Twelve Years Later It's Still My Favorite Home Staging Project

Home Stager with Sharon Tara Transformations

 I shared this story of my first home staging transformation before. After all these years it  remains my favorite. I still get emotional thinking about it. 


One day a high school friend spontaneously dropped by for a visit. Luckily, I was home.

As we caught up over tea, she told me about her new career in real estate and how excited she was to have signed her first million dollar listing.

The listing was going to be a challenge... Donna's client was the soon to be ex-wife in a bitter divorce situation. Sherry had two teens, was financially strapped, battling depression and unable to cope with the task of preparing her house for sale. 


Donna told me that she had met with a stager for advice and added...


" I would have been better off calling you....

you would have been more helpful with the staging.


She thought I would be helpful? Honestly I had no idea what she was talking about.

I assumed staging  was something painters stood on.

For the life of me I had no idea how I could help, but I agreed to go with Donna that afternoon to see the house.


The house was huge... a beautiful, historic home with great features that were hard to appreciate because there was so much STUFF everywhere.



I met the seller, Sherry, and instantly felt compassion for her. She was not coping well and although she wasn't physically or emotionally able to help, she gave Donna free rein to do whatever needed to be done. Donna asked for my help.


I had no real estate experience and had never even heard the term "stager". 

I was completely overwhelmed by the condition of the house.


I can't explain it...

as I walked room by room, I instinctively knew what needed to be done, and I wanted to be part of the transformation.  


It took us three months to clean, organize and stage every single room. We used our own money for purchases. I came up with creative solutions whenever possible to keep the cost down.

It was a tremendous amount of work, but I loved every minute of it.


The sellers wanted to ask one million, but Donna's broker had originally said that was too high.

Donna held a Realtor Open. It was exciting for me to see the positive reaction of the agents, many of whom had seen it prior to our transformation.



After seeing the transformation, Donna's broker agreed

to the one million dollar listing price!

It ended up selling in 6 weeks for $950,000.  



To this day I believe that the three of us were brought together at a time in our lives when each of us most needed it.

Donna's husband had died and a real estate career would secure her future.

Sherry's marriage had ended and selling the house was the beginning of her new life.

I needed something in my life to fill a void I didn't know how to fill.

It was a fresh start for each of us.


Here's what I learned from this amazing experience:

I knew more about real estate marketing than I could have imagined.

There is always a background story, a personal issue that haunts most sellers.

Every seller should be treated with compassion and respect.

Every budget can benefit from staging. 

Sweat equity is a seller's greatest resource.

Staging isn't decorating, it's strategic marketing.


" Your greatest test is when you are able to bless someone else,

while going through your own storm.  "

Rafael Garcia


Written for:  It's February And Love Is In The Air



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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Roy Kelley 04/16/2018 01:00 AM
Home Selling
Home Staging
Almost Anything Goes
Bartender, Make it a Double
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Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Sharon Tara - what a great and humble beginning. You were meant to do this. Somebody up there knew it too! This was your destiny! We are so lucky to have you here as a member of ActiveRain. You bring light when there is darkness. You cheer us up with photos of the kiddos. You're always there and when it comes to photo shopping, you also do magic.... gosh I miss the contest, i.e., Oscars by Roger when you'd dress us up so elegantly. You are a gifted person. Thank you. 

Feb 23, 2018 12:06 PM #21
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Patricia Feager  Thank you....I feel like you just did an introduction for me at the Oscars and I'm receiving a lifetime achievment award or something. LOL 

I miss Roger's contest too...although I whined about all the work and swore I wouldn't do it again...each year. 

I will dress you up elegantly any time...all you need do is ask.

Feb 23, 2018 12:46 PM #22
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Sharon- this is such a sweet story!  It was fate or luck that brought all 3 of you together!!!  Good talking to you today!!

Feb 23, 2018 05:48 PM #23
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Kathy Streib  I enjoyed our visit today...hope to talk to you again soon!

Feb 24, 2018 01:05 PM #24
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

It would be my favorite too and can see why you continued in the business blessing people.

Feb 24, 2018 10:32 PM #25
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

What a great story and interesting way you came to be doing what you love to do.

Feb 25, 2018 01:12 AM #26
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Debbie Reynolds  After that first house I really believed the jobs would come pouring in....if only it were that easy! 

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089  Very interesting. Never saw it coming. LOL

Feb 26, 2018 02:46 PM #27
Donna Frederick
Re/Max On the Move - Exeter, NH
Let an Agent Who Knows Guide You

This brings me back!  We had so much fun on this project and the end of it all it was so satisfying to know how  much we helped someone else and made a real difference!

Feb 27, 2018 06:05 AM #28
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Donna Frederick Way back! So much work, but so much fun. We did it all...I remember how amazing it was that we actually fit all the light fixtures in your tiny little convertible. LOL

Feb 27, 2018 04:20 PM #29
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Sharon Tara your post is what my contest is all about - this is truly a lovely story and a wonderful addition to our February Love!

Feb 28, 2018 12:11 PM #30
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Lisa Von Domek  Thank you! Thank you for having this contest. I've enjoyed reading the wonderful entries it generated.

Feb 28, 2018 12:34 PM #31
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

I see several my travels that I would deem comfortable. The problem is comfortable is not staged to sell. That's why you have such a successful career Sharon Tara 

Mar 10, 2018 12:05 PM #32
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,  I've said it to many sellers: Do you want to remain comfortable in your home or sell your house? There is a difference.

Mar 10, 2018 05:25 PM #33
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

"Staging isn't decorating, it's strategic marketing." What a wonderful way to explain the power of staging. Thank you for such a meaningful post!

Mar 21, 2018 10:15 AM #34
JoAnn Moore
The Mortgage Market of Delaware - Georgetown, DE
Home Loans in Delaware

Love your story. It goes to show that some elbow grease, cooperation and can do attitudes can make things happen.   

Mar 21, 2018 10:53 AM #35
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh - Cary Triangle Real Estate 919-602-8489

Sharon Tara what a nice story. Staging can do wonders and how fortunate they were to have you help!

Mar 22, 2018 04:47 AM #36
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Joy Daniels  Thank you! Yes, staging is very strategic and that is something many people don't realize.

JoAnn Moore  Attitude can change everything. It can make all the difference!

Carla Freund Thank you! It was a growing experience for all of us!


Mar 22, 2018 12:45 PM #37
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Great story...we do believe that there is a reason that people come into your life...and value the lessons they teach yoo

Apr 16, 2018 03:41 AM #38
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Sharon Tara ,

I'm so glad that Roy Kelley re-blogged your post. I can't believe I missed this one! What a wonderful story. It always amazes me when I hear how sometimes people are brought together and they all benefit from the relationship. Your quote is so true. I've always believed when your going through something in troubling in your life if you take the focus of yourself and place it on someone else something magical occurs..for all parties!

Apr 16, 2018 04:57 AM #39
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Sally K. & David L. Hanson  I believe it and I've seen it happen many many times. Thank you for stopping by with a comment!

Dorie Dillard  You put it very well! Taking the focus off yourself and placing it on someone else works miracles!

Apr 16, 2018 05:54 PM #40
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Sharon Tara

New Hampshire Home Stager
Questions about Home Staging or Redesign? Send me a message!
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