Renovate Your Home Without Demolishing Your Relationship

Reading Time: 4 minutes

​​Real Estate Broker Jared Seligman Shares the Top 5 Ways

So you and your significant other have purchased a home together. There’s just one issue — it’s in need of a renovation. It’s well known that a home renovation can be a make-or-break event in a relationship. Mismanaged expectations, struggles with contractors, unexpected expenses, mismatched styles, and the overall inconvenience are all things that can cause a rift in even the most stable partnership. The Corcoran Group’s New York City and Hamptons-based real estate associate broker Jared Seligman knows this all too well.

With over 22 years of combined experience in the real estate and interior design industries and having been featured in Architectural Digest and W magazine, Seligman knows a thing or two about transforming a home. Add to that his most recent personal experience with the matter: Seligman and his fiancé, Max Schapiro, purchased a home in the Hamptons, New York, and soon after, undertook a renovation project. Unfortunately, it didn’t come without problems. “We had a truly traumatic, crazy experience where everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong,” recalls Seligman.

The project took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, which, in and of itself, augmented the possibility of complications presenting themselves. Still, the couple toughed it out, resulting in a still-healthy romance and one of the most beautiful homes in Southampton.

Now that the home makeover is complete, he and his partner have progressed to another project: They’re currently planning an exquisite wedding together. Having undergone a taxing renovation with his partner, Jared Seligman expects his wedding planning process to be a piece of cake by comparison. “That process of a renovation makes this wedding feel like more of an easier situation,” remarked the associate broker.

Based on Jared Seligman’s experience, here are five steps to achieving a stunning home reno, all while maintaining a blissful relationship:

Know What You’re Getting Into

“We sort of knew what we were signing up for. Nothing can compare to doing renovation in the Hamptons,” said the broker. Seligman recalled that friends and neighbors shared their experiences working with the local contracting companies. Not all of the recounts came with rave reviews, which stresses the importance of researching the people who will be working on your home. Ask people you know about their experiences with certain contractors. Check for reviews about their reputation and work ethic. If a contractor has an internet presence, look through their photos and analyze the quality of their work. This will help you to make a plan and manage expectations.

Be Open to Your Partner’s Ideas

Seligman, who expresses his interior decorating style through classic vintage, Old World decor, admits that he made some concessions to his partner’s taste. “You could really feel that this was a huge stretch from my comfort zone. I really stepped out of the box and made it much more contemporary than my style had been in the past,” he said.

It’s likely that you and your partner will have different styles when it comes to certain aspects of the renovation plan or design. Now is as good a time as any to maintain an open mind and extend consideration to each other’s ideas. Your partner offers an alternative and beneficial perspective, as do you.

Mix the Best of Both Worlds

Once you’ve taken each other’s ideas into consideration, merge those concepts and put them into action. Incorporate other factors, such as your budget allowances, and the work detailed in your renovation contract, to decide which way you will go. One person’s style may work better for a particular setting or room. The other person’s style can be more conducive to your budget. Create a collective style of decor that’s unique to both of you. Seligman shared how this can work out for the best. “It was an amazing exercise in not just compromise, but blending my style, taste, and my experience from sales, design, and real estate and interiors with his vision [and] what he likes,” said the associate broker. “And it came out the most beautiful. Of course, there’s things that [we could have done] differently, but it really came out to be a beautiful mix between the two of us.”

Maintain Clear and Empathetic Communication Throughout the Project and Beyond

This is an old adage for relationships that rings true most especially during a renovation project. This is a time when lots of details need to be mulled over and decided upon, and many things can go wrong. It’s also a very stressful time where you have to adapt to major inconveniences, like not being able to use your kitchen or a bathroom for weeks. Stay ahead of these issues by discussing all aspects of the project ahead of time, both large and small: Will you paint a window, or replace it altogether? Will you stay at a relative’s home for a time, or book a hotel? Confide in your partner if you’re overwhelmed or stressed about any aspect of the project.

Be Flexible and Keep the End in Mind

If you find yourself facing difficulties, remember that they’re temporary, because every problem has a solution. Maintain checkpoints for where you are along your project, and what the next steps will be. Things can change at any moment, so be adaptable and leave room for adjustments. Organize your own tasks and delegate as necessary. Seligman discloses the secret to his wins in business, life, and home renovation. “I think the key to my success has always been the ability to multitask,” said the real estate broker. “I sort of a one-direction type of a person, but I do have the ability to juggle a thousand things at once. I think it’s just important to keep your eye on the prize.”

Renovating a home can be an incredible exercise in relinquishing the need to be in control and instead, lean into the soft skills that are necessary to have a harmonious home, and ultimately, to make a marriage last. Jared Seligman’s experience shows that if you can design a home together, you can make it through anything.