Pre-purchase Acquisition consulting

Are you looking to buy a fixer-upper to transform into a designer dream home for your family? Looking for the ideal property to build a new custom home from the ground-up?  Studio 818’s ‘Buy It Right’ acquisition consulting helps you analyze whether a property will meet your design and budget goals BEFORE you buy.

From Fort Lauderdale to Jupiter, Wellington to Palm Beach there are plenty of outdated homes homes begging to be renovated in South Florida. The challenge is not a lack of inventory, it is pre-qualifying and buying the right property relative to your goals and budget.

When you take advantage of this consulting program you’ll work directly with John-Paul as your Realtor benefiting from his 25+ years in distressed property acquisition.

Already in an official relationship with a Realtor that is an experienced buyer’s agent? No problem. Our Buy-It-Right acquisition consulting will build off the sourcing work your agent will do. We provide the property pre-qualification, feasibility studies and project assessments in parallel with your agent in this situation.

If your combined budget for purchase, design and renovation/build is $1-million or more, read on — investing in Studio 818’s  acquisition consulting is the first step in ensuring you buy the best property to meet your design and budget goals.

We created the ‘Buy It Right’ Program because far too many people come to us to design their dream home AFTER buying the wrong property! We’ve had to turn them away because they can’t achieve their goals within their budget using the property that they bought.

What happened? They worked with a real estate agent to find them the right fixer-upper like they see on HGTV. But SURPRISE! — now the property they purchased needs WAY more money than they thought. Or worse, there are zoning issues or structural challenges with the property that prevent them from creating their dream home.

The problem is not usually with the real estate agent per se. The real estate agent is merely doing his or her job and finding a “fixer-upper.” The problem lies with asking a Realtor to do what they are not professionally trained or have the experience to do.    

The highest performing and well-intentioned Realtors are not experienced in identifying the monstrous budget killers that can be hidden in any particular fixer-upper before you buy. Even a Realtor who tells you they have “flipped” houses will fall short. There’s a huge gap between flipping a few houses and professionally designing and developing a true designer home.

It’s not that problems can’t be fixed. Every challenge faced in construction can be fixed with enough money. The most important question when analyzing a property as a candidate for a whole-house renovation, expansion or new custom home build is; ‘Can you overcome the challenges a particular property has to design and build your ideal dream home within your budget?’

A successful project begins with pre-qualifying a property based on four key criteria:

1) Property details & zoning criteria

We screen the property on lot restrictions relative to your design & build goals right up front. This begins with an analysis of the setback and zoning requirements of the property to determine if they allow for your base goals to be met.

2) Analysis of existing structure

If your project is a whole-house renovation or gut-rebuild we analyze the structure to determine if there are any hidden modification costs that will kill any hope of achieving your design goals within budget. We also analyze the existing structure to determine if it will allow for the expansion, floor plan and design aesthetic you want?

3) Budget projections

Buying the wrong property will always mean you either massively blow your budget or make significant concessions to your goals ending up with a sub-par design. To avoid that situation we determine a projected scope of work along with projected budget ranges for the design, construction and project administration work required on a property BEFORE you buy. 

4) Post-improvement valuation

Accurately projecting the valuation of the property when all the work is completed is the key to a successful design & build project from an investment standpoint. Whether gutting and expanding an existing home or building a new custom home from the ground up it’s important to understand what the property is likely to appraise for when completed. This creates the guardrails to help keep you from investing too little or too much in a property relative to its’ post-improvement valuation. 

Our experience is what equips us to provide this much-needed service that few other Interior Designers, Architects or contractors in the US are able to match. As the principals of Studio 818 John-Paul and Janie have nearly a decade of experience acquiring, designing and developing dated properties into designer showpieces. John-Paul has been investing in and developing investment properties since 1995.

With our ‘Buy It Right’ property acquisition consulting you get all that knowledge, experience and expertise applied to your project for your benefit right from the start. We help you avoid buying the wrong property

If you’ve spent any time looking for a home in South Florida you know that there are slim pickings when it comes to truly modernized properties.  Turn-key designer homes are even harder to find unless they are brand-new homes built in the last year or two. This is particularly true in the high demand coastal neighborhoods East of I-95 where most homes were originally built in the 1950’s and 60’s. Even homes built in the early 2000’s West of 95 are seriously dated in design and in need of floor plan reconfiguration and major cosmetic renovation.

In your house hunting you’ve probably noticed that most homes fall into one of three categories:

1)  Run-down with LOTS of deferred maintenance . . . in other words, un-livable in its’ current condition. These are often, but not exclusively, foreclosures or short sales. 

2) “Granny houses” (AKA: Clean But Dated) These homes are are so dated that you feel like you stepped through the front door of your grandmother’s house. On the surface you have kitchens, bathrooms and finishes pretty much as they were when the house was built. And when it comes to the critical systems that form the backbone of the home like the roof, electrical system, HVAC, plumbing and underground sewers things are usually just as dated.

