Barb Schwarz – Home Staging – New Book

I just orded a couple of copies of Barb Schwarz new book:
Home Staging: The Winning Way to Sell Your House for More Money

I am an Accredited Staging Professional (ASP) and am so glad that I took the course when I did, as I was very lucky to have Barb Schwarz as the teacher. I’m sure, now that Barb and is so nationally famous, that many ASPs are being taught by other people. I’m sure that’s great too, but I am glad to have had Barb as my teacher.

Here’s what Barb Schwarz had to say about her new book:

“Staging is a system used to prepare homes for sale. It is proven to help properties sell faster and for more money. Staging is not redecorating; rather it is a series of researched and proven techniques developed by the author to make a home appeal more to a buyer rather than its current owner. Like a personal makeover, Staging plays up a home’s strong points and minimizes its weaknesses. This book will offer clear directions for home sellers to utilize such as evaluating a home’s interior and exterior appearance, assessing the home against a nine-page checklist of pre-set Staging guidelines, and utilizing proven techniques to Stage for maximize sales appeal.”

I will report back on whether or not Barb Schwarz’ new book has anything new to say about Staging Your Home, after I read it.

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

28 thoughts on “Barb Schwarz – Home Staging – New Book

  1. While I am an Accredited Staging Professional, and do offer my staging services to sellers, I am negotiating with some Professional Home Stagers, kicking that up a bit to include a Professional Stager as a normal service.

    Do you think these services should remain separate? Do you see a value in my offering this as part of the seller’s commission, without raising the commission?

    Your thoughts appreciated.

  2. As somebody who sold his last house using a staging professional, I think including this service as part of the seller’s commission (without raising the commission), is probably the most valuable thing a full service agent can do to differentiate themselves from all the discount brokers & agents competing for the consumer.

  3. Hello Ardell,
    I too am an ASP and offer my services for my team’s listings (a realtor too). I am beginning to think that keeping this service separate might be a good idea. I recently took 3 days to stage a home in Cary, IL and even had the Chicago Tribune interview my client. I was disappointed to read the article that made the homeowner seemingly take credit for having staged her own home (could have been misinterpreted in the editing). Had I had a team of stagers perform the staging instead it would have been more difficult for the homeowner to take credit – even more difficult if she had paid for the service. I do, however, maintain that my staging skill is a way to differentiate myself from other realtors in my area. We have been getting a lot of attention due to our yard sign riders and advertising on the service. I wonder if it makes sense to alter the approach based on what is needed for the home. I have also brought staging buddies into a home to help me where I feel alone it would take me too long. And I always find that being with at least one more person we make decisions more quickly and are more creative. More seems possible and it is more fun. That is the approach I am more likely to take going forward.
    Have you considered having a stager help you rather than having them complete the job without your involvement?

  4. Hi Mary, Rather than respond here, I think I will do a new post on staging, as I promised in this one to “report back” after I read Barb’s new book.

  5. As an interior designer for one of Seattle’s largest home staging companies, we had a similar experience of seeing a fully staged home credited to the owner on a recent television program touting the waterfront lifestyle of Seattle’s elite. We often don’t get credited for the hard work either. Disappointing but have to take it as a compliment in most cases.

    We prefer working with ASP agents because they have already sold the concept. Most of the agents we work with limit their staging work to those houses that are owner occupied. We typically come in when the agent needs a vacant home staged which will require a lot of inventory that they find gets time-consuming just moving without the team approach we use. We act as a buffer when the owners are still very personally involved with the property and the agent doesn’t want to risk losing the listing when the conversation of pet odors and overdue updating must be tactfully broached.

    We are seeing the ASP designation more and more but the debate continues in our office. Do agents in our area prefer to use an ASP or is the course simply redundent for an experienced stager with a formal interior design education? While we certainly credit Barb for progressing the field of staging, we are reluctant to give her three day course credit for years of experience and education. Will we be discounted because of our lack of ASP designation?

  6. Lisa,

    As an ASP Real Estate Agent, I’d say take the course and get the designation if for no other reason than to get on the site.

    If you ONLY do vacant houses, I’m not sure the course would be of help. But when it comes to occupied homes…DO IT! If for no other reason than to get BOLD with other people’s homes while they are still living there.

    Clearly I have “staged” occupied homes since long before I acquired my Accredited Staging Professional designation. But since I took the course, I move more things around in the house than I ever would have before. And the day everyone goes to some poor soon to be seller’s home, 50 of us!, and rearranges their entire home is a blast!! Of course it is cheap for agents, only $300 or so, and much more expensive for actual stagers.

    I have used some of the gadgets I bought there to move furniture and take depressions out of carpeting, etc… I’m very glad I took the course.

  7. I have also taken the 5-day IRIS course and found it to be much more hands-on and an overall better learning experience. I did feel a bit frustrated with the class size in Barb’s ASP class. It was an entire day of listening to her speak (she’s entertaining, delightful and full of knowledge,etc.) and only late in the 2nd day did we actually stage. I found it to be an excellent course for an agent who otherwise is familiar with staging concepts but probably wouldn’t feel comfortable hiring a stager who had only had the three day course. As I understand it the third day for that group is more about running one’s business and not hands-on training. I would more readily hire a team from a 5-day course if I were to outsource the work. On larger jobs that is what I currently do.

  8. As a real estate photographer, I found this interesting, that a stager would actually be aware of staging from the photographer’s view. I frequently find myself needing to move some of the items to better fit the photograph. I would think that without the stager present at the time of the photography, there is no way that they can really know. Although, it would make sense for the stager to at least put themselves in the place of a photographer and walk around the room and examine the various perspectives. I had a situation recently that just wasn’t working for me because of the type of chairs (high back) placed in the living room were blocking the view of the fireplace from the ideal perspective of the room. It was the seller who came up with the brilliant solution of facing the two high back chairs face to face instead of toward the fireplace. And it worked! A perfect composition. You learn new things from all kinds of sources.

  9. The stager I spoke with indicated that the photographer should then but the things back where they were, after moving them for the photos. Leaving them in the “photo ready” position can screw up the staging.

    May I ask how your prices are based when there is no virtual tour requested? Just 15 good still shots for mls upload? Maybe 30 to choose from? And those “Tere Foster” night shots with all of the lights turned on in the dark…that would requre a day trip and a night trip?

    More and more agents should hire a photographer, as the photos have become one of the greates marketing features of any property listed for sale.

  10. Hi Ardell! I was lead to your site through a query on the web, and I find the entries on here to be very interesting. An ASP myself, I did notice that your introduction mentions Barb Schwarz along side of an unrecognizeable url. Barb Schwarz’s website and company name is in fact http://WWW.STAGEDHOMES.COM. As the website does provide services by ASPs and for ASPs, I would love for you to correct that web address to avoid any confusion. Thank you very much and happy staging!

  11. Juliana,

    The link works just fine. I’m talking about the book itself, and the link takes you to the book on I will leave your “plug” for the program in, because I do plug her program in agent circles. But this article was written for a homeowner or For Sale By Owner, who might like to buy the book and get some tips on how to stage their home to sell it.

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