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Marcia Layton Turner on Selling Your Home
If you’re selling a home, you’re going to hear the word staging—and our guess is that you’ll have no idea what it means or why you should do it! Enter Marcia Layton Turner, who has advice on how to make sure your home looks as enticing as possible to prospective homebuyers. Turner is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Staging Your Home to Sell, and told us what three things everyone should do when selling a home.
What is staging, and how does one stage their home to sell?
Staging consists of three main activities—de-cluttering, cleaning, and marketing. Although all three are important, I'd say de-cluttering will have the biggest positive impact.
When you de-clutter, you help buyers see the available space and make it easier for them to envision their belongings there. Cleaning needs to consist of more than the regular scrubbing you do. It's best to start from the ceiling, and work down. You need to wipe down and dust, wash curtains and bedding, and do your best to make everything look spic-and-span. The cleaner it is, the more valuable the space is to buyers.
Finally, when you stage your home, you're also emphasizing the positives and downplaying the negatives. Make sure people can see important features like fireplaces and that closets are not stuffed to the brim, making it appear that there isn't enough storage.
What are some positive features a home seller should be looking to show off?
Architectural details like archways or tin ceilings, or more functional features like a fireplace or second-floor laundry room. Anything you can do to draw attention to those competitive advantages will earn you more money.
Make sure nothing is blocking the buyers' view of positive features. Orient furniture so that it leads buyers' eyes to what you want them to notice, whether it's the built-ins on the wall or the view out the dining room window. Pull back curtains and window treatments to bring in light and draw attention outdoors, when you want it there. To draw attention to hardwood floors, pull up rugs.
How important is "curb appeal?"
Curb appeal determines whether buyers will take the next step and ask to see a home's interior. It sets expectations and begins the home selling process.
Since buyers will likely spend the longest time at the front door, put a little extra effort to make that area nice. Put down a new welcome mat. Make sure the trim is freshly painted and the door in spotless shape. Clean the windows. Sweep the stoop. Place some fresh plants or potted trees near the door. Make sure the bushes are well-trimmed. Give the impression that you are fastidious about cleaning and upkeep by your attention to detail at the door.
Once buyers are inside, make sure the scent of the home is fresh and clean. Every home has its own odors, which you can lessen by washing and cleaning all fabric-based coverings on the bed and windows, opening the windows for 10 minutes before a showing, putting liquid cleanser in the toilet and leaving it there, and adding fresh flowers around the house.
What's the biggest staging "no-no?"
Taking everything out of a room or home. Buyers need a visual guide to help them get perspective on a space and when you remove all the furniture, it's hard to gauge how large the room really is. You want to help buyers imagine their own furniture in the home, but a blank slate is hard to judge.
What kind of furniture/decor is best for staging a home?
You don't want furniture that is overstuffed, because it can make a room feel small. Nor do you want ratty or dirty pieces, because they can detract from the overall appearance of the room buyers are looking at. More subdued colors, including neutral tans and grays, are generally preferred because they are less likely to become the room's focal point.
You can get some great ideas for how to arrange a room and the type of furniture buyers respond to, by flipping through catalogs for companies like Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and Restoration Hardware. Use them as room templates.
What is the belief you go to during times of change?
That change usually indicates you’re making progress of some kind toward a goal.
The best thing about change is…
You learn something new about yourself in the process.
What is the best change you have ever made?
Leaving corporate America to start my own consulting firm, which then led me to a freelance writing career.
For more information on Marcia Layton Turner, visit www.marcialaytonturner.com.