This it the text I sent our real estate agent and his reply:
In case you missed the chaos, you can read about it here. After 6 out of the last 7 days with painters in our house, the last few weeks filled with furniture rearranged or removed; with all our artwork and personal decor taken off the walls and stored, with all our “personality” dismantled room by room, altering our home to what could be considered (for the most part) “neutral”, one of the mantras I consistently said to myself was: ‘This is no longer our home. This is someone else’s home.’
I’ve counselled transferring employees one must always remember which side of the table you are sitting on – especially when dealing with real estate.
When you are a buyer you are typically shrewd, you do your research, you pick apart anything which may not be to your liking in order to negotiate the value downwards. However, when you are on the opposite side of the table to the buyer, it is more typical for you as the seller to point out all the things which you found beneficial about your home, draw attention to those aspects which may have been time consuming to create, or financially dear to install or update, seeing everything through the eyes of an owner, all with the intent to negotiate the value upwards.
When I stopped and really listened to myself, the experience I had gained, through almost a 1/2 a century of my mom’s real estate career and my own in relocation, I realized I had almost fallen into the same trap which most homeowners do.
In what I can only estimate to be a good portion, if not the majority, of real estate transactions the seller usually does themselves a disservice. Why? Because the seller has let their personal perspective and taste get in the way of being objective and real about the product they now wish to sell.
Imagine…a homeowner who steps back and chooses to review their property through the eyes of a buyer. If a seller can see this, truly see what their local buyers are looking for, they can then adjust their product to suit the majority of the potential buyers thereby increasing the value of their house.
When I looked around my house today and thought “If we weren’t moving to Costa Rica, I would want to stay in this house”, I realized we were on our way to offering a product which may appeal to a maximum number of buyer. It had almost nothing of our “personality” but I could see myself living here.
I will wrap it up with the analogy Walter used – in neutralizing the decor, removing our personality, we have created a blank canvas which is inviting, allowing the buyer to be able to “picture” themselves living here.