Why use home staging if you are not going to show home staging?

Home Stager with Shift Property Styling

I have recently completed a number of vacant property home staging installations and I have been perplexed by the lack of use of photos taken after the installation to promote and market the property.

In my market, a weekly liftout guide is published in the Friday edition of a major daily newspaper. This is a great publication for me as a home stager to review for potential new work. If I see an empty property listed I will contact the agent and endeavor to provide a quote.

It is also where I see the results of my work at work. It's great to open the publication and see my handiwork printed for all to see and to help engage the prospective buyer.

But to my surprise, I have seen two properties I have recently completed published and marketed in the guide empty. Why is this? In both instances the results of the installations were overwhelming loved by the listing agent and the client, they both supplied extremely favourable feedback yet someone has wasted a great opportunity by not using photos with the staging.

I have a real estate photographer as a neighbour and he often tells me the jobs he dreads the most are those properties without furniture because all you are shooting is an empty box. The home buyer sees it the same, furniture creates lifestyle aspiration and draws interest to properties whether in a printed guide or online.

So while we as home stagers continue to generate great results, the process of selling a home can be let down by not maximising the results of our creativity. I now provide after shots of all my work to agents and clients to assist in their marketing giving me an extra value-add service to utilising me for home staging work.

Hopefully this will reduce properties being marketed inappropriately in the future and give the buyer a greater reason to inspect the home.


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Diana Young
Staging Seattle, King & Snohomish Counties - Edmonds, WA

Hi Adam,  Just yesterday I emailed a staging rent invoice to a client of an expensive home we staged several months ago.  The homeowner and real estate agent were very happy with the results of the staging, however no photos of the newly staged property have ever been used to market this home.  I am perplexed!  It puzzles me every time this happens (which is rare, fortunately).  Why pay for staging if you are not going to showcase the staged home with great photos every chance you get?

Jul 10, 2009 12:15 AM #1
Teresa Meyer
Cincinnati Home Stager - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Hi Adam, we provide professional photography to our agents as part of our full service staging free of charge to them.  Most of the time this works really well, however, I had a situation where the agent also left a picture of the "un-staged" living room because she liked the angle taken from the stairs.  Now talk about confusing the buyer. There are 2 pictures on the MLS of the living room "staged" and "unstaged".  Way to market!   We have tried to remedy the situation but have been ignored by agent and homeowner.  This is frustrating.

Jul 10, 2009 01:13 AM #2
Wendy Carroll
Coeur d'Alene, ID

Baffling, isn't it?  We staged a beautiful home at the request of the seller.  The agent didn't want to have an open house.  He didn't believe in staging and it was almost as if he was going to prove it didn't work by not promoting it. 



Jul 10, 2009 05:35 AM #3
Debra Valentine
Designing Details ~ Staging & Design, LLC - Bountiful, UT
Utah Home Staging for, Bountiful, Salt Lake & Surrounding Areas

Adam: I while back I read a post here on AR about this subject, although in looking for it now I was unable to locate it quickly. If memory servers me correctly, some stagers encountering similar "oversights" actually contacted the Realtor in a tactful manner with positive results.

I would think emailing them with something like, "hey, did you know the pre-staged photo's of (property) on the mls have not been updated yet? Just thought I'd let you know since over 80% of potential home-buyers start looking on-line, I'm sure you will want to have them stop on your listing."

If this does not motivate them, everyone loses. Next time you're approached my this Realtor, make "after" photo's a point in your contract.

Let us know how it goes.


Jul 10, 2009 06:21 AM #4
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Adam, we also provide after photos and have had some luck getting the photos magically appearing on MLS after we sent a second email to the agent (the first had copies of the after photos) and copied the homeowners letting them know that we noticed the photos hadn't been uploaded yet and that they were attached in case they didn't get the previous email.  This gives the agent an out, but lets the homeowner know that they haven't been changed... subtle but it works (most of the time).  If they don't change it after that then it's none of my business.  The homeowner should be checking up on their agent and they already know now that they didn't update the photos the first time.

