Top Tips Video

In this new video, you’ll see some of the best things everyone can do to prepare your house for marketing. A full Staging Consultation will include the specifics for every area of an individual home in order to maximize value and minimize days on market.




Another Renovation | FLIP!

So last week, my husband and I finished up another renovation project! It’s not a “tiny house” but it is pretty small by most people’s standards. 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath, Eat-in Kitchen and a Family Room = 816 Square Feet. Small house doesn’t mean small project though. We purchased this 1959 home from another investor who started, but did not complete the project.


Our closing was back in late January. Remember January 2018? It was COLD. Really COLD! and this home had no HVAC system. First thing was first! All new duct work and HVAC. New plumbing to connect the brand new hot water heater. Where do you put a hot water heater in a tiny house, you ask? Outside – it got it’s own little shed on the side of the house. And they all drain into the brand new SEPTIC TANK!  What a fun way to spend money…but it’s all stuff a homeowner needs!

The tiny bathroom got a beautiful new tiled tub surround and a smallish sink. After the electrical panel in the kitchen (yes, the kitchen) was relocated, we were able to create a great L-shaped work space without putting the refrigerator on the other side of the room next to the dining table. And the deck! A new front porch and back deck were built giving the new homeowner a great place to enjoy the 1+ acre lot.

Check out these photos!


#UpStagingDesigns #UpSellingHomes #RealEstate #Flip #GarnerNC #KWCary

DIY Staging

A Staging Consultation is a 1-2 hour appointment with a seller who will “stage” their home for marketing themselves as opposed to having a professional stager do the work on their behalf, or move out and have staging furniture replace the seller’s personal property.

Here’s a great example of a DIY Staging success! The sellers had purchased their home new, the first in the neighborhood and had watched each home turn over to younger families. It was finally time for them to move on from their empty nest. They followed instructions and spent just a little bit of money on bedding, towels and accessories. Wowza! The transformation is amazing and the result was exactly what they wanted. #UnderContract in 4 days!


#UpStagingDesigns #UpSellingHomes #Staging #DIYStaging #RealEstate #DurhamNC

Price VS Presentation

Realtors know that ultimately price drives everything for home buyers in any real estate market. Buyers compare and contrast location, features, condition and price and make a buying decision when they believe they have found the best value.

Realtors also know that a lower price overcomes every obstacle when marketing a home, but sellers want the highest return on their real estate investment they can get.

What are the three things a Seller and Realtor can control?

Price. Presentation. Promotion.

There is no control over supply and demand, market conditions, interest rates, weather, location, lot or layout. When it is time to sell a home, the best marketing strategy is to make the most of that property and the current market conditions, and then price it to sell. That is where the expertise of a professional stager is a realtor’s best marketing tool to reach the highest sales price.

The importance of “presentation” can’t be underestimated when selling a home. Even the most desirable properties, locations and price points can benefit from staging in order to create the highest demand and therefore the highest sales price.

UpStaging Designs can assist Sellers and Realtors with Staging and Renovation Consultations as well as furniture and accessory staging in all price points. Additional services include Occupied Staging and Redesign, Photo Preparations, Color Consultations, and Design Center Assistance.

Contact Ellie today for more information!

ITB Beauty

A colleague and friend who’s had some great success renovating and selling properties around the Triangle recently completed his biggest project yet! Formerly a 1500 SF ranch, this 1953 home in the Raleigh neighborhood of Ridgewood is now nearly 4000 SF with 6 Bedrooms and 4 Baths. It is designed for entertaining and family life with gorgeous finishes and details. I was thrilled to provide staging and even more thrilled when Greg put this beauty under contract in just 2 days. Lucky Buyers!

Before and after of the front. The first picture is something I swiped from a 1995 Tax Records photograph. Right there is a WOW, but check out the inside shots!

The bad news is that someone has already scooped this one up from the market. Can’t wait to work with Greg and Kingdom Properties again!

#UpStagingDesigns #KWCary #ITBRaleigh #RaleighNC

2017 Profile of Home Staging

The new 2017 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Staging is out! The last report was done in 2015 and it appears that the importance of staging is only more widely recognized by Realtors across the country.

NAR posed questions to both Buyer and Seller Agents and summarized their responses. Understanding the different perspectives of Buyer vs Seller Agents is important. When an agent walks into a home with a Buyer, they know fairly quickly if there is any interest based on the Buyer’s initial response. Seller Agents are marketing these home and the measure of success is how quickly that first offer comes and how much the offer price is. My key take aways from the report:

  • 77% of Buyer Agents say that a Staged Home made it easier for buyers to visualize living in a property. That is a large percentage and the first hurdle a seller must meet. If a buyer can’t see it, then they won’t buy it.
  • About 1/3 of Buyer’s Agents say that staging increased the value of a property by 1-5%. This is a different perspective for Buyers versus Seller agents. Seller’s Agents are much more focused on the sales price than the Buyer’s Agent.
  • 50% of Seller’s Agents say that staging increases the value of a home by 1-10%! Sellers must realize that they should be spending a minimum of 1% of their home’s value on staging! And to be clear, I don’t think regular maintenance, repairs and cleaning should count. That’s just part of home ownership.
  • 39% of Seller’s Agents say that staging greatly reduces the Days on Market. This directly correlates to the sales price as the sooner a home goes under contract, the higher the sales price will be.

