How are you marketing your home staging portfolio?

How are you marketing your home staging portfolio? Recently, after playing around with some new photos from a recent St Augustine home staging project, I asked a similar question online.


While I loved the answers that I received, what I was really asking was, “What other ways are you marketing your home staging ONLINE outside of Facebook?” I suppose the question needs to be asked properly, and my original question may have been too vague. (Don’t get me wrong, the answers were still great, just not what I was looking for.) So let me ask again….

How are you marketing your home staging portfolio ONLINE?

I ask this because lately I’ve gotten an awful lot of business from customers who have found me online. They either did a search for St Augustine home staging or they found me on social media. Inevitably, the first place they went was to look at my photos. Photography is the life blood of a home stager. We are in a visual industry. Agents and home sellers understand (or at least should by now) that potential buyers begin their search online. Photos are what initially sells a home.

As a professional home stager, the way you present your portfolio, can make all of the difference in the world. It’s important to consider the impact your work can have, and the different ways that you may want to share it.

Most every stager needs to have full room shots. They look something like this:

selling your home staging portfolio

You may even have some “mood” shots:

home staging portfolios

While they are great shots for your portfolio, if you stop here, you may be missing some possible marketing options. Consider the Pinterest Board or Instagram feed. What kinds of images will gain you followers there?

What I typically see is something that looks like this:

showcasing your home staging portfolio

Ok. I’ll even admit that photo is my work. I was offering a sneak peek of the property we were staging. This isn’t what most of my shared photos look like. Here’s what the real shot ended up looking like.

home staging portfolio st augustine

Now let’s look at the first two photos and how I used them on both Instagram and Pinterest.

st augustine home staging

You’ll notice I removed most of the space of the room that showcased architecture and layout – important for selling the home, but not for selling my staging style.

building a home staging portfolio

What I love about this photo is that it really showcases the pillows and dining area more than the bright yellow bar stools. Don’t get me wrong, I love the yellow bar stools, and the full “mood” shot is my Facebook header image. It’s great to be able to get a different perspective with the same images though.

Cross pollinate your social media for maximum exposure.

When you are posting to your various social media sites, consider including your other social media profiles so that you’ll maximize your following and exposure. For instance, I used the URL for my Instagram photos, and some of my Google Plus photos, as the source for my Pinterest images.

This will likely get me more followers on those sites when someone wants to click through to the original image. If they like what I do and have pinned multiple images of my work, there is a good chance they will follow me in other locations.

This is how I’ve built my Google plus following to over 15,000 people.

If you are interested in seeing more of my work, follow me on google plus, facebook, or instagram.

Watch for our new Home Staging Business Continuing Education Course Coming Soon! We’ll discuss this topic and many others in depth, in person. Coming to Jacksonville, Dallas, Atlanta, and Indianapolis later this year! 


Hiring Staging Help? Are they an employee or Independent Contractor?

Are you ready to expand your staging business and add on more help? Do you need an Independent Contractor or an employee? You better know, or the tax man may hit you with HUGE fines.

Today I was on the phone with someone about our Market Read Real Estate online home staging consultation program. They are expanding their staging business (in the US) and asked if there was a portal that they could use for their Independent Contractors, so that they didn’t know that it was our program. You see, they were concerned that the contractors would eventually get good at what they are doing and consider leaving, taking the technology that they taught them to use with them.

Immediately I saw red flags jumping up in front of my face. Since I’m an educator at heart, and don’t want to see this very nice entrepreneur fined out of business I thought I would give a little education. As soon as I hung up I knew that it might be time for a blog about this.

Watch for our new Home Staging Business Continuing Education Course Coming Soon! We’ll discuss this topic and many others in depth, in person. Coming to Jacksonville, Dallas, Atlanta, and Indianapolis later this year! 

home staging jacksonville

Are your home stagers independent contractors or employees?

The first part of understanding this is to know what the law says about it. According to the IRS, you need to address these three questions.

Behavioral: Does the company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her job?

Financial: Are the business aspects of the worker’s job controlled by the payer? (these include things like how worker is paid, whether expenses are reimbursed, who provides tools/supplies, etc.)

