Staging and Realtor in 1?

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

Call me a "Brainist" but I do NOT think a great professional stager can also be a geat full time Realtor.

I know the staging associations of americas are starting to expand into 3 day crash courses to give Realtors an official "accreditation," but that doesn't mean they understand design and can stage well. Just because they can buy $100 in trinkets at Target doesn't make them a good stager.

So I'd like to start a debate.

Am I right that there are two sides of the brain? The stagers use one side, and Realtors use the other side?

I know there have gotta be a few "but I do both well" people out there, and I'ld love to hear from you (via comments).

To give you some ammo, I would consider myself a good photographer... but ask me about a color on a wall and I crumble (unless it is bright pink and obvious).



Comments (24)

Patsy Overton
Patsy Overton Interiors, Atlanta, Georgia - Duluth, GA

Frank, there IS some crossover, but I think it comes down to being able to have time to do both and do them well.  Two years ago I became licensed as a realtor, but from the very beginning I knew that all I wanted to do was stage.  I will say that the training I have as a realtor has been invaluable in my staging work, so I can see where having training in staging would be invaluable to a realtor.

Mar 09, 2009 08:40 AM
Leanne Zumbrunnen
Z Touch Design Services - Lenexa, KS

This is timely for me since I am in the process of getting my RE license.  I just started my staging business in the last year and 2 guys that partnered up to flip houses were so happy with my staging work that they asked me to sell all their houses as well.  They offered to pay for all the licensing fees and classes.   I never thought I would get a RE license but since they had so much confidence in me and offered to pay, I thought it could only enhance my staging business as well.  I am a little nervous about the whole prospect but I have already learned so much that I didn't know about this business.  I will definately be able to relate to the the RE agent more and understand where they are coming from.  I still feel like staging will be my focus and I will just sell the houses that they want me to list.  I don't think I will like filling out contracts as much as filling up a house with nice furnishings. 

Mar 09, 2009 04:24 PM
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Good post, Frank.  I'm sure you've heard the statement "Jack of all trades; master of none."  For those unfamiliar I did a Google search and found the following.

From Wikepeia:

"Jack of all trades, master of none" is a figure of speech used in reference to a person who is competent with many skills but is not outstanding in any particular one.

The question that begs to be asked is; "how important it is to have someone who is outstanding in their trade?"  I would think in this market, the homeowner would want an outstanding agent as well as an outstanding stager.  


Mar 10, 2009 12:13 AM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Frank - I think the designation for Realtors is a benefit, in that they learn a lot of things about how to pick a competant stager, how to talk to their clients about staging before they hire the stager, properly preparing the homeowner on what to expect from the stager and some reasonable suggestions such as decluttering, white glove clean, etc. 

All of that being said, Realtors should be selling homes full time and leave the staging to the professional stager.  It's all we do.  Just as you would not want the Realtor doing the home inspections, the appraisals, or the mortgage loan, I would recommend hiring the right professional for their expertise. 

Mar 10, 2009 02:04 AM
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:.
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

Actually maybe I will get my designation. Would make for a great pitch "Yeah, I have an ASP too, but you don't see me staging do you!! "

Ha! Done, gonna go search for staging classes now. If I'm lucky I'll get regular real estate credit for it.

Also it might take me from "do you think we should move this from here to hear" where I would have replied "Dunno, let me stager decide that" and now I might be able to say "yeah, maybe there or there, but still ask my stager"


Mar 10, 2009 02:12 AM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Oh, one more thing.... I also think that most professional stagers should also have a real estate license (though not necessarily be a Realtor).  This does not mean that I think they should sell homes either.  Every full time stager on my team has one.  It helps us look at the competition, asses statistics, identify clients who need us (homes have been on the market an extended length of time), etc. 

Mar 10, 2009 02:19 AM
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County

I have to lean on the side of, although you can be formally trained &/or licensed in both, the focus should be on ONE profession.  Staging is not easy, nor glamorous, is a lot of lifting /moving and is very hard work.  That being said, if I was selling my home, I would much rather prefer my Realtor to be out marketing my home and spending their valuable time doing THAT then helping me move my couch, accessorizing my vases or crunching numbers for rental furniture & accessories for a vacant home.


Mar 10, 2009 08:35 AM
Patricia Barta
Staging by Patricia - Great Falls, VA
Staging by Patricia, N. Virginia

I agree with Frank 110%.  I took the staging class and have my ASP but it does not stop there.  I have a formal design background which most would come back with it is two very different things. Yes, it is two different things.  I do not believe in just staging.  My logo is: RE-DESIGNED. STAGED. SOLD. It's that easy....

