For Steven Betts and Jerry DeNicola, great homes are not just a business, but a way of life. That’s why their brokerage firm Habitat Real Estate is fully passionate about matching clients with their dream houses and neighborhoods. Recently, I interviewed them on the ins and outs of the industry, and the importance of interior design in their line of work. Read on for the full scoop, plus the design trend they’re loving this holiday season.
How did you get into the business?
In my former career, I was a creative director for a commercial interior design publication, and I always had a passion for interior design and architecture. But I’ve always had an interest in real estate as well. Making the transition to doing real estate full time and eventually opening my own brokerage firm ties it all together for me. Buying, selling, and flipping houses satisfies me on all of these levels. Steven Betts, Owner/Broker-of-Record
I got into the business after purchasing my first home back in 2001. I loved the entire process and thought “I could do that.” Gerald “Jerry” DeNicola, Principal & Broker-Salesperson
What do you love most about working in real estate?
It’s never boring, and every deal brings different challenges and new experiences. SB
Helping people realize their dreams. GDN
The most challenging aspect of your job:
Managing our clients’ expectations. Everyone thinks they’re an expert if they have a real estate app on their phones. But they quickly realize there’s more to it than that. Once they see how seriously we take our job, and the true experience we have, a new dynamic takes shape, and the client takes you and your profession much more seriously. SB
Lack of loyalty from clients, family, and friends. Out of sight, out of mind. GDN
The most rewarding aspect of your job:
The obvious: Finding that perfect property for your client, and successfully closing the deal. It’s truly a compliment when a client refers someone to you. SB
Being my own boss. I realized awhile back that the corporate world wasn’t for me. GDN
Favorite style of home:
I’ve always loved the classic style of a Georgian colonial or Greek revival. But when asked to choose, I’ll always default to Modern. Can I combine them? SB
Interior design trend you love for the holiday season:
Less is more. It shouldn’t look like the holiday season has “thrown up” in your space. A well-designed interior should be accented with holiday décor, not covered up by it. Clean, crisp white holiday lighting and traditional ornaments/decorations are best. SB
Classic white lights with vintage holiday ornaments and accessories. GDN
Three décor pieces every home should feature:
These aren’t so much pieces as they are core elements of a home:
1. Lighting is so important to interior design, and often overlooked. It can really make or break the feel of a space.
2. Quality, signature pieces of furniture. I don’t believe in disposable furniture.
3. Good hardware throughout, it’s all about the details that further define a space. SB
1. A custom piece of art.
2. A space where you can lounge and relax.
3. Window treatments that bring style and interest to the room. GDN
Your dream residence would include:
A ton of natural light, and a full wall of sliding-glass accordion doors that bring the outdoors in. SB
A sleek modern home with windows galore! I love indoor-outdoor living. GDN
Favorite room in your house:
Kitchen. It always ends up being the gathering place when entertaining. SB
Kitchen. It’s where you can gather with family and friends. GDN
The motto you live by:
What goes around, comes around. You definitely get what you give. SB
I can. I will. End of story. All you need is passion and resilience. GDN