St Augustine, St Johns County Real Estate & Home Staging


Liquid Equity - What changes a little bit of paint can create!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  When you are listing your photos in MLS, maybe that should be a thousand dollars! 

The before photos are from a home that was 'completely renovated' and listed by an investor.  The home was just completed and the investor was looking for an 'edge' in this market.  The first thing we noted was that the cabinets still felt dated.  The rest of the home looked fresh and new, but this area was still a sizable problem.  Paint was the cure....




The cost for this makeover?  Less than $1500 (and included the master & powder room cabinets as well).  The change will more than make up for the cost. 

While most of those of you who know me realize that I work primarily in vacant homes (as this one was) I think it is important to note that these are the kinds of changes that we should be making when staging homes.  Just adding furniture is not enough.  Our job is to create equity and value for our clients..... give the most bang for their buck!


 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 27 commentsMelissa Marro • February 22 2008 10:48PM


This is a great before and after  - sometimes it is just those little things that can make a big difference.  Congrats on this house  
Posted by Vincent McKamy, Realtor Fredericksburg Virginia (Samson Properties) about 11 years ago
Melissa, great post!  Thanks for the reminder, and you're so right it is often the little things that make a deal.
Posted by Tony & Darcy Cannon, The C Team (Aubrey and Associates Realty) about 11 years ago
Paint is so powerful... what an amazing transformation!
Posted by Lisa Sherman, Home Stager, Interior, Redesign & Decorating - Salem Oregon (Interior Aura) about 11 years ago
You did a good job Melissa. A few changes makes a world of difference. That home will bring in more money.
Posted by Maria Couto, Realtor with "Results That "MOVE" You' (RE/MAX Premier) about 11 years ago
Melissa- You really eliminated a huge eyesore! The afters are a huge improvement!
Posted by Elaine Manes Gage, Staging done ONLINE! (Home Staging Online Services) about 11 years ago


I love, love, love this! The key is proper prep and a really good paint job. This looks very professional.

Posted by Susan Peters, The Better it Looks the Better it Sells (Dove Realty Inc.) about 11 years ago

Wow, the paint really lightened up the kitchen!  Looks a lot more contemporary, nice visual improvement.

Posted by Deborah Burns ~ Seattle Real Estate Agent (Realty Executives -BRIO) about 11 years ago

Vincent - Thank you!  It was great working with an investor who actually listened!  What a difference it made....

Tony & Darcy - This is why it is important to bring in someone who knows which little things will add the most bang for the buck!

Lisa - What a true statement.  Paint IS POWER!


Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago

Maria - Now if we can get a quick sale... open house tomorrow!

Elaine - it was such a shame when they did such a good job updating the rest of the home.  I was so glad they agreed!

Susan - Thank you!  I'm sure my assistant (who did the painting work) will be happy to hear that!

Deborah - It is amazing when you are actually in the kitchen how much larger it feels!  (Cleaner too!)  I hope it gets a lot more activity for the seller.

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago

Melissa, I love your blogs and how easily your pictures make the point for staging.  It is remarkable!  You are the most successful blogger in SC, and I am nr. 2, right after you. 

I've enjoyed your blogs for a long time; I have no idea why I did not subscribe to your blog until now. 

Keep up the great work!  You are a pillar of your industry! 

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) about 11 years ago
What a difference that paint made. First I was in grandma's house, then this wonderful contemporary space. Since kitchens are high profile rooms, this should make a tremendous difference in a quicker sale of the property.
Posted by Janis Gaines, Home Stager Eugene OR - The Notably Well-Dressed H (Staging Sells Eugene Homes) about 11 years ago
What a difference....
Posted by Audrey Hoffman, VoteAudrey (VoteAudrey blog) about 11 years ago
Oh my gosh...those are the strangest looking cabinet doors I've ever seen (and I've seen some doozies)!  Thank goodness he painted them.  What a huge difference it made.
Posted by Judy Heinrich (Judy Heinrich Home Staging) about 11 years ago
I was noticing the odd doors too!  Real dust collectors I'm sure!  What a great improvement!! I find myself trying to share improvements not just staging all the time! Great Post and the best painted kitchen B&A's I've seen!
Posted by Becca Briggs about 11 years ago

