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choose a home stager that knows your market

Wondering how to choose a home stager? It all starts with asking the right questions, like the 10 here, to uncover which team will be the best fit for your needs.

Selling your house is a big deal—both figuratively and, hopefully, literally. It can bring excitement and happiness, but also comes with some unavoidable stress and headaches. For most sellers, home staging plays a valuable role, both in helping you get the best offers, and easing the selling process itself, (how? Check out this blog.)  

But once you’ve decided to stage, how do you choose a home stager that will help deliver the most rewarding experience and results?

We’ve put together 10 questions to consider when deciding who you’ll trust with helping you through this important decision. 

#1 What does their portfolio show you?

Review photos of the stager’s work to get an understanding of their style, how they handle different homes, and the quality of furnishings used in vacant staging. Ideally you should see varied staging “looks” in their portfolio—different styling based on different home styles and price points. 

Stagers may have their portfolios on their website, like we do, which makes preliminary research easy. If not, definitely ask to see examples! You can view our portfolio at https://firstimpressionhomestaging.com/gallery/ and on our Facebook and Instagram. 

#2 What do their testimonials and referrals say?

The experience of others can be informative, so be sure to ask for testimonials and referrals for stagers, from both homeowners and realtors. Positive results in terms of time to sale and/or offer prices are important, but so is what past clients and partners have to say about the style and quality of the working experience. 

The overall messages from these provide insight into the stager, including how they work and how they treat their clients. 

#3 Do they have training and keep up-to-date?

There’s no licensing for home stagers, but the internationally-recognized Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) has accredited training providers that have met stringent standards. RESA Pro holds members to a higher standard of ethics and practices, including:

  • Must pass the ethics exam, and agree to follow the RESA® Code of Ethics. RESA-PROs are not allowed to use stock photos on their website or marketing materials. 
  • A minimum of 1-year in business, as a professional home stager, or have worked for a RESA-PRO for a minimum of two-years.
  • Proof of home staging business insurance 

While outside opinions can be valuable, when the sale of your home is on the line, it’s good to have professional input and design. At First Impression Home Staging, for instance, we are certified Staging Design ProfessionalsTM, which means we have the training needed to market your home/listing properly. 

Of course neither design nor buyers’ interests are static. That’s why it’s also important to know that your stager is staying up-to-date with the industry and trends. Check your potential stager’s website, or talk to them directly to find out how they keep on top of what’s new, particularly for homes in your price and style range.

#4 What results have they achieved in previous stagings?

What do the numbers say about the success of the stager? A few key measures include the length that their staged homes stay on the market and how many of their staged homes have sold at or above asking price. Getting specific ROI numbers can also be useful for knowing the benefits of investing in home staging and quantifying the range of value that you might get from staging with a particular team. 

We are proud, for example, of our record of selling homes in under 14 days, and at or above asking prices—you can view many of our examples on our Facebook page

#5 Do they stage indoors only, or indoors & outdoors?

First impressions are formed before anyone ever opens your front door—both online, and also at the curb. You’ll want to find out whether your staging candidates pay attention to the outside of your home as well as the inside. Free initial conversations with a few different stagers can help reveal their thinking.

Be sure to find out why different stagers do or don’t recommend staging outdoors at your home—do they think it has limited bang for your buck? Or is there something about your home that makes it more or less important in order to be competitive?

#6 Do they take an ROI-based approach?

An ROI-based approach to choosing what gets done can help keep staging within your budget and pack the most punch when it comes to helping wow potential buyers. Ask stagers what aspects of room design in portfolio images were their recommendation—as well as why they made the recommendations they did.  This is particularly important when it relates to how they prioritize the more-costly suggested changes they may have made.

#7 Are they insured?

It’s important for your stager to have liability insurance to cover any damage that could happen to and any injuries that could happen in your home. This is both a financial protection for you both and a sign of professionalism that can give you great peace of mind. 

While we work hard to ensure our clients’ homes and belongings are well cared for while we’re working, we understand that accidents can happen – that’s why we carry insurance, as well as workman’s compensation for our employees!

#8 What are their rates?

Your home-selling budget is important, and so it’s also important to know what each stager will charge you for the different levels of staging services they offer. Deciding which stager and which options are best for your situation is something for you and your family to decide, but it’s good to get all the information on the table. 

#9 Is the contract clear?

Being clear on the details of the contract, and what each of your obligations and commitments will be, provides similar benefits as being clear on the rates. Make sure you are able to review the contract, understand all its provisions, and ask any questions you might have before getting started on your staging project. Pay special attention to the timeline, since postponing your staging project — especially last minute — can be costly!

