Depersonalizing my house to sell it faster

I haven’t written too much about it here on my blog, but if you’ve tracked my Twitter stream (I’m @DaveTaylor on Twitter) you’ll know that I’ve been trying to sell my townhouse in Boulder for a few months now. Lots and lots of people checking it out, a fair number of second and third visits with spouses, etc, but no offers yet. Not one. Even though universally the feedback we get from the post-showings are “shows well”, “beautiful”, “sunny”, “priced right for the market”.
So what’s a guy to do when he’s trying to sell his bought-too-darn-soon-after-the-pre-divorce-separation place and move into a house that’s big enough for his family and has enough land that we can erect a basketball hoop, etc?
My realtor suggested a path: let’s more aggressively “stage” your house.

Yesterday I had a professional staging team here for an hour and learned a lot about the psychology of selling houses. First off, there was surprisingly little that they wanted to do and they were happy to see most of the rooms were already clutter-free. Their most positive feedback was that my closets have about 25% empty shelf space, something that is apparently a big deal.

All the pictures of the kids? All gone. All signs that my 6yo daughter shares the master bedroom with me? Gone. All the unique artwork and illustrations? All gone.
The place that we’re going to change the most is the living room, the first thing people see when they walk in the door. With two floral couches (inherited from my ex mother-in-law, and couches I actually hate, but that’s another story) and a similar floral floor area rug, it’s too much, too eye-catching, and they’re going to at least replace the rug and see how it tones down that space.

What we’ve been doing, in essence, is stripping away any signs of habitation. It’s clear that if I were to go to the extreme, I would turn my house into a “model” home that has a minimum of furniture in each room and has no personality at all.

Why? Because apparently people shopping for a house are intimidated / confused / sidetracked by the personality that already is in a house because it’s where someone (or some family) already lives.

Think about that for a second.

it’s really a weird idea, and rather counter-intuitive to me. How can I visualize the downstairs room as an office, for example, if I don’t see a desk in it? Or realize I could have twin kids share a room if there’s only one bed in it? Seems daft to me, but we’ll see what transpires. After 3 1/2 months on the market, I’m ready to give it a second shot.

Now if I could just erase all signs of my personality and my family’s presence… 🙂

2 comments on “Depersonalizing my house to sell it faster

  1. As an interior designer and home stager a few thoughts- A room tends too look larger with larger pieces of furniture in it- hence a fullsize or queen bed instead of 2 singles. (size matters). Also not sure about why the office didnt get a desk as if you can fit a desk you most likely cab fit a single bed anyway.

    Depersonalizing – yes absolutley – so that they are not distracted by your ideas, activites etc.rituals, religious practices. People can get really weirdred out by that stuff- One place I staged recently they had an enormous sculpture of a larger than lifesize budda womaqn lying down in the living room – That had to go. It even seemed strange to me as all I could think is what are they into – is this art or religion? Clean open and well lit spaces make people feel like its ready to move in.

    Good luck to all you men – my best friends are divorcing and I am more friendly with the DAd at this point so trying to help him set up a new place as he had been at an office as the bread winner working long hours to take care of 5 kids the last 20 years while the mom stayed home and took care of the house. It is super overwelming to learn all this stuff.

    Suzanne

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