An owner is someone who has taken a property that s/he liked enough to buy – and turned it into their home. Owners tailored the colors to their taste. Not just the colors, but the floor coverings and window treatments, too. They made room on the walls for photographs of loved ones that they want to look at often. And they’ve made room for the knick-knacks that make them feel good…that bring back fond memories. Maybe they had the time and money to make some fantasy renovations…gold faucets, anyone? When owners shows guests around their home, they point out their favorite things, and perhaps shares a few memories.

Of course, every seller is also an owner. But, the “owner mindset” has to be replaced by a “seller mindset” if owners are to be successful at marketing their property. Owners have to stop thinking of their property as “home sweet home” and start thinking of it simply as a house that is for sale. A house that other people will buy and make into their own “home sweet home”. And once owners start thinking of their house this way, they start to understand what potential buyers see, and they can become effective sellers.

1. Personal Photos

Take down your personal photos.  Make mental room – especially on the walls – for the buyer’s personal photos.  Understand that your photos are just a distraction to buyers. They need mental space for the photos of their own loved ones.

2. Personal Collections

Remove your collections and personal displays.  Same as with photos…you want to leave mental room for the buyer’s collections and hobby memorabilia. Don’t distract them with your interesting and cherished possessions.  They need to fill their brain with thoughts of living in this house, not with how interesting your hobbies are.

3. Overcrowded Closets

Sure you had to squeeze in the things you and your family need to live in the house…and maybe to work from home.  You may even be moving just because you don’t have enough space and need a bigger house. But leave mental space for the buyers to fit in their things comfortably.  If that means doing a “sort and discard” of your possessions, so be it. Don’t wait until you are packing to thin out your possessions. Do it before buyers see it. And, if that means renting or borrowing storage space until after you’ve moved, just do it!

4. Overcrowded Rooms

Avoid rooms overcrowded with furniture. You squeezed 12 chairs into your dining room because once a month you entertain your relatives?  Put most of them in the basement or in a storage unit until after you move. You’re a clothes hound with dressers and baskets filled with hundreds (thousands) of accessories?  Temporary storage for them! The buyers should be able to walk through the house without squeezing past furniture. They should be able to look around and have places to rest their eyes and their mind. Even clutter that is not particularly personal to you should be removed.

5. Political Statements

It’s also not advisable idea to leave posters and items that make strong political statements.  Buttons for a political candidate, pro-life posters, etc. People who are turned off by your message may well get turned off to your house.  And people who agree with your message can easily be distracted from your property.

6. Bold Colors

Consider replacing your wall colors and accessories – if they are not neutral – with neutral ones. Neutral doesn’t bother anyone.  It’s easy for buyers to see neutral decor as a blank canvas for their favorite colors. But if they happen to hate your favorite non-neutral colors, it’s extremely difficult for them to see past those colors.

In Conclusion…

Potential buyers who view your home may not even realize that they are reacting to all the things in our list.  But, these things will nevertheless interfere with that warm cuddly feeling they will get when they see the “right’ place that they feel compelled to buy.  So give potential buyers physical and mental space to react to the house, the light, the views, the layout, the finishes, etc. If you remove the personalized elements that make the house your home, more of them will want to make it their own “home sweet home”.


For more advice on preparing your home for sale, call Chris Kostopoulos at 857-829-0282 or email him at

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