Home Interior Designer Requirements – 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Professional

To help eliminate the frustrations of deciding whether to tackle a home improvement project by yourself, or hire a professional home interior designer, I’ve created a list of questions to ask yourself that will assist you with making a decision.

Improving your home by redesigning the look and feel of several rooms all at once takes forethought and planning to achieve the desired results that you have in your mind. Although you might have a creative flair for using color in your home, and your friends and family have told you that your decorating and design talents are exceptional, how do you really know if you want to take on the project by yourself?

Here are ten questions to assist you in the process. After you have finished jotting down your answers, you just might have made your decision (especially if you answered no to more than one-third of the questions).

1. When looking at your calendar, do you have large blocks of time available every week for your interior design project tasks?

2. Is it easy and natural for you to place a paint sample next to a fabric swatch and imagine how the colors and materials will look in the room you want to decorate?

3. When you think about re-doing three rooms in your home, do the required tasks feel overwhelming to you considering that you’ll have to do everything by yourself?

4. Have you already purchased paint and accessories for one of the rooms, but now you’re not sure about the colors you’ve chosen?

5. Did you find inspiration for redesigning one or more of the rooms in your home from a picture in a magazine, but now you’re not sure if you like the style, whether retro, eco-friendly, minimalist, traditional or contemporary?

6. Are you the sole person making all the color and design decisions, or do you live with someone who totally disagrees with the changes you’re about to make?

7. Do your plans include more than decorating with paints and fabrics?

8. To achieve your desired goals for improving your home, will it be necessary to knock down walls, and relocate water sources and electrical components?

9. Do you have money available now because you were thinking of buying a new home, but have recently decided to stay in your current home rather than moving to another home and starting all over?

10. Do you live in an historic part of town and you’d like to have the inside of your home reflect the area where you live, but you don’t have a clue where to start?

Real Estate Development – Why You Shouldn’t Search For Great Property Development Sites

We have seen so many beginning property developers go badly wrong at the very first step.

Before scouring the real estate listings to find large blocks of land for sale, there is a crucial first step. If you jump into buying a site without taking this crucial first step, you are taking a huge risk.

You see, there is no way that you can be an expert in every part of your city or state. Yet, to be truly successful as a real estate developer, you must become an expert in the area in which you develop.

Each local council is different. Each area has different public transport provision, traffic bottlenecks, noise pollution issues, local resident action groups, and any one of a dozen other differences – and all these differences are vital factors in your development site viability calculation.

We advise that you don’t begin by searching for sites – but rather begin by selecting one or two area’s in which you will specialize.

When we’re looking for an area, we’re after “a desirable location with consistently good growth”. In other words, we’re after an area that historically has had a minimum annual average growth of at least 10%.

The growth of an area is normally associated with supply and demand more commonly known as the “scarcity” factor. But that’s by no means the end of the story. We have identified over 30 ‘Factors That Can Influence Real Estate Capital Growth’ – here are just some that we consider:

– consistent median house price increases

– positive population growth

– high socio-economic suburbs

– high percentage of homeowners

– low unemployment

– good transport links

Once we’ve identified an area we undertake a detailed market analysis of the neighbourhood using our ‘RED Local Market Feasibility Checklist’. Here are just some of the things we assess:

– demographics: Who is our market and what do they want?

– facilities: Are there schools, transport, shopping centres, hospitals, etc?

– gentrification: Is the suburb in transition, are people moving into the area, are people renovating, is there a café society, is it a beach suburb etc?

– infrastructure: Are there plans for new infrastructure like bypasses, new roads, new bridges, shopping centers or is council undertaking beautification?

Finally, we identify what the town planning regulations allow. Possibly even speaking to the local council planners directly – in our experience most council staff are very willing to help.

Never overlook the importance of proper research because it helps you to determine what type of dwelling is in high demand in a particular area, for example if you should be concentrating on townhouses or boutique apartment developments.

Once you have selected two or three locations which look good on paper, get familiar with the areas by driving around the suburbs, checking out what other developers are building, and then talking to a few Real Estate Agents and Property Managers. If possible, you should also attend property auctions. You want to get a feeling for what’s possible, and the demand in the area.

Only when you are completely satisfied that an area stacks up, in the statistics, the ease of doing business, and in the general atmosphere, should you start the process of looking at individual development sites to purchase.

Don’t get distracted by the “Bright Shiny Object” – the apparently brilliant bargain buy in an area you haven’t researched. You have no idea what problems you may be buying into! Stick with the area you know, and know well, and you will have a lower-risk real estate development experience.

Finding Opportunities for Real Estate Development

People often think that in order to be a real estate developer you have to stick a shovel in the ground. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What land developers do is make some change to the real estate that will increase its value. Real estate development potential exists where the parcel can be transformed in some way so that it will appeal to more types of buyers. Two of the cardinal rules in the land development business are that the value of land is always relative to how (or if) the property can be used, and the value of the land parcel increases when the property can be used by either more buyers or additional categories of buyers.

In reality, opportunities for real estate development are all around you because there are several ways of developing land that don’t involve building. It is true that sometimes development through change involves building, such as modifying an existing structure or demolishing it and building a new one. But many more real estate development opportunities exist where the change to the property is invisible.

For example, suppose you find a residential property located on a street that takes a lot of traffic. The appeal (and therefore, the value) of the parcel is limited because the only potential buyers are people who wouldn’t object to living in a house on a busy street. Chances are, the highest and best use of this property is something other than straight residential. So you would want to determine if there were alternative uses possible to expand the market for this property and increase its value. How would you find this out?

The first thing you should do is determine what uses of the property are allowed under the current zoning by reviewing the zoning map and ordinance available at the municipal office. Once you locate the property on the zoning map, you will see what zoning district the property is in. Then you would read the provisions in the zoning ordinance for that district. These would deal with several issues: uses permitted “by right” (meaning that no use approval is necessary), special uses permitted only when approval is given by a municipal board, and dimensional requirements, such as the minimum lot size and width, building setbacks and the height of structures. (You should review the entire ordinance because there may be other provisions elsewhere in the book that would also apply to the property.)

The particular zoning classification might permit single-family detached houses on the specified lot size by right. But it might also allow the property to be used as a school, church, or day care facility when authorized by the municipality so long as the property satisfied some specific conditions. These might require that the total land area of the parcel be a certain minimum size (e.g., at least 10 acres), the property be serviced by public utilities, or that the building and paved areas not exceed a certain percentage of the total land square footage of the parcel.

Next you would review the municipality’s comprehensive or master land use plan. This document might say, for instance, that the local government wanted to encourage professional office uses in the area where your property was located. This would indicate that the municipality might be open to either a change of the zoning classification for the property or allow it to be used for professional office by granting a “use variance.” A variance does not change the underlying zoning classification of a property, but essentially permits the property to “violate” some provision of the zoning. In this case, a use variance would allow the property to be used for something other than a single family detached home, church, school or day care. However, the municipality would likely impose some conditions and restrictions in exchange for the variance, such as preservation of the existing structure or limitations on the total amount of building square footage that could be built.

If you could develop this property by getting a change of use approved, the property would certainly be worth more than as a home. You could then sell it to buyers who wanted to construct an office building to either lease out the space or sell the property once the office facility was completed.