Today we have the second of a series of articles written by Rhonda Wilson, of Revealing Assets Home Staging and Decluttering Services. We have partnered with Rhonda and she has helped many of our clients prepare their homes for sale with phenomenal results.
We have all heard the experts say that we need to “De-Personalize” our properties prior to listing them for sale. The issue is that not one expert has gone into enough detail when blurting out this instruction.
I find that when I arrive at my clients’ homes, they have often attempted to decipher this elusive task on their own. My main concern is that people have a tough time determining where to start with de-personalization, and how far to go with it.
The main goal of de-personalizing your home is to create just enough of a blank palette for buyers to be able to envision literally transplanting their own family into your home. But, we have to be very cautious with going too far, and de-personalizing too much. Many of my clients have started de-personalizing, and didn’t know when to stop. They were left with a cold, blank, and sterile property that felt like it had never been inhabited.
Should it stay or should it go? Ask yourself these two questions to decide:
1. Could this item distract buyers from what they are looking at buying (your home)?
When looking at your home (online or in person) a buyer is wants to see the structure along with its architectural features. However, humans are very nosy by nature, and are naturally drawn to other humans’ personal effects.
2. Could the item offend the buyer’s senses in anyway whatsoever?
We have to be mindful of the fact that buyers from all walks of life will be viewing your property. Different people possess differing beliefs and values in life. We are all more than entitled to our own individual sets of beliefs, passions, and interests, but, simply put, not everyone agrees. And, some people are more sensitive than others. It is best to eliminate items that symbolize anything that could sit wrong with a potential buyer.
What should be packed away out of sight when selling?
1. Any Religious or Spiritual accessories, literature, and artwork.
2. Any items portraying nudity (including abstract)
3. Any items symbolizing or regarding societal controversial topics (Abortion, Holocaust, Gay Rights, Racism, etc.)
4. Collage-style frames filled with photos of people
5. Excess Photos of People/Family (a few, 5-7, throughout the home is okay, as long as they are nicely framed and are portrait-style)
6. Drug paraphernalia
7. Personal prescription bottles, tubes, canisters
8. All personal mail and confidential paperwork
9. Trophies or Medals
10. Collections (Spoons, Model cars, Stuffed Animals, Crystal Trinkets, Doilies, etc.)
11. Diplomas and/or Certificates (Although, if framed nicely, these are great in an office area)
12. Greeting Cards received
13. Wall Calendars
14. Phone-number lists
15. Flags or Patriotic Items (Sports, Countries, etc.)
16. Animal Hides, Taxidermy projects, Animal Heads, Hunting trophies
17. Empty Alcohol Containers
18. C.D.’s, D.V.D.’s, Games (When they are display out in the open, it is visually cluttered, and makes buyers curious)
Now, even though you have every right to be proud of acquiring many of these things, and you are perfectly justified in owning and displaying these items, it is best to pack them away when trying to sell your home. Heck, it even gives you a head-start on the daunting job of packing when you have to move due to selling.
So once you’ve de-personalized, what do you do with all the stuff you have packed away? Here are a few suggestions:
1. PODS rents storage containers that sit on your property while you load them up, and then they will move them wherever you need (your new home or their storage premises).
2. Packed boxes can be stored in your garage if you are not using it. If you choose this option, I always tell my clients it is best to stack boxes in the center of the garage so that buyers and inspectors can still access the perimeter and get an idea of floor-space.
3. Store it in your basement. If you have an un-finished basement, pick one of the furthest spaces from the stairs, and designate that as your “storage space”. Buyers do expect that you will have some boxes packed somewhere, just make sure that you are not eating up valuable floor space with them. If all your "storage" areas are packed with boxes buyers will think there is not enough storage space.
The goal of De-personalizing is to ensure that the buyer clearly remembers the architectural features of your property, not your stuff. Rather than being tempted to fantasize about “who” owns this home, we want them to bask in the glory of your fireplace. But, do not go too far. Do leave some artwork on your walls, and do leave a few accessories throughout. Leave your home feeling warm, lived-in, and loved while ensuring that your items are not detracting attention from the “bones” of your home.
Rhonda Wilson – CCSP™
Owner/Operator of Revealing Assets Home Staging and Decluttering Services
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We transform properties into highly sought-after products that sell in half
the time and for 7-10% more money. Through personal experience, extensive
research and training, and a compassionate approach, we De-clutter living/work spaces for up-lifting and positive life changes.
About Sara MacLennan
Sara MacLennan is the Director of Marketing at Liv Real Estate and a licensed Real Estate Associate. The bulk of Sara’s experience and wealth of expertise lies in on-line technology and marketing both for agents and consumers. Sara is the former National Director for Interactive Marketing for Coldwell Banker Canada where she was responsible for an extensive training program traveling to offices across the country training agents and brokers on marketing and technology. Find Sara on Twitter @edmontonblogger.