Home Staging Expert® is proud to announce our new HSE® Training Team!

Our Certified HSE® Trainers are talented, experienced, and make learning FUN!  If you’re looking to add home staging as a value-added service to your existing real estate business or want to start on a new career path, take a class with us today and learn from the best!

To find out more about them and to see their upcoming workshops, click on the direct link above the photo.  Please Note:  All other workshops listed on our website are taught by Lori Matzke.  For a complete list of ALL upcoming workshop dates, CLICK HERE.






ATTENTION:  Do you LOVE staging homes?  Home Staging Expert® is seeking qualified trainers to teach the HSE® Workshops in their area and become part of our training team!  If you are interested or know of someone who might be, please contact for info.

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Realtor and Home Staging Expert Mark Dollard Shows Us How To Stage and Sell Chicago!

When Mark Dollard of Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty in Chicago, Illinois walks into a listing, he looks at it from the buyer’s point of view.  Using his home staging skills, Mark assists his clients, and often his colleagues, create that picture-perfect image buyers want to see.

While this listing Mark staged for market had many desirable attributes, the furnishings were just too large for the space and the similar tones blended into the beautiful hardwood floors and background leaving the room feeling over-stuffed and heavy.

But replacing the old for newer furnishings that were more scale appropriate to the space and choosing brighter colors that contrasted with the flooring and walls completely opened up the room!  The gorgeous wood floors really stand out and the new layout created a lot more visual square-footage and shows just how spacious this listing really is.

Mark also proves the benefits of using sleeker, less bulky furnishings when staging the bedroom.  With the goal of showing buyers plenty of room and to show off the balcony as the very desirable feature it is, heavy drapes were removed and the headboard replaced for something more to scale.

The end result is a bright, beautiful, buyer-friendly space, and WOW!  What a difference it makes!  Light, airy, spacious rooms are always more appealing to potential buyers, and Mark certainly shows he’s able to deliver exactly what they’re looking for.

If you’re in the Chicagoland area and interested in selling your home for top dollar, Realtor® and Home Staging Expert® Mark Dollard has the vision and skills to take your home to that next level and ensure your success!




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Our Online Course just $195.00 (Normally $395.00) – Offer Ends July 5, 2019

Stop procrastinating!  Our on-line Home Staging Expert® Certification Course is on sale thru July 5, 2019.  Tell your friends and Click Here to Order Now!  You can still take advantage of the 2019 market and start earning what you’re worth today.  A FUN, SIMPLE, and EFFECTIVE course for anyone looking to start their own business or enhance their existing Real Estate, Home Organizing, or Interior Design biz.  We guarantee, this small investment will make a very BIG impact over the lifetime of your career!

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Would You Like to Become a Certified Trainer for Home Staging Expert?

Home Staging Expert®, a leader in the home staging industry since 1999, is currently looking for independent trainers to teach our home staging course.  We have opened up territories nationwide and are in need of talented individuals to help meet the demand.

As a Certified HSE® Trainer, you will be in charge of marketing, organizing, and conducting hands-on training workshops under our guidelines in your designated territory.  This is an ideal opportunity for anyone looking for a fun, lucrative, part-time gig with high-earning potential and the freedom to ‘be your own boss’.

Qualified candidates will have a Home Staging Expert® certification or be willing to acquire one, and must also have a working knowledge of staging occupied homes.  The perfect individual would be highly motivated, possess strong leadership skills, and be very goal oriented.  Prior teaching experience is not necessary, but the ability to speak in front of a small group and effectively direct and communicate with your students is a must.  Compensation is unlimited, based solely on what you put into it, and completely in your control.

Our first live, on-line “Training-to-Train” session is scheduled for July 29 & 30, 2019.  There is another coming up August 19 & 20, 2019.  It is up to you which date you prefer, though you are certainly invited to attend both.

Winter, spring, and fall are the busiest seasons to conduct our workshops, so sign on now and you will be more than ready to hit the 2019 fall market!  If you are interested and would like to request further info, please contact  All email inquiries will be answered.  No phone calls, please.


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For Sale By Owner (FSBO) – Here’s Why Your House Isn’t Selling

I totally get why FSBO’s are so attractive.  They save you money, right?  You don’t have to pay the Realtor® commissions and you get to pocket all that extra cash.  It’s most definitely very tempting to go it alone and save!

