"OOPS" goes the Staging!

Industry Observer

From the time we were small kids we were taught that there is a difference between what is good & bad and what is right & wrong. While those FIRST lessons of life had to do with basic relationship skills and behaviors, as we got older we gained awareness of other good & bad, right & wrong rules that applied to other areas in our lives. Rules, we grew to realize, help to guide us in subjects we study, the sports we play, the hobbies we undertake, and the work we do. In short, we gained knowledge that there are proper ways things are to be done if you are going to do them well.

So while learned knowledge is a good thing, we also have learned that correctly applying that knowledge can prove to be a quite a challenge. Like everything else in life, this also holds true to home staging. Even though there are Realtors who are knowledgeable and appreciative of home staging, some have come to realize it takes skill and ability to properly apply that knowledge. This is one of reasons why the staging industry is on the rise. BUT...(notice that is a BIG BOLD "but") if you are young in your understanding, there is something ELSE you need to know about staging and stagers. Not everyone that says they know staging or claims they are stagers really can do it. There are far too many people now claiming they KNOW how to stage, yet their final staging results demonstrate their gross lack of  understanding and break basic staging rules. AND I have to admit this really ticks me off!

Let me give you a glaring example of a problematic staging in the form of a short video I playfully call "OOPS Goes the Staging!" (Be sure your speakers are on.)

For the sake of fair disclosure, I want to let you know we here at Real Estaging are VERY familiar with the property featured and critiqed in the above video. as we lost a staging bid on for it. So while some might think I am upset because we lost the job to another person... that is just not the case. (Anyone that has been in sales for any length of time knows that is the way it is in sales... "You win some and you loose some.")

Anyway, the reason I am ticked-off is because good and proper staging DOES follow certain rules, process and approaches that when done well and done right will help the property sell. It is upsetting to know that this Chicago developer finally got the "stage the property and it will sell" message and was willing to invest hard earned money, only to get a final "staging" that actually works AGAINST their property's sale. Plus what makes this even worse is the fact that this was to be the model for a multi-unit property.

Unfortunetly many Realtors and home sellers really don't know exactly what good home staging is or is not. Why? Well, for one reason staging is still a relatively new concept and has yet to be fully embraced as a viable marketing tool for selling homes. So if you are wondering, "What is GOOD and BAD staging? What exactly makes staging RIGHT from what makes staging WRONG?" Well, to help you understand let's start with 4  Basic Staging Rules most of you have likely heard of. These basics are...

  1. De-clutter and organize the home to minimize visual distractions.
  2. Neutralize the home's look so that it appeals to the largest buying audience as possible.
  3. Arrange furnishings  and accessories to best show the home's space and features.
  4. Add what's missing to finalize the home's appeal.

As you watch my "OOPS goes the Staging!" video keep these very basic rules in mind. By the time you are finished watching it, you will beging to see and understand a little of what bad staging is and where this staging pooped out. And if you remember nothing else I hope your remember this... filling a property chock full of pretty furnishings and accessories is NOT staging!

When staging is done well and done right... it sells homes! PERIOD!


PS: If you would like MORE detailed explanation of the 12 BIGGEST STAGING OOPS in this property... click on the "DETAIL" button located along the bottom of the embedded video.

Comments (43)

Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging
Absolutely AMAZING!  I am shocked that the stagers completely ignored the features of the home and put in such personalized pieces.... are you supposed to look at the 'things' or the HOME?
Mar 03, 2008 09:23 AM
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging

I'm beside myself -- amazed this even happened . . .

I think this is the first post I've ever seen that made me cry with pain, while I laughed in hysteria.  How can that be possible?

Mar 03, 2008 11:50 AM
Patricia Ebrahimi
SHOW SMART! HOME STAGING & Color Consultant - Rockville, MD
Home Staging the Washington DC Area from Rockville MD
Incredible!  Who hired, and did someone actually pay this stager?!  It is beyond amateurish to the point of being downright anti-staging.  Excellent video to point this out, Craig.  Kudos as usual.
Mar 03, 2008 12:40 PM
Diana Corcoran
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Hudson Valley Properties - Rhinebeck, NY
Rhinebeck Real Estate
What a compelling way to show the error of a poor stager's ways! I feel badly for the client who may not know any better and think this staging job is going to get results.
Mar 03, 2008 01:06 PM
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.
Oh my goodness....Really there are staging RULES and focal point, focus, showcase the room, not the drapes and furniture to name just a few!!! 
Mar 03, 2008 01:06 PM
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent
LOL....I was singing along as I watched it. I would definitely say these "stagers" had a red fetish. That was an interesting rug too!
Mar 03, 2008 01:24 PM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

I have that song ringing in my head..too funny!  Where did they find that awful rug??

Cathy Lee  www.cldesignservices.com



Mar 03, 2008 01:40 PM
Kym Hough
www.Staged-to-Sell - Danville, CA
Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA

I didn't get far past the shoe rug.  It was simply bizarre. Peach/orangy short drapes with red and white furnishings in the bedroom. I have never seen so many window treatments in a staged home either. Thanks for sharing and spending the time on making it an entertaining exhibit of what not to do. That lounge/sofa in front of the doors in the living room?????????

