Contractor, landscape designer, Realtor, and reality TV personality Matt Blashaw is a quadruple threat — in a good way — at the Philly Home Show. Friday through Sunday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Blashaw, currently a host on HGTV’s Yard Crashers and Vacation House for Free, will present 40-minute show-and-tells on outdoor spaces he’s created.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t offer insight in his other areas of expertise. The Orange County native has appeared on or hosted Project Xtreme, Money Hunters, Blog Cabin, Professional Grade, Cool Tool Builders Show, Worst Kitchen in America, Ellen’s Design Challenge and Stud Finders. In March, he’ll shoot a one-hour special of America’s Most Desperate Landscape. Blashaw is a font of knowledge on home remodeling, the real estate market, and how those two things go together. It’s knowledge he gladly shares. He’s been building since age 15. In the past six years, he’s become an in-demand “real estate advocate,” he said, for luxury properties in Southern California.
When it comes to home shows, I have not gone on the stage yet and called the city another city. That’s my worst fear in the world, to say, ‘Hey, it’s good to be in Cincinnati,’ and we’re in Philadelphia. I do five or six home shows a season, but I don’t mix up cities because I engage with people. I cater my talks to the climate and the perspective of the people in the audience.
I also just got a new gig working with Redfin that enables me to still shoot shows for DIY and HGTV.
Mostly, people will ask me landscaping questions, which is great. That’s what I’m there for. If you think about the backyard, it’s the most daunting place in your house. If you look at the interior of your home, you know the placement of everything. With the backyard, you have to basically build the house, and do the placement, and then think about the finishes, and how they interact with one another.
I show people where to start in the backyard, how to design it, how to make it functional and beautiful. Once you get these basics down, you’ll be able to look at your yard in a really simple way.
They often build their barbecue in a far corner of their yard, and they never use it. A barbecue should never be placed more than 20 feet away from your back door or patio door. You have to have it interact with your home.
Connecting your outdoor space to the indoor space. People are knocking out doors and putting in cantina doors and glass doors. When you have connectivity, your yard feels like the inside of your house. You love your living room. You love your dining room. You love your kitchen. Create your backyard to have that same feeling, and you’ll use it so much.
The real estate world is changing. Amazon is getting into real estate. More people are looking online. The traditional, I-just-put-out-flyers, old-school way of doing business isn’t working anymore. It’s high technology.
About 60 percent of people who purchase homes find their homes online — and that’s going up by the month. Zillow and Redfin are dominating the market. People aren’t even using the MLS anymore.
I show other people the potential of a house, how it can be remodeled, or if it’s a money pit. I even show them how to stage it themselves for sale. My passion is the home, making the home beautiful, and empowering people to do it themselves. The mentality for me is completely different. I work on a customer-service basis. I’m a real estate advocate — a home advocate — not a salesman.
I’ll always wait after I give my talk. I go to the side, shake people’s hands, and I ask if they want to talk about any specific questions. I had this one lady, she came up and had this blueprint. She said, ‘I really need you to help me with this.’ I asked her to wait until I was done with everyone else, and then went down and sat with her. I gave her a couple of really good pointers, but after about 15 minutes, I said, ‘I’m so sorry, but you’re going to have to pay me for this. I’m basically designing your yard for you. If you want a consultation, I’m $100 an hour.’
Bring your questions. If you have pictures of your yard, I love to see pictures. I can give you a few pointers. I’m as excited about people’s yards as they are.
But people can come with all their questions, not just about landscaping. I’ve been in the industry for 25 years now. I know everything from real estate to building to landscaping. If you’re stuck, and you need some help, I’ll help. I’ve had a lot of couples come up, and I will always settle an argument. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. I’m very honest with people.