#10 How will they help market your home to potential buyers?

This question gets at what the stager will do to help your home look its best and be most appealing to potential buyers. For instance, at First Impression Home Staging, we are trained to strategically market your home through placing furniture, color, and accessories to highlight its assets, but we don’t stop there. 

We research and understand the psychology of the area’s target buyers, so we know what will connect with them. As we prepare and implement your staging steps, we use these insights to create an experience that immerse buyers in the closest thing possible to a vision of their dream life. Making your house feel like their ideal home increases their desire to move in, and motivates them to make a great offer!

Thinking about these ten questions as you consider how to choose a home stager can help make sure that this part of your home sale prep runs as smoothly as possible, and that you get the best value for your home.

We’d be delighted to discuss these questions with you if you’re considering staging your home to sell—you can reach us at 919.444.5002.



Sherrie was outstanding in helping us stage our home to sell. Her advice is professional and knowledgeable. She is so easy to work with and there is no pressure. She will work with you to make changes that are in…read more

Paula Ragatz

Our home sold in 2 days after working with First Impressions Home Staging! I had never used a stager for a real estate transaction, and frankly, I had some trepidation. I am so glad I followed the suggestion of our…read more

Kile Law

Sherrie did an amazing job staging our house to sell. We had it on the market for a couple weeks but it was vacant and not showing well. We hired Sherrie to bring some life into it and she was…read more

Alison Spain

Sherrie and the First Impression Home Staging Team did a great job. We engaged Sherrie in designing and procuring furniture for an entire four bedroom home. Our project was very time sensitive and she beautifully designed, procured, stored and staged…read more

Michael Thurston

Sherrie was seriously amazing! Our house looks so awesome after our FaceTime staging call (quarantine probs) She was personable, patient and very knowledgeable! Would 100% use her again and definitely recommend!

Gina C

First Impression Home Staging provided a virtual consultation so we could stage our home! They were professional and patient as we did the walk through. It was a pleasure working with Sherrie Medeiros. She helped us successfully stage our home…read more

Cheri K

Sherrie helped me remotely stage my rental property that is up for sale, using FaceTime (I’m in CA and Sherrie is in NC). I initially sent her photos of the house staged with a bare minimum of furniture, which she…read more

Rena W

My husband and I are realtors in Raleigh, and we’ve been using Sherrie’s staging consultant services for our clients, and can I just say, “WOW”?! First Impression Home Staging definitely makes a HUGE difference. . . even in this current…read more

Lisa F

We used First Impressions Home Staging to help us with a completely new interior design of a vacation rental we bought in the mountains of Virginia. Sherrie and Roslyn were both amazing to work with. They were conscientious of our…read more

Josee M

Sherrie has an amazing eye for color and a talent on how to bring out the best in a space. She spent time getting to know what items in my home meant the most to me and created a paint…read more

Shannon H

We recently placed our home for sale and hired Sherrie and First Impression Home Staging to stage it. They did a fabulous job and the house looks beautiful. Sherrie is wonderful to work with. After an initial walk through of…read more

Joan K

Sherrie did a fabulous job staging our home for sale! I would HIGHLY recommend her if you are preparing your home to sale. We had never used staging before to sell a house, but now we are certainly believers indeed!…read more

Rachel M

Sherrie came in to stage our home to sell & she did just that. She made terrific suggestions & simply put, she made our home more marketable. I highly recommend her & if given the opportunity, I would choose to…read more

Sheila C.

The home that you staged went under contract in 3 days with 2 offers. I am certain that your staging was instrumental. The sellers are thrilled. They are so excited. They are convinced it was the best investment!

Mindy O.

Thanks very much Sherrie! You did an amazing job helping us get their home beautiful and ready to list.

Heather Piper, KW Realtor

Hey Sherrie I wanted to share some good news… that townhouse in Brier Creek went live on Saturday morning, held it open both days, and we have an offer on the way today. The exact unit around the corner, not…read more

Hugh Grist, Grist Realty

We’d just like to offer a sincere thanks for the work you did staging our house. We believe that the advice you and Amy gave us along with your staging made a huge difference in both the price and the…read more

Sincerely, Roger & Carla Wilson

Are you selling your house soon? Let me tell you… I didn’t believe it… But our listing didn’t go as fast as we wanted and I decided to stage my empty home… We got multiple offers over asking in 48…read more

K Mitchell
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First Impression Home Staging bedroom decorating photo.

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