Staging That Sells
My route into real estate began almost seven years ago. I grew up in Southern California with a father who worked in new home construction. I was frequently around the job sites exploring model homes and always knew it was something I was drawn to. I worked for Remax during college, working open houses for other agents but didn’t pursue my license just yet. After graduating from college in Southern California with a degree in communications and a minor in psychology, I started working for a boutique hotel chain in event management, organizing corporate events and traveling extensively. My husband was raised in Martinez, so we looked toward the East Bay area to settle, which is when I moved into a job working for a luxury hotel in Sausalito for over a year. As we started to grow our family, I knew I wanted to get into real estate to allow me the best of both worlds—raising my children while pursuing my own career.
Event management was fun, but it was also very demanding, with long hours and lots of weekends. So, after buying our first home in Brentwood and becoming pregnant with our first baby, I decided to pursue a real estate license.
Diving into this new career, I quickly realized that having two very common names, Jessica for a first name and Lopez for my last name, didn’t necessarily scream “memorable” in the saturated space of real estate. My husband suggested Homes by JLo, and while a little cheesy, it’s definitely done the job of allowing me to stand out a bit from the crowd.
“To me, staging a home to sell means taking what my clients have already done to create a beautiful home and simply bringing it up to the next level.”
As soon as I started promoting my real estate services, I knew I wanted to also offer my clients the added value of staging their homes for sale. Growing up around model homes, I already had a keen eye for the aesthetic buyers were looking for but wanted more creditability to back me up. I became a Certified Stager, and my real estate footprint has since developed a signature look that can be depended upon. It’s a look that sets my listings apart from the rest, and I believe it sets Homes by JLo apart from other agents. I approach the staging from a photographic point of view, considering how each room will present when viewing the listing online.
The intent is for the home to look its absolute best while remaining functional and comfortable for families. To me, staging a home to sell means taking what my clients have already done to create a beautiful home and simply bringing it up to the next level. Inviting buyers to invest so much of their hard-earned money into something, you’ve really got to establish an immediate emotional connection.
They’ve got to see themselves raising their family there, gathering for holidays, or working happily inside of their home office. I want a buyer to fall in love with a place and be ready to make a life there. This idyllic picture is painted with the power of staging. I have a whole staging guide that I go through with my clients, but my planning revolves exclusively around the fact that there will still be a family inhabiting this home I am staging. The entire process of selling a home can be so stressful, I don’t need to make the staging process inconvenient as well, with impractical décor items (in other words, no glass vases on the coffee table of a home with a baby). My clients love the results of the professional staging so much that in some cases they employ me to design the interiors of their next home!
Being a millennial mom and growing up in the age of social media, I truly recognize the importance of making a statement online with your work and standing out from the pack. So much of our lives are lived out on social media, people naturally learn about you in that way. I find that sharing a bit of my strengths, achievements, and what I do in the community as well as my day-to-day life is important.
“I became a Certified Stager, and my real estate footprint has since developed a signature look that can be depended upon.”
"I’m a firm believer in things working out how they are meant to, and this experience was a perfect example."
My typical content includes my current stagings, coming-soon properties, and a glimpse into my personal life! And the Instagram Reels have taken on a life of their own! It has been such a fun way to bring people into the process with me. It’s certainly what has propelled my business further and made my Homes by JLo listings multiply over the years. Social media is also a huge aspect of my marketing plan for listings and has even procured pre-market offers from agents who follow me! My modern approach to strategic social selling is just another way I set myself apart.
All this organic growth and word of mouth has grown my business into one that is quite busy. My husband and I have two boys (six and four years old), and it’s been amazing to grow my business volume as they’ve grown more independent. In one recent week, I closed on multiple homes while sitting on the beach in Pismo while on vacation with my family. That is an awesome feeling, and it makes me feel abundantly grateful to have the opportunity to work from anywhere while making memories with my family.
The year 2020 was a wild year for everyone, and I personally had many unexpected twists to my life, but one very surprising event took the cake! My family had lived in our beloved Brentwood neighborhood for almost seven years. Our house was a starter home, far from our dream, but it was where we raised our babies, and we loved it. We had just refinanced, started planning bigger home projects, and moving wasn’t even on our radar. Then, I got a call for a listing appointment just two blocks over. It was a beautiful home with a pool plus solar (two major wants that we didn’t have), and my husband nudged me into considering buying it.
An even bigger bonus, the home had two home office spaces perfect for my husband and me, who were both now working from home. Most importantly, the home was in our beloved neighborhood that we knew we didn’t want to leave. We have so many close friends surrounding us, my parents even live in the neighborhood, plus I host annual neighborhood events, Easter egg hunt, Halloween party, yearly garage sale, movies in the park, etc. We’ve poured so much into our community, and it has been rewarding and fun! During my busiest month ever, while simultaneously juggling all my clients’ needs, we successfully negotiated to buy our dream home, as we got our old home on the market in less than a week. Talk about crazy. It was such a great experience to put myself in my clients’ shoes again and remember what this process is like when buying and selling.
I’m a firm believer in things working out how they are meant to, and this experience was a perfect example. The past year has been challenging in many ways, and this real estate market has really taken its toll on many sellers and buyers alike. I encourage you to hang in there, trust the process, and know that it will truly all work out!
I hope you come follow along with me as I share my life as a Brentwood Realtor Mom on Instagram @homesbyjlo.
Photos By Lauren Davidson Photography