Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


Successful Selling in an Ugly Market Ain’t Always Pretty!

 Even though we live in a consumer society, it's an odd fact that home sellers typically do not view their property as a product for sale in a marketplace. Because this is so, a home's sale often languishes. But this need not be the case. Basic marketing teaches us that how a product is perceived and received within the market can be altered and impacted.

More then just being decorators or designers, good home stagers are more focused in applying a full array of strategic marketing principles and practices which positively influence the consumer about a product in a market.

So even though a staged home might look attractive, it is important to note that staging is NOT solely about making a home look "pretty." In fact there are homes that CAN look visually attractive and STILL not be staged. Any Realtor, home seller, or builder who thinks that all staging is is making a home look "pretty" is grossly ignorant to the reality of what a good stager does and therefore probably not using a stager and benefiting from what we do.

The "Why" and "How" a home is prepped and set for showing and selling is what real estate staging is all about. Much like what happens every day in retail stores across America (i.e. TARGET), real estate staging is actually more about the process of strategically setting up (merchandising) a house in a manner that makes it not only easy for buyers to tour, but also creates a way for their eyes and heart to connect to it with a powerfully effective first impression that lingers and stays with them.

I am not surprised to find there are many pretty homes that are not selling. But a staged home, that is priced right, will sell quickly, even in ugly markets.

Market It Forward...


Comment balloon 29 commentsCraig Schiller • March 27 2008 11:34AM


Powerful stuff Craig.  THANKS!

This is exactly why some sellers and realtors don't understand why we do what we do and why we spend sleepless hours before a staging with planning.  Questions or statements like.."Why did you put that there?" or "I never would have thought to put that there" and my answer is that's why this is my trade.  I place things strategically for reasons, not just for pretty.  Now the fact that they look pretty is great, but more importantly that they do their work. 

Posted by Ginger Foust, Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging (Certified Staging Professional) over 12 years ago
Craig, I think your concept is right on. Finding creative, fresh, and surprising ways to market something is truly an asset. It's getting people to appreciate and understand it that is often the challenge! I often run into the same roadblock when trying to communicate the value of my work, even though it's in a different field. Best wishes to you!
Posted by Candis Hidalgo (Real Estate Marketing - Go Smart Solutions) over 12 years ago
Craig- this was well said!  We had someone ask id that is what we do! Make things look pretty!  My answer was not only that - there is a whole list of things that we do- Staging is the presentation of a product!
Posted by Marci Toliver, Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging (438-4642) over 12 years ago
THIS IS EXCELLENT - great visual and great description.  I'm going to bookmark this!!!
Posted by Karen Rice, Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales (Davis R. Chant, REALTORS) over 12 years ago
I think price is more important than if a home is staged to get is sold.  If it hasn't sold, lower the price.  Pretty simple.
Posted by Brian Kreick (Willinger Real Estate) over 12 years ago
Great points here Craig...
Posted by Michael Wayne Jackson, Broker - Seniors Real Estate Specialist Novato (Coldwell Banker) over 12 years ago

Hi Craig-

Grocery "markets"  are carefully staged to direct traffic flow, create visual interest, etc- works for real estate also!


Posted by Kathy Riggle, Houston Home Staging (STAGING SMART N SOLD) over 12 years ago
I can just NOT let Brian Krieck's comment go with out making my own comment about it...

I think Brian's comment shines an important light on what many realtors THINK stager's do... and because this is so, realtors and  their sellers are loosing out and loosing money.

YES pricing is ALWAYS KING!




But sometimes what stagers can first effectively attend to need NOT to be addressed with a price drop... in fact sometimes it makes NO sense.

CASE IN POINT... Just yesterday I went to view a $2.2 million property in Lake Forest Illinois. It is an exquisite home... but it is not selling.

The realtors, who are quite reputable and knowledgeable, INSIST that the home IS priced right and have advised the seller NOT to reduce the price.  It has had MANY showings since first being listed last September... but it has not sold.

As I toured the home I noticed quite a few issues that staging could easily correct...

  • Moving the large plant that hid the architectural detail of how the staircase flowed into the grand entry made total sense. Shouldn't a potential buyer see what they are buying?
  • Upon entering the family room I noticed that the placement of the furniture made the room not only feel awkward, out of balance and unwelcoming, but also the way the furniture was arranged obstructed easy access to the doors that led to back patio and gardens. Being able to easily get to and experience this beautiful and influential part of the home made no sense.

Why drop the price hundreds or thousands of dollars when that was needed was to move a plant and some furniture around a few feet?

These are just a few quick examples of some issues I saw needing attention. A good stager typically can find many "little things" like these that can add up to a whole lot of product merchandising.

Let's get back to basics...

Before you SELL a product, you must market it.

Staging is a marketing tool. It is NOT the only marketing tool. But it is a tool that can be effectively utilized when you understand how and when to use it.

So sorry Brian, (while I am not implying this is what you personally do) but to solely rely on dropping a price to make the sale is, in my opinion, laziness. My 11 years in advertising and marketing (outside of home staging) has thought me that sometimes there are other corrections that can be implemented that will help make the sale at the fair and correct price!

