I was excited to read Cindy Lin's blog on the NAEBA article, "How to not get tricked by
staging - and potentially save $5,645 when you buy your home".
As both a home stager and a realtor I WISH TO EXPRESS MY SINCERE THANKS TO YOUR ORGANIZATION FOR THIS ARTICLE. Given my choice of careers, you might well ask why I would thank-you
when clearly your intent was to denigrate home staging services to promote your
organization. Well, let's take a closer look at the different elements of your article.
Firstly, you have defined home staging as occurring on two different levels.
1) Basic Staging - your summarized list and the fact that you have pointed out that these practices have been around for years is a testament to the value of home staging even before it became an industry.
2) Emotional Staging. This summary too is a testament to the importance of home staging in allowing a buyer to "connect" to a property.
I am curious though about the last paragraph in this section regarding "effectively breaking
down a buyer's logical mind and getting them to feel emotional about a home". What are you
saying? Does the NAEBA want buyers to use only logic when purchasing a home and emotions
are to be entirely dismissed? Are buyers to be robots without feelings? Is buying a home
strictly a business decision, simply a roof and walls to protect from the elements? Is
this how NAEBA members purchase a property! Are they not "emotionally" attached or
connected to their own living spaces? How amazing that you have assembled such a "logical"
and "unemotional" membership.
Secondly, after expounding on the positives of home staging, you then choose to address what
you call "the dangers of staging". Upon reading this segment I was impressed with the fact
that you have effectively advised both buyers and sellers of the major factors that home
staging cannot change in a property. You have headed up this segment by stating that these
are "dangers". On the contrary, this segment does a great job in educating both buyers and
sellers of the limits to home staging and, by your own admission, the fact that home staging
does nothing to the fundamental value of the property.
This segment then goes on to warn buyers to remain cautionary about becoming emotionally
attached and paying over market value. What is missing in this paragraph? Well, let's see
- as "buyer's agents" is it not the responsibility of the NAEBA member to ensure that this
does not happen? How is it possible for a buyer to pay over market value if the NAEBA
member works only for a buyer ensuring that the buyer is getting the best deal for their
money? What about due diligence and advising a buyer to obtain an appraisal?
Thirdly, your article states that home staging tries to minimize a home's shortcomings and
"cover up" problems. Again, I question the responsibility of the NAEBA member to ensure due
diligence in advising a buyer to obtain a home inspection. On the first page of your
article you list "taking care of any deferred maintenance items" as a practice of basic
staging and then subsequently your article accuses home staging of covering up deferred
maintenance issues. I do believe that there is contradiction in your article? I
particularly like the last sentence in this segment "Do not assume that an attractively
presented home has been well maintained." Great statement! Why? Because assumptions can
be dangerous - do not assume that a detailed vehicle will run; do not assume that a well
dressed salesperson is knowledgeable about what they are selling; do not assume that the
polished fruit in the supermarket is fresh; do not assume, period!
Fourthly, the segment about NAEBA agents identifying potential hazards in staged homes fails
to point out that these hazards are not exclusive to staged properties. In my experience as
a realtor and having spent over thirty years as a conveyancing paralegal, I can honestly say
that I have seen more than my share of the hazards listed, plus many more, and much worse
ones, that are not listed. Amazingly enough, the majority of the major issues I have had to
deal with occurred several years before home staging became an industry. I am sure that
NAEBA members, and in fact all real estate agents, can attest to the fact that all of the
"experiences" listed in this segment have also been an issue in properties that had not been
There are buyers out there without maintenance skills and why wouldn't they want to purchase
a property that was properly prepared and move-in ready? Whether a property has been staged
or not, appraisals and home inspections should always be obtained to ensure that patent and
latent defects are exposed.
Do staged properties sell for more money? Do cars sell for more when they are detailed?
Absolutely! Everything for sale has a value within a price range and items for sale that
are presented in their best condition will sell at the top end of that value range!
Fifthly, the best defence is to have a loyal real estate professional on your side is
paramount. Loyal, well prepared real estate agents look out for their clients. As you have
pointed out, it is the bones of the house, the layout, how the property fits the client's
wants and needs that is really important. Loyal, well prepared real estate agents acting in
the best interests of their clients, work well with and have a good rapport with others in
the industry, including, appraisers, home inspectors, contractors, and yes, even home
stagers. Those are the agents that prospective buyers and sellers would do well to search
out because they are the agents that understand the importance of working together as a team,
utilizing all resources in the real estate industry that benefit their clients. They are
the agents who are there for their clients whether they be buying, selling or leasing and
they do not limit themselves to only one aspect of their client's requirements. They are
the agents that do not stoop to denigrating others in the industry to promote their own
Sixthly, are buyers vulnerable? Isn't everyone vulnerable in some area? Isn't that why we
turn to experts to assist us in those areas?
Your article points out how properties that show poorly hurt a seller's negotiating position
thereby allowing NAEBA members to negotiate a better deal on the buying side. You state
that sophisticated buyers are looking for those properties. Why? They do so in order to
take advantage of the earning potential. How do they do this? They do this through sweat
equity, cleaning, repairing, and showcasing the property to its best advantage. What is
this called? Home staging of course!
By the same token there will always be those buyers who want a "lifestyle" rather than a
"project". These particular buyers are looking for move-in ready properties. What kind of
properties are move-in ready? Properties that have been home staged of course!
So now you know why I extend my sincere thanks. Your article has provided a wealth of
education for buyers, sellers and real estate agents on the value and benefits of home
staging. Home staging is a marketing tool, a valuable and beneficial tool in the real