2014-11 Audra-Slinkey-Staging-Mentors-Most-Innovator-Product-or-Service-of-the-Year_edited-1RESA Awards

I’m truly honored and excited to be nominated by RESA as the Most Innovative Product or Service of the year for our Staging Mentors program!  What makes this RESA Award nomination so special  and unique is that it’s not about me…

This nomination is for the many, wonderful, successful, veteran stagers in our industry who generously give their time and knowledge to new stagers in order to elevate the industry as a whole.

I truly believe in learning from those who have tread that path before you and networking with mentors in your field.  The many mentors who I have worked with through the Staging Mentors program have gone “above and beyond” with the insight and knowledge they provide to new stagers while walking them through their staging process.  I have a partial list below of the Staging Mentor I would like to thank but unfortunately cannot list them all since we have so many!


Here’s a recent email I received from a new stager who just got mentored from Sherry Castaldi (who is also nominated for Occupied Stager of Year through RESA!):

Hi Audra, I’d like to take this time to tell you that I had the most fantastic experience with Sherry Castaldi of Organized By Design.  I was able to meet with her on Thursday November 29th to shadow her on a Townhouse occupied  consultation.  Before we met with the homeowner, Sherry and I  were able to meet for coffee to go over her process and what to expect.  Sherry has a proven technique that is simplified, organized and effective.  It’s no wonder her clients refer her to so often.
I can not say enough how helpful this was to me as a new stager.  Sometimes as “newbies” we can feel a bit overwhelmed and alone out there.  Having the opportunity to have someone like Sherry guide me through, show me how to simplify things and more importantly show the value of what we do to the client was invaluable.  I am so glad that when I signed up for the HSR course that I decided to include the additional option to shadow a stager.  It was money well spent.  Thank you for Audra for offering this option to your students. – Susan Thompson, www.ready-set-stage.com

So…a huge THANK YOU to all the Mentors below who made this program possible…


Phoenix and Surrounding Areas – Barbara Hutson and Joellyn Machnics


Los Angeles Luxury Home Staging – Michelle Minch

Roseville/Granite Bay/Sacramento – Lori Polk

Sacramento/Roseville – Ryan Dressel

San Diego Area – Yvonne Marquez


Tampa Bay Area – Veronica Ortiz


Atlanta Area – Paige Earles


Central Illinois/Peoria Area – Tracy Molendi

Chicago Area – Kathleen Sarrett

Chicago NW Suburbs Staging Mentors – Shelly Brucki and Tammy Shimp

Chicago Western Suburbs – Margaret Gehr & Kathy Lobkovich

2014-11 thanksgiving

A Very Unconventional Thanksgiving


The holidays are about family, friends and tradition.  Every Thanksgiving my family gets in our old, trusty, RV and drives down to San Felipe, Mexico to camp on the beach with eight other close families under a huge “palapa”.   The kids spend the week away from anything “electronic” and play board games, beach volleyball, build forts, quad riding, canoeing, rocket launching and lots of card playing.  A “palapa” is a large thatched open-sided structure and this is a picture of ours with my son skateboarding underneath.


We cook all our meals together in the outdoor kitchen and take turns hosting and cooking dinners.  We start each day with a walk on the deserted beach collecting sand dollars and seashells.  Here is a photo of me and my 13 year old son.


2013-11audpix 033

While some of us walk, others choose to go riding on their quads and motorcycles as you can see in the distance of this deserted beach.


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In the afternoon, we go clamming which is a favorite activity for the kids because of the reward of fresh clams in butter, garlic and wine.  Look at this girls wonderful smile while digging through the sand!



On Thanksgiving, each family is responsible for preparing one thing for the meal.  My specialty is desert and I do a crunchy apple crisp that the kids love to help me make!



My Thanksgiving isn’t about pretty tables, dishes or centerpieces…but that may be a part of the reason it’s so special to me!


Thanksgiving under the palapa

Thanksgiving under the palapa

In the evenings, we just sit and watch the beach turn many colors of pink.  Below is a photo of our view and the blue tarp is one of the forts the kids build during that week.


