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Why Home Staging Certification Matters

Why Home Staging Certification Matters – 5 HUGE Reasons

Why go through a home staging certification program to become a home stager?  Specifically, why go through our HSR Certification program instead of going it alone or with another company?  I know it’s tough to decide which home staging certification course to invest in when just starting out, so I thought I’d list some of our huge differences in this post along with some fantastic before and after photos of a luxury home amazingly staged by JoMcLaughlin Designs…


Here are 5 HUGE reasons why the HSR Certification matters…


Before Photo - JoMcLaughlin Designs

Before Photo – JoMcLaughlin Designs

1.  We are the only Home Staging Certification program who is constantly adding, evolving and continuing to educate our members WITHOUT charging extra for it.



After Photo - Staged by JoMcLaughlin Designs

After Photo – Staged by JoMcLaughlin Designs

I just finished posting another hour long video of a home and I thought to myself, “why am I always adding this kind of stuff to the training for free while other trainers would surely charge extra for it?


If I’m going to represent and deliver a home staging certification program then it has to be on-trend, evolving and growing, so that my HSR certified members are always on-trend, evolving and growing their businesses.



Another After Photo – Look how you can now see the view!

Simply put, Home Staging Certification matters when it grows alongside your business NOT simply something you “completed” years ago.



Kitchen Before -

Kitchen Before –


2.  We are the only Home Staging Certification Program that teaches home staging alongside design and home styling


Kitchen After -

Kitchen After –


We are in the design field which is a changing industry especially when coupled with the real estate industry, so it’s critical for home stagers to always be learning about both design, staging and real estate!   Which Home Staging Certification program you choose to go with will define you and your business for years to come.



Dining Room Before -

Dining Room Before –

3.  We don’t take you into 1 home, we take you into over 30 homes!

The HSR Certification program is online, so it doesn’t take you into a home for practice with 20 other trainees BUT instead I take you into over 30 homes and over 30 hours of video in the training because I know that homes are all very different and you need to see it all!  We also have a hands-on, job shadow day where you get personalized training in a real life setting.

Dining Room After -

Dining Room After –

4.  You Need to Know A Lot in this Industry, so 10 hours of video or classroom time is NOT going to cut it



Outside Deck Before -

Outside Deck Before –

Other trainers offer “10 hours of video training” while our training has well over 65 hours of step-by-step videos on staging, styling, branding, marketing, website marketing, realtor partnerships, social media, services, pricing, vacant staging, luxury staging, organization, shopping, window coverings…basically you name it!  We also have over 48 hours of live webinar training available to members throughout the year.



Outside Deck After -

Outside Deck After –

5. HSR Home staging certification matters because your clients know that you have the confidence, education and experience to tackle any project or home!


In the photos above, Jo McLaughlin fearlessly transforms this luxury, waterfront home only months after becoming HSR Certified.  Her story is a common one because once you go through our program, you will be changed.


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


Getting Organized for Staging

How To Get Organized Before Staging Your Home

I just added an entire section in the HSR Certification training on adding Organization services to your staging business.  We had so much fun doing an advanced webinar on the subject or organizing, I thought I would share the hot tips that I learned.  Jennifer Lake a Kansas City home stager and designer who has years in the organization business before joining HSR generously shared:

  • The single best way to market your organization business
  • The best way to price for volume business
  • The first rooms/spaces you should focus on for the client for maximum transformation
  • Key phrases to use while organizing with clients
  • How to incorporate organizing into your staging business

When it comes to selling a home, organization is key since it’s the first step to decluttering and starting the packing process.  In fact, many home sellers will have professional organizers come into their homes before the home stager.

Here are My 5 Tips to Getting Organized Before Staging

1.  Have a Plan – Organizing is very “intentional” and purposeful…it doesn’t just  happen on it’s own and in fact, will turn into a huge nightmare if it’s not addressed throughout the home on a yearly basis.  Start with three bins labeled:  1. Keep  2. Goodwill and 3. Craigslist/Consignment.  You will also need two trash bags, one for trash and another for recycling (for magazines, plastic toys, etc…).

2.  Take the Time and Be Honest With Yourself – I always say that successful staging takes a lot of time and energy, and organizing is no different.  Jennifer says that each room/space takes about 4 hours to tackle, so plan ahead and carve out the 4 hours of time to organize each space of your home.  While organizing it’s time to be brutally honest with yourself and ask whether each item is essential.  Particularly when moving, it takes three times longer to unpack and find a home for a non-essential item, so removing unused clutter from your life and home is a gift to yourself.

3.  Label Everything – What’s the point of planning and taking the time to box up those winter sweaters if you don’t label the box and end up forgetting that it’s there?   There is an easy way to create labels, so you always know where everything is and it can be purchased at Amazon:

Epson LabelWorks LW-300 Label Maker (C51CB69010)

4.  Like With Like – The key to successful organizing is putting things that are like one another…together.  Think like a Target store and how they group like items in the same department.  Don’t have your light bulbs across the house from your dimmers and extension chords.  When you’re packing things up, think in terms of rooms and spaces.  A mudroom/laundry room is a great place to put all of your utility items.  Think in terms of “stations” throughout the home.

5.  High Rent vs Low Rent Space – I liked learning about this concept because I teach it in the staging realm in terms of what buyers want to see the most.  In the organizing realm it means that you keep regularly used items in the easiest places to get to them (middle shelves).  Items that are rarely used can go in low rent spaces like the top shelves are very bottom.  If you have too much “stuff” in the low rent space, it may be time to say good bye to it.

