Lifestylist Suzanne Felber (left) works with Karen Eubank of Eubank Staging to dress up 307 N. Waverly ahead of photography. (Photos: Shoot2Sell/Thomas Byers)

Editor’s Note: This is Part Three of our five-part series breaking down our free team staging of 307 N. Waverly. Read Part One and Part Two here and here, respectively.

It’s been 15 years since I sold my home and purchased The Home Idea Factory. Fortunately for me I found the historical home of my dreams that will keep me in projects for a lifetime in Oak Cliff. Every day though I am working on merchandising new homes for builders, so it was a lot of fun to work with Karen Eubank of Eubank Staging on staging a consumer-owned home.

As a Lifestylist, I get asked all of the time what the difference is between a home stager and a model home merchandiser. The main difference is that I am starting with a clean slate in new home construction and I typically work with the builder from plans to opening day, and everything that I specify stays in the home for as long as three or four years.

We help specify colors, building materials, trim, and of course the furniture, artwork, window treatments and accessories. While a stager is trying to remove the lifestyle of the sellers so the buyer can see themselves living there, a merchandiser plays up the lifestyle that a buyer can expect in their new home and their new community. I bet you didn’t realize how much thought went into making that model home look so good! Our biggest compliment is when a buyer wants to buy the model home furniture and all.

What stagers and model home merchandisers have in common is we both are in business for one reason only — to sell homes.


Realtors face this every day. The RESA Staging to Sell class can help you solve these problems.

What is the going rate for a staging consultation? What does it cost to stage a vacant property? What updates will bring a seller the best return on investment? Should a Realtor stage their own properties?

Realtors, investors, and builders can learn a lot from the Staging to Sell: What Every Agent Should Know class offered by The Real Estate Staging Association through MetroTex Association of Realtors. It’s a three-hour, three-MCE-credit course that provides an enormous amount of information for $25. Talk about bang for your buck.


The Real Estate Staging Association has an online directory of stagers in every state and Canada.

The course is taught at various MetroTex locations by one of only three accredited RESA-PRO teachers in the Metroplex — Amy Fedosky, Karen Otto, and Karen Eubank. Yep, that’s me. So here’s the inside skinny on why this is going to be one of the best classes you can ever take.


Godwin Front

Does staging to sell have to be an expensive strategy to help your home stand out? Not so much, says Karen Eubank of Eubank staging. She consulted with Ebby agent Carolyn Albers Black on 5242 Godwin, a Vickery Park home that has tons of character.

Photographed by real estate photo pros Shoot2Sell, this property shows like a dream.

Godwin Front Porch

“This is another great example of a staging consultation DIY where I consult, send a detailed report and the seller does the work,” said Eubank. “I did go back for an hour to hang pictures and rework a few pieces but the sellers did a fabulous job of following the report.”

Godwin Living

The staging definitely helps some of the home’s fantastic details stand out, such as the spacious front porch, beautiful fireplace, huge windows, and lovely kitchen. This 1926 Craftsman-style home in Vickery Park has more than 1,900 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths, and a huge walk-in master closet that the owners added on. It’s listed for $439,000.

Godwin Dining

Other incredible details include the beautiful kitchen floor, which is made of cork, and the lovely apron sink with gorgeous green backsplash that really sets off the kitchen cabinets and granite counters with an eat-in peninsula for a quick breakfast.

Godwin Kitchen Breakfast Godwin Kitchen

“For an M Streets-area home, they’ve done everything that buyers look for,” Eubank added. “I was very impressed by the size and the updates and I’m a hard sell, as you know!”

The master suite will really impress, as it includes a huge five-piece bath with a gigantic double vanity. And of course, in an area with homes that have little to no closet space, you’ll have to pick your jaw up off the floor when you see the gigantic walk-in closet.

Godwin Master Godwin Closet Godwin Master Bath

The backyard is spacious, too, and has an elevated deck with room for a hot tub. There’s a carport, but no garage here, which isn’t a bad deal when you consider it.

There’s no question about the value that staging a home like this will add! What do you think of the final result?

Godwin Backyard


Eubank Staging: Image courtesy of Jim Olvera

The National Association of Realtors’ Field Guide To Preparing & Staging a House for Sale hit our inbox last week. It’s a compilation of staging tips and information gathered over the course of the past two years. There’s some great information and some ridiculous information. So let me break it down for you.

