Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


Stagers: We are Talking in AZ to Carry the Staging Message Forward.

 Well in less than one hour the first Stage It Forward Roundtable Discussion will be taking place in Scottsdale.

Many of you emailed asking that I send you the questions we gathered from stagers all over North America... so here they are. 

I thought that posting the questions we will be discussing will give those of you interested in participating a chance to be heard too.

I really gotta run but I wanted to get this posted.... we will be sharing more later.


PS: I know many of you would like a Round Table in your area... we are working on that too.

AFTER EVENT POST SCRIPT: All I am going to say is... "FANTASTIC" When Calie and I walked out we knew that everyone there left with much more than they expected. Calie will share more in her blog later today... as for me. I am going to go hang out poolside afterall THIS was to be a bit of a vacation too.

But I gotta say... I am thrilled!



So here are the "10 QUESTIONS" we are discussing today... actually because I recieved more then 10 good questions, I catigorized the questions to help faciitate the dialogue.


With more and more real estate agents taking formal staging training and large-scale furniture rental companies jumping on the vacant staging bandwagon, do you think our small-scale staging businesses could be rendered obsolete within the next few years...if so, what measures should we take to prevent this? Judy Kincaid, Destined To Sell Home Staging Services - Tampa FL

Is home staging a viable career choice?  And by that I mean - can you make enough money to support your family, pay the mortgage and earn a living without any supplemental income? Maureen Henry, Rockland Home Staging - Rockland County NY

As the popularity of staging grows, more and more classes are created targeting the Realtors themselves.  Has this trend had a negative or positive affect on your business?  If you are 'accredited/certified' have you shared this impact with your training company? Kimberly Wester, Details Staging and Redesign - Northwest IN



How can the consumer be educated on how to find a quality staging company who understands that the staging design is in alignment with the price point of the home, the market, and meets the expectations of its buyers? Linda Barnett, Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN

If and/or when training courses are challenged to be regulated, will the staging industry and the merchandisers marketing that service gain the recognition and respect necessary to grow to be common practice? Karen Dembsky, Peach Tree Homes Staging - Atlanta, GA

How would/will standardizing on industry terminology, such as Simple Staging, Standard Staging and Select Staging impact marketing effectiveness and product quality? Kate Hart, Hart & Associates Staging and Design - Radnor, PA



Is it feasible to have a national (international) organization for the industry which will be able to accept members from all training schools and not be a reaction to or in league with any particular training school?

Keeping in mind that a written test will not be complete in determining individual home staging skills and abilities, can a system of testing be developed which can be used to determine acceptability of those individuals wishing to be a part of a national group? (Autonomy with minimum basic standards.) Yvonne Root, Rooms b.y. Root - Prescott, AZ

What (one thing or more do you see, think) needs to happen (or What do Stagers need to do) in order to take Home Staging from the "hit or miss" category in the minds of the RE community to bringing it to being accepted as an industry standard for all residential RE transactions? Karen Otto, Home Star Staging - Plano, TX

With the emergence of communities such as Active Rain & the widespread variety of staging courses how does it affect the industry as a whole when current industry leaders refuse to acknowledge the validity of good stagers not affiliated with their organization?  And how do we create national ethical & work specific standards without the support & recognition of this same group? Melissa C. Marro, First Impressions Home Staging & Interior ReDesign - Charleston, SC



How will the current volatile and dropping real estate market effect the staging industry? If the market continues to drop, will more or less people want to have their homes staged? Is there a price point in home sales below which staging will no longer be an option for home sellers and REAs? Michelle Minch, Moving Mountains Design & Staging - Pasadena, CA

What might be the long and short term effects that poor staging jobs will have on an already sluggish real estate market and the staging industry just trying to get off the ground as an accepted practice.  Or is it possible that even poor staging jobs have good results? Joelle Greene, Joelle & Co. Designs - White Rock/South Surrey, BC



What are your least favorite aspects of being a Professional Home Stager?  How do you overcome them? Also, what are your favorites? Beth Patnode, Stylish Transformations - Twin Cities, MN

When a staging company cannot keep up with the demand for their services, is it ethical to subcontract the work to another company? If not what is the best way to establish a profitable referral program? Jackson West, Reveal Estate Home Staging - Vancouver, BC

