As anyone who works in real estate knows, when you’re marketing a home, whether for sale or for rent, first impressions are everything. The goal of every real estate agent and real estate investor is for potential buyers or renters to fall in love with the house through pictures alone. The in-person home tour is just icing on the cake!

To achieve this goal, impeccable interior design is a must. With a well-designed home, you’ll have more potential clients than you know what to do with.

And while working with a separate interior designer is always an option, wouldn’t it be great to have the skill set to handle both jobs yourself?

Well, there’s nothing stopping you! That said, it’s understandable if you’re not quite convinced or unsure where to start.

To learn why interior design is the ultimate complementary career to real estate investing, how to become an interior designer, and some basic interior design tips, just keep reading!

Interior Design vs. Decorating

When you list real estate for sale, the way you design or decorate your investment properties can make all the difference. It can mean a client purchasing (or renting) the property, or the same client passing on it in favor of something more aesthetically pleasing.

Notice we said “design or decorate.” These terms are often used interchangeably, but believe it or not, there’s a difference between designing and decorating a home.

Interior design is the art of designing a space to create a room or home that’s both functional and beautiful. The finished design enhances the experience of the design clients who live there. It requires a thorough understanding of human behavior and encompasses aspects of architectural design and interior decorating.

Interior decorating, on the other hand, is simply choosing and arranging furniture and decor pieces to create the client’s requested aesthetic. In other words, interior designers decorate, but interior decorators don’t design.

To get the most out of your new skill set, it’s far better to go the interior design route. In doing so, you’ll have a wider skill set than you would as an interior decorator.

How to Become an Interior Designer

It’s certainly possible to become a self-taught interior designer. And because you already have a formal education in real estate, you might find going this route preferable.

However, if you’re interested in adding an official certification to your resume, you’ll need to earn an NCIDQ Certificate. Depending on your prior experience and education, this can require anywhere from two to six years of formal study and training.

This is because, to sit for the NCIDQ exam, you first need a degree in interior design or architecture, in addition to a two-year minimum requirement of professional experience.

If you plan to navigate learning interior design on your own, you’ll need to study construction fundamentals, as well as design theory and history. You’ll also need to learn how to use common trade tools such as CAD.

Luckily, your experience in real estate should cover the necessary communication and business skills, so you’ll have a head start in your studies!

The Benefits of Combining Interior Design and Real Estate Investing

As we’ve already discussed, when you combine interior design with real estate investing, you’re much more likely to end up with a contract. However, that’s far from the only benefit of this dual career. Listed below are a few of the most convincing advantages of adding interior design to your resume.

Add Value to Your Properties

The first and perhaps most important benefit is that you’ll add value to every property you invest in. Because the entire purpose of real estate investing is, of course, to make a profit.

The three key factors that determine the price of a home are location, square footage, and interior design. As a real estate agent or investor, there’s not much you can do about the first two factors. You might be able to add square footage through building an addition, but this is both costly and eats away at valuable outdoor space.

With that in mind, interior design must be the main focus. Your clients will be able to easily envision themselves living in and enjoying the space, increasing the likelihood of a sale. The same goes for investment properties purchased with renting in mind. 

Increase Your Profits

On top of adding value, you’ll be able to keep the full amount of the increase! There’s nothing wrong with working side by side with an interior designer. However, that does require sharing a portion of the profits with them in the form of payment for services.

When you handle both jobs on your own, you don’t have to pay a designer, increasing the amount you make from the sale of the property even more.

Add Variety to Your Life

For many people, the idea of doing the same thing each and every day for the majority of their lives isn’t ideal. Now, this is often the reason behind entering the world of real estate in the first place. Every home, property, and client is different, so every day offers something new!

That being said, if you’re looking to add even more variety to your life, adding interior design to your list of skills is a great way to do so. As a professional interior designer as well as a real estate investor, you’ll be able to do both jobs at once in addition to choosing between them at will.

If you have a passion for interior design, there’s no reason you can’t pick up design clients in between your real estate investing duties. In doing so, you can get more enjoyment out of your work life, boosting your profits and the length of your career in the process.

Lengthen Your List of Contacts

When it comes to working in real estate, one of your most important assets is your list of contacts. Much more goes into finding success in real estate than meets the eye, and the more people you have to ask for help, the better.

As an interior designer, you’ll build a list of contacts in the design world to complement your existing contacts in the world of real estate. With the advice of those more knowledgeable about certain aspects of design than yourself, you’ll create more beautiful homes and deepen your own skill set.

Learn to Design for the Buyer

Real estate investors who design their properties with no training are prone to a crucial error – designing a home for themselves rather than the buyer. In your studies to become a licensed interior designer, you’ll learn all about the different design styles as well as human behavior.

With this knowledge, you’ll have the tools you need to design for the buyer. In other words, you’ll be able to create timeless, personal, tasteful interiors that appeal to a wide range of potential clients.

By taking this approach, your properties are guaranteed to stand out from the competition!

Tips for Beginner Interior Designers

As a final note, let’s talk about some interior design basics. Even if you’re going for official certification, practicing in your own home or with drawings can be a huge help in honing your skills. Whether you’re designing a single room or an entire home, keep the following tips in mind.

Keep Clutter to a Minimum

In the design world, clutter is among the worst faux pas. Yes, you want your design to feel warm and welcoming, but too many bits and bobs will have the opposite effect.

Not only is clutter distracting, but it’s also taxing on your (and your clients’) mental and emotional health. For the best results, keep things clean and simple.

Don’t Rely on Trends

There’s nothing wrong with adding a trendy element here and there in your designs. Relying too heavily on trends, however, will detract from your designs and narrow your field of potential clients.

To draw the most eyes, your designs should appear classic and timeless. You never know when current styles will go out of fashion!

Draw Attention to Upgrades

Many real estate investors purchase older homes, give them a facelift, and put them back on the market. If this is your strategy, the key is to draw attention to your upgrades.

Pay particularly close attention to kitchen and bathroom upgrades, as these are the most sought-after. In your advertisements, feature these rooms as prominently as possible.

Boost Your Career by Adding Interior Design Skills to Your Resume

As with any skill, interior design isn’t innate knowledge, it must be learned and practiced. There’s a difference between simply decorating a home and using your knowledge of design to make it the home of someone’s dreams. 

Learning interior design takes dedication, but it can truly be the difference-maker when your goal is to reach the pinnacle of your career path. So what are you waiting for? Begin your journey toward becoming an interior designer today!

Interested in learning more about enhancing your skills to excel in your career? Take a look at our blog!