Leon Cato Photography: Blog https://www.leoncato.com/blog en-us Leon Cato Photography info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) Tue, 26 Oct 2021 20:20:00 GMT Tue, 26 Oct 2021 20:20:00 GMT https://www.leoncato.com/img/s/v-12/u674109796-o368794466-50.jpg Leon Cato Photography: Blog https://www.leoncato.com/blog 116 120 October 2021 Industry Update https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/10/october-2021-industry-update October 2021

Real Estate and Development

The Market for Single-Family Rentals Grows as Homeownership Wanes - The number of built-to-rent homes — single-family homes constructed expressly for the purpose of renting — increased 30 percent from 2019 to 2020. Today, they make up about 6 percent of all new homes being built in the United States, and that number is poised to double in the next 10 years. This is the fastest-growing sector of the American housing market, and it is increasingly master-planned and built on tracts. On the fringes of America’s second-tier cities, entire villages owned by large-scale investors are popping up, offering renters who either can’t or don’t want to spring for a down payment another path to the American dream. New York Times
NYC sales are booming mostly without foreign buyers. What happens when they return? - International buyers have been a major missing puzzle piece. This group has long seen NYC real estate as a good investment, especially high-end condos, and foreign investment has driven up prices. But these buyers dried up to a small trickle during the pandemic because of travel bans and Covid concerns, although demand has been picking up recently. Still the NYC market has been recovering pretty well without them. Brick Underground


Construction's career crisis: Recruiters target young workers driving the Great Resignation - Skilled trade companies are desperate for talent. Now, that ongoing issue meets a labor market defined by the "Great Resignation"; one report last month estimated that more than one in four workers who started a new job in 2021 left their previous jobs without a new position lined up. Though the motivations of each individual worker may not be clear, observers often tie at least some of that migration to the pandemic. Construction Dive


Enhanced Transit Options Boost Midtown’s Wall Street Culture -

Cross multiple subway lines and two major rail hubs servicing hundreds of thousands of riders daily with numerous Class A office buildings, and you get Midtown Manhattan’s multigenerational work culture. Commercial Observer


Architecture and Design

6 Design Secrets From the Set of Wes Anderson's 'The French Dispatch' - For design lovers, a new Wes Anderson film is a cause for celebration—and an opportunity to snatch ideas for the decor of your own home.His latest movie, The French Dispatch, transports viewers to postwar France, bringing to life a collection of stories from the final issue of a New Yorker–esque American magazine published in a fictional French city. In the movie, the real-life French town of Angoulême stands in for the imaginary village of Ennui-sur-Blasé (translation: Boredom-on-Blasé). - Elle Decor


Sustainable architecture: innovative and inspiring building design -

From amazing abodes to centres of care and hard-working offices, we chart some of the world’s best examples of sustainable architecture, buildings that not only look good but also do good. Wallpaper





info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architecture construction design estate interior real https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/10/october-2021-industry-update Tue, 26 Oct 2021 20:19:40 GMT
New Photographic Prints available via Redbubble https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/10/new-photographic-prints-available-via-redbubble Documentary and Street Photography Prints AvailableDocumentary and Street Photography Prints AvailableDocumentary and Street Photography Prints Available


Hey everyone,

After several years and numerous attempts with different photo print companies, I am VERY excited to announce the following :

 My documentary and street photographs are now available as photographic prints. Printing my art has been a dream of mine since I first fell in love with photography 18 years ago. Now I am finally able to make my documentary and street photographs available as prints to everyone. Simply visit my store and check out my collections. Even better, prints are now available to ship internationally through Redbubble. This is a big deal for me as many fans, friends and supporters from the Global Village frequently ask for prints of my work. Starting from today, from wherever in the world you are, you can receive framed prints for your personal gallery, home or office.

I can't wait to hear your feedback on my new online store :


All the best,



Documentary and Street Photography Prints AvailableDocumentary and Street Photography Prints AvailableDocumentary and Street Photography Prints Available Documentary and Street Photography Prints AvailableDocumentary and Street Photography Prints AvailableDocumentary and Street Photography Prints Available Documentary and Street Photography Prints AvailableDocumentary and Street Photography Prints AvailableDocumentary and Street Photography Prints Available

info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) art cato documentary leon nyc observation photographic photographs photography prints. street https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/10/new-photographic-prints-available-via-redbubble Sat, 16 Oct 2021 18:28:40 GMT
September 2021 Industry Update https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/9/september-2021-industry-update September 2021


Real Estate and Development

Residents of Troubled Supertall Tower Seek $125 Million in Damages - The condo board at 432 Park Avenue is suing the developers for construction and design defects that have led to floods, faulty elevators, and electrical explosions. New York Times


Return-to-Office Plans: When Companies Are Planning to Go Back - Below is a running tab, in alphabetical order, of companies’ return-to-office plans, or lack thereof, based on information from the firms, previous Commercial Observer reporting, or reporting in other media outlets (linked to where possible). It also includes details, where available, on whether companies are requiring vaccinations and how they plan to enforce that. And “hybrid” in this case is defined as working partly in the office and partly remotely (in most cases two to three days a week). Commercial Observer


