A bit of staging magic goes a long way

This past weekend I attended a three hour class on staging. I was motivated to take the class because, as a real estate photographer, it helps to understand something about staging a property as agents frequently defer to me over last minute details of the home staging when I am on site doing the shoot. It’s not part of my job description but many agents have come to expect it and I do enjoy surveying a room and making simple, and quick, recommendations. I am fascinated by the psychology of staging and the dramatic changes staging can have on our perception and impression of a property.

Prospective buyers largely lack the imagination to see what one can do with a space so the seller, listing agent and/or stager need to provide it for them and hopefully do it well. In some cases it may be adding, subtracting or both. Immediately after my class I had a shoot that the listing agent had requested a few new photos as they had redone the staging since the original shoot. I think this is a great example of how a few changes really add considerably to the appeal of this condo. I especially appreciate the accent wall which was easy and inexpensive but really makes this condo, or at least the photo, look so much more inviting.

And to just pass along a tip to realtors from the class I took, get rid of dead vegetation in the landscaping. Especially in the front of the house. I walked by a home for sale in my neighborhood and I saw some dead plantings and I could see how detracting it was from the impression, or curb appeal, of the property.

I’d also recommend checking out Barb Schwarz’s existing book on staging and/or pre-ordering her new one that will be available in May.

Learn as much as you can about staging, regardless of who does it.

Your seller, (and photographer) will love you for it.



24 thoughts on “A bit of staging magic goes a long way

  1. When I’m listing a home that I know I’ll get the listing on, I send the stager out before I see it. I pay for it since I know most sellers won’t and it’s returned many times over in list price and ability to sell. I also provide the Knox video “preparing your home to sell” as well as “pricing your home to sell” along with a bag of popcorn and copies of the P&S agreements, form 17, listing agreement, etc. Then when it’s all staged, I and the owner price out the house at the very last minute. Especially in this market.
    Often I’ve done this 6 months early for sellers that are doing work on their home and I have a post dated listing agreement (yes, with a letter stating that I have permission to hold the listing off the market) and the stager can recommend colors, etc.
    And, of course, these days all sellers should be watching HGTV for hints!

  2. In October my husband and I sold our home in San Francisco, a Victorian with small, narrow rooms. At the advice of our agent, we hired a stager and one of the most interesting things this person did was replace our furniture with small, petite pieces to make the rooms look more spacious. What a difference! (though I couldn’t imagine stretching out on that tiny couch). Full staging was costly, but the house sold for substantially over asking, and we’re pretty convinced this was a big factor.

    (full disclosure: I work at Zillow, but my comment is personal).

  3. Yes, we are closing this week on a house in Greenlake! And a shout out to Gordon at RPA, who has been tremendously helpful as our buyer’s agent. 🙂

  4. I have no doubt that proper staging and professional photographs facilitated a quick offer and sale of my condo last fall. We’re actually in the process of doing this now for our current house as we prepare to move, and while it is a pain – I know it works.

    And, I should mention that Rebecca Haas is our agent who has helped my husband and I on a number of transactions. It’s awesome that she provides this in her portfolio of services as this is something I never would have thought of on my own.

  5. One of the issues I deal with quite a bit is that Naples Real Estate is often vacant. Beautiful houses just don’t tend to show as well when they’re vacant. I’ve been reading up a lot on staging to give some better advice to clients. Your before and after shots show a great difference and the after definitely has a lot of appeal. Nicely done.

  6. Hello

    I am very glad that you wrote about staging since now you have had a first-hand experience of hands on staging work. It does make a tremendous amount of difference. Most sellers when they first hear about it they often don’t want to do it since it costs money. But it does worth that every penny when your home is sold faster because of staging.



    i love staging and all things staging!
    i stage to sell, live & work in san francisco bay area

  7. Hi, I am a real estate photographer in Argentina and I was wandering if you knew where I could find some stattistics with sources regarding the advantages of good real estate photographs and home staging.

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