How to Sell a Home within 10 Days in Any Market by Pat Kapowich #5 Staging with Art (Plus, an Article on Pat's Staging by Dana George)
Article on Pat's staging by real estate writer Dana George appeared in the Bay Area News Group newspapers:
There is something a bit unusual about Realtor Pat Kapowich of Sunnyvale. Whereas some real estate professionals would prefer to represent only high-end properties, Kapowich is drawn to Cinderella before the ball. Maybe it is the artist in him, but he looks right through the dust and grime of a tired old house and sees the beauty of what might be. Working with his clients, Kapowich cleans, polishes, and presents his listings as though they are one-of-a-kind.
And they are one-of-a-kind. Kapowich's homes are transformed from ordinary houses into art museums, from family homes to tranquil galleries. According to Kapowich, the reaction from buyers has been worthwhile, with homebuyers lingering to enjoy the artwork.
“In general, art has the ability to reach a lot of different kinds of people,” said Donna Napper, Curator and Director of Education at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.
Napper was surprised to hear of a Realtor who makes a practice of transforming ordinary homes into art galleries, but not surprised to learn that potential homebuyers seem taken with the art.
“People recognize a subject matter – maybe it’s a landscape or something from nature – and that subject matter is meaningful to them. They may respond to a particular pattern or color that triggers a memory of something pleasurable in their life,” Napper said.
Although an appreciation for art is considered universal, Napper believes that a person’s reaction to art is intensely personal. Knowing that another human created those brush strokes or molded that piece of pottery with his own hands creates a kind of connectedness between artist and observer.
“Art is something that elicits a range of emotions and causes people to feel a certain way about a particular object,” she said. “Our lives are fast paced and art causes us to stop and look, it slows us down a bit.”
Leland Wardell of San Jose was one of the executors of his father’s estate. When it came time to sell the family home, Wardell says that Kapowich worked hard to keep him and his seven siblings on the same page.
Wardell says that no matter how sticky a situation became or how many different opinions were voiced, Kapowich retained his good nature and patience. By the time the Realtor suggested that the house be emptied of everything but a dining room table and filled with gallery-worthy art, the entire family was in agreement.
In fact, they were all on board when Kapowich found a contractor to take care of all those minor fixes that are sometimes put on a back burner. While the current market allows for even the most dilapidated house to receive a purchase offer, Kapowich says that "his families" deserve more than a standard offer. He wants buyers to be so moved by the atmosphere of his homes that they are inspired to pay top dollar.
Statistics tracking Kapowich’s sales seem to bear out the fact that those art-filled properties sell shortly after going on the market, and regularly fetch higher than asking price.
Napper is not surprised. She says that just as visitors to the contemporary art museum light up at the sight of a particular display, so must home buyers as they view a piece of art that resonates with them. According to Napper, it does not matter where the art is found. “It’s the experience they want.”
Another seller who experienced Kapowich’s unusual art-inspired staging technique is Sue Warren. Warren lives in New Jersey so when it came time to sell the family home in San Jose she depended upon a recommendation to work with Kapowich. Asked if she was nervous about working with a Realtor 3,000 miles away, she insists that it was as easy as a home sale could possibly be.
"Thankfully Pat went above and beyond the call of duty. He did everything from painting to cleaning, anything it took to make it look like a show house."
Because no one from Warren's family could be present to help, Kapowich enlisted the help of his own family to clean a backyard that looked a bit like the Serengeti, get rid of years of junk and debris, and paint walls a modern, soothing shade. He changed out stained wall plate covers, and made sure small things like doorknobs and hinges were bright and shiny. He also placed art in unexpected places like closet shelves.
From the time he came on board to the time the home was sold, Warren said that Kapowich provided Warren and her sister with photos of what was being done and kept them in the loop as to what was going to happen next. Warren says that both she and her sister were thrilled with how the house looked filled with nothing but artwork.
The only piece of traditional furniture that remains in most of Kapowich’s listings is a dining table, and with good reason. It is at that table that Kapowich requests buyer's agents present purchase offers in person. It may seem out-of-date, but the practice demands the kind of personal service that Kapowich says he lives for, providing old-fashioned service in a high-tech world.
It is also on that table that a binder filled with pre-inspections is available for potential buyers to view. Everything is there, from top-to-bottom inspections of the home to certifications that the house is in good shape. Kapowich considers them vital to a buyer’s peace-of-mind.
As for the fact that their homes were transformed from everyday houses into art galleries, Warren and Wardell are both big fans. With every nook and cranny of the house attended to, including now-hip looking garages, they were keenly aware that their properties were unlike anything else on the market.
Though he recalls it feeling odd to walk into his parent's home and see empty space, Wardell summed up his feelings by saying, "I think Pats technique worked. The house showed as very spacious, and even the website pictures made it stand out."
The idea, as Kapowich sees it, is to “light up people’s brains” as they tour rooms filled with art. He knows that home sales will come, but in the meantime he is able to spread a little art.
Staging with Art
Now, instead of staging with furniture, what if I turn the house, townhouse or condo into an art gallery? The footprint of rented furniture takes up valuable square footage as well as removes the almighty and never discussed - cubic feet. Replacing the furniture with art makes a room appear dramatically larger and considerably more beautiful.
However, if the seller client(s) prefers furniture for staging, no problem! We have the best stager in town.
~ Before ~
~ During ~
~ After ~
Professional Photo by Pat Kapowich's Videographer
Artist Rendering for every Property!
Pat Kapowich, REALTOR®
A Trusted Name in Silicon Valley since 1960.
A Respected Name in Real Estate since 1988.
In 2014, Pat was named the 2013 Santa Clara County Association of Realtors “President’s Choice” Award Winner. “For demonstrating the principles of good real estate practice among brokers; for promoting and protecting home ownership and property rights for all; and for distinguished service to the members of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and the community at large.”
Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager
ABR, CRS, GRI & SRES
Kapowich Real Estate
Broker License # 00979413
“Negotiating Smooth Transactions throughout Silicon Valley since 1988”
2015 Question on the Internet and my response:
We backed out of a home before due diligence was up and asked for our earnest money back, but we never had a agent so we signed a paper to only represent ourselves but now the sellers agent says we owe him $960 for his time we never signed a contract for him to represent us too can he do that?
A: If a seller’s agent tried that in Silicon Valley, he or she would be the talk of the town.
Asking a buyer for compensation after they cancelled a sale in a dual agency situation is ~ cringe-worthy. It is always best for agents to remain upbeat during a cancellation as during contract ratification. Classy behavior sets the stage for everyone to be in a better mindset, especially when one needs to turnaround do business with a new set of players.