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Homestager Stories

homestager stories

I never get tired of hearing people's "stories"...

In fact, every time someone signs up for my home staging certification program, I interview them to get a picture of what their background is and what their hopes and goals are for their business.   I am always so inspired and humbled by the responses I get!  Here are just a few that I've gotten in the last month:

"I've been rearranging rooms since I was a child, so I can't wait to finally follow my dream of design and make money at it!"
"My mother was my design inspiration and when she passed away last year, I knew I had to pursue this"
"My goal is to create a staging empire!"
"I got bored of being retired and wanted to do something I loved and that would make my children proud"
"I'm a real estate agent who has always LOVED design, so my goal is to dial in my own listings, as well as help other agents stage theirs"
"I have had an Interior Design business for over ten years and wanted to incorporate home staging as an additional service"
"I hate my full time job and feel goal is to work hard, learn like crazy and do staging and design full time!"

At the RESA Convention last month, Tori Toth was kind enough to take some of my HSR grads aside and interview them to get their will love what they have to say!


Over the next few months, I'm excited to share some more homestager stories along with their before-and-after photos.   You will be in "awe" of their transformations!

Five different professional home stagers tell their story of how they got into the industry, how long they’ve been doing it and their opinion on training.

And the Staging Winners Are…

We had so much fun in Las Vegas last month at the RESA Convention last month!   We had amazing speakers (Sabrina Soto), the coolest group of vendors (Ashley Furniture, Cort, Surya, Paragon), the largest attendance of home stagers of any Convention and the most competitive awards grouping I've ever seen!  Our industry is hot and when we get together...amazing things happen. 

Here are just a few of the many highlights from that event...


The HSR Happy Hour (Pre-Party)

We filled the bar with over 50 HSR peeps, so I had to take a selfie:)

Who doesn't love a good happy hour?  Before the Convention began, I treated all my HSR Members, Grads and Staging Mentors to free drinks at the Center Bar in the casino and it was a great way for stagers to meet, network and connect before the big event.


My Certified Color Expert (CCE) Training Won

I got to thank my amazing members for inspiring me every day!

For the third time I've been privileged to win the "RESA Most Innovative Product and Service of the Year Award"!  I was blown away since the competition this year was fierce and there were so many great finalists.

I'm very proud of this training because I believe Color Consultations are becoming more essential and I'm excited to help stagers and designers create a market for this service (much like I did when staging was brand new).

I also spoke on the subject of choosing "Ideal Color Schemes" and am doing a FREE live webinar on color, so sign-up by clicking on the image below if you LOVE color.



Lots of HSR Grads Won Awards Too!

Just a few of the many HSR staging winners!

Victoria (, Audra Slinkey, Emily and Yvette (, Arti (, Cynthia (, Monica (, and Laurie (

In every category there were many HSR Grad award winning finalists!  The body of work was better than I've ever seen in the history of staging awards!  Over the next few months, I'm going to be sharing these incredible photos on this blog and on the NAR staging blog. 

Seeing is believing, and when you see these incredibly talented stagers work their will give you goosebumps!

HSR Alumni Kristine ( and Birgit (

Orlando won the Kathy Neilson Award for everything he does for the staging industry!

I shared a bit about Orlando ( in a prior blog post about "How to Get a Staging Job", because he is also one of my wonderful staging mentors, is State President of RESA for Florida and regularly jumps into my live, training webinars in the HSR Members Area to motivate and comment...I love this guy!



Sabrina Soto Had an Incredible Story

Don't you love a good story?  Sabrina Soto was an incredible speaker and we had an hour long "chat" question and answer session that inspired, illuminated and motivated all of us.  She's as down to earth as you would think, very kind, genuine and had some excellent insights on trends in the industry.  She even gave us a little "HGTV gossip":).

Hurray, I even got to take a picture with her!


I Got to Meet so Many Wonderful HSR People in Person!

Look at this good looking group of HSR Grads & Staging Mentors!

