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Remove my home staging signs from the home? Why?

Home Stager with Final Touch Designs, Inc.

As of late, I've been running into altercations with real estate agents who have a conflict with having a home staging sign posted in the yard along with their for sale sign.  What is interesting is that they all have varied reasons why they don't want the sign out front....and in all honesty, their reasons just don't make sense.  The latest reason was this:  "I want people to focus on the home itself, not give a false impression that the home always looks like this."  What??

Home Staging is designed to help the buyer see the entire home at its best.  I spend time with my clients helping them understand that touching up paint here, cleaning areas there, and removing signs of build up, spider webs, pets and odors are simple things they can do that are extremely advantageous for them.  THEN I address "packaging" the home to look fantastic.  They understand the reasons and are so in awe when it is all complete.  So why is it an REA compliments how beautiful the transformation is, raises the price to reflect such an awesome transformation, then questions why I want to post flyers/cards in the house and a sign in the yard?  I don't believe somone who walks into a home questions if it always looked like it does during an open house.

I would really appreciate hearing from other home stagers to see how common this is for them, their feelings, and how they solved the conflicts.  I do have signage covered very specifically in my contract and I'm sticking to my guns, but I do wish I didn't have to continuously explain that home staging can help them sell the home faster, not hinder the sale.  At the same time, I'd like to hear from real estate agents as to their reasonings behind their reluctance to have buyers know a home has been staged.  Even if someone wants to view the home just because it's been staged, it is advantageous....they will spread the word to others and the result could be a great sale. 

Thank you in advance for expressing your thoughts on such a diverse and convoluted subject. 



Comments (197)

Darla Rowley


Great topic, I can see from your responses, you hit a nerve.  As a stager in Michigan, I always do my best to satisfy Realtors requests as well as the home sellers.  I  honor the relationship with the Realtor (who feeds me business), and would never make a big stink over something so petty.  It is a good way to loose business.  The Realestate communnity is very tight the last thing you need is to have negative comments in the office about something like this.

I understand marketing is important and vital to building our business, but one negative comment could have you loose much more than you would have gained. Unfortuantely your Realtor will remember you as pushy for standing by your guns, and find a new stager next time.   Choose very carefully which battles you want to undertake.




Aug 26, 2009 11:54 AM
Judith Sinnard
SMARTePLANS; Houston, Texas - Houston, TX

For the Realtors I work for ... there is a whole team of people who contribute their talent and expertise to get the property ready .. painters, plasterers, remodelers, landscapers, the guy who re-bricks the rear patio, the guys who put in granite counter-tops, or refinish the hardwood floors, stagers ... etc.  Some are in the front end.... remodelers, etc. and some are in the back end ... the stagers, me, the photographers, etc.

I do custom floor plans with embedded photos that upload onto MLS. We all work hard, we're professional and are dedicated to doing the best job we can do. However, the only on-site marketing I've ever seen is by the stager, so if you are a stager, you may consider you are already in a preferential position over the other sub-contractors by being allowed to leave your business card and framed contact information in a vignette with the property brochures. Have you considered that? 

Also, I've seen good photography and I've seen badddd photography and no matter how good your staging is, it won't overcome bad photography (ie dark photos, photos with no lighting other than whats coming in the windows... goofy angles that may show off the furniture, but don't do a lot to showcase the actual property .. we've all seen these.)  Please consider that by taking "good" photographs which are used in the Realtor's brochure and data-streamed to major web sites around the world, the photographer also gives the stager "a leg up"... (ie you would not be as happy with "bad" photos of your most excellent staging effort).  Would you suggest to the photographer that you should have a photo credit "Staged by XYZ Company" on each photo? Who's work is it?  The answer, to me, is the "work" being portrayed is the collective professional contributions of a number of professional persons who have been (usually) sourced by the Realtor to showcase the property so the property is desirable in the eyes of (many) potential buyers.  (ie. those gleaming hardwood floors that you are staging furniture upon were another professional's hard work.)

