As we’ve said here before on the Buy Owner Blog, one of the ways to make your home more marketable is to depersonalize it. This is important because potential home owners want to visualize themselves, not the current owners, living in their new home.
Selling your home is, of course, an emotional time. You’ve made plenty of memories, and taking away some of your personality can be a painful experience. It’s necessary though so you can move on quicker and start making new memories in your new place. The people buying your home will want do the same.
There are many common problems sellers face when it comes to depersonalizing their home to make it more marketable. Take a look, and see if any of these hang-ups might be to blame in your home:
Problem #1: You have outrageously painted walls or wild wallpaper.
Solution: Strip the wallpaper off and repaint the walls. Painting is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to change a room. If you have over-the-top colors on the walls, head to your local home improvement store and opt for something softer and more neutral. This opens up the space and helps potential buyers see the room’s advantages.
Problem #2: There are too many photos of your family, friends or pets around. They’re on the walls, sitting on shelves, taking over the fireplace mantel. In short, they’re everywhere.
Solution: Remove the pictures, or at least most of them. Potential buyers will be easily distracted if there are too many photos of the family around. They will begin to focus on a recent wedding, a fun vacation or a special event and not on the architectural details and positives of the home itself. Keep up a few, spread throughout the home so it doesn’t look barren.
Problem #3: You’ve got religious items all throughout your home.
Solution: While it’s perfectly fine to be proud of your religious affiliation, not all potential home buyers will feel the same. Religion is something very personal, and chances are, you’ll have potential buyers from different religious backgrounds coming through your home as well as people who may not be religious at all. Store these items in a safe place while showing your home so it appears to be a neutral space, free from any sort of bias.
Problem #4: You’ve got clutter and an assortment of knick knacks all over. Trophies, collections and hobbies are all on display for everyone to see.
Solution: Again, not everyone will share your passions, and so they are not really interested in seeing it displayed. You want potential buyers to notice your home’s convenient layout, how big the rooms are or how high the ceilings soar above them, not that you were the soccer team’s MVP all through high school and college.
Problem #5: You’ve got a pet who has taken over ruling the home.
Solution: Potential homebuyers may not want or like pets. Many people are afraid of dogs and cats, and if they make contact with yours, it might turn them off to your home. If you have a cat, make sure you keep the litter box clean and out of sight. Keep pets out of sight when you’re showing your home, and keep pet hair off your furniture.
Problem #6: You’ve got an overly decorated fridge.
Solution: There’s nothing wrong with displaying your kids’ artwork, but now is not the time. It’s not something potential buyers are interested in, but rather it’s another distraction that keeps them from visualizing themselves in your home. Likewise, they are not interested in the dozens of magnets you’ve collected over the years. Remove the unnecessary clutter and, if you need some sort of fridge décor, only keep up a couple of neutral magnets.
The point is not to make your home look sterile and stripped of character, but to make it neutral so a wide variety of potential buyers can envision themselves living there.
If you’re selling your home, make peace with the fact that you will need to depersonalize and get started! Just remember, when potential buyers can see themselves living in your home, they will be more inclined to make you an offer.
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