Do I really have to remove all personal items when selling my house?

Real Estate Agent with Realty Group Referrals 16766

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.


May be an image of flower and nature

Oriental Hybrid Lilies, 'Compactino', Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA USA
Canon PowerShot G11 Camera
Photograph by Roy Kelley
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs
Original content by Kathy Streib

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. 

 Kathy Streib 

Subscribe to room service home staging

Subscribe to my blog


   Google+    Facebook        RSSLinked In


Discover the Possibilities of Your Home!


Posted by

Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Roy Kelley and Associates


Roy Kelley, Associate Broker

Realty Group Referrals (Retired from RE/MAX Realty Group)

6 Montgomery Village Ave., Suite 200

Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Main Office:  301-258-7757 (You will not reach me at this number)

Send an email message if you need my phone numbers. I will be happy to recommend a real estate professional if you are moving to the area.

Comments (6)

Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Roy, great choice for a reblog, and I put items in my listing presentation, and some into the listing agreement.  Drugs, firearms/ammo, credit info and valuable jewelry.

Apr 16, 2021 07:10 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Those lilies are absolutely beautiful!  Have a great weekend and stay out of trouble.  ; )

Apr 16, 2021 05:47 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

thank you for the reblog, Roy. 

Apr 16, 2021 07:28 PM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Roy, a very important reblog  of Kathy Streib and I was happy to see it.  In fact, agents from our office were just talking about this matter this evening.  Seems today that many showings now require the listing agent to be present.  Of course, this requires more time of the listing agent and a smooth walk through of important matters to the buyers  is important.  

Apr 16, 2021 07:58 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Your feedback is always appreciated. Have an outstanding week.

Apr 19, 2021 04:49 AM

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?