 As far as I know all the sub-contractors are paid at the completion of our work .. I'm not aware of anyone who waits for closing to be paid .. but honestly I don't carry on a lot of conversations with other service providers about "when are you getting paid and who's paying you?" Because of this, the realtor carrries the majority risk because as many have pointed out .. there's a bunch of stuff that can go wrong and the house doesn't sell .. but we've all been paid... and chances are quite good (in a volatile market) the Realtor could end up with zip. 

So coming from a corporate background and understanding when you have a team, you need a team leader .... for me the team leader is the Realtor . I feel it is appropriate that their sign be the outward marketing image/brand everywhere for this property ... on the lawn, on their brochures in the house, on the MLS, and whatever/however they choose to do it.  IF they choose to graciously allow co-branding or co-marketing with me or any other contributing service provider I consider it to be their choice, I think that is quite gracious of them to do so -- and work my tail off to earn and maintain their trust in my talent and skill.  Your skill, your talent is your brand ...not a sign on the lawn.



Aug 26, 2009 12:25 PM
Mark Velasco
West Shores Realty - Whittier, CA
Top Producing Broker Associate

I have only run into the sign problem once. The customer is always right...the home sold anyways. Signs are free marketing! I love them.

Aug 26, 2009 05:56 PM
Jenny Durling
L.A. Property Solutions - Los Angeles, CA
For Los Angeles real estate help 213-215-4758

Wow!  Tons fo comments here!  I'm am all for staging- some homes definitely need it. However, I'm also of the mind that it's not something I would want to point out to buyers. The idea is to present the home in its best light.  A model wouldn't put something like "nose job and liposuction by Dr. Smith" on her resume, right?!  From my perspective, even though stagers are typically paid by the seller it is normally the Realtor who convinces them to do it.  Your best bet would be handle your advertisement in the way that fits with the particular agent's agenda.  I would think you'd get more referral business that way, and isn't that really the name of the game?

Aug 27, 2009 04:01 AM
R. Eric Axelson
Real - The Villages, FL
Multi-state real estate broker and educator

Wow, too many comments to read ALL of them, but I was surprised that after reading so many, none seemed to offer a creative SOLUTION.

I am a REALTOR and an ASP. On the one hand, stagers want to place literature in a home so buyer agents can pick up a brochure or business card, but as a REALTOR, I may not want to draw attention to the fact that a home has been staged. As more and more people hear that staging can command a higher sales price, they may be afraid to make an offer.

That said, many REALTORS may not feel the same and you could offer free riders that agents can place on their signs. It should be generic (eg, STAGED HOME), but it will alert people that this home is unique. There are still plenty of buyers and agents alike that are curious to see a staged home.

Once inside, you could have your business cards or brochures in a discreet location.

Hope this gives you food for thought!

Aug 27, 2009 04:40 AM
Mary L. McGarvey

I believe staging can be very helpful in presenting a home in its best light, however, the bottom line will be the correct price.  Brochures or cards inside the home would be fine but signs outside the home takes away the primary issue -- sale of home.  It also clutters the front of the property and would not be appeciated by the neighbors. 

Aug 28, 2009 01:46 AM
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis

Wow!  Cathy I use to tell Craig Schiller that he really knew how to throw a party with his posts but I think you have topped anything I've ever seen posted here on SIF... 

We don't put signs in yards, we in fact don't leave any trace that we have ever been in a home.  The goal is to sell the home. 

I think the temptation to use the home as another vehicle to sell our services is a strong one, but there is a big conflict here.  Our job is to make that home look as attractive as possible to as many buyers as possible and when we're done if we ad an advertisement back into the mix we are doing no less than adding back clutter.  Beleive me we are from the Melissa Morro school of marketing in that we use ever vehicle possible to advertise what we have done and the results of what we have done but we never do it in the home itself.

So, did you ever think that your post would result in 185 comments?  Way to go!

