A Change Will Do You Good
Ty Pennington says good design can change your life
A home is more than a place to eat and sleep — it’s the backdrop to your life, a sanctuary from the world, a reflection of the things that matter most to you. So says celebrity designer and TV personality Ty Pennington in his new book, “Good Design Can Change your Life.”
According to Pennington, team leader of ABC’s hit show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” if you want to change your life, start by changing your home.
“If you want to inject light, energy and optimism into your life, making over your home — or even just a single room — is a good place to start,” he says.
Even though the homeowners on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” are often in dire straits, you don’t have to be desperate to benefit from changes on the home front. And the changes don’t need to be extreme — in fact, unless you have a network television crew at your disposal, they probably won’t be. Small tweaks to your living quarters can greatly improve your outlook on life.
“We all need change,” Pennington writes. “Change is good, and that’s especially true when it comes to the rooms where you’ve spent a good portion of your life. I’ll even go as far as to say that making changes to your home can completely change your life.”
But what’s all this got to do with real estate investing? In today’s economic climate, buy-and-hold is one of the top investing strategies. Home prices are lower than they’ve been in decades, making now the best time to purchase real estate at rock-bottom prices. Foreclosures and tight lending policies have led to an influx of renters, and as a result, rents are higher than they’ve been in the past, too.
The rental market is likely to get more competitive as investors snatch up houses while home values recover. A little finesse in the interior decorating department can make a big difference when it comes to finding and keeping renters for your properties. After all, renters, like property owners, want a place to call home — even if it’s not their own.
“It doesn’t matter if you own or rent where you live. It’s your nest, your habitat — it’s you,” Pennington says. “Make it an inviting, fun and relaxing place to come home to.”
Of course, it’s unwise to make a property purchase decision based on those warm and fuzzy feelings. Ask any real estate guru and he or she will tell you that investing is a numbers game. But after you’ve purchased a property, it’s reasonable (and may even be essential) to make improvements to the property.
In his book, Pennington outlines 12 steps to make over a room. He encourages readers to find their own personal style by taking cues from hobbies, interests and surroundings. At the same time, he incorporates stories and designs from families that have appeared on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
“While I’d been crafting furniture, designing rooms and renovating homes for years, until I began my job as a team leader on EMHE, I don’t think I realized how much difference having a comfortable, well-designed, and beautiful place to live can make in someone’s life,” he writes.
Pennington is best known for his work on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and a previous gig as a carpenter on HGTV’s “Trading Spaces.” But before he did that, he worked in construction and graphic design and even spent time working abroad as a model.
Although Pennington is known for designing imaginative and creative spaces, his foremost tips are methodical and focused on designing a practical and useable place. For instance, one of the steps he advises is to check out the state of the walls, floors and ceilings. No one wants to live in a home with walls that are nicked or ceilings that are discolored. Another tip focuses on adequate lighting. These fixes can make a huge difference in how a house shows and can also increase the value of a property long-term. The best part? It doesn’t have to be expensive.
“Changing your home makes you feel like you have a chance to start over,” he writes. “Change begets change. Change the look of your living room and maybe you’ll look at
the world differently. Change your bedroom and maybe you’ll begin to get a different idea of your future and what you want to accomplish.”