Real Estate by Design

Intuit Group Real Estate News, May 2016

Are You White Space Phobic?

You've been given a blank canvass: a barren wall. If you could put anything on it, what would it be and why? This is the proverbial quandary for an artist, a writer, and a musician. It is also the quandary of a homeowner wanting to sell property or when a new homeowner first moves in.

I thought it would be helpful to get the perspectives of working artists on the subject to shed some light on how white spaces can be the landscape for beautification that's marketable. Artists of many types tend to be sensitive to various senses like sight, sound and touch. I couldn't help but wonder whether they approach home buying or decorating ideologies different than most.

First, I recently sat down with Southern California artist Brian Noveck and asked him how he goes about looking for that perfect living space. "Do you know it when you see it...or do you 'feel' it?" I suggested.

He thought for a moment and responded. "I would say with my background in design, color, size relationships and interiors design (and it doesn’t hurt having a mother who was an Interior designer for over 45 years), that it’s all very intuitive for me. I just know when it’s right."

"How would you advise a home owner to best fill a blank wall space?" I asked. The reason I posed this question is in my years of showing property, it's become evident that most people are not "visual". By visual, I mean that when walking into a vacant home and walking into barren rooms with blank walls, most people don't have a natural ability to envision a room with furniture or with finished decor unless it was right in front of them. Brian responded easily.

"I've been known to tear out ideas from magazines and keep them in my files for inspiration, or journey to one of the many museums or galleries in the city. Sometimes, all it takes is one great piece on a wall that can carry the entire room. I have covered entire walls with black and white antique prints from floor to ceiling, it was a very dramatic affect, but not for everyone."

When working with musicians, their sense of the "perfect space" takes on a different hue. For example, a home that backs to a major roadway is usually deemed as an obsolescence, a negative characteristic. But to a musician, it can offer the right solution as street noise would provide a buffer, making a musician's own band sessions less of an issue to the neighbors.

Writers, artists and musicians often search for a place that provides the "right energy", a gateway to inspire and create their art.

Consider blank interior spaces an opportunity to showcase who you are through color, texture, sound and scent. Dwell in that space. Don't rush the experience. It's all part of what makes a house, a home.

(artwork from Brian Noveck below, full catalog at

Artwork TM & © by Brian Noveck 2016 )

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Noteworthy Trends for the "Sandwich Generation"

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 66 percent of seniors receive in-home care from a family caregiver--primarily from mothers and daughters. For the family caregiver, the average loss of income and finances over their lifetime is $303,808.

How does this impact the "sandwich" generation? In a big way and for multiple generations. The sandwich generation is an adult who is not only responsible for their own livelihood, but for the care of their own children AND their aging parents.

But with the costs associated with family caregiving, how can the sandwich generation survive the financial and emotional stress that partners in this life situation? Real estate may provide some resolve.

I have seen an uptick in listing marketability and buyer requests for property that includes separate, detached guest quarters, double master bedrooms, or a bedroom suite that has its own access to the outside of the home.

Many families are opting to co-exist in one home, parents, children, and their children. It provides the aging parents with comfort and peace of mind, while providing a less financially and emotionally cumbersome solution for the adult children.

There is a mortgage program that caters to this need for those who would rather have their senior parents live in a home separate from theirs. The mortgage program allows the adult children to purchase a home for the parents as long as they are financially responsible for their parents.

For those that cannot undergo a residential move, but have equity in their home, a reverse mortgage with a renovation loan may be in order. The senior homeowner can modify their current home or put in a room addition with minimal out of pocket costs. So they get the added space they need for family members without negatively impacting their finances.

If you haven't spoken with your aging parents about how they will be cared for, it might be a good time to start the conversation.

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Support for Writers, Artists, and Musicians

Self-expression is paramount to finding and celebrating one's individuality, without penalty. Living in America, we are allowed the freedoms of self-expression--consider our current climate of the 2016 Presidential race.

Self-expression is also represented in the music we sing, the literature we read, and the artwork we enjoy. I can't imagine where I would be in my day-to-day without these pathways to self-expression.

As a means to offer respect to those that bring peace and fulfillment to us through the sharing of their artwork, I discount my real estate services to designers, writers, and musicians--anyone who works in the creative space. It's my way of saying "thank you" and helps continue the forum of self-expression.

In the Next Issue: How to Negotiate in a "Hot Market"

For more information on any of the topics noted above, just contact me.