St Augustine, St Johns County Real Estate & Home Staging


To run in fear or wait for the karmic windfall?

Ok, by now all of you should know I'm not a run in fear kind of girl so it is going to be the latter of the two choices.  I would like to give you a heads up on something that is going on in my area.  I think we'll start seeing more of this across the nation and I want to encourage those of you who are not a current stronghold in your community to keep up your efforts... don't look at this as a dark time.  If it seems at all dark remember the old addage that it is always darkest before the dawn....

I was informed a couple of weeks ago that the largest real estate company in our area - Prudential Carolina Real Estate - has instituted a new staging program.  For $49 they have an ASP meet the agent and provide a walkthrough and written consultation.  This can even be paid for out of the agents accounts receivable (meaning it doesn't have to be paid for until there is a closing). 

I happened to be training a new class the next week, one of my students heard this and has been very nervous if she picked the right time to be entering the market - my market, on my team.  We've been gaining little pieces of information along the way when a collegue of mine sent me the following from the PCRE intranet...

$49.00 - MySellersAdvantage
An ASP Certified Home Staging Consultant will meet you at your listing for a walk through where they will make observations and take notes. Then you will receive an Email and Printed report. This report will include an evaluation of the listing as well as advice on how to improve the "First Impression" of the home.

This actually is the verbage for the sign up page.  What we found particularly interesting is that they chose to capitalize and put in quotes the term "First Impression" given the fact that it is the name of my company.  The ASP is NOT affiliated with my company.  Several agents who work with me and my team members (who all received forwarded copies of this email) have commented that they actually seem to be trying to ride our success in this area perhaps even by leading their agents to believe that this is one of our Design Specialists. 

What I would like to point out is that we have learned this ASP ONLY DOES CONSULTATIONS and does not provide any actual staging services owner occupied or vacant.  They also don't make referrals as to anyone to do the work once the consultation is provided.  This kind of leaves the agents & clients hanging in the wind, doesn't it? 

As true to my never faultering belief that we provide the best service at reasonable rates we will keep educating our clients & agents - continue on with business as usual.  I will say that part of me really wants to thank PCRE for reminding their agents that they need a stager and subliminally reminding them who the best in the area is.  I only wish I thought it was on purpose.

When/If you find out that a large company in your area is providing these services - remember that this only means they are now endorsing and educating their agents to the value that we already provide.  As long as you provide quality your business will be fine & probably better than ever! 


 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at, Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).


Comment balloon 16 commentsMelissa Marro • November 15 2007 09:56AM


Hi Melissa...Is this particular case a local ASP on their own who worked this deal out with Prudential? I have not seen anything like this coming through SH.  How in the heck can you do a consult AND report for $49 bucks?  Whoa.
Posted by Teresa Meyer, Home Staging Cincinnati-OH. (Cincinnati Home Stager) about 11 years ago

I assume it is a local ASP making a deal with our local Prudential.  I don't think SH had anything to do with it. 

I don't know how you do a walkthrough and consult for $49.  I guess she is counting on volume since she doesn't do any actual staging work.  I personally feel this is another case of a stager providing an inferior product at a lower cost leaving the hard stuff to the real professionals. 

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago
Thank you Melissa.  I'll keep an eye and ear out.  I am working with a Prudential Realtor here in So. CA. but I haven't heard anything of this yet.  

Diane - Orange county stager - DC Redesign
Posted by Diane Concialdi, DC Redesign Real Estate, Staging & Conceptual Design (Westminster, Huntington Beach, Orange County) about 11 years ago


Wow! $49? I can't believe anyone would do it for that. All they are doing is setting you up for even more success. So how about we celebrate! Do you prefer a glass of bubbly or would you like something stronger?

Posted by Anthea Click, Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly! (Fresh Perspectives - about 11 years ago

Melissa, you tell your student's they ABSOLUTELY made the right decision... You do not train them to do $49.95-drive-by-checklists with no options for really utilizing their training, talents, and abilities to make the house not only SELL  --- but SING while doing it!

To me, its the difference between MC Donald's and (insert your favorite sit-down-restaurant here)...

