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Luxury real estate agent Jon Granston breaks down buying a home into three processes: home search, purchase, and design. The design process is usually not a step buyers associate with their real estate agent, and oftentimes intentions of a design update or remodel gets pushed aside or forgotten about after you move into the home.


You can easily fall into the trappings of living in a house that doesn't meet your original goals, desires, or lifestyle needs.


Don't let time—or your dream home—slip through your fingertips. To maximize the value, function, and pleasure of your house, find an agent who has a team to help you develop an interior design strategy.


Whether you are purchasing a home for your primary residence, rental income or an investment property, think about the following topics and discuss with your real estate agent as you define your purchase strategy:

  • When to enlist an interior designer
  • Form follows function
  • Identify design goals
  • Finessing the finishing touches

When To Enlist an Interior Designer

Jon begins the conversation about aesthetics with his clients during the house search phase.


“Generally, I try to guide clients to architectural styles that they like. We tend to take more of a macro-approach, understanding that you can change the look with remodeling or minor cosmetic changes.”

Since design and style generally materialize as the search is conducted, Jon brings Solana Beach interior designer Kari Arendsen into the fold early on.


Many buyers don’t know exactly how to express what they like or what they want. With Arendsen of Intimate Living Interiors on your luxury real estate team, you have an artistic and critical eye working with you from the beginning to help ensure the final results meet your every expectation.

Form Follows Function

Kari’s design approach changes depending on the intended function and shelf-life of a house. If your purchase is not for long-term homeownership, the design strategy shifts to align with how the house will be used.

Purchase for Primary Residence

When purchasing a home for your primary residence, Kari focuses solely on the client’s lifestyle and creating a space for optimal well-being. From the first conceptual meetings to the complete transformation, Kari and her team are committed to bringing the collaborative vision to life.

Purchase for Resale

Purchasing a home for resale changes the game a bit. Designs and renovations are driven by the budgetary goals, the intent of the home or space, and proven strategies to increase home value and appeal. Kari urges clients in this sphere to focus less on a precise style and more on the integral nature of the home itself to provide quality, timeless design that can appeal to a much broader demographic.

Purchase for Rent

Purchasing a home that will become a rental property requires an altogether different strategy. Designs and renovations aim to leave a lasting impression on the renter through unique amenities, and quality specifications. Kari focuses on incorporating highly functional, durable, resilient, and budget-compatible modifications.

Identify Your Design Goals to Enhance Your Purchase Strategy

Clear and open communication between the designer and the buyer are essential for a successful remodel. When budgetary goals are defined and appropriately distributed within the project to meet your needs, Kari can help you keep a handle on stress and keep an eye on the finish line.


To set the groundwork for a smooth renovation, Kari uses an extensive client questionnaire that is structured to reveal a deeper understanding of your daily life, needs, and lifestyle goals.


Some design goals Kari and her team aim to identify immediately include:

  • Timeframe
  • Budget
  • Function
  • Resale
  • Style

This questionnaire can serve as a blueprint to achieving a design and style that are literally made just for you.

Finessing the Finishing Touches

For long-term homeowners, Kari and her design team specialize in carefully blending your likes with your functional needs, and can integrate your intent with the soul of the home.


Once your budgetary goals are established, a custom-tailored plan is created that incorporates both function and style. Careful attention to the planning phase is essential to maintaining a cohesive design. From that point, if the project is completed in phases, Kari can help establish a progression for implementation that makes sense for your life and your budget.

“Whenever possible, it always makes more sense to complete the project in its entirety at once vs. staggering it out over time.”

However, an experienced designer knows this is not always possible. Therefore, having a clearly categorized and defined budget allows Kari to redistribute funds in different areas if unexpected challenges arise during a project’s progress.


For example, if your carpentry bid came in higher than expected and you don't want to compromise on the carpentry, money can then be pulled from different areas of the budget to accommodate.

Get Your Interior Designer Involved Now

Leaving design considerations until the end of the buying process can negatively impact your goals. Consider the design process while conducting your house search and making your purchase. A team approach can help ensure you find the house you need at the price you want.


Watch what happens when a designer and real estate agent collaborate.


And don’t miss out on the rest of the series of content Kari and Jon created: