Why Spending $100K to Stage a House in Los Angeles Makes Sense
Los Angeles : History is a legend of the staging. In 1998, Meridith Baer, a former actress, decorated the home of a friend who had been to the market. It was sold within days to a Hollywood executive, and soon other realtors were knocking on the door. Baer rented a moving van and storage space and founded what would become Meridith Baer Home, bringing high-end staging to Los Angeles.
Almost 25 years later, the “OG of staging” is still in business (with inventory stored in 350,000 square feet of warehouse space) as its field grows ever more crowded. “I love the competition. I love seeing other people and seeing what other people are doing, ”says Baer, whose clients include Halle Berry and Harrison Ford.
Many realtors and developers today work with an archrival company, Vesta, the staging company founded in 2016 by Baer’s nephew and niece Jamie Morse and Brett Baer (leading to a family feud that continues to this day). “Vesta is so versatile,” says Douglas Elliman’s agent Cory Weiss, “and they assign you a designer who they think will fit the bill.”
Million Dollar Listing LA Douglas Elliman’s star and agent Tracy Tutor likes Vesta for its quick results. She credits the company with transforming the Laurel Canyon home. Dancing with the stars‘Gleb Savchenko and his ex-wife Elena Samodanova, after tenants trashed it, in a week. The house sold in four days with multiple offers.
This speed is made possible by Vesta’s huge warehouse in Vernon, California, its team of 25 designers, and a serious investment in innovative technology. “Our designers can design a $ 30 million home while sitting by their pool,” says Brett Baer. “They are dragging and dropping all the furniture that we have in our system like an online shopping cart.” Vesta has also launched a home furnishings brand. “Customers are buying furniture that they see in our staging projects,” explains Vesta CEO Julian Buckner.
Recently, an ultra-luxury competitor, ASH Staging, has entered the fray in Los Angeles. An arm of ASH NY (honored by Architectural overview as an AD100 design company), the on-demand service focuses on exquisite details, from top-of-the-line art to custom lighting.
“Historically, staging has always eschewed personal touches and site specificity in favor of what appeals to the widest audience. Of course, engaging the market is important, but our spirit is much more about discovering what the real soul is within a space, ”says Andrew Bowen, partner at ASH NYC and head of staging.
This year, ASH hosted a home at 184 S. Hudson Ave. in Hancock Park and turned an old-fashioned wine room into a children’s room. The property, which was on the market for two years, sold for $ 13.8 million in July, the highest sale in the neighborhood this year.
Success stories like these have made it easier for agents to convince salespeople to invest in staging. “I think the culture is changing in terms of what it takes to sell a property,” says Sotheby’s International Realty agent Eric Lavey. “When I started 17 years ago, getting a client to say yes to the staging was very rare.”
But staging can still be a tough sell. “It depends on the mentality of the seller: if you understand the principle of attracting the highest volume of buyers and receiving more offers sent by your property, then you enter the conversation by asking your agent to give you recommendations on the staging or to improve the appearance of the property. “Says Douglas Elliman’s agent, Ernie Carswell. “If not, the discussion is more tense and the client may not see the need for appearance enhancement.”
In Los Angeles’ hot market, staging costs sometimes hit six-figure territory: “an absolute fortune,” says Juliette Hohnen of Douglas Elliman. Notes Lavey, “For an average home size of around 3,000 to 4,000 square feet with four bedrooms and outdoor living space, we generally see that high-end businesses charge between $ 40,000 and $ 60,000, and this can vary depending on the particular needs of the property. . We have had large properties in a significant area that exceed $ 100,000 ”.
David Berg of Smith & Berg Partners of Compass recently sold a home in Santa Monica where costs to give the property a fresh look totaled $ 88,000, with $ 20,000 for assembly, $ 45,000 for interior and exterior painting, and $ 18,000 for new landscaping. . Before “cleaning it up,” Berg says, he estimated that the home could sell for just under $ 5 million. After the quick remodel, the home was listed at $ 5.7 million and sold for $ 5.85 million. “And we had multiple offers,” says Berg. In select cases, agents will cover the costs of staging a vendor, money that is returned in escrow.
In addition to all of this, real estate agents can also play an important role in the style of a home. “The reality is more [buyers] They are not looking at the house, they are looking at the furniture, ”says Hohnen. A fan of mood boards and custom pink toilet paper, Hohnen is wary of the growing over-reliance on stage actors.
“I think you have to bring more than just calling a set designer,” he says. “There is an agent that I will not name, but he does not have, say, a great sense of style. And she can wear the same stagers as me and she’ll look like complete shit. “
Hollywood styleAdair Curtis, an interior designer and set designer whose clients include Dulé Hill and Ava DuVernay, adds that it’s not just the images that seal a sale: “It’s definitely a curation for sound, scent and texture. That’s the only way it doesn’t feel like a mausoleum or a museum. You need to make someone feel like, ‘Actually, I could really live here. This feels really good. ‘ “
This story first appeared in the December 1 issue of Newzpanda magazine. Click here for subscribe.