A Newark Day: Inside the Brick City’s Burgeoning Development Boom - The past 18 months haven’t been kind to Newark, which lost more than 1,000 residents to the coronavirus, experienced flooding in September during Hurricane Ida, and saw foot traffic downtown slow to a trickle as commuting office workers and students stayed in the suburbs. But New Jersey’s largest city is slowly returning to normal, and its nascent revitalization is continuing with a slew of large residential projects — most with affordable housing — inching forward in downtown and outlying wards. - Commercial Observer


Grassi Reveals Findings of 2021 Construction Benchmarking Survey - Grassi, a leading provider of advisory, tax and accounting services for the construction industry, has revealed the finding of its latest survey of New York-area contractors and subcontractors. Designed to uncover the industry’s current trends, outlooks and state of COVID-19 recovery, Grassi’s 2021 Construction Industry Survey was developed by the firm’s construction practice and advisory board, which consists of industry leaders from across the tri-state area. - Commercial Observer

The Dotted Line: Careful contract wording can combat price escalations - As supply chain disruptions and material pricing volatility continue to rattle the construction industry, the timeline for when contractors might see a return to normalcy has only grown murkier. In this uncertain time, comprehensive and carefully worded contracts are more important than ever, said Trent Cotney, CEO of Cotney Attorneys & Consultants. 
"Specific provisions can help builders and contractors anticipate material shortages and price increases, while providing them with options," Cotney said. - Construction Dive

Shortages have created a 'traffic jam' in construction: Lennar - "They [shortages] are intermittent, and they are not over yet," Jaffe said on an earnings call. "In many ways, it's truly a game of whack-a-mole, creating a traffic jam. Like cars, the construction process is backed up, creating a chain reaction of delays that cascades from one trade to the next." - Construction Dive

5 Ways to Make Your Living Space More Pet-Friendly - If there’s one thing Kari Whitman knows for sure, it’s that it is entirely possible to create a home that is beautiful as well as pet-friendly. This is something she’s proven repeatedly over the last 23 years as owner of the design firm Kari Whitman Interiors and of the Ace of Hearts dog rescue. Though Whitman is a high-end designer, she believes it’s important to create spaces for the entire family—pets included. We picked her brain on some of the simple tricks that people can employ to optimize their living spaces for all the wear and tear that comes with pet parenting. Here’s what she had to say. - Architectural Digest


A First Look Inside The Iconic Home, the Virtual Show House from AD and the Black Interior Designers Network - The Iconic Home, the virtual show house presented by AD and the Black Interior Designers Network, is set to open its doors on AD’s website come September 27. An all-new set of talent from the Black design community has brought the showcase to life through their imaginative creations. - Architectural Digest


info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architecture construction design estate interior real https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/9/september-2021-industry-update Tue, 28 Sep 2021 19:31:08 GMT
August 2021 Industry Update https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/8/august-2021-industry-update August 2021


Real Estate and Development

New York just surpassed San Francisco as the most expensive rental market in the U.S. - The coronavirus pandemic caused a massive disruption to New York’s real estate market early on, but demand has since turned around. Rents are not only rebounding but returning to pre-pandemic levels. CNBC

NYC apartment leases with major concessions are coming up for renewal. Here's how to negotiate - In addition to landing apartments with lower rents, New York City renters who signed new leases during the pandemic scored major concessions, like multiple months free, paid broker fees and sometimes other freebies like flexible move in-dates, relaxed pet policies, or reduced fees for storage, and parking spots. But what is happening now—as those freebie-laden leases start to come end—especially those with free months, which made apartments much more affordable? NYC renters are about to find out. - Brick Underground

Ramped-up testing helps contractors fight delta variant - Ezra Laniado has been fighting the pandemic on his jobsites, one COVID-19 test at a time. As the owner of Landmark Construction Crew, a Los Angeles-based commercial contractor, he learned early on that keeping his teams up and running meant making sure that anyone who got sick stayed away, and then immediately got tested. - Construction Dive

Why Life Sciences Is The Hottest Sector In CRE - The life sciences sector was the outlier while much of the business world suffered through 2020. According to CBRE, life sciences employment in July 2020 was actually higher than the year prior, and venture capital funding at that point was setting records. Commercial lab space, meanwhile, grew 12 percent in 2020, with a similar growth anticipated for 2021 in the form of new construction, and lab space rents have been rising unabated. - Commercial Observer


Architecture and Design

Meet the millennial New Yorkers dropping as much as $45,000 on interior designers to help pimp out their pandemic pads: 'Time is the biggest luxury' (featuring photography by Leon Cato) - A 2,000-square-foot apartment is a unicorn in New York City, but when Rachel Martino nabbed such a gem last June, she didn't know what to do with it. By March, she decided to bring in outside help: an interior designer. She likened it to using a wedding planner. - Business Insider


How can design help the visually impaired? - Dutch designer Simon Dogger has created projects that open up the museum world for blind and visually-impaired visitors. He speaks to art historian and disability activist Amanda Cachia about access technologies, inspirational personal experiences and the virtues of physical spaces - Wallpaper