Type of Relationship: Are there written contracts or employee type benefits (i.e. pension plan, insurance, vacation pay, etc.)? Will the relationship continue and is the work performed a key aspect of the business?

You see, the giant red flag for me was that she mentioned in her explanation that she had a no-compete agreement and that may be enough to protect her if they decided to go on their own.

Can an independent contractor have a no compete agreement?

Can you and should you are probably two different questions. You can ask anyone to sign a no compete agreement. If they are really independent contractors though, they are completely unenforceable.

Let’s look back at the IRS guidelines. Do you see any problems?

The entire point of an independent contractor is that they are independent. They don’t rely on you to control their employment. This means that they not only can, but should, get other work on their own. Sure, you can have independent contractors that work only for you, but that’s their decision, not yours.

The moment you sign paperwork that say that you work for me and only me, guess what you’ve done? That’s right, you now control their income. You control their work arrangements, and you have a written contract. Boom. You may have just created an employee, according to IRS guidelines. If you aren’t paying taxes and insurance (like workers comp) on your employees and they find out, you may be heavily fined and forced to pay back taxes on all of your independent contractors since your company started.

So how do you keep independent contractors from leaving you and stealing your business?

Again, these are probably two different questions in reality.

The first part, you can’t control, except to create a culture of greatness that your contractors don’t want to leave. If they know they have it good, there is less of a chance they’ll leave. Pay them well. Treat them well. Surprise them with bonuses and team spirit. Give them what they need to be happy working with you (not for you).

Then have a contract in place that protects your intellectual property, and your database. 

Any business relationships that have been forged by your company can be yours by contract. This is legally enforceable, but not practically enforceable. Let’s face it, if your contractor leaves you and your best customer likes them better than you, it doesn’t really matter what the contractor signed, you’ve already lost that customer.

Again, the best way to protect your business is to have a great business. Be the face of your business, or make an EMPLOYEE the face of your business. Make sure that you are selling your BRAND and not any particular person. Pay attention to the relationships and business partnerships. Be the company that no one wants to leave. Leverage your business. Leverage your USP (unique selling proposition).

One last piece of advice, don’t give any one person, unless they are a part owner of your company (and even then I would think twice) the ability to run your company without you. If you do, chances are they will at least try.

Watch for our new Home Staging Business Continuing Education Course Coming Soon! We’ll discuss this topic and many others in depth, in person. Coming to Jacksonville, Dallas, Atlanta, and Indianapolis later this year! 

How to Apply Feng shui to Home Staging

Staging and redesigning a house can be a stressful process. Applying some Feng shui principles can ensure that your design is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also positioned to produce positive and harmonious energy for any who enter the home. Feng shui is a complicated practice with lots of different elements, mastering it can be overwhelming especially when you are unfamiliar with the specifics of it. Additionally, the practice of Feng shui is a very young trend in the U.S. when compared to China where it has been around for thousands of years; it has only been around for about 40 years in the United States.

The infographic below, brought to us by Soothing Walls, provides a detailed explanation of Feng shui, including items to include and items to discard in each room to promote positive vibes. The form of infographic detailed below is based on the Western, or BTB, Feng Shui Bagua. With this form of Feng shui, the compass directions are not taken into consideration, instead you lay the Feng shui by aligning the lower end of the grid of your house with the wall of your front door. The grid is then broken down into nine squares that each have a corresponding area of your life, for example, your kitchen is connected to wealth and prosperity. Check out how to apply feng shui to all the rooms in a house in the infographic below.


New ways to share your home staging work and gain more followers.

Have you ever had a really great discussion on Facebook, Pinterest, or Google Plus that you wish you could bring into your blog? Are you looking for more followers on your social media stream because maybe you have a lot of followers in one place, but not another? It seems that social media sites are feeling your pain and are recognizing the growing importance of blogging and finding ways to help you cross pollinate.

Embed your social conversations into your blogs.

Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Plus now have “embed” features in posts.

