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Stage Right: Why Full-On Home Staging is Important to Any Successful Sale and How Kevin+Jonathan’s Final Detailing and Marketing is Vital to It

Property staging’s purpose is to wow and inspire buyers into action. It’s aspirational, emotional and absolutely essential. 

A good stager’s art will capture and appeal to the best possible buyers on a visual, visceral and emotional level. Sure, hiring a gifted designer and stager to transform your vacant property may be expensive but it is an essential ingredient in showing people how they can live differently and better than they do now. We cannot underscore how important it is. 

To forgo staging will run the risk of costing far more than staging would have been. Skipping staging usually results in a diminished sale price.

We have worked — and work— with many of San Francisco’s best stagers and designers. Three of our favorites are featured here. We collaborate with them on paint colors, art, furniture pieces and then add our own personal touches like fresh flowers, scented candles and high-end accessories too. 


One Staging War Story: It Takes a Village (Or a Small Fleet of Trucks)

Even the best of them have an ‘off-day.’ We’re here to fix those so that our clients’ properties shine

One of our more memorable sales that set a high-water mark for Noe Valley was also one where we had a tight two-day timeline to have the stagers complete a 2-month preparation process with their furniture, art and accessories. We had just 2 days before Vanguard Properties’ noted photographer was due to shoot the property for our marketing collateral and property photos.

It was a firm deadline.

So, when we came to check and see what was going on we saw that something was awry. Our stager’s usual aesthetic — professional and polished — was replaced by some New Mexico pueblo jamboree. The stagers had done an entire day’s work and it wasn’t pretty. It was pretty scary actually.  So, despite the late hour, we took action and politely (but firmly) reminded the stagers that this wasn’t the look our properties are known for and that the property’s then current look wasn’t up to even their own standards and was something that had to be fixed within 24 hours or else we’d miss this critical weekend. 

One note: the sellers who had quietly came to preview the work after we did had a little bit of a micromanaging streak told us later that they weren’t worried as they knew we’d handle it but the look was otherwise “terrible.”  

Back to the story: the next day, we returned to the property and we saw 4 large moving trucks parked in front of the house and about 50 people running in and out of the property with furniture going in and coming out. 

And, when it was all said and done by the end of the day, there was only one piece of furniture left in the house from the day before and it looked how it should have looked — stunning. 

After the panic, our photographer came, our plants were put in along with flowers and candles and we got back on track and debuted on time.

What was the result? Neighbors, agents and buyers alike loved the property and said it was fantastic, charming and great. What’s more is that seven sets of buyers thought so too as seven offers came in with the winning one being $300,000+ above the sellers’ initial expectations, which was $200,000 above an early preemptive offer before the marketing plan was put into effect.

R E A L  W O R L D  E X P E R I E N C E 

One thing I learned is that there is absolutely no value in using your own furniture to stage a property.

— Seller who (eventually) sold their property after a few revisions to the staging 

Staging a home for sale is as essential as it is potentially extraordinary. While staging has become the norm, proper staging that pays attention to a property’s best attributes has the ability to transform a mediocre property into one that gets top dollar. 

Don’t Let This Be You: 

“Oh, I don’t need to stage my house as I don’t play those games,” said one would-be seller. “It’s all a joke and a sham.”  

Outcome: That would-be seller’s property never sold. 


Examples From Our Favorite San Francisco Stagers


Arthur McLaughlin


396 Guerrero

Elegantly Updated Mission Dolores Perch

(Listed + Sold, April 2017)


Stager: Birch + Tailor

241 Judson

Sunny Sunnyside House 

(Listed + Sold, March 2016)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: Birch + Tailor

60 Danvers 

Updated Castro/Eureka Condominium 

(Listed + Sold, August 2017)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: Birch + Tailor

JV Staging

375 15th Avenue

Sunny + Updated Richmond Condo 

(Listed + Sold within 7 days, May 2017)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: JV Staging

JV Staging

140 S. Van Ness, No. 1022 

Sunny Inner Mission Condo 

(Listed + Sold, October 2016)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: JV Staging

