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There’s a Difference Between Decorating & Staging - A BIG Difference!

There’s a Difference Between Decorating & Staging - A BIG Difference!

Staging vs decorating

 

I feel like I’ve shared this tidbit before but, for the life of me, can’t find my post! Regardless, it’s worth repeating…

 

Have you ever noticed that decorators have a tough time putting the kibosh on ‘designing’ homes they are prepping for sale? Everyone knows a decorator/designer and many times when I suggest a stager, I hear, “Oh my BFF is a decorator - I’ll have her come in and help!” 

 

It’s just NOT the same! I belong to a very large city group and was recently tagged on a post by a homeowner who has now listed their house. It is in a neighborhood that I had a buyer looking but, they weren’t ready to list when my buyer was ready to buy. Now they have had to reduce the price and she is reaching back out to everyone who showed any interest. 

 

I opened the ad and felt like I was looking into one of those psychedelic posters from the 70’s! Now, the décor was fabulous and certainly not from the 70’s but, there was so much ‘stuff’ that I couldn’t even see the rooms. The beautiful tchotchkes were everywhere…and as mesmerizing as a psychedelic poster! 

Psychedelic Poster

Instead of “Oh my goodness, I love your house,” there were dozens of comments, asking about particular pieces of furniture and many of the tchotchkes the readers loved. The commenters wondered if she would sell those items before she moved. 

 

Others were asking who her decorator was! To me, that one question is a sure sign that the house (which is what is actually being sold here) is being overlooked.

 

There is a HUGE difference between decorating and staging; when you’re selling, you don’t want the former! The explanation that I give my sellers with decorator friends is that the more items a decorator sells to you, the more money they make. Stagers are minimalists; their job is to show off your house, not your STUFF. Staging is about creating ambiance and appeal for buyers - not about showing off the décor - the froufrou isn’t sold with the house! 

 

© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | CharlotteBroker@icloud.com | There’s a Difference Between Decorating & Staging - A BIG Difference!

The Maxwell House Group Charlotte NC

 

  Charlotte NC Homes for Sale

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Charlotte CRS Agent


Debe Maxwell, Realtor®/Broker/CRS

RE/MAX Executive

CharlotteBroker@icloud.com
Direct:  (704) 491-3310

 

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Comment balloon 61 commentsDebe Maxwell, CRS • May 19 2020 04:30AM

Comments

Morning Debe.

In all my years, which isn't that many compared to most that I follow, I've only seen one home that was staged.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) 12 days ago

A great comparison.  I did not ask one client that proudley displayed a human skull on their living romm shelf who their decoratior was.  The answer was pretty clear.

Posted by Rick Frissell, aka "The Red Baron of Real Estate" (HomeXpress Realty) 12 days ago

Good morning, Debe Maxwell, CRS a staged home is at the top of the list of things to do in preparation for the photographer and future showings.... 

Staging is about creating ambiance and appeal for buyers - not about showing off the décor - the froufrou isn’t sold with the house! 

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) 12 days ago

This is such a concise explanation of the difference between a stager and a decorator that every homeowner should read. Thanks for sharing. 

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC (Keller Williams Capital Properties) 12 days ago

Excellent point.

Posted by Foster Smith Summerville, Summerville & Charleston Homes for Sale SC Realtor (Carolina One Real Estate) 12 days ago

Good morning Debe Maxwell, CRS ,

You have nailed it! There is a big difference between working with a decorator and a stager. When selling your home it's all about creating a lifestyle and showing off the features of the home to the fullest! Congratulations on a well deserved featured post!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) 12 days ago

Yes, decorating can cause distraction. That's not the point of staging a home.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) 12 days ago

Hi Debe Maxwell, CRS,

 

I feel that it is very important that when you want to sell your house, that you want to de-clutter it and show it in the best lght possible.  If they are serious about wanting to sell, then they should stage the house.

Posted by Jeffrey Richman, Creative Real Estate Specialist (Immediate Home Solutions) 12 days ago

Good morning Debe. A good decorator and a good home stager are most often juxtaposed. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) 12 days ago

Oh my goodness, that is the 'norm' here, James Dray! Now, not a lot of staging is going on because showing totally vacant homes has fewer restrictions. But, when return to 'normal' (if you will), we'll get back to mostly staged properties. 

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

Hi Rick Frissell! Umm...yes, I'd say you know who that decorator was! I hope they removed it for showings?!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

Hello Debe - a common confusion.  "Know" your audience.  Decorating/Design showcases your preferred taste and staging a home for sale is meant to attract potential home buyers.  

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 12 days ago

Indeed! The tchotchkes are packed up nicely BEFORE the photographer arrives - for sure!

