I Advised My Client NOT To Spend Money On Staging! Not Yet!!!

Mortgage and Lending with Liberty Bank of Arkansas

 Sometimes I have to advise my clients that their money is NOT best spent on staging. Not yet anyway. Stagers need to be HONEST in advising their clients where their money is best spent.

After viewing these photos you will see why I HAD to tell my client that his money would be best spent on cleaning.

My client was VERY appreciative of my advice, (He is a out of town owner, on a very limited budget) and said he had no idea that his property was in this condition. His property has been listed for 11 months and he paid for a cleaning when the property was listed. (The current agent was not the original listing agent, so I don't know if she was aware that he had paid for cleaning)

Ready, Set, Stage! has a cleaning division and the seller was given a quote for cleaning. His Realtor also furnished him with an estimate, but he went with our company...stating that he felt even though our price was double the quote from the Realtor, he knew we would get THE JOB DONE!  AND WE WILL!!!

Ready, Set, Stage! will also stage this property next month. We have to work within the sellers budget. Cleaning first...then staging!


Posted by

Donna Schoby

Mortgage Loan Officer




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Show All Comments
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

Great Professional advice Donna!  Glad you got the staging job too. 

Jun 05, 2009 11:05 PM #10
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

Grea job telling the truth is the best policy.  Staging a dirty home is like putting lipstick on a pig.

Jun 06, 2009 12:01 PM #12
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

The client is lucky that at least you were honest with them.  Another stager could have taken their money and deceived them as their agent has been doing. 

Jun 06, 2009 02:59 PM #13
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

You are a true professional!  You kept your client, Realtor and the prospective buyers best interest in mind with this staging!  Way to go Stager Lady Donna!

Jun 06, 2009 05:10 PM #14
Janelle Fisher, Instinctive Staging & Design, Seattle Wa.
Instinctive Staging & Design, LLC - Seattle, WA

Donna, Good call to have them clean first.  I cannot imagine what the listing agent was thinking.  You don't want to hurt the sellers feelings but honest, by far, is the best policy.  Glad your client was able to recognize that.

Jun 07, 2009 05:10 AM #15
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

You are right on the mone - literally Donna!  Having it clean is essential - it doesn't matter how nice the window treatment is if they can't see out the window that is dirty!  There are a couple of stagers that I have read posts from that won't stage until it has been thoroughly cleaned.  I like the thought of having "divisions" in  your company - fabulous idea!

Jun 07, 2009 10:56 AM #16
Donna Schoby
Liberty Bank of Arkansas - Bentonville, AR

Thanks all! Here are some after photos. What a HUGE difference the cleaning made on this little home. Next we are painting the bedrooms, kitchen and laundry room, then on to pressure washing the outside of the home, drive-way and entry way. THEN comes the staging and we will have a very sale-able home!



Jun 07, 2009 11:51 AM #17
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County

I can't believe that it had been left in that condition for 11 months AND that the new listing REA didn't tell hiom herself that this should have been done.  Good for you!

Jun 07, 2009 01:44 PM #18
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging

Donna, I believe you will be rewarded many times over by doing the right thing, as you have done in this situation.  love your professionalism!

Jun 08, 2009 12:09 AM #19
Mary Fasnacht
Washington and Allegheny Counties and surrounding areas - McMurray, PA
Feels Like Home Interiors ~ Pittsburgh PA Home Staging

You did the right thing, Donna!  Thanks for posting the after cleaning photos--what a difference a bit of elbow grease makes.  I can't wait to see this home after you stage it--that will be the ultimate transformation!  This seller is lucky to have found you.

Jun 08, 2009 06:48 AM #20
Rick Cordisco
Pocono Mountain Lakes Realty - Lake Harmony, PA
Pocono Real Estate Professional

I don't envy you having to tell these sellers or clients in general about the cleanliness of their home but I guess if they want to sell it they better heed the advice!


