Realtor works as interior designer for banks, clients

Nearly 15 years ago, Karen Bye was flying to Las Vegas every six weeks from Fargo, North Dakota, for a design project for one of her clients who was building one of the first homes in Siena, an age-restricted community in Summerlin.

“I installed everything from furniture to accessories and when I went back home it was minus 40 degrees and I said, ‘This is absurd,’ ” she said.

Bye, who boasts 35 years of interior design experience, decided to relocate permanently to Las Vegas and got her real estate license so she could build homes with developers, stage them and sell them to clients.

“I gave up on the design aspect except for my clients back home,” the Award Realty Realtor said.

She still works as an interior designer for nearly 50 banks throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.

Bye incorporated staging into her properties as a complimentary service to her clients to emphasize certain aspects of properties.

“An empty property just doesn’t look the same and I wanted to help people visualize how much furniture can go into a property,” she said. “When they’re empty they look a lot smaller.”

According to Bye, she has four storage units and three garages bursting at the seams with furniture and accessories.

“I bought it all myself from clients or consignment stores,” she said. “I look for anything that’s unique and exciting because every time I stage it’s different and different furnishings are brought into it.”

Bye said staging her clients’ homes allows her to keep an aspect of interior design in her Las Vegas-based business.

“When you have design in your blood, it’s all about detail, balance and trying to be creative,” she said. “It also keeps me young and in the know with what’s popular today.”

Bye wakes up every day at 7:30 a.m. and doesn’t turn in for the night until at least 1 a.m.

“My kitchen counter is full of a design project I’m working on for a bank and I stage, unstage, show and list properties and go to listing calls,” she said. “It’s kind of fun … well, it’s a lot of fun.”

Bye added, “I’m one of those people who loves her job; it’s not a job for me, it’s a career.”

In the future, Bye said while she anticipates designing for banks for several more years, she’s going to continue her real estate career for years to come.

“I’m going to continue real estate until I fall over,” she said. “I’m a workaholic and I’ll never change that.”

Contact reporter Ann Friedman at or 702-380-4588. Follow @AnnFriedmanRJ on Twitter.

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