Creating Digital Equity in a Hybrid Workforce - Experts suggest that nine out of ten organizations are moving to hybrid, but as we learned in this podcast, hybrid is the hardest. As so many make the switch to a hybrid workforce, a multitude of new considerations are brought to the forefront in creating an equitable workforce and workplace. On a Zoom screen all the boxes are the same size, but what happens when three people are in one room and only one is virtual? Is the experience digitally equitable? Does the remote person feel “less than” or “left out” when cameras go off? In order to make hybrid stick, we must find ways to create an equitable experience.  - Interior Design


info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architecture construction design estate interior real https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/8/august-2021-industry-update Thu, 26 Aug 2021 21:21:50 GMT
July 2021 Industry Update https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/7/july-2021-industry-update July 2021


Real Estate and Development

Real Estate Industry Couldn’t Be Happier With Eric Adams’ Primary Victory - Eric Adams is six months away from likely moving into Gracie Mansion, and the real estate sector couldn’t be happier. - Commercial Observer

Real Estate Hopes Cuomo’s Gun Violence Emergency Will Help NYC Tourism - Tourism represents an $80 billion dollar industry in the Big Apple, but recent concerns over gun violence might hamper its recovery — and the business community is concerned. - Commercial Observer

Condo collapse spurs inspections, questions about other towers - Local officials are ramping up inspections and audits of high-rise buildings in Florida, while insurers nationally and residents as far away as California reconsider the implications of tower living in the wake of the Champlain Towers South condominium collapse.  - Construction Dive

5 strategies construction firms use to lower their taxes - A recent Construction Dive analysis revealed that public construction firms' effective federal tax rates are among the lowest of any sector. The 19 largest profitable firms in the industry paid a collective 16.8% on their U.S. profits in federal taxes in 2020, a fifth lower than the 21% statutory rate set by Congress. Of those, 12 — or nearly two-thirds — paid less than the statutory rate. These construction firms relied on several provisions to reduce their tax liability, all of which are completely legal. Here is a look at the top techniques they used. - Construction Dive

Hosting an Airbnb Right Now Is Harder Than You Think - The pandemic has increased demand and also ramped up the expectations of vacationers. - New York Times


Architecture and Design

Rockaway Beach, New Yorkers’ Favorite Escape, Sees a Creative Resurgence - The creative New York City beach community is ushering in a new era of design. - Architectural Design

New York Design Center Celebrates 95 Years - Talk about venerable history: It’s coming up on the New York Design Center’s centennial! Ninety-five years in business, to be precise. - Interior Design


info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architecture construction design estate interior real https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/7/july-2021-industry-update Wed, 14 Jul 2021 14:48:36 GMT
May 2021 Industry Update https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/5/may-2021-industry-update May 2021

Real Estate and Development

How Do We Build Our Homes and Cities for a Sustainable Future? - The Covid-19 pandemic has driven changes in how people live and work. On June 24, join The Times and experts as we discuss how this shift can present new opportunities. - New York Times

How Cities Are Coming Back Stronger Post-COVID - "Like a limpet on the whale of civic America, the idea of an urban exodus hung on throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Cities were done. Cities had peaked. Cities were in, perhaps, terminal decline. The treatment was mass conversions of space and diminished expectations of what U.S. cities — particularly New York — might offer newcomers and business. So much for all that." - Commercial Observer

A spring market on ‘steroids’: Lower NYC rents fueled record demand in April - "The heavy rental activity is not stabilizing falling rents, it is happening because of falling rents, Miller says. “It shows how much vacancy there is,” he points out. Landlords have so much inventory on their hands that renters can expect that “this will be the narrative for much of 2020,” he says. That’s good news for renters." -  Brick Underground

OSHA changes course on vaccine recording requirements - In a 180-degree shift in policy, OSHA said on Friday that employers do not need to record adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines on their OSHA 300 logs. - Construction Dive
Architecture and Design

Architectural gardens around the world to soothe the soul - A new public park has opened on the Hudson River. The new green space, which encompasses three new performance venues for New York, is designed by London based Heatherwick Studio, who was invited to the project by philanthropist Barry Diller and the Hudson River Park Trust. - Wallpaper

3 Interiors Experts Share The Designs That Will Define 2021 - Without a doubt, 2020 was the year of the home office. Three interiors experts weigh in on the design stories that will define 2021. - Luxe


info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architecture construction design estate interior real https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/5/may-2021-industry-update Thu, 27 May 2021 19:43:08 GMT
April 2021 Industry Update https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/4/april-2021-industry-update April 2021

Real Estate and Infrastructure

Remote Work Is Here to Stay. Manhattan May Never Be the Same. - A year after the coronavirus sparked an extraordinary exodus of workers from office buildings, what had seemed like a short-term inconvenience is now clearly becoming a permanent and tectonic shift in how and where people work. Employers and employees have both embraced the advantages of remote work, including lower office costs and greater flexibility for employees, especially those with families.- New York Times

