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Articles on Home Staging

Below are some recent articles on the benefits of Home Staging. According to a 2007 survey, 91% of realtors recommend Staging to their clients as a marketing strategy to make their seller's house stand out among the competition. This differentiation is critical in a slow market. In a hot market, it can result in more, higher and often competing offers.

Show Your Home Like A Pro


Authored by: Consumer Reports - Published in: Consumer Reports
Created on: 2008-09-01




Home Staging

Wall Street Journal


Depersonalizing as a Sales Tool

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but when you’re selling your home, that picture may cost you time and money.

Family photos, along with personal collections and even works of art, make a house a home, but they don’t necessarily make it more saleable, say real estate experts. Home staging ¬— the art of neutralizing and depersonalizing to allow a prospective buyer to mentally move in — does that.

Staging solves common design dilemmas, clutter among them, and employs tricks to maximize a home’s best assets. According to one report, staged homes sell up to five times faster than their non-staged counterparts.

In the 1970s, Barb Schwarz coined the word “staging” and developed it into a marketing concept. Using her background in interior design, theater and real estate, she’s since staged thousands of homes and founded the International Association of Home Staging Professionals.® “A house is like a theatrical set,” she says. “The audience is the buyers coming through.”

Staging is not the same as decorating. In many ways, it’s just the opposite. Decorating personalizes a property to an owner’s tastes. Staging depersonalizes it to show off the space. Buyers only know what they see, not the way it could be.

Surprisingly, even an estate that has been transformed by an interior designer’s touch can benefit from professional staging. A fine work of art might be considered an acquired taste or a period antique collection, however valuable, could distract would-be buyers and cause them to dwell on the items, rather than the home’s features, energy and flow. “In this economy, buyers have so many homes to look at, they can be extremely picky,” Schwarz says. “The star in each home should be the space.”

Staging can be as modest as a paint job and some decluttering or as extensive as a room-by-room overhaul involving furniture rental, repurposing or rearranging. Among the considerations: Is anything impeding flow? Are the areas where the eye settles positive or negative? Think model home — sparkling clean.

Among Schwarz’s suggestions:

  • Remove family photographs, trophies and certificates
  • Pack away religious items
  • Stow personal collections and controversial artwork, no matter how valuable
  • Declutter countertops and dresser tops
  • Use neutral colors on the walls and floors; for pop, use “movable” color on pillows, towels, etc.
  • Neutralize smells from smoking, pets, even strong room deodorizers

A 35- to 55-page home staging consultation report detailing what work needs to be performed averages about $350 and can run as high as $750 for a larger home, Schwarz says. Homeowners can use the report as an action plan and do the work themselves or hire the stager at an additional fee for a turnkey solution. Depending on the size and condition of the residence, that could be $1,500-$8,000 for an average high-end home, plus rental and storage fees, if needed. The numbers sometimes surprise sellers, but as Schwarz puts it, “An investment in staging your property is far less than a price reduction.” However, she says two things sell a home — staging and pricing. Staged homes sell for more money, but they still have to be in a price range that makes sense.

Robbie Briggs of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty in Dallas, Texas, figures about 35-45% of his clients’ homes are staged in some way, whether that involves professional stagers or recommendations from real estate agents. “We believe in it quite strongly. Every one of us gets used to our own home. We don’t see it through a professional eye,” he says. “A professional gets it looking its very best so buyers pay more and buy it quicker. Staging is a very important process in the overall marketing plan of a property.”

Briggs says some homeowners initially don’t see value and are even offended at the suggestion. But it is not a reflection of the owners’ tastes or their design sensibilities.

“As an example, an owner could have exquisite museum-quality mounts, but we know that half the buyers might find even beautiful animal heads offensive.” Cutting out a large share of the potential market is not the best way to sell a home.

While Briggs says staged homes sell faster, sometimes staging can also turn the “unsaleable” into the saleable. He cites the example of a property listed by another agency for its lot because the home was considered a teardown. The property languished on the market for nine months. Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty eventually took the listing and had it staged with new furnishings, carpeting and paint. It sold in two weeks. “That kind of effort pays off time and time again,” he says.

