“It makes the property sell better. You get more offers and a higher price.” That’s how Elisa and Brandon Macomber describe the Showhomes Santa Fe advantage. They started the local franchise of the Nashville-based Showhomes in 2016, three years after moving to Santa Fe from the New York-Massachusetts area.

The company’s forte is helping sellers prepare their homes for the market. The Santa Fe branch does that very well. Elisa Macomber said it’s the smallest Showhomes territory, but it beat out franchises in Chicago, San Diego, and Miami in some of the company’s recent annual awards.

“We found out at our Showhomes conference this week that we won Best of Design in Vacant Home Staging,” she said on Aug. 4. “The house that we submitted for consideration was a Las Campanas house listed by Laurie Farber Condon late last year.”

That was just one of four awards. Showhomes Santa Fe also took the top spot for Fastest Average Sell Time, won a Revenue Star award for success in achieving yearly revenue goals, and won a Circle of Excellence award, which is based on reviews from customers, “and we get ‘secret shopped’ a few times per year, to ensure that we keep our standards high for customer service,” Macomber said.

She is the company’s principal stager, the visionary, while her husband focuses on financials and management. Asked for a statement of her design philosophy, Elisa said, “We use proven, results-oriented staging strategies in our staged homes to create a feeling of home and to enhance the architectural features and focal points with neutral colors, textures, and styles to attract buyers.

“An eye for design is crucial, of course, because we need to be able to work with several homes style-wise (traditional, soft contemporary, rustic, mid-century modern, etc.), in a quick and short period of time with a cohesive blend of on-trend furniture and decor without making it look choppy or out of place. The ‘less is more’ term, as cliche as it may be, applies so well in staging because buyers seek a feeling of home without an overwhelming amount of furniture, decor and personal effects.

“Buyers are seeking something better than what they had before,” Macomber said. “They are ‘shopping’ for the house, visualizing themselves living there with their own furniture, and the correct staging can fill in those gaps by showing the true size of a king bed (or queen) in a bedroom, sofa, or dining table that would be close to their own, in perception and size, all while keeping in touch with what is current and trending.”

Staging shouldn’t be too quirky, because the seller is trying to interest the broadest spectrum of potential buyers. Macomber said symmetry is often a vital element in her staging projects because it creates a cleaner look; it’s “more appealing and gentler on the eyes and our minds.”

For instance, a large bed should have two nightstands and two lamps for optimal balance. “Some console tables look best with two lamps, but then again, sometimes a large lamp on one side with something else on the other side might shake it up visually and it can work well. It’s all about making it look balanced visually,” she said.

Showhomes Santa Fe has a variety of services, including full-house staging. But, more often, the seller pays to accent focal points of the home. The company offers three options in a range of prices and square footage. The most popular is “impact staging” in the master bedroom. Almost as common are focus jobs in the front entry, the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen — rooms that potential buyers see when they first walk in the house.

The Macombers know that first impressions are most important.

Staging should agree with the basic style of the house, whether that’s traditional (Santa Fe Style), contemporary, or the blend that’s often called “transitional” or “soft contemporary.”

“We stage to fit the house’s style, while keeping it on-trend and updated, and while we may be best known for our contemporary and transitional style in most of our homes, we also stage traditional homes,” Elisa Macomber said. “A good stager will have inventory of all kinds in terms of furniture and decor styles, from a warm tobacco-brown-colored leather Restoration Hardware Chesterfield sofa to a deep charcoal ultra-modern sleek Four Hands daybed.

“Sellers often think a traditional style will only work in a traditional house; this is so far from the truth. If you are good, you can do it all.”

According to Macomber, it makes as much sense to stage a home in COVID times as ever. “Even in a hot market and buyers buying houses via video walkthroughs and pictures, staging helps buyers to really see how they could live there and create a feeling of home even when not seeing it in person.”

See www.showhomessantafe.com for more information.

Writer/Editor of Real Estate Guide

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