|Fixers: Using Transformation Psychology for Top
Satisfying and lucrative real estate investment depends upon your correct assessment of
profit potential, of course, but your ultimate success depends on your ability to transform a fixer
into a dollhouse. The renovation process involves physical work and choosing the best supplies, in
order to create maximum positive emotional effect and profits.
By incorporating the psychology of residential design, you can make wise choices in
transforming your fixer house by using colors, textures, building materials, and decorations that
will assure a future speedy and cost-effective sale.
The psychology of residential design addresses the entire home, inside and out, but the
techniques of Transformation Psychology are a bit different, because your ultimate goal is different.
The use of Design Psychology in your personal home is much more individualized, while renovating a
doghouse into a dollhouse integrates more generalized design ideas to create a home that will be
appealing to a broader spectrum of people.
Using Transformation Psychology to increase your real estate profits means that you must
learn how our human senses and emotions are affected by our decorating details and choices of
materials. Buyers view a prospective home with their eyes, but their brains interpret what they see
and feel according to subtle touches you have purposefully put into your house.
Process of Transformation Psychology
Your goal is to create a glorious home that buyers won't be able to live without, and that
process begins with planning all the changes that will be necessary, from inception to realization,
in order to accomplish a total makeover of the house.
Determine your potential buyers' income level and your selling season. Use simple colors
for less expensive houses and complex colors for upscale markets. Add in warm colors to attract
buyers during cooler weather and cool colors to attract buyers during hot weather.
Many investors fix up houses to flip without considering how the vacant house will
"feel" to prospective buyers. This isn't a problem in hot selling markets, but selling a
vacant house in a buyer's market means you need to outshine the competition instead of pricing your
Vacant houses often feel cold with all hard surfaces. Avoid a boxy, hard feeling by adding
soft textures. Window coverings, towels in the bathrooms, and a lightweight round table with a fabric
tablecloth add texture to soothe the buyer's emotions.
Buy Materials with Drama in Mind
Instead of buying the cheapest lighting fixtures, cabinet hardware, and other building
materials, look for additions which buyers fall in love with. This doesn't mean you need to spend
more, just be selective. We found an awesome chandelier for only $25 at Restore (Habitat for Humanity's
thrift store); I found matching wall scones at Lowe's (where the chandelier sold for $300). Paying $50
more for the wall scones than most investors would have meant little when the house sold for more
than any other home previously sold for in the neighborhood.
We love taking a dirty doghouse and turning it into a marvelous dollhouse, and we're willing
to invest more time and money than the average investor in order to achieve a truly dramatic
transformation. We usually spend about $12,000 for each renovation, which includes the cost of
materials and outside help. Many investors spend much less, but they make less profit when the
Real estate investing takes skill and planning, but using Transformation Psychology can give
you a competitive edge, taking a doghouse and turning it into the kind of dollhouse that buyers will
stand in line to bid on.
© Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.
About the author:
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Jeanette Fisher, Design Psychology Professor, is the author of Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars,
Credit Help!, Joy to the Home, and other books. Jeanette teaches Real Estate Investing and Interior
Design Psychology. For more articles, tips, reports, and newsletters, see