My staging and design certification training is online, so while I get to talk and email HSR members daily...I don't get to see them in person (unless they come to a San Diego RESA event).  The RESA Convention allowed us to pre-party, celebrate the industry and get to know each other better.

 The Staging Industry is FILLED with the most AMAZING group of people!



AND...I Got to Share All of This With My Two Beautiful Sisters!

I was so blessed to have both my sisters fly out and support me at the convention!

My REAL Sisters got to meet my "Staging Sisters"... How cool is that?!

Corrine, Suzanne and Me up your pennies and make sure to attend next years, RESA Convention with me if you are a home stager! 

If you're not a home stager but thinking about it, then watch my free video about the industry, "Is Staging for You?"


Here are some of my favorite highlights from the RESA Convention…

6 Things You Should Know About the Staging Industry for 2017

As I prepare for the 2017 RESA Convention, I realize that there are a few things about the staging industry that is dramatically different than in years past.  Last year, I spoke with hundreds of home stagers who all had some interesting advice, learning lessons and business tips I wanted to share in this post since I'm seeing a shift in the staging industry and anticipate even more for 2017:


Talented Stagers are "Killing It"!

The staging industry is growing leaps and bounds and stagers who have a real design talent are busier than ever before! So many of the stagers that I spoke with said they have to turn down work or refer it elsewhere there is such a need for their services. 

2017 promises to be even hotter for the staging industry as homes still uptick in value, Millennials enter the market and Baby Boomers downsize...that means lots of positive movement in the housing market!

Stephanie Cutlip

Stephanie Cutlip of Beyond the Door Interiors in Tampa, FL sent me an email only 6 months after joining HSR telling me:

Hi Audra, my business is taking off so much I can't keep up.  All of the houses that I have staged have sold within a week.  I've quickly learned that I want to focus on interior decorating and redesign.  Staging has opened that door for me....Thank you for a wonderful training program. I wish I had more time to follow you.

Beyond the Door Transformation


Great Staging is a Gateway to Design Work

Designers are losing business to the home staging industry.  Why?  Because the designer's number one target market is the "New Home Owner" and that market is working with a home stager FIRST as a Home Seller before they become a new home owner.  Home stager's get "first crack" at that market and in my training I go into detail how to position "Move-In Design" services to sellers, so that your business grows!

Stephanie mentioned above that the staging is what has grown her design business in less than 6 awesome is that?

This is why going with a training company that covers BOTH home staging and redesign is essential to getting a full understanding of the industry and how to capitalize and grow your business.  I talk about discovering your niche in my free webinar on January 11, so if you're feeling like a hamster on a wheel, you will want to attend that free event!


Real Estate Agents are "Getting It"

It used to be that home stager's would spend quite a bit of time having to educate real estate agents on the benefits of home staging BUT now it's the agents who "get it" and are educating the seller.  I spoke with so many stagers who all said that their agent partners know the sales price of the home will never be as good if the home is not "dialed in" by an objective stager.

The savvy agent who wants to have the reputation of getting top dollar will "insist" on the home being professionally staged.

Click to Tweet


There is Plenty of Work for All Stagers!

The staging industry is NOT a saturated market, so there’s plenty of business for everyone!  In fact, the Staging Mentor program that we introduced a few years back (and won the RESA Innovative Service of the Year Award) resulted in several Staging Mentors bringing their trainees to the conference! Our list of amazing Staging Mentors is growing because as an industry, we are all dedicated to our craft, elevating the quality of work and creating opportunities in staging, styling and design that you would not have found years back.

Michelle Minch, Me and Laurie

Michelle Minch of Moving Mountains Design a Los Angeles Mentor has connected with several of her trainees at the RESA Convention.  In the photo above, I'm with Michelle and Laurie Mattson an HSR stager   out of Twin Cities, Minnesota who won the RESA Top Ten Stager Award a year after mentoring with Michelle.