You cannot move furniture or rent furniture,add accessories and think that alone will sell a property. That is where my re-design comes in....I have studied and read enough to know what buyers are looking for.  It is a BUYERS MARKET and they are looking for a few key things: granite, stainless steel and beautiful flooring.    That is the just the tip of the ice berg. (A Blog it's own)I have a crew that can handle my re-design pieces i.e. painting, crown molding, bathroom remodeling the list goes on and on. Once the property is where it should be in terms of looking the best it can.  I then go in and stage! I go with the selling agents and shop the competition and make sure our listing is GORGEOUS!  I aim high. I take a trip two times a year to the Interior Design Market in NC High Point.  I find the latest trends in home decor and purchase my accessories from there and try to make sure my Realtors look amazing in the buyers AND sellers eyes!  I have sellers telling me, "I don't want to move now" that just warms my heart it says to me that I did my job!

Realtors should do what they do best...sell and market the homes.  My humble opinion

Mar 10, 2009 09:02 AM
Michael Fontana
Round Rock Home Stager Austin Home Staging - Round Rock, TX
@ The Stage Coach


Kathy stole my thunder!  Jack of all trades... master of none...  I know of a local stager that adds a career to their resume about every year.  Last count was four. Go figure.  Not sure how they get anything done.  How do you keep your business cards straight?

While I am sure some people can do both - My butcher has a CPA and a Law Degree, so any thing is possible! [and yes, you read that correctly:  the butcher has multiple degrees] - I have to ask, Why would you want to?  Other than you have nothing but extra time on your hands!

If you're a Brainist, you'll appreciate this:  I always say that Home Staging is 50% Creativity (right brain) and 50% Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (left brain). [I am an OCPD-Lefty by the way]  I have yet to meet any one who learned Staging from a class or a book. They had it, and they knew it.  And those who are successful knew how to use it.

The ASP REALTOR class, last I heard was about $300 and 16-MCE credits.  I have heard mixed reviews.  But like a couple of people mention, it has opened more eyes to proper Staging and helped develop respect for what we do.  Unfortunately, the last email I received does not show any classes East of Cleveland.  I thought one of the trainers I knew was just in Atlanta and Boston though.

Now, the question I feel that is raised: What is your definition of Home Staging?  The term is bandied about so much it has lost all meaning.  This will open another can of worms, I'll bet, but I can tell you what it does not mean:

  • it is not putting a tray with wine bottle and glasses on every bed
  • it is not putting all of your garbage in one garbage can and keeping the others clean (this was in the local paper)
  • it is not taking all of your personal belongings out and replacing them with my furnishings
  • it is not adding floral window treatments to the room
  • it is not dragging in patio furniture and placing it in the living room
  • it is not two mis-matched chairs and a table pretending to be a media room
  • it is not french vanilla plugins, chocolate chip cookies baking, or other olfactory trick
  • My newest find: a REALTOR took floral clippings from her garden, brought them to the open house, and placed them all about the home to give a fresh, spring feeling.  Then, she left them to wilt and rot.  The Stager for the house had to make some "improvements" requested by said REALTOR, and found them a few weeks later. 

And I could go on.  But all of these examples are Home Staging that I have seen provided or advised by REALTORs.

The Stage Coach Austin Home Stager




Mar 11, 2009 07:20 AM
Gail Alexander
Setting the Stage, LLC - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Stager

Oh, so much to say and so little time.  I think Professional Real Estate Stagers could write a book on this subject and maybe we should.  Along with agreeing to most of what has already been said, I would just ask the following:  Would you go to an MD (are there even such things anymore???) or a surgeon if you had to have surgery?

I'm all for REA's getting the basics of how to talk to sellers about staging (because lots of them don't have a clue how to explain it) and working with staging professionals but totally against them getting some certificate, that all of a sudden says they are 'staging realtors' when they haven't gotten down to the 'nitty-gritty' of what staging truly involves.  I think we can all attest to seeing staged homes down by realtors that gives the entire industry a bad name.  It's no wonder there are so many blogs and stories online about the perception of staging.

And the last time I looked, it was $300. plus credits for Realtors to take the 2-day class and $2500. for those who signed up for one more day and took the 3-day class?!?!?!?!  And I might add that just as realtors continue to educate themselves about their industry so too do PROFESSIONAL stagers.

Mar 11, 2009 11:05 AM
Aron Bailey Bruser
Win-Win Home Staging & Redesign - Huntingdon Valley, PA

Thanks Frank.  Regarding a comment Melissa left, that sound like a great idea that Professional Home Stagers become licensed in real estate.  How long and how much does it typically take?