And, thank you, Barbara Todaro! Happy Tuesday!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

Hi Lise Howe! I was blown away that the home hadn't gone under Contract yet - it's in a highly desirable community and have been totally renovated - and beautifully done too. Then I saw the photos! They just have SO many decorator items filling every nook and cranny, you almost can't see the floors!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

Thank you, Foster Smith Summerville! Have a wonderful day!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

Thank you so much, Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR! It absolutely IS about creating a lifestyle - for the potential buyers! Once you move, you can 'show off' your taste with your decorator touches!

Happy Tuesday, Dorie!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

Hi Debe - couldn't agree more!!! I've been in so many homes that have been professionally decorated and were lovely. However they were also designed to fit the taste of the homeowner. 
Staging uses similar design principles but must suit a broader audience. 
I have had many agents tell me it doesn't need Staging because they had a premiere designer when the house was built 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 12 days ago

You nailed it, Kat Palmiotti! Distraction is a great term to use - and it's often distraction to the point you've completely taken off of the house you're trying to sell!  

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

I couldn't agree more, Jeffrey Richman! Stage it, price it right and it WILL sell!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

Good Morning, Wayne Martin - YES, starkly! 

Have a wonderful day!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

Oh, that's perfect, Michael Jacobs - 'know your audience' - I'm going to use that one. It's spot-on!

Happy Tuesday!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

YES! That is often what I get too, Kathy Streib! I love working with decorators when they are building a home but, I remind them, when we are ready to sell, some of the choices will have to be toned down a bit.

Looking forward to seeing you in a few hours!! 😘  

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 12 days ago

Great point and excellent explanation Debe Maxwell, CRS

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) 12 days ago

Excellent explanation!  Thank you!

Posted by Deb McGuire CNE, ABR, SRS (Keller Williams Capital Partners) 12 days ago

Great explanation!  I always tell sellers the home they live in (decorator) is not the house they put on the market (stager).

Posted by Shirley Coomer, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az (Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living) 12 days ago

 

 

Brilliant post/explanation Debe !

 

Posted by marti garaughty, a highly caffeinated creative type... (garaughty.com) 12 days ago

Hi Debe Maxwell, CRS - Congrats on the feature!  I do agree with what you are saying and have seen this to be true more times than not.  But there are some exceptions to the rule.  I happen to know a decorator that takes a minimalistic approach to decorating.  In fact, I listed and sold her home without changing one thing. I could walk in and sell her new home right now ...again, not changing one thing. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Realty) 12 days ago

Hi Debe:

There is some wise advice here. I think the different objectives stagers and decorators have is the key to success is making a hose show well for selling (not showing off), although there are probably some exceptions.

Jeff

 

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) 12 days ago

Yes, staging is about engaging and narrative and direction and conveying a feeling especially in the Feng Shui tradition in my case.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) 12 days ago

Hello Debe,  Great blog and so true and some people taste may be so wrong but that why I recommend the pros.  Can I reblog this soon?

 

Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) 12 days ago

Good afternoon Debe Maxwell, CRS -  what a great explanation and a great topic for today.  Kathy Streib did a great job.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) 12 days ago

Oh Debe, humorous but not for owner, yet so true. Buyers who were taken down the road of nostalgia intrigued by 70s decor, while unfortunate homeowner hadn't figured out that stuff adds another layer for buyers already dealing with decisions on their plate without adding this mental gymnastics of separating out decor and nostalgia from usable space for their needs.  Homeowners must realize this isn't as quick and easy for buyers as it might sound.  It's understandable owner has trouble viewing their beloved decor as hurdles for buyers to get past but hope this owner has now managed to clear the decor obstacles and buyers can "see" the true value. Hard lesson if homeowner lost a sale from this mistake.

Posted by Kris Collis, Associate Broker, Professional Results you Expect 702-574-8102 (Smart Way America Realty) 12 days ago

Good reminder, I have a friend who is a desinger and she never wanted to stage, but she recently called to say she is considering staging as an adjunct to her designer business. We will see, as you say the two are very different.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 11 days ago

Totally agreed Debe!  There is a HUGE difference between staging to sell and decorating to live there HUGE!

 

                                                   Featured in BananaTude!

 

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) 11 days ago

Debe it is tough for some homeowners to see the difference, and need to realize there is a difference how a house is decorated for our own use, and how it is decorated or staged to appeal to others.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) 11 days ago

Thank you so much, Scott Godzyk! Hope you're having a great week!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

Thank you, Deb McGuire CNE, ABR, SRS

Happy Tuesday!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

Great line, Shirley Coomer and I couldn't agree more!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

Well, thank you so much, marti garaughty! It was nice to hear Kathy's presentation today - wish you could have joined us. Maybe next Tuesday?!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

Thank you, Sheri Sperry - MCNE®! I totally agree with minimalistic decorators - and living! I recently had exactly the same experience - and didn't even see the house before listing it! We did a virtual walk-through tour and there was not one tchotchke ANYwhere! And, guess what? It sold in a hot New York minute and with multiple Offers. I'm sure yours did too!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

Indeed - there are always exceptions, Jeff Dowler, CRS! As Sheri Sperry - MCNE® pointed out, when you have a decorator who is a minimalist, being their listing agent is a dream! 