Here are some photos of Laurie's great work...get ready to drool...

Laurie Mattson of Rooms With Impact

Laurie Mattson of Rooms With Impact

Laurie Mattson of Rooms With Impact

Laurie Mattson of Rooms With Impact


Great Training = Business Success

The 2016 RESA Conference marked the third year in a row that the US Stager of the Year was a HSR Certified Home Stager and graduate of our program!  Just like "not all home stagers are equal", certainly not all home staging training companies are equal!  I've seen so many training companies come and go over the last 11 years, so don't short change yourself and DO YOUR RESEARCH.   If the training company doesn't do anything to build awareness (blog) and market you (have a directory of stagers), then don't invest in them.

Becoming a home stager takes a lot of time, education, resources, connections, knowledge and hard work. There’s a lot to know in this industry because staging is an EXTREME art form.  The "business" of staging involves many different types of needs from vacant to occupied AND great staging leads to design, so make sure to pick a home staging training that covers both business models.  A stager needs to be connected to continued education, designer discounts and resources to better serve their clients and that's why I'm always on the hunt for saving my members time and money!


The Staging "Body of Work" Has Greatly Improved & Stager's are Awesome People

This point follows on all the others because when I look at home staging photos today and compare it to five years ago, it blows me away! One of the main reasons for the improvement in design work is that sellers truly get what they pay for when it comes to staging.  If a seller tries to low budget a staging project, the results will be less than stellar.  Spending a bit more for a model home look will net the seller so much more in the resell and agents are very aware of this!

This is an industry filled with generous, kind-hearted, smart, strong and artistically talented individuals that is such a pleasure and privilege to be a part of!  If you've been rearranging rooms since you were a kid, then consider joining me at the RESA Convention and becoming a home stager.  Don't put it off since there's never been a better time!

Some Beautiful HSR Graduates at the Last RESA Convention

Ready to make 2017 your year and become a professional stager?

As I prepare for the 2017 RESA Convention, I realize that there are a few things about the staging industry that is dramatically different than in years past…

Home Staging Photos

I never get tired of hearing how my HSR members are doing and especially SEEING their incredible home staging photos!  I get quick emails daily about how starting a home staging business has changed their life, along with home staging photos and success stories of home's that sat on the market for months, now selling for a great price because it was staged. 

Seeing is believing, so in this post I'm going to display people's exact words and their gorgeous home staging photos...enjoy!

Michelina of NJ Home Staging and Design

Hi Audra, I just wanted to share some of my success! Since I started your HSR program 9 months ago I’ve done almost 40 home staging projects! I do almost 5 a week currently...steady each week now.

My business is exploding, I’m in NJ and a one woman show. I’m a little overwhelmed but do not want to slow down. I attached my website for a few of my projects for you to see...

Michelina's Home Staging Photos...

Michelina's Home Staging and Design

Me and Kristine at RESACon

Hi Audra - I'm so looking forward to seeing you at the RESA Convention and taking your seminar! I just received an email from one of your students.... I raved about HSR and YOU, telling her how much you care about each and every student becoming a successful stager. I also told her it's 6 years later and we are still in touch. I helped her out with some bar stools for a project she's working on. I love representing HSR, which truly put me on the road to building a successful staging company. I attached photos of my work for you to see...

Kristine Ginsberg - Elite Staging and Redesign

Kristine's Home Staging Photos...

Hi Audra,  

Thank you for reaching out to me about my business! I am certainly still just beginning to get my portfolio together but have made some contacts with other professionals and realtors in my area. I can’t thank you enough for having such a thorough course and preparing me for all the aspects of this industry. I have included just a few before/after photos and some design photos as well. I’m still working on my photography skills. 😉 - Heidi Neely, Heidi Elizabeth Designs

Heidi's Home Staging Photos...

