Real estate and home design occupy the adjacent realms, but the crossover seems rare – or at least hidden from view. Particularly in the high-end design, those that straddle the two fields seem to pull it back behind the curtain. “It sounds like that secret roadmap or something,” says Raleigh, a North Carolina-based designer. Heather garrett. “It was so hard for me to understand [how] designers do all this amalgamation of things, how they got there and how they actually do [it]. “
Courtesy of Heather Garrett Design
Garrett’s interest in real estate was piqued in 2016, when she received a call from an agent asking if a former client could use her career project photography for their ad, showcasing the extensive remodeling of the house in an editorial light. Soon after, two more clients contacted her for the same reason, and each house sold within weeks – one in a day – after being launched on the market.
The secret, in this case, isn’t so secret: Garrett’s designs increased the value of every home, and the furnishings in his project photos eliminated the need for staging. When she realized the total value of the set, from refurbishment to resale, the wheels started to spin. “I [was] somehow miss out on the benefit of all this work, ”she said Home business. “If I could adopt [real estate] to take advantage of me and help my client I worked with spend all that money on their house, this will help them get the most out of their investment if I can talk about it and photograph it.
She spent several years completing her design firm to tackle the real estate side of the business. She obtained her real estate license in 2017, and about a year later, along with two general contractors in the Raleigh-Durham metro area, brought all three departments together under one roof. Since then, a handful of real estate agents have started listing their homes under its separate brand. “I spent some time trying to figure out what it was going to be like,” says Garrett. “[I asked myself], “Am I ready to work with buyers and sellers?” If not, should I find someone to help me who could? ”
In 2019, she embarked on the company’s first investment, buying and renovating a home in a historic district of Raleigh. Within 10 days of listing, the house sold at a profit of 12.5%. “[We] bought this half-baked house, but the exterior was done and my renderings were finished, ”she explains. That was enough to close the sale: “Someone in California bought it at full price, without being seen.”
Garrett works exclusively on the seller’s side of the equation and describes his business as a one-stop, full-service operation. As a result, her approach to design work is more streamlined and efficient on the projects she does from start to sales. “There are so many emotions involved in working with someone in their most personal field, working around tastes and preferences,” she says. “That way I can just look at a house and say, ‘Alright, here’s the structure, here’s the context. What does he have to offer? It’s like writing a story. (For added marketing power, Garrett and her team make sure to design the interiors to match the narrative of the property’s exterior, which she says compellingly appeals to potential buyers.)
Courtesy of Heather Garrett Design
Garrett’s business takes the notion of home flipping and pulls it into the luxury design space, bringing in brands and custom furniture as if designing for a dream client. But the first house she listed didn’t come that far. The client purchased the property based on photorealistic renderings before the interiors were completed – for future properties she plans to give clients the option of buying the house furnished or unfurnished. In the case of the California sale, she attributes the transaction to her brand and creative vision, knowing that for future announcements, customers can expect to enter a fully realized version of her business aesthetic – much like HR projects for turnkey residences where clients are essentially paying a one-time price to enter an upscale and ambitious home showcasing the familiar look of the brand.
In New York, designer Kristen mcginnis approaches the business from a different angle. A former client had been looking to move for six years, working with the best agents in town, but was not lucky enough to find the right place. McGinnis had previously toyed with the idea of going into real estate, believing it would give her an edge in the New York design landscape, so she offered to help, quickly gaining her license before signing with The Corcoran Group. “I showed her something for a temporary rental that she liked as a primary residence,” she says. “It was the third or fourth residence that I had shown them, and I didn’t need to show them much because I knew his tastes. I knew what she wanted.
Courtesy of Kristen McGinnis Design
On the buyer’s side, McGinnis sees real estate licensing as an entry into a design relationship with clients: help them find and buy their new home, then design and decorate it. “You know their tastes, you know if there needs to be a renovation, what the total number will be and what the potential might be when you look at the apartment,” she says.
As Garrett’s real estate practice grew, she fueled the design side of her business, with a flood of leads coming from people who saw her signage in front of homes listed through her business. . Notably, the two designers found that when the conversation extends beyond design to a more holistic real estate investment, there is less shock and hesitation. “It’s the difference between a frivolous expense that you could only make if you were very rich,” says Garrett. “[Just] my fees are intolerable to some people, so all of those things are buried in there. The value of a real estate investment often raises fewer questions than in the field of interior design. Yet in his experience, people these days are looking for something beautiful and are willing to pay for a good design when it is accompanied by a good listing of properties.
Meanwhile, McGinnis found that her client could sign with more confidence on the dotted line knowing her designer had a plan that would meet all of her wildest wishes. “[It’s] a perspective that knows the client’s long-term goals, ”she says. “It’s about looking at a property not with the eyes of brokers, but with the eyes of design.”
Front page image: The renderings of a home design were enough for Garrett to sell to a California client who had purchased the property without seeing it. | Courtesy of Heather Garrett Design