Training Tips:The biggest mistake I made as a professional home stager

When I decided to become a professional Jacksonville Realtor that stages my listings vs being a professional stager for other Realtors I had to make some decisions. Knowing that I would not have time to do everything myself, it made sense to delegate the things that took me longer or I didn’t have a lot of skill in. I’ve always taught that Realtors should not be stagers. They should be spending their time out there getting other deals or marketing to find buyers for the listings that they have. Since I don’t have that many yet, I’ve been staging my own listings while calling in other local stagers to assist so that it goes faster.

Trying to do it all as a home stager

Just like being a Realtor, I probably could have done better with my time, and could have avoided the biggest mistake – the one thing that I really regret looking back – had I delegated. OK, I did delegate some things. We had 5 stagers on the team, an office assistant and a staging assistant. What we didn’t have is a professional photographer. 

If I had it all to do over again, I would have increased  my prices just a little and included professional photography with my packages. Looking back, I believe that I would have had a much better portfolio and probably could actually have gotten more business as a result.

use a professional photographer when staging

While I do think my photographs, like the one above, were reasonably good, they aren’t photos that I would use in my portfolio now. Had they been professionally taken, by a real estate photographer, I believe that it might be. This home would fit in well with homes we see here in Jacksonville and has great statistics.

Still, I don’t think that it has the same impact as this next photo does.

home staging by melissa marro

This photo isn’t even the best photo of this room. (Ironically it is the same coffee table in both.) The home on top was a golf course property, which could easily be seen from the windows at the back of the house – which in my photos are blown out. The windows in the second photo show the lawn, patio and vacant lot next door. The view of the first home is much better, or at least should have been.

Delegating your photography work to the pros

While I think many of us [home stagers] own really nice cameras, I think very few of us really know how to use the camera, and all of the available software. I know that we have courses by Andrew Mayon, a real estate photographer whose work I really admire, that will teach you how to take photos so your windows look like the below photos instead of the above photos. I’ve taken the course and have had some luck with it. What I don’t have is time and patience.

I have found, in the same way that we tell Realtors that they shouldn’t stage, that we shouldn’t be taking our photos. We should leave that to the pros. I can say, looking back. I wish that I had done this. I see it all the time on Facebook too. I see stagers whose work is great, but their photos are “eh”. I would venture to say that this change could really alter their business in the way that bringing in a stager could alter a Realtor’s business. If that’s true, it would also create a trickle down effect to the Realtor who hired you and the seller who hired them. I have no doubt that it would be a huge ROI for everyone involved in the process.

About melissamarro


Melissa Marro is an international award winning home stager and professional speaker for the home staging and real estate industry. Founder and CEO for both SAR, Staging and Redesign Training and MRRE, Market Ready Real Estate's online home staging consultation program, Marro continues to help inspire and empower new and existing stagers as well as move the industry standards forward.

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