Newsletter | Mar/Apr 2009

OWA Program: Real Estate by Design with Candice Hyde-Wang

by Stacy Webb
Candice Hyde-Wang's fascinating and timely presentation of Real Estate by Design: Design Your Sale, Design Your Purchase, Architect in Real Estate was graciously hosted at the office of Muller and Caulfield Architects in February and was well-attended. Candice, an architect trained in real estate and cognitive psychology, described how she (entered the field of real estate and) started her business, Real Estate By Design in 1992, when the recession brought new construction to a standstill, and how she has devised a formula to maximize a house's selling price.

Through her real estate work, Candice found that most people do not invest money into selling their home, while her background in architecture and psychology informed her on what upgrades to invest in to boost its appeal and selling price. The tax code allows a single owner to live in a home for two years and then sell it and make up to a quarter of a million dollars profit, or half a million for a couple, free of capital gains tax which (coupled with the architect's design sense) makes investing in real estate a good fit for architects.

Candice stressed, too, that most often a house does not need a full remodel or renovation in order to attract a buyer, but that focusing one's investment on the kitchen and bathroom is the most effective strategy. Refinishing wood floors, painting and "strengthening the architectural style" is also key to maximizing both sale-ability and return on the investment - for instance, replacing added seventies style details to a charming, older home with ones that are more period-appropriate. This strategy works as people counterbalance the pros and cons of the place. One values what one sees and one uses the kitchen and bathroom daily; but if there is a roof that was patched recently and might leak during the next rainy season, Candice found that more likely than not there will be a buyer.

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