Ask the Experts

You've got questions. They've got answers.

We can look to Instagram or Pinterest for inspirational ideas for our homes. But when it comes to beginning those projects, it's important to find experts who can help with where to start, what to consider, and how to achieve your vision. Local home industry leaders share their insights and expertise on what's trending, what's a wise investment, and what everyone should know. 

What are the home trends for 2023? 

Teri Nicely - Red Key Realty

Families want more versatility in their homes. They want rooms for home offices, a place for kids to play, and entertainment space outside. Homeowners are looking for an outdoor space that is usable for kids as well as adults. 

Mary Nigh - Red Key Realty

Homeowners need extra space. Young families need extra space for everything that comes with having small kids. Other families are looking for main-floor master suites and second suites to accommodate aging parents. 

Lawson Harris - Spotwood Construction

In recent months, I've worked with people who intend to move at some point but now is not the right time. So, they are remodeling to make their space more liveable in the short term. 

Trisha McConkey - Associated Bank

People are spending more on their homes, whether that is remodeling or building new. They are spending more to live more comfortably in their home longer. Home additions and reconfigurations are necessary as the family unit expands, be it because their family is growing or they are preparing to take care of their parents one day. Indoor/outdoor living has never been more popular. People want to open their inside space to the outside and have both areas used separately and together.

Lee Cagle - Shack Shine

People are using their entire homes, including their backyards, as intended. We're seeing more outdoor covered patios with bars and built-in grills. 

Brad Burns - Meramec Pools and Spas

People have reassessed their values. They realize they want to spend more time with their family at home. Families are looking for large 16' x 35' pools if they have the land and some extra capital. At some point, who hasn't wanted a pool in their backyard? 

Where is a wise place to invest in your home? 


In terms of improving your home, pools are carrying their highest value historically because they are in such demand. Homeowners with smaller yards are investing in swim spas. Kitchens and baths still yield the highest rate of return from an appraisal standpoint. And you have to consider market demand. If you have a house divided into six rooms, you may need to remove a wall or open up a doorway to match the market demand. I talk with my clients about what to consider when they measure their rate of return. Is this your forever home, and do you want to have your home reflect the way you like to live? Or is this a home you plan to sell at some point? With interest rates up, people may hesitate to change their current mortgage situation; however, they should also consider other factors. For example, if you are building or buying a new home, the rate may be higher than what you have now, but the return on the investment of the home you are buying is higher than your current home. If you are considering a loan to remodel your existing home, your interest rate on your current first mortgage may be very low, while the interest rate on equity funds may be one of the highest. If you blend those two rates together, it would still be higher than taking out a new mortgage at current rates. Your home is your most significant investment. You should enjoy it.


Finished basements that were once large entertainment rooms are now divided into home offices, home gyms, extra bedrooms, and bathrooms. 


People are choosing luxury vinyl flooring over hardwood floors. 


And many people are upgrading their staircases. Staircases make a huge first impression. 


I'm currently remodeling a staircase that involves removing the outdated carpet and replacing it with oak treads and wood risers. We opened the wall and installed an open railing to show off the stairs. 


We receive many phone calls from homeowners who say they are having their home listing pictures taken and need their exterior and windows washed. Or, they are staging their home and want the entire outside pressure washed. Creating a clean curb appeal sets the tone for the whole house.  

What is the one thing you wish people knew about home renovation? 

Homeowners are often hesitant to take on home renovation projects because they don’t know
where to start. As professionals who do this every day, we can walk owners through the process
to answer all the unknowns and help generate a project plan that creates a path forward.


Schedule your contractors on different days. I've been on projects where remodelers were sawing wood while we were trying to clean the windows. Or the painter is painting the frames of the window, and we are trying to clean the gutters. Try to follow an order or have a plan. We want to be the last guys there. 


Exterior projects aren't as invasive as people think they are. People think we will tear up their whole yard, which is not necessarily the case. We have tools and equipment that protect the yards. And we are incredibly efficient. We can have your newly reimagined backyard ready with a fiberglass pool, stamped concrete, and accent border completed in six weeks - not six months.  


With Associated Bank, you can secure a remodel loan and only remodel the exterior, including a pool. Most people have never built or remodeled a home and need help figuring out where to start. My partnerships are with the builders and the realtors who direct their clients to me. My conversation starts with discovering what a homeowner needs. I can then convey how their loan will work to get them what they need, and often, we help deliver more. The biggest thing I wish people knew is that homeowners can structure a loan off of the home's future value, not the current value, based on the improvements they will make to the property. Choosing the right lender is essential. A lender that works with your contractor is critical to keeping a project moving forward. If the disbursement process is messy because your lender isn't on the site with your contractor, work will stop and the project will take longer and cost more. Call experts and ask questions. Really delve into asking questions. 


We are all experienced, and we network with each other so we can share all of our knowledge. We want your home to be something you love. When you love your home, you are more productive and perform better in life.


You feel better when your house is clean. It affects your mindset. 


It's your staycation. Find your dream home without leaving the one you're in.


We are still getting multiple offers, and people are still paying over list. Date the rate, marry the house. There is no reason to wait to make an improvement. Life is short, and our best investment is time with our family in a place that feels like home. 

For more information visit: Teri Nicely and Mary Nigh at RedKey Realty, Spotwoodconstruction.com, Associatedbank.com, shackshine.com, meramecpools.com

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