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What can a stager do for me? Part 1 of a 4-part series

Ann O'Connell

March 5th, 2007 · 5 Comments

By now, most of us have seen those HGTV shows where a staging team bursts into a property, and, in a whirlwind, transforms it into a buyer’s paradise in a matter of what appears to be a few hours. Usually the premise is either: a) stage this property for sale on a miniscule budget or b) stage this property for sale – the sky’s the limit! But these shows fail to reveal all of the behind-the-scenes labor and preparation put into staging a house. Let’s face it – loading inventory into trucks just doesn’t make for good TV. So I’ve written this four-part blog series to introduce you to what the “typical” stager looks like, along with the services generally performed by stagers. There are, of course, exceptions and variations on what I’m writing, and I’d love to hear what others’ experiences have been with stagers.

So, what does the “typical” staging business look like? Generally, it is a team of one or two staging professionals who do a good deal of the work themselves. Not all stagers have a team of movers, painters and handypersons at their command – although most will be more than happy to recommend such people to their clients. Some stagers do have full-time employees, although many will simply hire assistants and movers as jobs demand. I even know of stagers who bring in their family members and friends as free labor to keep their costs down.

Stagers are often happy to recommend what a client should do as far as remodeling is concerned, but I do not know of many who would handle a job like this themselves. If you are a seller and believe that your property needs major structural remodeling before sale, you should contact a contractor or an interior designer for these things, and call in the stager to put the finishing touches on the property before sale.

Some stagers carry inventory of their own, while others choose to rent furniture or only use the seller’s own furniture for staging. Those stagers who do own inventory often store it anywhere from an extra bedroom in their home to their own warehouse. One of the benefits of carrying inventory that stagers have capitalized on is the ability to stage with a specific style. For instance, some stagers specialize in Craftsman bungalows or modern high-rise condominiums.

A stager with a huge inventory and multiple employees is not necessarily any better than the solo stager whose assistant is her teenage son. Stagers perform a multitude of services – which will be discussed later in this series – and sellers should look for the stager who provides services which best meet their needs.

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Tags: Buyer and seller tips · For sellers · Real estate · Staging

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ahmed Anies // Mar 6, 2007 at 4:52 am

    Hi Ann …I read your great article and see that it’s an ideal one …
    I read it as as a specialist that I’m a real estate agent
    Just I want say”thanks”.

    Ahmed Anies
    ( Egyptian Real estate Agent )
    ( Egyptian Real Estate BLOGGER )
    Phone: (002) 016 1334420
    site: http://www.egypt-realestate-agent.com

  • 2 sue // Mar 6, 2007 at 5:21 am

    Hi Ann…Read your blog and it is a the most practical and real description of what a home stager is and how they operate.My business partner and I have recently started a home staging company on the northeast coast. That is pretty close to how we were trained and how we operate. I hope those that are not stagers read and gain insight to the home staging approach to preparing a home for sale. Thanks Sue

  • 3 Ann O'Connell // Mar 6, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Ahmed - thanks for stopping by! Do people stage properties in Egypt? I know staging is popular in some European countries. Staging in countries besides the U.S.A. is definitely an interesting future blog topic!

    Sue - I’m happy to hear I’m close to accurate in my view of the industry. Here in CA there are some “Goliath” staging businesses, but I definitely think that most are smaller operations which can provide very hands-on, personalized service.

  • 4 Susan Dearing // Mar 7, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Hello Ann…I enjoyed reading about home stagers and how they operate their businesses. I felt that your description of stagers was very clear and accurate. I own a home staging and interior redesign business in the San Francisco Bay area also. I work with an assistant when needed, depending on the size of the job. I am happy to give referrals for jobs such as: painting or or a handyman as you said in your blog. Educating the public about what stagers do is an important part of our job! Thanks for your great article,
    Susan Dearing, Home Stager
    Magical Room Makeovers

  • 5 Linda Bettencourt // Mar 8, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Dear Ann,

    What a wonderful series. You hit the nail on the head. Being a home stager of almost nine years, I can tell you there is a lot of work involved, but we truly love each and every job. I can’t wait to see your next installment.

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