Your home is by definition very personal. So this part can be hard, but it’s worth it for the effect it’ll have on selling your home. Essentially, get into the head of a buyer. When looking for a house to make your home, seeing less of someone else’s personal items will make it easier to picture living there. For that reason, it’s very important to depersonalize your home while it’s listed for sale.
But don’t fret, we’re not saying throw away your child’s drawings or family photos. This is the perfect time to utilize storage to keep all of your personal items conveniently packed away until your house sells (and without re-cluttering the de-cluttering you’ve done!).
FACT: 90% of buyers can’t visualize the potential of a home. Which means preparing it to show to its full potential is critical.*
* According to a National Association of Realtors® 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
Storing Your Belongings
Consider renting a climate-controlled storage space so you to take the best care of your belongings while they’re in storage. Knowing that your stuff is sheltered from the elements will make it easier to pack it up.
Buy some boxes and do one room at a time. It’s certainly tempting, but don’t stop to peruse your high-school yearbook, photo albums or the Valentine your son made for you in kindergarten. Create a plan and set a time limit for packing so you stay on task. If gathering your personal items becomes overwhelming, just take a break or stop for the day so you can start again with fresh enthusiasm.
Remove any potential mental obstacles so homebuyers can begin imagining themselves living in the house. Pack up and store all ALL photos and photo albums.
Non-neutral items are those that fit a particular taste or style. (Yes, I’m sure you find that giant hand-painted hubcap sculpture hanging over the mantel delightful, but…) The thing is, nearly any item could fit into this category because your house is surely all decorated according to your own taste. So just try to visualize your potential buyer (age, gender, etc.) and weed out items that may be a turnoff. At this point, your home décor should be less about showing off your unique (but impeccable!) style and more about maximizing the amount you can get for your house.
Kitchens are often easiest to depersonalize because most of the items found there are utilitarian, but be sure to remove photos, magnets and kids’ artwork from the refrigerator so that buyers view a clean, non-distracting surface.
Conversely, bedrooms are difficult to depersonalize because they are such a private space. After removing all the items mentioned above, view the decorating scheme with a critical eye. Pink ruffles everywhere? Or a leopard-print bedspread? It’s gotta go. Redecorate in a more neutral scheme. Remember, any buyer should be able to come into your bedroom and feel immediately at home. If buyers don’t feel comfortable, they will leave the room quickly and will be less likely to make an offer.
Bathrooms usually don’t have much in the way of personal items, but they do have lots of personal products, and these need to be minimized. Pack away and store all items you don’t use often. And make room in the cabinet to stow things you are using but aren’t appealing when left out, such as razors and partially-used bars of soap. Would you want to see a stranger’s callous loofah? You get the point.
Home Office or Den
If you have a study or den in your home, don’t overlook it when it comes to depersonalizing. Remember to remove the personal items including diplomas, achievement certificates and that trophy from last year’s community pie eating contest. Pack up most of your books and magazines and move them to storage. Having a head start on this process will be helpful.