Firm borrows business model from TV shows
April Straus is a self-admitted HGTV junkie, but she doesn’t sit around watching the tube all day. Straus and partner Bobby Hicks took cues from two of the network’s popular shows, “Property Brothers” and “Buying and Selling,” to create a business model for their new Richmond-based company, Bobby + April.
In the shows, twins Drew and Jonathan Scott combine their real estate and remodeling skills to help homeowners buy, sell and renovate their property.
In similar fashion, Bobby + April helps customers sell their houses and then move to one of Richmond’s historic neighborhoods. The firm will handle any work needed to get a customer’s property ready for market, then list the house and sell it. Bobby + April then works with the customer to buy a “fixer-upper” in neighborhoods such as the Fan or the Museum District and renovate that property.
That’s exactly what they did for customers Pam Janney and her partner Becky Buchanan. The empty nesters moved from the city’s West End to Monument Avenue.
“We were really glad we found Bobby + April and hooked up with them,” Janney says. “They did a great job.”
Straus brings to the table her real estate and interior design experience while Hicks, a contractor, handles remodeling. “We are a great team because we are together all the time,” Straus says. “If we are working with you, we will be talking about your project at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We live and breathe it.”
Bobby + April also renovated a house that they sold for $624,500. When the buyer’s job relocated him to New York only 45 days after moving in, he asked Hicks and Straus to help him make back some of his investment. Bobby + April renovated the basement for $5,000, and the house sold for $674,950 on the first day it was on the market.
“So he made $50,000 by spending $5,000,” Straus says. “That house has been shown … and shown, and that’s where most of our clients have come from, seeing that house.”
Straus says many customers have been Northeasterners relocating to Richmond. Some popular requests include building a master bath and suite and enlarging kitchens. “The cool thing about those renovations is you can spend as much or as little as you want,” Straus says.
Straus would like to bring in more project managers so Bobby + April can take on more customers. “Right now two projects is all we can do at one time because one of us needs to be available to be wherever the people are going to be that day,” Straus says. “It would be great to be able to find some really great project managers and have five to six houses in the works at the same time.”