Tag Archives: homes

Living Room Staging

June 26, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Staging can turn a house into a home. It all starts with first impressions.

“Staging” is a real estate industry term that means preparing a home for viewings (in-person) and photography (for online for-sale listings).

When done right, the prep work helps prospective buyers to imagine themselves actually living at the property. Staging requires attention to interior design, furniture placement, decorations, lighting, and landscaping, among other factors.

You don’t have to be a professional designer to stage your home for sale. But if the task sounds laborious, there are professionals eager to accept your business.

Tara Legenza and Julie Radke are two independent stagers in the Omaha area. Speaking with OmahaHome, they share how they entered the field and reveal some of their staging secrets.

Legenza and Radke have both prepared living rooms as samples to showcase their passion for staging. When looking at Legenza’s design, notice how bookcases and coffee tables are kept clean and strategically balanced to consist of books and minimal decor that would suit most buyers. In Radke’s work, consider her careful use of color, accents, and furniture placement.

ReDefined Interiors By Tara

Tara Legenza

How did you become interested in staging homes?

I went to school for art but quickly found out I needed to make more money. I worked in corporate marketing for 10 years until I had my second child and quit. I wanted to have the work-life balance in a field that would call to the creative side I had suppressed all those years. After researching, I found that becoming a home stager and decorator would allow for this. Staging can be challenging at times, but seeing the homeowner’s face and appreciation when it sells quickly (and they’re in their new home) is worth it!

What is your secret to successful home staging? 

It’s really dependent on the homeowner being open-minded and not being offended when asked to box up their décor and personal mementos. Once a stager comes to the home, you have to think of yourself as already moved out. It’s no longer your home—it’s just a house. If a homeowner can get into this mindset, things come together quickly and are more successful and profitable for them.

Can you share any anecdotes from your staging work?

There was a retired couple—living behind Papillion-La Vista High School—who tried selling their home without staging it, but they did not have success. After taking the house off the market for a couple of months, they decided to hire me before putting it back on the market. They were anxious to move into their newly built home. After boxing up several collectibles from their travels, rearranging the furniture for a more open feel in the living room, family room, and dining room, and staging an empty room as a bedroom, we were able to put it on the market for more than they had originally asked just a few months prior. The home was on the market for a couple of days and sold for 3 percent more than the asking price in 2017.


Rate: $150 for two hours

Phone: 402-203-0270

Email: redefinedinteriorsbytara@gmail.com

Website: redefinedinteriorsbytara.com

Stage It! Home Staging and Redesign

Julie Radke

How did you become interested in staging homes?

While working my previous job in the real estate industry, I used to open new offices and design them. I soon discovered this was my passion. I am a visual person with ideation as one of my top strengths. Home staging allows me to use this talent every day.

What is your secret to successful home staging?

There are many factors that come into play with successful staging. The job calls for creativity and talent for design, but it also requires business savvy to maintain a warehouse of inventory while staying on top of billing and contracts. Also, day-to-day tasks need attention to detail; for example, being able to coordinate all aspects of individual jobs that range from booking trucks and movers to making sure everything is completed in accordance with the real estate agent’s timeline for listing. Changing direction quickly when things are challenging is key.

Can you share any anecdotes from your staging work?

One vacant property that I staged in the Aksarben area had been on the market for five months with no successful sale. After I provided the furniture and staged the main living area, kitchen, and master bedroom, the home received multiple offers and sold within one week in 2015. The homeowner benefited by having a better visual to market the property and compete with other staged homes in the area. The homeowner selling the property had already moved out of state and was making two house payments. They needed to move this property asap. Once staged, it sold above asking price quickly.

Rate: $100 per hour (occupied) with a two-hour minimum, additional costs associated with rental furnishings and accessories as needed; $800 and up (vacant) depending on size of home, number of rooms furnished, and rental needs.

Phone: 402-312-9229

Email: julier@stageitomaha.com

Website: stageitomaha.net

This article was printed in the May/June 2018 edition of OmahaHome.

