Depersonalize Your Home for Sale- Take The Home Out of Your House

I ran across an article on the HGTV site about 10 Best Kept Secrets to Sell Your Home.

Tip #4 was “take the home out of the house.”  I love that phrase.

Nothing could be more true when it comes time to sell your home.  Depersonalizing your home can be a critical component to successfully selling your home.

I recently had a couple of home sellers that really bucked me on depersonalizing their homes. 

While they did what I asked, they complained the whole way, saying their homes didn’t feel warm and inviting and the house felt sterile. 

While they might not have liked it, it was exactly I wanted to present their homes.

Each home seller had a very distinct style, that would not appeal to many segments of the target buyers for their homes. In reality, much of the home would be a major home buyer turnoff

The decor was stuck in an era gone by!  One, in particular, was southwestern which was popular in the ’90s but seems to have lost its appeal, at least for a New England cape cod-style home in the 2000s.

We couldn’t completely update the house, but we could certainly depersonalize the homes decor and neutralize the spaces.

Why do Agents and Home Stagers ask you to De-Personalize Your Home?

Depersonalizing a home is about taking your or your family’s personality out of your home.  The key to depersonalizing your home is so the home buyer can envision it as their home, NOT YOUR HOME!!  Give them a blank slate.

Depersonalize Your Home- You Love Your Decor, But Your Buyer May Not

First, after many years in this business, I will tell you 90% of buyers need to connect emotionally to a home. 

Without that emotional connection, an offer is not going to be submitted.  And, quite frankly, you want the buyer to connect emotionally to your home.  It helps put you in the driver’s seat. 

When you depersonalize your home, it allows the buyer to picture making their own home out of your house.  You have a particular style and taste and probably surround yourself with decor that defines your tastes. When your house screams “YOU” it is hard for a buyer to take possession mentally.

Your decor may be such a turn-off to the buyer that they can’t imagine getting your style and taste out of a home.  They may be thinking about how much it will cost to repaint the interior or redo a bathroom or kitchen to reflect their style.

On the other hand, if you take away many of the items that may give your home a specific look and style, what’s left, like tile, hardwood floors, cabinets etc…

While in the eyes of the homebuyer, it may not perfect, can be viewed by the homebuyer as something they can work with.

You want to neutralize and depersonalize your space to give it the broadest appeal possible. 

Most people can work with a light grey or beige wall and tie in their belongings.  Left with burnt orange walls, all they can see is the work it will take to repaint!! 

depersona;izing a home

Take Away Of Depersonalizing A Home

Many agents will take a buyer out on an afternoon and look at 3-5 homes.

Ultimately, they will review the homes and see if there are any favorites.  If the agent asks about a particular home and the buyer only remembers the hideous chocolate wall or the home with all the pictures of the red-headed kids, then you have missed your mark!!  They don’t remember your house at all!!

You want them to respond with, “oh that was the house with the big island where we can seat the whole family for dinner” or “I loved the patio and the screened porch”

Now you know they are thinking about how the features of the home benefit their lifestyle.

Depersonalizing A Home- Take The Home Out Of The House

One of the most important things to do when selling your house is de-personalization.

The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine them

selves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage.

This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space. 

Free Homes staging and preparation checklist

Depersonalize Your Home So Buyers Don’t Focus On Your Stuff

Remember, buyers are buying your home for their lifestyle.  They are not buying your home to recreate your lifestyle. 

Depersonalize your home to make it easy for homebuyers to envision their new life in your home. 

Depersonalizing your home will also help you de-clutter your home when you are packing up family photos, highly personalized furniture, decor and any collections.

  • Highlight features of your home, don’t hide them.  Many times I will ask sellers to remove area rugs or buy a cheap neutral rug, usually smaller than what was there.  Why?  Highlight your hardwood floors, not your oversized, expensive orientals!
  • I will also probably have you pair down window treatments.  Again, window treatments can easily change the look of a home from country to modern…..  If you prefer modern, you will hate country and vice-versa.  Secondly, I want to show light and views…. that is what’s staying and can’t be changed; window treatments be changed.
  • Maximize floor plans.  Many times I will ask a seller to pair down furniture. There invariably seem to be some items of furniture that have sentimental value to the seller but does not fit the decor or impede the flow.  It is important to open up floor plans and make a room look less crowded, thus making it look larger to a potential home buyer.
  • If a buyer looks at your collection of snow babies, sports memorabilia or family photos, or hunting trophies in your man cave that is time not spent looking at your home.
  • Remove any religious or socially controversial items from your home.  Yes, remove your Mother Mary from the backyard, your Buddhist shrine from the bedroom, your confederate flag acting as a door, etc….  You don’t know who will be coming through and who may be offended. 

Benefits of Depersonalizing Your Home

There are two potential benefits to depersonalizing your home.

  1. You are moving anyways.  Now is the time to get a jump start on packing.  Between depersonalizing and de-cluttering you can probably get a good third to half of your belongings packed way ahead of time making the actual packing easier when the time comes.
  2. You will have an easier time selling your home by giving it a broader appeal.  Let’s face it selling your home isn’t fun.  Anything you can do to reduce the marketing time will probably get you a better price and create much less stress for you.
Take The Time and Depersonalize Your Home-  Final Thoughts

Selling can be an emotional time.  Once you make the decision to sell it is time to disassociate with your home and move on. There are many benefits to take the time to depersonalize your home.  Work with your real estate agent or a home stager to see what should be done.

Take the home out of your house to allow a potential home buyer to see it as their home.  Not yours!!

Tori Toth wrote an article How Can Staging Help Sell a Home for Bill Gassett a Hoptinkton MA Realtor.  In her article, Tori points out that if you sell your car, you’re going to take the time to detail your car, so why not do the same for your home? 

While taking the time to depersonalize your home is just one part of the home staging process, why wouldn’t you take the time to “detail your home” to potentially increase your profit potential and decrease the stress that comes with selling a home?

Remember you are selling a house, not the personal items that make it a home.  Remove any distractions that will not allow home buyers to see the true potential of your home.