John Poole, of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in Toronto, Ontario, is another proponent of staging and says any home will benefit from it, no matter what the price. His firm works with a number of professionals. “It’s an important relationship we have with them. You have to trust in the person that you’re turning your clients over to.”

He says more agents are taking the initiative in suggesting staging to sellers. “The way you live in your home is not the way you sell a home. At the end of the day, our job is get sellers the most money for the property, as quickly as we can. Staging is one of the things that can get us there.” He says the rule of thumb in his market is that every dollar invested on staging yields a $1.60 return. “It might not show up in actual dollars, but time on the market might be shortened quite a bit,” Poole explains.

A downside? Sellers sometimes fall back in love with their homes. “That’s happened,” says Poole. “And on the rare occasion, they take it off the market.”

Staging Boosts Home Sales: BizLinc Magazine

Authored by: Monica Boland - Published in:
Created on:

Staging Boosts Home Sales, Strengthens Real Estate Market in Northern Virginia

The flourishing home staging industry is assisting the real estate market in boosting home sales. Washington area staging companies in particular are enjoying tremendous success, expediting the sale of staged homes to the relief of agents and sellers alike.

Home staging is simply the aesthetic preparation of homes on the market through improved interior design. Stagers are akin to interior decorators in their use of furniture, rugs, artwork and other accessories to highlight the best qualities of a home. But, the role of stagers goes above and beyond decorating: stagers recreate the look and feel of sellers’ homes so that potential buyers can envision themselves living in those homes.

The term “home staging” was coined by Barb Schwarz nearly 40 years ago. Schwarz was given the official title of Creator of Home Staging by the U.S. government in the 1970s. She has spent the past four decades building an empire, one that continues to grow despite the economic downturn.

“We know for a fact that staged homes have an 80 percent chance of selling more quickly than homes that are not staged,” Schwarz said. “In these economic times, it is so interesting to see the effect that staging has on helping traditional sellers get their houses sold.”

Schwarz offers training to any stagers interested in becoming an Accredited Staging Professional (ASP). Schwarz feels that since she has the federal trademark on the staging industry, accredited stagers who have taken her class will be more successful.

Almost 95 percent of ASP staged homes sell in 37 days or less compared to the 182 days it takes for non-staged homes to sell, according to the official home staging website,

Elaine Quigley, an ASP-trained stager and the president of the local chapter of the
International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP) said home stagers in Virginia and the District are all reporting the same good news: staged homes are selling within a matter of weeks.

“Some staged homes in Fairfax County are selling the same week that they were staged, often with multiple offers,” Quigley said.

Quigley attributes this success to less inventory and better market rates. “This time last year, there were more homes listed and they were not turning over quite as quickly as they are now because there were more to choose from,” Quigley said. “Now, people who have been sitting on the fence waiting for the bubble to burst, wondering, ‘When should we buy this house?’ are now buying.”

Quigley is also the owner of Topline Home Staging, a staging company focused predominantly on Fairfax County homes. She said that she is busier now than she was last year because houses are selling and going under contract more quickly.

“Staging benefits everyone because if the sellers want to sell, then they don’t want to sit on the market and keep making house payments or delay their move,” Quigley said. “They want to sell their house more quickly and for more money, and that’s what staging does for them. The buyer is always benefitting.”

Deb Gorham, a stager and the founder of the local chapter of IAHSP, agrees with Quigley. “I think that when you add staging at some level, whether the seller or the realtor is paying for it, it truly is the best investment you can make in a home,” Gorham said.

Gorham said staging is an integral part of selling a house on the market. “When you take habitable inventory and make it better with staging, the home on the market – the product – flies off of the shelf,” Gorham said. “Many realtors working with stagers have seen a home staged on a Saturday and sold on a Sunday night.”