But here’s the clincher…if your house just sits and you have to continue to reduce the price over and over and over, or worse yet, sits forever and doesn’t sell at all…you are going to make absolutely nothing in profits  and probably just did a good job of shooting yourself in the foot.

WHY?  Because now hundreds, if not thousands, of potential buyers have already seen it!  You’ve already missed out on the original thrill of a new listing and the hype that it  generates.  You were so concerned with saving money, you didn’t take into consideration what your potential buyers wanted.

Here’s what FSBO sellers just don’t seem to grasp…you are far more concerned with your needs than your buyer’s needs.  And unless you can turn your listing into the house every buyer wants, no buyer is going to want it!

Personally, I would never sell my own home for the same reason I would never cut my own hair.  It’s not my forte.  It’s not something I have a lick of experience with.  And it’s not something I would even attempt without a professional because I know it could very easily turn into an unsightly disaster that would take months, or with my slow-growing locks even years, to recover from.

Yet people are still sucked into the promises of the FSBO market because they make it sound so alluring.  And what could possibly be more alluring than saving money?  Well, how about actually getting your house sold?  If I had a dime for every FSBO that failed and eventually ended up in the hands of an experienced Realtor®, I’d be rich!

IMHO, FSBO is not a bad idea if you follow the rules of engagement to a T!  In other words, if you are willing to put in the time, energy, and cash required to get it sold.  But if your idea of selling your own home is to simply slap it up on the market and hope for the best, you are about to experience a very big and very expensive FAIL!

While selling your own home could potentially save you money if done correctly, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to spend any money to get it done!  There is your competition to consider after all, which sadly, most FSBO sellers don’t even think of.  The majority of your competition have already hired a seasoned pro!  That means, their listings have already been prepared and staged to appeal to the most potential buyers, have been professionally photographed, and will be marketed by someone who totally understands and has the connections to garner a larger audience.

Can you do that?

If not and you need assistance, visit Home Staging Expert® to find an experienced stager in your area that can help you get the job done right!  Or if you are truly in the DIY mood, our parent company Center Stage Home, Inc. offers a $99.00 On-Line Home Staging Consultation and Game-Plan that will give you everything you need to succeed in prioritized order.

To find a good real estate photographer, we highly recommend a visit to

And if you are looking for the total package, you can even find a Realtor® on our website who not only has earned their Home Staging Expert® certification, but has all the experience you need to get your house SOLD!



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Home Staging Expert® Profiles Phyllis Pafumi of Restyled to Sell, New Jersey

Phyllis Pafumi of Restyled to Sell is a Home Staging Expert® based in New Jersey and offers full-staging services from New Jersey to Staten Island, New York.  She’s one of the most talented and busiest Home Staging Experts® I know!  The first moment she had a chance to catch her breath, we took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her business.

Hi, Phyllis!  So how long exactly have you been professionally staging homes and why did you decide to get into this field?

I started in March of 2006.  I was laid off from a job that I really did not like so much and went to the unemployment office, and they asked what I loved doing and I said decorating and restyling homes.  They sent me to their SEA Program (Self Employment Business Program) and I went to learn how to run a business.  All of my family and friends advised me that I should start staging homes professionally because it was something I was already doing for my family and friends for 30 years (for free).  I took my staging course with Lori Matzke (Home Staging Expert® Certification Workshop) and within 2 weeks had my first job and have never stopped working since.

What was your background before that?

I was a Real Estate paralegal and taught dance classes for over 25 years!

When did you realize the Home Staging business was truly the business for you?

I always loved this but never thought you could actually make a living from it.  When I was laid off and after talking to my unemployment advisor and when asked what I really loved to do, I had my ‘a-ha’ moment!  There were no openings in my field and I really had no choice.  I had to work, this was ‘do or die’, and I swore I would make it work!

What do you love most about Home Staging and what do you like the least?