Given the same budget, would you rather do several vignettes in a few rooms, or 'full blown' staging in one room?" Jessica Hughes, Ambiance Staging - Bolder, CO



What are some of the most successful marketing tools used by home stager's?  What marketing tools have you used to successfully keep and partner with REA's for repeat business? Janice Sutton, 1st Stage Property Transformations - Riverside & San Diego County, CA

I would like to explore overcoming the objections, usually posed by a realtor, to reduce a price on a house as opposed to using Staging as a marketing tool? Tracie Martin, AZ Home Staging Solutions - Phoenix, AZ

How can we put together some real stats about the difference home staging makes?  Not stats that are hand chosen based upon the best success stories, but complete and actual overall stats between comparable staged and non-staged homes. Nickie Rothwell, Get Staged 2 Sell - Feng Shui for Life - Los Angles CA


Comment balloon 25 commentsCraig Schiller • October 22 2007 10:55AM


Craig ~  All great questions!  Please post back and let us know how this roundtable went.  Thanks!
Posted by Kathy Passarette, L.I. Staging/Decorating (Creative Home Expressions) over 13 years ago
Wonderful questions!  Wish I could be there...
Posted by Dawn Taylor, SE Minnesota Home Stager~ (Taylor'd To Sell) over 13 years ago

I am quite interested in seeing how these questions are addressed.  Home staging is becoming more important as the markets cool.

I have a side question.  How do home stagers address vacant homes in communities with limited furniture rental choices?  Do they just avoid them?

Posted by Randy L. Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 13 years ago
Good question - I was also wondering, since the closest rental place is at least 40 miles from me.
Posted by Dawn Taylor, SE Minnesota Home Stager~ (Taylor'd To Sell) over 13 years ago
Craig, I to would love to see the answers to this!
Posted by Marci Toliver, Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging (438-4642) over 13 years ago

What wonderful questions! I'd love to see them too! 

These are questions that are NEVER asked or addressed from the association I've gotten my training from....I'm most interested in the answers to questions asked in the Career Longevity since the association I speak of has increased their Realtor training by 100 percent from last year.  

Posted by Teresa Meyer, Home Staging Cincinnati-OH. (Cincinnati Home Stager) over 13 years ago

From the look of the menu you will be having supper there.

Posted by Susan Trombley, Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngs (Trombley Real Estate) over 13 years ago
Craig - have fun in AZ.  I can't wait to hear how this goes. 
Posted by Maureen Maureen over 13 years ago
Very interested in the answers to these thought-provoking questions!
Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 13 years ago
Craig, thanks for sharing these. As a real estate agent answering one of the questions, in this declining market, staging is far more important than it ever was.
Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 13 years ago

I definitely think a national organization of some sort would help staging become a more recognized, and protected business with that as a barrier to entry for non-certified would-be stagers.  The only question is who can award such a designation and the first thought in my brain would be a design/architecture related group.  Perhaps the smart thing is to start lobbying in each state for a state recognized AND REQUIRED licensure, much like real estate brokerage, contractors, architects and the like.  Get one of those groups (the administration of that I mean) to realize there is more revenue and scope for them and like any true goverment group they'll jump on the chance to build more beaurocracy to support the theme!

Posted by Gabriel Silverstein, SIOR (Angelic Real Estate, LLC) over 13 years ago
Craig... this is fabulous.  Boy, I wish I could be there too.  I actually am going to do a Staging California Trip over Thanksgiving.  I will be leaving Saturday Nov. 17th to drive down to SCal.  I plan on meeting up with several AR Stagers along the way. Then I will be driving back up the next weekend. I would love to take these questions and have mini round tables along the way. I can compile our responses and get them back to you.  I wish I could drive clear through to AZ, but my plan was to stop and meet as many of my AR buddies that I could in that amount of time. Wow, how fun.
Posted by Lori Kim Polk, Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento ( Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services) over 13 years ago

Thx, Craig!  We all are applauding you for the round table and we are even applauding your hang out at poolside!  You are from Chicago for goodness sake, gotta grab poolside every chance you get!  BTW, wear your sunscreen for poolside, (we don't want you damaged)  : )

And, let Calie know, we are waiting . . . patiently, of course . . .

Posted by Karen Dembsky, Atlanta Home Staging (Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA) over 13 years ago
I'm anxious to see the answers.  This is a great forum for everyone in our profession. Thank you for sharing your time and effort for all to benefit from.
Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, (Home Star Staging) over 13 years ago

Fantastic Questions!

