Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


Stager’s Prop Library: YES or NO?

 To follow up on an earlier blog, I wanted to share with other stagers my thoughts on why creating and maintaining a Prop Library is a GOOD business decision.

While some stager's suggest that it is easy to find perfect "hidden treasures" in and around a home that could be used to stage the property, I find THAT is not always the case. In fact I find it not to be the case most of the time.

If the purpose and reason for staging is to help the seller BEST prepare and merchandise their home for its sale, then why would you NOT want to have a Prop Library? The access to our library gives us the ability and flexibility to provide an effective and COMPLETE staging solution for ALL clients... regardless of need.

Prop Libraries REALLY help the seller. They save the seller time as they do not have to go out to find a "prop" on their own. It saves them CONSIDERABLE money, for they need not buy items at FULL retail. And, let's face it, even if they have the time and money to go out and shop, some sellers lack good taste...remember scale, proportion, style and color DO matter.

Working with and having access to furniture rental companies furnishings is helpful.  But recognizing their own limitations a MAJOR furniture rental company here in Chicago looks to us to add the "bling" on top of what they can provide. (See previous blog)

To date our library currently has over 2,000 items including: Furniture for EVERY room, Framed Art, Accessories, Plants & Trees, Lamps, Baskets, Rugs, Draperies, Bath Linens, Books, Electronic Components, Linens and so much more.

The NEGATIVES about having a Prop Library are:

  1. They are VERY VERY expensive to create, manage and maintain.
  2. It takes time to source and stock... and time is money.
  3. Managing what is going out and coming in is a logistical hassle (we are currently having a software application created to manage this for us)
  4. Moving props in and out of a property as many times as we do creates wear and tear on the props, and sometimes damages beyond repair.
  5. Warehousing is another financial issue.
  6. Shipping to and from requires having or renting a truck/van.

So why do we do it? Because, it BEST serves our clients.

To date, our library valued at nearly $80,000 sends a STRONG message to our clients that WE believe in staging and a commitment and investment in a Prop Library will differentiate you from the competition.

Prop Libraries send the clear MARKETING MESSAGE... "you don't dabble in staging, you DO IT!"


Comment balloon 12 commentsCraig Schiller • September 11 2006 06:30PM



It's an investment in yourself and your company. Shows the client that your the consummate professional.

Probably and additional closing tool too. And, yes, as tools of your trade I expect that you can depreciate and write off those pieces after a certain amount of wear and tear.

Hey, you can hold an annual garage sale...just for us!

Posted by Eileen Landau, ABR, CRS, e-PRO (BAIRD & WARNER, NAPERVILLE) about 14 years ago

I wish that there was a Craig Schiller here in the Birmingham (MI) market.  I have several spec homes that need you. 

You're a professional and it shows!

Posted by Craig Schiller about 14 years ago
Wow that's amazing
Posted by Susan Milner, Cape Coral Real Estate Broker, FloridaFutureAgents (Florida Future Realty, Inc.) about 14 years ago


I value your opinion please check out my problem with a Tenant. Tell me what you think?



Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) about 14 years ago
it is definitely a hard decision financially. it's definitely something i am personally work toward, i just need to work quite a few more jobs before i can build it up to this point :)
Posted by Cindy Lin, Host, The Home Staging Show podcast (Staged4more School of Home Staging) about 14 years ago

I am just getting started with inventory and intend to store items in my basement.  I only hope I have enough business to warrant having a inventory tracking system:-)


Posted by Home Staging almost 14 years ago

For me props are a must have, not only due to my love of shopping, but as you say Craig it shows a commitment to staging. My collection is small compared to yours but I am now realizing the work involved in documenting, storing, and tracking each item. Let me know when you are holding your first "garage" sale!

Reveal Estate 

Posted by Jackson West (Reveal Estate Home Staging - Vancouver) almost 14 years ago

I agree with having an inventory.  I've just started building mine and in the middle of developing a business plan to acquire funding to purchase and house more.  Would you be open to sharing how you bill your clients?

Yard sale?, have credit card - will travel.  ;-)

Posted by Tina Parker, CNE, REDM, SRES, CSP Home Staging REALTOR, Halifax (Keller Williams Select Realty) almost 14 years ago

 I I am most definately a prop person!  I only use my own inventory and I buy only high-end to give me an edge. 

Joan inglis/Lake Wylie Home Staging


Posted by Joan Inglis, Master Accredited Staging Professional, Home Staging, Model Merchandising, Interior Design (Carolina Spaces, LLC over 13 years ago
Great post on prop inventory. I am building mine all the time. I have my resale license and can buy at  wholesale. You just have to pay the tax on it. I buy all my furniture from a wholesale dealer here in idaho and I am going to start going to market next year. It saves a lot of money especially on furniture. Here in idaho the sales tax is 6% so it is not much money plus I work it into my rental fee.
Posted by Maria Lechner, Home Stager Boise ID (The Added Touch Home Staging) over 13 years ago

Thanks for the post, Craig...all very valid poins.

I think Joan Inglis made a very good point as well. Quality props versus cheap really shows. Especially when you are staging higher end homes....these are what are expected and is a must!


Posted by Julia Fedak (Royal LePage State Realty) over 13 years ago

This is very interesting Craig. I run an inventory and it is constantly expanding and growing. Buying at wholesale and renting at retail is where margins are at to make money. Besides all that, having your own inventory PAYS for itself after a certain amount of rents and is passive revenue while you are working on other projects

Would love to hear more about your software for managing stock.

Posted by Adam Luttrell, Shift Property Styling - Hobart, Tasmania (Shift Property Styling) over 13 years ago