My Interview with Brian Ernest
Rachel Frentsos: Hi everyone. Welcome to Moving Forward with Rachel Frentsos with the Annapolis Fine Homes Long & Foster. I am here with Brian Ernest with Ready to Sell Renovations and Brian and I have known each other, I think, a couple of years now. Right, Brian?
Brian Ernest: Yes, probably about two years now.
Rachel Frentsos: Yeah, I was actually in search of a really great contractor who could help me work with my sellers, and sometimes, even with my buyers, to help them get their homes ready to sell. With buyers, just remodeling what they didn’t like about the home when they purchased it. And what I love about Brian and his company is that he will do any project, big or small. So, he’ll come and change your light bulb or he’ll rebuild a house for you. He provides amazing professional service and I highly highly recommend him. That’s why I wanted to have him on my little show here because I wanted you to meet Brian Ernest. So, thank you, Brian.
Brian Ernest: Thanks for having me.
Rachel Frentsos: I appreciate it. We’re actually here in his beautiful new home that he just built on the South River. It’s gorgeous. So anyway, Brian, tell us a little bit about how you got into your business.
Brian Ernest: Sure, so the way it started was, at my other house, we decided to do a kitchen remodel. I ended up firing about three contractors through the process. I realized that contractors have this bad rep, which is actually pretty true in my opinion. They come in and don’t do exactly what they say. They take too long. And, they leave a mess in your house. Then they try to charge too much money for everything.
So I said, “You know what? We can do this better and decided to start a company myself to do it.” The basic premise is, we do exactly what we say we’re going to do. We do it in the time we said we’re going to do it. And, we do the correct work. And it’s just taken off exactly like that from there.
Rachel Frentsos: Yeah, he provides just amazing personal service. They show up when they say they’re going to show up. You know, I’ve dealt with so many contractors who say they’re going to do some work and they never show up. And then, you can’t get them on the phone. Brian and his crew show up on time, they get the work done. And what’s great is, he really keeps me updated as to the progress of the work in the different houses. Brian, do you have any general renovation advice for people?
Brian Ernest: Sure. So a lot of the things we do work around real estate agents. We try to keep up with our market trends as much as possible and look at all the different houses that go in. My biggest piece of advice is to never put something that’s not going to be able to be changed later. Be generic in terms of when you’re selling a home.
The number one thing is never put wallpaper on your walls because you have to take that wallpaper off. Wallpaper may be in 10 years ago and it may be coming back now. But, whenever you go and sell your home, it might not be in. It costs a fortune to either rip it off or you have to do new dry walls just to get it back to being able to be a paintable color.
Rachel Frentsos: What do you say about—because I’ve noticed a lot of people who restyle their house now are using kind of bold colors, like navy blue and things like that? Do you recommend using those types of colors? Do you give any advice on colors or styles?
Brian Ernest: If you’re going to sell your house any time within the next five to ten years, then I would choose something that’s a little more generic in terms of color because you don’t want to have to sell your home and then the buyers say, “Well, we need to change the siding,” because then you’re obviously going to be selling your home at a discount.
Rachel Frentsos: Is there a color that you recommend that sort of transcends time so you don’t have to worry about it? [laughs]
Brian Ernest: Whatever your neighbors have. [laughs]
Rachel Frentsos: [laughs] Okay, cool. What would—what advice, if someone’s going to sell their house and they don’t have a huge budget, but what would you recommend, like maybe two or three things you would recommend they do just to help for the sale?
Kitchens and Bathrooms
Brian Ernest: Of course. So the easiest things are always going to be—so the biggest money makers are always going to be your kitchens and your bathrooms, but typically those are going to cost you around $7500 to do a bathroom or $20,000 to do a kitchen. A lot of people don’t have that amount of money.
Paint and Flooring
Brian Ernest: The simplest and easiest things are always going to be to paint your home, make sure that your flooring’s updated—you can do some wonderful things with your flooring without spending a lot of money. So, paint, flooring are obviously the easiest things, and then hiring a cleaning company to come through and just clean the house, top to bottom.
Rachel Frentsos: Definitely. And do you want to talk a little bit about the benefit you give to sellers when they are getting their houses ready?
Real Estate Agents
Brian Ernest: Sure. So one of the things that have made us so successful is that we—what we really like to do is work with real estate agents most of the time. So, for instance, Rachel and I will go into a home for one of her sellers and say, “Here are the things that you should be doing based on what your neighbor’s homes are looking for.” Then we’ll come in and tell you, “Alright, let’s spend your money on this but not spend your money on this. Let’s take care of this, and not take care of this.” So, we’ll really come in and give you actual advice, and not just generic “Go do your kitchen, go do your bathroom.” We’ll tell you the exact things to do and how to get it done for as cheap as possible.
Rachel Frentsos: Right, and work within the sellers’ budget. That’s awesome. Okay, and then, so what are some of the current trends—do’s and don’ts? What are some of the things that you recommend people do if they’re going to remodel and things to completely avoid?
Brian Ernest: Okay, so [laughs] that’s a loaded question because it’s very subjective. The biggest things I would say is do not put in anything that is specifically time dated to a specific style. So I’m trying to think of a good example without offending anybody! Let’s say, right now, one of the big things is the press pattern tiles that you see that are back from the 70s and stuff right now in the bathrooms. I’m not sure what those are called. They look like they have a stamp on them. I have a feeling that, if you put that in your house, wonderful if you’re going to live there for a long time. But if you plan on selling your house in five to ten years, that trend may go out very quickly.
Rachel Frentsos: So people who do that just expect that when they go to sell their house, they should expect to change that out before they sell. So—
Brian Ernest: I’m not saying don’t do it, just that if you’re going to sell house–
Rachel Frentsos: If you like it, do it—
Brian Ernest: —it might not be the best thing.
Rachel Frentsos: Exactly. Brian, I want to thank you so much. If you have any other questions about renovating or you would just like Brian to come in and take a look at your house and give you some advice, you can go to his website. Or, you can give me a call and I’ll be happy to pass on his information. And again, I thank you so much and it’s been a pleasure working with you. So thank you for everything. And thank you everyone.
Like I said, Brian provides amazing professional service and I highly, highly recommend him. If you are considering a renovation project in the future, I hope that you will reach out to Brian Ernest with Ready to Sell Renovations at www.r2sr.com. And, please let me know if you do! I’d love to hear how it went!