Staged to sell: New business rents furniture and accessories to home builders, homeowners and realtors

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WEST FARGO—Home builders, real estate agents and homeowners have a new tool at their disposal in the quest for higher home sale prices.

The Private Collection, a business that rents furniture and decor to be used for home staging, opened here last fall. Clients have the option of renting furniture piece-by-piece or asking its owners, Trever Hill and Susan Hozak-Cardinal, to professionally stage the home for them.

Home staging is the art of furnishing and decorating a house to sell quickly and for more money. The National Association of Realtors reports that for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400.

There are many reasons selling an empty house can be a challenge. For one, Hill said buyers often misjudge empty rooms as being too big or small.

“They’ll walk in and think ‘Wow, it’s kind of a small dining room,’ but it’s really not,” he said. “If you get furniture in there, you realize it’s a really spacious room.”

The Private Collection carries furniture that will work in almost any size and layout, he said.

Hill and Hozak-Cardinal hand picked each item from high end and local vendors such as Room & Board, New Pacific Direct, McNeal & Friends, Scheels Home & Hardware and HomeGoods. Styles range from modern and contemporary to traditional and farmhouse.

A ‘Gateway’ to a new business

Hill has been interested in decorating and design for as long as he can remember. He got his start decorating the homes of friends and family while he was still in high school in his hometown of Spearfish, S.D.

In 2009, he established his own interior design firm, Home Suite Couture, here in Fargo. At the time, he was also working full time as the internet manager for Gateway Chevrolet Cadillac Hyundai Nissan in Fargo. In 2014, he left Gateway to become the specialty shop manager for Scheels Home and Hardware.

Within months of accepting that role, Hill was named a Top 5 Decorator/Designer by Design & Living Magazine. After that, Hill said “everything just exploded.”

He renamed his company Trever Hill Design and began working on his own full time. Hill said realtors often asked him if there was anywhere they could rent furniture for a home on the market.

When he realized there were few options, he turned Hozak-Cardinal, the wife of a former Gateway co-worker. The two got to know each other well when Hill worked on their home back in 2014. She agreed there was a real opportunity for them to fill a market niche.

They started buying furniture last May and staged their first home last fall.

Hozak-Cardinal, who also works as the director of marketing for Friendly Smiles in Fargo, mainly takes care of the business operations, but she also has a hand in staging homes. She recently staged a home built by Titan Homes featured in this spring’s Parade of Homes. That’s where they held a ribbon cutting with the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber last month.

“That was good for us,” Hozak-Cardinal said