I'm interested in the point Judy Kincaid brought up regarding all the RE & rental Companies taking the 2 day courses and offering Professional Staging?

I asked this Question a couple months ago and most did not worry about it because they said there were so many houses on the market. I'm not entirely sure about that.  I can only imagine the Quality of workmanship a busy RE agent is going to offer after only a 2 day course, if they even take one?

Great Post Craig, We our also anxious to here the out come.


Brian Bloom

Posted by Brian Bloom, All in One Staging Inc. - Home Staging Consultant, Redesign Expert ( 1-630-292-2710) over 13 years ago
Can't wait to hear how it all went...hope you are having a fun trip!
Posted by Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota (Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm) over 13 years ago
For those who asked about what to do when there aren't rental companies nearby .... that was my issue here in Charleston, SC.  I started buying furniture when I could get a good deal... now I have around $200K in furniture and 23 vacant homes staged.  I have very little competition because of this.  The furniture itself is a considerable profit point as well.
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 13 years ago

Wow Craig - I've been out of the rain for a while and look at what I've missed!  So, are you going to share the outcome of the discussions with the rest of us?

All of the questions that were posted were excellent and very timely.  I really would like to hear the consensus on Judy Kincaid's question....that seems to be what is happening all around me!

Hope that you got to enjoy that beautiful Scottsdale weather poolside!


Please tell me that you're coming to the tri-state area with the roundtable....there are a bunch of us here in NY, NJ and CT!!!

Posted by Val Allocco, HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island (Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island) over 13 years ago

I can't wait to hear about the outcome from the first meeting.  I would love to participate in a future meeting.



Posted by Jo Potvin, Home Staging Cincinnati - Design To Market (Design To Market LLC) over 13 years ago

These are all great questions.  Having a business background has been a benefit.  I truly believe all people should be educated in business.  I am making sure my kids will be.

 I look forward to reading what the outcome of your discussions are.  I still am trying to figure out how a realtor can stage as well?  How can they actually try to list a client and then they have to convince them to pay them to even do a consult?


Good luck.

Posted by Isabel Gomes, Interior Decorator, Stager - London, Ont (Gomes Design) about 13 years ago


I have a feeling that they are not charging but rather including the service as part of their work as listing agent.


Posted by Val Allocco, HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island (Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island) about 13 years ago

That's a good question, Isabel.  I'd also like to know how that works.  Does the realtor charge an extra fee for the staging, or just have this as an added service as an incentive to list with them. or add it to the commission?

Staging Realtors?

Posted by Dawn Taylor, Taylor'd To Sell about 13 years ago

Craig: It was great to meet you.  I particularly appreciate the enthusiasm you generate for your chosen profession!  Great photo above, too.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 13 years ago

Thank you Craig for taking the lead to address so many developing questions in our industry.  I'm very anxious to hear about the results of the round table!  Enjoy the sunshine and relaxing poolside!

Lisa Sherman ~ Interior Aura

Posted by Lisa Sherman, Home Stager, Interior, Redesign & Decorating - Salem Oregon (Interior Aura) about 13 years ago

Dawn and anyone else who may be interested,

I'm  a Realtor/Staging Specialist and I stage my listings at no additional fee. My commission is 6% and I split it with the selling agent. I split my 3% with my partner. I do not stage for other people.

I still run into sellers who want me to list with all the bells and whistles and cut my commission. I did a presentation for a guy the other day who went with a discount broker. no staging, no professional pictures. He'll save 6k on commission if he sells it for full price right away.  Like that's going to happen.

There's only one other agent in the Seattle area who stages to the level that we do and she charges extra. She's also started her own staging company. Since she just rented a 5000 sq' storage space it looks like she's focusing more on staging. 

I wouldn't worry too much about Realtors offering staging, as we've said before, taking a class doesn't make you  a stager. Typically the type of person who goes into real estate doesn't doesn't have the staging gene.  

On another note, I talked to my best friend today (she's a managing broker for the biggest company in Seattle). She said that at least 70% of the agents, at her company, use a stager when they sell their own property. Interesting... 

Posted by Susan Peters, The Better it Looks the Better it Sells (Dove Realty Inc.) about 13 years ago