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5 Design Projects that Give Your Clients the Best Return on Their Investment

Kathleen DiPaolo Designs

For most of my clients, one of their biggest investments is their home. As their designer, I always feel I am the custodian of their money. No, I am not their portfolio manager, but I definitely influence where my clients invest money in their home and I take the responsibility seriously. Did you know that I have a California real estate brokers license, have many rental properties and my MBA? I have also flipped hundreds of properties, so I know what projects get the best ROI (Return on Investment AND Return on Interiors®.) What top 5 projects do I tell my clients to take on so they get their best ROI?

1. Paint

Never underestimate the power of paint! Paint has the power to emote feelings. A color can make a space feel inviting, light and bright, cozy, warm…You get the point. I am sitting here typing in my kitchen (in Budapest, Hungary) and the molding, walls and building are over 200 years old. BUT, they look fresh and bright with the paint. Most importantly, they look inviting enough that I wanted to live here:)

2. Entry (Curb appeal)

Every time I look at a potential project, I can tell several things by looking at the entry. One, when the entry is maintained, I know that the home has been maintained. In other words, good bones. Two, when the entry has been cared for, I know the home has been cared for.  Yep, no deferred maintenance. Three, I feel welcome and actually look forward to entering in the home and seeing what is behind the magic curtain. Ok, front door. Ha! And, I can’t wait to make the space even more magical.

3. Kitchen

Yes, yes, yes. People congregate in a kitchen! Even if you don’t cook. Ahem…you want to be in a space where you can get a drink, do work, and hang out. Do kitchen remodels cost a lot of money? Yep! Is it a good investment? Heck yes! If your clients want to sell their home, buyers want a clean, fresh kitchen. A buyer may have different tastes with cabinet color, lighting and backsplash, but that is a quick fix. Your client’s home won’t languish on the market if it is new and current! Time on the market=loss of money.

4. Master Bathroom

Kathleen DiPaolo Designs

Every homeowner wants to get ready in a beautiful and efficient space. If your client has a gorgeous master bathroom, and they want to sell their home, a buyer will be able to visualize putting their things away, taking their shower in the morning and getting ready to take on the day. Having a nice master bathroom is one of the first things a buyer looks at. A buyer can handle a secondary bathroom being hideous. After all, they can just shut the door. Like a kitchen, people may have different tastes in cabinet color, lighting or even a mirror, that’s OK. They can always change that out. Knowing that the hard part- the remodel- has been completed, is a huge incentive for a buyer!

5. Flooring

Yep, no one wants to step on a dirty floor. If the finish on the wood floors looks hideous, repair it. When you have damaged hardwood floors or stained carpets, it looks like your clients don’t maintain their homes. Your client may not see the value, but ask them if they would like to buy a home where the floors are damaged. Wouldn’t they wonder if maintenance had been deferred in general?

I always encourage my clients to ask a Realtor® for an opinion on investing in their home. I even have a questionnaire for them to do their “due diligence.” So, if your client is hemming and hawing about doing one of these top 5 design projects, go ahead and give them this free due diligence questionnaire. It will help them see the project in a new light- and they will appreciate your advice even more!




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