You love the bright walls and furniture, but once your home is on the market you need to make it as neutral as possible.
Many sellers love their homes. They’ve made some of their most important memories there, and their home is literally where their heart is. When these homeowners took on improvements, from painting rooms to kitchen and bath renovations, they likely did it with the idea of adding “personality.” And then, when it’s time to sell, those same homeowners sit across the dining room table from their real estate agent and wonder why, after three months, their home hasn’t sold.
What went wrong? Usually, it’s because the home has too much personality. The problem with personality is that buyers see you, and not themselves, in the home you’re hoping to sell. If you’re serious about selling your home and you want to achieve the highest value, you need to make the home as neutral as possible. Here’s how.
Remove family photos, heirlooms, diplomas and personal items
Buyers don’t want to feel like they’re walking through someone else’s house. They want to feel that they’re walking through a home that could potentially be theirs. The more neutral the home, the easier it will be for them to imagine themselves there. As proud as you may be of your college degree or of little Susie’s first footprints, they don’t need to be on display when your home is for sale. The process of putting these items away may bring up emotions, but that’s part of the process. Cost to do this: $0.
Repaint rooms with personality
You may have taken some time to choose the deep red color for your dining room, the heavy oak paneling in the family room or Johnnie’s jungle wallpaper. While these were personal choices for you and may have served your time there well, they may be off-putting to a potential buyer for any number of reasons. Before you sell, paint these rooms a neutral color and take down the heavy paneling. These are not big or expensive projects, but the return can be huge. Cost to do this: less than $1,000 depending on the size and number of rooms.
Show the rooms as they should be used
The room off the kitchen is unmistakably the dining room. But if you use it as a home office, it throws a buyer off. Likewise, if you’ve used a small bedroom as your child’s toy room/your closet spillover, the same thing will happen. In the visual age of the Internet, Instagram and Facebook, people need to visualize what each room is. Some people simply don’t have the imagination. No matter how obvious it is that the dining room is the dining room or the third room upstairs is the third bedroom, the buyer needs to see it used that way, not the way you use it. Cost to do this: $0.
Detach yourself emotionally
Ultimately, when you go to sell, it’s time to stop thinking of your property as your home. Instead, think of it as an investment, and you need to get the best return on your investment possible.
To do this, you must turn your home into a product on the market. This means you must emotionally detach from the home you love. If you’re not ready to do that, you may not be ready to sell yet. You may not want to take out the personality you added, and that you love. That’s OK, but be aware it will probably result in a smaller pool of interested buyers and a lower sales price. And the more neutral you can make the home, the wider the base of potential buyers you’ll have.
This article was originally published by Brendon Desimone on Zillow Blog. See it here.