2013-11 057

At night, we crank up the music and dance like no one’s watching or sit around a campfire and tell stories.

Why do I share my Thanksgiving with you?  Because I know yours is filled with special traditions too.  Memories in the making and blessings to be counted.


Wishing you a Thanksgiving filled with more things to be thankful for than you can count!

What special traditions do you have on Thanksgiving?  Is your Thanksgiving unconventional like mine?


Knowing the Business of Home Staging


I love to share stories of personal growth and business success because I know it touches on our basic, core needs: to learn, be needed and to do something important and of value.

Before - www.NancyTheStager.com

Before – www.NancyTheStager.com


Nancy’s story touched me because she was not only surprised by her growth, she was able to truly help a house flipper turn a property that was sitting on the market for 5 weeks into something that sold immediately after she staged it.  According to the recent 2014 home staging statistics, this is no surprise!  Here’s her before-and-after photos and her story:


After - www.NancyTheStager.com

After – www.NancyTheStager.com

Hi Audra,
I wanted to take some time and really digest this journey. When I finally decided to bite the bullet and take the plunge and sign up with Home Staging Resource I had no idea of the personal growth that I would experience. I was always confident in my ability to stage a property. However it was the business side of home staging that really held me back...


Before - www.NancyTheStager.com

Before – www.NancyTheStager.com


Thank you for all you taught me. The major surprise for me was how much my confidence grows every day!

After - www.NancyTheStager.com

After – www.NancyTheStager.com

As you know I did my first job and got hired by the same client to do another house before I finished the first job. When I did finish and the house was listed in sold in 6 days.  They have already hired me to stage the next property they are flipping before it goes on the market.


Before - www.NancyTheStager.com

Before – www.NancyTheStager.com

This industry has changed me in many ways, but the one that is most obvious is that I finally believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to.  I really love the whole process, I love looking at a space and seeing in my mind what needs to be done. I love the shopping and putting everything together, but most of all I love getting the call telling me a property has been sold. That is very satisfying to my soul.


After - www.NancyTheStager.com

After – www.NancyTheStager.com


Thank you again for all you do for the staging industry and more importantly all of us who had a dream and you helped us achieve it!

Thank you Nancy, for your story!  To see more photos by Nancy, go to her website at:  http://www.nancythestager.com.

Our Premise

Bring HSR your natural decorating talent and we’ll show you how to make a successful business out of doing what you love AND are good at!

What will your story be?

Before you jump into a career in staging, take our free video and email series by click on image below!


2014-10-29 - cabinpic

5 Tips for Staging a Colorado Cabin

Who doesn’t dream of owning a cabin in the woods?  This little 698 square foot, 100 year old cabin  in Colorado was so sad until Kimberly Stark of KS Creative Staging in the Colorado foothills got a hold of it.  “It is still Incredible to me that I get paid for having this much FUN!!!” says Kimberly who has staged 6 properties since starting her business in July.   Here’s what the cabin looked like before Kimberly got a hold of it:

Before Staging...so dark and dreary

Before Staging…so dark and dreary


This sweet cabin went on the market on a Thursday, got into a bidding war and sold within 72 hours for OVER asking price!  I’m seeing these kinds of home staging statistics all the time in the 2014 staged housing market.

You can learn a lot from looking at Kimberly’s before-and-after photos, so here is my five tips for staging a Colorado cabin in the woods.


After photo - KS Creative Staging

After photo – KS Creative Staging

1.  Stage for Cabin Style

Staging is an art form and the first thing every professional stager does is get a read on the “home’s integrity” or style.  As you can see from the photo above, this is a classic cabin and has to be staged in that manner.  Staging for the style of the home may seem like common sense but so many times I see the opposite done ie. cottage home staged as a contemporary.  The home will give the stager clues as to how we should merchandise the space and a cabin needs to be staged as such.


KS Creative Staging

KS Creative Staging

2. Use Organic Materials Like Leather, Cowhides, Cottons, Plants and Wood

I can’t think of very many situations where I would recommend staging with a leather sofa BUT in a cabin…it absolutely works!  Here is another view of the leather sofa with cowhide pillow and textured throw which really works in the space.  You can also see how tiny the cabin is, so using a couple pieces and not crowding the space is essential.


