Apparently, A Good Stager Is the Buyers' Biggest Enemy And We May Cost You $5645

Education & Training with Staged4more School of Home Staging

You can truly find anything on the internet. Today I found the report How to not get tricked by staging — and potentially save $5,645 when you buy your home (PDF; 1.23 MB) published by National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents.

The gist of the report is that staging is the enemy and a good buyer's agent must steer the buyers away from staged homes, or teach them to look past all the tricks that stagers use to make the home look better than it really is. The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents strongly feels that  staging has become the media darling of real estate industry, with mainstream TV channels such as HGTV running its shows like Designed To Sell to convince people the power of staging. It also has been a dominant topic in the real estate trade magazines and other publications. All these have been campaigned in seller's favor. So NAEBA feels that it must address the buyers' needs by exposing what staging really is and how the buyers can consequently save money when they see past the staging.

In the report, NAEBA outlines "The dangers of home staging from your position as a home buyer"

"NAEBA recommends that buyers remain cautionary about staged homes. In the real estate profession there are an abundance of stories of buyers seeing a staged home, becoming emotionally attached to it, and then paying over market value for the home. This is exactly what you want to avoid as a buyer. The emotional attachment can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

Staging also tries to minimize a home’s shortcomings. This almost always includes using small furniture to make a room look larger, particularly small dining tables and chairs and small bedroom furniture. Watch out for it! Additionally, the survey results indicate that stagers and/or home sellers often use furniture and wall stager had brought in some very nice window coverings. Unfortunately they covered up a broken window that ended up being the buyer’s problem. Often when you see a staged home you might get the impression that if the home looks this good now, it must have been well maintained. This is often false and a potentially dangerous assumption. Many times staged homes take advantage of the staging to cover up deferred maintenance issues and improper construction and repair issues. Do not assume that an attractively presented home has been well maintained.  "

At the end of the report, NAEBA also points out "'Know your enemy' resources from some of America's top staging professionals: Debra Gould’s website  Barbara Schwarz’s website Mary McDonald’s website Audra Slinkey’s website Calie Waterhouse’s website "


I suppose it's a form of flattery that we stagers are considered as public enemy #1 by National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. While I agree with certain parts of the report such that sellers will be able to sell their home faster and potentially for more money, but a lot of it I do not agree with.

The report spent a lot of time explaining that sellers use staging to mask fundamental flaws such as foundation cracks, stains, leakage, etc. which I considered as HIGHLY UNETHICAL on a stager's part, and illegal may I add (at least in California). It is NOT my job as a stager concealing fundamental flaws of the home, nor I should do it because not only I am open myself, my agent client and my seller client to liability and lawsuits, it is something that sellers must disclose while selling. Additionally staging is geared toward buyer's benefits as well.

The staging will help buyers to realize the home's potential by staging tricky floor plan and using furnishing to help guiding the buyers to realize that just because of the room is small, it doesn't mean this is a total waste of space. Moreover, staging helps buyers' agents by assisting the clients finding the home that they want. It will help to add to their commission by closing a higher priced sale. The report also pointed out that buyers get so distracted by the staging, they don't noticed details such as cracked windows or cracks on the wall and they end up buying the house. Excuse me, but isn't it buyers agents' due diligence to notice these types of things as well? And seller must discloses these on the contract (at least in California). Moreover, staged props are generally removed by final inspections. Things such as cracked windows, carpet stains, should be visible in plain sight.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. To view the report, go to  How to not get tricked by staging — and potentially save $5,645 when you buy your home.

Posted by


Cindy Lin, Founder + General Manager
Staged4more Home Staging & Redesigns
Direct: 650-293-7458
Office: 650-589-8875

As featured and seen on HGTV, San Francisco Chronicle, San Mateo County Times, CBS 5 News,, and many other notable presses and publications.

Proud winner of Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur Award, Make Mine A Million, CSP Green Business of the Year and finalists to Innovator of the Year, Stager of the Year Awards from Real Estate Staging Association.

