Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


A Tale of 2 Stages

For home sellers it is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is the age of wise choices, it is the age of foolish decisions, it is the age of sales success and the age of missed opportunities.

In short, now is an age where sellers are finally realizing that how their own "sales tale" plays out is more within their control then ever before. More and more know that to sell their home they need to take responsibility and a proactive role in its sale. How? Well, besides hiring a Realtor, today's sellers are starting to finally believe that they must do all they can to make their properties look and be as visually attractive as possible.

In fact this posted tale is about two couple who did just this... they hired experienced professional that knew how to add the right appeal required to get buyers interested in their properties. What makes this tale more interesting is the fact that this all took place during the worst real estate market in years and at the slowest selling time of the year... a cold and snowy Chicago December.

Late last year, we here at Real Estaging  got a call from two different Lincoln Park couples. While each seller had different were at different points in the sales cycle, each wanted to hire a real estate stager to advise them as to what they could do to best prepare the homes they were selling, yet still living in.  The first couple (Home #1 -above) had not yet listed their home and they wanted to get it in tip top shape before they formally put it up for sale in the market. The second couple (Home #2 - below) unfortunately had had their home on the market for over 6 months and was not getting ANY offers on it. This couple was tired, weary and was ready to get on with their lives.

 So we here at Real Estaging stopped by each home and did what most stagers do... we toured the properties and gave the typical and predictable staging advice and suggestions (i.e. declutter, depersonalize, make repairs, clean up, thin out and rearrange the furniture). But while staging consulting advice is good and helpful, both homes still need more. It is "MORE" that makes this staging tale a bit different and helped make 2 prospective buyers respond in the favorable ways they did.

You see both these homes needed just a bit MORE in the way of decorative accessories and furnishings (props). While bringing additional props into occupied homes is not always a typical service offered by most home stagers, we here at Real Estaging have found that by adding a few select accessories, a home can be totally transformed and given a final FINISHED look that influences buyers to make offers. Adding the right props helps to: 1) Add visual appeal, 2) Tie the home together so that it has flow and continuity, and 3) Solves perplexing space issues. The red dots in both sets of pictures above marks the props we add in some of the rooms.

So the first set of pictures (Home #1) is from a Lincoln Park home staging that got an offer just a few short hours after it had been toured by the very FIRST person who looked at it. For this particular property we loaned the sellers 45 props to give the home a finished / polished look. In particular, we replaced a massive coffee table with a smaller one, brought in a kitchen table & 4 chairs (they did not own one) and replaced "controversial" wall art with more understated art.

For the second home (Home #2) we had to add a few more items. For this listing we brought in about 50 items. One problem we had to address was the fact that the fireplace had no visual appeal. It needed some accessories to add some visual interest and attraction to it.  Another problem was with the wall directly to the right of the fireplace, it had NO art on it. The massive 12 foot high wall was a big, blank and boring! We are now proud to say that after being on the market for six months, the sellers of this property finally received an offer just 1 week after we staged it!

So that is our tale of two stagings... that ends happily for two Lincoln Park couples wanting to sell their homes. It all started when both took a long hard look at the real estate age we are in and then chose to do all that was necessary to help them market their homes successfully. Each may now be saying... "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better opportunity to move on now that I have staged than I have ever known." (Sorry for the sappy ending... but you get the point.)

Staging It Forward...


Comment balloon 43 commentsCraig Schiller • February 26 2008 11:58AM


Craig, Wonderful blog on the importance of home staging and the difference it makes.

Properties demand extra attention to be noticed in the packed real estate market. As always you have accomplished this!

Posted by Leslie Godbold, Motivation Speaker, Radio host "Positively Living" (WZGM AM1350 Independent Asheville Radio) over 12 years ago
Excellent post (as always!)  Sometimes it is the small things that make such a huge impact.  The rooms look beautiful.  It is no wonder the homes sold quickly!
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 12 years ago
...and SIF breathes a sigh of relief...the prodigal son returns.  Welcome back.
Posted by Kimberly Wester over 12 years ago

I think we will see more of this need with the competition soaring in this RE market.  Thanks for getting the creative juices flowing, Craig!


Posted by Kathy Riggle, Houston Home Staging (STAGING SMART N SOLD) over 12 years ago

Hi Craig - it's great to see a post from you!  And I love the tale of these 2 homes..... if/when I go to sell my house, I'd like t0 be couple and house #1.  ;-)

Great job and it's great to see you, too!

