Do I really have to remove all personal items when selling my house?
When you’re on a listing appointment, I have a feeling that you are asked this question. And, if not, I know that during your discussion of what to do to prepare their home for sale, you discuss removing all personal items.
We all agree as to the importance of this but do you ever explain to your sellers why it is so important?
I walked through a listing appointment with an agent years ago and as she entered each room she tossed out the “remove all personal photos and albums” line. No explanation why, but I think it’s important that sellers know why.
Stagers and agents have their reasons why, but here’s why I think it’s important to hide, remove, or store personal items.
1.It’s important to let buyers see the space.
Just like anything else we say when preparing a home for sale, it’s important to remove items, including furnishings, that would take away from a buyer seeing the SPACE!
Even a beautifully arranged wall of neutral photos can be too much if it eats up the space that buyers are looking for.
2.Let the buyers begin to see themselves in the space.
As long as everything they see says someone else’s home it will be more difficult for them to see this as their home.
3.Sellers will not want their personal information out for strangers to see.
Degrees, licenses, awards...anything that has personal information on it could be gold to someone with the wrong intentions.
4.Personal items and photos could become more interesting to the buyer than the home itself and use up a lot of viewing time. This is also true of collectibles you have.
A real experience...we were looking at a home on the market once and the owner was an assistant coach with the NFL working for his father who was the local NFL coach. I know I spent a lot of time looking at his walls and photos of some of my favorite NFL players. I don’t even remember what the house looked like.
5.If there are children living in the home, you don’t want to broadcast their names to strangers.
Remove plaques, posters, backpacks, and anything else with a child’s photo and/or name on it.
There will always be exceptions so don’t fret if there are some personal items you cannot remove.
Another true story...a client and recent widow was having a difficult time selling the home that she and her husband had lived in. He had always taken care of everything and asked if she could keep one photo of her husband in the kitchen for support. Before each showing, she tucked the 8x10 photo of her husband in a corner where he would not be noticed.
Life is only hard if you make it that way.
So when you talk to your sellers about how to prepare their home for sale, it helps to explain the “whys.” They’re more likely to buy into it and make your job a little easier.