What was your first job in the realty industry? Realtor at Jenny Pruitt & Associates in 2003 in Buckhead; at the time my brokers were Nancy See and Rob Owen. I got into the home staging business in 2005.
Where did you grow up? In the sunshine state, Florida, mostly near the Gulf Coast.
What is your favorite free-time activity? Watching a good movie and taking a break from work to be a co-host of the At Home With Paisley Radio Show, where I get to meet all kinds of amazing people in the housing industry along with a few HGTV celebs; it’s fun, and I enjoy it a lot! I have also become a DIY fanatic doing projects around my house, and even whipping up my own organic soup recipes in the kitchen.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I tell myself to take a deep breath and just BREATHE! I also love to grab a bunch of home decorating magazines at the bookstore and find a small nook and just sit there and scan the pages and read. Call it strange, but I have a notebook in my purse, by my bed or on my desk and take notes on anything interesting, new and different. It helps me to escape from the calls, texts and real estate world for a while.
Growing up, what did you want to be? A professional in the fine arts arena for sure. I was taking calligraphy classes in elementary school and winning the art award at summer camp. I was president of the art club at college and arranged the senior art show. I have even had my own printing and graphic design business in Buckhead back in 1998, and have designed hundreds of corporate logos and numerous invitations for social events. Being creative and marketing is just in my blood!
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? No doubt it would be Barbara Corcoran. I would love to have her as a business mentor. I have been trying to get her on the radio show, but her PR people are tough. Barbara is the queen of real estate marketing, and just tells you like it is by being upfront and honest! I find her to be a strong supporter of business owners who are passionate about what they do. She is the reason I am addicted to watching “Shark Tank.”
Where is your favorite place to hang out? The Town Brookhaven has some fab restaurants and is a great place to catch up with friends, which has been a great addition to the city of Brookhaven where I reside. Otherwise, you can catch me watching a chick flick in the reclyner seating at Phipps Plaza movie theater – the best way to watch a movie!
What do you love most about the industry? It’s getting more tech savvy, for sure! We have cell phones, iPads and more that can take pictures and video, not to mention the use of social media now to market properties for sale. Don’t get me started – there are so many marketing tools that agents have right at their fingertips!
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? I specialize in transforming vacant properties into beautifully stage homes, period! I live and breath home staging everyday, because I never know what type of home I will be staging next and what challenges it may have, and that’s the exciting part about what I do!
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Working with agents and sellers and teaching and convincing them that home staging and/or virtual staging are marketing tools that work to sell a home faster. Sometimes I play the consultant role with agents, giving them advice on how to sell the idea of staging to their clients and some agents just tell me you talk to them.
So I end up meeting with the sellers and telling them, “This is what you have to do to sell this home,” and they may not like what I tell them, but I always find in the end, after they see the staging completed, they say “Krisztina, now I get it!” Again, staging should be a part of every agent’s marketing plan when selling a property, no matter if its vacant or not. There are costs, but the reward in the end of a quick sale is so worth it!
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? I attend a great neworking group called Real Estate Connections Atlanta that is held by Peter Pasternack, formerly of A&E’s “Flip this House.” Talk about a networker – this guy knows the real estate industry well and his events draw big crowds and agents from offices in Georgia; they are THE events to attend each month. I also do present my staging services and talk about my companies in a short presentation at real estate brokerage firms around Atlanta.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Starting both my staging companies, but probably more pioneering virtual staging and making it available to agents nationwide and globally. I truly get the best feeling when an agent or Realtor emails or calls me to tell me, “Thank you so much for your services; it really helped the home sell quickly.” For them to take time out of their day to send me that personal note of thanks is so rewarding!
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? I love a good movie! I would have to say the one with Tom Hanks that came out a few months back called Captain Phillips. He is one of my favorite male actors and I think his performance in this movie was definitely Oscar-worthy!
What is your favorite restaurant? There are too many in Atlanta – is this a trick question? I love Mirko Pasta in Buckhead because they serve gluten free pasta dishes. Del Frisco’s Grille has the best nine-layer lemon cake, and I recenlty ate at The Optimist in Westside Provisions District – the sweet potatoe fries were delish, and the bar scene is great there!
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Atlanta? I like the Swan House at the Atlanta History Center. It has elegant and classic Southern appeal with its beautiful gardens, and was just recently featured in the Hunger Games movie.
What kind of car do you drive? I am a home stager, so of course have to drive an SUV! I need a vehicle with lots of room for large and fragile decor items. I am on my third Jeep – its a new Jeep Grand Cherokee and got white this time. It’s clean and simple and best bang for the buck. Keeping it simple is pretty much my style when it comes to staging or design in general!
Smartphone or Paper? I take notes on paper, but my iPhone is on 24/7 for everything else, from texting and staging emergenciees to social media posts.
What is your favorite city after Atlanta? I love Paris, France. I got engaged there, and I would love to have a vacation home in any city along the Italian coast; Italy is beautiful.
What is your advice for someone new to the industry? Find your niche, be unique and take advantage of all the available real estate marketing tools!
What’s your favorite Real Estate iPhone/Android app? Of course Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com apps for searching for vacant homes listed for sale. I just read about the Facebook Pages app, which is great, since I manage multiple business pages on Facebook. Videolicious is a new one I just downloaded that has great filters and is perfect for quick “thank you” or real estate info videos.
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter? I follow Barbara Corcoran for her real estate updates and business advice. I love @hermanity, which is Herman Chan of HGTV House Hunters. His posts are the best real estate infotainment if you want to get a good laugh of the day!
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