Five minutes with Showhomes Home Staging’s ‘Franchise of the Year’ Linda Saavedra
Linda Saavedra’s Showhomes Tampa franchise has soared since opening in 2009, despite its launch during tough economic times. Just two short years later, Saavedra, a former corporate executive and veteran small business owner, picked up Showhome’s most prestigious award – Franchise of the Year.
When Saavedra first encountered the Showhomes Home Staging business model, she had a hunch that it would take off in Tampa’s hard-hit housing market. “I loved it from the beginning,” she says. “It really helps everyone involved in the sale of a home – real estate agent, home owner and home manager. It’s a brilliant concept that really works.”
Nancy Ward, a Realtor with Keller Williams Tampa Properties, says she’s not surprised at Saavedra’s achievements. “Linda is a stellar person to work with on every level you can think of,” Ward says. “We have had great success with her Showhomes team. She monitors the whole home staging process beautifully and always makes sure to react immediately to any problems. You don’t see that from most companies. You get stronger offers with Linda and her Showhomes team.”
Q: How does it feel to be Franchise of the Year?
A: It was a huge surprise. I was totally caught off guard. Of course I’m totally honored. We work really hard and have achieved some great results. Still, I didn’t think an award would come so soon, since we’ve only been in business since 2009.
Q. Well, you are obviously doing something right. What are some of the best practices at Showhomes Tampa?
A. When we stage a home we go into it knowing we can make a difference for everyone involved. We really follow through on it. The successes even surprise us at times. One important thing: we focus on what the buyer would want to see. We don’t design for the seller or for the house, we design for the buyer. It’s the kind of mentality that consistently creates successful sales. We know that it’s the presentation that sells a home.
We have a strong team with a lot of synergy; there’s no weak link. You can’t underestimate the importance of having a team with a shared vision. We’re not a one-dimensional sales company. Everyone gets involved with the homes and cares about them. It’s very personal for us. We love our work, so we are able to be really proud of everything we do.
Q. Can you give an example of a time when designing for the buyer really worked?
A. We had a property that had earned a reputation as a problem home — a ‘bad karma’ kind of home. It was dated and had been on and off the market for 10 years. The interior had a 1980s feel to it and there was an old-fashioned, built-in bar in living room. No one could get the home sold, despite having multiple Realtors and marketing efforts. We minimized the 80s look and brought in new pieces and touches so that it wasn’t screaming its age. We dressed it up, made it look years and years younger and it sold in less than a week. We hadn’t even put the finishing touches on it.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about Showhomes Home Staging? What keeps you excited and motivated?
A. I’ve always been driven to service-based businesses, and Showhomes Home Staging is a great one. When I saw its business model I thought it was truly amazing. It helps everyone involved with the home. I’m very pleased it’s brought value to the Tampa market; we needed it. Selling a home is stressful. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing you’ve helped someone finally make the successful transition in their life that selling a home represents.
Working with Realtors in this economy is also very gratifying. You can help them reach new heights, and help create a success story for them. That’s not easy in this economy, but Showhomes Home Staging can make the difference for them.