Posted by Craig Schiller over 12 years ago
Those are some great points!  Stick to the basics!
Posted by Dane Briggs, GRI, ABR, CNE, MRE (Firebird Realty) over 12 years ago


Staging often gets used to shore up price, but the bottom line is always presenting the home in the best possible way.  My guess is, Craig, once you moved the plant and the family room stuff about you would find a total lack of "illustration" for lifestyle in the home.  If a buyer can't imagine themselves living in the place, ain't no-one gonnna buy it.

Anyway, here's what the realtors here tell me --

no showings = too high a price, no value

no offers = nobody gets it

Posted by Juliet Johnson, Jacksonville Photography & Digital Marketing (Vizzitopia) over 12 years ago
I agree that staging is of vital importance.  Sometimes it is amazing how many how a lack of vision when viewing a home.  Sellers need to put the best product on the market and make as appealing as possible.  
Posted by Michael Taylor (Red Door Real Estate) over 12 years ago
Great post.  I think a lot of thought would have to go in staging a property correctly to attract a buyer to it.  I think staging is a must in this market and is just as important as pricing it right in order for it to sell in the current market.
Posted by Patricia Beck, Colorado Springs Realty (RE/MAX Properties, Inc., ABR, GRI, SRES) over 12 years ago

Great post Brian ! very well addressed the answer. I agree with you totally

Posted by Fernando Rosado, 561-906-0050 or 561-840-8950 over 12 years ago

Craig, I was just about to respond to Brian's comment about the price of a property, then I saw your response....I am in total agreement with you. I am a stager/realtor and correct pricing is the single most important thing that gets pounded into an agents head; however:



Great post---I want to forward this to all the agents in my office. Do I have your permission?


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 12 years ago

 Nice to see you Craig!!!!

One of my Realtors who I have partnered with to stage all his listings, said exactly that, "A price reduction is a lazy Realtors only answer"


Posted by Heather Chotard (In Style) over 12 years ago

Well said.

Kristina, KFM Staging & Design - A Minnesota Home Staging Company

Posted by Kristina Leone (Lionheart Home Staging, LLC) over 12 years ago
Well to save some dough and move a plant and possibly get top dollar?. Sounds real good to me. I'm not a stager but i do know presentation is very important. Go to a fine dining restaurant and watch the "staging" of a four course meal. It's in the presentation.
Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic ( over 12 years ago
amen my friend :) kh
Posted by Kate Hart (Hart & Associates Staging and Design) over 12 years ago
The price definitely makes a difference. I agree with you completely. You and the other stagers here have done beautiful work. 
Posted by Christy Powers, Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) over 12 years ago
There is no doubt home staging makes a difference, but price is king.
Posted by Joe Virnig, No Ordinary Joe (RE/MAX Gold Coast REALTORS, Ventura County, California) over 12 years ago
Very good information, thank you.
Posted by Jude Sandvall: DreamHomes by Jude, 720-427-1021 (Brokers Guild Classic) over 12 years ago
Good post. Staging can always help to make a positive difference.
Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 12 years ago
Pricing is always the key in this business though it doesn't hurt to have a beautiful updated home
Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ (Real Estate One) over 12 years ago
Craig, as you well know Linda's staging strategy is first and foremost "Increase the marketability"  She has always had the philosophy that staging is simply a technique to increase the marketability of a property so that it competes at the highest level it possibly can.  And as far as simply dropping the price.  I think it's time we all buy into the fact that there is a difference between being involved in something vs being committed to something.
Posted by Gary Barnett, Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis (Home Matters) over 12 years ago
Great explanations on what we do.  It's so important for sellers and realtors to understand.
Posted by Lea-Ann Virnig, Home Beautiful: San Antonionulls Premier , Home Staging Company (Lea-Ann's Home Beautiful Staging and Design LLC) over 12 years ago

Good post Craig. Yes, we are not about making things looking pretty. Sometimes this is a hard concept to get across to new clients. I have the most challenging client right now. I actually turned down the job but the Realtor really wanted us to do it, so we did. The client thinks we have nothing better to do then meet with him and talk about the staging (4 times before) 1 time after. I think he is lonely and has nothing better to do with his time. We have gone over with him until we are blue that we are focusing on the features of the room view, fireplace, etc. not making things pretty. He doesn't get it nor will he ever. Just like in high school the "pretty" girl is not always the first one picked for the softball team. It takes talent and the ability to get the job done. If you simply want pretty there are other avenues to explore. We are here to sell a property, not just to dress up and go to the prom.


Posted by Kym Hough, Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA (www.Staged-to-Sell ) over 12 years ago
I have a property that has been staged, and hasn't sold, which concerned me, I knew it was overpriced, but  the out-of-state owner just found out that it had been overpriced by over $100k+.  He is relisting with a different REA, and bringing it down to where it should be.  The house has had rave reviews, but the REA never told him the reason it was selling was that she had priced it too high.
Posted by Cindy Bryant, "Houston Home Staging Pros" (Redesign Etc. Home Staging) over 12 years ago

You said this so well.... Please call me on Monday- I need our help on a listing in Long Grove.  They are moving out and I want to tell them to leave certain furniture behind. 


Posted by Judy Greenberg, Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes (Coldwell Banker Long Grove) over 12 years ago

Always right on target.  It is a marketing tool an when properly priced and presented a winning combination...



Posted by Renee Pratta, Renewed Rooms - SC (Renewed Rooms) over 12 years ago