Stagers Lying About Results

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc

So I'm looking for a stager to stage my mother's property in Easton Maryland (anybody have a reference). I come across a pretty little website and they have a "Results" section. It claims that they sell properties in an average of 17 days. Mighty impressive.

The spreadsheet says how many days it was on the market and it includes days with staging and days without staging. It frequently claimed that it got 100% of list price.

The Magic of Staging? Or

The Magic of Lying?


I decided to look up the homes they staged. Sure enough, out of the 5 homes that I looked at, 3 were just flat out lies. Selling for 5% below list and the quasi-lies were homes that sold for "list" but with 3% seller subsidy, so really 3% below list (after a large price drop).

I'm not sure if I want to "out" them yet. I will give them a chance to make the correction and/or explain themselves. But if they don't I'll make a great google feed post about them.

So the morale is

1) Don't believe statistics without verifying them (see redf1n post)

2) Nobody can put really numbers to staging. It just works. I wish we could guarantee putting $5k in staging and remodeling will produce $20k, but it just doesn't exist.





Comments (22)

Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

Frank, I believe that it's impossible to isolate any one variable that caused a house to sell. I've always found home staging "statistics" to be weak, at best. Do I like the look of staged homes better, absolutely. Do I think that staging helps to sell homes faster...I just don't know. Rich

Mar 06, 2009 03:18 AM
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging know how statistics can be "made-up" to substantiate almost anything.  This is why I do NOT use them to sell my services.  The variables involved in a house sale are just too vast to start throwing around numbers about why the sale was achieved. 

Good for you for calling out this stager on the numbers.      

Mar 06, 2009 03:43 AM
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:.
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

87% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Mar 06, 2009 03:45 AM
C. Bartch
Newark, OH

Aren't you funny.

Edited in reference to your comment above, not about the stager in your blog.

Mar 06, 2009 03:55 AM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Frank: I checked and (fortunately or unfortunately depending upon how you look at it) the stager in question is not a member of the Real Estate Staging Association. RESA can only police their own members. The stager in question is a member of another organization created by her training provider. I suggest you file a complaint with that organization. If you need more info, contact me via email.

Mar 06, 2009 04:09 AM
Tony and Libby Kelly
Keller Williams Realty Portland Premiere - Lake Oswego, OR

That is horrible!  And it does reflect badly because staging certainly does help and all this does is turn people off to staging.  Unfortunately all professions have them.

Mar 06, 2009 04:56 AM
Fran Gaspari
Patriot Land Transfer, Inc. - Limerick, PA
"The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ


"I decided to look up the homes they staged. Sure enough, out of the 5 homes that I looked at, 3 were just flat out lies." said! Haven't you ever heard of UPstaging...!!! THanks,   Fran

Mar 06, 2009 06:05 AM
Teresa Meyer
Cincinnati Home Stager - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

This wasn't too hard to figure out...(the who)  What makes this even worse is that it is a Staging Realtor!

Mar 06, 2009 07:03 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Frank, this is appalling and I hope you find a great stager who upholds ethical and professional standards.  If, as Teresa states above, this is a staging Realtor, shame on them for being so deceitful, especially since your post is about "stagers lying" -- should it be expanded perhaps to say "Realtors who lie about their staging results?"  People who lie on their website don't deserve any respect.

Mar 06, 2009 11:57 AM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Frank... dissappointing that someone needs to resort to this type of lies.  This is why when we provide stats we give MLS#, list price at time of staging, date of staging, date it went AC as the under contract date and the actual closing date and price per MLS.  This way agents can always verify our stats!

Here are some examples of how we show off our stats:

Mar 06, 2009 12:41 PM
Leigh Newport
Staged by Design® - Leesburg, VA
Northern Virginia Home Staging

Hi Frank,

I'm sorry you had such a negative experience with this particular person. I'm very careful about the use of statistics for just that very reason. I am on the Board of Directors for the Washington, DC International Association of Homes Staging Professionals (ASPs) and would be happy to do a little "pre-screening" for an ASP in the area that you are looking in. As there are so many new Stagers out there as well as those who see it as a part time venture, it's important to know what questions to ask before hiring a Stager, as I'm sure you know.