Heidi Elizabeth Designs

Heidi Elizabeth Designs

Claudia Johnson - Model By Design

I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I am with this program and my new endeavor in this field. I feel so prepared and confident starting my new business because of your program. Worth EVERY SINGLE penny!  Here in Utah looks like there is a void in the market when it comes to home stagers. There really is a demand for it and I am already having a hard time keeping up!

Thanks! from the bottom of my heart! You've changed my life! I am able to stay with my kids and make money doing what I love most!

Claudia's Home Staging Photos...

Darsie Cole - Arroyo Grande, CA  805 Redesign

Honestly, I have been shocked by my interest and desire to get set up with my business and Ive been absolutely swamped with the core material and as a result, I've hardly deviated from your main course information/tutorials.  I love it ...Cruising through life as I was when I found you, I thought this would be a little something fun for the side of everything else I had going. Well now, as I said, I'm consumed and totally committed to my business. Your training absolutely laid it out there succinctly for me to see that my interests absolutely line up with tremendous opportunities and potential that I'd probably would not have recognized without your detailed training and direction.

Darsie's Home Staging Photos...

805 Redesign

Audra, I've been so busy, I'm taking a three week Vacation in San Diego as of today 🙂  I have now 10 homes staged at the moment.  My husband is isolating the pole barn in our yard, so we can heat it. He's happy for my success, but not that I'm taking over his pole barn. lol  Here are a few photos of the latest house...The house was on the market all summer, I staged it and it had two offers in 1 day. 1 was full price 🙂 I am currently in San Diego, may daughter just gave birth to twin boys this morning!

Jeri Jo Meyer, Inspired Home Real Estate out of DeWitt, MI

Jeri Joe's Home Staging Photos...

Inspired Home Real Estate

Inspired Home Real Estate

What Will Your Story Look Like?

Ready to Become a Professional Home Stager and Redesigner?

I never get tired of seeing awesome staging photos…do you? Here’s 6 emails I recently got along with their photo work for you to see…

A-Z Vacant Home Staging

How to Prepare for a Vacant Home Staging Job...

A-Z Definitive Guide to Vacant Home Staging

By now you know there is a huge difference between how you handle homes that are lived in (occupied) and how you tackle homes that are vacant (empty).  I detail this process in our Vacant Home Staging Guide which is in your Training Manual but for the most up to date Vacant Guide, click on the link below:

Click to Open! This is also in the HSR Training Manual

**This Guide is in your HSR Training Manual but you can also download it here and read it online.

***Resources for each video or either below the video OR at the bottom of this page.

Video 1 - How to Get Started Offering Vacant Staging


If you are having trouble viewing the video above, please go to this private YouTube link:

Resources from this Video (Click on the Image to Instantly Download):

RESA Price Survey

Why Staging a Vacant Home is Critical

Video 2 - Vacant Service Planning and Furniture Rentals

Download my "Vacant Service Planning Checklist", so you have the action steps for this service.


If you are having trouble viewing the video above, please go to this private YouTube link:

Video 3 - Vacant Accessory Shopping and HSR Member Photo Inspirations

Here is a video on  and good resources links to inspire you on what to purchase and how to merchandise each space.  Remember, there are thousands of similar photos in our  Stagers Connect Facebook Group, so don't forget to take advantage of that great resource and search for the term "vacant" in that group!

Remember, for vacant staging you are simply "building out rooms" so keep it simple, be intentional in your shopping and get organized!


If you are having trouble viewing the video above, please go to this private YouTube link:

How to Buy for Bedrooms Easily and Affordably

When you start building your inventory one of the hardest rooms to buy for is the bedroom.  Why?  Because mattresses are heavy and difficult to fit into homes.  They are also hard to store and the goal is to choose items that are lightweight, store easily and can fit into every space.

Here's a Design Board I Created as a Solution for You:

The Total Cost for All of These Items is $300!


HSR Members Websites that Have More Photo Ideas...

Video 4 - Audra's EASY Vacant Price Model and Proposal Form

This video follows the pricing and process I discussed in the A-Z Vacant Guide which is in your Training Manual.


