How Interior Finishes and Who Picks Them Impact Home Sales


Do you find it hard to believe that light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, tile, paint colors and other interior finishes truly affect the sale of a home?

Finishes by Home Depot

Finishes by Home Depot

I can understand how you might not see the value of making interior design changes to a property to help it sell fast and for more money. Especially given that, in some real estate markets, price points, or neighborhoods where the houses just seem to fly off the shelf in a few short weeks or even days, interior finishes likely didn’t play much of a role. The market was that HOT!

However, in this volatile and often changing real estate scene, you simply can’t take your chances. Every year, month, and sometimes week is different than the next in any given market. In this article in USA Today the author references a study by Zillow in 2017 “which examined over 32,000 photos from sold homes around the country to see how certain paint colors impacted their average sale price compared to homes of similar value with white walls.” What they found was that ever changing trends have a significant impact on real estate sales!

To many investors and even homeowners looking to sell their house, attention to the interior design of a house seems like such overkill especially in those HOT neighborhoods and price points. 

But one thing we know for sure is that buyers are fickle. 

Not only are they fickle, but today’s home buyers are very interior design savvy! 

Staged home in Houston TX by REI Design Solutions for an Investor

Staged home in Houston TX by REI Design Solutions for an Investor

This information age of the internet has made it possible for people to be surrounded by beauty in their homes for a fraction of the cost of using traditional interior design services.  There are so many ways a homeowner can beautify their spaces without having to pick up the phone and hire an interior designer.

They can go onto Pinterest or houzz for their inspiration and now days, even interior designers have blogs (much like this one) where they give away many of their tried and true trade secrets…for FREE!

So, if we understand our current “HGTV” and “Interior Design crush” culture, then as fix and flip real estate investors and/or homeowners listing their homes, why are we putting them on the market with outdated (and often newly installed!) ugly, finishes? 

Why are we still using the most plain, boring, cheap and on-the-way-out fixtures?  What is this inclination I am seeing with sellers and investors? 

And sadly, they often wonder why buyers aren’t putting in offers on their properties. They think “but we put in all new finishes” or “what’s the problem, we opened up the space” but the question is with WHAT and by WHO?

Enter in the importance of interior designer curated finishes.

Homeowner new build. Design by REI Design Solutions

Homeowner new build. Design by REI Design Solutions

I am not talking about your trip to Home Depot, picking out what’s on the shelf. Nor am I referring to using what the neighbor put in their property to sell it.

And I do NOT mean installing finishes YOU think are cool and on trend.

Here’s the hard truth- trends change quickly so you have to be paying attention to the market, constantly.

As an interior designer, helping investors and homeowners sell their houses, my job is to stay on top of current trends and make sure that your home appeals to today’s interior design savvy buyers.

Not only do I pay attention to trends and what is appealing to the largest demographic in that neighborhood, but I also understand the seller’s goals.

From a fix and flip real estate investor who has a limited budget, tight profit margins and no time to waste, to a homeowner who would like to capitalize on the potential equity of their house and move on without the worry of two mortgages, I am always considering all of the options and best scenarios when it comes to selling your property quickly and for the highest dollar possible.  It is my mission!

So with the above in mind, I want to help you understand the 3 ways designer-curated finishes impact the sale of your property.

A cohesive look is vital to perceived value

There is a psychology behind certain finish choices and the way they coordinate and play off of each other. If your finishes are all over the place in color and style, the buyers don’t get all the feels.  The interior spaces don’t command respect and therefore don’t warrant paying what you’re asking. 

There is a gift or talent, if you will, that an interior designer has when it comes to bringing all the elements of a space together. 

Can you tell when space has had a designer’s touch?

Investor Flip. Design by REI Design Solutions

Investor Flip. Design by REI Design Solutions

So can buyers and they LOVE it and WANT it and want to be surrounded by it! And therefore, are willing to pay for it. That perceived value is what is going to make that house sell faster and for higher dollar.

Cheap and Ugly tell the buyer “low-ball this one, it’s cheap and ugly and even though it’s newly renovated, we’re going to need to make improvements on the improvements!

If you didn’t care enough about the overall aesthetic of the finishes you put in the home, why should the buyer want to pay top dollar?  What makes that property special?  What warrants asking price or even higher? These are questions you need to consider asking yourself when you’re DIYing your finish selections and the overall interior design of your property. 

If you are using finishes that are no longer on trend, your bottom line will show it.  I have seen too many investors make the mistake of paying good money on the repairs and updates on an investment flip to have it sit on the market, costing them holding costs and lowering the price of the property resulting in catastrophic losses.

And everyone just turned a blind eye to the fact that the improvements made to the house were downright ugly. No thought was given at all to the interior design of the house.  No expert finish selections were made, no interior design skills were sought to ensure that the house would appeal to the buyers in that demographic and it was obvious in the final sale price and days on market.

Status is everything, make sure your interior finishes speak to the buyer’s identity

Is your home in a certain price range in a neighborhood that buyers are more inclined to drive “status symbol cars”? Are they all about entertaining and hosting parties?  Do they have a lot of friends and enjoy “showing off” their new digs? 

Don’t know? Well, you need to find out. 

You need to understand as much as you can about the demographic of the buyer so you can appeal to their sense of status. 

Even though there is a new trend of the wealthy living inconspicuously, the majority of Americans who can afford a little more than those in the lower income brackets do so through “conspicuous consumption.”Conspicuous consumption can be exemplified by the purchase of goods that are almost exclusively designed with the intent of serving as symbols of wealth. Conspicuous Consumption is Expressed Though Product Choice.”  A term coined by Thorstein Veblen, an economist and sociologist who lived from 1857 to 1929, in his book “The Theory of the Leisure Class” (1899). And truth be told, certain fixtures and finishes in a home connote opulence, status and pride.

Investor Flip. Staging by REI Design Solutions

Investor Flip. Staging by REI Design Solutions

Interior Designers have their thumb on the pulse of that perception in buyers.

Take full advantage of that skill. It is worth it’s weight in gold.

I hope you have a newfound appreciation for the importance of interior design in selling houses especially as it relates to the interior finishes.  Other factors that affect your house selling fast are floor plan layout, exterior design and kitchen & bathroom design.  All of which a seasoned interior designer can most certainly help you with!

If you want to know more about our services and how we help homeowners, investors and builders sell their properties, schedule a call today or check out our website for more information!

To your success,