By The Numbers: Biden's $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan - President Biden this week unveiled a massive infrastructure proposal that he says would deliver a "once-in-a-generation investment" in the United States. Here are six key numbers from the wide-ranging measure:- NPR

NY pot law creates safety, liability issues for contractors - The legalization last month of recreational marijuana in New York State created uncertainty for contractors on how to ensure jobsite safety, and could open them up to more liability than in any of the other 14 states where pot is no longer outlawed, industry observers told Construction Dive. - Construction Dive

Soaring material prices, supply chain delays spook owners and developers - The rising cost of many materials and increased sourcing headaches have project owners rethinking their return to normalcy and threaten to derail construction's expected resurgence. - Construction Dive

Interior Design and Architecture

A Guide to Post-COVID-19 Hybrid Work Policies - Over the past few months, several major corporations have taken bold stances with their return-to-office policies...Amid all this buzz, a majority of companies are looking at some sort of hybrid model for a return to office work. In fact, Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, suggests that the sweet spot is 2.5 days a week working remotely. - Interior Design

Curtains Up for the One Percent - While many Americans were stockpiling toilet paper and Clorox, the rich bought houses, sparking a gold rush in the decorating trades. For the wealthiest, those whom the design elite have traditionally served, the last year produced a home improvement stampede as people transformed their work-life safety bubbles with layers of comfort and convenience increasingly essential to those for whom wine cellars with computerized inventory systems are baseline amenities. - New York Times



info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architecture construction design estate interior real https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/4/april-2021-industry-update Tue, 13 Apr 2021 16:59:18 GMT
February 2021 Industry Update https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/2/february-2021-industry-update
Real Estate and Infrastructure

Are Broker Commissions Too High? Online home buyers do much of the work involved in acquiring a house. So why are brokers’ fees still calculated under the old system? - New York Times

Selling in NYC? Here's how to stage your outdoor space even if it's winter - The pandemic has made outdoor space a priority for buyers so if you're selling and you have a balcony or private access to the roof, you want to maximize its appeal, even in winter. - Brick Underground

Skyrocketing steel, lumber costs threaten to slow construction jobs - Late last year, Mike Taylor was paying around $750 per short ton for the rebar he uses in his concrete pours. Now, that price has spiked closer to $900, a 20% increase in a little over a month. - Construction Dive
Interior Design and Architecture

The High-Tech Upgrades of the Pandemic Office Are Mostly for Show- When New Yorkers return to the office, possibly as soon as this summer, nothing will be the same. In an attempt to get tenants back to their desks sooner, everything is being reimagined — from redesigning open-floor offices for flexible (and spaced-out) layouts to filling offices with air-purifying plants. -  Curbed

How to Become the Leader You’ve Always Wanted to Be in 2021- Incorporate these six tips into your management strategy to keep your team motivated, inspired, and focused - Architectural Digest Pro

Creative Voices: Honoring Black History Month - In honor of Black History Month, the Interior Design team is spotlighting the narratives, works, and craft traditions of Black architects, designers, and creatives. See our full coverage here, including interviews with industry innovators. - Interior Design

Is the Hospitality Industry Finally Putting COVID in the Rear-View Mirror? - I know that everyone is tired of hearing about COVID-19 and its impact on the hotel and travel industry. I could not agree more. I am exhausted when it comes to the daily barrage of pandemic stories on the news, online, via social, etc. So, let us look to the future! - Hospitality Net

Industry Mourns Passing of Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson - On Tuesday, following Marriott International’s announcement of the passing of Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, on February 15, 2021, leaders from across the industry released statements mourning the loss and recognizing Sorenson’s impact on the industry. - Lodging Magazine



info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architecture construction design estate interior real https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/2/february-2021-industry-update Thu, 18 Feb 2021 20:48:16 GMT
January 2021 Industry Update https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/1/january-2021-industry-update Real Estate and Infrastructure -

Moynihan Train Hall: It’s Stunning. And, a First Step - In the midst of everything else, we needed this. New York needs this. - New York Times

After historic lows, mortgage rates are starting to rise. How far will they go? - If you were hoping to take advantage of historic low mortgage rates to buy in New York City, you need to get it in gear. While mortgage rates are currently near record lows, they are not expected to stay near bargain-basement levels for more than a few months. - Brick Underground

Biden toughens Buy American rules - President Joe Biden signed an executive order yesterday aimed at increasing government purchases of American-made products, a move that could affect construction firms that do business with the federal government. Most notably for contractors, Biden indicated the Buy American policies will apply to his massive plans for infrastructure and new energy projects. - Construction Dive


Interior Design and Architecture -

5 Creative Ways to Expand Your Design Business in 2021 - In response to the economic downturn, some interior designers have reevaluated their design services and considered alternate revenue streams. AD PRO consulted with several who have expanded their offerings beyond traditional interior design services; some made these professional pivots even before the pandemic struck, and others as a result of it. Here, they share their experiences and provide insights for others who might be contemplating secondary money-making means. - Architectural Digest  

