Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


Stagers: Certified, accredited and waving a magic wand...

I feel compelled to yap a bit more on my blog from yesterday.  First, keep in mind that what I have to say is just my opinion based on my observations.  But after yesterday's insightful comments from Kristal Kraft, and Geri Sonkin I was inspired to do some more sleuthing to back up my comments.

First... yes, there are organizations that accredit, certify or wave some sort of magic wand and turn people into "staging professionals" with some alphabetic mambo jumbo acronym they can put on a business card. Acronyms such as:

  • IRIS: interior redesign industry specialists
  • ASP: accredited staging professional
  • CSP: certified staging professionals
  • RESPD: real estate staging professional designation
  • PHS: professional home stager
  • HSE: home staging expert
  • CRS: certified redesign consultant
  • CPHSD: certified professional home stager designation (gold, silver or bronze)

Typically all the "student" needs to do is pay a fee ($200 to $3,000) and sit in a hotel conference room anywhere from 3 days to a week and listen to an "pro".  Sometimes there is trainings in the field... but again it is a very short exposure to the realities of getting a home ready for its sale.

This is not to say that some very talented people have completed these trainings... and are very capable and do a GREAT JOB at staging.  My concern is that the "schools" attract many in, only to release these people as "professional graduates" out into the real estate industry with the false belief that they really are prepared to do what it takes to truely help a realtor and their seller best prepare a property for sale.

That is why I said a professional looking website; a sharp portfolio of work they have completed and testimonials from satisfied clients is a good litmus test for ability. Alphabet soup after their name means nothing at this point because there really are no industry standards or boards to accredit the teachers or the schools.  There is an old expression... "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."  It may piss some people off that I write that, but I believe there is a little bit of truth to that old expression. Just be informed and be aware.

Well that's enought for now... CRAIG  SCHILLER C.F.S.

PS: As for the designation "CFS" following my name... well, those are my initials. 


Comment balloon 9 commentsCraig Schiller • July 24 2006 08:21PM


Staging is an interesting new business seem to be doing quite the job of efforting to STAGE your Staging
Posted by Craig Schiller over 14 years ago


Although I understand your frustration since you're a professional in the field, however, I wouldn't worry about it so much.  Someone who is not able to to the job right, will have little impact on you, except to raise your services to a higher level.  And, probably more importantly, the public catches on very fast.  They'll fade from their own deficits.

Posted by Geri Sonkin, Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert (Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103) over 14 years ago
There is a local Denver Realtor that uses DGR after his name.  In case you are wondering, that stands for Darn Good Realtor.  We did a transaction together and, as a matter of fact, he was.  Not sure if he had any real credentials.
Posted by Bonnie Cox (RE/MAX Masters) over 14 years ago

Aside from a couple of truely hard to get sets of letters they mean little in our industry as a whole. Clients have no idea what they mean and many are so easy to get it isn't even funny. If you have a few bucks and a couple days anyone get get some letters behind their name, worse some just require a membership. Past success is more important than a set of letters in  my opinion.

Posted by Ken Smith (Suburban House Hunters) over 14 years ago


I think often agents who go after the designations have a real interest in furthering their education.  I know as long as I'm able, I'll be on a quest for knowledge.  I like to think it keeps me young, or at least keeps me from being a doddering old fool.

Posted by Geri Sonkin, Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert (Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103) over 14 years ago

I ALWAYS look for designations or certain memberships such as WCR.  To me it sets apart the newbies from the agents that have been around and invested in their business.  I have never been disappointed using this method.

Bonnie Cox  Denver - Metro Denver

Posted by Bonnie Cox (RE/MAX Masters) over 14 years ago


I agree, what it ULTIMATLE comes down to is TALENT/ABILITY. Bonding on a golf course is great (that is if you play golf) education is wonderful (but we ALL know educated fools).

As I keep saying... credentials are GREAT but the entities that is giving them should not DEFINE the credentials... especially when so many other entities are creating similar/conflicting/competing accreditations.  HOW is the public to know what is is authentic certification when there are so many others floating out there?

YES... this is a favorite topic of mine and I am VERY passionate about it... but I challenge what is out there for the sake of the consumer, not to fill a classroom with students.


Posted by Craig Schiller about 14 years ago
I got my designations for two very good reasons.
With the designation typically comes a membership in the organization giving the designation.  That  means you get a lot more exposure.  I have a link on their  web sites which also boosts my web site ranking.  I've also found the classes are great to network as I have never taken a class in my state.  To me the knowledge I have attained the people I've met  and the extra publicity outweigh all the negative comments about having designations. 
Posted by Jeff Link, "Your Asheville Real Estate Link" about 14 years ago

i definitely can see where that fustration comes from. but it's like that age old debate about realtors' designations & educations. i was a realtor before i became a stager. frankly those tests & education didn't mean a thing because when i got my first client, i was clueless what i was supposed to do?

granted the talent of staging is not teachable, but business models and skills are. i went through the asp course myself, and recently iris. what it gave me was support, business model, skills, knowledge about the industry and testing my waters as a stager. moreover, you learn tricks of the trades which may take many more trials of errors for me to personally go through.

it was already scary enough to take the plunge when i took my first job. it would take a lot more courage if one didn't go through any supportive system at all. the way i see it is like sure, a 5-year-old can learn how to ride the bike herself, but isn't it much less scary to do so with an adult guiding your way?

Posted by Cindy Lin, Host, The Home Staging Show podcast (Staged4more School of Home Staging) about 14 years ago