Posted by Ann Cummings, Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent (RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine) over 12 years ago

We are getting a listing next weekend and the sellers are having the home professionally staged and we can't wait to see it.

There are not that many stagers here in NH that we have run into. We had an antique farmhouse that was staged and the sellers were playing catch up to the market and the home never sold.

When I hear the word staging I always think of Craig Schiller.

Posted by Jay McGillicuddy, Real Estate Broker (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty) over 12 years ago
Staging is an important consideration these days. These rooms look beautiful. Nice job.
Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) over 12 years ago
Just wanted to get in here and add that I've become a huge fan of staging, especially before listing.  I tend to work mostly with buyers, so my enthusiasm may seem misplaced, but it is so much easier to show a home that is professionally staged to show the possibilities.  I can walk into a home and mentally discount a mess, but I've had countless clients walk from perfectly good homes due to the aesthetics.  You are truly doing everyone a favor by using a professional for this task.
Posted by Joe Hayden Real Estate Team, Your Louisville Real Estate Experts! (RE/MAX Properties East) over 12 years ago
Congratulations Craig. Those pictures make the houses look fabulous.
Posted by Monika McGillicuddy, Southern NH & the Seacoast Area (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty) over 12 years ago
Some things in life are worth waiting for.  Your blogs are one of them.  Congratulations on such a successful outcome Craig.  
Posted by Charlene Storozuk, Home Stager - Burlington Ontario (Dezigner Digz) over 12 years ago

Absolutely fabulous work Craig. Once again, seeing is believing.


Posted by Gina McNew, Host of Diva in the House - The Voice of Real Estate Staging Radio (diva la difference interiors) over 12 years ago
Craig, beautiful job and great post.  I've had great success leaving props in occupied homes.  Most homes just don't have those finishing touch pieces and they need to be supplied. 
Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 12 years ago
Hello Craig!  Good to see you.  What a great tale you've shared.  The pictures look great, and it is too bad house #2 waited so long to see the light.  Better late than never, I guess.
Posted by Kathy Passarette, L.I. Staging/Decorating (Creative Home Expressions) over 12 years ago
Now we know what you've been doing for the last few months...  Working on another masterpiece.  Good to see your words my friend, and Linda says hay also.
Posted by Gary Barnett, Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis (Home Matters) over 12 years ago
Yes, the props are the frosting...the cake is solid, but it's the frosting that sells.  Great work and nice comparison
Posted by Terrylynn Fisher, HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc. (Dudum Real Estate Group - over 12 years ago
I have staged several properties that are still lived in with great success. Some required just a few extra plants and artwork - while others require " a bit more".  You worded it wonderfully - as always! 
Posted by Connie Tebyani, Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County (Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro) over 12 years ago
Hi Craig...I think that the banks may be wise to consider putting some of your "magic" to work!  I love the phrase..."replaced "controversial" wall art with more understated art."  That's in essence what good staging does...makes the home "more understandable" to a larger group of people.
Posted by Lola Audu, Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home! (Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate) over 12 years ago
Well done!  Thanks for the post.
Posted by Don Stern, Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate (Realty Executives South Louisiana) over 12 years ago
Hi Craig. good to hear from you.  The places look wonderful.  You have been busy.
Posted by Isabel Gomes, Interior Decorator, Stager - London, Ont (Gomes Design) over 12 years ago
Welcome back, Craig! The photos and info are right on - it would be even more effective to show the Before photos.
Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 12 years ago

Craig - get back in here and talk to us!!  You've been missed, and like Jay said, whenever I think of and/or hear of staging, Craig Schiller jumps into my mind, too.  See how you've impacted us here on AR?!?!?!?


Posted by Ann Cummings, Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent (RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine) over 12 years ago
Craig, you know I am a total 100% advocate when it comes to stagging.
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 12 years ago
Great post, confirming your value as a Stager. Most sellers just don're realize. I know if I were to put my home on the market, it would take me 90 days to stage it.   
Posted by Michael (Mike) Elliott (Nottingham Real Estate Group) over 12 years ago

This story shows what can happen when talented, professional stagers work with motivated clients.  The ideal clients will work with you and be receptive to your suggestions.  Not always the case in this market.  Good for you and them- and great work!