Jun 08, 2009 08:58 AM #21

Donna, you were absolutely correct. Your advice is a heads up for us stagers as well. We need to be careful of the real estate agents we partner with. I would feel terrible if I had done a staging job and the work deteriorated because the agent wasn't on top of things. Outstanding work ethics. Kudos to you!

Jun 08, 2009 01:36 PM #22
Donna Schoby
Liberty Bank of Arkansas - Bentonville, AR

Connie, Thanks...it's hard to believe what we see sometimes. I will not stage a home that is dirty, so if they want my services, they must clean!

Karen, Thank you!

Mary, Thank you, this is a very small home (900 s.f.) and staging along with everything else being done will be icing on the cake.

Pocono, It's not always easy bringing up cleaning or odors in a clients home...but that's my job. So far I have not been asked to leave. LOL

Judy, Thank you, I will not take my inventory into a home unless it is clean.

Jun 08, 2009 02:31 PM #23
Tammy Deviley
RE/MAX Select REALTORS LLC - Green Bay, WI

Ya gotta love it when Seller's have no common sense on what a home should look like when it's for sale.  ICK!

Jun 08, 2009 02:56 PM #24
Jessica Schuler
J Renee Designs - Louisville, KY

Great advice...it shows you care.

Jun 09, 2009 05:34 AM #25
Jo Adams
Jo Adams Properties Investment Property Specialist & Real Estate Services, LLC - Mountain Home, AR
Investment Property Specialist

Good for you Donna!  I know agents in this area are so lax about their standards, they will take anything... in any condition, just to get the listing!  They won't say anything to the homeowner that might jeopardize their close.  In the long run, it's not beneficial for anyone, especially the agent.  It always comes back to bite you in the ***!  Best to be honest right out of the box... the owners will have more respect for you, as you have proven in your post!   Way to GO!!

Jun 09, 2009 05:56 AM #26
Beverly Carlson
Carlson Properties 325-721-2429 - Abilene, TX
Abilene's Staging Realtor

Well, glad you are getting the order right, clean before staging.  Your photos tell a pathetic  before story.  

I have seen where there can be other sides to the story, not in your case but other situations I have seen.   The owner says they will have the house cleaned, but never get around to it!  Then I did have a seller tell me that her last Realtor cleaned up for her.  That's where it is a good idea to stick to your guns and say,  My cleaning lady charges $15 an hour.       

Jun 09, 2009 01:05 PM #27
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Donna, Great post and even better pictures.  I had a staging project last year that was a foreclosure and I was brought in through another Stager (she had been given 4 houses to stage in less than a week).  The house had been cleaned and painted but it would have been better served if they had spent their money on changing out the badly stained carpet in one of the rooms and replacing the in-need-of-paint and de-rusting front door and a few other light repair items. 

Keep up the good work!

Jun 11, 2009 12:55 AM #28
Donna Schoby
Liberty Bank of Arkansas - Bentonville, AR

Tammy, ICK was right!

Jessica, Thank you!

Jo, Thanks, I'm just glad this homeowner took my advice!

Beverly, So true, If I can't do the cleaning then I too have others that I can refer them to.

Kathy, I just couldn't sleep at night if I did not tell homeowners were to best spend their money. Of course in an "idea" world we could have it all done, but there are budgets to work with.

Jun 12, 2009 12:12 AM #29


Good for you for being ethical and not just grabbing the job!  As many have already have said, what was the realtor thinking or NOT!!????  

The home owner with the Christmas tree in the living room in April was also out of town property owner and had no idea the realtors were not looking out for his best interests, while continuing to persuade him his house was overpriced.

I am currently working on a property that requires renovating, cleaning, gardening etc. before I start the staging process.  Due to their tight budget, I am going to assist them with gardening and painting each room when the renos are completed.  

I am really looking forward to seeing the expression on the listing agent's face when he first sees the property after we have completed the upstaging.  He has seen the "before" property and won't believe the transformation. 

Jun 15, 2009 09:52 AM #30
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