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Omaha Magazine

Living Room Staging

Jun 26, 2018 11:58AM ● By Claire Bromm
Staging can turn a house into a home. It all starts with first impressions.

“Staging” is a real estate industry term that means preparing a home for viewings (in-person) and photography (for online for-sale listings).

When done right, the prep work helps prospective buyers to imagine themselves actually living at the property. Staging requires attention to interior design, furniture placement, decorations, lighting, and landscaping, among other factors.

You don’t have to be a professional designer to stage your home for sale. But if the task sounds laborious, there are professionals eager to accept your business.

Tara Legenza and Julie Radke are two independent stagers in the Omaha area. Speaking with OmahaHome, they share how they entered the field and reveal some of their staging secrets.

Legenza and Radke have both prepared living rooms as samples to showcase their passion for staging. When looking at Legenza’s design, notice how bookcases and coffee tables are kept clean and strategically balanced to consist of books and minimal decor that would suit most buyers. In Radke’s work, consider her careful use of color, accents, and furniture placement.

ReDefined Interiors By Tara

How did you become interested in staging homes?

I went to school for art but quickly found out I needed to make more money. I worked in corporate marketing for 10 years until I had my second child and quit. I wanted to have the work-life balance in a field that would call to the creative side I had suppressed all those years. After researching, I found that becoming a home stager and decorator would allow for this. Staging can be challenging at times, but seeing the homeowner’s face and appreciation when it sells quickly (and they’re in their new home) is worth it!

What is your secret to successful home staging? 

It’s really dependent on the homeowner being open-minded and not being offended when asked to box up their décor and personal mementos. Once a stager comes to the home, you have to think of yourself as already moved out. It’s no longer your home—it’s just a house. If a homeowner can get into this mindset, things come together quickly and are more successful and profitable for them.

Can you share any anecdotes from your staging work?

There was a retired couple—living behind Papillion-La Vista High School—who tried selling their home without staging it, but they did not have success. After taking the house off the market for a couple of months, they decided to hire me before putting it back on the market. They were anxious to move into their newly built home. After boxing up several collectibles from their travels, rearranging the furniture for a more open feel in the living room, family room, and dining room, and staging an empty room as a bedroom, we were able to put it on the market for more than they had originally asked just a few months prior. The home was on the market for a couple of days and sold for 3 percent more than the asking price in 2017.


Rate: $150 for two hours

Phone: 402-203-0270

Email: [email protected]


Stage It! Home Staging and Redesign

How did you become interested in staging homes?

While working my previous job in the real estate industry, I used to open new offices and design them. I soon discovered this was my passion. I am a visual person with ideation as one of my top strengths. Home staging allows me to use this talent every day.

What is your secret to successful home staging?

There are many factors that come into play with successful staging. The job calls for creativity and talent for design, but it also requires business savvy to maintain a warehouse of inventory while staying on top of billing and contracts. Also, day-to-day tasks need attention to detail; for example, being able to coordinate all aspects of individual jobs that range from booking trucks and movers to making sure everything is completed in accordance with the real estate agent’s timeline for listing. Changing direction quickly when things are challenging is key.

Can you share any anecdotes from your staging work?

One vacant property that I staged in the Aksarben area had been on the market for five months with no successful sale. After I provided the furniture and staged the main living area, kitchen, and master bedroom, the home received multiple offers and sold within one week in 2015. The homeowner benefited by having a better visual to market the property and compete with other staged homes in the area. The homeowner selling the property had already moved out of state and was making two house payments. They needed to move this property asap. Once staged, it sold above asking price quickly.

Rate: $100 per hour (occupied) with a two-hour minimum, additional costs associated with rental furnishings and accessories as needed; $800 and up (vacant) depending on size of home, number of rooms furnished, and rental needs.

Phone: 402-312-9229

Email: [email protected]


This article was printed in the May/June 2018 edition of OmahaHome.

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