Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


Home Staging = Sweat Equity ON STEROIDS!

 Realtors, with the spring selling season just around the corner I think now is the time to FLEX YOUR MINDS to make a very GOOD point! While home staging does not raise the appraised value of a property, IT STILL CAN BE A VERY PROFITABLE VENTURE!

Here's why... As every realtor knows, a home that goes to market has a possible low/high list price point range.  This low/high price is primarily based on location, condition, features, and finishes.

But you might not know is that if staging is done correctly, and at the right time, the asking price can be raised toward the high side of the range... considerably in some cases!

So, look at staging as "sweat equity on steroids!"  And if you are able to convey that fact to sellers BEFORE it is listed (in fact that is a good way to explain to sellers staging is) then staging can bring HUGE returns to the seller... and a faster sale to you.

Our (Real Estaging's) best "sweat equity on steroids" success story was for couple who last spring ended up LISTING their home for $20,000 MORE from what the agent originally was going to list it for, HAD WE NOT STAGED IT! 

YES, you can stage a house after it has been on the market... but timing matters. If everyone (seller, agent and stager) wins bigger from by staging prior to listing the property... then why not do it?

Realtor and seller both need to understand that staging BEFORE a property goes to market is key to tapping into the financial rewards possible from staging. That is why we at Real Estaging have coined a simple phrase... "stage it, list it, show it, sell it."  THAT ORDER WORKS THE BEST! 

So FLEX YOUR MINDS... and bring new sweaty and profitable ventures to your sellers.


Comment balloon 33 commentsCraig Schiller • January 09 2007 07:25PM


Where do you come up with this must be blessed by the creativity Gods. Another great post. Is that a personal photo of you at the gym?
Posted by James Frazier (James Frazier Personal Development Coach) almost 14 years ago
Craig, as I was reading the post, I couldnt stop looking at the mucles on this guy!  Where do you get this stuff from.
Posted by Marci Toliver, Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging (438-4642) almost 14 years ago


Looks like a Frank Zane lookalike....

Posted by Scott Daniels Florida Real Estate 2.0. Agents Earn 100% Commission. (Florida List For Less Realty, Inc. Broker/Owner. ) almost 14 years ago
Craig, I'm glad you stressed the importance of staging BEFORE the house goes on the market... maybe the realtors will listen to you!  I've heard too many times from realtors that aren't familiar with staging that maybe they'll try staging if they don't sell it quick enough...what a shame, by then they've lost a majority of their audience.
Posted by Judy Heinrich (Judy Heinrich Home Staging) almost 14 years ago
You are so right Craig! The profit margin is greater if the property is staged BEFORE it is listed. By the way where did you find that old picture of me?!
Posted by Jackson West almost 14 years ago

James and Marci:  I see istaging MORE as a tool to market a property and not a way to make a design statement. I think too many stagers only see it as being a way to make something look pretty, that is why realtors do not yet take us serious... YET!

Scott: I am not sure WHO that is... it is NOT me. (Oy! How I wish it were.)

Judy: I wrote this blog in a way that I hope will brand a way of thinking about staging in realtors heads. We is on an uphill educational climb. But oh what a beatiful view we will enjoy when we get to the top.

Stage it forward...


Posted by Craig Schiller almost 14 years ago
Makes sense FC: since we tell our sellers from the time the ink is drying on the contract to three weeks later that those three weeks are when the most 'excitement' is created for that new listing - it makes sense to have it staged from the start. You rock of course
Posted by Carole Cohen, Realtor, ePRO (Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office) almost 14 years ago
hmmmm he looks strangely like your new sketched photo hmmmmmm
Posted by Linda Davis (RE/MAX Home Team) almost 14 years ago
Craig, I appreciate your reinforcing the fact that, while staging may not increase the property's appraised value, it certainly can increase its desirablilty.  I am getting so much good info for my new marketing campaign.  Thanks!
Posted by Judy Kincaid almost 14 years ago

Thanks for the post Craig. Excellent content as always. To give realtors another "steroid" example:

A realtor referred me to a client. She'd already told them their house should be listed at $750,000. After they hired me to stage it, she decided to up the asking price to $799,900. The property sold in days for $820,000. So if we compare the finally selling price from the original estimate of the appropriate list price that's an increase of $70,000. The client spent a total of $5,300 with me. So that's a profit of $64,700 on a $5,300 investment, or 1220%!

How many other legal ways can you think of to earn this financial return, especially in a matter of weeks!!!???

This is not a freak example, I have many more here.

If you want to read about this particular story, it was also featured in the media and you'll find stills from the segment here.

In case you're wondering what $5,300 bought them.... my consultation fees, rental of furniture and art for one month, a number of purchases of items that they kept for their new home (towels, shower curtain, accent pillows, etc.).


