One of Us: Stephanie Augusta


As the owner of Ponte Vedra Staging, Stephanie Augusta helps homeowners prepare their home for sale in a competitive real estate market. She and her husband, Vito, live in Marsh Landing with their three children.

What sort of services does Ponte Vedra Staging provide?

Ponte Vedra Staging (PVS) provides many options to homeowners, at all budget levels. I have a full inventory of furniture and accessories, therefore I’m able to furnish vacant homes. PVS offers two levels of staging consultations: I can provide a list of suggestions and advice to sellers, and they perform the packing up and rearranging; or I will do all the rearranging for them. I’ve helped homeowners rearrange existing furniture for a fresh new look; I’ve also helped families configure furniture and accessories when moving into a new home.

What prompted you to start the business?

In 2013, while working for a local husband and wife team of Realtors, I quickly noticed the amount of vacant homes sitting empty on the market, month after month, unsold. One of these vacant homes belonged to a friend, who had been relocated to South Florida. I called her and asked if I could stage her home. She said yes and I received a star of approval from her agent!! I took lots of photos from that home, came up with a name and soon began marketing Ponte Vedra Staging ( to local agents.
How can homeowners and/or Realtors benefit from having their home staged?

Statistics show that 98 percent of buyers used the internet at some point in their search for a new home. By having a home professionally staged, I feel the benefit comes to the seller, the buyer and the agent. The seller benefits because photos of their staged home will stand out over others online and in print, driving more traffic to their home. The buyer benefits because a staged home versus a vacant one helps them visualize placement of their own furniture in the home. It’s difficult to determine how big, or small, a room is if it’s empty. And the real estate agent benefits because statistics show staged homes sell closer to list price than vacant homes – which also benefits the seller!

Do homes that are staged sell faster or for a higher price? If so, why do you think that is?

National statistics show that on average, homes that are staged pre-listing sell 70 percent faster than homes that are not. Ponte Vedra Staging’s average Days on the Market – of homes that were staged pre-listing – is 69 days. Why is “staged pre-listing” important? The first few weeks on the market are typically when you’ll see the most traffic. So from the beginning, your home should be show ready. I have a fun saying: “Staging costs less than a price reduction.” If after 60 to 90 days the home hasn’t sold, sellers usually opt for a price reduction – anywhere between $5,000 to 20,000; staging costs much less than that.
When staging a home, do you work with the seller’s current furniture or do you bring in your own furnishings?

I do both, and I also combine mine with theirs. I’ve had instances where furniture is worn, or a room wasn’t furnished nicely, so I supplemented utilizing my inventory. It’s a fun challenge for me to rearrange or move items in a home from one room to another – even swapping lamps makes a huge impact. Homeowners say, “I never would have thought to move that table over there, but it looks so much better!”

If you could offer sellers some basic tips for “mini-staging” their home for sale, what would they be?

I have another saying, “When your home is on the market, it’s not really your home; it becomes a place where buyers are searching for a functional kitchen and a cozy living room -- they aren’t “buying” your collection of trinkets. If a home is packed full of furniture, or counters are lined with appliances, it’s difficult to see anything past that. Think of your home as a model home. I’d also suggest the sellers go through their home room by room, taking out items that aren’t serving a real purpose, and organize the area. Be sure remotes and magazines are unseen, and if decorative pillows or rugs are worn, remove them or purchase new ones. Pack up all small knickknacks or collectible items and personal photos. Adding a fresh, new pop of color will also alter the look and feel of a room.

When you get notification of a showing, tidy up! Invest in an under-the-bed storage bin with lid to clean up everything quickly. Put away items like towels, toothbrushes and shampoo. from the bathroom. Make sure there are no clothes or towels on your floor and that toys are put away – but don’t stuff everything in a closet, because a buyer will surely open that closet door!

What is the most memorable home staging makeover you’ve worked on since starting your company?

By far the most memorable was a vacant home that had already been on the market for 83 days – a very open-concept floorplan. The living room, dining area and two sitting areas leading to a patio were all one space, with an open kitchen in the middle. The open areas certainly needed to be defined as their own space, but the owner was extremely skeptical that I would be able to do the job correctly, mostly because he was sure I would bring oversized furniture. I finally convinced him to allow me the opportunity, and asked him to please not return until I was finished. I assured him if he wasn’t happy, I would gladly remove everything. When I was done, the home was darling: Each space showed its purpose, the home was bright with appropriately scaled furnishings, and looked just adorable. I received a rave review from him; he had a contract in 14 days, and an on-time closing!

How do you enjoy spending your free time?

Our family enjoys outdoor activities like the beach, boating, paddle boarding, swimming, golf, volleyball, playing catch, or any type of yard ball. Things I personally enjoy are volunteering at PVPV/Rawlings, being a Girl Scout co-leader, lunch with a friend, reading – and of course, staging homes! I would also like to give a huge thank you to my husband and my mom, who both help me anytime I ask. Without their help, it would not be a success.