After - KS Creative Staging

After – KS Creative Staging

3. Use Lot of Soft Furnishings to Break Up the Wood

You can see from all the photos that Kimberly placed pillows, rugs, place mats, runners and other soft furnishings wherever possible throughout the space.  This helps to break up all the wood or hardness that you see from the before photo.  She also cleverly uses wild flowers from the yard as a prominent display in the room and a reminder to the buyer about what cabin living is all about.

Before Staging

Before Staging

4.  Multipurpose Furnishings to Maximize Space

As you can see, this cabin is TINY, so it’s critical to show buyers that while it’s small, it’s still very livable.   Above is the before photo of the bedroom half of the cabin which you can see would be very hard for the buyer to imagine both a living and bedroom in this space.  Using a futon couch one can see that there is room for a fold out bed and TV watching.

2014-10-29 - cabinb

5. Bring the Outside In and Create Imagination Zones

In the photo above you can see that Kimberly put up all the blinds and really let the light in, as well as displayed the views and greenery from outside.  With a remote cabin in the woods, do you really need privacy blinds throughout?  In the photos below, you can see how she even staged the outdoor area by adding a hammock by the running creek.  What buyer wouldn’t want to take an afternoon nap in that hammock and just “get away from it all”?

2014-10-29 - cabing

Creating harmonious and beautiful spaces is the fun part of being a home stager and redesigner!  Seeing your work get multiple offers and the huge smiles on the agent and seller’s faces is worth the effort.  Here’s what Kimberly had to say about becoming a stager and going through the HSR training:


Audra – I am thrilled you think my story is worth sharing!!! But looking back just a few short months ago, when my Broker told me “I know you can do this, but the only person in the room today that doubted your talent was You!”;  I am certain there are others who also struggle with self-confidence and doubt; if I could offer even the smallest amount of encouragement to take that First step, it would bring me joy! Right before I enrolled in HSR, a close friend, with whom I had talked to about becoming a Stager, sent me an email that said “Live in Love; Delay no Joy”…..I decided I had delayed my Joy for too long and immediately enrolled…….and as over-used and perhaps corny as it may sound, it has truly been life changing!  When I got my first “paycheck”, after the Client handed it to me….do you know what I said???  “Oh!!!  This is too much!!!”  and he smiled and said, “No! it isn’t!”  Seriously, what is the matter with me?

And just to let you know, the Broker with whom I work, she is the one who encouraged me to get my Certification,  said the difference in my Staging Presentation from when we first started working together (before HSR)  to last week’s was an Amazing transformation; she said I was Awesome and the confidence I now had was evident!! She also told me she “loved” everything I did and the Sellers felt the money they spent was “well worth it”!!!!!  Additionally, her Buyers for another house I staged, have asked her to contact me so that I may assist them in decorating their new home!!!!  They are from Texas and want a “true Colorado Mountain retreat”!!!! I just cannot put into words how grateful I am to you for starting HSR and making it available to so many of us!  Talk about Living The Dream!!!!

With kindest regards – Kim Stark

Thank you Kimberly for another home with a happy ending!

home-staging-statistics-infographic-1Largest home staging statistics survey taken of over 3500 homes sold in 2014 shows that on average, professional staging increases the value over 10% of unstaged comparables!  Spending around 1% on the “professional” staging of a home resulted in HUGE returns for the 2014 home seller.  In fact, we saw direct correlation between staging dollars spent and increase in sales price.

Speed of Sale vs. Getting a Better Price

It’s not just about “speed of sale” in today’s housing market but about making the most money out of your most valuable commodity.  While staged homes are selling quicker according to the RESA stats, I wanted to survey whether they were selling for more than the unstaged, neighbor’s home and boy did we get great results!  I’ll be sharing more about these results in the coming weeks.  Here is a quote that is good to keep in mind and pass along for the next selling season if things continue on their current trajectory:


Interestingly, our International HSR grads posted fantastic gains upwards of 15% which was not surprising since they are pioneering staging in their markets.  The midwest housing market had a bit less in return than the rest of the country which was also indicative of those markets being a bit behind the California, Texas, New York rates.

