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

depersonalize your home when sellingI 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 your house.”  I love that phrase.

Nothing could be more true when it comes time to sell your home.  Depersonalizing your home can be key 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 the home didn’t feel warm and inviting and the house felt sterile. 

While they might not have liked it, it was exactly what I wanted

Each had a very distinct style, that would not appeal to a lot of target buyers for their homes. In reality, much of the home would be a major home buyer turnoff. The decor for each of these homes 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.

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

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

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

depersonalize your home
Outdated or highly personalized decor can distract home buyers from seeing the true potential of your home.

You Probably Love Your Decor But Your Buyer May Not

First off 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 that emotional connection.  It helps put you in the driver’s seat. 

When you depersonalize your home it allows a buyer to emotionally connect with your home.  They can picture taking their own home out of your house. 

You have a certain style and taste and you have probably surrounded yourself with decor that defines your tastes.

Your decor may be such a turn-off to the buyer that they can’t imagine getting your personal style and taste out of a home. 

In some cases, they may be thinking about how much it will cost to repaint the interior or redo a bathroom or kitchen to reflect their own style.

On the other hand, if you take away many of the items that may give your home a certain look and style, what’s left like tile, 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 depersonalize and neutralize 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!! 

Take Away

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

In the end, 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 burnt orange wall or the home with all the pictures of the red-headed kids, then you have missed your mark!!

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 fit their lifestyle.

Selling Secret #4: Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it.

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

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, or whatever…..  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 can.
  • 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 spends time looking at your collection of snow babies, sports memorabilia or family photos that is time not spent looking at your home.
  • Definitely 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. 

what's my home worth- instananeous home values in Massachusetts


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, your going to take the time to detail your car, 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.

Author Bio

Massachusetts Real Estate Blog author and owner. Kevin Vitali- Massachusetts Real EstateKevin Vitali is a local Massachusetts REALTOR.  Kevin has over 22 years expereince in residential real estate.   In that time, Kevin has taken his experience and written extensive blog articles on many aspects involving buying a home, selling a home, mortgages and more….

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, call Kevin at 978-360-0422 to get the most relevant information to help you with your real estate goals.

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home preparation tip- take the home out of the house

Take The Home Out of The House

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“Take the home out of the house” is a phrase I like to use when helping a seller prepare their home for sale. It means prepare the home in a way that removes what makes it YOUR home. You want them to take mental possession and make it their home.

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  • Margaret Ramsey
    November 7, 2016

    Great article. I especially like that you point out that declutteri g helps sellers get a jump start on moving. In my experience, that seems to be a step that makes sense to sellers.

    • Massachusetts Realtor
      November 7, 2016

      Thanks for stopping Margaret. Getting a jump start on packing can certainly never hurt!!

  • Mike Eastman
    March 6, 2017

    Excellent article! We’ve sold four properties using these ideas and all sold within a week. We depersonalized, removed at least one piece of furniture from each room and fixed and repainted as needed. Article is a receipe for sales success.

    • Massachusetts Realtor
      March 8, 2017

      Thanks for confirming the validity of the information in the article Mike.

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