*PSSSS... Want a little saintly help? Check out our sister company EcoJoe, the Original Eco-Friendly St Joseph Home Selling Kit ;


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Debbie Cook
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Silver Spring, MD
Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate
What a Lot of HOOEY!  Sellers have every right to show their homes in the best light!  And I have never seen a buyer's agent that could overide, counteract or discount a purchaser's emotional reaction to a house.  These buyers agents are digging their own graves and biting their noses off to spite their faces - why would you stand in the way of a buyers positive emotional reaction??? STUPID 
Aug 18, 2007 09:26 PM #58
Shell Brodnax
Real Estate Staging Association - Valley Springs, CA

I have drafted a letter to Jon Boyd you can view it at

I have not sent it yet but I will be doing it soon.

Aug 19, 2007 07:30 AM #59
Calie Waterhouse
Chandler, AZ
Community Builder
OK - here's an idea - The NAEBA is having their 13th Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV. from November 12-15, 2007 .... Why don't we all go?
Aug 19, 2007 12:14 PM #60
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Calie, did you know anything about this article before it was published WITH reference to you and your website.  If not, that's even more tacky. 

Vegas is a great place to be in November...I'm game. 

waterberry-a "refreshing" berry that tastes like water...????

Aug 19, 2007 12:32 PM #61

Cindy Lin,

Thanks for raising my blood pressure about 100 point! lol,  They are crazy to think stagers are trying to hide something because here in Chicago it is illegal to with hold that info to, and as far as using smaller furniture, I have small furniture in parts of my home that I live in, it what I choose to use and goes with the room.  We can't all have houses that are 6,000 square feet.

Thank you really for the post I think there are just haters out there Cindy, I wouldn't worry to much about it. look around at the facts on AR STAGING WORKS!

best wishes, Brian Bloom

Aug 19, 2007 04:47 PM #62
Cheryl-Anne Priest
Inviting Spaces - Home Staging Calgary - Calgary, AB
Inviting Spaces - Staging Calgary
Cindy- thank-you so much for this wonderful post and for bringing this article to the attention of AR members.   As Sherin did, I too decided to post on this article(with reference to your post) although I chose to post from a different perspective.  This article did not make my blood boil, nor was I upset.  Rather, it excited me to realize what a fabulous marketing tool the NAEBA has provided for home stagers.  I will be referring my clients to this article as I find it to be a very educational article for both buyers and sellers. 
Aug 20, 2007 04:58 AM #63
Cindy Lin
Staged4more School of Home Staging - South San Francisco, CA
Host, The Home Staging Show podcast

I am still amazed by the responses this little blog received from you all! A lot of positive affirmations of why staging matters in this industry from non-stagers. And how it sparked others to blog on their own. I am so proud! ;)



Aug 20, 2007 06:06 AM #64
Cindy Lin
Staged4more School of Home Staging - South San Francisco, CA
Host, The Home Staging Show podcast

I also want to thank Dru for emailing me about Realty Times' article about this buyers' reports:

Comment by Dru Bloomfield | Scottsdale Real Estate:

Blanche Evans at Realty Times took the time to respond to the NAEBA report, kicking off a new column.

Who's Getting In Your Pocket, Now: Spoilsport Buyer's Agent Group Comes Out Against Home Staging

Among her comments:

"That's as silly a complaint as I've ever heard. Worse, it can do some serious damage."

"I can see the buyer's lawsuit now: "Seller emotionally influenced buyer that romance, family togetherness and reading would increase enjoyment of owning home."

It's a good read. 



Aug 20, 2007 06:36 AM #65
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

I loved Blanche Evan's comment about "miracle bras and mascara"   Thanks for sharing the link. 

I woinder how many stagers are even familiar with NAEBA?  I sent an email to a client recently and said we would not get feedback on the showing because the agent showing her house  was an EBA.  We have EBAs in our market but I did not pay much attention to them until about three years ago. My client left me a voice mail then that she did not understand what an EBA is.

