Staging Sells Faster: Interview with Kim McCarl – Director of Luxury Home Marketing at Northrop Realty
By Kiki Boswell, Social Media Strategist at Northrop Realty
When asked about one thing she wished people knew about staging, Kim McCarl, Director of Luxury Home Marketing at Northrop Realty, simply stated: “It really works.”
Kim is a licensed interior designer, licensed real estate agent, and has her Masters degree in Architecture from the Catholic University’s School of Architecture and Engineering. She taught interior design at the college level, and now is responsible for preparing high-end, luxury properties for Northrop Realty, using customized marketing strategies and professional staging.
We sat down with Kim to learn more about how staging works, when it’s recommended, and even how new technology brings it to life virtually for Northrop Realty clients.
What’s something you wish more people knew about staging?
“I could tell people statistics all day long, but it’s still a matter of people knowing how well it works. It really works.”
When staging a property that had recently struggled to sell, Kim recommended that the lower-level mini-theater be dismantled and staged as a bedroom. “I knew we could take the room further. Essentially, we took everything out, turned it into a bedroom, and it sold the first weekend.”
When she returned to the home to pick up her staging accessories, the sellers told her that she had made a huge difference, and aided tremendously in a fast sale. “Have trust in your stager,” she says, “an easy fix that doesn’t require any purchases can make all the difference!”
What sets Northrop Realty’s luxury staging apart?
“First of all, we have a ‘whatever it takes’ approach. Every luxury property is totally unique and complex, and requires creativity at a high level.”
Kim notes that Northrop Realty brings resources, high quality photos, technology, and expertise to the table. “We offer a frictionless experience.” A huge part of that experience is thanks to our teamwork. “We have an unparalleled team of people. From our marketing department, client care coordinators, and beyond — very few brokerages have this kind of expertise in house.”
How has the current health crisis affected staging?
“With COVID, many luxury sellers are ready to sell but don’t want to be physically involved in the process, and want to hand us the keys.”
Kim’s no stranger to this level of trust from a seller. Recently, she staged a luxury property on the Eastern Shore with only phone and email conversations with the seller. She prepared every detail, hiring organizers & movers, and coordinating the finished process, without ever meeting the seller in person. That property sold quickly. “I got a really lovely note from her by mail stating we’d exceeded her expectations!”
How did she exceed expectations in such a unique, socially-distanced transaction? “It comes down to knowing more and doing more. We know what to do and how to do it so that the sellers don’t have to.”
How does new technology play a role in what you do?
Our CEO, Creig Northrop, encourages the entire company to grow in the area of technology, and staging is included. “I’m very comfortable with 3D tours, fusion photography, video, and aerial photography,” Kim explains, “We’ve been doing that for a while, even before COVID made it a necessity.” Now, she incorporates virtual staging, virtual open house walk-throughs, and more.Using a tablet with augmented reality & illustration apps, Kim is able to virtually stage with her clients without meeting in person. “It’s very experienical and participatory. It’s fun, and it enhances what we do with luxury properties.”
Can you tell us more about virtual staging options?
Up until recently, Kim had been doing her own virtually staging when a property is completely vacant. Now, if she sees a listing with just a few empty spaces, she likes to “equalize” the rooms using technology. “I’ll virtually stage those vacant rooms to enhance the overall virtual tour.” She can change bedding or drapery in a computer program, or stage an entire property virtually. Using a hybrid model of real & virtual staging, she sees a lot of results for sellers.
“I can put a few accessories, like a bowl of lemons on the counter, a crisp towel in the bathroom, in the property in real life. Then I’ll go in on my computer and virtually stage more of the space. A pop of reality helps. Mixing virtual staging with real-life staging helps us in online virtual tours, and in real-life open houses.”
Do you recommend staging for most listings?
“Yes! Always. It doesn’t matter if a property is a showpiece of interior design or not. I tell people that the goal of staging is to minimize distractions and maximize features.”
Kim calls back to the mini-theater being transformed into a bedroom. “We have to flip that on its head, and create windows of desire, showing people what to do with the space.”
Sometimes it’s not even necessary to stage a room fully. By using just a few pieces, Kim can transform a room into a ‘vignette’, a suggestion of use. “We might put two wine glasses in between two adirondack chairs, creating a feeling that people can resonate with.”
Are you interested in seeing how our professional staging could help your home sell faster? Learn more about staging and selling with Northrop Realty HERE: https://www.northroprealty.com/selling.php