1669 Grove 

NoPa Top-Floor Victorian  

(Listed + Sold, July 2016)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: JV Staging

2346 18th Avenue 

Inner Parkside Impeccable Home  

(Listed + Sold in 10 days, May 2017)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: JV Staging

374 Prague 

Surprising + Updated Excelsior Home  

(Listed + Sold, February 2017)

 Sold For Over Asking

Stager: JV Staging

Arthur McLaughlin

1617 Church 

Noe Valley Charmer  

(Listed + Sold, May 2015)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: Arthur McLaughlin

Movie: With Mr. Raffi

175 Bluxome, No. 327 

Rebooted SoMa Loft  

(Listed + Sold, June 2015)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: Arthur McLaughlin

Movie: With Mr. Raffi

913 Central 

Luxe Garden Condominium  

(Listed + Sold, June 2016)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: Arthur McLaughlin

436 30th Street 

Chic Noe Valley Condominium  

(Listed + Sold, June 2016)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: Arthur McLaughlin

8 Octavia, No. 304 

Hayes Valley Modern Living  

(Listed + Sold, March 2017)

Sold For Over Asking

Stager: Arthur McLaughlin

Which one did you like?

Take a look at some feedback about stagers and how we interact with them

Seller Feedback on How We Interact with Stagers: 

We were very happy with Kevin as our buying agent when we bought our Noe Valley house. We got a great house in a great neighborhood and we weren’t even the highest bidders at the time.

When it came time to sell, however, we didn’t know how it would go with Kevin and Jonathan because we only worked with them as buying agents. But as soon as we told them we wanted to sell our house they started working on it right away even though our sale was 5 months away. They worked with us, our constraints and schedules to come up with plans, options and directions on how to make the house even more appealing.

We were skeptical at some of the suggestions at first and their insistence that we go to market because we had unsolicited offers that were very tempting. We chose to go ahead and place our faith in Kevin and Jonathan and we’re glad that we did.

They took care of issues that came up (like the stager’s weird choices the first day they were there) and went out of their way by doing things like talking with us about questions we had late into the night, getting supplies for the house and giving us their opinions and advice on how to complete disclosure materials. Kevin and Jonathan were engaged with us and selling our home every day, which helped the process tremendously. Kevin and Jonathan’s work ethic and dedication is bolstered by their sense of design and style. They turned our charming home into a sophisticated and elegant house you’d see in a catalog.    

Selling a house can be a long and intense process that can be frustrating at times but the results we got from Kevin and Jonathan’s patience, creativity and hard work beat our expectations by a long shot.

— More-than-Satisfied Noe Valley Sellers

Client Feedback on Stagers We Work With:

Kevin and Jonathan were our listing agents for selling our Sunnyside home. He immediately saw the potential with our property and laid out an ambitious yet affordable plan to best ready the house for sale. From construction to staging, Kevin’s contacts were trustworthy and competent. The house was finished on deadline and never looked better.

— Sunnyside Seller


True Professional Feedback:

It was nice meeting you both on Saturday PM at your open house…

I must say that your entire property from stem to stern, showed Spectacular!  Was it staged, or were the furnishings the Seller’s?  In any event, everything was extremely well balanced – the pictures, art work, mirrors, window treatments, lighting fixtures, interior & exterior paint jobs, back yard, and the total ambiance that the two of you created in your presence with your cordiality & friendly personalities, made this one of the best open house presentations that I have ever experienced in 40 years as a Realtor!

Needless to say, your asking price is perfectly priced and it is most likely that you will receive multiple offers!  (*Although I do not have any buyers, would you kindly inform me of your final sales price?)

All the best to you both!

— Long-time Noe Valley Realtor


Vanguard Properties believes information to be correct but has not verified this information and assumes no legal responsibility for its accuracy. Buyers should investigate the property and any issues or questions to their own satisfaction before proceeding with a purchase.

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Kevin K. Ho, Esq. + Jonathan B McNarry
San Francisco Real Estate Experts
+1-415.297-7462 (Kevin)
+1-415.215.4393 (Jonathan)
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