Desperate Sellers Take Leaps of Faith

By Amy Hoak
MarketWatch
Saturday, September 8, 2007

Tammy Winfield made every effort to depersonalize her home and keep it free of clutter. She even baked cookies before prospective buyers came in for a look, hoping that the homey scents would help persuade them to make an offer.

Still, the Truckee, Calif., home that she and her husband, Bill, put on the market last September sat for months without any takers.

"We were getting a lot of showings but not many offers," she said.

Then, in February, they took some home-selling advice -- and a leap of faith.

At the suggestion of their real estate agent, Brandi Benson, they brought in a stager who refocused the home using the concepts of feng shui. Tammy Winfield also addressed the reasons she was having a tough time detaching from the home, possibly causing buyers to stay away.

And then there was the little matter of burying a statue of Saint Joseph in the yard, a ritual she learned about from her Catholic friends.

The couple closed on the sale in March.

These unconventional tactics can be last resorts for desperate home sellers willing to try anything. And if a buyer materializes soon after, sellers are certainly less willing to dismiss the techniques as superstitious hooey.

One or more of the following strategies may have been the Winfields' ticket to a sale -- that is, if you believe in such things.

When Benson suggested using feng shui to stage the Winfield home, there wasn't immediate acceptance of the idea by the owners.

"I was somewhat skeptical. My husband was more so," Tammy Winfield said.

At its heart, feng shui staging involves adjusting a place's energy and enhancing the perception of space, often done by moving furniture, said Christine Ayres, who staged the Winfields' home and also co-wrote the book "Sell Your Home with Feng Shui."


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