Cora Sue Anthony hails from South Dallas and returns to the city with the revamped ‘Real Estate Intervention’ on HGTV. Anthony will help redo bad design as people put their houses up for sale.

Cora Sue Anthony comes back to Dallas as the new host of HGTV’s ‘Real Estate Intervention’

By Andrea Grimes

Cora Sue Anthony knows that if homeowners don’t engage her home-staging services the first time around, it won’t be long before they’re back. They always come back—usually after the first price reduction on a home that wasn’t dressed to sell.

“Paying for a staging will always cost you much less than your first price reduction,” says Anthony, the new host of HGTV’s revamped Real Estate Intervention. It’s not exactly an ‘I told you so!’ coming from the sugar-voiced real estate expert, it’s more of a mother-knows-best line. After all, says Anthony, “I got a TV show, didn’t I?”

Today, Anthony lives in the San Francisco Bay area and works almost exclusively with high-end listings, helping investors flip homes as fast as possible, as well as advising home owners on how to spruce up drab or cluttered homes that discourage buyers from signing on the dotted line. Whether it’s new cabinet faces or an imagined little girl’s room, aesthetic changes make all the difference — especially in an unfriendly economy.

“In this market, things that used to be high end are still the same house, just $200,000 or $300,000 less,” explains Anthony.

A lovely property and a good location just don’t do it any more. Sometimes it takes that “new house smell,” from a fresh coat of paint to secure a sale.

For Real Estate Intervention, Anthony will come home to Texas to get Dallas properties in ship-shape. She’s come a long way from her roots in South Dallas, where she was born over a Christmas vacation. “I’m truly a Christmas baby,” says Anthony, whose passion for holiday décor—and a little luck — got her where she is today. When her children, who are now 16 and 20, were small, Anthony dolled up a table at a Christmas cookie exchange at their school, where she also designed the sets for their class plays. Seeing her decked-out cookie table, a fellow mom told Anthony about home staging.

Today, her daughter works as a stylist on Real Estate Intervention and helps her mom look her best while she’s making over homes, appealing to buyers’ emotions as well as their pocketbooks is key.

Starting with a good location—“location, location, location always applies,” she says — and a house that doesn’t need much serious plumbing or foundational repair, Anthony can “tear down a wall or two” and make cosmetic changes so that buyers can really envision themselves living in a particular home.

“People want the most bang for their buck,” Anthony says.

Because in this down economy, even the best houses won’t sell unless they make buyers feel something.

“Everything I do has to do with evoking an emotional response,” she says, whether that’s decorating a kids’ room in a family neighborhood or turning a second bedroom into a home office in up-and-coming neighborhoods that attract young professionals.

Sometimes, serious cosmetic changes have to happen in a matter of days or weeks, especially when Anthony works with investors flipping properties.

“They’re still trying to get every penny,” she says, but staging can make the difference between a house that sells almost immediately and one that languishes on the market. And Anthony knows she can get the job done.

“If we get them to fall in love with the house, they’ll buy it.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 3, 2011.