Embed posts from Facebook into your home staging blogs.

how to share your home staging work

So far Facebook posts seem to be the easiest ones to embed. Simply look for the drop down arrow in the upper right corner of the post you want to use and scroll down.

Using Facebook posts can be a great way to share popular posts with your blog readers. It could also be a great way to get new followers from loyal readers who perhaps get your information from other sources.

This post was one that I did a few weeks ago about my biggest regret as a home stager. It was actually very popular with 50 Facebook likes/shares and 33 Google Plus ones (according the counter on my website).


Embed Pinterest Boards in your home staging blogs

I have to give credit here to Tom Scanlon with Houston Home Staging for the idea of embedding pinterest boards into home staging blogs.

how to embed pinterest boards in home staging blogs

Simply change out the URL for your board’s URL. Using the Pinterest Widget Builder this is seriously easy.

While embedding a pinterest board may be a little more difficult, it seems like a great way to make a statement on your blogs.

You can also embed individual pins in the same way that you can Facebook posts. Click the box with the arrow (upper right corner of pin), scroll down to embed, and copy the code. This to me, is now the best way to do blogs that feature products or room designs. Copying the photo directly and putting it in your blogs posts can be considered copyright infringement whereas embedding the post is permitted as it shows all of the originating source of the photo.

Embedding Google Plus posts into your home staging blogs

Google Plus posts will probably be for posts more related to the market and general business, but imagine being able to show great conversations with your readers, like the one that inspired this post. (Note: only Public posts can be used as embedded posts at this time. Community posts can not be embedded, even if the community allows public viewing.)



Help your target readers, whether homeowners or agents get additional information about their market or the real estate industry as a whole by showing what others are talking about, or bringing a great conversation from your page to your blog and newsletter readers.

Embedding is easy, done the same way as Facebook and individual Pinterest posts, simply use the drop down arrow, highlight embed, and then copy and paste the embed code.

What are ways that you’ll use the embed feature to cross pollinate your business?

It’s funny because Tom Scanlon had only a few days ago posted in the Google Plus Home Staging Community about how he was using his Pinterest Boards in his blogs. I had been trying to figure out how to use this when Bill Gassett piped up about the new G+ feature. I had noticed the embed feature in Facebook about a week earlier, but hadn’t given it much thought.

Today my head is swimming with ideas on how I’ll be using this in the future. How do you think you’ll use the new embed features from social media to improve your blogs or cross pollinate your readership? 

Home Staging Tip: How to make a bed in a bag look like luxury.

Bed in a bag. Is there an item in our home staging arsenal that combines both love and hate as much as this simple accessory? Go down the aisles of TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls or any other discount store and you’ll see some really awful ones, and then some that seem to have potential. Pull them out of the bag, fluff them up, and you have… probably a hot mess. It doesn’t have to be like that though.

How to improve on the bed in a bag in your next home staging job.

Today I staged a home in Jacksonville, FL where I needed all new bedroom linens. I had just painted some great headboards with tons of color that I wanted to stand out in a completely coastal way. Since I had to also buy the beds themselves (I was completely out of them) I wanted to do this on a tight budget. The bed in a bag is usually the best way to do this.

This $39 bed in a bag came with a comforter, 2 standard shams, a bed skirt and 3 throw pillows. SCORE! I really wish they would have had more. It was mostly blue which was perfect for the blue and orange headboard that I recently painted. As usual the throw pillows in this set are squished and cheap looking.  I did happen to have some great ones on my warehouse shelves though.

How to make a bed in a bag look great

$39 bed in a bag with painted headboard

The next bed in a bag was $49. A little more expensive, but that’s OK. It’s still really cheap. This was a green set and had all the same contents. Since it included a bed skirt that was just all the better (both the blue and green sets did). I usually spent $20 just on that little piece of cloth when I have to purchase them separately.

home staging with bed in a bag

$49 bed in a bag with octopus pillows

Finally, I had the master bedroom. I had painted this awesome green headboard and just wanted the room to feel luxurious. They didn’t have anymore super cheap bags, so I went for a super neutral white $79 bed in a bag. This one only had the comforter and shams, but it was still worth it.

using a bed in a bag with home staging

$79 bed in a bag with coral pillows

Don’t use the bed in a bag throw pillows (in the bedroom).