3 Winter Design Shows That Are Sparking Wonder Right Now - The social-distancing axiom that “we come together by staying apart” is a cue that the world’s leading art and design dealers have clearly taken to heart. This month, a trio of compelling exhibitions are the product of collaborations between gallerists and curators, who are also making the fruits of their labor available for both online and IRL consumption. - Architectural Digest


Hospitality -

NYU Hospitality Investment Conference Postponed to November 2021- Due to continued concerns regarding COVID-19, the 43rd annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference—originally slated to take place onsite at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City from June 6-8, 2021—will now be held in-person at the same location on November 7-9, 2021. - Lodging Magazine

Ongoing pandemic drives STR, TE to downgrade U.S. hotel forecast - Worsened pandemic metrics and assumptions of limited early-year travel have led STR and Tourism Economics to slightly downgrade their latest U.S. hotel forecast. Full recovery of demand remains on track for 2023, while close-to-complete RevPAR recovery is still projected for 2024. - Hotel Management

info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architecture construction design estate interior real https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2021/1/january-2021-industry-update Thu, 28 Jan 2021 20:09:06 GMT
December 2020 Industry Update https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2020/12/december-2020-industry-update  

Real Estate and Infrastructure - 

Midtown Is Reeling. Should Its Offices Become Apartments? - The powerful real estate industry is so concerned that the shifts in workplace culture caused by the outbreak will become long-lasting that it is promoting a striking proposal: to turn more than one million square feet of Manhattan office space into housing. - New York Times

10 apartment staging mistakes that can cost you a sale - Let’s face it: New York City’s slow sales market means if you’re selling now, you have some stiff competition because of a glut of new luxury condos with fancy amenities...The increased need for staging is a sign of where the market is at during the pandemic, where first impressions routinely happen online. - Brick Underground

Tax changes on the horizon: What contractors need to know - As the end of 2020 approaches, even as many construction businesses are still struggling with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time to close out the year financially. That means it's time for tax planning and the consideration of other financial issues, both of which will hopefully put contractors in the best position to take on 2021. - Construction Dive

Contractors can require COVID-19 vaccinations for jobsite workers, lawyers say - Attorneys from a prominent workforce law firm told contractors that it is within their legal rights to compel workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, during a webinar hosted Wednesday by the Associated General Contractors of America. - Construction Dive
Interior Design and Architecture - 

The 2021 AD100 - In the world of design and architecture, no list is held in higher esteem than the AD100, now entering its fourth decade. This year, 22 firms from around the globe make their first appearances here. These are the names to know now! - Architectural Digest

Why COVID-19 Provides a Unique Opportunity to Elevate Women in the Workplace - There’s an underlying effect that’s plaguing the workplace—and hint: it’s not a virus. Well, not exactly. It’s actually the disproportionate effect COVID-19 has had on women in the workplace. - Interior Design
Hospitality -

Why this is the time to build in top tourist destinations - Right now, few are thinking seriously about booking travel to bustling tourist destinations. Most of us are not traveling at all. The unprecedented pandemic we are facing has caused hardships throughout the hospitality industry and tourist destination communities. Yet, we are still seeing brisk business in building and remodeling hotel properties. Why is now a good time to build a hotel in top tourist destinations? - Hotel Management

Survey: Nearly 70 Percent of Americans Will Not Travel for Christmas- A recent national survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) shows that 69 percent of Americans will not travel for Christmas. With a new surge in COVID-19 cases, the CDC recommending that Americans do not travel over the holiday season, and new stay-at-home orders in place in states across the country, the holiday season will compound the challenges already facing the hotel industry during this public health crisis, according to AHLA. - Lodging Magazine




info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architecture construction design estate interior real https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2020/12/december-2020-industry-update Wed, 16 Dec 2020 16:40:04 GMT
How to Create a Great Vacation Rental https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2019/4/how-to-create-a-great-guest-experience-for-your-vacation-rental LCP_Maujer_Finals-2LCP_Maujer_Finals-2

A smaller couch works well with moveable smaller chairs.

Just a few years ago in the United States renting out your home or property to total strangers seemed like an impossible concept. Now vacation rentals are an established global industry and it is clear that this business model is here to stay. If you are hosting guests you now have thousands of listings to compete with so it is very important to provide a top notch customer experience in order to set your listing apart.


As an architectural and interior photographer, I have photographed over 2,000 vacation rental listings all over the New York City Tri-state area. Because of this experience, I can say without a doubt that strong photography is critical to success for owners who want to have successful vacation rental investments. Potential guests consistently overlook listings with poor photographs for ones with vibrant and professional photographs.


In addition to photographing many rentals, I have personally hosted dozens of Airbnb guests and stayed at many vacation rentals since 2012 so have additional insight into what makes some vacation rentals wildly prosperous and others moderately successful. Here are tips that can help your space perform well and give you an overall pleasant host experience while increasing revenue.


What Would I Like?

In my experience nothing is more important when offering a vacation rental than viewing the space as if you were a guest. You should always think, “What would I like if I was staying here”? It may help to think of an impressive customer service experience you recently had - whether it was a hotel stay or even a minor touch that a store provided that made you take notice. What specifically about that experience made you tell family and friends, leave a sparkling review and maybe even make plans to revisit?


