families with children. Above-ground pools are eyesores and can leave a dead spot in the backyard.

These sentiments extend to hot tubs, too. Many people see hot tubs as breeding grounds for bacteria, and they are not a feature easily removed from the deck or backyard.

  1. Fancy (or not) pet products

Sales of pet products are expected to increase nearly $3 billion from last year, and there’s an increasing market for luxury pet items.

But even animal lovers don’t want to see another family’s pet paraphernalia in a potential home. Even if your home is immaculate, the presence of pet-related items will give the impression that it’s dirty.

Be sure to remove all traces of your pet—including toys, food dishes and photos—before listing your home for sale.

 

Experts insisting that its real estate market could finally turn the corner in 2018, after experiencing a downturn occasioned by the country’s economic recession.

According to a statement which organizers of the WAPI (West African property investment) sent to THISDAY Sunday in Abuja, investors in the country’s real estate market might have renewed their confidence in the sector to suggest that it would be bullish in the coming year.
It said as the economy continues to improve from its recession, the picture for the country’s occupational and capital markets were looking brighter, and these were parts of the reasons the real estate market could turn the corner in 2018.

Quoting Tom Mundy, the Head of Advisory for sub-Saharan Africa at JLL, a leading professional services firm that specialises in real estate and investment management, and who would be speaking at the event, the statement noted that 2018 would be a year of consolidation and recovery for Nigeria’s real estate sector.

“Nigeria is finally coming out of recession. Of course, there will be the usual lag between economic recovery and market recovery, but real estate, which has suffered from a sharp supply-demand imbalance, widening vacancy rates and falling realised rents, looks close to bottoming. Yes, it will take time for confidence to return fully but there is sound cause to be bullish on Nigeria going forward,” said Mundy in the statement.

Mundy, equally noted that there are five key drivers that support the expected path of improvement of the sector.
According to him, there is first an increasing optimism as the economy kicks into gear, and which would be supported by improvements in the external environment and the government’s strengthening of its fiscal position.
“Inflationary pressures are under control and household income outlook is reasonably robust. Add to this the recovery of the oil price and the picture is looking brighter,” he added.

He also noted as part of the drivers, that government policy-making efforts were beginning to gain some credibility through coherent plans to support diversification and fiscal consolidation with the backing of external bodies, as well as evidence that the decline I rental rates in Lagos was reaching the bottom of the cycle.

Additionally, Mundy said there was a legislative framework in place for real estate pricing to mitigate the impact of a volatile economy, stating: “This is vital to support greater liquidity.”
“It will allow for a more efficient mediation of capital between the interests of a growing class of savers and alternative asset classes that can provide annuity income, such as real estate,” he explained.

He said for an economy and population the size of Nigeria’s, there was a structural undersupply of investment grade real estate stock.
“This is changing, which will provide increasing opportunities, for both local and international investors,” added Mundy, who stated that JLL’s experience of other heavily pro-cyclical markets with a close tie-in to commodity exports, such as Russia, suggested that in high growth markets, large vacancy rates and volatile rental growth are necessary at the early stage of the real estate cycle.

He equally listed some pipeline projects such as Wings Office Complex, Royal Gardens Mall, Eko Atlantic, Lekki City and Landmark Village, which he said will support the institutionalization of the market and greater liquidity over a longer term.

He, however, noted that this was not without challenges and that the unwinding of quantitative easing (QE) will create uncertainty, in addition to considerable political uncertainty around a potential successor for President Muhammadu Buhari, while the trend of rising public sector indebtedness was a risk across most of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Copied: Chineme Okafor