Schwarz said realtors are beginning to understand the importance of staging. The percentage of realtors who feel staging is important went up from 71 percent last year to 91 percent this year. In addition, the return on the investment for every $500 invested is 333 percent, according to statistics on

Schwarz also said that staging is entering all phases of the market. “Staging has just become this huge tidal wave,” Schwarz said. “We’re still on a critical map with a long way to go, but we’ve made huge strides in the past 10 years. To watch the escalating ripple effect taking place in home staging is really, really amazing.”


Home staging is quickly becoming a necessity according to NAR

Authored by: Passaic Valley Today - Published in:
Created on:

Woodland Park - A growing number of sellers in the Woodland Park area are giving their homes that "ooh" and "ah" model-home ambiance through what's known as staging, an increasingly popular tactic that often helps them sell their homes faster – and for more money.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), "home staging seems to be a more important selling tool than ever." NAR points to a new book, Staging to Sell: The Secret to Selling Homes in a Down Market by Barb Schwarz, which found that even in today's slower housing market, 95 percent of staged homes sell (on average) in 35 days or less. On the other hand, homes that are not staged take 172 days or more to sell, if they sell at all.

Local real estate professionals have seen the benefits of home staging time and again, and are convinced it can more than pay for itself. In a competitive marketplace, home staging can be a huge, yet subtle, way for sellers to score that all-important great first impression – the kind of feel-good impression that helps get their home sold fast. With so much competition today, and with so many choices for buyers out there, it is absolutely essential for sellers to take advantage of every opportunity available to them. And that's where home staging can be a big bonus.

According to local experts, it is often a good idea to bring in an objective, third-party home-staging expert who can provide effective, results-driven home staging advice and guidance. Home staging can offer a variety of benefits, including: Helping sellers view their homes from the perspective of potential buyers; motivating sellers to get their homes ready for showing and selling by removing clutter and making each and every room look its best; minimizing the home's days on market; helping to justify – and in some cases, even increasing - the listing price.

Staging should involve as many areas of the home as possible. Two of the most important areas to stage are the family and living rooms, because potential buyers so often focus on these spaces when considering a home.

GMAC Real Estate offers these home staging suggestions, which local real estate professionals have used with good results:

Take down any pictures or personal items – the goal is to help buyers imagine what their belongings – not yours – would look like in your house.

Freshen up rooms with a neutral yet warm wall paint. Your local paint store will have dozens of samples – buy a small amount and come back and test it on your walls to see if works for your purposes.

Look into renting a few key pieces of furniture to help freshen and stage your home for success. For instance, if your couch is old and shabby, rent one for 90 days or so; ditto for that rickety coffee or end table.

If renting isn't an option, you can often purchase a slip cover to dress up the appearance of your sofa or chairs.

Staging a Home to Sell Faster and for More Money

March 21, 2011 By Barb Schwarz,

Home sellers and realtors have two priorities: sell the property fast and for as much money as possible. Market-sensitive pricing and a well-executed marketing plan to get the most attention in the marketplace are, of course, crucial. Equally important is to make sure a property makes a great first impression. These days, with more than 80 percent going online to begin their home search, it’s imperative that the first impression not only is made when visiting a home, but as important through pictures in Web listing.

Statistics gathered by shows that 94.6 percent of homes staged by an Accredited Staging Professional (ASP®) sell within 33 days, compared to an average of 196 days for homes that are not staged. Homes staged by ASP®s stay on the market 83 percent less time than a home that has not been staged.

Completion of Home Staging: Thursday. Contract: Friday.

Too good to be true? Not at all. Just ask Carmen Wilber of DeLand in East Central, Florida.

Carmen, ASP®, and owner of Style Fusion Home Staging, recently got a call from the owners of a vacant home that had been on the market for two months with plenty of visitors yet no offers. Those who had seen the home, the realtor representing the home shared, couldn’t easily visualize what it would like to live in the home. It was clear the property needed to be staged.

After an initial walk-through of the house, when Carmen described her staging process and the improvements she recommended, she went to work.