Linden Estates

December 5, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It originally carried the decidedly blah designation of “SID 353,” but Linden Estates is now among Omaha’s most prestigious neighborhoods. Known for its approximately 120 stunning luxury homes that sit on large, exquisitely landscaped lots, the properties start at 3,000 square feet and more than a few attain the classification of “mansion,” with the largest topping out at 23,000 square feet.

“The beauty of the neighborhood is that you didn’t have one builder going in there with a specific style,” says Deb Cizek, of the Cizek Group with Prudential Ambassador Real Estate. “You had the individual taste of the owners who contracted with these builders. You have some contemporary homes in there, some traditional, you have some Tuscan—just a beautiful mix of architecture.”


Cizek has been in real estate more than 25 years, and as a realtor who specializes in high-end properties, she knows Linden Estates particularly well. “It will go anywhere from half a million to multi-million, and everything seems to blend just fine,” she says.

The residents themselves also blend well, says Kim Syslo, who’s been in the neighborhood for about a year. There are homes with play structures side-by-side with homes that feature stately courtyards or pristine gardens, and Syslo says her young family has felt at home from the beginning. “We have friendly neighbors who are so kind to my kids,” she says. “Children really are welcome—we’ve been thrilled with the neighborhood.”


John Belford, president of Linden Estates’ board of directors, agrees that, as the neighborhood enters its third decade, it has become more diverse in recent years. “There’s definitely been a lot of turnover. We’ve had a lot of new kids come into the neighborhood, young kids from 2 to 14. There are also people who are retired with no kids as well. Everyone 
gets along.”

“It’s a pretty good mix,” Cizek agrees, “and that’s what you want in a neighborhood.”

Located in the area of 144th and Dodge, Linden Estates is close to West Omaha business parks, retail developments, and 
other amenities.


“We used to think 72nd was the heart of the city, and now it’s 132nd,” Cizek says. “Everything is easy to get to. It is a phenomenal location: easy access to downtown, easy access to the interstate.”

“There are a lot of restaurants and grocery stores and amenities that are within 10 minutes,” 15-year resident Nancy 
Hultquist adds.

Linden Estates is in the Millard Public Schools district, so neighborhood children generally attend Ezra Millard Elementary, Kiewit Middle School, and Millard North High School. Catholic schools St. Vincent de Paul and St. Wenceslaus are also nearby. Belford, who is the parent of three high-school students and also has one in college, says, “I’m fortunate to live here. It’s been great for our family, and it’s a great location—between 132nd and 144th and Dodge to Maple, we have everything we need.”

Linden Estates was annexed by the City of Omaha in 2008, Belford says. There is also a Linden Estates Second Addition, but although the two neighborhoods are adjacent, they are independent developments and even managed by separate home-
owners associations.

“Linden Estates is, in my opinion, probably the premier neighborhood in the city,” Cizek says. “It has stood out for twenty years.”


Not only has the natural maturation of the community’s trees enhanced the look of Linden Estates over the years, the April hailstorms that came through West Omaha this year had an unexpected silver lining—many of the homes now sport new roofs, which has refreshed the neighborhood. “You have homes in there that look like they’re brand-new again,” Cizek explains.

The new roofs will also be a perfect canvas for the elaborate holiday light displays for which Linden Estates has become known.

“It’s always been like that since we’ve been here,” Hultquist says of the collective enthusiasm for holiday decor. “Everyone really puts up a lot of lights and celebrates the holidays. It’s a very festive environment not only for the homeowners, but also for Omahans to enjoy. I think when you go out to look at Christmas lights, this is one of the neighborhoods 
you go through.”

Even the entrance to Linden Estates is welcoming, Belford says. “The homeowners association started putting up lights about 10 years ago at the main entrance at 144th Street and Hamilton. The homeowners were already putting lots of lights up, so we decided to enhance the holiday season by adding lights.”

Linden Estates is an active neighborhood year-round. Even the surrounding areas are pedestrian-friendly, Hultquist says, with plenty of paths, parks, and even a small reservoir near the First National Business Park.

“In the morning, you see children walking to school, and after school, you see more people walking their dogs, children riding bikes,” she says. “There’s just more activity with more families and younger children in the neighborhood.”