De-Personalizing Your Home for Sale: The Three Biggest Offenders


One of the biggest aspects of home staging is de-personalizing the entire space. As the home staging movement grows, people are realizing more and more that home staging does sell your home faster and for more money. The entire process of home staging can take a lot of time, but for those who are overwhelmed, I often suggest that the best place to start is de-personalizing, which essentially means making the space neutral and not specific to you (or anyone) as owners. As you take a walk through your house look for these three big offenders to get you started: family photos, degrees and awards, and religious symbols.

Family photos are the biggest one I see when I am showing homes, and it’s always the one that sellers have the hardest time parting with. Even though you may have a beautiful family, and even if your family photos were professionally shot, they still have to come down. The problem with have your mugs in a big picture above the fireplace, is that it gives the buyer the feeling that they are intruding in someone else’s space, rather than being able to picture themselves living in your home. Staging is creating a beautiful neutral canvas on which buyer’s can imagine their own lives. Your family photos impede this process and therefore they have to go.

I usually find degrees and awards in the home office. People are proud of what they have accomplished, and so they post them on the wall in a work area. There’s no problem with doing this in your personal day-to-day home, but when you put your house on the market, they have to come down. The reason is the same as it is for the family photos, but this one has another good reason to vamoose your university degree. How many buyers would walk by a professional’s degree and surmise that perhaps this doctor/lawyer/nurse/engineer are making quite enough money on their own and don’t really need the extra money on the offer for their home? Believe me, it happens. So take those degrees down. You can place them proudly in your new digs.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just get along? Yah, well, we don’t. Unfortunately, there are some people out there, who still judge a book by its cover, so religious symbols of all stripes have to come down. Whether you’ve got crosses, stars, moons, or whatever else. The reason here is the same as it is above; it’s about creating a neutral space. Also, here we have people who enter a home and make judgments based on people’s beliefs. It’s sad, but true. So take them down and put up a picture of a waterfall, something we can all agree on!

Staging your home can be a long process as you discover the ins and outs of making your home appeal to total strangers. As you remove personal items that may be precious to you, remember, it’s not that there is anything wrong with your personal style; it’s that a neutral canvas sells better than one that has already been painted on. Good luck!


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