Debra Gould, The Staging Diva
President of Six Elements Inc. Home Staging

Posted by Craig Schiller almost 14 years ago

"stage it, list it, show it, sell it."  .... "stage it, list it, show it, sell it."  ...."stage it, list it, show it, sell it." 

Okay, I think I got it now. But do you really think it will work for my Beer Can Buddies?

Actually, Craig, I wish you were here in my market. I have three listings all due to be vacant soon, and in BAD need of staging!

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) almost 14 years ago

Linda: God how I wish.

Judy: That is the whole idea behind the Stage it forward... group. You have been one of the many that have joined the group and posted GREAT ideas that ANY stager could use to make what the do and how the sell their services more effective. You gotta love the rain.

Debra: Once again a fount of information. You are one of the leaders of this industry that inspired me to create the Stage it Forward in Active Rain. I am curious to know if you are pointing students back this way to join Active Rain?

Rich: "you got it" Rich here is a link to Real Estate Resources WA then change the "SHOW" filter to Home Stagers. I encourge you to call them. And remember when evaluating them... USE YOUR EYES!


Posted by Craig Schiller almost 14 years ago

Another, yet harder side of staging to measure, is how many days a home is on the market. Homes that show well will sell quicker because they look good.

Wouldn't you rather sell a home in 15 days than 30, 60 or more?

I have worked on homes that sat on the market for 60+ days, after my recommendations were implemented the home sold in less than a week, and during a slower market! Clients always comment that they wish they had staged first! 

Posted by Lucie Quigley (HOLT modern Home Staging) almost 14 years ago
Craig - Let's be honest - if you placed that picture in a staged home how much attention would the buyer pay to the home versus the picture?!  Great post!
Posted by Suzanne Marriott, Associate Broker, CLHMS, e-PRO (Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 14 years ago

Okay Craig.. I was drinking my coffee & spit it on the screen laughing.  YUCKY! (The guy kinda reminds me of Rocky from Rocky Horror Picture Show.... hmmm.  That shows my age).  In the last 24 hours I have heard:  "oh if my house dosen't sell in a few months I will call you..."  and "my realtor told me NOT to paint because the new owner will just want to paint anyways..."  I can scream LOL.  But as we stagers do, we smile & think hmm.... you'll be picking birds nests off of your lockbox.

Staging should never be a last resort. 

Posted by Craig Schiller almost 14 years ago

Craig & Karen---I think both of should put "spew alerts" on your blogs and comments.  I agree with Karen about the image conjured up by that picture.

Karen---I sure am glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read your comment.  I would have had to buy a new monitor for sure and I'm still chuckling!  We need to put that in our marketing materials:  "Home staging keeps you from having to pick bird nests off your lock boxes!"

Posted by Judy Kincaid almost 14 years ago

Once again wise words from the Master!  I live by those words every day...stage it, list it, show it, sell it!  I agree that order works the BEST.

Two days ago I was taking pictures at a home that I finished staging and met a realtor who asked for my card.  She contacted me yesterday and told me she was getting ready to list a home that had been listed last year and then taken off the market.  She mentioned it needed furniture and help in a few rooms.  She said that she would be paying for the staging out of her pocket.  I mentioned that it would be wise to stage it before she lists it and she agreed.  I will be meeting her later this week so stayed tuned!!! 

Posted by Janice Sutton, Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta (1st Stage Property Transformations ) almost 14 years ago

Craig, right on the money again! Its all about creating that great first impression because when you Stage your home, you sell your house! Price it right, it will be shown, show it right, it will be sold!!

Keep Staging it forward!


Posted by Carol Rumak almost 14 years ago
Craig - Great post - I love that tattoo on the guy's arm!  
Posted by Maureen Maureen almost 14 years ago

"stage it, list it, show it, sell it"  hmmmmm, I like the sound of that ;) very catchy

I seem to be being called in to stage vacant homes that have languished on the market due to being overpriced.  I don't know what the deal is.  I staged a home as a favor to a friend back in November, and it still hasn't sold.   They have now lowered the price by $140,000 and it's still overpriced.  I just don't get this market.  The pricing here is WHACKED.

Posted by Jessica Hughes (Ambiance Staging) almost 14 years ago

Lucy: I think there is a whole blog that can be written in what you say.

Suzanne: Sex sells!

Karen: "Birds nest on lock boxes"... sound like a blog title begging to be written.

Janice: "stage it, list it, show it, sell it."  it should be the staging mantra for every stager.

Carol: PRICE IT RIGHT! THAT is a given.... well it should be. Staging isn't a bandaid for overpricing a property.

Maureen: I am learing aboug subliminal advertising from the Codgers up in MN.

Jessica: I feel a blogg coming on... either you or me should write it!


Posted by Craig Schiller almost 14 years ago

Craig - stage it, tour it, list it, show it, sell it.