In case you missed the point of this post and the pictures. Keep the bed in a bag pillows for your other rooms where they can be used as filler, but keep the off the bed. Usually it’s far to “matchy matchy” to actually pull together and normally they look super cheap.  But see, they look perfectly fine here in the living room. The pillows on the chairs below are actually one from each of the blue and green bed in a bag sets.

home staging with bed in a bag

Use your bed in a bag pillows somewhere else!

So there you have it – the secret of making a bed in a bag look like luxury in your next home staging project.

Related post: How many pillows does it take to stage a home? 

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.

Home staging myth: BUSTED! Sellers won’t stage their home.

Today was a learning experience in a lot of ways. For those who don’t know, after selling my Charleston home staging business last year I decided to become a Realtor in Jacksonville/St Augustine, FL. I just completed my first year of having my Florida license. I have been trying to build my business based on the two things that I really know – home staging and marketing. I provide home staging to all of my listing customers.

An unexpected reaction from my broker

sellers will stage their home if they understand whyThis week I’ve had a great week, actually signing papers on three new listings. (Ok, technically it’s 2.5 – I’m co-listing one of these with another agent who hasn’t been able to sell it and wants my staging services to get it sold.) Today as I came into the real estate office at 5:30, my broker asked what was going on. I showed him that I had another listing to turn in. His reaction wasn’t exactly like I expected it to be. While he did eventually congratulate me, his first reaction was actually, “Tell me it’s not for the middle of August like the last one.” 

Actually, it was. You see I’m going out of town August 1-5 to visit my favorite Indianapolis home staging couple. I am staging one of my new listings on July 30th, then the rest have to wait until I return. Besides, the other two remaining homes have a lot of work to get done before I can come in. They have closets to organize, personal belonging to pack away or donate, and updates to complete, like getting new carpeting.

Don’t put the property on MLS until it’s actually ready

I had to explain to my broker that I wasn’t going to have my customers put their home on MLS until it was actually ready. I’m surprised that he didn’t appreciate this point since this broker actually did use the services of a professional stager when he was an agent.

While the reaction from my broker was surprising, what hasn’t been surprising to me is that sellers, once they understand the importance of staging, are eager to get the home ready. They understand that their home will show better and they won’t have to have as many showings. So far, I haven’t had a listing appointment where 1) I didn’t get the listing 2) the seller wasn’t willing to do whatever we needed to do to stage it.

Of the three listings that I signed this week there were some interesting facts that agents should pay attention to.

  • The first listing I signed this week had talked to other agents and actually had saved a post card from another agent in her kitchen drawer. She held onto it for months knowing that she would be selling. This is one of two condos the couple will be selling this year. They listed with me because I provide home staging services and the other agent never even brought the subject up.
  • The second listing had actually been previously with the co-listing agent and had expired. The seller wasn’t interested in doing more than a month-to-month extension until she brought me in and we discussed staging. We now have a new contract with enough time to get the job done.
  • The third listing met with another Realtor. Like the first listing this week, that agent didn’t offer staging services, which is interesting because I actually occasionally do consultations for that agent. I know that I don’t provide consultations for all of their listings, which I always find interesting. Clearly this time his pick and choose methodology didn’t work. Since they also want me to find them a new place to live, that’s a double loss for that agent.

Realtors have missed the boat. Sellers will stage if they understand the value.

I know that not all Realtors have missed the boat. In Charleston I had a staging business that had mid six figures in sales every year. That doesn’t happen without having loyal Realtors who believe in what you do. Here in Jacksonville/St Augustine, the agents only stage selectively, if ever. Sellers, on the flip side, seem to want this service. I’m sure it has something to do with what they see on HGTV and other design channels.

When Realtors make the decision that sellers don’t want to spend the time or money, they are not doing them a favor. For now, I’m content to get ahead of the curve and leave them in the dark.

It’s my decision because I’m the home staging expert.

