Home Staging Expert® Certification & Training “What is a Hands-On Home Staging Workshop?”

If you’ve ever looked into home staging training, you’ve probably found a number of delivery methods.  Some offer on-line training, whether DIY or via teleconference, others offer classroom settings, and then there are the Hands-On Home Staging classes offered by Home Staging Expert®!

A Hands-On training class takes place on-site, right at a listing preparing for market or one that has been sitting on the market and is in need of assistance.  While we offer both 1-Day & 2-Day Hands-On training, both assure you will receive hands-on instruction and get to experience and participate in the professional staging of a property for yourself!

Our HSE® Hands-On Workshops are popular for this very reason.  And because of the location and personal interaction, to ensure you receive the best possible instruction, we limit our classes to 12 students or less.  Students receive their training manuals via PDF 10-14 days prior to class time, so they have the opportunity to review what we will be covering, and since they always have access to our training manual, it also makes for a great refresher to review in the future.

During the 1-Day Workshop, we cover business and marketing in the morning right at the property.  (We don’t like to waste a lot of time driving between a meeting location and the listing we stage.)  Around noon, students receive a boxed lunch and get to take a little break.  After lunch, we divide up into smaller groups, assign each group a space, then tackle staging the property for market!

Our instructors walk our students through all of the guidelines, then allows each group to think through the staging process and implement the changes to the space they’ve been assigned so everyone has a chance to experience some hands-on staging.  Our Certified HSE® Trainers float between the groups to assist and provide further instruction, as needed.  At the end of the day, what we end up with is a truly unique and real-life experience to help build each student’s confidence and better understand the process.

You will learn how to present your staging skills to sign more clients!  How to get your clients on board with staging!  How to offer a professional consultation!  How to see a listing from a buyer’s perspective!  How to recognize and highlight the features of the space!  How to accessorize with a purpose!  How to bring in more light!  What to do with the excess!  How to take better property photos!  AND SO MUCH MORE!

In our 2-Day Workshop, our students get to experience the same process as our 1-Day Workshop provides, but will actually meet in a conference room to cover the more intricate details of staging as a business, including how to set themselves up to offer staging for vacant homes, promoting home staging as a value-added service, staging and social media, and marketing your services to stand out from the rest!

Both of these workshops are unique to the staging industry, and we’ve been successfully training Realtors® and professional stagers for two decades now!  Our Hands-On Home Staging Workshops are fun, informative, and an experience you will not forget!

Once you complete the workshop and submit your final project, you will receive your HSE® Certificate, access to our Member’s Area so you will be able to download the HSE® logo for your marketing and website, home assessment sheet and templates, as well as instructions to list on our website as a Certified Home Staging Expert®!  As with any of our courses, once complete, there are never any annual renewal fees to maintain.

Whether you are a Real Estate Professional looking to add staging as a value-added service, or if you plan to open a home staging company, please check out our calendar to sign up for a 1-Day or 2-Day Hands-On Home Staging Workshop in your area.  We guarantee, it will be the most valuable training course you take this year!

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Staging to Sell with 2020 Vision


I remember the conversation well, even though the conversation took place nearly two decades ago, very early on in my home staging career.

It was a tiny little house.  You walked right into the tiny little living room, could see the tiny little kitchen from the front door, then walked down a tiny little hallway to three tiny little bedrooms.  Very typical for this tiny little neighborhood.  But what they had going for them that similar homes in the area didn’t have, was a finished family room on the lower-level…tiny, but finished…and a large, semi-finished, three-season sunroom out back.

When we first met, I was given carte-blanche and clear instructions.  “Do whatever you think best,” is what they told me.  They had already made a contingent offer on their dream home and were totally on-board.  Or so they claimed.  And even though I explained what I envisioned and told them exactly what I planned to do, the reality of what that truly meant turned out to be more than they had anticipated.

After spending less than a day on site, the place looked twice the size and a few decades younger!  Admittedly, I was quite proud of myself.  It was stunning!  All that was left were the finishing touches to take it to that next level.  Their Realtor asked me to return later in the week for advice on fresh paint colors…the pink kitchen walls really had to go…and any additional updates I felt were necessary, and I wholeheartedly agreed!  But the following day, I was confronted with a completely different story.