I love helping people sell their homes!  I love that every day you meet someone new and the job never gets boring.  I love the choosing and designing of builder’s model homes.  I love that I get to shop and spend other people’s money!  What I mean by that is that every house may need something new and we do get paid for our work and inventory.  What I like the least is the consultations.  I find them boring and to me, redundant.  I want to do the staging, and frequently start flipping the furniture around for them during the consult!  I also stopped doing Realtor presentations as I found them to be not very productive and it took time away from my staging jobs.

Was there anything about the business that totally surprised you in the beginning?

YES!  It was nothing like you see on T.V.!  I remember after one of my first jobs, everyone couldn’t wait to hear what I had to say about how it went, and I came home disappointed and told them I felt like nothing more than a glorified house cleaner.

Has the Home Staging Industry changed since you first started out?

When I started, no one knew what staging even was.  I was one of just three Home Staging companies in the entire state of New Jersey!  Today, every T.V. show and every household talks about staging!  Sellers interview Realtors and base their decision on whether they work with a home stager or not.  Right now, there are too many stagers out there competing and trying to undercut each other.  This is not a good practice for the industry.  When I started my business, other stagers throughout the country would chat with each other and help each other out.  Today, they are not as willing to share information as we did many years ago.  I cannot imagine where I would be today without some of my fellow stagers from 2006-2009!  We would collaborate on marketing materials and share a lot of helpful tidbits.  No one does that anymore.

Do you have a specialty?

YES!  We are known for our ‘2-HOUR MINI-REDESIGN’…this is a service we provide to our REA’s.  We show up, sight unseen, and totally transform the house using only what the clients already own.  We do several of these a week and it is amazing how creative we have to get, but we always leave totally stunned by how beautiful the house turned out!  Personally, if I had my choice, I do love staging vacant homes and this year, we’ve had more vacant stagings than we’ve had in the past 13!








What do you think is the biggest misconception about Home Staging?

That anyone can do it!  People think that just by watching HGTV, they are now a stager.  I actually get upset when I see a homeowner decluttering their home, then place a bowl of lemons on the table and call it staging.  UGH!  Some people have no clue the amount of time and energy it takes to properly stage a home for market.  It is all about highlighting the selling features and downplaying the negative features.  Putting a bowl of lemons on the table will not sell your house!  Staging your home with the correct furniture placement, proper decluttering and accessorizing will enhance the space, and with a professional, experienced home stager, the house will sell quickly for more money.

If you could give one piece of advice to sellers looking for a home stager, what would it be?

Check their website out, get referrals, and do not choose based on price only.

Would you do anything differently if you were just starting out in the industry today?

I don’t think so.  I’m happy with the business model I have chosen.  I decided long ago to work with a furniture rental company to assist me in the staging of vacant homes and I am blessed to have been working with the same company for the past 13 years.  I am happy with all my decisions!

If you could give one piece of advice to people who want to start a Home Staging business, what would it be?

Be prepared for a lot of work!  Develop a good business model and be true to yourself.  Try not to copy others, it will only frustrate you.  Work with a (furniture) rental company in the beginning and try not to get into debt buying too many large pieces of inventory.  When I started out, as I would get a vacant listing, I would specifically shop for that home.  I eventually built quite a nice accessory inventory to cover each style, color, and theme.  And finally and perhaps most importantly, ANSWER YOUR PHONE WHEN IT RINGS!  If you don’t, they will just call another stager!

Any final words of wisdom you’d like to share?

Being a home stager is a rewarding but challenging business.  This might sound strange, but if you are only in it for the money, it will not work for you.  You must be in this business because you have a heart to help people.  You will hear all sorts of sad stories with each household you enter.  Be prepared to be kind, generous, and loving.  Take one day at a time and before you know it, you will be exactly where you want to be…running your own successful business!  I remember when I first took my course with Lori, she said she did 4 consults a day.  I remember turning to one of the other students and saying, “That is crazy! That means you could be making up to $1000.00 a day!”  Well, here I am, doing up to 4 consults or 2 hands-on stagings a day.  In time and with the right attitude, you will be successful.

Thank you for taking the time to share your insight, Phyllis!  We are so honored to call you a Home Staging Expert®!

If you are looking for a Home Staging Expert® in New Jersey or Staten Island, New York, please visit Phyllis at or contact her directly at 732-995-3425.

*All photos depicted are the property of Phyllis Pafumi and  All copyrights apply.

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