Don't wait until the day before your plane leaves to consult with a home stager!

Home Stager with Home Star Staging

our bags are packedI arrived today to a vacant property staging preview for a home to be listed for sale in Plano, TX knowing full well the owners were leaving for their new destination tomorrow. However, I was under the assumption (based on my conversation with the listing agent) that I was only there for a rental furniture and accessory staging bid.


While we are of course able to stage the property with furniture and accessory rental options, there were so many other things that needed addressing that I'd be remiss and irresponsible if I did not at least point them out to the seller so they would understand that these items would most certainly be thought about, if not mentioned by prospective buyers and could be serious objections to the sale, which could translate into no or low offers.


Here's the punch list:

  • Kitchen is outdated (pickled pink cabinetry, dark wall padated kitchen before stagingper, brass hardware, original appliances, dark green ceramic tile and green Corian counter tops...)
  • At minimum - Paint the kitchen walls
  • Replace the hardware
  • Re paint the cabinetry
  • While we can work with the counter-tops and flooring, it's still not up to standards for buyers in their market
  • Replace original carpet (it was stained, needed stretching and showed the wear of 10+ years of use)
  • Sand and re stain hardwood thresholds
  • Remove and repaint wall paper throughout (mainly the master bathroom & kitchen were recommended due to time/budget restraints and when they were going to list)
  • The painters were on-site and were actually touching up and re painting an office the same deep plum it was originally painted. With dark brown built-ins this was a big no-no.  I was able to avert that and convince the owners that it needed to be a lighter color - since the painters had only just begun, they agreed and would use the color they had in the rest of the home - an off-white they had used in other parts of the house 
  • Remove damaged bamboo shades from outdoor patio 
  • Replace doggy door with matching french door (in attic) to the rest of the back entry area. 
  • Replace dated entry and dining fixtures

Needless to say and quite understandably (I cannot imagine her stress) the lady of the house was a bit overwhelmed and defending the decisions to leave the house "as is".  Her husband was more open to hearing what I had to recommend as I repeated often that I was there as their "advocate to help them sell the house".  I wanted to at least disclose objections most buyers wouldn't take the time to say, they just wouldn't make an offer or would expect a substantially lower price based on the updates they would want to make. 

This quick list was complete in just under an hour at an investment of $75 for the hour.  Originally the visit was only for a vacant property walk through (which is something I charge for but will be credited back to the account should the client decide to stage with my company, Home Star Staging) however as you can see it turned into a home staging consultation. With my policy being that I always charge the initial vacant property preview fee (I can ball park estimate by phone for free though!), I had no problem making these recommendations. It was being paid for and should the client opt to stage further with furniture and accessories I will still honor my credit back policy.

It's a win-win situation for all involved.

Whether they make the recommended changes, stage or not they are educated with very likely buyer objections.  This not only assists them but their agent as well in the home selling process.  It also helps me qualify that I've done my due diligence in explaining that it's not only about the "furniture and decor/staging" but what stays with the property that counts.

I'll keep you posted should this job go through completion. But word of advice, please try not to wait until the day before your plane leaves to consult with a home stager if you're selling a house!


Home Star Staging is a qualified, insured home staging company and we are always here for you North Texas!Home Star Staging Logo


  • Affordable pre-list home staging property consultations 
  • Affordable post list "trouble shooting" property consultations - no matter how long a home has been on the market there are always ways to improve the chance of sale 
  • Owner occupied property staging (utilizing owner supplied furniture & accessories or including some of our own inventory)
  • Vacant & investment property staging (Full and partial rental furniture packages, accessories and staging services) 
  • Is your office interested in hosting a home staging class or presentation? Just ask! Contact Karen at 496-964-0516 or
  • Interested in learning how to start a successful home staging business inStaging and Redesign Logo TX, OK or NW LA? I can help! I'm a certified course trainer for the Staging and Redesign team!


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Home Staging Dallas - Karen Otto


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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Karen- It's too bad that sellers don't try to maintain their property while they are living in it..because I think it can become overwhelming when faced with all these tasks at one time.  Thank goodness they called you!

Jul 16, 2011 02:22 PM #6
Tammy Pearce
Haute Realty 214-994-6474 - Dallas, TX
Tammy Pearce

I hope they give it serious thought before they leave.  There are too many properties in our area to choose from that have been updated even just a bit.

BTW....thank you for the prayers!  He is having a battery of tests on his heart in the upcoming days.

Jul 16, 2011 03:13 PM #7
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

So true Anna!

Yes, they do Sharon and their Realtor was present as well and heard the same thing (agreed to most everything too)

Maintenance while living there is so important Kathy - waiting a decade and then having to sell is not the best time to have all this work to do. I left feeling for them because I know it was a lot to hear in a short time especially that they were leaving but I couldn't leave having not said it!

Me too Tammy and you know it, there are too many homes here on the market with lots of upgrades and look great and still have a hard time selling.   I hope your family member is doing better and I'm glad to hear tests are being done. My own father passed very suddenly of a heart attack but had he been tested early enough, he may be still with us today. 

