Friday, January 29, 2010


WHO is a HOME TYPICAL STAGER? by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP, Owner, Sensational Home Staging serving the Greater Denver Region

I am! I am! Are you?  We have many versions of "us" out there, and based on the thousands that have entered the market over the last decade, and the many hundreds if not thousands I have met, I find out in class, at conventions, at meetings, and online - what people's backgrounds are and how they got into Staging.

The results of my informal but experienced survey may surprise you!

I offer up my profile of the "typical Home Stager." And by typical - I don't mean "average."
She is a woman (although thre are plenty of male Stagers), usually married, typically in her 40's-50's (although we do have more and more younger people entering the field inthe past 3 years and we also have many older women who do a great job!). She is creative. She has had several careers or at least multiple roles within one company over the years. She has been a business owner, lawyer, nurse, teacher, corporate executive, admin, sales person, marketing guru, or even stay at home mom. She is not in physically perfect shape, and she sweats when she Stages. She works hard, likes people, and Stages for the satisfaction of helping others and because she can make good money. She is a mom, grandma, wife, comforter, business entrepreneur and even a child referee.
Let's compare that to the television version of a Stager: There are typcially two types of Stagers shown on TV.

The first typical TV Stager is a man - usually gay - that has no kids but may have pets. He is probably a decorator or designer that has forayed into Staging. He is in his 20's-30's - he Stages houses and is shown with a fabulous inventory to use for his projects. He is funny and fun to watch. He is successful and savvy and has a passion for what he does.

Does that sound like YOU?  I know, me neither.

The other television version of a Stager is a younger woman who is attractive, in nearly perfect shape, and is usually a designer who has not really run a typical Staging business. She has been successful in design and has a great eye for décor, placement. She is smart, sexy and looks good on camera. She has been seen in fashionable attire, high heels, and in some shows, actually wears "work clothes" - slacks, tennis shoes, etc.

Does that sound like YOU?  It's getting closer except for the part about being in perfect shape and being able to Stage in heels (LOL).

One other common element of the TV Home Stager is that they can be portrayed as caustic and rude to the client, which is unfortunate. This is probably for "entertainment" value but ends up giving the wrong impression to the public. Not all shows on TV with Stagers are like this, but there are enough that are that makes it a concern.

Does that sound like YOU?  Definitely NOT!

If you are reading this and like me feel like you cannot relate to who you see on TV as far as them looking like you or Staging like you, know that you are not alone.

In reality, 95% of Home Stagers are primarily women that are creative and looking for a way to have a business and/or add extra income to their family household. We are moms, wives, comforters, and business owners - and we not only run successful businesses, we run a successful household, daycare, love nest, marriage, and more! We spin many plates and manage to be productive despite all the distractions and outside responsibilities we have. We know that most of the TV versions of who we are could not last a week in our shoes.

Now, the MEN that are reading this - I know YOU may watch and feel that you need representation on TV too - for the ways YOU run your businesses and for your background.

The other issue with TV Stagers and shows is that TV has the public believing that all Stagers must have a HUGE inventory of expensive things to be successful. Or they have access to a crew that can build things with ease, and whip up a bookshelf, refinish tables, and remodel the house - all in a day's work! When I was interviewed by a television station for a show, one of their first questions was "how large is your warehouse?" and they wanted pictures. They didn't ask about my success rate as a professional Home Stager or ask to see a portfolio of photos. It's almost as if they are saying, "You cannot be successful if you don't have expensive inventory warehoused in a big place." They were thinking "visual" for the show - not what really happens in a Staging business.

I've "been there -done that" and invested a LOT of dollars into inventory that I used with my clients. However, I know we as Stagers serving the general public day in and day out - without TV crews following us around - can be successful without sinking profits into "stuff." I want to Stage, not run a furniture rental business. I do have inventory, but after having to manage and maintain a large volume of inventory, I'd rather take that time (and money) to find more clients and leave that part up to the rental experts or colleagues that partner with me.

I also don't really hear if the houses on TV sell. Did the Staging do the job? I hear plenty about how great they made the houses look but do these shows actually track statistics that prove their Staging works? If they do - I'd be interested to see them - I don't doubt the houses Sell, but so much emphasis is on how the house "looks" and the "stuff" and not the Sale and the Seller. Outside if it looking "gorgeous" because of all the wonderful stuff brought in, what else can you tell me about the process AFTER the Staging was done?