Today I met with a new potential client. In the beginning there were red flags that were jumping around waving in my head. I was reminded of a couple of jobs that have gone poorly in the past years of my home staging career. This one has all the right ear marks. Fortunately I think that I was pretty clear at the appointment and if I still get the job, the duties will all be understood.

No you can’t pick the pieces I’m using in this home staging job.

home staging certification class expert

When customers initially have their own ideas of what the room should look like, including what color the sofa should be, what kind of dining table and chairs there should be, and the size of your silk trees, you know there is a problem brewing. The first time the agents mentioned a suggestion – that she wanted contemporary – I countered back with a question on buyer demographic.

Me: “Who is the buyer?”

Agent: “We don’t have a buyer. That’s why we are hiring you.”

Me: “Tell me about who you think the buyer will be. Will they be retired, young professionals, a family?”

Agent: “Young. Old. You know, it could be anyone.

Ok. I can work in those parameters. It means that I’m going to have to (1) try to do a little research on my own, but this is a new construction community and this is a resale in it. That’s tough. (2) Make sure my plan appeals to most demographics.

So I started talking about some potential furniture choices, then there were more questions. Questions about colors, placement, and art. Should the table be round or rectangular?

At some point I simply had to take off my glasses and have a serious conversation. Where I think I may have been a bit docile before, I was taking over this appointment.

“I know that you haven’t ever worked with me before, and I’m not sure if you’ve worked with another stager. (She hasn’t, but she has seen work I’ve done for her company.) I have 10 years of experience. I’ve staged hundreds of homes. My contract clearly says that when you hire me, you understand that I’m the expert and that I have final say on all design choices, placement, and selections. I will ask questions to try to find out who you think the buyer is, but ultimately it’s my job to make the decisions. The things I hear you asking me about are all designer choices that begin to personalize a space to your taste. Are you buying it? (She smiled and answered no.) I only care about the potential buyer. That’s my job. It means that both you and the seller may not love it. My job is to make the buyer love it.”

I’m the home staging expert, so trust my judgement 

home staging certified stager

I'm the home staging expert!

As a Realtor I regularly experience other agents complaining about how customers don’t listen to their opinion on things like pricing their home. They even use the line, “Like they know better than we do. We only do this for a living.” Right. So why do this with me? I’m the expert. I know how to do this. I teach others how to do this.

Now I wonder if the down right earnestness is going to win over this agent, or turn her off. We’ll see when she comes back with a deal or no deal.  For me, I’m over trying to please everyone. It’s the part that I loved about my job. It’s the part I hate as a Realtor.

Home Staging Training: Rules about Rugs (and when to break them)

In our online home staging training course we discuss many aspects and rules about home decor, including the importance of rugs, and the rules surrounding their use. Rugs can add a lot of interest to a space, define the area, and help to create warmth. Used improperly, rugs can also entirely ruin a design plan.

Rules about rugs in home staging design

For the purposes of home staging (and most design and redesign situations), there are some standards for rug usage.

  • Dining room rugs should be two feet larger than the table in all directions. Considering the average dining room table is 4×6, the average dining room rug should be 8×10 (2 feet in each direction larger). This is large enough to allow diners to sit at the table, keeping all 4 feet on the rug.
  • Living room rugs should be anchored by at least one other piece of furniture than the coffee table. This is often a side chair, or the front two feet of a sofa. When the only furniture piece on top of it is the coffee table, or worse yet, none at all, it feels a bit like Aladdin’s magic carpet that will be ready to take off any moment.
  • Rugs should not be used on top of other rugs. When staging your home, don’t add an oriental on top of carpeting. Not only does it break the room up unnecessarily, it also may leave buyers wondering if there are stains underneath.
  • Unless you are in an apartment or very small space, area rugs smaller than 6×9 should be avoided. They are too small.
  • If floating a seating arrangement in a large room, the rug should be large enough that all the furniture sits upon it. This will help to define the space. Smaller rugs actually lend the idea that the furniture float is awkward.
  • Rugs should never splilt the visual plane. Generally this happens in door ways or the path through a room. The dining room is often a common area for this. If an 8×10 rug will cut into the walk way around the table and chairs, such that when you walk, one foot is on the rug and one on the hardwood floors, or if you have to stand close to the wall and walk around the rug, then remove it. It doesn’t work in the space.
Looking at this before photo, you can see that it indeed follows nearly all of the rules above (except rug size and possibly the last rule regarding splitting the visual planes, but that is assuming that anyone can actually walk between the side of the sofa and the slip covered chair to the right).
rules to follow for rugs when home staging training