Mar 12, 2009 07:48 AM
Wanda Richards
Shows Great Home Staging and Web Solutions - Roanoke, VA
Shows Great Home Staging

Hi Frank - I guess I have mixed feelings on this one.  I have been a REALTOR for 28 years.  My staging business evolved as I was getting requests to provide staging services for other REALTORS and their sellers.  Although I am now a full time stager,  I still have my real estate license.  It is invaluable.  It allows me to stay on top of statistics, track new listings, track what is selling.  I still list a few homes here and there and will continue to so I can see both sides of what it takes to successfully sell a home in this market. My experience in Real Estate has given me a lot of credibility in my market with other Realtors. 

Mar 12, 2009 11:01 AM
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

Timely post, as someone else suggested. I've been a realtor for many years, and one of my best points is that I love to stage homes (not vacant homes that need furniture). Just moving things around, etc. I'm in the process of thinking of doing this for other realtors. I see so many bad MLS pictures that could easily have been helped with just a little staging.

Mar 13, 2009 03:11 AM
Lee & Betsy Bowman
Wainwright & Co. - Realtors - Smith Mountain Lake, VA



Thought this was a timely addition to your subject:

Ps great post by Texa/Fontana!


Lee Bowman ` Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

Mar 24, 2009 11:12 PM
Michele Reneau
Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor - Summerville, SC
Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team

Frank-I have learned so much from my relationship with my stager, Melissa Marro, who commented above. I believe what I have learned has helped me prep my sellers for the staging consulation.  I don't know everything Melissa would say which is why I hire her to meet with my sellers but I can usually get them started and open to the idea.  I've had great success with sellers that have taken the recommendations and tackled them with great success.  With my volume of transactions, there is no way I can be a stager and realtor.  I'd prefer to leave the staging to the professional.

Mar 28, 2009 02:10 PM
Kim Trouten
Staged For Selling-Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC

Hmm...great question and I agree Frank! One of the advantages of bringing in a professional staging company is that it a) takes the monkey off your back and b)makes you look better and more professional.

Saying that, I have recently aquired my brokers license for the strict purpose of doing referrals. I think understanding the values and ethics of the real estate community can only make me better at what I do: teaming with a great agent to provide the service I'm best at. Win-win all round.

I just blogged about this very subject. People are starting to understand more the merits of providing a team approach.

Mar 31, 2009 01:58 AM
Tara Stone
eXp Realty - Alexandria Township, NJ
NJ Estates and Stables

I think you can be both, but it's not learned, neither is Real Estate really.. you either got or you don't.  I believe if you stick to what you do best you will thrive and be happy..wishing you much success!

Oct 18, 2009 09:37 AM
Anna Dovger
Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607 - The Woodlands, TX
Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX

I am new in staging . I talked to realtor couple days ago ad she said that will recomend me to her clients. I checked her listing and at least one needs lots if staging. But guess what? no phone calls. What I want to ask : how realestate agent could be a steger if they do not see what we see? I agree with all stagers let's leave stagign for professionals. Plus the client is more receptive to the stager than to the agent in order to make changes.

Oct 27, 2009 03:55 AM
Beverly Carlson
Carlson Properties 325-721-2429 - Abilene, TX
Abilene's Staging Realtor

I am excited to find a topic about being both a Realtor and Stager as that describes me.   I got licensed in Dec 2004, and continued to work another job until August 2005, In Nov 2006, I staged my first house  helping another Realtor out and have been hooked every since. Being a Realtor and Home Stager fits together like a hand inside a glove.  I discovered that staging appeals to buyers and the only way to stage is to appeal to buyers.. that is if you want to sell a house,  I registered my staging business in Taylor County, Texas  as "Stage It"  staged a 3400 square feet home in January 2006, attended Barb Schwarz's ASP training in  Feb 2007 and  have been staging for others as well as my own properties ever since. I went to some refresher training in 2008 for staging and partnered for awhile with another homestager.   I got my Broker's license in 2008 and also manage rental properties for five owners which I also stage! 

I just saw where Barb Schwarz will be training in the Dallas Ft Worth Area in Feb of 2010 and I plan to be there!  The ASP training is simply the best there is.  I may have an eye for color, proportion, and balance,  but staging is a skill that can be learned and developed as well. Being a Realtor and a home stager together is my niche market.  Some Realtors go on to be appraisers or commercial or farm and ranch.  I have gone on to emphasize my home staging business.   I emphasize home staging and am glad to help other Realtors get it done.

Nov 09, 2009 07:52 AM

If you have a natural talent with a good eye than it's not work being a stager, it's fun. Keep up the good work everyone. Oh, leanne; l think those men were trying to say they like you. l think they may want to be paid :)

Nov 21, 2012 09:23 AM