Probably the most ludicrous information I read was from one of the Extreme Makeover designers. Note I said “designer” not “stager.” While this show is a favorite of mine it is not remotely related to selling a home. They are creating a design, a plan for a specific family. That’s about as far from staging as you can get. I’ve worked in television and you do things differently for TV than you do in real life. Unless a stager has done both, they have no business handing out staging advice.

The bad advice included the idea of using a TV as artwork. It was referred to as the “modern family hearth.” That is completely absurd. The focal point of a room for sale is always architecture not a television that will be moving with the seller. This designer also advocated using window treatments and not using artificial plants. Stagers ditch window treatments in favor of light and revealing architectural detail constantly. We also love our “fake” plants. At last count I had 35 gorgeous artificial orchids that look so real they almost fooled my horticulturist neighbor! There is bad fake and good fake, stagers know how to fake it!


Some really questionable advice about staging a home in the winter included lighting a fire and not showing the house at night. Just stunning. Definitely get your MLS photos with that roaring fire but leave the house for work with a fire going? Never! An agent could be delayed and then you’ve got the potential of a real safety issue at home. If you have a remote starter that would allow a Realtor to immediately turn the fire on and off that’s one way to handle it, otherwise do not fan the flames! Advising sellers not to show their house at night in the winter just blew my mind. Really? Let’s be serious here. The majority of folks see houses after work. There is nothing more inviting than a snow covered lawn with a freshly shoveled walkway, some great landscape illumination and lights glowing from every room in the house.

The Field Guide had a great article on staging garages. Now garages really never mattered until this market. Stagers will always tell you to store your excess off site. It’s worth the money and right now garages are definitely turning away buyers. They should be clean, no oil stains on the floor and no cobwebs on the walls.


We’re all pretty sophisticated about holiday decoration when it comes to selling. It’s a no brainer to keep the 200-piece Santa village packed and just have a tree and a wreath. I was glad to see a tip about using timers in the winter months, which is one I’ve always suggested regardless of the season. Walking into a home with lamps lit equals instant ambience. Another useful piece of information is to ensure holiday decorations are not in the MLS photos! You do not want Valentines Day buyers looking at a bathroom with a snowman toilet seat cover.

Now one tip I loved and I’ve never come across was in an article on staging your laundry room. If your dryer vents outside as opposed to under the house you can have some nasty build up on a side of the house you seldom visit. No one wants to see that! Clotheslines are something else I consider. We’re all trying to be green but it’s worth reeling it in for showings!

We have a lot of multi-million dollar homes in Dallas so I was pleased to read that Ryan Serhant, an agent often seen on the reality show, “Million Dollar Listings New York,” advised luxury listing need staging too! Price point is irrelevant when it comes to creating that emotional connection. Every buyer wants to see “home” when they walk into a house.

Prop Furniture - WSJ

(Photo: Wall Street Journal)

According to this story in the Wall Street Journal, prop furniture is making a comeback for sellers staging homes in the hot residential real estate market. As any CandysDirt.com reader knows, expert staging advice can be the difference between just selling a home and profiting from your home. Still, could a cardboard settee really make the difference between “For Sale” and “Pending”?

So we asked Karen Eubank of Eubank Staging if faux furniture is a cost-effective way for owners staging vacant or unoccupied homes, and how they can maximize their staging budgets to make the most from their property. See what the expert designer had to say after the jump.

The look-but-don’t-sit prop furniture is not something I think will work in our market. I’ve seen it up close and personal and would never use it.

Most importantly, owners need have a realistic budget and time frame in mind. Remember bang for the buck is in the first 15 seconds upon entering the house. That generally means living, dining, and kitchen. Master bedrooms are also important. It’s always best to leave your furniture in the house if possible but if you simply cannot then there are some options.

– Borrow what you can from tasteful friends. Seriously, everyone has more furniture than they need and generally something fabulous in their garage.

– Consignment stores have great deals. Often when you do the math it’s cheaper to buy the living room basics from a consignment store than rent. Then you donate them and take the tax deduction.

– Get an inexpensive mattress from Salvation Army and create a headboard out of just about anything. You can find creative headboards on Houzz.com. Get some great bed linens and lamps from HomeGoods or Target.

– The best bet is to always call a professional stager because they can create a plan and give you great resources. They also have other stager pals with clients that are getting rid of furniture because they are moving and can score some terrific deals for you!

What tips do you give clients when it comes to staging an empty home?