Mar 06, 2009 11:24 PM
Michael Fontana
Round Rock Home Stager Austin Home Staging - Round Rock, TX
@ The Stage Coach

hi, Frank:

I loved your response: "87% of statistics are made up on the spot."  That jives with the Homerism [paraphrasing]: "Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that."

I do not push statistics to market my business because like Ginger says there are too many variables involved.  Some of my best looking homes had stubborn buyers, lazy REALTORs, over the top pricing, etc.  Don't get me wrong - I keep track of them.  I also keep track of contributing factors. But they are for my use.

On the same note, there's a Stager in Austin who does push statistics.  And they have not changed in two years!  Probably because they are two years old.

Good post - love the comments.

The Stage Coach Austin Home Stager

Mar 06, 2009 11:49 PM
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:.
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

The stager in question is a ASP and I have contacted them to report this person. The ASP people have replied to me, and I have sent them data. Since I didn't remember which home it was... I just looked up 2 or 3 and sure enough, a new one was off by $20,000!!

Actually since they are a Realtor, I could bring them up on a Ethics violation. But who has time for that?

I could contact her references and say "did you know she is claiming to have staged your listing and is lying about what % of list she got for you"


Mar 07, 2009 01:01 AM
Teresa Meyer
Cincinnati Home Stager - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

As a Realtor, she should know better regardless who their training is from....I'm sure Staged Homes will deal with it immediately.

Mar 07, 2009 03:34 AM
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County

Is she touting that her services as a Realtor got the homes sold, or that the Staging was the magic bullet?  Either way, she aught to know better.  Often times, some advertise their great successes from years past during the real estate boom.  I am constantly asked about my stats, and I give them an average as well as phone numbers to my Realtors and clients so they can check for themselves.  But I remind them that Staging is only PART of the entire listing and selling factors along with price and condition.

Mar 08, 2009 01:00 AM
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:.
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

She is mainly a stager who happens to be a agent technically. The homes she listed on her page are not homes where she was the agent. She was just the stager.

Mar 08, 2009 03:19 AM
Patricia Barta
Staging by Patricia - Great Falls, VA
Staging by Patricia, N. Virginia

BLASPHAMY! Why is it necessary to lie??? I know staging works because I see it work each and every time.  I shy away from statistics (honestly, because I HATE any paper work) I am all about creativity and just have no time to even update my own webpage!

I LOVE what Melissa Marro does what a GREAT idea! Thank you Melissa!!!!

Mar 11, 2009 09:31 AM
Ray & Elaine Fischer
(828) & (828) - Asheville, NC

not everyone lies. its a shame that the good stagers will have to take a punch for this one. i hope people remain open minded and continue to use professional home stagers

Apr 07, 2009 05:54 AM
Debra Landy
StageTwoSell LLC - Horseheads, NY
PA and NY Home Stager

People love to know if their investment is Staging will pay off.  No guarantees of course.  

 We as Stagers need to help clients understand that....and see some of these other things...

Will the home have a greatly improved look?  Absolutely

Will buyers who come through be able to connect more easily that they might otherwise.  You bet

Will Realtors showing the home know they will have a gem to show.  That's the idea

Will the Stager be able to provide excellent after photography to the listing agent.  Yup

Can you provide extra Internet exposure for their home...I do.

We can show the National Statistics, but I hope we're all collecting our own local ones and reporting correctly.

Although this may be a big "ouch" for Stagers, I hope this is a wake up call for that particular Stager and that we all remember to correctly communicate with our clients.

Deb Landy

Stage Two Sell LLC


May 29, 2009 01:40 AM
Beverly Carlson
Carlson Properties 325-721-2429 - Abilene, TX
Abilene's Staging Realtor

I don't know why a Realtor would lie about list to sales price or about staging days.  The seller of the propertiy  would know the truth. 

I am a Realtor and Stager and I seem to get other peoples challenging properties that haven't sold.  I get houses to sell that others can't!  I stage em and mange to sell them.  I have staged several houses that have languished previously on the market either FSBO or with another broker,  one as long as two years, so of course I talk about staging days and Day 1 is  the day the staged home is available for a buyer to walk through and the last staging day is the day that an offer is made that is accepted by both buyer and seller.   My best staging time is one day.  I finished staging in the morning and the buyer who went under contract saw the house the same day!  And this house had already been on the market awhile prior to my staging it.    

Nov 08, 2009 01:17 PM