Using accessories and furniture, Carmen focused on staging the rather large open area in the house that visitors had mentioned was hard to see exactly how they would use. She carefully added a dining table set and a sofa group, together with table arrangements, rugs, dishes, flower and candle arrangements, even teddy bears and other items you would find in child’s room. Carmen created a welcoming atmosphere with just enough furniture and accessories to still make the areas feel airy and spacious. She carefully kept a balance between each section of the space – dining, living and sun rooms – by her selection of colors and created a playful and intimate spot for the little ones in the sun room.

By Thursday evening, the home was ready to be shown. By Friday, the realtor sent a message to Carmen to let her know the home was under contract.
“This staging assignment really speaks to how effective home staging is, and the difference it makes,” said Carmen.

Stager and REALTOR® Partnership

Home stagers and real estate agents are teaming up more and more to give turnkey service to the seller. “The agent’s job is to get the property priced and to do the marketing to get it sold. My job as stager is to merchandize the property so that the marketing pays off,” Carmen says, adding that her partnership with the REALTOR® representing the home she staged is a true example of how important it is for both to work hand-in-hand with both shared and separate responsibilities.

“In the case of the Winter Park home, the home staging investment definitely paid off quickly,” added Carmen.

Win-Win for Agent and Stager

The home stager generates money for the agent because without the house staged it sits and in the end the agents either get little commission or none. Therefore, working together, the seller wins, the agent wins, and the stager wins.

Trends in Home Staging

1. What’s new in the world of home staging? How has it changed in the last 2 years?

The pendulum is swinging; the public is now becoming the driving force to make sure their home gets ASP® Staged for sale. The agents are still crucial in driving the world of ASP Home Staging but many agents hang back where the seller now asks more, “Aren’t you going to tell me to get my house Staged?” The ASP® Home Staging market continues to lead more that ever the industry of Home Staging. I will explain more why below.

2. How has the down economy changed/enhanced/lessened the need for home staging when it comes to real estate?

The down economy has driven the need for ASP® Home Staging more than ever before. With short sales, bank owned properties, and the traditional sellers all of these entities are in fierce competition to get the house sold. We are now seeing short sales beginning to ASP® Stage their homes, bank owned properties now ASP® Home Stage their properties and for any traditional seller to compete they must have their home ASP® Home Staged to have any chance to sell in today’s market.

3. Describe why the real estate mantra is no longer location, location, location. It is now Staging, Staging, Staging!

Now more than ever location is included in the price that said, regardless of square footage, location or the number of bedrooms and baths, if the house is not ASP® Staged it simply cannot compete. You can have a small house or a mansion it can be in a prime location or out in the hinter land, but today’s buyers are comparing how the house, which is now a product, looks compared to all the houses. So no matter how many bedrooms or baths if the property is dirty, cluttered or has the wrong colors, it doesn’t have a chance in today’s market.

4. Do you still believe that staging is the answer now and will be even more effective in the future? Why or why not?

Selling your house is like selling a car. There are a lot of cars for sale and a lot of houses for sale too. Today’s car buyer is going tobuy the car that meets their needs that looks the best; the same is true for a house. Staging is today’s answer and will be even more effective in the future. It is all about presentation. “Buyers only know what they see, not the way it’s going to be.” So, “detail your house like you detail your car” if you want to get it sold.

5. Let’s discuss your “Predictions for the Future of Home Staging” and how your views may or may not have changed in the last couple years.

    “Home Stagers, and ASP® Home Stagers in particular, will play critical roles in setting the market.” Explain and how has this changed?

The predictions I have made in the past, I feel even stronger about today. The predictions I’ve made in the past are coming true.

A. If you don’t Stage it, it won’t sell.

B. ASP® Home Stagers are controlling the market.

C. We are seeing more ASP® Home Stagers as part of real estate teams. They are the marketing arm. Because featuring messy houses in ads doesn’t work.

    The greatest marketing tool of all is ASP® Home Staging.

D. Sellers are demanding with the high commissions that agent’s charge that the agent pays for the ASP® Home Stager.

E. Therefore ASP® Home Stagers play a crucial role in setting today’s market as they work with the agent to get the property Staged.

6. Why is it still important for staging and real estate professionals to team up to sell houses, especially in this economy?