And what happens when the Seller says they cannot afford to rent or buy things? Do you just walk away because after all it's not entertainment value to have to use old or dated stuff? Or does the TV budget provided cover that aspect? I know there are shows where it just films the Home Stager and the money for the project is negotiated and collected by the Stager, and no other budget is provided by the TV show producer, but for most companies and individuals on the shows, they are getting compensated either up front or on the back end or in some other way for participating in the show.

You might say, "Jennie, What fun is it to Stage with all the old stuff in a house?" The FUN is that it challenges your and my creativity! It's not as creatively challenging to go out and rent or buy things to bring into a house and set them up to look like a magazine. It takes more time and labor to do it that way. The challenge with having to use what a seller has is having to "get out of the box" and tap into creative resources in our minds that we did not know existed! Making a house look wonderful and inviting is the magic of Staging! Making a new use for an item is great! Why is that not shown on TV?

Not everyone can do this - it takes practice and a lots of creativity. I can plan out the interior décor of a house with the best of them. I have set up multi-million dollar vacant houses down to modest small vacant bungalows. Occupied and Vacant houses. Being project manager and selecting the look, style, and placement of all the furnishings is easier from the standpoint that I am in charge and get to pick the colors, style, and placement. Running the project takes skill - and keeping things on track, setting the budget, negotiating with the client and managing the financials is a key part of business ownership.

Having to use what a Seller has in an occupied house is much tougher mentally - but easier on their pocketbook. And let's face it - in today's economy not every Seller is willing to or can afford $5,000+ to Stage their house.

Stagers can specialize and just Stage vacants or just Stage houses where they use inventory, etc. In my opinion, I think that part of the whole package is missing when we only do half of what we could do in the industry. It boils down to personal preference and there is not one "right way" to run a business or Stage. But so far, I am not seeing the other side of Staging that does not involve expensive rental furniture and a designer approach, versus working with what a Seller has with creativity and a reasonable budget.

So Who is a Home Stager?
Really, it's anyone that has a creative passion and the ability to visualize a space in a different way. It's a person that has excellent interpersonal skills, enjoys people, likes networking, knows marketing, and likes calling their own shots. It's a person that likes real estate and Realtors, and is not afraid to dig in and WORK (sweat!). It's a person that knows how to handle and hand-hold Sellers. It's someone that has a flair and individualized taste, but who also knows what the public expects to see when they walk through the door of a house. It's someone that is a good time manager, project manager, and people manager. It's a person that likes the challenge of going after business and reaps the rewards of taking that risk. It can be a man or woman, young or old, any race, any religion, sexual preference, and any educational background.

Does that sound like your resume? If so - you are in the right business!

Staging also does not discriminate. If you have the desire and fire to do something different with your life, and are ready to take on the challenge of building a business - then hang on! You are in for a great ride as you get on or stay on the Home Staging train! Get ready to go places and see things you probably thought you'd never see - big houses, small houses, cluttered houses, empty houses, and a slew of "amazing" things people have in their homes that they just don't understand why they need to pack! Get ready to meet some incredible people and experience the euphoria of a Staging project well done and done well!
I know that has been my story - and I know over time the profile I provided of a "typical" stager WILL change as the business continues to attract all sorts of people to it! How Wonderful!

I AM a Professional Home Stager and I am excited to be part of the next evolution of the Home Stager!- Jennie

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Get in the Zone – the Creative Zone!

Get in the Zone – the Creative Zone! by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP - Owner, Sensational Home Staging

My eyes are heavy and my head has sunk blissfully into my pillow. Another day passed and I am ready for a good night’s slumber . . . and then something odd happens. My brain decides it is not ready for sleep and all these ideas start to flood in. It’s like a door to a creative part of my brain that was not awake (or acknowledged) during the day has been opened. And I HAVE to walk through it.

In the past I did not take advantage of these Creative Surges and would believe I would “remember the message in the morning” only to have the details be a distant memory. The inspired genius idea or thought not to be recovered and perhaps a missed opportunity went with it.

After having this happen to me one time too many, what I learned to do is to have a notebook by my bed for ideas, sketches and thoughts. I have even been known to get up at 2 AM and go to the computer to type what I have in my head – to get it out so that I can rest and go to sleep! Sometimes it takes a few minutes, and other times it has taken a couple of hours – but I have to get it out.

I have done this with business ideas, Staging plans and projects – where I visualizing the end result. I have had this happen when developing a marketing campaign or idea. I have written articles and stories based on Creative Surges. I have had ideas and brainstorms for our family, my life – and been amazed at what clear thoughts or solutions come when I turn off my own conscious thinking.