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

You know it better than anyone, Laura Cerrano! We would love to chat with you about leading a call on Feng Shui in an upcoming meeting. What do you think? 

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

I'd be honored if you re-blogged this one, Will Hamm! And, yes, some taste is so personalized, you HAVE to get rid of it - with an expert, of course!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

Funny but, I received the link to the house in the post on Saturday and I immediately wrote this post. I didn't get it posted until last night - perfect timing for today's meeting, Grant Schneider! I'm so glad you are joining us and I totally agree, Kathy knocked it out of the park!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

I completely agree with everything you said, Kris Collis, Associate Broker. It is sad for the seller - they have a fabulous house. Sadly, the sister agent either didn't know to tell her seller to de-clutter (literally) the over-the-top decorator trinkets or didn't have the heart. Sellers need someone who will give them the truth and offer them professional advice/management so that they don't HAVE to think or worry about it. 

And, it has been a hard lesson but, I don't think anyone has told them yet - the house is still on the market...and should have sold in the 'coming soon' status if staged properly!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

I agree, Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 but, if you understand the concept, a 'decorator stager' might be one heck of an expert to market for home sellers! 

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

You're so right, Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!  The difference is HUGE, indeed!

And, thank you for the BananaTude feature - I'm honored! 😘

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

You know, we take for granted, our knowledge of this, don't we, George Souto? We often need to break down our professional knowledge to a more elementary teaching moment for our clients.

There's a big difference and, you're so right, they rarely know that. They rely on us to properly coach them through this!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

haha, not only does the frufru not go with the house, if the tastes don't click it's such a turn off for so many buyers who can't see past it.  I feel like people all must do what my clients do and "nickname" homes they see.  And honestly when one gets the "all the creepy clown photos" house it's not likely I'm showing it again. to anyone. 

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) 11 days ago

Debe, However, my husband would complain that our house is staged (not to live in!). I don't agree :)

Posted by Wendy Rulnick, "It's Wendy... It's Sold!" (Rulnick Realty, Inc.) 11 days ago

Dear Debe,

So true. You decorate to your own taste with tidbits that mean something in your life. Unlikely that the potential buyer will have had the same life, so you need to edit out most things and reduce it to beds, sofas & side boards, just to show what fits in the house.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) 11 days ago

That is so true, Tammy Lankford, about the tastes not being the same. And, I have 'warned' other clients of the house with the 'distasteful' décor before. Oftentimes that is a sign of the sellers they'd be working with too!!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

We are currently moving out of our home, Kat Palmiotti - to have our hardwoods refinished. Having to empty out china cabinets and other chests, etc. of things I haven't seen in 5 years, I have a sense that I'll be minimizing when we get back home and start putting things back together again! I thought I was good about not holding onto things but, I am SUCH a sentimentalist!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

Right, Dörte Engel! I agree - with a touch of greenery and an item or 3 to conservatively decorate. One thing Kathy mentioned in her class yesterday was not to make it too sterile - you want them to feel 'at home' and need a little something. I'm going to have to go back and check one of mine that I recently 'guided' in the de-cluttering department! LOL

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 days ago

Hi Debe,  Great point!  Never really thought about it.  It makes great sense!  Hopefully, more people heed your wisdom!

Posted by Mike Bjork (Pinnacle Home Loan) 11 days ago

Congratulations on your feature recognition.

This is very good information to share with prospective home sellers.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) 11 days ago

Great explanation and these points were well made by Kathy Streib in this week's AR Zoom. 'Your house is lovely, who was your designer' are not words  I like to hear!

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) 10 days ago

Hey Debe,
Decorating should definitely be reserved for the owner's personal preference while they live in the home... not when they're trying to sell.  I'm in the minimalist camp for staging while selling.

BTW: How in the world did the spelling of tchotchkes  get established? I had to look up the proper pronunciation.  LOL
chaach·keez 

Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) 10 days ago

I agree 100%. the decorators that I've known tend to make the rooms look small and it doesn't help to sell the home.

Posted by Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc (Benchmark Realty LLc) 7 days ago

"Stagers are minimalists; their job is to show off your house, not your STUFF."  That sentence expresses it so perfectly, Debe. 

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 4 days ago

Hi Debe Maxwell, CRS  you are right, leave the staging process to the professionals!

Posted by Abby Stiller, Professional Bilingual Realtor (239) 284-8637 (REMAX Realty Group) about 9 hours ago

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