As an interior designer, your unique ability to see a property for what it could be and your experience and connections in the local construction industry gives you an opportunity to diversify your revenue by combining these skills. Any Real Estate insider will tell you that having a designer involved in a project not only increases property value, but it increases the buyability and exposure of the project as well.
If you are interested in making the natural transition to the Real Estate market, here are a few ways that are ideal for experienced and passionate designers to bring their skill and knowledge to the table.
Great homes are easily overlooked when their potential isn't seen clearly, and as a designer, you have a unique ability to see past dated spaces and inefficient floor plans. Plus, your construction experience and local contacts mean you are in a better position than most buyers to understand the scope of a project from the outset. Put your contacts to use by investing in a home in need of work and bringing it back to market in a more buyable condition.
Speculative Market Homes
Building a home from the ground up presents a unique opportunity to express your firm’s design aesthetic without a client’s input and therefore, a speculative home can be an exciting creative opportunity. Since many speculative homes are built without the input of designers or architects, this is an opportunity to bring a higher level of style into the market. You are offering discerning clients a custom-designed home without the hassle of being involved in the building process. This a great option if you have an established relationship with a trusted local builder or are looking for large investment opportunities. If sharing you knowledge is part of your business model, designing and styling a speculative home is a veritable gold mine of content.
For a more hands-on and long-term experience, consider the short-term rental market. If you have a passion for hospitality, it's a unique chance to put your stamp on a property and create experiences for guests. Building a portfolio of rental properties is great exposure to a client base that might not have encountered your work otherwise.
Being more forthcoming about your own projects is another way to monetize your knowledge. Our own founder and CEO Anastasia Casey is currently renovating her third home and sharing the process on her blog, Instagram, and YouTube channel. "In another life, I would be an interior designer," she says. "And I thought that my business might include design services, but as my client list grew, it started to feel increasingly like a conflict of interest." Rather than design homes for clients, she and her husband plan to renovate their way through Austin, living in a project for a few years before another comes along. Affiliate and brand partnership programs offer additional sources of income and the possibility of gifted products, but an established online presence will be required. To increase opportunities with national brands, it is helpful to enlist the services of a public relations professional.
If taking on large renovation or construction projects from start to finish is more than you are willing to do, perhaps staging homes for the market is the right move. As any Real Estate insider can tell you, marketing a staged home is much easier than an empty or cluttered home, but not every Realtor has the skills or bandwidth to do it. If you carry an inventory of goods, this may be the right opportunity.
Become an Agent
If watching a client sell a home that you designed feels like leaving money on the table, perhaps it's time to have your own Real Estate license or to closely partner with a licensed Realtor. Besides, who else is more qualified to help your clients find their next home?