St Augustine, St Johns County Real Estate & Home Staging


Staging For Tomorrow’s Masters Of The Universe!

Jersey City has become one of New Jersey’s trendiest neighborhoods especially down by the water.  With views of the Manhattan skyline and convenient, regular ferry service to the World Financial Center, the target buyer for the gentrified townhouses and condos tends to be Wall Street Gods-In-Training and down-sizers looking to be closer to New York City’s cultural options without having to sacrifice the peace and calm of the suburbs.

Staging and Redesign Example

Lifestyle Tells

Since this townhouse had lots of stairs, Bernadette Flaim and Susan Corbo, of Attention2Detail, opted for a young professional couple or singlet as their target buyer and set out to create the perfect cocoon for a future “Masters of the Universe” titan. The house came with a boat slip and direct water views. It was also “fully lived in” and clearly out of date, with lots of brass and Lucite.

Not knowing exactly where the realtor was going to price the property, the team worked with the seller to upgrade the obvious things – fresh paint, stainless steel appliances, refinishing the wood floors and a new carpet on the 3rd floor in the media room. The kitchen was dated, but realistically, those guys don’t spend a lot of time cooking anyway. There’s not a lot of time for cooking in a 75 hour week!

Contemporary with a subtle use of color, Flaim and Corbo decided their buyer would need a place to chill more than party. In a business of first impressions, the Living Room was the room a buyer would see first:
Lifestyle Marketing

Lifestyle Marketing

Soothing greens, geometric shapes, strategic use of bright orange and a whimsical mirror – to perhaps advise no-one take themselves too seriously – this space scores just the right tune. The orange leads your eye to the WOOD FLOORS, the brick facades across the WATER VIEW and to the FIREPLACE.

How many times in marketing do we get told to show rather than tell?

Stager Training

Stager Training

Staging and Redesign

Notice what is NOT here: today’s ‘Wall Street Journal’, a calculator, movie posters of ‘Margin Call’, ‘Wall Street’, ‘The Boiler Room’…Adam Smith’s ‘The Wealth of Nations’ etc. Instead, you find a massive bed with 5-star hotel-style appointments and the subtle Greek God (David) with a stack of old books for provenance and portend.  Upstairs, the media room is now about cameras, sailing, spectacular and precious shells…many, many Wall Streeters head to the beach as soon as it’s warm, whether it’s for ‘Revenge’ in the Hamptons or ‘The Jersey Shore’.

And yet…

The VerdictThe home did not sell, so far. Instead, all the foreclosures and short sales sold all around it, almost as if this property showed what these types of homes could look like. It turns out the listing price was $150,000 over asking. A strategy the realtor had used to get the listing?  What the seller suddenly needed to get out of it to make him whole on his initial investment? Enthusiasm from the [dramatic, eye-popping] staging making them use New Construction as a comp?

As stagers, we are unlikely to know for sure.  But it does raise a controversial point that any seasoned stager knows: we have to be involved in the pricing discussion if our interpretation of “value” is to be of any worth.  There’s nothing wrong with aiming high on price, so long as everyone understands that in so doing the selling time will be longer. The staging contract has to last long enough for all the other homes on the market (including distressed properties) to sell first, and endure multiple price reductions, no matter how small or drastic (to counteract the length of Days On Market).

In this particular case, the home is now empty as the price adjusts. Never the best environment for any property to sell, least of all for someone who wants to “see” themselves starting on the stairway to heaven!

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Photography:  Ryan Damiano, Front Door Photography

This blog is a reprint from Staging And Redesign Training.  It has been copied with permission.  To view more staging and redesign blogs please visit their website,  Bernadette Flaim is an instructor for Staging & Redesign.  For more information or to be mentored/coached by Bernadette, please visit her page.


 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at, Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).


Comment balloon 5 commentsMelissa Marro • January 24 2012 04:46PM


Hi Melissa--I thought your staging was great--it even made the outdated kitchen acceptable.  Too bad it didn't sell, and that it did help all the foreclosures to sell.  That is the craziness of this market, isn't it?

Posted by Janet Jones, Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii (Just Your Style Interiors, LLC) over 8 years ago

It just goes to prove that pricing a home right is key! I have no doubt this property was like the "model" for the surrounding ones that were priced well below it, this unfortunately is not in our control but it is important to stress to sellers that no matter how great the house looks, price is still your biggest component for selling successfully.

Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, (Home Star Staging) over 8 years ago

Hi Janet - Bernadette Flaim and her partner Susan Corbo actually staged this, not me.  Bernadette is one of our staging instructors and we were featuring some of her work.

Karen - don't you hate it when that happens.

Sellers still need to realize that competition still requires a level of price committment even with beautiful staging work like this.  Agents need to be realistic with their clients on the results.

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 8 years ago

I try and tell clients and realtors all the time, that the home has to be priced right, that's why doing your research about other homes in the area is so important too.

Posted by Tori Toth, 888.667.6643 NYC & Beyond, HSR, SAR, RESA, LIBOR (Tori Toth, International) over 8 years ago
Tori - you are absolutely right. A great stage in an overpriced house is still an overpriced house.
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 8 years ago

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