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Business promises to Set The Stage for quick home sales

Three North Hudson women have launched a business that helps people sell their homes and get the top dollar for them.

In an increasingly tight real estate market, they can transform a house into a model home to shorten the time it remains on the market, say Set The Stage partners Tracy Chase, Tami Klabon and Diane Zais.

The business' name also describes its main service. It helps owners stage their homes to sell quickly.

"We specialize in looking at your home through the buyer's eyes," says the business' Web site,

Studies show that potential buyers decide within three minutes of driving up to a house whether they are interested in it, according to the Set The Stage partners. They help the seller make those minutes count by attracting the buyers' attention to the positive elements of the house, and helping them visualize it as their home.

"The buyer walks in and they want to see their dream home - the home they're going to live in," says Zais. "The home-staging concept is to depersonalize and de-clutter - to accentuate all the positives of the home and de-emphasize the negatives."

For $50, Set The Stage will do a room-by-room evaluation of a house, creating a list of suggestions for making it attractive to buyers. The homeowners can follow through on the advice themselves or hire the business to do the de-cluttering and open house detailing at the rate of $30 per hour.

Set The Stage also offers full staging at the flat rate of $100 per room and quick staging (rearranging the furniture) for $25 per room.

It also provides restyling services for homeowners who aren't selling, but are tired of the look of their house.

"The beauty of restyling is that you don't have to hire an interior designer to go out and buy all new things. We take what the homeowner has and maybe move a piece of furniture....make suggestions for paint color and window treatments," says Zais.

At $100 per room for restyling, "It's an affordable facelift to a room," she says.

The women offer color consulting for a fee of $25. They say they have a common-sense and economical approach to home staging and restyling.

The partners started the business last January after discovering they had a talent for it by helping family members and friends sell their homes.

Chase and Klabon, who are sisters, had helped their brother Todd Toussaint sell his house in Roseville, Minn.

One day Chase and Zais, who are neighbors, began talking about all the people they had helped with redecorating.

"We said, boy, we should start a business," Chase recalls. She says they were staging homes before they knew what it was called.

Since then, they've helped homeowners and real estate agents sell several dozen houses. Two Hudson real estate agencies use them to showcase homes.

"We've had a lot of success stories," Chase says, including one house that had been on the market for half a year that sold two weeks after they staged it.

The business is still part-time work for the women. Chase is a stay-at-home mom with previous experience in sales. Klabon is a speech pathologist and works part time at HealthEast hospital in the Twin Cities. Zais is a part-time accountant.

You can schedule an appointment with the Set The Stage crew or get more information by calling (715) 781-0829 or (651) 324-1476. The business' e-mail address is

Randy Hanson can be reached at

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066