When most people think of “home staging” they typically think of an empty home that needs furniture and accessories to bring it to life.  This is what we call ‘vacant staging’ and most stagers who keep furniture inventory will perform this service.  There is also what is often called “occupied staging” where a stager will assist a homeowner to prepare their home for sale.  Many stagers who do occupied staging do ONLY occupied staging and as such, don’t need to keep inventory.  Then there are staging companies who do both (like Showhomes).  So how does occupied staging work?  There are a number of ways that professional stagers can transform occupied homes into amazing properties that will photograph and show beautifully.


Typically occupied staging starts with a consultation.  This is where a stager will walk through the home with the owner (and often the realtor) and discuss what should be done to prep the home for sale.  Recommendations can range from paint colors, flooring changes, updating lighting, and even remodels to simple things like new pillows, furniture moves and window washing. These consultations are often ‘walk and talk’ where the homeowner takes notes, or they come with a written list from the stager.  Rates vary depending on experience and how much you will get from the walk through.  The nice thing about consultations is that a professional stager will address recommended changes from a marketing perspective and are often reinforcing the same thing the real estate agent suggests.  Professional stagers are trained to be convincing but tactful.  Let us be the “bad guy”!


Once a consultation is done, the homeowner may elect to do all the work themselves or they may want (or need) help.  The assistance provided by a stager can take multiple forms but usually includes scheduling a day for the stager (or team) to come and restyle the home for the homeowner.  Some stagers will suggest items for the homeowner to buy that can be used in the restyling.  Other stagers will buy the needed items for you and bring them on staging day.  There are also stagers who will loan items out of their inventory to freshen the home as well.  This is typically restricted to non-soft goods like artwork, decor and sometimes furniture.  They likely wouldn’t provide things like sheets or towels and leave that up to the homeowner (or use what the homeowner already had).


Once the work is done, the recommendation would be to take the professional photos as soon as possible following the staging day.  There are also stagers who offer a ‘photo-prep’ service where they come just a few hours in advance of the photographer to fluff and style a property.


The last piece often provided by a stager is a check list of things to do before each showing.  This will help to ensure that the homeowner is comfortable returning the home to the ‘show ready’ look that the stager created.


It is important to remember that vacant homes are not the only homes that can benefit from the service of a professional stager.