House to Home & Home to House - Which design approach is right for you?

An email arrived today asking for some advice about a new home. The home in question had immediate appeal; which is why made an offer within hours of her first visit. However, the owner is contemplating a sale just six months after moving because it doesn't seem like a good fit for her anymore. She essentially wanted to know how it could be possible to fall out of love so quickly when "there is nothing really wrong with the house."

Without seeing the house I immediately wondered if she had made her house a home. Here is the gist of my reply:

Home to House Design Phase

The Home to House design phase occurs before you put your house on the market. Not planning for this phase may negatively affect your marketing efforts. Home to House Design is normally characterized by the terms neutralizing, staging, show home, model home, and market ready. The space is usually missing family pictures, and custom touches (and by custom I mean any choices having a strong personal appeal that very few will appreciate).

Also missing are shocking colors, anything that will offend the average person, clutter, dirt, and most traces of family life. All the spaces within the house have an obvious function. You may decide to hire a home or real estate staging professional, or a redesign expert to help you with this phase. I don't necessarily recommend looking for an interior designer at this time unless they offer a (lower cost) redesign or staging service. Generally, interior design services are more expensive and normally selected when you want to make a place feel like home. Save the interior design for later. What you want is for people looking at the house to feel like they can turn this stylish model home into their home... which usually brings a quick sale and the new owner now focused on the...

House to Home Design Phase (or, where my caller needs to be today)

Characterized as breathing personality into the space, making yourself at home, and leaving your mark. It also means assessing your space and making changes to suit your personal taste and functional needs. Hiring an interior or creative designer at this stage if you need help is a good move. Also helpful during this phase are organization specialists, painters, faux finishers, closet designers, and artists. But if the Home to House phase looms anywhere on the horizon, I caution you about making extensive and costly changes you'll need to correct later for a quick sale.

Of course, these are only a few general considerations I would use to determine the best approach. (Haven't we have all heard exception stories of a-dog-of-a-home selling quickly simply because it is located in a fabulous area or offered at a great price??)

So - here's hoping that with whatever phase you happen to find yourself in you will...

Be creative.


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