MAJOR’S REAL ESTATE TIPS: Say Goodbye to Your Personality Until Your House Sells

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Twenty years ago, staging a home as we do now was unheard of.  Certainly we Realtors would advise decluttering the house to create an appearance of plenty of space, and give sellers direction about moving furniture to improve traffic flow, etc. but staging as we do today? No…

I remember listing a house back in 1996, and the woman selling was 100 years old.  She finally had to move in with her 70-something daughter.  The house was so chock full of things…furniture and stuff and frankly a lot of junk that I went through all the rooms with a pad of yellow sticky notes.  Everything that had a yellow sticky on it could stay, the rest had to go. It was quite the challenge for the family, but with their efforts to clean out, I was able to get a quick sale for a good price and get the centenarian moved in with her daughter in no time.

I know it’s difficult, but when you’re getting your home ready for sale, you need to be ruthless with your personal items. Those family photos, diplomas, trophies, and artwork by the kids all need to be taken down and carefully packed away. The wall space should be absolutely free of family pictures.  It may seem silly but walls that are bare, with the exception of a mirror or two or a large painting over the sofa or fireplace, draw in potential buyers to the space.  They are better able to see the house with their decorating if they’re not trying to see the house without yours.

What about bookcases? Do you still have your collection of paperback romance novels? It’s best to have a few nice looking books on the shelves, but not jammed into the shelves.  Remember, space, just as in closets can only help you in the sale of your home. I know you’re probably not leaving them the bookcases, but trust me on this one.

Are those little figurines you love still all lined up on a shelf or mantle? Is there a forgotten bowl of candy, old cut flowers, or a houseplant that needs attention? Is there a basket of dog toys, cat toys, or even kids toys?  These are all personal items, too, that need to be removed or at least put in attractive containers. Again, the idea is to give the potential buyer a clean space in which to imagine their own personal items. If your family is still there, it’s harder for them to imagine their family living there.

Don’t give a buyer any reason to walk away. Your potential buyer may be able to see through the clutter and imagine the possibilities, or maybe he or she can’t. I don’t want you to take that chance. Make sure your house is not interfering with a potential buyer’s vision of her own family pictures on the wall or his own special collections on the shelves and mantle.

Harden your resolve and pack away those precious personal items. It won’t be long before you’ll be able to put everything out and enjoy it all again. It’s all for a good cause – staging your house for a quick sale so you can move on.

Helping You Find a Home You Love!

Cheryl Major, Realtor

Cheryl Major lives in Westford and is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @WestfordAreaRE and on Facebook: 

Cheryl is a full time residential Realtor with more than 25 years experience.

Questions?  Email Cheryl at [email protected] and be sure to put Real Estate Question in the subject line.  Your question and its answer will be included in a future article or will be responded to directly.