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Home Renovation Advice

Carole Smith

I’m often asked by investor clients who purchase homes, renovate and resell what the most in-demand design features are. I frequently review potential blue print plans before any work is done to provide my expertise as I have a pulse on what Coral Gables buyers’ preferences are. It’s a collaborative process that yields great results for these home flippers.
It’s a given that buyers are searching for open plan concepts flooded with natural light and renovated kitchens and bathrooms. However, buyers have become more and more discerning about features and materials. I provide my investment clients input based on current market trends as well as a secret weapon akin to a crystal ball: Google search trends.
Here are typical insights I provide (including just this last week to a dear client who renovates Coral Gables homes and resells) :
  1. Impact windows are a must
  2. White kitchens are still in high demand
  3. Laminate flooring is a no-go
  4. Summer kitchens pack a big “wow factor”
After I provide my input based on local insights, I polish my crystal ball and share Google trends related to home design with my clients. Google’s recently released Home and Garden trend report reveals design and style searches. The numbers below indicate an increase in search by topic:
Most popular living room styles
  • Mid-century/1950s: +5,000%
  • Coastal: +140%
  • 1970s: +110%
  • Farmhouse: +90%
Most popular kitchen styles
  • Outdoor kitchen cabinets: +5,000%
  • Floating shelves: +4,150%
  • Bohemian: +300%
  • Light gray kitchen cabinets: +140%
  • Kitchen wallpaper: +130%
As you can see, white kitchens have not seen an increase in search on Google but when I looked closer I found that there are over 18,000 searches per month for white kitchen cabinets as compared to 8,800 searches for gray kitchen cabinets. These nuisances are important to people thinking of resell value and something I’m happy to share with clients when asked.
I do make a point of cautioning against flash-in-the-pan trends that I know will not have staying power. Classic materials are always a safer bet including wood floors, neutral paint colors, and stone countertops as examples.
Ultimately, I always emphasize the need for quality materials and quality craftsmanship above all when dealing with renovations, particularly in Coral Gables. I can’t begin to tell you how many deals I’ve seen fall apart even in new construction homes because on closer inspection, the materials and work done have been shoddy. If you are considering renovating before selling, I encourage you to reach out to me to discuss current market trends.


Carole and Cristina believe that our homes are an important part of our lives, giving us shelter, security, and a means of self-expression. Separate from the constraints of necessity, many homes are a microcosm for the things we hold most dear — family, memories, relaxation and sense of belonging.

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