Home Staging is usually initiated by a seller’s Realtor, but most staging is paid for by the seller. A Staging Consultation is very often recommended and paid for by full-service Realtors and wise sellers should take advantage of all staging recommendations and services in order to maximize their sales price.

UpStaging Designs offers Staging Consultations, Vacant and Occupied Home Staging Services and Color Consultations. Contact Ellie at 919-656-2931 or for more informations. Click HERE to book services now!

Top 10 Reasons to hire UpStaging Designs

Top 10 reasons why you should hire not just any stager, but this stager.

  1. Brokerage Experience:
    • My experience as a real estate agent gives me a deep understanding of what buyers look for when they walk into a home.
  1. Licensed with Membership Rights:
    • Realtor association memberships, MLS access and a broker license gives UpStaging Designs access to the same information and lockbox access as listing agents.
  1. Book Online:
    • Agents can now book Staging Consultations online, getting the process started as soon as the listing is signed.
  1. Seller Resources:
    • Each seller receives an UpStaging Designs 12-page brochure including staging statistics, best practices, tips for photography and showings, paint color recommendations, vendor recommendations, coupons and resources for additional services they may need.
  1. Expert Training:
    • As a Master Accredited Staging Professional and Color Expert, I have the training and industry expertise to make recommendations to Sellers.
  1. Track Record:
    • In addition to the hundreds of first time listings with agent partners, I’ve helped with numerous “second chance” listings with a proven track record of success.
  1. Tips & Tricks:
    • As an experienced house “flipper” and a DIY homeowner, I can help sellers maximize the investment of updates and repairs.
  1. Technology in Action:
    • Hand written staging notes are converted to a typed written document in real time, getting those recommendations into the hands of agents and sellers quickly.
  1. Furniture & Accessories Warehouse:
    • UpStaging Designs maintains a warehouse of contemporary furniture, art and accessories to stage vacant listings, even on short notice.
  1. Why:
    • My personal why is wrapped up in your success! When you hire UpStaging Designs, my number one goal is to help my agent partners, their clients and the homes they sell stand out among the competition.

#UpStagingDesigns #SellerStaging #Staging #RealEstate #TriangleNC #StagingServices

MASTER Accredited Staging Professional

Just returned from a 4 day trip to Ft. Lauderdale, FL where I attended class with ASP Stagers from all over the country to earn my “Master” accreditation with StagedHomes.Com. What a week!

Highlights: the people! Stagers from CA, TX, OH, AL, CO, FL, MA and IN came together to talk business and creativity, how to work together and grow professionally. There were different specialties, backgrounds and business sizes represented, so we all had something to share.


We took a couple of field trips; first, to visit a staged home designed by Sandra Holmes at Home Staging Concepts out of Ft. Lauderdale. It was a gorgeous spec home on the canal with space for a yacht out back!

The next day, we saw where the magic all starts in her warehouse. Still wondering how much more UpStaging Designs can store in the current “warehouse” here in Cary!

I’m full of enthusiasm to work on growing my business and better serving the fantastic realtors I work with here in Raleigh and their clients. Back to work! #UpStagingDesigns

Value Proposition

At Upstaging Designs, my key focus is partnership with best-in-the-business realtors and their homeowner clients to achieve the goal of a quick sale for top dollar.

Why is partnering with Upstaging Designs a great resource for Realtors?

  • A complimentary Staging Consultation adds the the Realtor’s value proposition and team of trusted team of vendor partners available for clients.

  • Agents are freed from potentially awkward or extended conversations around preparations for marketing.

  • Sellers are taught to redesign and reimagine their homes from a buyer’s perspective

    Sellers receive professionally presented consultation notes, product and vendor recommendations and a handbook of tips and reminders with each personal appointment from an experienced, Licensed and Accredited Staging Professional.


Flippin’ Magnolia

Over the past few months, my husband, Chris, and I have been working hard on our first real estate “flip” here in Cary, NC! It’s been exciting, exhausting and rewarding. The ultimate staging project for me. The ultimate home improvement project for Chris.

We stumbled upon this home and knew right away that this was the project we’d been looking for and it showed up at the perfect time and location. We closed on our purchase on June 28, 2016. Much of that kitchen was original to 1975!closing-selfie

We got to work right away on demo. It’s fun to say “Demo Day” but it really takes much longer – at least the way we did it. Chris and our son, Silas, worked hard to fill up two dumpsters with flooring, cabinetry, appliances and carpet. Plus, landscaping and an old shed.

I have so  many more photos of every step of the way…putting it back together started with a new roof, siding and trim. Fresh paint on top and it was already looking much better! Then the driveway. It looked like there had been an earthquake, but if fact, all the trees had been removed but the roots remained. Under the driveway.


Some of the best features of the house remained – keeping the charm was important and we loved the bird house and the most amazing crepe myrtle I’ve ever seen.

It all came together in exactly 3 months. The house went on the market on September 27th. Our first showing resulted in a offer and we went under contract right away! Lucky buyers and thrilled flippers. Can’t wait for the new owners to enjoy our hard work!

Honestly, I’m pinching myself. Nothing’s over until it closes, but couldn’t wait any longer to post about my favorite real estate project so far! I’ve always love working on my own home (which has been sadly neglected these past 3 months) and a chance to make a mess and fix it up somewhere else has been fun and extremely educational. I’ve met some great neighbors, contractors and even the previous owners. Can’t wait to do it all over again!

Check out Flippin’ Magnolia on Facebook! Check out UpStaging Designs too! Let me know how I can help you buys, sell, stage or invest!