Can We Skip The Home Staging Consult And Go Right To The Staging?

Home Stager with Sharon Tara Transformations

I received a call yesterday morning from a seller asking about my Home Staging services.   I told him that an initial consult, up to two hours, is $150 and I explained what my Home Staging Consult includes.  He wanted to know if he could skip the consult and go right to the staging.

I had a similar question the day before.  An agent asked if she could just hire me for staging, without the consult.  She said it's obvious her listing needs staging and a consult wouldn't be necessary. 


Both callers saw the consult as something separate from the an estimate that a contractor gives prior to actually doing the work.


misunderstoodThe term "staging" is used in many ways, and often times when two people are having a conversation about "staging", they aren't on the same page.


To most people "staging" means new furnishings and/or decorative accessories. People usually associate "staging" with making pretty, using flowers and fruit and fresh towels....thinking of staging as a makeover.

What most people don't realize is Home Staging has a very broad's cleaning, color choices,  flooring and light fixtures.  It's furniture placement and room definition. It's about repairing and replacing.

Staging is as much about subtraction as it is about addition.

It's about identifying red flags and creating emotional appeal.

A Home Staging Consult IS staging.   What needs to be done is established, and a to-do list is created.  It's the seller's choice as to whether they complete the work on the list or they hire the stager to return to do the work.

Creation of the "to-do" list


completion of the work on the list

are BOTH equally staging.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Michael Dagner 11/02/2013 04:32 PM
Home Selling
Stage It Forward...
New Hampshire - Real Estate and Life in The Granite State!
Advice for Sellers
home staging
advice for sellers
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Jeff Stevens
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Mexico Properties - Las Cruces, NM
Jeff Stevens REALTOR®/Associate Broker

Sharon - in fact, I had a Broker's Open on Thursday at a house with many, and I do mean MANY white walls. One of the comments I received was "needs staging". My problem is the house is over priced and the owner will not do a reduction and staging, well he won't even clean the carpet so asking him to spend money on staging seems unlikely.  I can not see spending my own money staging this house when I know it is not going to sell. So frustrating because I have suggested everything under the sun to this seller but he just doesn't get it. Great post. I think some folks need staging intervention! 

Nov 02, 2013 12:07 AM #32
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Christina:  That's true.  It's all just a matter of words.  If I agree to skip the consult, and I'm going to the house to stage it, the seller is still paying me to determine what I need to do before I get started.  The only real difference would be if the seller wasn't present and time was not spent informing them of what needed to be done. 

Michael:  I hope it's helpful.  I don't speak for all stagers....there are many different business models when it comes to Home Staging.  I would hope that agents would make the time to meet some local stagers and learn more about their services.

Joan:  It's a very fair price for what my clients receive.  

Jennifer:  I think the most valuable part of the service is that it provides the peace of mind that comes from having a game plan.

Gita:  Thank you!  I wish I could work with you and your clients!

Kat:  Tremendous value.  Home Staging consults turn the overwhelming into manageable!

Janis:  I wish it were that simple.  I get calls like this all the time and most don't lead to actual business.  

Nina:  HGTV has helped with promoting the concept.  However, the staging that is depicted on those shows is not always accurate or realistic.  Every stager has their own business model and each of us specializes in one way or another.  It's important to interview several stagers to find the one that best meets your needs.




Nov 02, 2013 12:12 AM #33
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Jeffrey:  I feel your pain.  What you describe is not uncommon.  The seller you describe tends to blame the agent when the listing expires without any offers and moves on to another agent.  What's the statistic....third agent that finally gets the sale???  Something like that.  It takes the seller awhile to realize they are unrealistic and they must improve the condition and/or lower the price.  Some people have to learn the hard way.  Sounds like you are doing all the work and this seller is not doing their share to market this home successfully.  I know it's easy for me to say because I'm not an agent....and can't imagine ever being one....but I wouldn't want a client that made my job so difficult.  

Nov 02, 2013 12:20 AM #34
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

So many think staging is about decorating.  It is more about merchandising your home to show off the best features and downplay the less desirable features. 

Its always hard to bring a home stager in when a seller thinks they have impeccable taste.  And while yes, they might its not necassarily about style and taste.

Nov 02, 2013 01:29 AM #35
Amy Gutschow
RE/MAX - Sheboygan, WI
Professional Real Estate

Wonderful explanation! You also brought up a really good perspective on the subject. Staging can be extremely important in some cases and it is a two part process. Loved the article, thank you!

Nov 02, 2013 02:55 AM #36
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Sharon, I love the way you described what staging is. That should help any homeowner understand it's more than shoving furniture around.

Nov 02, 2013 02:59 AM #37
Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Top 1%!
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Yes, it's interesting how people perceive things, isn't it? You'd have no list of what needs to be done without the consultation.

