The sale of your house may portray itself as a pretty straightforward act, but the reality often whistles a different tune. As driven as we may be to sell our home, move out, and start anew, it usually hits hard when we reach the “depersonalizing” phase, right in the feels. It’s the pivotal point where logic vs. emotion unfolds, and nostalgia opens the gates of “holding on .”It happens pretty often, and guess what? It’s only normal. Clearing out the rooms and walls that once emanated particles of your entire existence and staging it into something seemingly bland and generic is brutal imagery. Still, home staging proved to be one of the most successful tactics in the real estate universe. Mind over heart wins the buyer. Understanding how to depersonalize your home to appeal to most buyers is what seals the deal. Let’s take a deep breath and dive right in.
What’s behind it, and why is it so important for sellers to embrace the concept? The “blank canvas” effect draws in the buyers, simple as that. Anything stepping out of the “neutral” aesthetic parameters may cause a loss of interest in the potential client. Suppose you’re full-throttling baroque era throughout your home’s interior with “Gold” by Spandau Ballet accompanying the storyline, or you’ve taken your bullfighting worship to the next level. In that case, you might hear a lot of: “We’ll be in touch.” and closing your front door.
No ” I ” in the real estate business
Knowing how to prepare your home for selling gets you halfway to closing the deal. As much as displaying your “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” model that you’ve been working on for years as a centerpiece deserves a hat down and applause, unless your buyer is a world historian, your chance of selling just flew out the window. The cruel reality is that nobody cares about your hanging gardens; the buyer wants to be able to imagine their quirky hobbies in your living room. Visualization is everything, so depersonalize your home and give them what they need – some space for envisioning their future within those walls.
The “turn off” list
Also known as “Do this – not that.” Neutralizing your space implies some heavy lifting sessions and saying goodbye (only temporarily!) to your personal and beloved items. Hey, you’re moving anyhow; take this as a motivation booster to master your packing hack skills. Easy does it.
Bulky is no friend of mine
Spaciousness, or an illusion of it, means everything to a potential buyer. Nobody’s too keen on a colossal coffee table caressing their shins while they sideway snake through your living room. Don’t expect them to say: “Oh, we love how a u-shape sofa, four club chairs, two armchairs, and a 5-foot chandelier make this living room light and spacious. It leaves us craving for more.” It’s never going to happen. You need to create “flow” by taking out all the unnecessary pieces and leaving the ones that accentuate and compliment the interior’s features.
This one’s a stinger. We know it hurts. Taking down your family photos (especially if you’re a “family wall” type) is like ripping out the very soul of your home. Still, as painful as it may feel, try to see things from the buyer’s perspective. Awkward, right? If your photos are on display, it somewhat sends a message that you’re not ready to let go of your home, inducing feelings of invading someone’s personal space. And that’s not exactly the kind of message you’ll be wanting to get across to your buyers. Lingering sentimental values do not close the deal. If you’re willing to depersonalize your home to appeal to the most buyers, warm up to the idea of folding frames hour.
Art and collections
Generic art is fine. (as long as it’s not wall-to-wall pieces!) Anything too peculiar, quirky, and eccentric has to come down. Be mindful of potentially offensive material. Let’s say you’re a big fan of Alfred Stieglitz; great taste, by the way. Still, seeing Georgia O’Keefe “au naturel” will not win your home many offers and sympathies. Other “NO” criteria include:
- anything religion-related
- promoting political views
- any form of nudity or foul language
- conspiracy theories material
- social incorrectness
The same goes for your memorabilia. Having funky interests and hobbies is something I can congratulate you on, but I’m not the one buying your house. So, stash away your plushies, gun collections, antler walls, and fine china shelves. Personal items of any sort are subject to decluttering. Be objective about this and store away anything that could make your buyer change their mind. You’re not there to pitch fun facts about your private life; you’re there to sell the “clean slate” idea.
Your garage is not your storage unit
You do know that your garage is also a part of the buyer’s tour? We know you do. So, jumping on the idea of storing away all that we’ve just discussed and cluttering it is a big no-no. Not caring about your garage’s appearance directly reflects on the entire home’s maintenance history. And if there’s a floor-to-ceiling bag over the piano, piano over couch situation, the potential buyers might get the impression that you weren’t too keen on taking care of your property. We don’t want anyone to question your hygiene. (how dare they?) + the mystery bags and boxes might give off “they’re hiding something” signals.
Home staging done right
After you’ve “neutralized” your home, it’s time to think about whether to renovate it before selling it. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or financially consuming. A nice touch of fresh paint can get the job done. Our advice would be to steer away from rich, bold colors as the buyers might have a distaste for them. Instead, opt for white (we’re trying to depersonalize your space, remember) or a more neutral, warmer shade from the palette.
If it’s too much of a task
If you’re not sure how to depersonalize your home to appeal to the most buyers, get a professional to help transform your property. Triumph guaranteed.
Credit | Lindsay Denton | Assistant Editor | Miami Moving Guide