Your realtor has just told you that you need to take down the family portrait that hangs over the fireplace. The stager wants you to remove all the wedding photos in silver frames that you have arranged on the table in the family room, and by the way, that collection of masks and embroidered wall hangings that you’ve collected on your travels also must go.
“But why?” you wail, “I love all those things. It’s what makes the house our home!” Exactly – it’s what makes the house YOUR home, not the next owner’s. Buyers need to be able to envision THEIR lives in the house, not yours.
Your home is likely filled with many very personal items that are unique, special and important to you and your family. To prepare your home for selling, you want to remove your personality so that potential buyers can visualize how their own personality will look in your house. To make it easy for them to do this, you need to go through your home and pack up or put away all your personal items. This is the process of de-personalizing your home.
Here are 7 tips to get started on the process.
1. Prepare yourself emotionally.
This is often the most difficult step for home sellers. For most people, putting away personal items such as family photos and collectables in preparation for selling is a very emotional process. This is why the first step in de-personalizing is to prepare yourself emotionally.
2. Remove personal photos and family portraits.
Go all through your home and take down photos, paintings or images hanging on walls or set on counter tops. This includes and especially applies to large framed portraits so don’t be selective. If needed, replace them with other pictures or artwork you have around your house. Most homes will have too much on the walls as it is so spread things out to avoid spending money on new wall art. Don’t forget to remove the photos and children’s artwork (and everything else too) from your refrigerator.
3. Take down those prized trophies, awards and framed certificates.
Get started on packing by getting those things off the shelves packed away. Buyers are not interested in your stuff.
4. Pack up your ‘collections’.
Most homes showcase some sort of personal collection. From the common doll or stuffed animal collection to the not so common dead animal heads or gun collections, they detract a buyer’s attention. Many collections create a lot of visual clutter, especially in online photos. Hundreds of antique plates, figurines, ball caps or beer bottles lining shelves are distracting and may block the view of other features of the home.
5. Put away toys and sporting equipment.
They are also considered personal items. This step helps with two other major home staging principles as well, ‘de-cluttering’ and ‘rooms set to room type’. You don’t want a bunch of toys in the living room or workout stuff in your bedroom.
6. Remove any personal items that may be potentially controversial or politically, morally or socially incorrect.
You will have a wide variety of people and personalities viewing your home online before deciding to go view your home in-person. You don’t know what little thing might turn off a potential buyer.
7. De-personalize your bathrooms.
Most of the items in your bathrooms will likely be personal, makeup, toothbrushes, bathrobe, etc. The best rule of thumb is to remove EVERYTHING from your bathroom counters and in bathtubs and showers first. Then put back only a few decorative items like hand towel, bath salts or candle but no personal care products.
If you don’t want to pack away all your personal items yet, create an alternative plan. Move things out of sight for your listing photo shoot and have storage tubs or bags in each room with a list of things that need to be put away for in-person showings. Your goal should be to get things put away in 15 minutes or less.
What things do you see in the photos that need to be changed in order to de-personalize the space?