When you are getting ready to sell your house, presentation is everything. You have probably cleaned it from top to bottom and laid out cookies at your open house to entice your would-be buyers. But certain décor liberties you might have been comfortable taking in your own home could be the very thing that turns off potential buyers. What defines your style might stop other people from imagining themselves occupying your space, and prevent your house from being sold. Here’s what to watch out for:
Of course you should do your best to make your home office look like it can also be used as a bedroom in case any buyers are imagining future rooms for their children. But more distracting than that can be turning one room into something completely different – like if you’ve turned the living room into a playroom. People want a nice living space where they can imagine hosting Thanksgiving dinners – that’s the fantasy that will make them buy a house. Sorry, kids.
Knick knacks and clutter
Take some of your paintings off of the wall, box away your traveling souvenirs, and clear off your kitchen counters. You may love that your house feels personal and lived-in, but buyers are enticed by the illusion of space so they can imagine their own toaster on the counter by the fridge. The more impersonal your walls and rooms are, the better others can see themselves living here.
Neutral paint tones are not as exciting as bolder colors, but the neutrals are very appealing to the perspective buyer. They’re seeing a blank canvas where they can come in and paint to their heart’s content.
Or, wallpaper in general, because if you have it you probably don’t realize how ugly it is. The new family will just see removing it as a home project they’ll have to take on, which is not a plus.
This is not your house anymore. Personalization is now your enemy. You want potential buyers to be able to visualize themselves in your home, which becomes much more difficult when your living room walls are covered in photos from your family vacation to the Grand Canyon.
Décor from yesteryear
If any furniture or décor could be considered a “throwback” to the 60’s, 70’s, etc, it needs to go. You don’t need to throw it away but put it in storage. No lava lamps, no wood paneling, no cheap plastic tile. Remove and paint over whatever you can so your house looks contemporary and stylish.
A messy yard
If the inside of your house is pristine but the yard is a mess, it will lower your overall presentation score. Mow the grass and plant just enough flowers to make your yard look nice, but low-maintenance. It should be just as clutter-free as the inside of your house: no toys, sports equipment, or bikes lying around. That way your buyers can maintain the illusion that when they live there, the yard will be just as beautiful and lacking in mess.
Evidence of pets
Sure, you love your dog, but Fido has to hide when the people come out. Having a dog or cat walking around just makes each room feel more crowded. Not to mention, your buyers will be worried about cat hair being left behind (especially not great if they are allergic) and seeing your dog’s bed or food bowl will give the impression that your house is dirty even when it isn’t.