Aug 28, 2009 02:10 AM
Mona Lisa Harrison

I am an agent and stager. In fact, I am the stager mentioned in Post #26 by Dennis and Evette. Signs are great. On your car. On your apparel. At your presentations. At agent socials. At agencies. Even in your own front yard. Never at one of the properties you have staged.  And if you've read all of these posts, you should see why.  I have had my agents/clients ask me for signs and cards for a broker open house that has been staged and of course I give them.  My business comes from face to face marketing and educating. As much as I love the name of my business, TWEAK, it doesn't belong on a property of sale.  So use your signs, just not in front of your client's properties.

Aug 28, 2009 03:12 AM
Steve Facella
ReMax Prestige - Lake Worth, FL

I don't see what problem is. I might request that the staging sign be placed as far from the Real estate sign as possible so they wouldn't clash or compete. Otherwise, I see it a positive. The seller took the time to make sure their home was in prime condition to sell. What could be wrong with that!

Aug 28, 2009 03:44 AM
Steve Sax
Sax Properties / CityWide Real Estate ~ Grand Rapids, MI - Grand Rapids, MI

I am a REALTOR who strongly believes in staging.  However I agree with most of the comments here that there shouldn't be any other signs in the front yard except the agent's.  I don't feel that tent cards are as big of an issue but still would prefer that they don't appear in the home.

I'm curious Cathy... after the overwhelming negative responses to allowing signage for stagers, are you going to listen to your "customer feedback" and remove this from your contracts or perhaps make it an option that the agent can accept or decline?

Aug 28, 2009 06:37 AM
Bill Bouscher

Hi Cathy,

I am one REALTOR who firmly believes in staging, it is a part of my listing presentation and I am very pleased to have the stager put her sign up next to mine or place a rider on top of my post sign.  I feel that it indicates to the general public that the seller wanted to make their house as attractive as possible and showcase its' best attributes.  It also makes the agent look good because he or she sees and knows the value that good staging brings to a property.  I have teamed up with one young lady and she does nothing less that outstanding work.  My sellers are always personal friends, family or direct referrals from one or the other.  I cannot afford to make even one mistake with these people.  When I bring Virginia in, I know she is going to make both of us look good and perfectly prepare my potential listing for the market. 

Don't let anyone push you around.  You have every right to fly your flag high! 

Best wishes,

Bill Bouscher


Aug 28, 2009 08:31 AM
Cathy Dick
Final Touch Designs, Inc. - Roanoke, VA
Final Touch Designs, Inc. in Roanoke VA


I have already removed the information from my contract.  After reading all the responses, I feel that signage in the yard is not worth the negatives that "may" occur by ANY realtor who happens upon it in their drive-bys.  It's just one of those "pick your own battle" things that I'd rather not hassle with - life's too short. 

I will continue to post my flyer posted with cards attached.  I think that is enough, and again, that just depends upon each situation.  If the home seller has no problem with flyer/cards and they are still living in the home, then I don't think it will become a problem.  If I run across an agent who is flat against it, then we'll just have to bargain in some way again so each of us "win".  I'm open minded and creative.....  Signage in the yard is just ONE form of advertising....there are many other options at our disposal.

Thanks for asking.  I'd hoped people caught that in some of my responses to this blog.

Aug 28, 2009 12:17 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Cathy -- wow, a hot button.

I use stagers often when listing homes. They will put out cards and flyers inside the home, which is fine with me--they are part of my team, and I'm proud of the work they do.

However, a yard sign doesn't work for me. Visual clutter is just part of it. Announcing to the world that it's likely this home is vacant seems like an invitation for vandalism.

Aug 30, 2009 03:36 AM
Deborah Napoleon

As a Certified Home Stager and Interior Decorator, I find it very important to be able to leave my cards in the home, but I am always flexible on the outside sign.  Now my sign is very subtle, does not scream "HOME STAGING DONE HERE", and I always work with the realtor and homeowner to ensure it is okay.

The last home I staged, we placed the sign in the garden area near the front door and cards in the entry with the realtors okay.  I think most people are smart enough to tell when a home has been staged, so I don't think I have to overkill my information at all.

