Did You Pick the Wrong Real Estate Career?

Home Stager with Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.

home staging colorsLots of people jump into becoming real estate agents without thinking through what the day-to-day career really entails. They may not even realize there are related careers that will give them the "real estate buzz" without being an agent.

Some who are studying for their real estate license, or already have one, wonder what to do when they discover they’re actually more interested in home staging than being a REALTOR.

They discover their passion for color and decorating, and then question what benefits they’ll have from keeping their real estate license. I’ll address these issues here.

Real Estate or Home Staging, Which Comes First?

One of the things you’re going to have to think about is whether you want to be:

A real estate agent who happens to stage homes.


A home stager who happens to have a real estate license.

This is not as subtle a distinction as you might think!

A real estate agent who happens to stage homes

If you chose “a real estate agent who happens to stage homes,” then your focus will be on earning your living from real estate commissions. You might stage your listings for free, or you might charge for it.

But, either way, you’ll be looking at home staging as your secondary business.

More of your time will be spent on trying to get your own listings or sell other people’s listings as a buyers agent.

With this route, your “pay day” only comes after a deal closes. You have many expenses along the way to market your own (or others’) real estate listings.

Plus you have expenses driving clients around to showing appointments. This can go on for months or years before your real estate clients actually buy, or sell, anything!

Remember you don’t get paid until they do. That’s why home stagers often make more money than real estate agents.

Did you get into the real estate business only to discover you love creating the actual presentation of the house itself more than you love selling it? Are you a real estate agent who is also a home stager? How is that working out for you?


Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Voice of Possiblity Group Inc.

Home staging and marketing expert Debra Gould loves buying, staging and flipping properties which lead to her becoming a home stager. She then created the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program to help others learn how to make a living decorating houses to sell. She has over 7,000 students in 22 countries. 

Comments (7)

Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

I agree with most of what you have to say here except that 1) Really good Realtors make more money than most really good stagers. 2) Stagers also have a lot of expenses in getting their business started that I think a lot of people don't talk about. I also agree that very very few Realtors can be stagers and very few stagers can be Realtors. I happen to do both, after selling my Charleston staging company and moving to FL, but as I get busier building up clientelle, I will need to get a full time stager on my team because it will impossible to do both. As it is, I offer a redesign consultation to my buyers so they know what to do with their stuff when they move in, and I'm not the one doing the consult.

Jul 18, 2013 11:00 AM
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Debra...I happened to love being a Realtor and have been since 1986 but I am certainly grateful that there are others that prefer to embark on a career in staging. It was a discipline that was definitely needed. It is not always easy to convince sellers how much it will help them to have a stager do their magic but when they do agree it makes all the difference in the world.


Jul 18, 2013 11:03 AM
Anna Dovger
Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607 - The Woodlands, TX
Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX

Hi Debra, this is interesting toic for the Agents but as a Home Stager I'm looking into the Real Estate License as my secondary business. I don't think I'm pushy enough to be busy in Home Staging business, so I decided to get my license and make money on flipping ( I have no interest becoming a full time Real Estate Agent...there are thousands of them in my area). At least I can make money on commissions in case if the sale will not be profitable.

When I will get my License I would definitely charge my clients for Staging if someone will be interested in my services as an Agent and Stager.

Jul 20, 2013 11:09 AM
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

Melissa, Kate, Anna - thanks for sharing your point of view on this topic!

Meilssa, I do agree there are many costs to starting a home staging business IF you are going to be investing in your own inventory. That's not something I've needed to do in my 10 years as a stager.

Jul 26, 2013 02:13 AM
Alan Kirkpatrick
Austin Texas Homes - Round Rock, TX
Alan in Austin


This is a great post and very on target. Hope you have a wonderful week 

Apr 03, 2014 03:07 PM
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

Thanks Alan!

Apr 04, 2014 03:05 AM
Mary Ann Benoit
Northern Lights Home Staging and Design LLC - Seward, AK

Great article Debra as always. In talking with real estate agents here in Seward, several asked about my staging training and seemed interested in going down the road of doing both. I will have to pass this article on to them:)

Feb 07, 2015 04:02 AM