Design & Decor in Knoxville>Question Details

Ashley Merri…, Both Buyer and Seller in Knoxville, TN

Home Staging

Asked by Ashley Merritt, Knoxville, TN Wed Feb 11, 2009

I'm actually wanting to obtain my license and get involved in home staging and redesign. Honestly, I have a creative flair and I've also recently been very motivated and inspired by my many hours of HGTV watching, due to being recently laid off!
Does anyone have any information or suggestions? I've seen Haverhill...anywhere else that anyone recommends to look into? Please offer ideas! Thanks!!!

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Ashley, I would start with the real estate license. I include Staging into every listing presentation I do, and I help my Sellers with it. It helps to have the experience with enough Buyers to know what they are looking at and for. It also helps to keep updated on local building trends, what is and is not selling, and why. There are just some things that come from experience. There are also some things you should know about real estate before you get into it. If you have a friend in the business, discuss it with him or her. If not, you can give me a call, 806-5559, I will be glad to help
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
There is no license requirement to call yourself a home stager in Tennessee.

Staging a home to sell faster and for more money is an important field and an often misunderstood one.

Barb Schwartz is probably the best known and has been in the business longer than most anyone. She is the "Godmother" of staging. Here's what she says staging is and is not

"Home Staging is NOT decorating, fluffing, interior design or redesign! Home Staging IS detailing, decluttering, depersonalizing and preparing a seller's home to give it a "model home" appearance so that the potential buyer can "see" themselves living in the home."

Barb's course information is here:

I intend to take her course the next time it's anywhere close to Knoxville.

Another lady, Jackie Riggins, who is a former employee of Barb and a former Realtor has a great staging course that I have taken and earned her staging designation for Realtors.

This is Jackie's website:

During Jackie's course we had a day of classroom training and then we actually went out to a house for sale and staged it. We spent the day moving furniture around, decluttering, and putting a lot of excess 'stuff' in storage. I have some photos of our class project on my website.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 14, 2009

Our recommendation is to not put all of your eggs in one basket. We like the combination of a real estate license and supplementing this with home staging.

During difficult times, people are able to get by by diversifying. This marriage should open doors on both sides.

Good luck with your new undertaking.

The Eckler Team
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
Hello Ashley,

I'm an ASP Home Stager based in Northern Virginia and I highly recommend the course offerings at I am also a mentor for our local IAHSP chapter, and am contacted frequently and asked the exact same sort of questions from others looking to get into the business. I'd be happy to speak with you regarding my personal experience, what I've learned, and what I wish had known before getting started.

You can reach me at 571-291-0614.

Good luck!

Leigh Newport, ASP, IAHSP
Staged by Design
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
Ashley there are some great home staging companies here in Knoxville. Try this website and see if you may be able to get the answers you need.

Good luck.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
Ashley there are designations you can take and classes but, they vary from area to area. Here in NC I know where to send you but, in TN not too sure. You might check into the local real estate schools and just search through Google for Home Staging. There is a good bit more to it then what you might see on TV so be prepared. I have actually taking a class here and there. I do not by any means profess to be a stager though.

Hope this helps,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
Contact RESA, Real Estate Staging Association. It's a great way to join with other stagers, some experienced, some just getting started. It's a great way to network and learn what's needed to transition into the field. Try this link as an intro to the organization.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 6, 2011
Hi Ashley, I live in Knoxville TN and recently completed a 21 day on-line course with Home Staging Resource (HSR). I did a lot of online research before I signed up for HSR. I looked into the 3 day seminars and felt uncomfortable with the prospect of becoming certified in such a short time. The HSR course I took provides certification and is currently the only course accredited by a third party - RESA [Real Estate Staging Association]. And, yes, it's true that cretification is not required in TN, but I felt it provides my clients with a level of confidence in my services. I have over 15+ years of hands on experience repairing, remodeling, redesigning and staging my personal homes for sell – so I wasn't too concerned about having a day of "hands on" training offered by some courses. HSR is absolutely great and offers much more than I expected. Feel free to call me - and, no, I have nothing to gain by recommending HSR - I am just very pleased with their course. You can check them out at:

Prepare to Sell Home Staging & Redesign, LLC
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 6, 2011
i love the advice about decluttering,depersonalizing...What really turns people off is the overblown table settings--those are the absolute worst! Toured one house where there was so much crystal on the dining room table that people didn/t even want to go into the room for fear of knocking something over. That's not the way to make people comfortable. Seller was styling herslef as an interior designer--except without the requisite 6 yrs. required in Louisiana before you can use that title. house has been on the market for almost 5 years--no one is buying the decor!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 24, 2009
There are many companies out there offering home staging/interior redesign training. Many are excellent, some are average, and others should be avoided. Make sure you research your options carefully. Talk to graduates of the programs you are considering and ask whether the company will offer ongoing support as you get your business running. I would recommend getting some of the books about starting a home staging business (many of which you can find at your local library) and educating yourself before you pay for staging training. If you like what you are learning about the how to's of running a staging business, then go for it with the training.

Check out the Real Estate Staging Association and the various staging groups at Active Rain for more information.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 24, 2009
Aloha Ashley,

As far as I know there are no licensing boards for stagers, however, there are many certifications offered. Barb Swartz has been in the business for quite some time as Jim has mentioned and is a good rescource. is another website you might want to consider. Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 20, 2009
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