2019 Articles

Malena Kaplan, MK Staging and Design, LLC: Beyond Staging

“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” Habakkuk 1:3-5 (TLB)

“I always knew I loved all things design related,” Malena Kaplan begins, “despite growing up in a loving, but linear home.”

For a decade and a half, Malena worked her way up the ladder in the mortgage finance world building a successful career. Yet, slowly and surely, she came to a definitive realization: she was never entirely happy with her job. Early in 2007, with the real estate market heading into a downward spiral, Malena found herself jobless.

“I automatically got my real estate license thinking that was the natural next step in my career,” Malena recalls, “and I figured that would also allow me flexibility for my young daughter.”

However, it didn’t take long for Malena to realize that selling homes was not what she wanted to do. When a former colleague asked her to help him rehab foreclosed properties, she jumped at the chance. “[He] had just landed a deal to help a major bank recoup some of the foreclosed properties in the area by fixing them up, and he offered to hire me as a consultant,” Malena explains.

Eleven Years and Counting
When Malena got into the business, the staging industry was in its infancy. “There was not much information available, but I was able to find a few certification courses, joined a staging organization, applied for a business license, and grew my clients by helping the realtors I had gotten to know through mortgage finance,” Malena says.

The rest, as they say, is history.  

Eleven years later, MK Staging and Design has built a reputation for making a difference in the lives of their clients, streamlining the staging process, and helping to increase the value of homes.

Malena and her team connect houses with their next owners by offering vacant property staging for resells and new construction. They create and execute a custom design plan using furniture, art, and accessories from their 5,000-square-foot warehouse, tailored to each unique property. Pre-listing consultations provide customized guidance for owners living in the property, and their concierge services provide advice to agents and owners in the cases where the house needs some extra work before it can be staged.  

Above and Beyond
“We’re here to make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve,” Malena says. “We’ve been in business for 11 years and plan to be around for a long time. We’re not perfect, but we’re always striving for that extra mile, always trying to stay a step ahead of trends and the needs of our clients so we can support them and their clients as their businesses grow.”

A few years ago, Malena noticed that agents required resources to help their clients “beyond just guidance,” as she says. “They needed hands-on help.” As a result, Malena and her team launched MK Staging Concierge Service, a segment that gives clients access to referrals for professional organizers, estate liquidators, downsizers, and junk removal companies, as well as services for project management. From painting to floors, light refreshes to full renovations of kitchens and baths, MK Staging Concierge Services gives real estate agents access to all the services they need before the house can be staged.

“We literally have clients hand us the keys, and then we hand the keys back to the agent when the house is ready to go live. We’ve had a lot of success with this service and really see it as a continuing need as sellers get busier and busier.”

Staging as Guidance
“We believe staging begins the minute the conversation starts about how to prepare to list a property. Our job is to offer guidance and support throughout the process. We offer safe, objective, non-judgmental council delivered in a gracious way,” Malena says.

Malena has a passion for seeing her projects from start to completion, all the while knowing that the quality with which she does her job affects the lives of homebuyers and sellers. When asked about what it means to find success, she immediately turns her attention away from real estate and back to the basics: her faith and love for building relationships.

“[Success is] having significant relationships, being highly respected and well-loved,” Malena says. And the reason for her success? “The grace of God, hard work, and perseverance.”   

To learn how you can benefit from a partnership with MK Staging Concierge Service, visit www.mkstaging.com, call 301-657-9795, or email [email protected]

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