Overall these numbers don’t come as a big surprise since the popularity of HGTV and sites like Houzz, create an expectation for buyers when they are searching for the right home…they want the model home look and professional staging is the best way to achieve that.

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I have been exploring the Home Staging industry classes for sometime now. I decided on the HSR without regrets. The program is both informative and well structured. It also has been a great time-saver for me. HSR has been consistent with regards to communication, in a timely manner.

HSR is highly recommended by me.

Abbie Stokes
ReSell Mavens
Lincroft, NJ

I must tell you that the business forms in Week 2 are amazing!  I know that to create all of these forms from scratch would have taken me months to prepare.  Your training has enabled me to download all of the forms needed in just one day!  Thank you so much for providing such valuable tools and resources needed to get my new business up and running.  I feel more confident going in to my first client consultation after reading the "Guide to a Successful Consultation".  I feel prepared and well informed about the market, the benefits of home staging and what specific service models I will be selling. This has freed up my time to work on the part I really love, designing the look and feel of my business, creating beautiful home interiors and "shopping"!

Jennifer Opie, PA

I can't believe how much your home staging course has changed my life! I have worked full time as a hairdresser for 25 years and really needed a change. I have always loved Real Estate and decorating and I have wanted to change careers for a few years now but I had no idea what I would do. After doing some research online I realized I could make a living doing what I'm good at and I'm so glad I chose your program! You really have thought of everything, this training program is amazing! I really loved the recent changes you've made and I just want to thank you for giving me a reason to get up every morning excited about what the day will bring!


Luci Terhune N.J
Bungalow Home Staging & Redesign

I can't say enough about the HSR training program.  I like it that you can take as long a you would like to finish the program (within the year.)   I love the business part of it because it's not just about home staging and resigning a room.  It's your business cards, website and lots of forms you provide us with and so much more. Audra helps us with it ALL:).  Signing up with HSR was one of the first things I did and it was well worth it!
 Thank you Audra!


Staging and Design by Lisa Marie, LLC
Omaha NE

Your training was fabulous. I have sales experience (18 years) but needed the start-up structure to start a home staging business. You go into great detail. The calendar was very helpful for this. Also, all the forms are excellent!!!! I needed some guidelines for the staging and you have also made me very confident to go to a house and go over --the plan, the forms, the feel home formula, and a quick transformation.  The printed materials are so professional and beautiful. I have had people look at the business card--it is so much fun to watch their face. Their eyes get big, say "WOW", and feel the surface. What a great reaction. I can't believe the website. It is gorgeous. Your staff is great. Also, I am impressed with your timing on everything--when you say that you will do something at a certain time, it is done!!  I can't think of one thing at this time that you could do better in the training. The videos, and the live training were very helpful. I would recommend your company to anyone!!

Audra, you should be very proud of yourself to know that you can help so many people with so many subjects. What a great company you have!


Diane Lunceford, TX

HSR was a wonderful home staging and redesign training program that I am so glad I completed!! The training covers everything you could possibly need to know to start and run a successful home staging and redesign business. It is the most thorough training I could find in my research covering not only home staging and redesign but marketing in great detail which is so important to make a business successful. I would highly recommend Home Staging Resource to anyone who is thinking about starting a home staging/redesign business.


Katie Newman of Lake Houston Home Staging and

As with any new business the initial start-up period can be somewhat daunting. However, through HSR training we were given numerous resources including on demand videos, conference calls, and published materials which provided us with an extensive background of what this business entails.


Candace Bouley
Kathy Abrams

Your training program is awesome. As a mother of 4 & 3, we needed a program that would allow us to go at our own pace. We ordered our material right after the holidays and completed the training by the end of January. Our business is building and to date we have staged two homes and two redesigns. Currently we are in the planning process of two redesigns. All of your marketing information has been very instrumental in getting our name out in the DFW area. It is comforting to know that we have Home Staging Resources behind us to guide us through our business. Thanks for continually keeping us up to date on the new home staging trends.

