The Urban Myths and Misconceptions of Homestaging.

Home Stager with CM Staging Solutions Inc

All to often I will come across a disappointed home owner or real estate agent who ventured into staging a listing and did not get the price they were seeking and then felt "staging" didn't work.  The problem is homestaging has become a very diluted and over-used buzz word and unfortunately I hear many people using the term "staging" homes without a clear understanding of what homestaging truly means.  I'm going to attempt to debunk the urban myths of homestaging so consumers shopping for homestaging have a clear understanding of what they are looking for.

Myth:  "Homestaging Means To De-clutter Your Home"

Well that's part of the job, you begin by de-cluttering but you don't stop there.  If you're definition of "staging" a home is "de-cluttering" than I hate to inform you, you've only just begun to scratch the surface.  The only thing you're really doing is de-cluttering the home. 

Myth:  "Homestaging Is Cleaning and Then Adding Some Updated Furnishings"

Mmmm... maybe, maybe not!  To be fair the number of required tasks to staging a home will vary from home to home, however I see many people stop there and call it "staged" but in the meantime the home is in desperate need of repainting, the floors are in desperate need of repair and at the very least, change the light fixtures and hardware from the 1960s! It is not "staged".

Myth:  "The Space is Empty So I've Just Added Some Furniture And It's Staged"

Is it staged?  Staging a home is creating a WOW-FACTOR.  Do you honestly believe that by adding a few pieces of furniture in a room adds a wow-factor?  Of course not, so therefore it is not "staged".  Staging is not limited to showing how to furnish a room, staging a home is like merchandising, it is the art of creating an emotional must-have connection with a buyer.  How many buyers do you know feel emotionally connected to a space because someone has come along and added a couple of garbage cans as end tables, and picked up a sofa from the side of the road or used a sofa a friend of a friend of a friend was getting rid of and put it up against the wall?  None!  It merely comes across as a dilapidated home that the owner didn't care enough about to make it truly presentable and therefore why should you care enough to make an offer or a decent offer at that.  The end result, cheap and sterile much like the offer.

Myth:  "I've Added Some Accessories, Why Do I Need To Add Furniture?"

  A number of people will throw a few pictures on the walls or some accessories around the kitchen.  Meanwhile the kitchen is old and dated and there is no furniture in the room.  Frankly you really didn't make any difference.

Some advice someone in the industry once imparted on to me and I'm passing on to you which is a simple analogy to always remember when considering whether or not you've staged a home and whether you can honestly call it "staging".  This person referred to it more as taking the sale of a home seriously, but it applies.

When you prepare yourself for a job interview, you will often dress for the occassion, right?  You will wear your best pressed clothes and you will accessorize yourself to match.  If you wear a suit you will often compliment it with a nice tie and dress shoes, perhaps even a nice watch.  If you wear a neatly pressed skirt and blouse you might accent yourself with some nice heels, a belt, maybe even a scarf and perhaps a little make up. 

So if it makes sense to match your outfit with your accessories to create a positive lasting impression that you expect others to take seriously why wouldn't you consider the same analogy with your home? 

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Comments (22)

Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

A talented stager has a sense of design and color. Good staging does work.

Nov 15, 2012 08:22 AM

Hi Olga

Sad but too true.  Unfortunately a combination of misinformation and some misleading reality shows have left the public incredibly misinformed.  Thanks for the response!

Nov 15, 2012 08:24 AM

Hi Tigard

You are absolutely correct!

Nov 15, 2012 08:26 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

You raise a lot of good points in the post.  Sometimes agents/sellers don't understand all of the aspects of staggging a home.  The staggers I like the best are the ones that can work within the seller's budget and who can use as much of the items in the home as possible, keeping costs down.

Nov 15, 2012 10:14 AM
Richard Arnold
Keller Williams Realty East Valley - Tempe, AZ
Realtor - Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix

"Staging is not limited to showing how to furnish a room, staging a home is like merchandising, it is the art of creating an emotional must-have connection with a buyer."