The same agent who had been so ecstatic by the transformations the afternoon before was now in panic mode!  His clients were very upset, he informed me.  They threatened to cancel their contract.  They threated to report him to the Minnesota Board of Realtors.  They even threatened to sue!  And according to him, they had given me a very unflattering nickname which I won’t repeat here, but still stings when I think about it to this very day.  I was devastated, but ready to face the music and talk to the angry owners.  The same owners who had originally given me carte-blanche, remember?

The morning I arrived, I was greeted by a very nervous looking Realtor and two very angry homeowners with their arms crossed, giving me the stink eye.  I stayed upbeat, walked in and explained, once again, why I did what I did and how important it was to stage the home from the buyer’s point of view, not their own.  And I didn’t waiver.

“You do realize we still need to live here, right?”, was their response.  I replied with the same mantra I still live by.  “Yes, I do realize that.  But the goal is to get your home sold quickly for the best possible price.  It’s not about you, it’s about the potential buyers, how they see your house, and whether or not what they see makes them want to invest.”

I continued on the tour, talked them out of spending $5K to re-finish their hardwood floors, which were in great condition and really just needed a good cleaning.  I advised them instead to take that money they were planning to spend on the floors and invest in fresh, neutral paint throughout and encouraged them to finish the sunroom with new flooring, a ceiling fan, and a few plants.  To their credit, they obliged and ended up going above and beyond!

At their first open house the following weekend, they ended up in a bidding war and the house sold for slightly more than $10K over asking price!  They were thrilled, the Realtor was thrilled, and they sent me a lovely bouquet of flowers to thank me.  (Along with my staging fee, of course.)

While this story took place years ago, long before home staging was the industry it’s turned into today, the end goal remains the same.  It’s not about you and how you see your home.  You live there!  You’re biased!  Just remember, it’s all about how potential buyers see your home.  That’s what’s going to sell it.  And what was true back then is still true today in 2020;


When preparing your home to sell, you need 20/20 vision to ensure you’re showing potential buyers exactly what they want to see.  Stage your home from the buyer’s point of view, and you’ll go far.  That’s how you sell a house!

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Home Staging Expert® 2019 – And That’s a Wrap!


As they say, all good things must come to an end, and 2019 is no exception.  But before we close out the year, we wanted to review a few highlights, just in case you missed it.

In 2019, Home Staging Expert® officially celebrated our 20th Anniversary and expanded our Certified HSE® Trainers to eight!

We were approved for Realtor® Continuing Education Credits in Colorado and Michigan, and will be adding more states in 2020!

COLORADO:  1-Day = 8 CE Credits and 2-Day = 14 CE Credits

MICHIGAN:  1-Day = 8 CE Credits and On-Line HSE® Course = 8 CE Credits

We interviewed Home Staging Expert® Phyllis Pafumi and featured the work of HSE® Certified stagers, Marla AltMark Dollard, and Charlene Francis.  (Let this serve as a reminder…we LOVE featuring our HSE®’s, so if you’ve got something to share in 2020, please get in touch!)

We tackled a few dilemmas for our readers including resolving an issue with two front doors, dealing with ugly countertops, and how to sell a home with renters.

And of course, we’ve done our best to educate the masses on the importance of staging before selling, our favorite cleaning products, why Realtors should learn home staging, and what sellers can do right now to get their homes ready for the spring market.

It’s been a year blessed with new friends, new ideas, and new adventures!  And as we prepare to ring in the start of a new decade, we wish for you and yours all the best in the coming new year.

And that’s a wrap!




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Moroccan Tiles – A Trend to Help Sell Your Home or Not?

Moroccan Tiles have been trending for several years now.  But when it comes time to sell your home, are they a yea or a nay?

I will not deny I am a big fan and even installed them in my own house.  And while ‘trendy’ is typically something to avoid when it comes time to sell, I am going to argue that Moroccan Tiles have been a staple in homes around the world for centuries.

In today’s home, they are perfect for a master bathroom or small guest bath, in the sunroom, as a backsplash in the kitchen, or perhaps even as a border around the edges of more neutral kitchen floor tiles.

If you plan to install them to give your home a boost, as with any trendy update, the key is to use them sparingly.  In other words, don’t go crazy with too much color, try to mix and match too many patterns, or tile an entire kitchen from top to bottom!  The effect in those cases might go terribly, dreadfully wrong.

