Glendale real estate stager with background in theater arts wins national recognition

A Glendale woman who’s behind some of the dolled-up photo spreads of homes on real estate websites was recently named among the best in the business.

Betsy Ferguson Wilbur cracked the Top 10 list of the Real Estate Staging Assn.’s redesingers of the year recognition. A winner from the 10 finalists will be announced this month.

An accredited stager since 2006, Wilbur’s routine entails walking into a client’s home, taking it all in and deciding what touch-ups can be made to boost the chances of a sale.

“My background is in theater arts, and so staging is very much like a production and being ready for opening night,” she said.

She’s got a lighting guy. She’s got a painting guy. Sometimes the carpet is ripped out to show off the hardwood. If a room is too bare she’ll pick up some furniture to bring as much out of a room as possible, then place the purchases into her inventory for future projects.

While some homes are bare, others are hitting the market after 50 years of ownership, a time when avocado-colored walls from “The Brady Bunch” era are no longer in, Wilbur said.

The creative process involves imagining a finished product through a buyer’s eye and the likely angle a photographer would use.

“So I’m looking for what are the architectural details of the house, what do we want to highlight?” Wilbur said. “How does the space feel to me? Does it feel crowded? Does it feel comfortable?”

Part of the goal is to make the interior look appealing enough so a buyer won’t feel the pressure of diving into a costly remodel right away.

“We want to make them see the possibility that they can live here for a few years until they can get enough money to do the remodel they want,” Wilbur said.

Her nomination didn’t come as a surprise to Maya Gulbekova, a Realtor who’s worked with Wilbur.

Gulbekova said one of Wilbur’s biggest strengths is her ability to dress a home up so it can appeal to just about anybody’s tastes.

“It’s not just bringing furniture and placing it in rooms, that’s not staging,” Gulbekova said. “It’s taking care of all the accessories, putting them together to make an impression. It’s a lot of small details.”

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Arin Mikailian, arin.mikailian@latimes.com

Twitter: @ArinMikailian

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