Home staging rules get broken

As I often advise my home staging students when I’m teaching classes, there is an exception to every rule. Rules are made to be broken. Home staging is no exception.

home staging training rules about rugs

The after photo breaks many of the rules of using rugs. The rugs is not anchored by any other furniture. It’s even smaller than the previous rug which was already too small. Clearly even with the rules broken, this is a better choice both in area rug and furniture placement.

  • Switching out the rug to a smaller rug allowed for traffic to flow through the space without having to step on and off the rug. If the rug had been larger it probably would have encroached into traffic patterns, making the space feel crowded.
  • The red broke up the monotonous sea of blue, drawing your eye to the beauty of the hardwood floors.
  • Not anchoring the rug with additional furniture, helped keep the eye moving to the back of the space, showcasing how large the space was. Adding another chair to the side would have been great for conversation, but would have broken the movement of the eye.

Karen Otto of Home Star Staging, the home stager for this space, did a great job of transforming it. The room no longer feels cluttered and dated. Instead it feels bright and welcoming. She understood that even in breaking the rules, she was doing the right thing for this property and the customer’s budget. Knowing when to follow the rules and when to break them is a sign of understanding the purpose of the rules, not just following a formula or template – the mark of a true professional.

To learn more about home staging in the Plano, TX area, please contact Karen Otto of Home Star Staging.

The Ultimate Linen Closet Organization Guide

As a professional home stager, I love great organization techniques. I really wish that I used more of them in my own home, but I’m getting better. Someday maybe I’ll become Alejandra, but probably not. That said, when selling, after we reduce our closets to the minimum that we really need to keep in there, they need to be extremely organized. There are many reasons for keeping well organized closets, most of which end up revolving around the idea that you will in fact get more for your home. It’s a psychological game, one that you really want to win.

Organizing a small linen closet

This is a helpful video from Alejandra on organizing a small linen closet. I love the ideas of keeping your sheets in baskets with small labels on them so that you always know the size and the messy look of the fitted sheet doesn’t muddy up an otherwise beautiful space.

While it may seem like spending this kind of time organizing a linen closet is a waste of time when you are selling your home and there is so much to do, the truth is that once buyers are inside the home, white glove clean and well organized will do more for receiving good offers than almost any other activity.

How to perfectly fold your towels

Whenever you look through Pinterest, Houzz, or any other photo gallery of beautiful bathrooms and laundry rooms, you’ll find stacks of beautifully folded, luxurious towels. There isn’t much magic here, but there is a fair bit of psychology. Learn what the folded towel really says to home buyers, then use the video below to help you create it.

How to fold the perfect fitted sheet

Now that you’ve got a plan for organizing your linen closet and you know how to fold the perfect towel, it’s time to learn how to fold the perfect fitted sheet. Even if you are going to store it in a basket, it’s still a neat trick to learn (especially if you are a home stager and may have to fold several of these on a daily basis).

There, now you know how to have the best looking linen closet of any other home potential buyers will use. If I could make a suggestion though, if your home isn’t for sale, you should start implementing these techniques now. One, you’ll actually get to enjoy how great your spaces look before you sell your home and two, you’ll have less to do when the time comes.

Learn more closet organization tips.

Teaching 50+ yr old potential sellers Home Staging

Today I taught my first home staging class at the University of North Florida (UNF) I’m teaching for an organization called OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). OLLI is specifically designed for students over 50 years old who want to continue learning. This class wasn’t my typical home staging class where I’m teaching them to become home stagers, but rather I’m teaching potential sellers who want to know how to maximize their equity.

