Every once in awhile you come across a person that you just know is going to be successful.
When I first met Eugene Mezini I emailed the broker owner of the Remax Premier brokerage in Vaughan where we have our offices indicating that he might want to keep his eye on this young man. There was just something about him that made you like him right away.Plus, he was sharp and quick minded. You could see the wheels turning in his mind as soon as he earned his real estate license. He had a plan and he was going to work it. Unknown to me at the time, the broker knew who Eugene was as he had recruited Eugene himself. He must have got a chuckle out of my email.
I approached Eugene to see if he would like to include home staging in the marketing plan for his listings. He explained to me that because of his young age, he felt he would serve his age demographic best as he knew their aspirations and trials in getting a start in life. Eugene started his real estate career by concentrating on the downtown Toronto condo market. Needless to say, within a few short months he has closed more contracts than most agents do in a whole year.
The first time he camped out on a new condo launch for 11 hours and he closed 5 deals for his buyer clients. Not bad for a rookie! That was the first time he had ever sold anything. Then he camped out at another condo launch for 3 days and did 9 sales. Eugene is the "go to guy" when you want to buy or sell a condo, the numbers tell the story.
The first thing we agreed on was that Eugene would purchase staging inventory with my help. This would help keep his expenses down while he starts his career. We picked items that would create a warm and inviting "just move in look" for the condos that he would list. Most of his clients are purchasing their very first home so they will like the fact that the condo comes already "assembled" and they just buy the condo furnished if they want to. We decided on fall colours for the inventory bedding, artwork and accent cushions. It's a popular look in our area and one that would work for most condos.
His sellers are usually selling their first condo so they appreciate that they don't have to think about getting their home ready to sell. After all, they have been living the single life (hello nightlife and sleeping in) and the condo is typically just a resting stop untiil the next busy day in the city. So you know the condo is not show home ready when we get there.
Sometimes the condos are vacant so Eugene sells his service as a one stop shop when you are selling. We show up and stage the condo in a few hours, it gets photographed, listed and sells in a few days. What seller wouldn't like the convenience of that plan?
The first house we did together using the clients belongings and our purchased inventory sold in 4 days. That"s what I call results! Now we wanted to see if we could replicate those results with our first condo staging together.
Well last Saturday we decided to shop at the local Walmart in Mississagua so that we could stage a condo in the neighbourhood that same afternoon. You have to picture this Walmart though. It is no ordinary Walmart. It's a TWO storey Walmart. You've never seen so many shoppers at once, it was packed!
Eugene and I manouvered our way deftly between artwork, bedding, lamps, accessories, drapery and bathroom items. I really don't think Eugene was ready for the speed with which a stager shops when they are on a mission to buy inventory and on a deadline.
If you are a stager you know the drill off by heart, but for the newly initiated it can seem a whirlwhind tour. Most people wonder how we know where absolutely everything is located in store, what shelf it is on, what the price is and what to buy if it is out of stock.
Being able to stay focused with all the shoppers pushing past allowed us to buy everything in one hour. We didn't find a dining table and chairs there, but we knew we could get a set at XS Cargo for $149.
Bags in carts we wound our way through the crowded parking lot and loaded the van up. We needed cardboard boxes to put the inflatable mattress on so being the tech savvy guy he is, Eugene googled the closest moving company and as luck would have it the place was on the way to the condo. Yeah!!! It was about this time that I said to Eugene, we should be followed by a TV crew while we were doing this. All the shopping and staging was accomplished in 3 1/2 hours.
On the road again, we parked and I offered to get my folding cart to transport all the goods up to the condo. Being a guy, Eugene said we could handle it with out the cart. Seeing us struggling along, arms loaded, we had lots of help on the way in, people holding doors for us, then the elevator, it was group effort for sure!
As soon as we opened the condo door I let out a gasp. Eugene turned to me and asked what was wrong. I said "the walls are baby pink..... all of them....I thought you said he painted a nice beige?" I let Eugene know that selecting colours is something that a professional stager is very good at and that most men have difficulty with. It was too late now, we were there to stage and the owner was not going to repaint. By now I know what you are thinking. How does a fall colour palette look with baby pink walls and how would the buyers like it.
I can assure you I had my doubts about it, but lo and behold.... the condo sold in two days! Another staging success story. I think Eugene is on to something. By year end don't be surprized is Eugene hasn't won an award or two for listings and sales.
Here are the photos that Eugene took on his IPhone to use as listing photos for 115 Hillcrest in Mississauga. The condo was listed at $179,000.
I only left him alone for a moment and this is his bathroom shot. I will have to train Eugene in the importance of the placement of toilet seat lids!
Why is it that men do not understand the zen of toilet seat lids?
If you have a condo for sale or would like to buy one, contact Eugene Mezini and Michelle Finnamore for one stop real estate service. We go the distance to serve our clients!
Michelle Finnamore Advantage Staging
2010 National Association of Home Builders U.S.A Silver Award for Design
2010 Ontario Home Builders Association Silver Award for Design
2010 Canadian Staging Professionals Entrepreneur of the Year Award