Real Estate Staging Association Member Lori Murphy and Team Makes a Difference For a US Army Veteran and Widow



Heather Whaley is a US Army Veteran, the mother of two beautiful girls and a recent widow. Heather found herself needing to sell her home after the unexpected death of her husband, Kelly.

Heather contacted a real estate agent and was told because they’d just bought the home there was not enough equity to be able to pay off the loan. The agent suggested she list the home at $105,000 and advised that even if she received a full-price offer, she would have to bring a considerable amount of money (around $15,000) to the table in order to sell her home.

Desperate to find help, Heather contacted Shell Brodnax, CEO of the Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA®) to ask about home staging.

Shell Brodnax knew that this situation was something that RESA could help with, since RESA promotes giving back to the community; many RESA chapter members pool their resources to do pro-bono projects to help others in need.  However, there were no RESA chapters in Heather’s area. Determined to assist Heather in any way possible, Shell reached out to a local stager and RESA member, Lori Murphy with Element One, and told her about Heather’s story. Shell asked Lori to take the lead on the ground locally and Shell would head things up at RESA headquarters, so that together they could do what needed to be done.

Lori Murphy previewed the property in order to help develop an action plan.  RESA’s goal was to provide Heather’s home the upgrades and attention that it needed in order to sell quickly. This would not only help Heather sell the home, but could also potentially eliminate a short sale or the necessity to bring in money out of pocket at closing.  RESA hoped to grant Kelly’s wish of getting his family back to West Virginia.

Lori Murphy pulled together a fantastic team of volunteers to help with this process. The following people provided their services pro-bono:

  • Lori Hicks, HER Realtors and listing agent
  • Sherol Saxton, HER Realtors
  • Tom Karavolos, President First Ohio Title Insurance covered the closing fees
  • Rodney Middendorf of R. Middendorf Media, LLC provided the photography services
  • Jery Quarles, Industrial Solutions – Handyman Services donated supplies and products including painting the entire exterior and interior, lighting, shutters, flooring and many repairs
  • Tony Evans VP of Evans Carpet Junk Yard donated the carpet, Ken Dulaney 3B Carpet & Floor Covering provided the remainder of the carpet at cost and traveled from Parkersburg, WV to install the carpet
  • Jerry Goodson – donated many hours of painting; and Sherwin Williams donated the paint.

The house was listed and an offer was received after only 3 days on the market. The home sold for $127,000, $22,000 more than the original listing agent thought it would sell for.

RESA, Lori Murphy and the entire Heather’s Heroes team would like to wish Heather and her daughters the best of luck in the future.

About Element One

Element One works with real estate agents and homeowners to prepare homes for sale. By showcasing the best features of the home and making it appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers, they offer homeowners a competitive edge making the process of selling a home faster and more profitable.  For more information or to speak with Lori Murphy, call or email at (740) 972-4714 / or visit


The Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA®), a 501 c 6 tax-exempt organization, is the trade association for professional home stagers. RESA® is the portal to the staging industry and is the source of education and business tools focusing on the needs of stagers. RESA provides support services and educational resources for professional stagers in addition to providing vital information regarding the benefits of staging to Realtors and consumer. For more information on staging or to hire a professional stager, visit the RESA Web site at or call 800-201-8687.


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