No Stage, No Play

Posted by: Carl Medford on January 27th, 2009

Although, in Shakespeare’s words, “All the world’s a stage,” in the world of theater, a play is rather hard to enact without a stage. It’s been tried over the years, but traditional theatergoers prefer a conventional stage.

And so do homebuyers.

GREAT. Yet another blog on staging, you say. One more appeal to get sellers to pay money they don’t have to sell their home in a market that’s upside down like the Poseidon. Why bother? Haven’t we heard it all?

In the immortal words of Bullwinkle the Moose, “BUT WAIT! There’s more!”

The three pillars of a successful sale are: Preparation, Promotion and Price. Of the three legs, price is without question the most important of the three. Using the Pareto Principle, price actually accounts for 80% of a successful sale. Currently, discount pricing reigns supreme as REOs are flooding into the market like water through the cracked levees of New Orleans. How can a normal seller HOPE to float a normal sale against the incoming surge of lower priced homes?

Believe it or not, there are buyers out there who don’t want an REO.

They aren’t “handi” types. They don’t have the will or desire to “make the house their own.” They can’t “see the potential” and quite frankly, aren’t interested. And not everyone has the Martha Stewart gene for using a twisted fork as a curtain tieback. Many of these buyers are actually willing to pay more to buy a nice house that’s ready to move into.

Scratch most REOs off your list.

This is where an understanding of buyer psychology is critical. Sellers need to realize thatbefore buyers visit their listing they’ve already been shopping. And not for homes, either. They’ve been to Pottery Barn, Ashley Furniture, Crate & Barrel and more. They already have all the furnishings picked out for their new digs. They know what colors they like. You get the idea. Savvy sellers and their agents understand what buyers are looking for.

A place that ALREADY feels like home.

THEIR home. The one they want to live in. A home that resonates with them from the very first moment they walk through the front door. A home that has effectively been prepared to be a “stage” upon which they can live out the drama of their lives. Make no mistake about it: when you stage your home, you are trying to connect with the psyche of potential buyers. You are trying to manipulate their emotions and excite them into action. Just like a fine actor works the audience when you go to the theater.

If a seller wants to compete in today’s market with REOs and come out ahead, staging is not an option. Sellers have to remove Price as the primary consideration -– in other words, they have to attack the 80% (Price) with the remaining 20% (Preparation and Promotion): and they have to win.

And they can – if done well. I‘ve actually seen buyers walk around and stroke the furniture in a well staged home. That caress is a touch of identification. New home builders know this all too well – if you’ve been to one of their showrooms lately you’ll understand that even in these depressing times, their model homes sizzle.

Only good stagers need apply.

This is not for the faint of heart or the not-so-skillful. You need a stager who is at the top of their game and understands the psychological makeup of the buyers you are targeting. One with an eye for making rooms pop. If done right, the staging in a seller’s home will resemble a Tony Award winning production, alongside of which the “reality shows” of REOs will pale in comparison. And get equally poor ratings.

No stage? No play. No sale, either.

To see the impact that home staging may have on your home’s resale value, try Home Sale Maximizer .



13 Comments on “No Stage, No Play”

Patricia Ebrahimi

Bravo! Bravo! Well done, encore! Perfect analogy, perfectly written into a true scenario today. I am about to blog about such an unstaged home. The difference, though, is that my sons bought the home…at a HUGE discount because their mother (and father, to be fair) pointed out its potential, which they couldn’t quite see.

Karen Dembsky

I really enjoyed this post — the hundreds of clients I serviced last year would smile and nod in total agreement with this!

Kathy Nielsen

What an incredible and well written post. I loved the tag line “No stage? No. Play. No sale, either.

Annie Pinsker-Brown

Great post – well written and right on target. Thanks for pointing out the importance of Staging. Good to know the stats about price being 80% and preparation/promotion being 20%.

Atlanta real estate

This is very true and applies to each and every real estate market I have ever come across. Nice article!

Margaret Oscilia

So true — we believe that unless you want to receive offers from the bargain hunters, you need to appeal to those buyers who are longing to find a home to fall in love with, a home that will become their haven! Well written and is in line with our experience – in any type of market!

Stayci Fast

So true about hiring a Stager that understands the targeted buyer profile for the property. Staging a home with the wrong decor is worse than keeping the home vacant. Thanks for this post.

Jean Curley

Great article, thanks for your viewpoint. I simply tell my clients that not staging their home is like going to an interview in your pajamas, and then they get it!

Cindy Bryant

Great article! All homes need to be staged, decorated ones included, because they have been personalized to the homeowners taste, not the target market buyers taste. And yes, psychology plays a huge roll in all aspects of buying and selling a home.

Terrylynn Fisher

100% agreement with this post, location you can’t change but proper pricing and staging can seal the deal…good article. Would love to distribute this to my list of home staging professionals. Or we could add you to our site?? What do you say, giving credit of course.

Jessica Gopalakrishnan

Hi Terrylynn – Thanks for your comment! Glad you liked the post. Yes, please feel free to share this article with others via email or social sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

If posting to a website or blog, please only refer to the title with a hyperlink back to our site (as to not replicate the article content).

We also offer a widget for your website that links to our Home Sale Maximizer tool. Find the widget here: and the Home Sale Maximizer tool here:

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Carl Medford

Here is another post that may be helpful as well.

Allegra Dioguardi

Excellent article! It supports what I have been saying for over a year now. The bar on Home Staging is being raised (just as it was in the model home industry when I first got into it years ago). The best Home Stagers, who understand the psychology behind designing to sell and who have excellent design skill are poised to be very successful.
Once you experienced a professional Home Staging, there is no going back.

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