Is staging a home subjective?

Home Stager with Shift Property Styling
It is an interesting experience being a property presenter (or home stager) in that you can encounter some negative feedback from people who have never used your services. I recently heard 2nd hand comments from an agent who had advised their vendor not to consider staging a property as the process was 'too subjective' and really only reflected the ideas of one person.

This raises an interesting point. Having your home evaluated for sale by a home stager IS a subjective practice. It is the review of one property by one person. So in that case, how does the home stager know what the buying audience is actually looking for? Well, I would suggest experience, training, knowledge different home types/styles and the fact that as a stager, I am independant of that property as some pretty good reasons. I have no emotional link to the property other than to see it presented in the best possible light.

It is also knowing what the buying audience is NOT looking for in a property. How many times have you seen property listings in the real estate guide or online where you struggle to see the carpet for the boxes packed up on it, or the kitchen counter colour is hidden due to last night's dishes being piled up waiting to be done. While these are easily sorted, it is the issue of funiture layout, the quantity of furniture and the amount of knick-knacks that go with it that people cannot see past.

Buyers struggle to determine the use for any given room in a property unless it is clearly defined. As they walk around the property viewing what could be their potential home they need emotional involvement. Defining the property and the way it is presented is what stagers do, it is what they know. They use their skills to create emotional involvement for potential buyers and to make the process of selling a home easier for the agent.

So is the process of professionally preparing a home and staging it subjective? Yes. But that subjective opinion is just as professional as that of a doctor or a lawyer as we offer insight into making the most of the marketing of a home at sale time.

Shift by Design offer full property presentation and home staging service to the greater Hobart area (Tasmania, Australia) and can assist with the preparation of occupied homes, or professionally staged vacant apartments or homes with their stock of rental furniture and accessories.

Comments (11)

Cindy Lin
Staged4more School of Home Staging - South San Francisco, CA
Host, The Home Staging Show podcast
That's a great point! I do think staging is subjective since it is created by the stager himself/herself. But I also think it's more objective than the agent's or sellers' point of view because they are in it too deep.
Oct 04, 2007 05:56 PM
Linda Sticklin
Home Staging & Organizing - Berwyn, PA

A stager provides an OBJECTIVE view of the property in order to market it effectively for sale.  Most homeowners aren't able to view their house objectively due to their emotional connection. Even though no 2 stagers may stage exactly the same way, I have to believe their overall recommendations would be similar.  

Oct 05, 2007 02:13 AM
Nancy Morrish
Stage Tucson! Professional Home Staging - Tucson, AZ
Stage Tucson!

I think that staging is absolutely objective - so long as the person who does the staging has been trained and understands the concept . The whole problem is that sellers cannot BE objective. If I was you, I would offer to buy this agent lunch or at the very least coffee and educate them about what staging IS and what it IS NOT.

Oct 05, 2007 02:24 AM
Melissa Kabel
Staged Homes By Melissa - Charlotte, NC


Staging is subjective.  A good stager keeps it as nuetral as poosible.  You are looking to fill the vast majority of the buyers.

Melissa Staged Homes North Carolina

Oct 05, 2007 03:22 AM
Maureen Maureen
Orangeburg, NY
I usually tell clients that I consider the target demographic when staging a home - under 35 married for a family home.  55+ for Active living communities,  urban professionals for the condos overlooking NYC.  I think one of the most important parts of being a stager is being able to identify the target market for the home then appeal to that particular style.   
Oct 05, 2007 04:13 AM
penny white
Jacksonville, FL

I agree with Maureen, knowing who you are marketing to is key. Also some homes just cry out for a certain look, you need to keep it basically neutral but accessories will help achieve the feel of the space.

                                                                                       Penny White

                                                                                        Beststagedesign Inc. 

Oct 06, 2007 10:39 AM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging
Just as with anything, you can't please everyone all the time... the point is to please the largest number of people possible while spending minimal $$$.  A good 'property presenter' (aka Home Stager) can do exactly this.  It is training, market knowledge & a certain innate inability that make us more able to do this than the average homeowner.
Oct 06, 2007 01:02 PM
Betty Haney
Haney Consulting - Calgary, AB
Maureen said it well.  Identify your target audience and then appeal to that lifestyle.  Yes staging is subjective but it is also objective.  Knowing what to pack, how to arrange furniture, the placement of accessories and the use of color is the key to appealing to buyers.  Homeowners are so used to the way they live, they need an objective eye to help them get their property market ready.  Thanks for the post Adam.  Betty
Oct 06, 2007 02:06 PM
Gaby Diskin

Hey Adam,

Glad to see that you are doing staging down there! I'm a stager & a realtor born in Melbourne, Australian and based in California for the last 25 years.  Recently I received my real estate licence in Qld & now need to find an agency to join on the coast where most of my family lives.  Any ideas who to contact? Keep up the good work!

Jun 30, 2008 04:47 PM
Adam Luttrell

Hi Gaby

I am afraid I don't know any QLD realtors at all, sorry! Housing market is tough here at the moment though, not too much moving.

Good luck with the job hunting



Jun 30, 2008 05:49 PM