Home staging class teaches students how to prepare their homes for sale

I think my personal favorite part of the class was watching the light bulbs go on in their heads as we discussed the importance of home staging when selling. Many of the students have not sold in 10 years or more. Most of them admitted to already looking at homes for sale on or other online home sites. When we discussed the importance of the photos, they often added in discussions on some of the homes that they had seen.

Selling faster is nearly always better

One of the lessons that I was able to make pretty clear, and seemed to really sink in with the students is that selling your home faster is almost always better. Sure, some sellers are not in a hurry and find that selling for a higher price is really what is important to them. What I try to teach is that selling faster usually equates to higher offers. The offer on day 3 is usually much better than the one on day 30.

home staging classes for 50 and older students

Staging is not decorating, it is marketing

This is an important distinction in my book. While we make homes look pretty, that’s not our main goal. Our goal is to maximize the return on investment of our home sellers and to make the home inviting to home buyers so they will connect with it. While we typically recommend that the home be neutral and free of clutter or distractions, it can’t be sterile. Warmth is an important part of the selling equation.

Professional photos are an important ingredient in selling the home

One of the students asked about this. Their agent told them that they take good photos and don’t need professional ones. I mentioned that some agents do take great photos, but most do not take professional quality photos. Having never seen their agent’s photos I asked what they looked like. They had never actually seen the photos.

This leads me to the last big lesson of today’s 1.5 hour class…..

It’s important to interview your agents carefully

Too often home sellers leave the sale of their biggest investment to a family member, friend, or someone down the street. The average buyer decides within one minute of entering the home to either stack up the reasons on why they like a home or don’t like a home. You either have them at hello, or they will give reasons to say goodbye. The average buyer spends less than 12 minutes in a home. They base the biggest purchase of their financial portfolio in less time than they spent watching a sitcom or thumbing through a magazine.

When deciding which agent to hire, they need to consider the marketing skill of their agent. What advice can they give you on preparing your home for sale (or better yet, do they recommend a professional stager)? What do their listing photos look like? What do their marketing pieces look like (flyers, online media like social media, blogs, etc)?

Today a listing agent needs to do more than simply put the listing in MLS and letting it feed into the plethora of IDX sites. They need to MARKET their listings. Staging is one of the many marketing tools that they have at their disposal. Actually staging is probably the biggest best marketing tool they have. Staging also probably has the biggest return on investment.

So what did I learn in my home staging class?

I remember how much I love teaching. I remember the excitement of talking to sellers and seeing the light bulb turn on. I also learned that no matter the age of the seller that they are willing to learn and implement the strategies if they truly understand why we want them to. So, I look forward to my 2nd OLLI class next week. I can’t wait to find out what new questions they have for me.

Encinco Home Staging by Instructor Annie Pinsker Brown

SAR’s home staging training classes are offered by instructors who are well known and still working in the home staging industry. Annie Pinsker Brown, who works in the Greater Los Angeles with her company Stage to Sell, is a prime example. Stage to Sell is one of the busiest home staging companies in the area.

Home Staging by Annie Pinsker Brown

stage to sell home staging los angeles caWhile you can see a wide sampling of Annie’s work on her Stage to Sell Facebook fanpage, or her company website, I’m always happy to be able to occasionally highlight our instructor’s work here on

This particular home seemed an exceptional example because of the fact that it was occupied, not vacant. While Annie does a lot of vacant homes, and even has a Vacant Property Specialist designation course available, it is often the occupied homes that really impress me. It takes talent, with a touch of psychological counselor to really understand how to transform a home that someone lives in into a model style home. This is one of the reasons that she is such a good home staging instructor. She does this seamlessly and is able to pass that skill along to her students.

6138 Jamieson, Encino Home Staging

Stage to Sell had this to say about this home on their fanpage, “Just staged another occupied home today. This gorgeous Encino home is totally move-in ready. I consulted with the homeowner a couple of months ago to help guide her in cost effective renovations that would help her maximize her sales price. She did an amazing job with the renovation and we went in today to put on the finishing touches.”