3) Homes misrepresented on the MLS as “upgraded” or “renovated.” There are two versions of these homes:

a. Properties cosmetically updated decades ago in a hodge-podge manner by the owner. These homes are so ugly and out-of-date they may as well be a granny house with the amount of redesign and renovation they’ll require.

b. Houses completed by the typical house flipper. These properties are usually renovated using a ‘lipstick on a pig’ mindset. Corners get cut during renovations to make a quick buck and it’s not unusual to discover that the property still needs $100,000 or more to fix a bad design, hidden MEP issues (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) or other structural problems covered-up during supposed renovation work. 

 The good news is a property from any of these categories except 3b have the potential to be a great foundation for your newly-designed dream home. That’s because South Florida structures typically have “good bones.” 

Most were built with concrete slabs and concrete block exterior walls with concrete columns and tie-beams. Many of the residential structures built in the late-50’s on were constructed the same way a new home would be built today. Some of these homes even have great architectural features hidden by years of neglect or haphazard additions. But buy the wrong structure and that same structural construction can work against you by making it impossible to achieve your goals without seriously blowing your budget.

With Studio 818’s ‘Buy It Right’ property acquisition consulting finding and prequalifying the right fixer-upper from this pool of ugly ducklings can now be done with scientific precision.

How our Buy-It-Right consulting program works

Phase 1: Discover & Define

As with all our programs this begins with the Discovery process to study your goals, complete a lifestyle analysis and define the scope of your project. To ensure the ‘Buy It Right’ acquisition consulting is the right solution for you it’s critical that we begin by discovering and defining exactly what “dream home” means to you.

First and foremost we need to make sure your general design goals and budget are realistic and in alignment. We do this by analyzing your timelines, general design goals, functional requirements, target neighborhoods and overall budget to create an general feasibility analysis for your project. 

Once we confirm that your goals and budget align we guide you through our exclusive Design Clarity System to draw out and clarify your design goals and define your personal design preferences. This stage of the process is essentially the same as for a new design client, since after finding the right fixer-upper we will immediately roll into our full-service design + Build Management process.

At this point we will have a clear hierarchy of your “musts”, “shoulds” and “wants” for your renovation, gut-rehab or custom home project.  Only when we have complete this step are we armed with the knowledge we need to effectively begin screening and pre-qualifying for the right  property for you.

Phase 2: Find & Prequalify

Next it’s time to go on the hunt to find a home with “good bones.” The ‘Buy It Right’ program is consulting based. This means you can take advantage of our acquisition consulting even if you currently are in a working relationship with a Realtor. If you don’t yet have a commitment to an agent or brokerage you’ll work directly with John-Paul benefiting from his 25+ years real estate investment and development experience. 

How it works! Click to download the acquisition consulting flow-chart.

How it works! Download the property acquisition consulting flow-chart.

The acquisition consulting we provide through the ‘Buy It Right’ program allows you to benefit from our extensive design and construction experience gained on our own designer spec home projects. We are able to see the structural and expansion potential lying dormant in an ugly duckling. We can identify many of the hidden challenges that could blow your budget.

During the property pre-qualification phase we complete market research that allows us to project the post-improvement value of the property. This information allows you to see what type of equity position and return on investment you’re likely to have upon completion. Most importantly, all of that analysis is done against the benchmark of your clearly defined design goals and the costs necessary to achieve those goals.  

This is information is then provided to you in a property-specific feasibility report so you can make the most educated buying decision possible. The ultimate goal of this phase is to help you prequalify a fixer-upper that gives you the right foundation for your renovation, gut-rehab or custom home project BEFORE you buy. 

Phase 3: Buy At The Right Price

Just like the right fixer-upper will have certain structural conditions that will make or break your budget, buying at the right price relative to your overall budget is critical to making a wise investment. We understand how required changes to the property will impact your overall budget. And we can advise how the total investment cost (home purchase, design and renovation) will impact the appraisal value after design and construction so you can approach your custom designed dream home with an investors’ mindset. 

Next — The Design Process

Once you have the right property secured, the Studio 818 team picks up with our full-service Design + Build Management service for your whole-house renovation, gut-rehab & expansion or new custom home. You can learn more about those services here.

Take the First Step

Looking for a property in South Florida that you are going to renovate, gut & expand or tear-down to build a new custom home? Studio 818’s ‘Buy It Right’ acquisition consulting is what you need to avoid buying the wrong property at the wrong price. Investing in this process saves you tens of thousands of dollars in construction costs, change orders and cost overruns down the road. 

Studio 818’s acquisition consulting is a comprehensive process. The Buy-It-Right consulting will help buyers at any purchase price above $900,000. The higher the combined budget for purchase, design and renovation is the higher the ROI (return on investment) for the buyer. The ‘Buy It Right’ Program requires a $3,500 retainer to get started. The net cost of our acquisition consulting is minimal when Studio 818’s John-Paul Micek is your exclusive agent (buyer’s representative.)

Let’s see if the Buy It Right consulting is right for you. Schedule your Free Discovery Call and tell us a little about your goals. In the Discovery call we’ll dig deeper into your goals, budgeting vs. your target neighborhoods, and answer any questions you have on the acquisition consulting.