Cards I push for, sign - not a big deal.

Deborah Napoleon

Devonshire Design, Ltd.

Aug 30, 2009 05:10 AM
Connie Addison

To Lenn,

As a professional who has earned her Accredited Staging Professional designation, I have to take exception to your comments.  As a listing agent, it has been my experience that, not only does staging sell these homes faster, but usually for a higher price.  If you would like to see the actual statistics I would be happy to forward them to you.

Meanwhile, agents who would like to see their listing inventory move faster would be very well advised to consult  and recommend a professional stager to their sellers.

Connie Addison



Sep 02, 2009 03:18 AM
Susan Martin


So many thoughts and opinions......it's what makes the world go round......

My consistent thought and feeling after reading all these opinions from a variety of professions/positions is:

Why can't we collaborate?  Isn't our objective the same, that is, to get the home sold in the shortest time possible for the highest price?

Achieving this goal means everyone from the home seller to the home buyer, and all others in between cooperating in a business fashion. By working as a team (speaking in broad terms), we ALL BENEFIT.

 LIving in Rhode Island, we are not cutting edge here, yet the 80-20 rule still applies. Those Realtors who work the hardest, do the greatest volume in sales/commisions are the Realtors who are forward thinking and see the benefit of being AHEAD OF THE PACK.

Those Realtos in general are using our staging company.

In this last year, our business has consistently seen our business grow from DIREC T CALLS FROM HOME SELLERS WITHOUT  an agent. We love this, yet we know by our continued relationship with Realtors we, as a team, will get more homes sold, more quickly.

We do not put signs out front and rarely put information in the home for sale. Our marketing is done by word of mouth whether it is the seller,  the Realtor or from our marketing efforts.

A Realtor's objective is to get the house sold quickly. This is also the stagers objective.

We can work as a team- we just don't have to share the limelight in the same way.

Sep 04, 2009 03:42 AM
Margaret Oscilia
Creative Concepts-Home Staging and Contracting, Salem Oregon - Salem, OR
Home Stager, Salem Oregon

On "staging day" we place a sign in the yard -  more to inform the neighbors than anything else that they don't need to worry about coming and welcoming us to the neighborhood!  Where do you get your business - from sign/plaque advertising? 

Our business has come from satisfied agents who are thrilled to sing our praises to their colleagues.  I do just about anything I can to keep agents thrilled with our work.  No sign - no problem.  Extra art - no problem.  Be at the realtor tour - no problem. This is my most effective advertising hands down.

We've had staged homes at the "tour or homes" and other high traffic areas where our info was prominently posted and guess what . . . hardly any leads or business from the advertising.  We've also had homes that sold in hours -- and our phone was ringing off the hook from new agents in the office. 

Bottom line - it's not about sign or no sign - but thrilling the agent and becoming an integral part of their team that will be most valuable in the long run.

Sep 06, 2009 12:26 AM
Yolanda Hoversten
Self Employed - O'Fallon, IL
Referrals for O’Fallon, IL & the Metro East

I love comment #197 (spam).  It stops and makes you think that perhaps the thread has run its course. Nothing more I could add but congrats on the feature and the informative comments!  : )

Sep 18, 2009 02:13 AM
Barbara Jennings
Academy of Staging and Redesign - Huntington Beach, CA

As a trainer of home stagers, I really appreciate all of the above comments. It's so good to see the ideas and the perspectives of agents as well as stagers.

I believe that if a stager puts the client first in every situation, the rewards will come automatically. In many cases the client is the agent, so the agent's wishes come first. In some situations, it is the seller who is the client therefore their wishes come first. If I were selling my home, I would only want one sign out front and that would be my agent's.

Too often the focus is on "what in it for me" and not "what can I do to enhance the benefits for my client".

I vote no signage for the stager in the front yard until after the home sells.  The idea of putting a yard sign out front AFTER the home has sold is excellent so long as the sellers are willing. 

Whenever I put my clients first, I am always blessed - and often from "fields" I have not planted in. 

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