Battling Spouses-How this stager eluded capture!

Home Stager with ReDesign & Go

Last Saturday I drove over an hour to a home planning to do a staging. I was initially called by the wife but all subsequent calls were conducted by the husband.  I thought this was a bit odd as the husband was living out of town due to a job transfer and the wife was "preparing" the house for sale. 

The husband told me that his wife was a collector and had some memorabilia.  That was an understatement.  Every flat surface was covered with collections, there were curio cabinets, shelves and if it could be hung it was!  Both husband and wife had been watching staging shows and suspected that the collections would have to go into storage or what I like to call "prepack".  But when I actually said, "We need to neutralize the great room so that prospective buyers can visualize their belongings here,"  I thought I might be a dead woman.  

The husband understood and was very supportive, this of course just made his wife angrier.  I was verbally abused, told my ideas were the most ridiculous things she had ever heard and that what I was planning to do to the great room would ruin the atmosphere that she had worked so hard to create.  I kept my cool, finished the initial consultation phase of the staging and looked the husband directly in the eye and said, "It will take several hours to get this room ready to be staged.  I don't feel that you should pay me to pack boxes.  I can tell you how I would move the furniture and what accessories and wall art I would use, then when the room is ready you can stage it."  The husband took the hint, accepted my reason for leaving without doing the staging, and paid me a bit more than my consultation fee.  I felt incredibly relieved when I drove away and knew that I came close to meeting the same fate as the deer head they had mounted in the great room!

Comments (18)

Maureen Maureen
Orangeburg, NY
Pat, glad that you survived to stage another day.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away.  
Aug 17, 2007 03:26 PM
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging
Pat -- what a funny story - although I imagine it wasn't to funny at the time.  cracked me up when you compared your possible demise to the deer head!
Aug 17, 2007 03:27 PM
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate
Welcome to ActiveRain, Pat! That's quite a challenging situation you found yourself in, and I would say you handled it very well. The wife needs to understand that prospective buyers are only buying the house, not her 'atmosphere.'
Aug 17, 2007 03:38 PM
Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 888.883.8509 X101
eXp Realty LLC - Miami, FL
GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay |
Pat, that's a great story.  You handled it like a true professional.  Being in this business requires some excellent acting skills, no?
Aug 17, 2007 03:47 PM
Betty Haney
Haney Consulting - Calgary, AB
Pat, I needed a good laugh today and you provided it.  Thank you.  Very glad you escaped the fate of the deer.  Betty
Aug 17, 2007 03:48 PM
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor, Team Lead
Pat, this is great stuff. You handled yourself well, obviously, and it's a good thing you had the husband on board. Thanks for sharing!
Aug 17, 2007 03:56 PM
Cindy Lin
Staged4more School of Home Staging - South San Francisco, CA
Host, The Home Staging Show podcast

Pat, you did a fantastic job averting the potential disaster! I love that you held your ground and also very honest with the sellers. Generally when I encounter the situation I also explained at the open house, people can steal and/or break things very easily and that's the last thing you want for these precious items.




ps. LOVE your logo BTW. 

Aug 17, 2007 07:07 PM
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Pat - you poor thing. 

From the sounds of it, you handled yourself like the pro you are.  Kudos to you!  And I too am glad you were spared the same fate of the deer head.  Too funny.


Aug 17, 2007 11:25 PM
Kathleen Garvey
HomeSmart Cherry Creek - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales
Hey Pat....good job handling those clients.  Those are such uncomfortable situations and when the spouses are divided, it gets a bit stressful...and you stayed professional!!  Regards-Kathleen
Aug 18, 2007 02:04 AM
Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495
Stage it Right! - Melbourne, FL
WOW Pat I haven't been caught in that crossfire yet.  But I did a consult with a wife who kept telling me her husband wouldn't allow this or that.  I finally told her, the house had been on the market 18 months, she was either going to have to step in and make some decisions, or the house would sit another 18 months.  I have no idea what she decided.  I got paid and left.  But I can see how a woman would be totally insulted if her husband brought in a stager.  Afterall we are supposed to be the ones to make the nest, and for him to insinuate her nesting abilities were below par, would be insulting.
Aug 18, 2007 06:08 AM
Marci Toliver
438-4642 - Mauldin, SC
Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging
Pat, welcome to Active Rain! Glad to see you have jumped on the bloggin wagon!
Aug 18, 2007 09:10 AM
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells

Hi Pat,

You probably missed a bullet, but don't be surprised if they call you back in 3 or 4 months afer it's hasn't sold.

Aug 18, 2007 04:27 PM
Jaynee Acevedo
Capital Style Home Staging - Kensington, MD
Capital Style Home Staging

Staging is a thousand things, Pat, only one of which is psychology.  I think you did the right thing, and I certainly agree with Susan.  Don't be surprised if you receive a future call from the husband!

Welcome to AR.  Hope you like it "in the Rain".

Cheers! from DC...


Sep 18, 2007 02:39 AM
Lori Kim Polk
Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services - Roseville, CA
Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento
Welcome Pat!  Thank you for the giggle this morning.  Great that you held your ground.  Sometimes we really don't know what we are walking into... glad you dodged that bullet :)
Sep 18, 2007 03:11 AM
Kathy Riggle
Houston Home Staging


Great blog title=I just had to read it.  At least you got paid for your time & did not have to face the MRS all by yourself.  Thanks for sharing the experience- we can all relate & you handled it well!


Oct 16, 2007 07:51 AM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging
YIKES! I once ran into a similar situation with a mother & daughter.  The mother had dimensia.  She couldn't remember from one minute to the next.... not a pretty situation.  I, unfortunately, did not have the opportunity to escape like you did.  GREAT JOB!  It was handled with tact and dignity.  Boy does the husband have some work ahead of him though!
Oct 16, 2007 09:18 AM
Kristina Leone
Lionheart Home Staging, LLC - Minneapolis, MN

I hope you have the chance to go home, put your feet up, have a glass of wine, and thank God you didn't have to go back!

This is an excellent example of how to remain calm and professional under pressure! 

Dec 15, 2007 05:36 AM
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Too funny, I was just recounting a similar experience - I automatically turn "stage" day into "consultation" day.


Dec 15, 2007 07:04 AM