I remember one of my first Creative Surges happened when I was 18 and was asked to write an article for a magazine. The article was about what it was like being an identical twin on a performance team – which had been my life for 8 years. So I wrote a nice article and went to bed. Then I had a Creative Surge and the entire content and tone of the article completely changed in my head. I got up and wrote and wrote and wrote! The resulting article was so much better and inspired than the original, and the overall tone, message and flow was completely different than the original – and not something I thought I wanted to write. It was not until my mind wandered to my Creative Zone that I was able to envision something totally fresh and new.

I have written blog posts or had ideas floating in my head about something I wanted to share and it is not until I am in a quiet place of rest that my thoughts are free to flow! I have to go to my Creative Zone where my Creative Surges happen. So it reminds me to allow my Creative Surges to happen during the day too . . . get to a place where I am not just “doing” things all the time but to allow myself time to rest, get quiet, even lie down – and let my mind wander.

When is your Creative time and do you let your inner Creative Surge happen? For me “zoning out” is not about tuning out – it’s about tuning IN to my inner creative self – and allowing the “genius” that is in all of us to come out and inspire!

Paper ready, pen poised – Bring on the Creativity! Get in the Zone and watch your inner genius arise!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Home Staging Statistics updated for January 2010 - get your accurate data here!

Once again, (, the industry leader in Home Staging education has provided updated Statistics for Home Staging that show when houses are Staged for sale, they sell up to 5 times faster than the un-staged competition!  That is HUGE in today's market and economy where houses that sit on the market are reduced in price as the only method to attract a Buyer.  This can cost a Seller tens of thousands of dollars.

Meanwhile, the average investment to Stage a house ranges from $300-$2,000 depending on whether the house is vacant or occupied, and whether the Seller does the work or hires the professional Home Stager to do the work.  High end or custom homes that are vacant cost more to Stage because they are larger and/or require unique inventory.

The bottom line:  Save yourself thousands and get your house professionally Staged.  Bring in an ASP Master or an ASP Home Stager to give you an honest assessment of your house's needs in order to get an offer in the shortest time and at the best price based on market conditions.

If you live in the Denver area, call Home Staging expert, Jennie Norris, with Sensational Home Staging at 888-WE-STAGE or email her at

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sensational Home Staging Partners with ERA Agents and the Gold Star Property Program

ERA and ASPs nationwide have partnered up to provide Home Staging services to Sellers as part of the ERA Gold Star Property Program.  In the Littleton area, I am happy to announce I will be offering a 10% discount on Home Staging services as part of this national program.

Link HERE for the downloadable flyer you can share with your fellow agents and clients.

Happy Staging and Selling!


Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP President
Owner & Principal Stager, Sensational Home Staging

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

If Home Staging is in the Main STREAM why are so many Sellers up the CREEK without a paddle?

If Home Staging has gone Main STREAM why are so many Houses still up the CREEK without a paddle?

Home Staging has gone Main STREAM - and yet there are still many houses that are not Staged and listed for sale. WHY?

Based on my experience, it can only be one of two reasons.

1. The Seller does not believe Staging will work to help them get the best price in the shortest time.

2. The Seller has not been told the honest truth about their house.

I know that some people would think “MONEY” – and yet when a Seller understands that “The investment in Staging is less than a price reduction” – they cannot afford NOT to Stage!

When they understand that Staging will help them keep anywhere from 5-20% of their equity (according to the National Association of Realtors) based on their current market conditions, why would they not want to invest in Staging? On average the Staging report that details what the Seller needs to do is about $300. For vacant houses, an average house would be about $2,000 for the Staging installation with an ongoing monthly rental commitment until the house sells. Custom homes or houses that require unique inventory would be more.


Home Gain came out with a recent study for 2009 that listed Home Staging as the second most important activity a Seller can do to get top dollar for their house. The number one activity was de-cluttering – which is part of any Staging plan, so really, Staging is the BEST thing a seller can do to ensure the best price in the shortest time.


The most important part about Home Staging is getting the Seller to consider the BUYER and what they want to see, feel and experience in the house. Sometimes this does require sharing tough messages to the Seller, but when it is couched in kindness, it is easier to receive. And providing them actual help to get the work done is also key.

A professional ASP® Home Stager has been trained to handle clients with kindness, and work within their timeframe and budget to get the Staging completed. This helps everyone involved in the selling process as a Staged house sells faster and at a better price than a comparable un-Staged house.

When you want an honest assessment of your house or property for a client or yourself, you can trust the professional recommendations of Sensational Home Staging and Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP President.

Subscribe to the Sensational Home Staging BLOG.

under: Jennie_Stager