Melissa...this is a fabulous post!  I just had a painter on the radio show with me yesterday and this was one of the things we easily and affordably you can wake up tired interiors with paint.  She shared a really great tip about primers.  For cabinets that are a pine finish...she suggested that you use a shilac based primer.  She said that the shilac will seal the wood so that you don't end up with any leakage from the sap that will eventually show through any applied paint.  I hadn't even given this a consideration.  The timing was perfect however since I am getting ready to paint over my own kitchen table.  I will be using her tip for sure! 

Thanks for another great post!  Loved the photos!


Posted by Gina McNew, Host of Diva in the House - The Voice of Real Estate Staging Radio (diva la difference interiors) about 11 years ago
BIG DIFFERENCE , they look so much better !
Posted by Fernando Rosado, 561-906-0050 or 561-840-8950 about 11 years ago

Mirela - Thank you for the wonderful compliment!  I hope you continue to enjoy my blogs!

Janis - I agree completely.  It is clearly an older neighborhood, but a great one.  The little bit of money in paint will definately set this home apart from the competition - and it is much less than a full kitchen remodel!

Audrey - Thank you!

Judy - It feels mroe like 'detail work' painted - before it was a little wagon wheel.....

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago

Becky & Nicole - The grease on the doors was actually far worse than the dust!  My assistant spent one full day doing nothing but scrubbing them clean!  Thank you for the wonderful compliments also!

Gina - YES!  We find that BIN has a great shellac based primer that we usually use.  It makes the work so much easier and ends up having a better finished look.  Good point!

Fernando - Thank you!

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago

Hi Melissa-

This looks much brighter, newer, and even the illusion of  more cabinet space! Cabinets really require professional painters to get the proper hard finish that will wear well and look good.  These look so much better, and kitchens are so important.


Posted by Kathy Riggle, Houston Home Staging (STAGING SMART N SOLD) about 11 years ago
Melissa,  I love the term "liquid equity" and will be using it from now on!  Another great post!
Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 11 years ago
Very nice, Melissa. Great call and an instant and affordable update!
Posted by Julianna Hind, REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA (eXp Realty) about 11 years ago

Kathy - I am fortunate that my assistant is great at being a perfectionist with this type of work!  That's why I let her do it!

Sharon - I think I actually got that from Lisa Laporta..... but it works, doesn't it?

Julianna - I'm hoping the home will sell quickly!  This is an investor property and we might be picking up another great constant business opportunity.  He definately agreed with what we were saying & feels we provided a good value. 

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago
That's quite a dramatic change! I like the phrase 'liquid equity' and will keep that in mind when I run into listing opportunities like this in the future.
Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) about 11 years ago
If I were to see this house on the mls, it would have been a next...looks so much better now!
Posted by Cindy Bryant, "Houston Home Staging Pros" (Redesign Etc. Home Staging) about 11 years ago

I am glad to hear the discussion about priming and proper preparation.  Too often, people just slap on some paint/any paint, and end up doing more harm than good. 

It is wonderful how a little well applied paint can change everything.

Posted by Laurie Logan, South Central WI Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty, Inc., Broker Associate) about 11 years ago
This is an amazing transformation.  Do you actually do the painting yourself as part of the staging or do you have the homeowner hire someone directly?
Posted by Diana Corcoran, Rhinebeck Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Hudson Valley Properties) about 11 years ago

John - GREAT!  I think it is important that when so much is right on the home to leave that 'one big thing' is just like leaving a stack of money on the table.....

Cindy - Thank you!  I just love the power of paint!

Laurie - Creating a quality job is very important to my company.  We spend very little money on marketing so we rely on word of mouth & referrals.  That only happens when you provide a quality job on a reasonable budget.

Diana - My assistant did the painting.  There are jobs that we hire outside painters to do - one this week actually, but most jobs my assistant can do for me.  She does a great job & I would usually rather pay her extra than an outside source....

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago

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