Many hosts make the mistake of simply perceiving their rental as a way to make money and see their clients as customers rather than welcome guests. With every decision you make about managing your space you should think, “Is this visually appealing?”, “How would this make me feel?” or “Would this make me feel welcome?” This genuine concern for the well being of your guests will automatically make your listing stand apart. 


Investing in the visual and overall quality of your listing is beneficial for the following reasons:

  1. Guests rely on you to help them feel at home and settled - Most guests are traveling from out of town and in some cases may not be able to communicate fluently in English. Your number one priority is to make sure that their first interaction is a pleasant and welcoming one. Nothing feels worse than traveling many miles to be met by a disinterested or grumpy host.
  2. It feels good - Since you are a host, chances are you like meeting and interacting with people. A great guest experience makes everyone involved feel good and creates positive interactions. If communicating with strangers and helping people navigate your town sounds frightening then you may consider co-hosting with someone who is more comfortable doing this end of the business.
  3. You can get good reviews - Reviews are one the most important factors guests take into account when booking your space. A great guest experience often equals a good review.
  4. More bookings and a higher price - A nice looking property combined with a pleasant guest experience means that you will receive 5-star reviews. These strong reviews will lead to more bookings. Eventually this will allow you more freedom to modify your pricing and yield more profit.
  5. Competition - The quality of vacation rentals has increased over the last few years so in order to compete it is essential to provide a quality experience from check-in to check-out.


Guests will always be relieved when arriving to a well made bed.

Interior for Home Sale - Manhattan

A minimalist approach works well for smaller spaces.

Details Details Details

The one thing that I take notice of when preparing to photograph a vacation rental is how attention-to-detail can improve or diminish the overall guest experience. 



My wife and I have stayed at several vacation rentals and one very small detail always sticks out - the guestbook. This detail may seem trivial as you no doubt have spent lots of time and cash on securing furniture, bedding, kitchen essentials and countless other items that have put you over budget. But taking the time to put together a binder or book of local suggestions, tips, house rules and a welcoming message is priceless.  


To be clear, a guestbook and a rule book are quite different. A book of house rules simply stating dos and don'ts about the space can come across as rude and unwelcoming which can, in turn, put a tarnish on the stay. Of course as a host you hope that guests don't damage or destroy anything in the property and are respectful to neighbors, but this worry should not come across in any written communication.


For example we stayed at a cabin for over a week that was absolutely perfect as far as our needs but the fact that the host came across as cold and removed in the rule book stuck in our heads. By contrast we stayed in a shared space for one night and the host and guestbook were so welcoming that we still talk about this experience.


Also the guestbook can appear in your listing photographs which conveys to the potential renter that you are thinking about hospitality when creating your space rather than just renting out an extra property. Finally, a nicely presented guest book immediately creates a great visual first impression when guests enter the home. 

Guestbooks should include information only a local would know.

Guestbook Essentials

  • Local transportation - Assemble a list of taxi phone numbers and advice (best option for late nights, airport, etc). Also include recommendations for gas stations, local directions and traffic advice.
  • Take-away menus - Provide a variety of food delivery options, recommendations on favorite dishes and details on waiting time for delivery. 
  • Restaurants - Offer a variety of dining options and recommendations on popular local cuisines and dishes. Also mention typical waiting time for a table and distance from the vacation rental.
  • Local attractions - Suggest activities to do and things to see specific to the area. Details on travel time to major sites and lots of recommendations are always welcome.

Everything You Need!


Take Your Time to Build

You may have visited a hotel or vacation rental and have thought, “it would nice if they had…”, only to turn around and notice it was there. This level of forethought might take some time and experience to build up so definitely take into account feedback from guests. It is important not to look at guests as a necessary nuisance but as partners in your enterprise. The ability to get useful guest feedback on every interaction is extremely valuable.  


Also, get creative and don’t be afraid to ask for help. As a former host, I made the mistake of simply providing a roof over my guests' heads - a clean, safe and comfortable apartment. A friend of mine got involved later on and brought in desks, hair dryers, an iron (and ironing board) and artwork. These items along with a few other details instantly transformed the small space and felt more inviting to guests.


Also it leaves a great impression in your listing photographs as a comfortably furnished space will get booked quicker and more regularly than an empty space 100% of the time. Top Tip : Leave enough blankets for multiple guests and have close-up photographs taken of unique details. 


In the absence of a friend, you can connect with other hosts in the area. I suggest checking the Meetup.com website as well as the vacation rental platforms you are using. 