Jul 10, 2009 04:05 PM #5
Lori Kim Polk
Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services - Roseville, CA
Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento

We also provide professional photos and a Real Estate Show to our REAs and Investors within 24 hours of the completed staging. Never had a problem with them not using the pictures yet. Even if they didn't use them for the MLS, I wouldn't feel that it was our problem because we also market the homes ourselves through many other venues. Good Luck ;)

Jul 10, 2009 06:15 PM #6
Anthea Click
Fresh Perspectives - www.InsideNashvilleHomes.com - Franklin, TN
Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly!

It's like getting all dressed up and then sitting at home. What's the point?

Jul 11, 2009 01:31 AM #7
Wanda Richards
Shows Great Home Staging and Web Solutions - Roanoke, VA
Shows Great Home Staging

I agree completely.  Part of our vacant staging packages include a web promotions package.  We include photos of the home after it has been staged, a free virtual tour, an email blast to the area agents and sometimes we include a realtors luncheon to present the property.  I think some realtors are overwhelmed with all they have to do and it helps if we come to the table with a promotional plan to help the realtor and the owners.  With all this said, there are still times that even when we provide all of the above, the agent fails to add the virtual tour link and new photos to the mls.  

Jul 11, 2009 12:58 PM #8
Michele Rose
Rose-Colored Staging - Mount Holly Township, NJ
Burlington County Home Staging & Redesign

We make it clear from the start of the job that we will provide them with "after" photos for their marketing and we stress that it is part of what they are paying for.  People usually want to make sure they get what they paid for. :-) 

Although not professionally done, we take a lot of care in getting them just right.  When we email the agent AND copy in the client, it usually gets done.  The only time it didn't work was when the agent was the seller and he was nuts, but that's a whole other story!  (One of his pictures included his elderly mother bending over in the garden-- nuff said)

OK-- I'm off to get all dressed up and then stay home LOL!

Jul 11, 2009 01:41 PM #9
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

We supply the new staged photos of the home to the realtor and add them to the MLS if they give us their user name and password.


I send copies of the photos to the seller, if they hire us directly, and say that we have provided them to the realtor so he/she may update the the mls.

I have had realtors who outrite refused to use my photos.


It's possible the lead time for the publication, that are speaking of, didn't allow the new photos to be published.



Jul 12, 2009 12:34 AM #10
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Adam ~ There is nothing more frustrating than doing a great staging and then seeing a lack of updates or use of new pictures.  We try to educate our clients that over 80% of buyers are looking on-line before they'll request a showing.  That's the time to get them - before they come to the house.  We also provide our clients with a hand out about what to do now that their house is staged.  Updating pictures on their marketing and websites is first and foremost.

Jul 13, 2009 12:35 PM #11
Heather Cook
Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc. - Kitchener, ON
Quality Home Staging


We use a professional photographer for every staging project we do. We offer realtors the option to purchase a CD at a *very* reasonable cost which, without exception, they take advantage of. If we are hired by the seller, we offer them the same deal and they in turn can give them to their realtor to use for advertising purposes.

We have only had one instance where the realtor opted not to use the professional pictures and this was in a vacant home where all the negative feedback had made staging imperative. We couldn't understand why, with the house now showing beautifully, that the pictures online were not at all reflective of the updated decor. After a few puzzled phone calls the realtor opted to buy the CD and then had all the pictures changed. Two weeks later the house sold .. oh the irony! LOL!

Jul 13, 2009 01:33 PM #12
Liz Gallagher
LG Home Harmony - Home Stagers & Organizers - Montreal, QC
Montreal Quebec RESA member

Well said and I do agree.

I made the mistake once (I learn quickly ;o)  of asking an agent why, after the big rush to have a property staged (with paint too ) didn't he/she didn't post the photos on MLS? I won't ever be accused of telling an agent how to conduct business again ... I was merely asking and it didn't sit well ... anyway you are absolutely right ... a big empty box gets passed over for the one with all the treasures!



Jul 18, 2009 02:00 AM #13
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Adam Luttrell

Shift Property Styling - Hobart, Tasmania
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