Apparently, A Good Stager Is the Buyers' Biggest Enemy And We May Cost You $5645

Home Stager with Staged4more Home Staging & Redesigns // EcoJoe

You can truly find anything on the internet. Today I found the report How to not get tricked by staging — and potentially save $5,645 when you buy your home (PDF; 1.23 MB) published by National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents.

The gist of the report is that staging is the enemy and a good buyer's agent must steer the buyers away from staged homes, or teach them to look past all the tricks that stagers use to make the home look better than it really is. The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents strongly feels that  staging has become the media darling of real estate industry, with mainstream TV channels such as HGTV running its shows like Designed To Sell to convince people the power of staging. It also has been a dominant topic in the real estate trade magazines and other publications. All these have been campaigned in seller's favor. So NAEBA feels that it must address the buyers' needs by exposing what staging really is and how the buyers can consequently save money when they see past the staging.

In the report, NAEBA outlines "The dangers of home staging from your position as a home buyer"

"NAEBA recommends that buyers remain cautionary about staged homes. In the real estate profession there are an abundance of stories of buyers seeing a staged home, becoming emotionally attached to it, and then paying over market value for the home. This is exactly what you want to avoid as a buyer. The emotional attachment can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

Staging also tries to minimize a home’s shortcomings. This almost always includes using small furniture to make a room look larger, particularly small dining tables and chairs and small bedroom furniture. Watch out for it! Additionally, the survey results indicate that stagers and/or home sellers often use furniture and wall stager had brought in some very nice window coverings. Unfortunately they covered up a broken window that ended up being the buyer’s problem. Often when you see a staged home you might get the impression that if the home looks this good now, it must have been well maintained. This is often false and a potentially dangerous assumption. Many times staged homes take advantage of the staging to cover up deferred maintenance issues and improper construction and repair issues. Do not assume that an attractively presented home has been well maintained.  "

At the end of the report, NAEBA also points out "'Know your enemy' resources from some of America's top staging professionals: Debra Gould’s website  Barbara Schwarz’s website Mary McDonald’s website Audra Slinkey’s website Calie Waterhouse’s website "


I suppose it's a form of flattery that we stagers are considered as public enemy #1 by National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. While I agree with certain parts of the report such that sellers will be able to sell their home faster and potentially for more money, but a lot of it I do not agree with.

The report spent a lot of time explaining that sellers use staging to mask fundamental flaws such as foundation cracks, stains, leakage, etc. which I considered as HIGHLY UNETHICAL on a stager's part, and illegal may I add (at least in California). It is NOT my job as a stager concealing fundamental flaws of the home, nor I should do it because not only I am open myself, my agent client and my seller client to liability and lawsuits, it is something that sellers must disclose while selling. Additionally staging is geared toward buyer's benefits as well.

The staging will help buyers to realize the home's potential by staging tricky floor plan and using furnishing to help guiding the buyers to realize that just because of the room is small, it doesn't mean this is a total waste of space. Moreover, staging helps buyers' agents by assisting the clients finding the home that they want. It will help to add to their commission by closing a higher priced sale. The report also pointed out that buyers get so distracted by the staging, they don't noticed details such as cracked windows or cracks on the wall and they end up buying the house. Excuse me, but isn't it buyers agents' due diligence to notice these types of things as well? And seller must discloses these on the contract (at least in California). Moreover, staged props are generally removed by final inspections. Things such as cracked windows, carpet stains, should be visible in plain sight.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. To view the report, go to  How to not get tricked by staging — and potentially save $5,645 when you buy your home.

Posted by


Cindy Lin, Founder + General Manager
Staged4more Home Staging & Redesigns
Direct: 650-293-7458
Office: 650-589-8875

As featured and seen on HGTV, San Francisco Chronicle, San Mateo County Times, CBS 5 News,, and many other notable presses and publications.

Proud winner of Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur Award, Make Mine A Million, CSP Green Business of the Year and finalists to Innovator of the Year, Stager of the Year Awards from Real Estate Staging Association.

*PSSSS... Want a little saintly help? Check out our sister company EcoJoe, the Original Eco-Friendly St Joseph Home Selling Kit ;


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Joni Van Deventer


What the NAEBA should be telling potential buyers is NEVER BUY A HOME WITHOUT A HOME INSPECTION!!!

I find it absurd that an agency/assoc. can make a claim like that about staqing.  Also I "hazard to guess" but I feel sure legitimate Realtors don't feel this way, everyone should be thrilled that a home is move in ready.  And the number $5,000+, where did they get that price??  Any quality stager would compel the sellers to make repairs.  FSBO has gotten crazy and I have tried it, only if a person is paying cash is it worth it, IMO. 

Thanks for bringing this to everyones' attention.

August 23, 2007 10:35 PM
Dana Hollish Hill
Vice President & Associate Broker
Buyer's Edge Company, Inc.

Cindy -

I am a member of NAEBA and I was shocked by this article as well. The tone is not in line with my experience, but some of the examples are. I recently sold a home where the home was over staged. There were carpets and furniture hiding all kinds of stains and flaws. There were also hundreds (no joke) hundreds of faux plants in the townhome so it smelled like a fake plant store. I've also seen super short beds set up like double beds that make a room look like it will accomodate more than it really will.

In the end, let's not underestimate buyers. Even if someone is buying their first home and needs guidance when it comes to mortgages, or contingencies, inspections, pricing and negotiating, most buyers are not fooled by staging as much as they use it to imagine the house as a home.   


September 08, 2007 07:57 PM
Dale Campbell
Virginia Real Estate

That is absolutely nuts!  I am an Accredited Buyer's Rep myself and have never heard of such!  Bottom line is buyer beware.  That is why I always recommend to buyers to go through the home top to bottom, using a home inspector.  Material defects must be disclosed unless they are obvious, so I can see the point about covering the foundation cracks, etc., being an issue, but they should be disclosed if material anyway.  I do not think that this article could possibly hurt the staging profession.

Dale Campbell -

September 17, 2007 07:00 PM
Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota
Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm

Wow - didn't see this blog until now but am almost glad as I can also see the comments made by so many Realtors defening staging.  It's seems the general opinion was that the article wasn't really written to degrade but by saying that some Stagers mask fundamental flaws - NOT GOOD!  I think any Stager, Realtor, Inspector or any human being trying to conceal a real problem with a home is un-ethical, won't be trusted, referred and probably won't be in business too long. 

Glad you found the article and passed it along to us Cin! 

All the best,


October 02, 2007 12:02 PM
Debra Gould
The Staging Diva
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.

I read this report too, with great amusement. Clearly their whole objective is to convince prospective home buyers that they need to use an Exclusive Buyer Agent (EBA). After all, isn't that the mandate of the NAEBA?

The fact that they decided to take aim at stagers (and needed to misrepresent what we do in the process), is only further proof that staging works! Clearly in any real estate transaction you have a seller hoping to make as much money as possible and a buyer who wants to pay as little as possible. And clearly, if you're a smart seller you realize that one of the best strategies to use in getting the most for your home is to show it in the best possible way.

There's nothing unethical in staging and staging isn't about hiding damage, it's about creating an environment a buyer will emotionally connect with and imagine themselves living in. 

I have to say I was flattered that Staging Diva was at the top of their "know thy enemy" list! Guess they think I'm good at what I do!

By the way, does anyone for a moment think a real estate agent (who lives on commissions) will say to a client, "I know you love this house and want to buy it, but that's just because it looks great. Forget it, let's go see the ugly house around the corner instead." 


Debra Gould, The Staging Diva



January 16, 2008 03:26 PM
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