A few more tips -  

  • Invest time - Planning can save a massive amount of headaches when managing your vacation rental. Read through recommendations on the rental platforms so that you can avoid pitfalls.
  • Invest money - Initially it is wise to create as great a guest experience that your budget will allow. As your bookings increase, reinvest your earnings into the property and eventually you will be at a level that is highly competitive. This strategy allows for the ability to eventually charge premium rates while building your property’s reputation quickly.
  • Consult professionals if necessary - Hiring a professional interior designer can be worthwhile. I have photographed thousands of properties but cannot tell you where to find a decent throw pillow. Everyone has their strengths and you can save time and money by hiring someone who has a passion for making your space look great.
  • Create privacy - Whether you are living in the home or renting out a totally separate vacation property, it is important to be conscious of guests' personal space and time when creating your rental. Some guests require minimal contact while others are more communicative. It is up to you gauge this on an individual basis and not make the guests feel pressured to respond to you but at the same time feel that you are responsive when needed. 
  • Quality signage  - For little details like how to access areas of the space with tricky door locks and locate hidden kitchen items it is a good idea to create clear and attractive signs.
  • Keep your listing up-to-date - If you are an experienced host you will likely have made changes since you first listed your space. Take the time to update your descriptions and have new photography completed so that guests experience in-person exactly what they see online.

You can take your time to give your space its own personality.

Think out of the box for smaller spaces.

Research Resources

The New York Times publishes great Real Estate articles and sometimes addresses the vacation rental market. This article has tips like decorating with purpose, keeping it simple and using materials that wear well. 


Stay Here (Netflix) is a reality show that specializes on how to create wonderful and profitable vacation rentals. The hosts travel across the US and provide great advice on how to create that unique guest experience. Killer tip: Localize the guest experience by engaging the existing community resources


Houzz - A great resource for decorating your home, the wealth of information on this site can help you prepare your vacation rental. Professional Interior designers and other housing professionals use this site regularly so you are definitely getting the best and most current concepts and ideas. 


Exercise Patience

Creating a vacation rental and hosting guests from all over the world can be an invaluable experience. With the right amount of time, care and financial investment you can enjoy a fulfilling and lucrative enterprise. Whether you are just starting or refreshing an existing listing, the payoff may take a while to happen but keep in mind that this is totally normal and stick to proven principles. With a top quality guest experience as your number one priority, you will be able to compete at the highest level and achieve success.


Ps. Feel free to leave any of your own tips in the comment section!

info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architecture design estate interior nyc photography real rental vacation https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2019/4/how-to-create-a-great-guest-experience-for-your-vacation-rental Fri, 26 Apr 2019 17:41:39 GMT
The 5 Steps to Self-Staging When Selling Your Home https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2017/9/the-5-steps-to-self-staging-when-selling-your-home  

Interior for Home Sale - BrooklynInterior for Home Sale - Brooklyn

It is generally agreed that when selling your apartment or home, staging your space is absolutely critical to compete in the overly-competitive real estate market. A recent New York Times article states that  buyers have become accustomed to seeing fully-ready homes and can be turned off if a space seems drab or there is no attention to detail in preparing the home to be viewed. "The practice of home staging has long elicited strong reactions. Agents and professional...say staging can usually help a home sell faster, and for a higher price, offering a larger return on the investment."

So the real question is whether you hire a professional or embark on staging yourself. While there are many benefits to outsourcing to a professional stager, this article details tips for those who choose to go it alone. 

1) Give yourself time to plan
Schedule time to sit down and plan how you will prepare each room of your home. Its important not rush this stage of the project as this can be the most important step when presenting your home for sale.

Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer and make decisions based on what would impress you upon viewing your space. There is no “not a big deal” room or detail so be generous when compiling your to-do list. (Now is the time to confront that old “favorite” couch!!) That little extra effort goes a long way in attracting the right buyer. Real Estate websites like Trulia and Zillow are great sources for tips and tricks - also be sure to check out New York Times Real Estate, Interior Design Magazine and Houzz.

2) Don't Skimp
You can assume that some damaged or unappealing areas of your home will appear in your listing photographs or be discovered by a potential buyer so take the time to fix kitchen and bathroom tiles, repair electrical sockets, replace old worn doors and don't be afraid to invest in repainting. Hiring professionals to polish your wood floors can be a great investment!

Clean and staged white bathroomSimply StatedA re-tiled bathroom with minor accents creates a classy presentation. Creativity with these kinds of spaces adds more to the asking price.



3) Replace / Re-purpose Old Furniture
You may not have to purchase entire new furniture sets but that old couch with the cat claw marks won't do. To save money, be creative and source classics from antique shops, Housing Works or Craigslist. TJ Maxx has really affordable furniture and fixings that are perfect for this purpose. You can also re-upholster and/or varnish/paint existing furniture to give it a newer look. For visual inspiration check out the Architectural Digest and the New York Spaces websites.

4) Double your prep time!
It is impossible to imagine how many knick-knacks you have collected over the years or how long it takes to actually mop the entire house so give yourself loads of time to prepare for photo shoots and open houses. For a 1 bedroom apartment allow yourself at least 2 full days to de-clutter, vacuum, mop and make your place picture perfect. Add about 1/2 a day per room so if you are shooting a 3 bedroom home with a dining room your best bet would be to schedule a full 4 days of preparation. This is all, of course, in ADDITION to any major work like painting or moving in furniture. Underestimate at you own peril!


