Buying, Building or Remodeling? Start with An Idea Book

by Laura Spriggs Gray 09/03/2019

Thinking of buying a new home, building your dream home or remodeling the home you have? Before you reach out to your nearest real estate agent, find a building contractor or raid your local do-it-yourself home improvement store, gather and refine all your ideas in one place by creating an idea book.

As the name says, an idea book is a collection of all the ideas you have for your new home or remodel. It should include notes about what rooms you need, but also include things like the style. Do some research online or in magazines to determine what features you like and with what kind of home style they go. Include pictures of these features in case they are called something different so that you and your professional help, be it real estate agent or builder, knows what you are looking for in a home. Think about colors, size, layout and everything else you can think of to create the perfect home. 

Analog Idea Books

For many, this old-school method is the way to go. Get a notebook or a stack of paper and start writing things down. Then browse home design catalogs, real estate brochures and anything else you can get your hands on, cut out pictures and descriptions that appeal to you and glue, tape, staple or tuck the photos between the pages, so they don't get lost. If you'd rather see all your ideas at once, try tacking them to a corkboard or use magnets to stick your pictures and notes to your refrigerator. If you want to get extra extravagant with your idea book, get yourself a scrapbook with slip sheets and decorative pages.

Digital Idea Books

Websites like Houzz, Pinterest, and Photo Stream offer a way to keep your digital ideas all in one place. The photo collage layout of an online idea book lets you see your thoughts in one place like a corkboard, but organize them using folders and tags more like in a physical book. A lot of contractors and real estate agents prefer these online idea books since they are easy to share and help them understand what exactly you want.

Where to Start?

At first, you might think that it is just too much. There are so many styles, windows, furniture, and colors you simply don't know where to begin. That's just fine. Start with everything you like. Its easier to pare down your ideas once you've got examples of everything in front of you. You can help this process by grouping the ideas by room type: exterior in one place, backyard and landscaping in a second, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, living room all in their individual folders or collages. Its also a good idea to cross reference your likes and dislikes by color, feel and even which member of your family came up with the idea.

As you progress, you’ll start to notice you gravitate toward certain types and styles including specific windows, rooflines, and color schemes. When the same kind of drawer handles shows up in seven of your ten favorite bathroom cabinet styles, it’s a sign that you like that style a lot. You can go as specific as you want with your idea book, or you can leave your options wide open, but get some basic parameters around what you do and don’t like.

Once your book is ready, find your real estate agent or builder and show them what you want!

About the Author
Author

Laura Spriggs Gray

Hi, I'm Laura Spriggs Gray and I'd love to assist you. Whether you're in the research phase at the beginning of your real estate search or you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll benefit from having a real estate professional by your side. I'd be honored to put my real estate experience to work for you.