By Brad Litz
Real Estate Broker, Appraiser & Investor
I have come to realize that most people who engage me in conversation pertaining to real estate lately are most interested in some of the high-profile home renovations that I and my business partner, John Eaton, have undertaken. I give credit for this to the many television shows that make home renovation and ‘flipping’ so popular these days. It is a very challenging and risky venture, but I have to admit that my favorite part of it all is the creative outlet that it provides. I love residential real estate and this gives me an excuse to indulge my passion.
So, I have decided to divulge some of my secrets, but certainly not all of them! The question that I am most often asked pertains to where I get ideas from and that is easy to answer, all over the place. Obviously our connectivity makes it easy to virtually travel to anywhere in the world and get inspiration. For our recent Spanish Colonial Revival renovation, the picturesque town of Santa Barbara came to mind. This style of home is not as popular in the Midwest as it was out west, so instead of flying out to Cali for a few days, I took to the information superhighway and spending lots of time on celebrity home blogs, luxury renovation websites, real estate search engines and a little secret, houzz.com.
I hate to divulge the gem that is houzz.com, but everybody is going to find it sooner or later. This website and app has millions of high resolution pictures of spectacular ideas from many different regions. I find myself flipping through the app on my phone late at night and saving pictures or sending them to my wife or business partner and asking their opinion. This site is updated so often with content from industry professionals making it easy to stay hip to the trends.
As well, I still find it relaxing to search through print materials, such as Architectural Digest, Dwell, Robb Report and the like. It’s certainly not as high tech as finding ideas on your smartphone, but if you find yourself with some extra time and want to shut off the outside world for a bit, grab a glossy and start looking for ideas. There are magazines for every home time, modern, traditional, country, lake…you name it. If you know what you like, there are most likely many ideas to find in these publications.
Finally, please know that renovating houses isn’t as easy as it seems on television, but there can be great satisfaction in completing a project that you are passionate about. Always complete your due diligence, assess your financial obligation and set aside plenty of time, because you are going to need it.