Annie Pinsker Brown, a top industry home staging professional

As one of the best known home stagers in the industry, Pinsker Brown has created a model of what a home staging business can be. To learn more on how to create a successful home staging business, consider mentoring and coaching sessions with her, or take her Vacant Staging Class.

Can home staging classes teach you to run a successful business

One of the most common questions for existing home stagers is whether or not a home staging class really helps you to become a successful stager. It is difficult to answer because no home staging class can do the work, but the right one can teach you where to begin and what to put your time, energy, and resources into to make the most of what you have.

Will home staging classes teach you about business or decorating

home staging class certificationStaging and Redesign’s home staging classes teach both business and decorating. I don’t think you can run a successful home staging business without understanding both. I will say that we focus more attention on business because we tend to feel that most people who decide to break into the business feel that they are already good decorators. Now they want to figure out how to put that skill to work to earn an income.

If a course is focused solely or even primarily on decorating, then it might be a really fun class, but it’s unlikely to translate into a viable business. Part of any good home staging class should provide information on billing, contracts, how to determine your rates, what to charge for inventory rental (or whether having inventory is even a good idea for you). You should also fully understand how to talk to agents, how to talk to customers, how to brand and market your business, and how to use past business to create future business.

Our home staging classes combine business and decor

Here is what Staging and Redesign’s 13 module online home staging class will cover:


Once you’ve taken all 13 of our online class modules, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. We’ll still be there for you though. With our private Facebook group, students can talk to instructors and past graduates to help them field questions about working in today’s industry and real estate market. If you run into a challenging situation, you’ll have a community of problem solvers who have already been there.

Hands on learning and mentoring

Of course if you are one of those people who feels that they need hands on learning and mentoring, we have options for you as well. After taking your 13 module online course, we can connect you with one of our home staging professionals in your area where you can work with them on the job, or enroll in regular mentoring sessions by phone. Our plan allows you the flexibility you need, with industry names you can trust.

Call or email us for more information 904-466-2093.  Register for your online home staging classes here.

Beginner and advanced online home staging classes

Whether you are ready to become a home stager, or take your staging company to the next level, our online home staging classes can help you succeed. All of our classes are taught by experienced professionals who actively run their own staging company.

Beginner online home staging classes

If you are ready to become a home stager, our Certification Course is where you’ll want to begin. This 13 module class will take you from design ideas to branding, to business.

home staging class certificationOur 13 module online home staging class includes:

View the detailed course outline for our 13 module online home staging class.

Best of all our online home staging class is only $695

Advanced online home staging classes

Vacant Property Specialist- Our online vacant home staging class is the only one in the industry. Here you’ll learn everything you need to know to focus your business on the lucrative area of vacant homes. Taught by Annie Pinkser Brown, this four part course will help you decide whether owning or renting furniture is right for you and how each of these options work. You will learn how to properly bid and bill vacant home staging jobs and what forms to use.  Only $595

Create a business plan workshop- This online workbook will help you understand the process of creating a business plan and take you step by step to create your own.  Only $149

Curb Appeal Confidence- The only home staging class of its kind. Taught by curb appeal specialist Michelle Molinari, this class will help you understand the language of home and garden exterior. Find out which changes are most economical, how to help find suppliers and work with contractors. Only $149

Team Building for Growth & Success- If you are considering adding team members to your staging company this is the course for you. Taught by Linda Barnett, you will understand whether an independent contractor or employee is right for you, as well as rules and procedures you may want to consider. Only $149

Presentation Poise- Learn how to speak to groups with confidence. If you are ready to speak to real estate offices or host lunch and learns, this is the course that will help you succeed. Learn which body language habits you may need to avoid and which ones to adopt. Only $59

Real Estate Photography- If you re ready to improve your home staging portfolio, then consider this online home staging class. Broken into four modules, you can take the entire course or just the modules that you need. From $79 – $199

Home staging classes for where you are in business

Staging and Redesign is the only online staging training company that addresses classes for both beginning and experienced stagers. Because we are actively working in the industry, not just in training, we understand where you business has been and where it can go. Our instructors run some of the top producing and profitable businesses in the industry. Isn’t that who you want to learn from?