One sounds appetizing -- the other --- not so much! ;-) Julianna

...and PS, I aggree with Anthea, PARTY! --- because you'll look mahvelous dahling.

Posted by Julianna Hind, REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA (eXp Realty) about 11 years ago
I would guess she's on staff at the office. I was offered a job with a title company when I first started and I would have been a staff member, whose services they provided to the agents who used their services.
Posted by Roberta Anderson, Hearth & Home Staging, Staging Kitsap County (Hearth & Home Staging) about 11 years ago

Melissa - I really do have to meet you in person.  Your attitude and perspective is something else.  I think I would have hit 1-90 in all of about 22 seconds and THEN I would have sat back down and thought it through.  Of course you're right.  Let them at'll come out on top.  This just opens my eyes for what's going on around me and helps me to keep a better perspective.  Thanks for blogging about what's going on - it's a learning experience for all of us, well, at least for me.


Posted by Jackie Peraza, Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts (Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC) about 11 years ago
Jackie - you know we are having a roundtable discussion here in SC... Feel free to make the trip and you can join us & we can go sight seeing....
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) about 11 years ago

Melissa - though a trip to SC sounds great and I do want to make it down there sometime (I've heard it's beautiful!) this time around just won't do.  I'll take a raincheck though!


Posted by Jackie Peraza, Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts (Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC) about 11 years ago

This is very interesting, Melissa. The stager must spend all of 30 minutes in & out of the property. No benefit here, and the realtors will see quickly that it is a waste of their time.


Posted by Kathy Riggle, Houston Home Staging (STAGING SMART N SOLD) about 11 years ago

Hi Melissa - I think this may be a case of a Stager getting their foot in the door.  Looking at the positive, it is putting Staging in the forefront of the Realtors' minds on the real need of having a property Staged - not just prepared - for sale. 

Also, we don't understand everything we see, and in some cases, the Realtor-owner supplements the additional investment in the Staging; i.e.,  $49 for Staging paid for by Agent, balance paid by Broker owner.

This is not a negative thing - it is simply a marketing tool!  

You are probably on your way to Sunny Florida - Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Posted by Margaret Ann Innis, Real Estate Staging - MA & NH (Decorate To Sell - Merrimack Valley Real Estate Staging ) almost 11 years ago
Melissa, I believe Margaret is probably correct in that there are subsidies being paid by someone.  If not this Stager is setting them selves up as the Kmart of Stagers for your area.  I think it is much better, although harder sometimes to take the high road and work at being the macy's of Home Staging.
Posted by Gary Barnett, Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis (Home Matters) almost 11 years ago

Just like you said Melissa, at least the homeowners and agents are learning what staging is! I too would look at it as a positive because if this stager is only doing consultations, what about the owners who don't have the time or physically can't stage the home themselves? Who are they going to call? You of course!

Posted by Tara Boettger (HOMEGIRL Home Staging) almost 11 years ago

Hey Melissa,

I'm sick with the flu and finally getting a chance to read your blog. I love it, BTW.  I haven't heard of the success of the in house staging program, but I think your success in the business goes without saying due to the personal relationships you have built and your amazing knack of stating. I've had folks in my office ask about the in-house program and I still always refer them to you.  This goes the same in the RE business.  There are lots of discount brokers out there, but my clients will come to me no matter what.  You may lose a few, but the ones you loose probably don't value quality. ;)

Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) over 10 years ago

Hi Michele!  I'm so sorry you are sick - you just got over being sick!  I am glad that you've had a chance to read my blog though.... lol! 

Thank you so much for your wonderful compliments!  You know I always value the relationships I have with my agents (you, of course, being one of my most loyal!  Thank you for all the referrals, btw)  It is the personal service that we provide that sets us apart from our competition.  I know you know that - you always go above and beyond, proiving that extra service that makes an excellent agent!

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 10 years ago


You are such an inspiration.  When you are blessed and highly favored, as you are, people are always going to try to attack you or undermine you.  But if you your course you will always win.  Cheap will never beat out quality and excellence!


Posted by Tanya Venable, SEO, Mobile SEO, and Internet Marketing Consultant over 10 years ago

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