The goal of getting organized before staging is to have a home with only essential and beautiful items within it.

It’s important that a home stager knows quite a bit about organizing, so I’m so happy to have this new section within our HSR Certification program and am grateful to the many members who generously share their knowledge daily in Stagers Connect!

XOXO – Happy Staging!

Audra Slinkey

Hope to hear from you!


3 Myths About Home Staging

I’m so excited to be a guest blogger at the National Association of Realtors, Staged, Styled and Sold Blog!  My goal is to feature the gorgeous work of home stagers, staging and styling tips, as well as educate the public on the necessity of staging.

My first post is focused on featuring some excellent before-and-after work of some stagers while debunking some long time myths agents have had about staging.  Click on the image below to see the post and share/comment since I’d love to get your thoughts…

3 Myths About Staging

Starting a Home Staging Business


Starting a Home Staging Business…

I get this question a lot, “how can I start a home staging business working full time?”  I understand the fear and anxiety that those folks feel because they want to be their own boss, follow their passions and their true talents BUT they need an income…I get it.  Starting a home staging business is not easy!

Here’s a story of someone who was able to go from a full-time management position with guaranteed income to a successful home staging entrepreneur along with her amazing before and after photos…


Hi Audra, Sorry for the delayed response…The good news is that I was super busy working on a couple large staging projects when I received your email.  I struggled with the decision to make my career change for years and I am so happy that I did!
Susan Batka, Professional Home Stager and Redesigner for Aerie Interiors based out of Alpharetta, GA



What was your background before starting a home staging business and how did it serve you well in this new endeavor?

Educational background: Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Career: 17 years in the Medical distribution field.  Most of my time was spent in Management of the Customer Service Team and later the Sales Team, during the interim of those positions, I ran a successful Sales territory.  I was working full time when I started the HSR Certification Program.

Before Staging

Before Staging

How long did it take you to go through the training/business set-up?  Did you feel well prepared after finishing the HSR program?

I completed my training while still working with my former employer.  I took my time going through the materials and refer back to them often.  I felt that HSR prepared me very well to start up and run my own staging company…In fact, I believe that my sales background paired with my HSR training helped me confidently go in and secure my first staging job.

After Staging

After Staging

It is critical that you go in fearless and confident even if you are shaking in your boots!  My first appointment was with a Real Estate Agent who was looking to sell his 7000 square foot home that he had designed and built!  No pressure there!  He still does not know that he was my first client and that is the way it should be!

Before Staging

Before Staging

How did you begin marketing yourself, what marketing efforts did you find most valuable in your area and why?

I am now just starting to Market my company.  My current clients have found me through my website or from word of mouth.

After Home Staging

After Home Staging

How “busy” are you today?

I have had a very busy Spring so far and anticipate it to get busier because my clients have been so excited with the results and have asked me to redesign their new homes!


What (if anything) would you have done differently looking back?

Nothing, I am the happiest and more fulfilled than I could have dreamed of!


Are you glad you decided to go into the staging field?

Yes, very much. I would not change a thing!

Before Staging

Before Staging

Any words of wisdom for those just entering into the field?

Believe in yourself, be confident, let your passions be your lauchpad!

After Staging

After Staging


 That is the beauty of online training versus traditional classroom style learning.  It allows you to “hit the rewind button” and refer back to the online classroom throughout the course of your business!

After Office Redesign

After Office Redesign

There could be a good month or two between your training and the moment you get your first staging consultation, so being able to go into the online training area and watch the consultation videos again is critical to confidence building!


After Office Redesign

After Office Redesign


Thanks Susan for sharing!  If you’re thinking of taking the plunge into becoming a home stager, there’s never been a better time to do it!  Here’s a quick video on becoming a stager if you’re interested…


Home Staging Zillow Statistic

2014 staging statistics

Latest Home Staging Zillow Statistic

As the market heats up, we are seeing more real estate agents and sellers recognizing the huge benefits that come with hiring a professional home stager!  Here is the latest in home staging statistics according to a new Zillow Digs survey of Real Estate Agents and Interior Designers:

Hiring a professional home stager was listed as one of the top two critical improvements a seller should invest in when selling their home in 2014.



“In a market where home prices are rising, it becomes even more essential to get every dollar you can from the sale of your most expensive asset…professional home staging does this for sellers.” – Audra Slinkey

I’m seeing bidding wars all over the place for the right home that is staged beautifully in this 2014 spring housing market.  The savvy agent who wants to have the reputation for getting sellers “top dollar” understand the necessity of staged and merchandised rooms, as well as professional photos to post online.


Curb Appeal was listed as the number one home improvement item while using a professional home stager was listed as number two according to the survey.

A home stager can skillfully identify ways to highlight your home’s best features and compensate for its shortcomings. The goal is to make “your home appeal to the broadest audience and number of buyers possible,” says Zillow Digs Board of Designers member Mara Miller of Carrier and Company in New York City.


Warning…not all home stagers are the same!  It takes extreme design expertise, a strong knowledge of the real estate market and buyer demographic, as well as special training in phraseology, staging psychology and vendor partnerships (flooring, window coverings, furnishings, etc..) to really maximize the value of the transformation.

Ready to Become a Successful Home Stager and Redesigner?

XOXO – Happy Staging!

Audra Slinkey

Hope to hear from you!


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