Instead, use Moroccan Tiles in moderation to bring an added sense of luxe to an otherwise basic space, and I don’t think you’ll have any regrets installing this popular upgrade.  In fact…they might just turn out to be that little extra something to help get your house SOLD!


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“Ask the Home Staging Expert®” – Can We Stage and Sell a Home with Renters?

Good morning, Lori!

We have a dilemma and are hoping you can help.  My elderly father-in-law recently went into assisted living care due to ongoing health issues.  He owns a duplex and has been living on one side while renting out the other.  The current renters have been in place for less than a year and still have 5 months left on their lease.  We are now looking to place the property on the market in the next month or two since my father-in-law’s new living situation seems to be permanent and he needs the funds to help pay for his care.  He agrees and has given us the go ahead to prepare his house for market.  We’ve already started to make a few minor repairs and updates on the exterior and recently had a couple of windows and carpeting replaced in his unit, but the renter’s side is a different story.  We aren’t sure how to go about staging and selling the property while the tenants are still living there.  I have only seen through the front door a couple of times.  It looks very cluttered and I’m afraid it will be a turn-off to potential buyers.  The renters are aware we are planning to list it For-Sale-By-Owner, though we haven’t mentioned a time frame.  How can we show this property to potential buyers without causing any legal issues or bad feelings?

Complex-Duplex in Arkansas

Dear Complex-Duplex – Thank you for your question and yes I agree, selling a house with tenants in place can often prove a bit more challenging.  For my part, I can only give you an opinion, not legal advice.  I know tenant laws vary by state, though I do believe as long as the renter is in a lease, your father-in-law is still bound by that lease.  While the house could be placed on the market, the renters are under no obligation to tidy up for showings, and you would likely need to give them at least a 24-hour notice each time the house is to be shown.

That said and without knowing all the details, I would approach the renters to see what they might be open to.  Offering an early buy-out of their lease and perhaps offering to pay something towards their moving expenses might sweeten the pot and prompt them to leave early.  And while this option would definitely dip into the money you’re trying to save for your father-in-law’s care, it might be the best idea if you really want them out.

The one advantage you have is that it is a duplex, and the buyer might see a tenant already in place as a positive, not a negative.  As a single family home, that would likely limit the pool of potential buyers to investors and buyers with the patience to wait for the lease to expire.  As a two-for-one however, it could be exactly the right scenario a buyer might be looking for!  An investor would be more apt to see it as a ‘one-down, one-to-go’ offer, and a potential buyer planning to occupy the space might like the idea of having someone else making those monthly payments toward their mortgage.  In that case, staging and showing your father-in-law’s side of the duplex might be enough.

Whatever you decide to do, I would strongly encourage you to seek legal advice from an attorney who specializes in real estate sales in your area before moving forward, either way.  If it were me, that would be the first place I would start.

Wishing you and your father-in-law the best!  Hope it all turns out favorably.

If you have a question for “ASK THE HOME STAGING EXPERT®”, please contact lori@homestagingexpert.com.



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How Staging a Vacant Home can Improve Your Chances of Selling Faster and for More Money

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again…vacant rooms look smaller. Potential buyers have a difficult time envisioning how their own furnishings might fit the space. And worse yet, they often wonder why the house is sitting vacant and make assumptions that can easily lead to low-ball offers, if they ever make an offer at all.

Here, Charlene Francis who earned her certification with Home Staging Expert® and serves the Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Region, proves how adding furnishings and accessories to a vacant property and staging it to sell can make all the difference.  Just check out the before!  Not very user friendly or cheerful.

But warming up a cold vacant listing and showing potential buyers exactly how their own furnishings might fit in the space can be a real visual frame of reference for them.  Not to mention, how much more inviting does this house look now vs. the big vacant box it once was?

Staging a vacant property for market is always the best way to achieve the desired end goal for both the seller and potential buyer.  When buyer’s can actually picture themselves living in a house, they are far more apt to make an offer.  And creating an appealing atmosphere to show them just how wonderful it could truly be is going to give any vacant listing a marketable edge over their competition.

If you are looking to have your home staged in the Colorado Springs or the Pikes Peak Region, please get in touch with HSE® Certified stager Charlene Francis at thefranciscompanies@gmail.com to see how she can assist you today!


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