We did not get feedback!

Aug 20, 2007 06:51 AM #66
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate

Hi Cindy - NAEBA has been bashing other agents for years.  Now I guess they're turning their attentions to another professional in the hopes of earning some press.  I wouldn't let it worry you!


Aug 20, 2007 07:42 AM #67
Cheryl-Anne Priest
Inviting Spaces - Home Staging Calgary - Calgary, AB
Inviting Spaces - Staging Calgary
Cindy - thanks for sharing Blanche Evan's link.  Her comments are quite funny.  I really like the one about the lawsuit.  I ssem to recall that there something in the media a while back about a lawsuit against a realtor for NOT advising a client that home staging could benefit them? 
Aug 20, 2007 08:45 AM #68
Cindy Lin
Staged4more School of Home Staging - South San Francisco, CA
Host, The Home Staging Show podcast

Don -- That just puzzles me. That's SO UNPROFESSIONAL AND UNETHICAL! It's terrible business practice, not to mention making themselves looking like the silly bully at the school playground.



Aug 20, 2007 06:32 PM #69
Janis Gaines
Cindy et al,
I accidently came across the NAEBA article myself a couple of days ago and have already written a response to Jon Boyd. I got a bounceback reply from a woman at NAEBA with his correct email address so if anyone would like to respond to him directly about his article, go for it.

Here is the bounceback response I got and the person who sent it to me:

"Since this is a "non-forwardable" message, you may wish to send it directly

> to Jon Boyd.  His email address is

> Martha C. Krafton

> NAEBA Administration

> (703) 920-1095

> FAX:  (703) 920-9101



The incredible amount of responses above touch on most points I addressed my email to Mr. Boyd. However, here is an excerpt from my email, regarding a point he made that I thought was one of those "pot calling the kettle black" scenarios:

"To Mr. Boyd...Regarding the following quote from the NAEBA article: "The fact that a home shows poorly hurts the seller's negotiation position and that helps us negotiate a better deal on the buying side"

I could easily build a case for this being a trickster-type behavior [on NAEBA's part] when devaluing a home that shows poorly and gets buyers a "great deal" because sellers are "unsophisticated" and "uneducated" about how to properly optimize the perceived value of their homes."

I have respect for both sellers and buyers (and their agents, except maybe the ones who want to put a picture over torn wallpaper) and I provide a valuable service to all parties involved with regard to the thoughtfulness and time I spend in preparing homes with honesty, integrity and heart. 

Janis L Gaines, ASP, member IAHSP

The Notably Well-dressed Home

Aug 21, 2007 12:01 PM #70
Stefan Scholl
Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC - Petoskey, MI
Northern Michigan Real Estate

Dear Cindy,

As a NAEBA member, I wanted to comment on your blog (please hold the tar and feathers!) :-)

As other stagers have mentioned, I think the whole NAEBA press release is testament to the power and value of staging.  If I were a listing agent, I would think that not recommending home staging to a seller would be akin to a buyer agent not recommending a home inspection to a client. 

I attended a seminar on staging at my state ass'n of Realtors convention last year, which only confirmed my previous opinion that staging is fundamentally important, from a seller's perspective, especially in slower markets which many of us are now experiencing.

Personally, I would rather show a staged home to a buyer client that an unstaged home.  

I think the point of the press release was to point out that stagers are hired by sellers to try and help maximize the sales price of their homes.  Just like an exclusive buyer agent is hired by the buyers to try and help the buyer get the best deal possible.

If buyers can understand the techniques employed by home stagers to make properties seem more appealing, they will be more knowledgeable when viewing properties and making purchasing decisions.

As for the "know your enemy" reference, I can assure you that this remark was made facetiously, and was intended to be humorous.  Home staging is an honorable profession which I and any other knowledgeable Realtor would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone selling their home.  On behalf of NAEBA, I apologize to any stagers out there who took offense.  

Thanks for allowing me to comment.