Posted by Dawn Shaffer Life is good! almost 14 years ago

DAWN... YES! I LIKE I LIKE! Miss seeing you in the rain sweetie! Me

Posted by Craig Schiller almost 14 years ago
Good points, Craig. Just some more great information for sellers, and agents, to know about and ACT ON! I have seen too many UGLY homes that could definitely benefit from the services of a professional stager. And BLAH vacant homes, too. The more examples we have to give sellers about how successful staging is, the easier it is to convince them - so many just don't have a clue.
Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) almost 14 years ago
Craig, I have walked into some Open House that I just wanted to turn around and walk out. It is amazing that some sellers don't seem to understand that they way they present their house and the first impression that someone gets when they first walk in goes a long way.
Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) almost 14 years ago

Then there are all the houses that no one walks into because from the street they decide they hate it.

I bought 6 of my own homes in 8 years (long before I was a professional stager), and I know when I was sitting in the agent's car knowing that we had 8 or 12 houses to see in an afternoon, if we drove up and I didn't like it, I'd say "forget it let's drive on to the next appointment."

I'm sure I'm not the only buyer that does this. That's why I wrote the article, "House hunting is like speed dating" a few years back. To wake homeowners up to the fact that buyers will make a decision not to buy within a few minutes and no amount of sweet talking will get them back!

Much better to romance them from the street, get them in the door and keep the love going throughout their visit. That's what great home staging does!



P.S. Craig to answer your previous question to me, yes I've invited many Staging Diva Graduates to join this group. I'm pleased to see that several of them are leaders actively contributing to the various discussions, including: Judy Kincaid, Lucie Quigley, Kerri Brencsons, Lisa Kauffman, Mary Seferian, Leigh Olsen, Sveta Melchuk and others.  


Posted by Debra Gould, The Staging Diva (Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.) almost 14 years ago


 I completely agree with Debra and to add to it, MAKE SURE YOUR "AFTER" PIX are being marketed online.  Since 80%+ (this figure keeps rising) home buyers are searching online BEFORE going to the home, it's crucial that the home stagers work is what's shown on the agents site, etc.

Since some of us aren't doing the staging work until AFTER the listing has gone up, MAKE SURE as a courtesy to the agent, you pass your after pictures to the agent (or better yet, have them there to take them and see your work).  Every Professional Home Stager should also be an excellent photographer or consider hiring one.  I have a lot of great tips on taking those "After" photos at: (this article includes a great post by Craig)

More real estate agents need to understand that home staging serves a tremendous marketing dual purpose.  Home staging not only helps market the home on the inside (when buyers enter in), it markets the home on the outside through gorgeous photos (driving traffic to the home).

FYI - I've noticed A LOT more real estate agents calling our Members BEFORE the listing then ever before (which is super encouraging!)  I have two full day appointments this weekend from two Realtors who called one of our Members in the Directory and are paying them directly.

Keep preachin' it Craig!
Warm Regards,  
Audra Slinkey

Home Staging Resource...
Working together to make the practice of professional home staging an industry standard

Posted by Audra Slinkey (Home Staging Resource) almost 14 years ago
Craig I agree that the staging should be done prior to listings.  As a realtor I am telling more an more potential sellers about this service.  It make such a big difference, and as you rightly statedthis usually result in the house listing for more.
Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) almost 14 years ago

Since this discussion leads into the whole issue of well photographed listings to market properties, any agents reading this discussion might be interested in a related post on my Six Elements blog, Virtual Tours Versus Still Photos to Market a Property





Posted by Debra Gould, The Staging Diva (Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.) almost 14 years ago


I love this blog and I really believe that realtors are FINALLY getting it. I know for one, that my phone has not stopped ringing and I have been swamped. YEAH!! But I truly believe that they do not want to experience the same dead Spring market that they experienced last year. They know they have to do something and staging is it!!

They are actually calling me in BEFORE they list it. CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT?? STAGE IT, LIST IT, SELL IT! Hmmm I heard that somewhere, oh well.

Phyllis Pafumi 

Posted by Phyllis Pafumi almost 14 years ago
Craig :: I'll agree with the other comments on this post. This is a very creative and accurate way to look at staging, "sweat equity on steroids." It just hits the right tone.
Posted by Jeff Turner (RealSatisfied) almost 14 years ago

Still trying to catch up with all the wonderful posts before my time on AC. I have a particular agent in mind to show this to.

Thanks for allowing us a glimpse into your creative world.

AC rocks!!!

Kathleen Lordbock

Re$ale Design 

Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 13 years ago
YOU READ MY MIND!  I didn't read your post until now but I tell you I was saying "SWEAT EQUITY"  all morning to my consult clients!  Minimum expense (sweat's cheap and so is paint) = Maximum results.... I think we're psychic-ly connected which is magically go read my post and help me with my problem - pretty please...
Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, (Home Star Staging) over 13 years ago