Mar 03, 2008 03:39 PM
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells


This one takes the cake! I can't believe the seller was a builder. He should know better.

Mar 03, 2008 03:56 PM
Jessica Hughes
Ambiance Staging - Boulder, CO

Howdy stranger!  

What a nightmare of a staging job that was!

It was so so bad it's funny! In fact, I don't see how it could have been any worse! 

The sad thing is that many Realtors, and most men might not "realize" how wrong it is, except for the TV of course with regard to the men!

But our methods are not subjective, a room feels right if the furniture is properly placed given the architecture and features of the space.  For example even though most people might be consciously aware of it, when the table isn't centered under the light fixture, their brain is aware of the imbalance KWIM?

So they might not ever notice, but they would still feel like something was not quite right.

With the same kind of thing going on in all the rooms of the house, buyers will get the heebejeebees for sure! 

Mar 03, 2008 04:16 PM
Jackson West
Reveal Estate Home Staging - Vancouver - Vancouver, BC

Loved this one Craig! You are so creative.

That rug kicks potential buyers out the door, maybe if the shoes were all red.... lol

Mar 03, 2008 05:10 PM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
Craig, the video is excellent and that's why I use a professional one. Sure, I could do it, many Realtors do, but it so much better if I keep to what  I do best and let Stagers do what they do best.
Mar 03, 2008 10:30 PM
Elaine Manes Gage
Home Staging Online Services - Denver, CO
Staging done ONLINE!
Well, Craig, you've convinced me that as stagers, our purpose is now two-fold. It used to be simply letting everyone know that "staging works". Now, we have to let them know that GOOD staging works, and they have to be aware of what they are getting. I think what was done to this home is a crime. When will everyone get it, that it's not just filling the house with furniture? Even the furniture moving guys I use will place the table directly under the light fixture!!!
Mar 04, 2008 01:56 AM
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Craig - I keep saying...there are a few basics that are being neglected (or maybe even not known) with many stagers and it's a problem.  Excellent, excellent post.

Welcome back!


Mar 04, 2008 02:30 AM
Judy Greenberg
Coldwell Banker Long Grove - Buffalo Grove, IL
Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes

This was a great post....  It's so nice to see you in Active Rain again- and I can shoot you for getting me addicted to this wonderful place. 

Hope to talk to you soon.

Mar 09, 2008 12:20 AM
Margaret Ann Innis
Decorate To Sell - Merrimack Valley Real Estate Staging - Andover, MA
Real Estate Staging - MA & NH
Hi Craig - "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!"   Our task is compounded now as we educate Realtors and Staging wannabees!  So good to hear your voice! 
Mar 09, 2008 12:32 AM
Gina Dougherty
Fusion Design Consulting - Redondo Beach, CA
Home Staging Redondo Beach, CA- FusionDesignConsulting.com
This job is so wrong, it makes me feel bad the Stager.  Too bold, too busy- not the desired affect!  There's no excuse for the window treatments.
Mar 09, 2008 05:52 PM
Jennie Norris
Sensational Home Staging - Littleton, CO
Denver Regions Premier Home Staging Resource,

Hey Craig,

Good to see you back on the site - and I've been off for a while . . . liked this post that I can sum up in 4 words: Staging is not Decorating.

Clearly to me the person that "staged" the house was way more into the decor and furniture than the floor-plan and features of the house - they loved RED and wild furniture, rugs, and accessories.  The notion that this house was supposed to appeal to a broad range of buyers escaped them.  Decorating a space is cardinal (not red!) sin numero uno in our business.  I was taught that when the focal point of the room becomes the "stuff" inside and not the room itself, the room is decorated.  In this case and in my opinion, badly.

I know Staging is subjective - and depending on the budget and other factors, is not always done to the degree we would like - with all that we want, or the type or style of furnishings we think are best.  I have to be careful not to turn into a judge or jury - although I enjoyed what you pointed out - and I don't think anyone reading your post would disagree on all you shared.

The reason I share that is because I imagine that whoever did this job was probably really proud of all that went into it and obviously took a lot of time to achieve the end result! Let's hope whoever did this work is not part of A-R - they may never come back out of the closet.

- Jennie

Mar 18, 2008 08:27 PM
Phyllis Pafumi
ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey - Old Bridge, NJ
ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ

Craig those curtains DRIVE ME CRAZY, let them HIT THE FLOOR FOR GOD'S SAKE..that is such a pet peeve of mine. I could also imagine realtors looking for the door handle and not finding it and YES THE RED IS WAAAAA OVER THE TOP, that is all you eye sees, not the selling features. The shoe rug...I think NOT! Yes I can only imagine how ticked you were to see this...too funny with the music

Phyllis Pafumi

Mar 26, 2008 05:03 AM
Anthea Click
Fresh Perspectives - www.InsideNashvilleHomes.com - Franklin, TN
Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly!
Wow! I think that was a major disaster. The stager has so much to learn.
Mar 26, 2008 06:36 AM