Jul 16, 2011 04:07 PM #8
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417
United Real Estate - Addison, TX
Real Service. Real Results. Real Estate

If the sellers don't make the changes, I'm sure they'll be hearing feedback from buyers similar to what you told them. I hope you've convinced them to make the necessary changes.

Jul 16, 2011 04:38 PM #9
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Karen - You are right. It is important to consultwith a home stager for home selling process. Thanks for the quality information.

Jul 16, 2011 05:36 PM #10
Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

Yes....avoid the last minute stress and call when your thinking about selling!

Jul 16, 2011 07:49 PM #11
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Karen--I had a kitchen that looked like that--15 years ago.  I wonder all the time what sellers are thinking--that someone just can't wait to come in and update and repair everything they've ignored for years--and pay them a lot of money for the priviledge.  Hope the sellers follow your recommendations. 

Jul 17, 2011 01:41 AM #12
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co. - Frisco, TX
Real Estate Agents

Defending the house to leave it as is will only result in a very hurtful/ low ball sale - if it does sell. Also sounded like the agent didn't quite prepare you (as well as the homeowners) of expectations.

Jul 17, 2011 02:40 AM #13
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Karen -- I've had a similar situation a few times as well, where the homeowner waits until the last moment to meet with a stager, and then seems surprised that there is so much to do before listing.  I guess I'd have to say at least they knew that staging was going to help prepare their home for selling, but wouldn't it be great if in the future, sellers consulted with a stager a few weeks before listing?  It would certainly reduce their stress levels.

Jul 17, 2011 05:15 AM #14
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Karen, my business model for staging is very similar to yours-you were so on target to make all of those recommendations-furnishing a house that needs lots of work makes no sense-I too am amazed that people would prefer to fix things when they sell rather than fixing them to enjoy them while they live in the house.  Good job-they need you!

Jul 17, 2011 11:10 AM #15
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Whether I convinced them in the short time I was there Lorrie, I don't know, but at least they do have the info if the house doesn't sell as quickly as they'd like.

Thanks for reading this John!

True Kathy!

Me too Janet!

It was the first meeting I've had with this agent so it was a learning experience for all involved Loreena.

Yes, it was great that they understood staging would help sell the house for sure Maureen, often though clients don't realize that it's not just about the furniture and decor. I would rather a client make the changes that will stay with the house (if that's all they have the budget for) than to stage without knowing all the facts.

Jul 17, 2011 11:32 AM #16
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

You and me both Joanna, I would rather enjoy the updates while living then have to do them when selling - we're always doing something around here to improve and update our house - but also being able to enjoy them too. It's sad to me when sellers are in that situation.

Jul 17, 2011 11:35 AM #17
Birgit Anich
Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors, 203.807.4040 - Norwalk, CT
Connecticut Home Stager - Fairfield County, Westchester

Karen, I can so much relate to your post as I had this happen several times to me. One time the house was already on the market for several months when they called me in for a vacant proposal. It ended up being a long consultation - there were wholes in the wall, very outdated features, wallpaper, carpet, wood floor in different colors in the same room.... needless to say that after all the home repairs and home improvements the home seller had no budget left for staging. I was glad that I was able to help with getting the "bones" of the property back on track for a successful sale.

Good luck with getting this job.

Jul 17, 2011 01:51 PM #18
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

It's one of the reasons I charge for a vacant walk thru proposal Birgit, more times than not it becomes a mini consultation however if they go thru to a staging contract I will still credit it back. I'd rather work in a "canvas" that's ready and right, than to "paint" over a used & dated one!

Jul 17, 2011 03:49 PM #19
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

Hope you get the vacant job Karen and it is always a shock when the seller finds out 'as is' isn't how they should be leaving the property.

Jul 18, 2011 02:56 PM #20
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Thank you Shar!

Jul 19, 2011 01:29 AM #21
Wendy Tomm
Beyond the Walls - East St Paul, MB
CCSP, RESA-PRO, BBB - Wpg Realtors
Well you worked magic and do wish people would learn ... We all take pride in what we do and therefore these things all take time to transform their homes.
Aug 10, 2011 03:34 AM #22
Stephanie Stringer
First Choice Loan Services NMLS#210764 - San Antonio, TX
Mortgage Loan Originator

Karen-  Hey at least you got a chandlier to work with and don't have to rent one of those.   I have seen several of your before and after pictures before and would love to see this one.  

Aug 31, 2011 10:11 AM #23
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

So true Wendy!

I didn't get this job Stephanie only the initial consult & walk thru. They wanted a rental contract that I could not accommodate. I also wrote another blog related to this one called "How much I is TMI?" and I know the stager who got the job and it's been one headache after another.  From what I saw on the MLS not one thing in terms of the updates other than the dark plum office was addressed.

Aug 31, 2011 11:48 AM #24
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer
Karen. Too bad that they didn't follow your advice. I suspect that their home was passed over by a lot of Buyers - even just from the photos on the listing.
Oct 19, 2011 12:48 AM #25
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Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,
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