Ask the Expert: Renovating for the Market Edge

David Jaime

Our Ask the Expert column brings you insights from Hawaii's top industry experts in the fields that impact the real estate market in Hawaii and around the country. This week's guest column is from David Jaime of Blue Star Design and Builders. David is a licensed contractor, forerunner in design and also the host of HGTV's Aloha Homes.

Hawaii is a small place riddled with bureaucracy and extra hoops to jump through. At Blue Star Design & Builders, we eliminate the back and forth between architects, interior designers, and the builders as we house everything under one roof. By doing so, we shorten the process significantly, eliminate confusion, delays and most importantly...COST. 

Most of our clients are new homeowners or have inherited their family home. With the aging infrastructure, lack of maintenance, and/or the outdated interior these homeowners are overwhelmed and don’t even know where to start. This is where we come in. We obtain as much information about you family, what the future looks like of it, you financial situation and what inspires and motivates you. We put all this information through thorough thought and creativity to give you an inspiring interior that you can afford.

Where to uncover value when investing in upgrades

The rule of thumb is to put your money near water. So investing in your kitchen or bathroom is always a sure way increase your property’s value. The tricky part is to budget your remodel. Even trickier is to stick to that budget. If your home is an investment property, make sure you don’t let you personal taste dictate the finished product too much. Not everyone will like your particular style. Keep it edgy, fresh, and progressive to give the investment a longer shelf life, but not to bold as to turn some people away and shrink your market. If this is your home and you plan on living there for a while, do it right. Pick what you want: purple walls, eclectic finishes, anything. Your space should inspire you and give insight to your guests on your personality and style. 

What you need to know before starting renovations

Where the water shut off valve is! Hawaii is expensive, we all know this, but don’t try to cut costs by doing things yourself because it could cost you more in the end. 

Consult with a licensed contractor before making any alterations.

Plan, plan, and plan some more.

Consult your realtor to find out if the expected value of your home after your improvements at 5, 10, and 15 years and prices of comparable homes in your area post renovation. This will give you a “not to exceed” budget. You don’t want to build yourself out of your home.

Don’t skimp on quality. Maybe you can’t afford to do everything on your list right now if you don’t start making cuts -that’s ok. Put your money into the quality of the materials and workmanship. Then, save and do the next item on the list. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.