In Part Two of this series on preparing your seller clients for photographing their home, I wrote about the issue of clutter. To simply tell a client to “de-clutter” does not provide enough information to set expectations. If you missed that post, click here for some tips to help ensure that you and your client are on the same page when discussing how to prepare for the all-important photo shoot.
Depersonalizing a Home
Part Three of this series takes things one step further – “depersonalizing” a home. You have had the necessary conversations with your clients about decluttering. You have been specific with your clients, but they still have personal items that didn’t make the “clutter cut.” You might have to have one more conversation about depersonalizing the home.
The first step to depersonalize, or neutralize, a home is to help your clients to remove themselves emotionally from their home. Selling a home is often a monumental and overwhelming step. However, if your clients can disconnect themselves from the house by neutralizing it, buyers will be more able to connect emotionally with it.
Think Like a Buyer
Secondly, help your clients understand that it is time to think like a buyer! Create a clean, neutral background that will appeal to all buyers so that they feel like they could fit right in and be comfortable. A neutralized home is more welcoming to buyers. Explain to your clients that buyers will not be able to picture themselves in their home if it screams “you”! Instead, aim for transforming the home to look like a model home, free of anything that would connect the sellers to the house.
Here are some pointers for putting those final touches on a home in preparation for the photo shoot and viewings.
- Remove all family photos – replace them with generic photos or pieces of art with neutral subject matter.
- Memorabilia should be packed up and stored. Memorabilia are objects valued for their connection with historical events, culture, or entertainment.
- Identifiers, items that represent any type of affiliations (such as memberships, religious objects, or anything political in nature), should be packed up and stored. The home should be free from any type of bias to avoid offending or turning off buyers.
- If there are children in the house, your clients should pack up and store toys, stuffed animals, children’s artwork, trophies and photos.
- Craft and hobby items, including sewing items, should be removed.
- Bedrooms should look more like hotel rooms – clean, neat, uncluttered and neutral. Imagine a beautiful hotel room and remove anything from the bedrooms that you wouldn’t find in one.
- If your client has a home office, clear the walls and desk of all personal items. Make sure what is left is clean and organized.
Finally, these are some additional tips to help your clients present their home in the best possible light.
- Pack up early! As they go about decluttering and neutralizing their home, clients should be packing all non-essential items and storing them. When it comes time to move, they will be way ahead of the game!
- Invest in small plastic bins that can fit under countertops. Store personal care items that they use daily in bins and tuck them out of sight for showings.
- Make sure all lamps and lights are in working order. Replace lightbulbs as needed.
- Enhance curb appeal – blow/rake leaves, mulch, weed, tidy porches, decks and play areas.
- Too much furniture makes rooms look smaller. Put unnecessary items in storage.