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Real Estate Illusionists  Stagers Johnathan Miller and Tori Toth know how to make homebuyers imagine themselves in your space  by  Susan Winiecki   June 24, 2019  8:25 AM

Real Estate Illusionists

Stagers Johnathan Miller and Tori Toth know how to make homebuyers imagine themselves in your space

by Susan Winiecki

June 24, 2019

8:25 AM

Home stager Johnathan Miller in his warehouse (Photo by Ash Daniel)    Real Estate Illusionists  Stagers Johnathan Miller and Tori Toth know how to make homebuyers imagine themselves in your space  by  Susan Winiecki   June 24, 2019  8:25 AM

Home stager Johnathan Miller in his warehouse (Photo by Ash Daniel)

Real Estate Illusionists

Stagers Johnathan Miller and Tori Toth know how to make homebuyers imagine themselves in your space

by Susan Winiecki

June 24, 2019

8:25 AM

Many younger buyers today really don’t want fixer-uppers, says stager Johnathan Miller, who founded Richmond-based Jsquared Interior Staging and Design in 2011. They want homes to be move-in ready and pretty from the get-go, so they can then enjoy their next experience — a trip to Bali or somewhere tropical.

Miller shared that insight during a recent talk at the Bridget Beari Home Store with the newest stager on his team, Tori Toth, who recently moved to Richmond from New York. “You stage yourself to go out in the world for the day, so you want to stage your home, too,” Miller told the gathered group.

Miller and Toth spend some of their time convincing sellers that most of their possessions need to leave the scene before their first open house. “Ninety percent of the resales we do means their furniture comes out,” Miller says. “I tell sellers it will help them disconnect from the house, and it’s a way to pre-pack,” Toth adds. And, not to mention, staged homes sell faster. According to realtor.com, staged homes sell 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more.

Since January, when Toth came aboard, many of their staged homes have sold from within 24 hours to a week, Miller says. Last year, Jsquared staged 226 homes with the firm’s furniture and accessories. “We like to make the marketing job easier for the agent,” Miller says.

Toth and Miller use a three-step process:

Depersonalizing first. Yes, you have memories with this property, but you can take those memories with you in your head. No headshots of family members, but lifestyle shots are fine, such as pictures at the beach or while sailing.

Focusing on traffic flow in every room. Overstuffed rooms do not sell.

Incorporating emotional connection points for your potential buyer by creating vignettes around the home that tell a story. If there is an extra bedroom, for example, set it up as an office or nursery, depending on the demographics of the buyers that the home will attract.

“The key words are light, right, airy and spacious,” Toth says. “We do place things strategically, and I try to direct a buyer’s eye to the focal points. ... It really is an illusion.”

“Everyone wants to have a lifestyle seen on reality shows with a white sofa — that daydream moment,” Miller says. “They want to be able to live that way.”

The firm offers three fee-based packages, based on square footage, with a two-room minimum. Sellers and real estate agents can start the staging process online with the firm. “An agent or homeowner can email me photos, and I can give them a quote within 24 hours,” Miller says.

Pro Staging Tips

  • Benjamin Moore’s Infinity in bedrooms is a great blue/gray.

  • Try to use a multi-tonal color when painting. Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter is another great neutral because it has a little bit of gray and a little bit of beige.

  • The kitchen and a luxurious master bedroom are key spots in the home. “No one wants to make a bed with so many pillows like I do, but you do want to jump into it,” Miller says.

real estate Real Estate Guide 2019

by Susan Winiecki

June 24, 2019

8:25 AM

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