Wall Steet Journal Blogger is Clueless about Home Staging

Industry Observer

 Boy this is timely...  considering all I have been flapping about here in the Rain.

I just came across this article on the Wall Street Journal's website.

"The Allure of the Fruit Bowl: Home Staging ‘Twiddles' With a Buyer's Mind"

It reinforces the fact that Realtors don't understand what we do. They don't get that it is the "The PREP before the PRETTY." And the PREP is what PAYS OFF!

I encourage you to read this so you understand more clearly how Realtors and Home Sellers are misinformed and then misconstrue the message they share about home staging.

As an industry we have a long way to go... but they will get it.

Stage It Forward...


PS; if you feel the need to comment don't do it here... do it there.


PSS: I was NOT going to let that article go with out commenting on it. Here is my rebuttal...

You have got to be FREAK-IN kidding me!!! Is this guy for real? He so does NOT know what a stager does. He is VERY myopic in his understanding. It is unfortunate that the Wall Street Journal published this... it dilutes the possibility that staging HONESTLY holds.

How scandalous! How conniving! How shady of the seller to put their home's best face forward to make their house be as appealing as possible. I guess the same could be said for anyone applying for a job who decides to wear their best blue suit, gets a haircut and shines their shoes in a shady attempt to lure a potential employer to hire them.

God forbid you buy or sell a home that is clean, freshly painted, everything in working order. Minor repairs and touch up have been made. And it LOOKS good. There IS value to moving into a home that has all its issues attended to. Staging is NOT just the pretty setting of a space... it is also the PREP of a home. Painting and scrubbing and repairing!

I have seen MANY times a staged home sell faster... EVEN in this horrible market. Is there no value in selling a home FASTER? THAT is part of the appeal for the buyer. If a home LOOKS better it can demand more. If there is less to do when you move in (remember your TIME is money) and you need to not spend the dollar on the materials or contract labor to fix that which needs attending to then is that not worth more?

EVERYTHING in this Country... from the food we eat, to the clothes we buy, to the cars we drive are "packaged" and marketed.

If you want to look at staging from one person's pessimistic viewpoint, and stay in the dark ages of real estate with an old school mentality then go nowhere else. IF you want to be an informed consumer then I invite to read my blog at: http://www.thestagingblog.com/

Craig Schiller
Real Estaging

Comments (19)

Susan Kleinman, Appealing Interiors, White Plains, NY

After this guy finishes telling his broker not to show him any staged properties, he should tell his friends not to introduce him to any women who wear makeup -- or who brush their teeth regularly, for that matter. 

Apr 09, 2008 01:31 PM
Kathy Nielsen
http://atlantahomestaging.net - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Marianne posted about this the article this morning titled An expert Says Staged Homes that show well are bad bad bad

Apr 09, 2008 01:45 PM
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating
Craig ~ You should write a letter to the paper or, better yet, send your blogs onto them!  I always thought that when you were selling a house (and this was years and years ago before you even heard of staging) that you would freshly paint your rooms, clean or remove carpeting, make repairs and clean the house.  To me that was the least you could do to make your home appealing to prospective buyers.   So, according to this, even that was a "cover up"?
Apr 09, 2008 01:45 PM
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
Craig - send WSJ your blogs, and statistics on how staging sells homes. Have them poll their buyers on whether they'd rather have smoked stained walls or freshly painted ones.
Apr 09, 2008 01:49 PM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

My comment is below yours Craig on the article but check out Curits' rant http://www.curtis-seltzer.com/column30.html on his very own version of the Wall Street Journal article. They must be hurting for some content.


Apr 09, 2008 01:55 PM
Kimberly Wester
Valparaiso, IN
Added my snarky comment right below Karen.  I say his opinion is proof that he is a 'dirt counselor'.  His counseling is so much dirt.
Apr 09, 2008 02:02 PM
Roberta Anderson
Hearth & Home Staging - Silverdale, WA
Hearth & Home Staging, Staging Kitsap County
Great rebuttal Craig. People like that just make you shake your head in disbelief.
Apr 09, 2008 03:42 PM
Marianne Sweet
Home Sweet Home Staging - Rochester Hills, MI
Home Sweet Home Staging, LLC Rochester Hills, MI

I was flabbergasted too, Craig.  The theory that throw pillows and "items arranged in threes" somehow cause the buyer to overpay is beyond ludicrous.  I despise that he's trying to perpetuate the notion that home stagers purposefully "hide" major flaws and deceive buyers. 

Excuse me for a moment........I feel the need to beat my head against the wall.