Erika Grizzaffi and Rhonda
Dowling, Denton Texas

If you are considering a career in staging, taking Audra's certification course is a must! In addition to creating a professional website, this course will make sure you dont miss any important steps needed to market yourself and set your business up correctly. It is a small investment for getting your business up and going and for establishing the confidence you need to have to sell yourself. Thank you Audra!

Kelley Gibbons
Love It and Leave It

Wow! What a phenomenal program HSR has to offer!  All of the learning materials and everything set up step-by-step to follow at your convenience. I truly feel that taking the HSR program has given me the best foundation possible to be a successful business women. With all of the support of HSR, on going partnerships being built and gorgeous marketing materials it now is easy for me to just start putting my name out there and making contacts. With in two weeks of finishing the program I have already staged my first vacant property and will be attending the Realtor luncheon scheduled for next week. Having the opportunity to meet other Realtors and showcase my work couldn't be better and I am so proud to be able to give them my business cards and handouts that are beautiful thanks to HSR.


Nicole Utz

"I am SO excited.  I can not tell you how impressed I am with your company!  I have been an entrepreneur for 17 years and have never come across anything like Home Staging Resource.  I will definitely be your BIGGEST fan."

Elayne Forgie, Forgie Home Staging, FL

Thanks so much Audra! The training I received from HSR was so complete that I now feel ready to take on the challenges of my new career!

I had researched other companies and thought I knew the scope of education I was looking for, but with Home Staging Resource I learned valuable things that I couldn't have imagined I needed for my business. I believe if I had chosen a different training program I would have really missed out on the extensive information and company wide support that HSR offers. You have promoted a welcoming, friendly environment of sharing and I couldn't be happier with my decision to join the Home Staging Resource!


Kelly Kaufman
Elements Home Staging
Attica, Michigan

Your HSR Training is perfect for an artist such as I who has always felt inadequate with the business side of work. I've known that those skills with a creative talent could open jobs that paid better, but I did not even know where to begin to learn or apply them. I have seen this dilemma with a lot of artists over the years.  The HSR program truly speaks to people who think like myself. I have learn so much with your easy, step by step manual and website tools.  My gained knowledge will be life changing! Thanks so much!

Debbie Klahn
Dayton, Ohio

When I started the process of choosing a Home Staging Certification program I researched everything! After narrowing it down to two programs, I sent emails to some of the members. Within 24 hours I knew I had made my decision and I have not been disappointed since. Your training provides REAL tools to be successful in this business. The materials are clear and easy to understand, your conference sessions are great and your enthusiasm is catching. I received my marketing materials in the mail last week and they are beautiful. I am so excited to be starting this new venture in my life, THANK YOU.


Lisa Ryan
Smart Move Design

When I am looking for a business opportunity I want to go with the best. I did a lot of research on the web about Home Staging and Home Staging Resource had the most comprehensive program.  HSR stood out among what other sites had to offer.  Most sites offered a 1 or 2 day program, if you compare that to HSR's 21 day program there is no contest!  I also liked the professional attitude and desire by HSR to bring professional credibility to the Home Staging profession.


Sarah Hart, CA

I just wanted to say Thank you for offering such a wonderful program. I have learned so much and the live training sessions are so wonderful. I am so excited about my business and this course have given me the tools to get it up and going in an organized manner. Without this program, I honestly don't know if I would have followed my dream. I have read many books and taken other courses and they all left me with so many unanswered questions. Your training has put me on the right path and I honestly cannot thank you enough. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who is considering starting their own staging business. It is worth every penny. You are awesome!!!!

Thanks sooooo much!


Chrissie Sutherland - Ready Set Stage

I am so impressed by the HSR training process.  It turned my business around. Literally, a week before signing up for the package, I was ready to let the business go due to the fact that I really felt lost in many areas.  I have in the past month learned and applied the information I got towards my business and it has paid off.  I have been able to have an exact plan for the consultations and appt. with realtors and I have received many e-mails responding to the e-mails that I have sent out.  I have had several comments from Realtors who are now using me as a part of their service that my website and letterhead and cards look very professional.  They were impressed to say the least.  The tips and tricks that you have given are all ways that my business has improved.  Thank you for all of the effort you have put in for me and everyone out there.  I will forever be appreciative of all of your help in making Stage It Today successful!