Nov 02, 2013 03:00 AM #38
Tony Marra
Bay to Bay Lending, LLC - Tampa, FL
Tony Marra

Thanks for sharing - love all the viewpoints you find on here - good stuff

Nov 02, 2013 04:46 AM #39
Jared Garfield
Rich Life Real Estate Team - Buford, GA
Invest With The Best For The Highest Returns!

I can understand your clients question, because I think motivated sellers of vacant homes often feel overwhelmed and don't want to deal with it all.  Perhaps charging the fee as part of the staging and asking a few questions about their budget might appease them, while still accomplishing the same thing that you wish to do?  Certainly there is a great value in what you do, but some personality types (usually the D's in the DISC profile) just want to cut through the chase and get the results.  So it might not be about the price for the value you provide, but more a question of time and getting it done?

Nov 02, 2013 06:09 AM #40
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Kevin:  Thank you....well said!  You are right about some sellers thinking they have taste, unfortunately these sellers don't understand that hiring a decorator back in 1990 doesn't mean their home is market ready, it means it's time for a new look!

Amy:  I'm glad you enjoyed it, thank you!

Mike:  Thank you....hopefully I will enlighten some sellers on the subject!

Michelle:  Not too mention that in addition to creating the list, I also do anything hands-on that I can do at the time of the consult!

Tony:  Thank you!

Jared:  The "vacant" seller is another story.  This is where you can simply hire a stager to do all the work, and there is no need to consult with them prior.  I work with owner occupied listings.  

Nov 03, 2013 02:53 AM #41
Tina Parker
Royal LePage Atlantic - Bedford, NS
CNE, REDM, SRES, CSP Home Staging REALTOR, Halifax
I run into the same thing with dealing with client expectations. I think I'll come up with another term than "staging" consult to address the misinterpretation. Great clarification, thanks for the post.
Nov 03, 2013 06:56 AM #42
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Tina:  Let us know what you come up with!

Nov 03, 2013 08:43 PM #43
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Right on Sharon.  I get this question too and frankly, you could not make it any clearer.  Bookmarked to be re-posted!

Nov 03, 2013 10:21 PM #44
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Joanna:  Thank you!  I understand it's confusing to most people, and I'm trying to make it a little clearer.

Valerie:  I tend to leave a home in worse shape than how I found it.  I too create piles to be dealt with after I leave.  It may appear to be just a big mess, but the sellers are left with clear instructions and they are thrilled to have a plan of action!

Nov 04, 2013 08:31 AM #46
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

That makes sense to me. It's like trying to establish a relationship without intimately sharing. WHAT?!

Nov 04, 2013 09:32 PM #47
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Joni:  Having a stager transform a property without ever meeting with them is certainly possible.  I've done it before with email being my only contact with the homeowners.  However, the home was not occupied at the time and I was told to do whatever was necessary.  Home Staging for an owner occupied home is quite different.  

Nov 04, 2013 11:54 PM #48
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

I explain that without the consult how would we know what we need to bring, if it needs painting, repair, etc.  Without knowing the wall colour how would we know what colour palette to bring in regards to accessories, artwork, bedding.


If it was occuppied how would we know what needs to be put away so that we could stage their home using the occupants belongings.

We typically stage in the morning and have listing photos booked for 1 ot 2 pm. That can only happen when a consult is done first to pre plan the staging job.


Great post!

Nov 10, 2013 07:19 AM #49
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

Sharon-That's right, different people may define "staging" differently.  It's a relatively new field and different stagers work differently, so honest misunderstandings can occur without the clear definitions which you've given here.  As you mentioned, some stagers do an initial assessment of what's needed and then follow-up with a written proposal, estimate and contract for signing.  You get started (and maybe even finished) on your initial consultation visit.  Your consult fee is a great value.  

Nov 11, 2013 12:28 PM #50
Beverly Carlson
Carlson Properties 325-721-2429 - Abilene, TX
Abilene's Staging Realtor

A staging consult is communicating the steps  to showcase a  home.  A home stager is an expert consultatnt in making home appealing to sell faster for more money.  A professional stager studies trends design perspectives and buyer wants to stay up-to-date.   

Nov 11, 2013 01:45 PM #51
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Michelle:  Thank you so much for explaining it in such detail.  Your comment should help sellers grasp the "consult" concept without question!

Lloyd:  It's not the first time and won't be the last that this will have to be explained.  Felt good getting it out there, though.  Thank you!  I'm enjoying your comment marathon on my posts this week!!

Beverly:  Another great explanation, thank you! 

Nov 12, 2013 07:11 AM #52
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Sharon Tara

New Hampshire Home Stager
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