If you are having trouble viewing the video above, please go to this private YouTube link:

Resources from this Video (Click on the Image to Instantly Download):

Dang, I hate when the Internet changes on me!  The Link from Fixr for you to find your "Location Variable" is no longer available since they want you to fill out a long form, etc...never fear, as I have a fix...

I have a spreadsheet of areas across the country and their numbers, so pick the area most similar to yours in this Labor and Cost Spreadsheet to see whether your costs are typically higher or lower than the national average - Download the Labor and Cost Spreadsheet

This is a loose guide for you to follow and here is an excellent article that also helps you to understand comparative costs of living by state.  If the cost of living is higher in your area, than you will need to charge more as that is the direct correlation -

Easy Proposal in PowerPoint Format

Top Tips for Choosing a Stager in Word Format 

Video 5 - Older Price Model and Forms


If you are having trouble viewing the video above, please go to this private YouTube link:

Video 6 - How to Easily Take the Phone Order


If you are having trouble viewing the video above, please go to this private YouTube link:

Resources from this Video (Click on the Image to Instantly Download):

Here are Two Great Articles on the "Should Your Charge for Your Vacant Property Preview" Controversy:  

Video 7 - Breakdown of the Vacant Agreement (Contract)

Please know that there is no way we can provide a legally binding contract that would work from state to state BUT here's some items you need to consider when building out your vacant contract...


If you are having trouble viewing the video above, please go to this private YouTube link:

Video 8 - How to Store Your Inventory and Wholesale vs. Designer Discounts

This was a live webinar I gave that provides some tricks to the trade in storing and moving your inventory.  The video below this which shows you WHERE and HOW to shop the Las Vegas Market was the second portion of this live webinar...

This is also located in the Members Black Book Area


If you are having trouble viewing the video above, please go to this private YouTube link:

Video 9 - How to Shop the Furniture Market - The Best Vendors and Discounts!

This video is a continuation of the live webinar video above and is 72 minutes of pure shopping fun!


If you are having trouble viewing the video above, please go to this private YouTube link:

Video 10 - Managing Your Inventory Wisely and a Demo of StageForce

If vacant staging is going to be a big part of your business (and it should if you want to make lots of alternative income), then begin shopping for items that go with the furniture at your local furniture rental company and keep them inventoried. You can start by using our basic example spreadsheet in Week One, Getting Started or better yet, use an amazing software subscription service from my friends Tori Prince (Stage Force) and Tammy (MyDarby)...

StageForce which is a newer inventory management company uses radio frequency technology to scan a whole room of inventory rather than each piece.  It is a bit more costly but I recommend reviewing both companies which are good and considering your budget.

StageForce won the RESA Most Innovative Product of the Year 2018 and we did a live webinar demo that you can watch by CLICKING HERE.  Make sure to mention HSR when connecting with these vendors.


If you are having trouble viewing the video above, please go to this private YouTube link:

Darby Inventory Management costs very little and will set you up for success from the start! It tracks your inventory, sales, invoicing, etc.. and will save you tons of time in the process! There are so many benefits to setting your business up right from the start using Darby that the best way I know how to explain it, is to have you go direct to Darby and check out the benefits fact, the offer a free trial to get you started:  Click here for your FREE TRIAL!

Video 11 - Total Design and Vacant Staging Project

This vacant home had a lot of phase three, cosmetic issues that needed to be addressed BEFORE it was staged and my sister created a design punch list that got these sellers 150K OVER asking price.  Corrine gives her total how-to, staging tips and pricing in this information packed workshop with before-and-after photos...

Video 12 - Vacant Fixer Upper Project

This vacant home had a lot of phase three, cosmetic issues that needed to be addressed BEFORE it was staged.  It was also worth about $300,000 on the high side, so return on investment had to be taken into consideration.

Additional Vacant Staging Tools and Resources

  • Floorplanner - Easy tool to use for drawing out room layouts to get scale correct.