There’s a Difference Between Decorating & Staging - A BIG Difference!

By
Real Estate Agent with www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 228209

There’s a Difference Between Decorating & Staging - A BIG Difference!

Staging vs decorating

 

I feel like I’ve shared this tidbit before but, for the life of me, can’t find my post! Regardless, it’s worth repeating…

 

Have you ever noticed that decorators have a tough time putting the kibosh on ‘designing’ homes they are prepping for sale? Everyone knows a decorator/designer and many times when I suggest a stager, I hear, “Oh my BFF is a decorator - I’ll have her come in and help!” 

 

It’s just NOT the same! I belong to a very large city group and was recently tagged on a post by a homeowner who has now listed their house. It is in a neighborhood that I had a buyer looking but, they weren’t ready to list when my buyer was ready to buy. Now they have had to reduce the price and she is reaching back out to everyone who showed any interest. 

 

I opened the ad and felt like I was looking into one of those psychedelic posters from the 70’s! Now, the décor was fabulous and certainly not from the 70’s but, there was so much ‘stuff’ that I couldn’t even see the rooms. The beautiful tchotchkes were everywhere…and as mesmerizing as a psychedelic poster! 

Psychedelic Poster

Instead of “Oh my goodness, I love your house,” there were dozens of comments, asking about particular pieces of furniture and many of the tchotchkes the readers loved. The commenters wondered if she would sell those items before she moved. 

 

Others were asking who her decorator was! To me, that one question is a sure sign that the house (which is what is actually being sold here) is being overlooked.

 

There is a HUGE difference between decorating and staging; when you’re selling, you don’t want the former! The explanation that I give my sellers with decorator friends is that the more items a decorator sells to you, the more money they make. Stagers are minimalists; their job is to show off your house, not your STUFF. Staging is about creating ambiance and appeal for buyers - not about showing off the décor - the froufrou isn’t sold with the house! 

 

© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | CharlotteBroker@icloud.com | There’s a Difference Between Decorating & Staging - A BIG Difference!

Comments (64)

Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I completely agree with everything you said, Kris Collis, Associate Broker. It is sad for the seller - they have a fabulous house. Sadly, the sister agent either didn't know to tell her seller to de-clutter (literally) the over-the-top decorator trinkets or didn't have the heart. Sellers need someone who will give them the truth and offer them professional advice/management so that they don't HAVE to think or worry about it. 

And, it has been a hard lesson but, I don't think anyone has told them yet - the house is still on the market...and should have sold in the 'coming soon' status if staged properly!

May 19, 2020 09:21 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I agree, Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 but, if you understand the concept, a 'decorator stager' might be one heck of an expert to market for home sellers! 

May 19, 2020 09:23 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

You're so right, Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!  The difference is HUGE, indeed!

And, thank you for the BananaTude feature - I'm honored! 😘

May 19, 2020 09:25 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

You know, we take for granted, our knowledge of this, don't we, George Souto? We often need to break down our professional knowledge to a more elementary teaching moment for our clients.

There's a big difference and, you're so right, they rarely know that. They rely on us to properly coach them through this!

May 19, 2020 09:32 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

haha, not only does the frufru not go with the house, if the tastes don't click it's such a turn off for so many buyers who can't see past it.  I feel like people all must do what my clients do and "nickname" homes they see.  And honestly when one gets the "all the creepy clown photos" house it's not likely I'm showing it again. to anyone. 

May 19, 2020 10:08 PM
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Debe, However, my husband would complain that our house is staged (not to live in!). I don't agree :)

May 20, 2020 06:43 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Debe,

So true. You decorate to your own taste with tidbits that mean something in your life. Unlikely that the potential buyer will have had the same life, so you need to edit out most things and reduce it to beds, sofas & side boards, just to show what fits in the house.

May 20, 2020 07:12 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

That is so true, Tammy Lankford, about the tastes not being the same. And, I have 'warned' other clients of the house with the 'distasteful' décor before. Oftentimes that is a sign of the sellers they'd be working with too!!

May 20, 2020 07:38 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

We are currently moving out of our home, Kat Palmiotti - to have our hardwoods refinished. Having to empty out china cabinets and other chests, etc. of things I haven't seen in 5 years, I have a sense that I'll be minimizing when we get back home and start putting things back together again! I thought I was good about not holding onto things but, I am SUCH a sentimentalist!

May 20, 2020 07:40 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Debe Maxwell, CRS - It is way too easy to accumulate things and not realize it!

May 20, 2020 10:17 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Right, Dörte Engel! I agree - with a touch of greenery and an item or 3 to conservatively decorate. One thing Kathy mentioned in her class yesterday was not to make it too sterile - you want them to feel 'at home' and need a little something. I'm going to have to go back and check one of mine that I recently 'guided' in the de-cluttering department! LOL

May 20, 2020 07:44 AM
Mike Bjork
Evolve Bank & Trust - Redondo Beach, CA

Hi Debe,  Great point!  Never really thought about it.  It makes great sense!  Hopefully, more people heed your wisdom!

May 20, 2020 10:12 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Congratulations on your feature recognition.

This is very good information to share with prospective home sellers.

May 20, 2020 10:39 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Great explanation and these points were well made by Kathy Streib in this week's AR Zoom. 'Your house is lovely, who was your designer' are not words  I like to hear!

May 20, 2020 09:34 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hey Debe,
Decorating should definitely be reserved for the owner's personal preference while they live in the home... not when they're trying to sell.  I'm in the minimalist camp for staging while selling.

BTW: How in the world did the spelling of tchotchkes  get established? I had to look up the proper pronunciation.  LOL
chaach·keez 

May 21, 2020 10:17 AM
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

I agree 100%. the decorators that I've known tend to make the rooms look small and it doesn't help to sell the home.

May 24, 2020 10:42 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

"Stagers are minimalists; their job is to show off your house, not your STUFF."  That sentence expresses it so perfectly, Debe. 

May 27, 2020 04:55 AM
Abby Stiller
REMAX Realty Group - Cape Coral, FL
Professional Bilingual Realtor (239) 284-8637

Hi Debe Maxwell, CRS  you are right, leave the staging process to the professionals!

May 30, 2020 04:41 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

This is where the phrase "Less is more" comes from. I've had people rave about the decor in a home and the seller has said, "well, you know my STUFF goes with me, right?" Sell the house, not the stuff!

Jul 10, 2020 06:13 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

This is such a hard concept for so many sellers to grasp.  And I think that with single family homes in this area, there is a big age gap between the sellers, with their oriental rugs and forma dining rooms, and their prospective buyers who realte to Wayfair.com!  

Sep 02, 2020 08:40 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Thank you so so so much for saying this because there is anabsolutely tremendous difference! Thanks!

Mar 15, 2021 09:26 PM