'Stay Here' Co-Host Peter Lorimer on the Netflix Home-Renovation Hit
Since Netflix’s series Stay Here dropped in August, co-host Peter Lorimer has gotten feedback from short-term rental owners who have applied tips from the show and turned their own struggling properties into profitable ventures.
The streaming service’s new foray into home reno sees the music producer-turned-entrepreneur and real-estate expert hitting the road with interior designer Genevieve Gorder to transform unique listings across the United States.
Here, the Brit transplant answers burning questions from filming the show and gives insight into taking advantage of the bustling Airbnb business.
Tell me about some of the success stories you’ve heard.
Peter Lorimer: There have been a lot of people reaching out saying similar stories to this: “Thank you so much. You’ve given me and my husband to get off our derriere and do the work. We’ve turned our potting shed into a small little Airbnb guest unit now, and we’re making x amount now. Thank you so much.”
I’ve got hundreds of those. The other one I get hit with every single day is: “Thank you so much for sharing all the secrets of the business through these tips because it was such a mystery to us. And in the end, you broke it down in a really digestible way."
People are taking those principles and applying it to their businesses and getting a return on their investments. So, "happy day," as they say in England.
How did you go about choosing the properties throughout the United States? What criteria had to be met in choosing the ones we see on the series?
We spent three or four months going through loads and loads of properties. We had a ton of properties and a short list of, we’ll say 40 around the United States.
Through those we whittled them down to the eight that made the show. The criteria were the stories all had to be one-thousand-percent genuine. This doesn’t make them bad shows, but there are ones that are kind of helped along. Our show, everything was completely raw. We wanted to show genuine stories with the people in them, which is why I think a lot of them were so touching. Case in point was the people in Seattle. That wasn’t actually the first episode we shot. It just ended up being the lead on the series, because I think the story was so strong.
All of the people that owned the properties had to put significant money in. It wasn’t like the TV company came in and paid for everything at all. And in the case of at least half of them, it was touch-and-go. If it had gone horribly wrong, it would have been pretty catastrophic for them. Thankfully, everybody we worked with after we finished have gone severely into profit. Thank goodness for that.
That is the common misconception, that the production just went in there spending all this money. They basically have to go all in to make this work.
I think that was one of the most important ingredients of the show. If someone is getting their house completely renovated for free, there isn’t any fear. For some of these homeowners, it’s like when the circus comes to town. We come on a Monday and leave on a Friday. All of this work, and renovation and hammer-swinging, chainsaws go through their property. Then we are done on a Friday. Obviously, there is weeks of planning, so when we do roll up, we knew exactly what was going to happen.
With Gordy (Episode Four: Brooklyn Brownstone), you watch him in the beginning of the episode closely. He was kind of cagey and guarded. He was like, “What the heck is going on? I’m not sure if you need to do this.” Then, at the end of the episode his shoulders drop, he realizes we are going to deliver, and he essentially breathes a sigh of relief, because if things had gone wrong, that would have been famously catastrophic for him.
I think what is also great about the show is that you’re not only, “Hey, go somewhere else for a few days and come back to a new place.” These owners are heavily involved in the process.
Someone gave me a phrase a long time ago. They said to me, "When it comes to business, food always tastes better with friends." So, when it’s a collaborative effort. When everyone has their thumbprint on this business, because that is essentially what this is. It is a small, independent business that may be an extension of one person’s personal home or an investment property. It is a small micro-hotel where they are the GM of their own small business.
I think it’s not only the right thing to do, but I think it would be unnatural to just kind of send them away and bring them back for the reveal. We wanted them to see what we were doing every step of the way so that not only the owners of the property could see it, but also our audience can go on that journey with them.
You mention all the owners are making a profit, but are there any plans to do a “Where are they now?” check-in with these folks?
It is the very same question I asked before we started the series. I think that the producers, George and Will, who I love, what they wanted to do for Season 2, which isn’t confirmed yet — but we are all crossing our fingers and toes on it — we would potentially begin Season 2 with a “What Happened in Season 1?”
The viewers got to see you and Genevieve immerse yourself in these settings. Like you going to New York for the first time and seeing the Biggie Smalls mural and how much that meant to you. What was it like working together as you journeyed across the country?
I got very lucky with Genevieve, because she is a veteran of television. She was very kind and sweet. Obviously, she knows her stuff inside and out. She is extraordinarily talented. Moreover, she was a really good mate to be on the road with. After we finished, we’d hang out off the set.
We couldn’t be more different. Genevieve comes from this design and very Americana world. I come from the world of house music and business and ROI and short-term rentals for a lot of celebrity clients here in L.A. We were essentially worlds apart, but I think my yin complimented her yang. I think that is why the chemistry was so great and why it worked.
If there is a Season 2, what are some places you want to go or see as a market of untapped potential? Would you want to take the show international?
Netflix, as you know, we love them, but they haven’t told us what their intentions are. We have spoken about an international season, which I feel is a no-brainer.
On a personal level, I would like to go to some markets that have emerged, but they aren’t fully at the top of the profit margin yet. Places like Nicaragua. There is some room left in Bali.
There are lots of areas of Europe now that could make it a potentially a good buy because Europe is suffering from the whole Brexit thing. It’s sending shockwaves through a lot of European markets, but I firmly believe in the real investor that when the market is in a bit of a spiral. You wait for it to drop.
I think one of the worst mistakes one can make is waiting to find the bottom. No successful investor I’ve worked with has bought right from the bottom and sold right at the top. You buy when it has gone down enough, and you believe the elevator will go back up past the point you bought significantly.
I feel a lot of Europe is like that right now, because I think Brexit will ultimately at some point get repealed, or/and Europe will stabilize again, thus the market would begin to rally. At that point you’ve bought a great investment. You can charge great rents that will put you significantly into profit.
Stay Here is streaming now on Netflix