Best regards,  

Aug 21, 2007 05:18 PM #71
Becca Briggs
Rochester, NY


I think the exciting part of your blog is the huge number of realtors that commented for staging.  We see many blogs that need realtors feedback and only stagers reply - I will be using alot of there comments as well as the article in my presentations.  Tks.  Becky

Aug 23, 2007 01:13 AM #72
Joni Van Deventer
RoomByRoomRedesign - Midland, TX


What the NAEBA should be telling potential buyers is NEVER BUY A HOME WITHOUT A HOME INSPECTION!!!

I find it absurd that an agency/assoc. can make a claim like that about staqing.  Also I "hazard to guess" but I feel sure legitimate Realtors don't feel this way, everyone should be thrilled that a home is move in ready.  And the number $5,000+, where did they get that price??  Any quality stager would compel the sellers to make repairs.  FSBO has gotten crazy and I have tried it, only if a person is paying cash is it worth it, IMO. 

Thanks for bringing this to everyones' attention.

Aug 23, 2007 03:35 PM #73
Dana Hollish Hill
Hollish Hill Group, KW Capital Properties - Bethesda, MD
Lead Associate Broker

Cindy -

I am a member of NAEBA and I was shocked by this article as well. The tone is not in line with my experience, but some of the examples are. I recently sold a home where the home was over staged. There were carpets and furniture hiding all kinds of stains and flaws. There were also hundreds (no joke) hundreds of faux plants in the townhome so it smelled like a fake plant store. I've also seen super short beds set up like double beds that make a room look like it will accomodate more than it really will.

In the end, let's not underestimate buyers. Even if someone is buying their first home and needs guidance when it comes to mortgages, or contingencies, inspections, pricing and negotiating, most buyers are not fooled by staging as much as they use it to imagine the house as a home.   


Sep 08, 2007 12:57 PM #74
Dale Campbell
Virginia Real Estate - Mechanicsville, VA

That is absolutely nuts!  I am an Accredited Buyer's Rep myself and have never heard of such!  Bottom line is buyer beware.  That is why I always recommend to buyers to go through the home top to bottom, using a home inspector.  Material defects must be disclosed unless they are obvious, so I can see the point about covering the foundation cracks, etc., being an issue, but they should be disclosed if material anyway.  I do not think that this article could possibly hurt the staging profession.

Dale Campbell -

Sep 17, 2007 12:00 PM #75
Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota
Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm - Inver Grove Heights, MN

Wow - didn't see this blog until now but am almost glad as I can also see the comments made by so many Realtors defening staging.  It's seems the general opinion was that the article wasn't really written to degrade but by saying that some Stagers mask fundamental flaws - NOT GOOD!  I think any Stager, Realtor, Inspector or any human being trying to conceal a real problem with a home is un-ethical, won't be trusted, referred and probably won't be in business too long. 

Glad you found the article and passed it along to us Cin! 

All the best,


Oct 02, 2007 05:02 AM #76
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

I read this report too, with great amusement. Clearly their whole objective is to convince prospective home buyers that they need to use an Exclusive Buyer Agent (EBA). After all, isn't that the mandate of the NAEBA?

The fact that they decided to take aim at stagers (and needed to misrepresent what we do in the process), is only further proof that staging works! Clearly in any real estate transaction you have a seller hoping to make as much money as possible and a buyer who wants to pay as little as possible. And clearly, if you're a smart seller you realize that one of the best strategies to use in getting the most for your home is to show it in the best possible way.

There's nothing unethical in staging and staging isn't about hiding damage, it's about creating an environment a buyer will emotionally connect with and imagine themselves living in. 

I have to say I was flattered that Staging Diva was at the top of their "know thy enemy" list! Guess they think I'm good at what I do!

By the way, does anyone for a moment think a real estate agent (who lives on commissions) will say to a client, "I know you love this house and want to buy it, but that's just because it looks great. Forget it, let's go see the ugly house around the corner instead." 


Debra Gould, The Staging Diva



Jan 16, 2008 07:26 AM #77
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