In the age of the internet, professional photography and home staging have changed the game for the real estate market. Jill Gaynor saw how important it is to highlight your home’s assets before putting it on the market, so she started her own company, Home Staging Specialists. In addition to staging, Jill also does interior design and organizational management, as all these elements go hand in hand with your home. Did we mention that she started all of this after staying home for more than a decade to raise her now-grown kids? Jill is an inspiration to all those starting their second chapters in life and their careers. Welcome Jill Gaynor, today’s FACE of Louisville!
How did you start in the home staging business?
As an “executive director of human development,” (i.e. stay-at-home mom of four), my life began changing dramatically as my children were growing up and leaving home. I have always dabbled in interior design, working on personal and family new construction and renovation projects. Family and friends have always encouraged me that I have an “eye” for design. That being said, staging was fairly new to the Louisville market. After doing some research, I considered that angle in addition to interior design. Coming from a marketing/advertising background (before kids), I know what the photographs need to look like to sell a product. So, I traveled to Chicago, acquired my accreditation and “Home Staging Specialists” was born!
You are also an interior designer and do organizational management. How does that complement your staging business?
Selling a property is a process. Having a plan and staying organized is key in making a smooth transition into a new home. Staging is getting a property market-ready to sell. It has to be “neutral” so that the prospective buyer can envision themselves in their new home. Interior design becomes part of the process when we get to know the client and a lot of times we help them make their new purchase “home.” Interior design is more personal — making a house a home.
Why is home staging so important, especially in the age of the internet?
The internet has completely changed how we shop, today. In real estate, it’s a private way of shopping before you decided to step foot on the property. Usually before anyone has physically stepped onto the property, they have done as much research as possible. Therefore, your photographs are even more important and need to look like a magazine spread.
What is some basic advice that you can give people who are wanting to move and list their house?
Clean out as much as possible. Clean, clean, clean! Including windows. Check for any repairs; a fresh coat of paint and neutral carpet can go a long way. You don’t want the potential buyer coming in with a checklist of what they need to do to the house to just move in. It’s not about your personal style. It’s about making the property “move-in ready.” If someone has a purple plaid couch, the walls are neutral for them to move in! Don’t forget the outside! Curb appeal is equally as important as the inside. Clean up the yard, weed, mulch, etc.
What makes a house sell?
There are two things a seller can control: The selling price and the condition of the property. Putting in a little elbow grease before the “big reveal” will be worth it. Of course, staging is an important element before the photographs are taken. You only have one time to make a great first impression. You also need an excellent realtor. They are educated in their field, know how to market and help with a lot of details (contracts, inspections, closings, etc.) I know a few!
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
At least three times a week, my day begins at 5:30 a.m. (It’s brutal but worth it in the end.) to work out at Orange Theory Fitness. Back to shower and usually on the phone early in the morning — contacting contractors and subs, checking in on schedules on design projects as their day begins. Then it’s usually meetings either for design, staging consultations, committee meetings, writing reports and/or an actual staging or prepping to stage a property. Then it’s usually paperwork, returning phone calls, follow-up with clients, etc. Oh yeah, lunch is usually somewhere in there, either at my desk or in my car. Sometime,s my day ends at 5 p.m. and other times it can go into the evening, depending on clients’ schedules. Throw in presentations regarding scheduling and networking as much as possible. Evening is usually when I get a lot of paperwork completed. I usually can’t go to sleep until I have my to-do list completed, and I know my plan for the next day.
What advice do you treasure?
Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my ___________.
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
What I call the St. Matthews “bubble.”
Favorite thing to do in Louisville:
Try a new restaurant. I love that we have become such a foodie town!
Night owl or early bird? What do you do during that quiet time?
I, unfortunately, am a night owl. My husband is an early bird. I am only an “early bird” by force. I love to read, flip through the stacks of magazines that I have to catch up or watch a good RomCom. Oh, and I am addicted to “Big Bang Theory.”
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
Any easy summer reading.
Lightning Round! Give us your:
Candy or junk food splurge: Unfortunately I love ANY candy or dessert sans coconut.
Guilty pleasure song: Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Tearjerker movie pick: P.S. I Love You
Standby nail polish color: I usually let my nail person pick for me and I can never remember the crazy names. My go-to look that I love is the standard French because it goes with everything.
Favorite cocktail: Summer time: Mojito. Other times, a nice red wine.
Cartoon alter-ego: Since I haven’t watched cartoons since Bugs Bunny days, I can’t think of one at the moment. Maybe Velma of “Scooby-Doo?”
What are three of your favorite things right now?
Being barefoot, long summer days and a good book.
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