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Mercer Vine’s own Elisa Baran has a unique approach to her Los Angeles real estate listings—and it’s paying off. When Elisa takes on a new listing, she isn’t just the agent. If needed, Elisa can also become a project manager who is intimately involved with her clients’ homes, including design and staging.
Elisa Baran: Entwining Fashion and Real Estate
It comes as no surprise that Elisa’s role as an agent and project manager would be deeply informed by her experience in fashion and PR. In an interview with Mercer Vine's editorial team, Elisa shares her philosophy on design and what it means to “treat a house as a fashion line.”
With everything from plumbing fixtures, to HGTV, to the “hygge” movement, Elisa discusses her distinctive approach to real estate and how she is reinventing industry standards.
MV: How does getting involved with design and project management affect listings compared to the regular hands-off approach?
EB: “Being the daughter of a New York real estate broker and title agent, I can honestly say I grew up in the business without knowing I would actually go into the business. California's approach to real estate marketing is different than New York though. Broker caravans do not exist in New York, so I cut my teeth on those weekly L.A. viewings. I took note of what buyers wanted in their perfect homes and what sellers were showcasing. Combining the real with what I saw on HGTV, I was able to cultivate a practice developing and staging homes with what I believe people would be attracted to and buy.
Just honing in on the right plumbing fixtures, adding that unique flooring, and making the closet space more meaningful has its rewards. Adding some different options like a wine closet or an outdoor fountain all help to dress the house as a way of garnering attention. I even made room for a dog run complete with a dog bath because I knew quirky features like that, especially in this dog friendly city of ours, would catch people's eye and make them think, 'Wow I can see myself getting comfortable here.' I wanted to put everything into this home because it was my first project I could call my own—It was my baby, and I got really attached.
Any other project I was involved in was always a collective effort of compromise, so it was exhilarating to finally be able to make the calls and see my vision through the sold sign. With this property, I blended New York edge, with L.A. Chic. Through my travels to Scandinavia, I utilized elements from their popular “hygge” movement. The ultimate reward was that it didn't even last a full day on the market as it was put into escrow within hours of listing it. The home was also sold over the asking price without any marketing other than my personal Instagram, @elisabaran.”
"It was always important to me to treat a house in very much the same way as I treat a fashion line: original but classy."
MV: What kind of edge does your background in PR and fashion give you as a luxury real estate agent?
EB: “I originally moved to L.A. for school, graduating from FIDM with a B.S. in Apparel Manufacturing. Fashion had been my passion, and my first job ended up being with a PR company that marketed brands. While I liked it, I wanted to be the one actually creating the brand, not marketing the brand, which led me to designing my own fashion line and eventually to my roots: real estate.
I have always believed that houses sit on the market if they aren't presented properly. It was always important to me to treat a house in very much the same way as I treat a fashion line: original but classy. Only the most unique pieces are chosen by me for any real estate I develop and stage: from plumbing fixtures, to tile, to granite. I labor hours and hours over color, texture, thickness, and any other intricacies that the normal realtor may not see.
Don't get me wrong, location of a property is certainly important but I find that LA is burgeoning now and every property has the ability to sell if sold properly.”
MV: What kind of feedback has your unique approach given you?
EB: “The feedback from this house has gone above and beyond what I expected. I was really nervous to have this go live because it's my personal taste and people can be very opinionated!
I've learned a lot from this project that I will take to my future endeavors. My clients put their trust in me because they know I will go above and beyond to make sure they get their home sold quickly. I provide a unique white-glove service that isn't of the norm for a real estate agent. I will help you find your home, renovate, develop or flip your home (if need be), stage your home (when you're ready to sell again) and get it on the market and sold as quickly as possible.
Normally staging costs $6 a square foot. I'll include that in my listing package for my clients. The best part about it all is that it doesn't feel like work for me and that's something I struggled and strived to achieve ever since I was a little girl.”
Before / After:
Check Out Elisa’s Incredible Vision in Person
To see Elisa’s amazing work as an agent and project manager of design, check out her latest listing at 9030 Phyllis Ave. Elisa can be reached at via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (631) 926-6671.