Why It Makes Sense to Spend $ 100,000 on a Los Angeles Home Staging – The Hollywood Reporter

The story is staging legend. In 1998, Meridith Bär, a former actress, decorated a friend’s house that had been sitting in the market. It was sold to a Hollywood executive in a matter of days, and other real estate agents were soon knocking on the door. Baer rented a moving truck and storage room and founded what would later become the Meridith Baer Home, bringing high-end staging to Los Angeles.

Almost 25 years later, the “OG der Staging” is still in business (with inventory on 350,000 square meters of storage space) as their field is getting more and more crowded. “I love the competition. I love to see other people out there and see what other people are doing, ”says Baer, ​​whose clients include Halle Berry and Harrison Ford.

Many real estate agents and developers today partner with arch-rival Vesta, the staging company founded in 2016 by Baer’s nephew and niece Jamie Morse and Brett Baer (resulting in a family feud that continues to this day). “Vesta is very versatile,” says Douglas Elliman’s agent Cory Weiss, “and they assign you a designer that you think will fit.”

Million Dollar Listing LA star and Douglas Elliman agent Tracy Tutor likes Vesta for its quick results. She credits the company for remodeling the Laurel Canyon home owned by Gleb Savchenko of Dancing With the Stars and ex-wife Elena Samodanova within a week after it was ransacked by tenants. The house was sold with multiple offers within four days.

That speed is possible thanks to Vesta’s vast warehouse in Vernon, California, its team of 25 designers, and a serious investment in innovative technology. “Our designers can create a $ 30 million house while they sit by their pool,” says Brett Baer. “You drag and drop all the furniture that we have in our system, like an online shopping cart.” Vesta has also brought a furnishing brand onto the market. “Customers buy furniture that they see in our stage projects,” explains Vesta CEO Julian Buckner.

From left: Previously shot of 12,000 square foot home in Santa Monica that was decorated by ASH Staging. The same residence after it was staged.
Courtesy of Ash staging; Christian Harder

Recently, an ultra-luxury competitor, ASH Staging, stepped onto LA. A branch of ASH NY (honored by Architectural Digest as an AD100 design company), on-demand service focuses on exquisite details from blue-chip art to custom lighting.

“Historically, the staging has always avoided the personal note and the location-specific in favor of one that appeals to a wide audience. Of course it’s important to reach out to the market, but our ethos is much more about finding out what the real soul of a space is, “says Andrew Bowen, ASH NYC Partner and Director of Staging.

That year ASH staged a house on S. Hudson Ave. 184 in Hancock Park and turned an outdated wine bar into a nursery. The property, which was in the market for two years, sold for $ 13.8 million in July, the highest sales in the neighborhood that year.

Success stories like this have made it easier for agents to convince salespeople to invest in staging. “I think the culture is changing when it comes to selling a property,” says Eric Lavey, agent for Sotheby’s International Realty. “When I started 17 years ago, it was very rare for a customer to say yes to the production.”

But the staging can still be hard to sell. “It depends on the seller’s mindset – if he understands the principle of attracting the most buyers and getting more offers for his property, then they get into conversation and ask their agent to make recommendations or improve the appearance of the property. “Says Douglas Elliman’s agent Ernie Carswell. “If not, the discussion is more tense and the customer may not see the need to improve the appearance.”

In the hot LA market, the cost of staging is sometimes in the six-figure range – “an absolute fortune,” says Juliette Hohnen of Douglas Elliman. Lavey notes, “For an average home size of roughly 3,000 to 4,000 square feet with four bedrooms and an outdoor living area, we see that the top-end companies typically charge between $ 40,000 and $ 60,000 – and this can vary depending on your specific needs the property vary. We had large lots with sizable land that was well over $ 100,000. “

Lazy loaded image

Meridith Baer Home tricked this home office in a villa in Bel Air. “The warm brass and walnut tones of the bookcases compliment the marble fireplace, while the neutral soft upholstery provides the homeowner with a place to relax and check email,” says Baer.
Courtesy of Meridith Baer

David Berg of Smith & Berg Partners of Compass recently sold a home in Santa Monica at a cost of $ 88,000, including $ 20,000 for staging, $ 45,000 for interior and exterior painting, and $ 18,000 for Dollars for new landscaping. Before “cleaning up,” Berg said, he estimated the house could sell for a little less than $ 5 million. After the quick makeover, the home was listed at $ 5.7 million and sold for $ 5.85 million. “And we had several offers,” says Berg. In select cases, agents will bill a seller for the cost of providing it, money that is repaid in trust.

Additionally, real estate agents can have a huge stake in the design of a home. “Reality is the most [buyers] don’t look at the house, they look at the furniture, ”says Hohnen. A fan of mood boards and custom pink toilet paper, Hohnen is suspicious of agents’ increasing reliance on stages.

“I think you have to bring something more with you than just calling a stager,” she says. “There’s one agent I don’t want to name, but he doesn’t have, let’s say, a great sense of style. And she can use the same stageers as I do, and it looks like shit. “

Styling Adair Curtis of Hollywood, an interior and set designer whose clients include Dulé Hill and Ava DuVernay, adds that it’s not just looks that seal a sale: “It’s definitely a curation for sound, scent and texture. Just like that, it doesn’t feel like a mausoleum or a museum. You have to get someone to think, ‘Actually, I could really live here. That feels really good. “”

This story first appeared in the December 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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