Pam Hopgood, owner and founder of Perfect Match Homes, originally founded her company over 20 years ago in Birmingham, England. At the time, Hopgood was primarily focused on de-cluttering people's homes and making them look better. She referred to her services as, 'house doctoring', named after a popular UK TV program called 'The House Doctor'. Prior to that, Hopgood worked as a civil servant for the government and also lectured at a local university on fashion and interior design.
Hopgood always had the impetus to do her own thing. When the time came to put her design background to use, she took action. "People needed it," she said. "I recognized an opportunity to provide my services and offer more than some of the other companies. Today, Hopgood operates her business from New Smyrna Beach and provides much more than just de-cluttering. Since making the permanent move from the UK to New Smyrna Beach in 2013, Hopgood has been more focused on the staging aspect of her business. She's also doing a lot more interior redesign work then she originally anticipated. That includes color consultations to complete home renovations.
"I wasn't originally planning on bringing the business over here, but I missed it," she said. "I also noticed that there weren't a whole lot of staging companies in New Smyrna Beach. To get the business up and running, I would just go in and meet with as many Realtors as possible. An early challenge, and one that continues today, but to a lesser extent, is educating owners and Realtors on the benefits of home staging. I had to develop an elevator speech and get to the point. I basically prepare people's properties for sale."
If a property is vacant, Hopgood will bring in furniture and artwork designed to make spaces look bigger and more appealing. If a property is occupied, she'll work with what you have and rearrange the furniture to create the right focus for when a buyer first walks into a room. She'll look at what needs to be replaced, repaired and/or removed. After a one and a half to two hour initial consultation, that involves discussing each room, Hopgood will send her client a staging report with details on what updates to make, what paint color to use, how to arrange the furniture and more. Clients are welcome to utilize the report and do their own staging or hire Hopgood to come back and do a half day or a full day of staging.
What Hopgood enjoys the most is the satisfaction she gets when a client is able to sell their home quickly because of her efforts. "The best was a local Realtor I worked with," she said. "He had a listing that was on the market for 14 months. It was a beautiful home that just sat vacant. He couldn't get people to stay in there long enough to see the potential. We staged it, listed it as a new listing and it sold in 20 days."
Looking ahead, Hopgood would love to get more Realtors educated on the concept of staging. According to Hopgood, most Realtors know about staging, but a lot of them aren't sold on the potential and how it can help them. For this reason, Hopgood currently teaches a real estate continuing education course on staging. "I tell the Realtors that the staggers are here to complete you, not compete with you," she said. Hopgood is also in the process of writing her own continuing education course geared towards staging an occupied home and what Realtors can do to help their clients.
Hopgood offers up some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "Just take a big deep breath and do it," she said about taking the plunge into small business ownership. "It's too easy to do nothing. You'll make excuses your whole life. Just do it. You'll never know what opportunities await you if you don't try."