Curbio interviewed Rebekah Gonzalez-Reaves of Berkshire Hathaway about the hottest trends in home renovation and what she’s seeing in homes right now.

Q: What kind of condition should a home be in for you to list it? 

A: I always tell my sellers, let’s sell the story and not the nightmare. Sellers have this emotional attachment to their home. They know the story of their home and what it’s been like in their home, but the buyers don’t know that. So, for the buyer, a nightmare is coming into a home that has a ton of problems. On the surface, if they’re seeing multiple things that need repair or signs of a lack of maintenance, that scares the buyer. The buyer is walking through the home and calculating all these repair costs in their head. From the buyer’s agent’s perspective, they are thinking in their head: “I would write this type of offer for you because of [these needed repairs].” This is why I tell my sellers, “let’s make this house look like the story, not the nightmare.”

Rebekah Gonzalez-Reaves

Rebekah Gonzalez-Reaves

Real Estate Agent - BHHS/PenFed Realty

Q: How would you define “Move-in” ready?

A: From the buyer’s perspective, looking at a move-in ready home, for my clients, we’re looking at the harder things. It’s the HVAC, the roof age, the big-ticket items. We can change the paint color. Once you look past the “lipstick,” because you can put lipstick on a pig, I try to look at the hard money costs. Let’s look at the area, what are the schools like. That’s the stuff you can’t readily change. Does the house have good bones? Good structure? Is the hot water heater 15 years old? Let’s look at the space inside the home. Those are the types of things I call their attention to.

Q: What design trends do you see right now?

A: Since I’m also an interior designer, I’ve been tracking a few things. We’re seeing trends that are reminiscent of our childhoods. They say history repeats itself — same thing in design and fashion. In the stores at Christmastime, you see those games you played as a kid, and you want to buy them for your kids. Same thing for design. You’re getting people in their 30’s, and they are buying a home for the first time and are taking that trip down memory lane and looking for what they had growing up. How many times have you seen on HGTV, the House Hunters are taking a couple through a home and they want the same style of home, ranch or farmhouse, that they grew up in. So we are seeing a revival of colors from the 1960s through the 1980s, such as the mustard colors. What was linoleum floor in the 1970s with the sparkle in it, is now a selection of fun tiles. The hot thing right now is two-tone palettes. In kitchens that might look like a blue kitchen cabinet on the bottom, or the island, and white or grey cabinets on the top. We’re seeing rustic farmhouse styles that look like what we had in the 1950s. It all comes back in one way or another.

Q: What is the different between “remodeling” and “renovating”?

A: For “renovated” I look at replacing the cabinets. We’re going to repaint, replace the bathroom vanities. For “remodel”  I’m talking about knocking down walls, closing up doorways, adding a second room on the back of the house. We are structurally changing the flow of the house. Adding on or taking something away as opposed to putting wallpaper up. Some people mesh the two terms.

Q: What are some of your sources of inspiration?

A: I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and looking at different designers. Each seller is a little bit different in their design style. Pinterest has been an easy way for me to do searches around “split level home remodel” or “70’s inspired home design” and it will bring up this candy store full of different pins. It’s easy to create your dream boards. I pull my inspiration from several different places using that resource.