Posted by Pam Faulkner, Room Transformations Fairfax & Loudoun Counties VA (Faulkner House Interior Redesign) over 12 years ago
Excellent job and it paid off for the sellers.  This blog should make believers out of any doubters.
Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 12 years ago
Those red dots were really fun - and great for pointing out the adds. While I don't as a general rule place our inventory in occupied homes, I have.  Otherwise I source for them, especially  those with kids and pets.
Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 12 years ago

HI Craig!  I like controversial" wall art.  I have not thought to use this word! Genius! Great post and chic staging!!  

Warmest Regards, Cathy Lee, ASP



Posted by Cathy Lee, ASP, IAHSP, RESA Danville, CA (CL Design Services Home Staging) over 12 years ago

Craig, great to read you once again. I've been away myself but certainly not to the extent that you've been.

Just another great example of the importance of home staging. Certainly has caught on and you dear man have helped make it so.

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) over 12 years ago

Craig -- I think your pictures certainly exemplify what stagging can do to help seller make their property more attractive to a buyer.  Sometimes it is the things that tie everything together.  Often sellers believe that it will cost and fortune.  This illustrates how stagging can be done with a more modest budget.  Very nice.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 12 years ago
Great tale with 2 fabulous endings!  In the current market home staging is a must. The home sellers were lucky to have such an excellent real estate stager.  Bravo Craig! :)
Posted by Janice Sutton, Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta (1st Stage Property Transformations ) over 12 years ago

Great post that highlights the importance of offering addititional services to clients.  The decorative accessories and props you added definitely polish off the rooms and they look wonderful!

Posted by Lisa Sherman, Home Stager, Interior, Redesign & Decorating - Salem Oregon (Interior Aura) over 12 years ago

The two places look great and what fantastic outcomes. I bet you just made several new "best friends"!

I'll bring things into lived-in properties as well, although I draw the line at soft goods. Usually, homeowners are happy to go and buy these things and I suggest colors and styles that will work for Staging, but will also be a fit for their new home. I also offer to purchase some items for them when they are wiling to give me an advance to be their "professional power shopper".

Posted by Janis Gaines, Home Stager Eugene OR - The Notably Well-Dressed H (Staging Sells Eugene Homes) over 12 years ago
Beautiful work Craig! 
Posted by Kristi Oliver, Atlanta Georgia Home Stager (Atlanta Staging & Design) over 12 years ago


That's a great post.  If I was selling my home, even though I think it's lovely, I would definitely hire a stager to put the finishing touches on the production. 

Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) over 12 years ago

Wonderful story!  Thanks for sharing what you did to make the homes more appealing - the artwork and finishing touches.  Staging a home is a must today.  Everyone wants a home that looks like a ad.



Posted by Kathy Seger & Ben Staten, Red Hot Atlanta Homes Group (RE/MAX Around Atlanta) over 12 years ago
Great story, good stagings. and congrats on getting it featured, Good for you ! GO STAGERS!
Posted by Fernando Rosado, 561-906-0050 or 561-840-8950 over 12 years ago
Excellent post and beautiful photographs. You did an excellent job. I wondered what all the red dots were at first. It took me a minute to figure it out. Congratulations on helping those two couples. 
Posted by Christy Powers, Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) over 12 years ago


I still think it's funny that you count all your accessories. I should be doing that, but I was clearly a liberal arts major after math 1a (there are just some Asian stereo types that I don't fit) ;) Great post as usual. miss ya lots!



Posted by Cindy Lin, Host, The Home Staging Show podcast (Staged4more School of Home Staging) over 12 years ago
Congratulations on your sellers successes!  Buyers have a difficult time imagining different room colors or furnishings.  Professional staging alleviates this problem.
Posted by Laurie Logan, South Central WI Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty, Inc., Broker Associate) over 12 years ago

Congratulations!  Wonderful staging.  Great blog!

Neil  Bindelglass, Let Me Organize You Professional Home Staging

Posted by Neil Bindelglass (Saratoga Home Staging) over 12 years ago
Craig...I never knew a thing about staging....until I joined AR.  Obviously, you have become the master at it.  Congrats....
Posted by Larry Bettag, Vice-President of National Production (Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001) over 12 years ago
Was just thinking about you and thought I needed to stop by an say hi to my favorite real estager!
Posted by Maureen Francis & Dmitry Koublitsky, Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel (Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel) over 12 years ago


Thanks for the post. A great read as it provided a wealth of insight and information. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by William Collins, Property and Asset Management (ERA Queen City Realty) over 12 years ago