Apr 10, 2008 12:25 AM
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis
Thanks for the heads up Craig, I left a sweet little gift on the message board right below Kimberly's comments.  Some time ago I was chatting with an Author friend of ours and I asked her how authors pick subjects they will write about.  One comment she made really stuck with me.  She said that there are a bunch of not so good writer out there that find a popular subject and simply take the opposite side of popular opinion to write about.  She claims that it can create interest among readers because it's considered the juicy stuff.  She said that what they write peaks quickly and then dies just as quick, but the authors are fine with that because at least they get a small notice where they could not create one on their own writing skills.  I simply read this as maybe it's becoming a talked about subject, enough to draw out the clowns that can get their 15 minutes of fame by taking the low road.  I have really got to get you to show me how to do these web alert things.  Thanks again for pointing this out...
Apr 10, 2008 12:58 AM
Jackson West
Reveal Estate Home Staging - Vancouver - Vancouver, BC
I have learned to laugh ridiculous articles like this off. As the saying goes "bad publicity is still publicity" and you can bet that some of the people who have never heard of staging before reading the article will be compelled to investigate the industry further. I see this as a positive. I love commenting on articles such as this (come on stagers...get in there) and I always take the opportunity to post yet another link to my website!
Apr 10, 2008 01:13 AM
Elaine Manes Gage
Home Staging Online Services - Denver, CO
Staging done ONLINE!
I don't get it! He says we fix the house up to make buyers pay more, like that's a bad thing! I don't know about you, but that's why I get hired!!!
Apr 10, 2008 05:16 AM
Julie Davis, Amy Blank - Rediscovered Interiors, LLC
Rediscovered Interiors, LLC - Andover, MN
Incredible!  He make's it sound like staging purposely and discreetly marks up the price compared to unstaged homes, but in reality, the unstaged homes are selling with tons of price reductions in this market.  So of course the staged homes are selling for "more,"-- most don't need the price reductions, they are worth the asking price--all due to the "prep"!!  Thanks for sharing the insight of "prep" comes before "pretty."  That's a useful tool.   Everyone left great comments in support of our industry--Gary, kuddos for pointing out he's leaving the facts out.
Apr 10, 2008 10:41 AM
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County
Craig, did you send him your other blog, "Is your ignorance a missed opportunity"?  If not, you I suggest that you do - unbelievable!
Apr 10, 2008 11:35 AM
Cindy Lin
Staged4more School of Home Staging - South San Francisco, CA
Host, The Home Staging Show podcast

ah, thanks for pointing me out on this, here is my exact comment:

"Okay, isn’t this just another rewrite of the report that National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents wrote?

I already wrote my rebuttal last August. You can read it here: “Apparently, A Good Stager Is the Buyers’ Biggest Enemy And We May Cost You $5645″ http://staged4more.com/blog/2007/08/16/apparently-a-good-stager-is-the-buyers-biggest-enemy-and-we-may-cost-you-5645/

Thanks again for the backhanded compliment.



Apr 10, 2008 04:03 PM
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.
Nice rebuttal Craig, as always.  Don't know how this guy gets so much press. This has been circulating for a couple of months now.  Guess bad news is news. 
Apr 10, 2008 07:47 PM
Donna Dazzo
Designed to Appeal, LLC - Manhattan, NY
Home Stager in the Hamptons & New York


Looking to buy a USED CAR?  Beware the allure of CAR DETAILING.  This marketing technique in which a CAR's interior and exterior is carefully prepped, sometimes by a paid professional, can trip up unsuspecting and naive CAR buyers, says Mr. Know It All, an AUTOMOTIVE consultant. DETAILING techniques like "cleaning the interior, and washing and waxing the exterior" fiddle with buyers' minds by making them respond to a look that CAR magazines and television commercials teach us to aspire to.  CAR buyers impressed by such good looks, tend to overpay. According to CAR AND DRIVER MAGAZINE, detailed CARS sell for 3% to 10% more than non-detailed CARS. Mr.Know It All advises reading up on CAR DETAILING techniques to recognize them when you see them. And when TESTING OUT THE CAR - "imagine the CAR filthy and unwaxed, with the owner's personal belongings cluttering the interior," he suggests. "That's what you're buying."
Or, tell your CAR salesman  not to show you any DETAILED CARS - if you decide you want to buy a DETAILED CAR, you'd "be competing against DETAILED-struck buyers who have fallen under the DETAILER'S spell" and may end up paying more, he says.

Note: I posted this on the WSJ blog too.

Apr 11, 2008 02:21 AM
Gabriele Campbell
D F Campbell Ventures Group Inc. - Saint Albert, AB
It is always nice to know what the challenge is before launching a tactic to over come it. I asked a general question to Realtors if they proudly said they worked with a Stager - only 3 responses and all positive. Which made me wonder if they keep the fact hidden, don't tell buyers who see staged properties the care and attention that went in to the presentation of the property. It is all so curious. No one likes to waste their time on seeing houses that are not ready. If the property looks good, the agent looks good, and in the end they get a sale. No one likes it more than when someone says "Oh wow, I love." the selling agent usually takes the credit for it - "Oh, I knew you'd like this one," they may say. C'mon! I shake my head - rattle rattle rattle - on this one.
Apr 11, 2008 06:12 AM

We were actually motivated to use the incredibly off-base ideas behind the article to explain why staging is good for the buyer as well as the seller.  As several posts pointed out, a correctly staged home has been cleaned, decluttered, repaired, and arranged so that buyers can actually see the features they are considering buying.  We point out they'll save money moving into a home that actually is move-in ready, as opposed to needing repair.

I wonder if this guy would buy his shirts dirty...after all, they are going to need washing after he wears them, so why pay more for one that's clean! 

Jul 20, 2008 07:50 AM
Laurie Calhoun
Gloria Home Staging, Inc. - Winter Springs, FL
Seminole County FL Home Stager

I, too, felt my blood pressure rising as I read Mr. Seltzer's article (I read the original - thanks for the link, Marianne.), and then I commented at the WSJ site after it went down a bit. I'm concerned that we stagers not sink to his level of name-calling. Let's be passionate, but grown-up in our responses, so that staging looks like the place the reasonable, adult people are! But here on AR I can vent. What a clueless nincompoop! Does he listen to himself?

Jul 20, 2008 10:29 AM