Clean and clear dining and kitchen areaClean and ClearRemoving all personal items and decluttering all spaces give the buyers ideas about how they might create their own home and apply personal style.
5) Details! Details! Details!
Here is a quick list of guidelines when preparing your home to be photographed or for an open house.

Open any blinds or curtains to allow in natural light
Have the windows washed and clean any mirrors
Vacuum and/or mop the floors
Turn on all available lights
Organize or put away objects that clutter your space
Remove any valuables or items you do not want photographed
Organize or clear away cords and phone chargers if possible
Take out the trash

Remove all cars, boats, motorcycles, etc from the driveways and do not park directly in front of the house
Remove all garden tools, hoses and clutter
Mow the grass, rake up leaves and debris, pull weeds and remove any dead vegetation
Sweep driveways, sidewalks porches and patios

Make your bed look fit for a king or queen
Tidy up your desk
Put away any laundry

Clean all mirrors
Open the shower curtain, but close the toilet lid
Fold your towels

Put away extra dishes and food items
Clean every counter top
Remove personal photographs from the refrigerator


In the end, your guide should be “If I walked in here I would make an offer.” If that isn’t happening then spend more time making your home look extra special. Any additional money or time investment will only pay off to sell your home quickly and at the right price. 


Feel free to leave any of your own preparation tips in the comment section!

info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) architectural design estate home interior my nyc photography real sell staging your https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2017/9/the-5-steps-to-self-staging-when-selling-your-home Tue, 26 Sep 2017 13:23:46 GMT
Home of Legends https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2017/4/home-of-legends I was living in London when the new Yankee stadium was completed in 2009. Although I had been to games at the old stadium I hadn't returned to see the new facility and surrounding area. Unexpectedly I was in the South Bronx yesterday and took a few minutes to take in the architecture just a few days after opening day of the 2017 season.

Designed by architectural firm Populous, construction of the new park occurred between 2006 and 2009. "Illustrated in glass, steel and limestone, the ballpark’s skin is highlighted by a four-story limestone and granite façade inspired by the 1923 Bronx Stadium." (Populous Website)

With the Bronx now becoming a destination for people looking for affordable and accessible places to live, it is expected that the area surrounding Yankee Stadium will soon benefit from upgraded infrastructure and more modern real estate and architecture.

Thoughts, comments? Let me know in the comments!



LCP_Blog_YankeeStadium-1LCP_Blog_YankeeStadium-1 LCP_Blog_YankeeStadium-3LCP_Blog_YankeeStadium-3 LCP_Blog_YankeeStadium-2LCP_Blog_YankeeStadium-2

info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) Architecture Bronx Building City Estate Exploration NYC New Observation Photography Real Yankees York sports https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2017/4/home-of-legends Thu, 13 Apr 2017 18:22:04 GMT
Adapting, Growing and Moving Forward in Photography https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2017/3/adapting-growing-and-moving-forward-in-photography LCP_Homepage_Mar16_2017LCP_Homepage_Mar16_2017

When I moved to NYC from London unexpectedly in January 2012 there was no clear next-step in my photography journey. Back in NYC after 7 years abroad, I had to restart my business in a different country while managing a family crisis. Moments of pause and planning I had previously enjoyed felt like a distant past.  

Five years later I have travelled all around New York, New Jersey and Connecticut meeting incredible people from all walks of life and steadily growing an Architectural, Interior and Real Estate Photography business. The upheaval and craziness of re-settling, making new contacts, establishing trust and building a client base has calmed and I am fortunate to enjoy relationships with great clients who have been with me for the duration.

During the process of establishing the business in the US I have also witnessed the property industry in the New York Metropolitan area change at lighting speed with an increased appreciation for strong visual communication. As a result old and brand new architecture are benefiting from excellent photography and marketing (a visual treat for photographers) and the future looks bright for the adoption of innovative visual marketing technologies.

These prove to be exciting times. In order to ensure my business is ready, my new website not only displays my most current work, it reflects my vision as an artist and image marketing specialist in the Architecture, Interior Design and Real Estate photography industries. The portfolio is fully integrated with Facebook, Google+,Twitter and Pinterest so users can share images with team members or family and friends when brainstorming on creative ideas. There are also links to my Houzz profile where we can collaborate on upcoming projects or share concepts and ideas. Finally, creating an account on the site is simple and ensures that users are connected to new blog posts, projects and relevant news.

So far 2017 is proving to be exciting with new initiatives and opportunities on the horizon. I look forward to continuing my embrace of new technologies while honing in on client requirements and individual aesthetics - all while adding new relevant offerings that further guarantee exemplary customer service and delivery of effective imagery.

Follow my Instagram and Facebook and Twitter feeds for regular updates of new images, discussions and news. In the meantime, feel free to leave comments below, I would love to hear from you with any ideas or feedback.

Best Always,



info@leoncato.com (Leon Cato Photography) Architecture Design Estate Interior NYC New York Metropolitan Photographer Photography Real Real Estate Real Estate Photographer Space selling my house https://www.leoncato.com/blog/2017/3/adapting-growing-and-moving-forward-in-photography Thu, 16 Mar 2017 14:16:08 GMT