Home Staging business is first for Slidell area

Editor March 2, 2017 Comments Off on Home Staging business is first for Slidell area
Home Staging business is first for Slidell area

By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau

SLIDELL – Michelle Cook has a simple comment to explain her new business: Home Staging and Design by Michelle Cook.
“Staged homes sell quicker and for more money.”
Cook has been a top Slidell-area real estate agent for over 23 years, a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Club, and has earned the Gold Award for top sales in 20 of her 23 years.
But early in her real estate career she quickly learned something.
“If a home is not staged properly to look its best you will quickly lose an opportunity to sell it.
“When you don’t sell it quickly the homeowner begins to lower the price. That can cost thousands of dollars to a homeowner, and also cost commission for an agent who is trying to get it sold,” she said.
Cook said she began staging homes herself in the early years of her real estate career. The result?
“I was selling homes quickly and always getting top dollar since we didn’t reduce the price of a home that wasn’t getting an offer,” she explained.
As the years went by she began to purchase furniture and décor simply to improve the look of a home she had listed. Now she has accumulated enough furniture and décor to stage up to three vacant homes.
“I keep a lot of it in a 2,000 square foot warehouse,” she said.
She has opened a storefront for Home Staging & Design to display some of the furniture and décor a homeowner can use.
Cook offers three ways her expertise in the field can be utilized. A homeowner can hire Cook by the hour to rearrange their own furniture and décor, they can use their own furniture with a few items from Cook, or she can completely stage a vacant home.
“As far as I know this business is a first for Slidell,” she said. “But staging is getting to be very popular since HGTV does a lot of home improvement shows and is promoting the value in staging.”
“I really want to help agents sell their homes faster, and I want to help homeowners sell their homes for top dollar,” she said. “Staging absolutely helps a home sell faster.”
Cook is originally from Chalmette and worked as a Human Resources Coordinator for 15 years. As a single mother of two she was interested in a way to better support her family and decided to try real estate in 1994. After a year in Metairie where she had barely started a girlfriend recommended trying the North Shore market.
“I moved to Slidell and have been doing great in real estate ever since,” Cook said.
As a real estate agent she believes the key to her success has been outstanding customer service.
“I knew I had to be successful so from the beginning I did everything I could to help my clients. I came up with a slogan that said ‘At your service every step of the way,’ And I really mean that. I will do anything to help your house sell,” she said.
And along that way she discovered how much she could improve a home sale situation by staging the furniture.
“I had a home recently where they had a beautiful fireplace, but they had their living room furniture blocking it, so we rearranged things to highlight the fireplace,” she said. “I do believe I have a natural talent to see how a home needs to look so it will be warm and attractive to a prospective buyer.”
While she certainly still loves the real estate business and is not backing off that at all, she said that home staging is something she always loved.
“There is something about doing this, finding great items for homes, rearranging things to look better—I enjoy doing it and to start this new business is like a dream come true for me,” she said.
“Real estate has always been rewarding since it feels so good to sit at a closing and hand someone the keys to the house of their dreams,” she added. “And now with the Home Staging business I can do even more for my listings, or those of other agents.”
Cook is available by appointment by calling 985-960-0347.
“When you list a house you want it to feel warm and fuzzy when someone sees it online, or they walk in the door,” she said. “If it doesn’t have that feel, you immediately lose the chance to sell it.
“Home staging makes sure the potential buyer gets that feeling and it positively improves the chances to sell a home for top dollar, and sell it quicker,” Cook said.
Some of her work can be seen online at homestagingbymichellecook.com.

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