Home Staging Expert®

established in 1999



Join Lawrence and Suzanne Taylor on a tour of their about-to-be-listed house to find out what it's going to take to sell - and pick up a few tips that might help you when it's your turn.

Super Bowl Sunday is the unofficial kickoff to the spring real estate market, and Lawrence and Suzanne Taylor want to make sure that their house in St. Paul's Mac-Groveland neighborhood sells quickly. So we asked local real estate experts for advice on how to make a quick sale.

Barb Brin, Coldwell Banker Burnet's No. 1 sales agent for 2004 and 2005, says that the most important thing is pricing it right, but she also knows the importance of getting the house in tip-top shape.

"The old standbys - having the place in perfect condition and pricing it competitively - are going to be the tried and true," said Brin.

The Taylors are also among the growing number of sellers who are hiring home stagers to give them advice on how to make their homes more desirable. Here's what Lori Matzke, founder and president of Centerstagehome.com, had to say about what it's going to take to sell this house.

To do: Paint the trim, columns and light fixture. Replace the screen door with a full-view glass door. Paint or replace the front door. Spruce up landscaping with new mulch. Add a potted arrangement near the door for decoration.

Accentuate original hardwood floors, and remove the large mirror so that potential buyers can focus on the fireplace; accessorize the mantel, but don't overdo it. Store excess belongings, including toys, and float furniture 1 1/2 to 2 feet away from the walls to create the illusion of more space. Paint the living room and dining room walls the same color of beige so they flow easily from one to the next, creating the feeling of a large, finished space. Remove the dark drapes to let more light into the room.

To do: Remove rugs to show off hardwood floors.

This kitchen will get a mid-level renovation including new travertine flooring, cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Want a quicker fix? Buyers who see movable storage pieces will think the house is short on storage, so get rid of them. Unite the kitchen and dining room by choosing similar paint colors and light fixtures, and get rid of the clutter on the refrigerator.

To do: Update appliances.

Install a pedestal sink - a popular and economical option. Clean the floor tile and re-grout it to make it feel fresh. Paint the walls grayish-taupe to downplay the pink wall tiles. Replace light fixtures. Updated paint, flooring and finishes will make the house feel cared for and in move-in condition.

To do: Replace the dated vanity.

The ship's-wheel fixture needs to be replaced because it's dated and is the first thing you notice when you walk into the room. You can draw attention away from the low ceiling and awkward angles and create the illusion of a higher ceiling by adding color toward the middle of the room with colorful bedding and window treatments. Remove the area rug, which breaks up the flow of the room. And remove window screens and clean or replace lampshades; bright, sun-filled rooms will energize a room and potential buyers, too.

To do: Replace light fixtures.