I'm glad you wrote this.  We want buyers to feel a connection.  We don't want to hear those terrible words:

"It has everything I need - BUT - I don't feel anything."

Nov 15, 2012 10:24 AM
Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
NextHome Experience - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!

The Wow factor is so important, especially in certain price ranges. Nicely put!

Nov 15, 2012 10:40 AM
Tanya Van Blake-Coleman
Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/ - St Thomas, VI
Improving the Quality of Your Life

Many people cannot see past the dated furniture and things owners don't even notice because they have looked at them so long or love them so much.  I think, Rich's comment about creating the emotional, "must have" connection sums it up best.

Very important post.

Nov 15, 2012 11:26 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Rachel, that's a great group of myths to debunk.  Your analogy at the end is perfect.  I think anyone hearing that would "get it" right away. 

Nov 15, 2012 12:34 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Rachel - Many people buy on emotion and staging can help to create this.

Nov 15, 2012 03:23 PM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Rachel ~ it's true that home staging has different meanings to many people.  As a professional stager I like to describe it as a combination of all of those elements that help the home appeal to the target buyer, leading to a faster sale.

Nov 15, 2012 04:55 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

You made a compelling argument for why throwing some furniture into an empty room is most definitely not staging.

Nov 15, 2012 08:48 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Rachel, good points! I can see where staging means different things to different people. Your analogy is perfect.

Nov 15, 2012 09:44 PM
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor

Thank you for this list of home staging myths! When I stage homes, yes, I declutter and that just scratches the surface as you say. The people seeing the home need to picture what their things will look like in the home so I put the bare minimum furniture and things in each room. Great post!

Nov 15, 2012 10:45 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

One newlywed day, when my wife was out, I got this great idea to take out all our photos and hang them on the walls of a long hallway. My reasoning was that while walking through the hall, we can enjoy all the pictures...When my wife came home, instead of praises I got a full days worth of woe and took it all down. Hours worth of work all pulled from the walls.  I have the highest respect for people who decorate and stage as I am not one of them...

Nov 15, 2012 11:47 PM
Elite Home Sales Team
Elite Home Sales Team OC - Corona del Mar, CA
A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team

It is true not everyone has the talent to handle home staging.

Nov 15, 2012 11:59 PM

Dear Richie

Thank you for sharing such a heart warming post.  At the end of the day your heart was in the right place and often people will add their own personal nuances when it comes to decorating for yourself.  I used the term nuance because often there can be a subtle difference between how you decorate a room and how you stage it.

I'm glad you wrote this post because the important thing to remember is when staging homes, your staging for the mass market not for personal taste.  Of course we cannot help but add some of our personal taste, but the idea is to add accessories that will really connect with a buyer and sell to that buyer how they will feel in that room.

I'm sorry you had to take down all of your hardwork, but I don't doubt your wife smiled at your effort to make her happy. 

 Thank you for your comment.

Nov 16, 2012 12:01 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

You remain a shining light in your chosen field...thank you Rachel

Nov 16, 2012 03:13 AM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Good job of debunking some staging myths.  I especially like your last paragraph where you compare preparing for an interview to staging.  So true.

Nov 16, 2012 05:33 AM
Beverly Carlson
Carlson Properties 325-721-2429 - Abilene, TX
Abilene's Staging Realtor

Rachel, You had a catchy title and got me to read the entire blog. 

Likewise, staging has to appeal to a buyer to stick around long enough to consider the home. 


Nov 18, 2012 12:58 PM
Rachel Craggy
CM Staging Solutions Inc - Toronto, ON
CM Staging, Toronto Home Staging

Hi Beverly

Thank you I am glad I was able to catch your attention and you are abolutely right, that eye catching approach is exactly what makes home staging so successful.

Thank you for posting such a comment!

Nov 19, 2012 01:06 AM