Letitia Granum, MN
Stage It Today

I was completely impressed by the professionalism and the intensity of the program. You didn't miss a thing. I'm almost ready to submit my information for the web-site and am ready to go and am more confident than if I hadn't take the course! Thanks again for a great program.

Marlene Rusnak
Delaware Home Staging

My experience with HSR has been awesome!  I can truly say that training with HSR was one of the best choices I have ever made.  Not only have you provided me with the tools, guidance and support needed to become a successful business woman, but you have helped me to start living my dream and passion!  I would highly recommend Home Staging Resource to anyone who has interest in Home Staging.  Keep up the great work HSR and thank you!

Teresa Mills
Looking Fine by Redesign LLC
North Olmsted, Ohio

After doing some research in Home Staging courses, I found the HSR training program and I cannot be more happy. This training program provided me with all the support, training and communication that I was looking for in a program. It turned out to be one of the most complete and informative online training programs I have come across. It has not only provided me with an in depth knowledge on home staging but has also expedited the start of my business with the pre-made forms, marketing tools and strategies. I am now ready to start my own business (which I didn't believe was possible at first) in just 1 month. I cannot thank you, Audra, enough on this awesome training program with the marketing solutions. I can honestly say, "I got what I paid for" and I am very excited to finally do what I passionately love and enjoy. Thank you again Audra, it was well worth it for me and I'm sure it will be for anyone else who decides to choose HSR as their training program.

Mamta Kamboh
Interiors By Mamta LLC
Frisco, TX

WOW! I have just been blown away by all of the support, information, personal training, and abundance of pre-made forms that the HSR training comes with.  It is literally a complete business that is so simple to establish.  Having owned a business before I know first hand how long it took just to create all the forms I needed to get my business up and running and you have really taken that task and removed it so that I could concentrate on the training and marketing (which you have also made simple). I haven't even finished my training yet, and I am already working!  I can't wait to see my website. I would recommend this training to anyone who wants to get into the home staging business- well unless they would be my competition... : )   THANK YOU HSR!

Tracy Laasch
Touch of Design Interiors
Lake Conroe, Texas

Joining Home Staging Resource was a tough decision - but it turned out to be a brilliant one!  I had gone to the website many times trying to decide and, on a whim, decided to take the plunge.  My business was up and going within a month because of what I learned, not to mention the materials HSR provided. I received a call/lead from the HSR directory the very first week. I put a deposit down on office space, not because the money is rolling in, but because of the confidence and knowledge that HSR gave me.

Thank you!


Angela Mager
Provident Home Staging
Fishers, Indiana

After extensive research, I have joined the HSR Family. The personal contact with the leadership staff and business support teams are unbelievable. Business Building is a tough job from the start but HSR takes the Tough right out of the equation.

Kathy Holbrook
Ct Realty Staging
Windsor, CT

This is an Amazing Program! I got my Realtor License years ago and I wish they had had such a comprehensive and informative guide in the start up of being a new business owner! As a stager I knew what I wanted to do I just didn't have the tools or the knowledge to get there. HSR gave me the plan-a detailed list- to get it done so I could focus on doing the job I love... The Action Plans and form information is priceless! It put everything I thought I wanted to say to my customers in a form for me so I didn't have to spend days forming it. It was already done!


Heidi Bollum
Tomlinson Real Estate Group
Realtor and Certified Home Stager

I just wanted to send you an e-mail to let you know how impressed I am with all the work you've put into the HSR. As a previous business owner I know how extremely time consuming and frustrating starting a new business can be. That's an understatement! It is SUCH a relief as I start this new venture to have HSR's support. You truly have done the majority of the leg work. Speaking from previous experience it probably would have taken me twice as long to get this business up and running. The money I've invested is well worth it and I have all the confidence in the world that my business will succeed.  Thanks again!

Donna Coe
Fusion Home Staging
Rancho Cordova, CA