Home Stager = Magician

Home Stager with Creative Staging Company



A couple of weeks ago a Realtor who wanted me to take a look at a vacant property and prepare a bid called me. The Realtor informed me that the house was not in the best condition. I When I arrived at the property not in the best condition was an understatement. The home was very dirty and there were so many things that needed to be repaired. The home was built in the late 1950's. Carpet had been ripped up to expose hardwood floors that needed to be refinished.  There were things that were renovated in an incomplete and might I say shoddy manner. The kitchen was missing a cabinet door amongst other things. This house was in no way market ready! Never the less I took pictures, notes and left to return to my office to prepare a Home Staging bid.


When I presented the bid to the Realtor and his client I preceded to go over the repairs that I felt needed to be made to the home prior to staging. For instance in one of the bathrooms the tub was badly in need of repair, it was stained probably beyond repair. The tub was in need of caulking and had visible mold. The Realtor and the seller were under the impression that I could just put up a shower curtain and magically make all of this disappear. It seems that they were under the impression that I could come in and Stage the home to make all the items in disrepair disappear. They didn't need a Home Stager they needed a magician.  After continuing to go over the bid as well as my concerns it became very apparent to me that both the Realtor and the seller had a false sense of what Home Staging was.

Home Staging is the art of preparing a home for sale, not the art of making things disappear.We as Home Stagers are not in the business of hiding things. We do use the magic of Home Staging to transform a home into a warm and inviting space. However, we don't hide anything in Home Staging we highlight things, we enhance things, we play up things.Anyone that would say other wise shame on them! Home buyers are very savvy. They look everywhere in a home even behind a shower curtain in a bathroom. For most of us when we purchase a home it is one of the single biggest investments that we will ever make. With that being said to assume that a person would buy a home and be fooled by Home Staging that was intentionally covering up obvious items needing repair is very unrealistic.

In this situation I used Barb Schwarz's Staging saying "LET ME TELL YOU HOW I WORK." I explained to the Realtor and Seller what Home Staging was and what Home Staging was not. I explained to them that it was my professional policy that the home be professionally cleaned and all necessary repairs made prior to my company staging it. At the end of the day I am a professional with professional policies as well as a reputation to uphold. It is not and never will be my professional policy to go into a home and try to disguise anything that needs to be repaired. I don't say any of this to try to embarrass the Realtor or the seller. This situation just makes me further realize that we as Home Stagers have so much more educating to do!

After going over all of this I am not sure if the seller will decide to have the home Staged. As the old saying goes you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink! I reiterated over and over how important that it is to Stage a vacant home. The Realtor informed me that the home was getting horrible feedback. I imagine this will remain the case until the home is repaired, staged or until a magician works his or her magic on the home!

Happy Staging!

Posted by

Tia Spaulding ASPM, ASP, IAHSP

Tia Spaulding is the Owner of Creative Staging Company, a premiere Real Estate Staging Company located in greater Indianapolis, Indiana. Tia Spaulding is a master in the Home Staging industry earning the industry's highest designation Accredited Staging Professional Master (ASPM.) Tia Spaulding is a member of IAHSP, MIBOR and WCR. Tia Spaulding can be reached at 317-833-9539, by e-mail at creativestaging@live.com or via http://www.creativestagingco.com.


Comments (7)

Eric J
Eric J - Dream Home Financing - Freehold, NJ
Dream Home Financing

My mother in law is trying to sell a home in a retirement village. She needs more than a home stager and a magician. I was thinking about a lighter and a stick of dynamite.

Jan 10, 2010 01:13 PM
Tia Spaulding
Creative Staging Company - Indianapolis, IN
ASPM, IAHSP Indianapolis, IN


That is too funny! Thank so much for your comment! After that blog I needed a good laugh!

Jan 10, 2010 09:57 PM
Dawn Whalen
Whalen Realty Group,LLC - Indianapolis, IN
Managing Broker

It's truly sad when a seller/realtor thinks the problems should be hid as opposed to being fixed.  Keep doing what you do, there is so much to be said for your honesty and integrity in this situation!

Jan 11, 2010 12:11 AM
Tia Spaulding
Creative Staging Company - Indianapolis, IN
ASPM, IAHSP Indianapolis, IN


Thanks so much! I think that the Realtor knows the home needs to be staged. I think that it is the seller who is the main person trying to dump the home in the quickest manner possible. Honesty and Integrity go a long way!

Jan 11, 2010 12:24 AM
Michelle Pimentel
Empire Home Staging Solutions - Upland, CA
ASP, IAHSP Empire Home Staging


Good for you!  Upholding your own professional policies is what makes you a true home staging professional!  Afterall, it is your reputation that will be on the line if you are to stage a home that is in such disrepair.  Hopefully your client will understand the importance of your recommendations and call you back after repairs and cleaning are complete.  Keep us posted. ;o) 

Jan 19, 2010 05:48 PM
Patty Hill, BIC
Local Homes and Land, Inc - Summerville, SC
Local Homes and Land, Inc

Tia, I have to agree with Michelle.  Upholding your professional policies will protect your reputation.   I look forward to hearing the results...keep us posted.  Thanks for sharing!

Jan 20, 2010 11:59 AM
Tia Spaulding
Creative Staging Company - Indianapolis, IN
ASPM, IAHSP Indianapolis, IN

Thanks everyone for all the wonderful comments. In the end I haven't heard back from this client or his Realtor. I think he was looking for a quick fix. I don't think that this seller was committed to having his home Staged. I think that his perception of staging was that we come in with a magic wand and hide all the things that were clearly wrong with his home.

At the end of the day I am a professional with professional policies. Even though my business is still fairly new and growing I won't put my name on anything that would jeopardize the integrity of my company and what I stand for. I know I did the right thing by providing both the Realtor and his client with valuable information on what staging is and what it is not. I wish them both the best of luck and life has gone on!

Again thanks so much for all of the encouragment and wonderful comments!

Jan 21, 2010 05:19 AM