ASP® Home Stagers and real estate agents are teaming up more and more to give turnkey service to the seller. The agent’s job is to get the property priced and to do the marketing to get it sold. The ASP® Home Stager merchandizes the property so that the marketing pays off. They are working hand in hand more and more. Today’s economy the ASP® Home Stager is making money for the agent because without the house Staged it sits and in the end the agents either get little commission or none. Therefore, working together, the seller wins the agent wins and the ASP® Stager wins.

7. “The way commissions and fees are structured will change.” Have they? How so? Is staging considered part of the real estate agent’s

     marketing plan?

Current commission structure continues to remain the same but as I’ve said before; the sellers are now demanding more and more that the agent pays a part or all of the ASP® Stager fee in the beginning or at the close of sale. The agents that make ASP® Staging a part of their marketing plan lead the market and obtain more listings because of it. There are still at least 50% of agents who hang back and have not made ASP® Staging a part of their marketing plan. These are the agents that fall behind, earn far less money and never lead their market.

8. “The Home Staging industry will grow larger every year.” Explain. Offer some statistics, if possible, in change within the home staging industry

     over the past few years as well as reasons for those changes.

Yes, the Home Staging industry continues to grow larger every year. This is because of the public seeing more about it on TV, reading more about it in newspapers, magazines and articles as they comprehend the huge difference that it makes in the sale of property all over North America. Five years ago the approximate statistics that we had at were that 10% of the public was preparing their home for sale; this figure has now topped over 20%. All of the information I shared above are the reasons why.

9. “ASP® training leads the way.” [You say “Every day ASP® Stagers are called in to de-Stage and re-Stage properties that supposedly have

    been staged by people that are neither trained nor qualified – pictures for a sidebar of this would be great!] Why is ASP® training still leading

    the way today?

As the Home Staging industry grows and more of the public reads about it, it is inevitable that some women and men wake up in the morning and decide to become a self designated Home Stager. Some of the public has had to learn the hard way that you get what you pay for. ASP® Home Stagers are designated, certified, accredited, insured, work with leading vendors in the Home Staging industry to bring the very best to those that hire them. When you have a show such as The Today Show on NBC, and other similar popular TV shows sending the public to the ASP® Stager directory on and to the professional members of “The International Home Staging Professionals”,, they offer a public service to help guide the public to find ASP® Home Stagers who are indeed thoroughly trained to serve the public and the real estate industry. No other training has the experience, the history over 35 years, reputation nor qualification to serve the public the way ASP® Home Stagers do, which is why ASP® training leads the market more than ever today. In every market the leading professionals and the top money makers of the Home Staging industry are ASP® Home Stagers.

10. “The real estate industry is here to stay—but it will include stagers and home staging.” How is Staging only as successful as the real estate

     community in which it operates? How can staging be more successful?

ASP® Home Staging in every community is successful regardless of the real estate community in which it operates. Once again this is because the pendulum has been swinging more and more where the public is the driving force behind ASP® Home Staging. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Once a seller has his home Staged, he tells every friend, relative and neighbor they should do it too. As I stated above, many agents are behind in requiring in requiring their sellers to ASP® Stage their home so in many communities where you have a more weak real estate community the seller may be the one who is making sure their home is ASP® Staged. As time goes on and on we will see Home Staging become the dominant force of the entire real estate industry. ASP® Hone Staging has changed the entire real estate industry like nothing ever has before. Therefore regardless of whether the economy is hot or not, to get your home sold in the quickest amount of time for the most amount of money, it has to be ASP® Staged for sale.

The real estate agents that understand this will lead the industry all over the country when they make ASP® Stagers apart of their team. Whether they do this or not the public will remain the dominant force to make sure their home is ASP® Staged so it sells for top dollar.

Live in Joy, ASP® Stage® with Joy and Enjoy the Wonder and Magic of it all!


Barb Schwarz, ASP®, ASPM®, IAHSP®

The Creator of Home Staging®

Founder and CEO,

Founder and Chairwoman, IAHSP and the IAHSP Foundation