"Don't make it personal" they say

Updated: Sep 10


The main lesson from the past months is that change is constant and sometimes it takes a bigger toll that what we are willing to admit. Even when it is good and we look forward to it, it requires planning and willingness. Taking a little detour from my usual posts on work environments, I want to share some light into space detox and staging. After all, who doesn’t want a fresh start and sell their home at the best possible price?

A friend is moving. They are buying a new residence and selling their current home. I took some time to write down some recommendations that may sound obvious but when the time comes to say goodbye to the place you call “home” … well... they are not as evident.

“Don’t make it personal” they say.

It is often advised to approach this type of transactions as non-emotional, but compared to commercial projects, residential decisions are very personal. Gut and heart usually take the lead and to sell your residence it is essential to charm potential buyers by helping them to project themselves in that space while letting go of your attachment to the property.

First things first: Detox- Moving is a great opportunity to make an assessment of your belongings and declutter. There are things you want to keep, and others that you don’t use anymore. Doing a planned space detox will help you set a schedule and allow the family to enjoy some quality time while going down memory lane, letting go of the stuff that is no longer needed and ratifying the reasons why you are keeping useful and meaningful belongings. This way we actually value the objects and furniture we possess. When disposed in an orderly manner of what has become redundant to us, by donating - recycling - selling, those things may serve someone else instead.

The obvious: Cleaning- With less things to organize, easier it is to clean. Pay special attention to your appliances, make them look like new, and eliminate the sources of odors, such as unwashed carpets, curtains and cushions and pillows.

Better sooner than later: Fixing- After cleaning the house those small problems than should be resolved will be more visible. Hence, it is in your best interest to take care of them. Maintenance is key for a potential buyer; it shows the property’s history and the care and diligence of the owner. The state of the property will encourage or dishearten an offer, as well as opening the door to a greater margin of negotiation.

Home Sweet Home: Staging- These days it is all about storytelling, as a clever Scottish guide said to me once when pointing to a castle in ruins: “picture the scene”. More than imposing an interpretation, introduce the space and make room for the imagination, welcome someone else’s fresh perspective. After organizing the space, the way you think looks best, it is important to develop a visit strategy and determine the property’s assets. Position your point of view in the eyes of a potential buyer that is walking into this residence for the first time… What do they see? Listen and take notes. Based on the assessment, determine the focus points, and emphasize them. Place the furniture in such a way that the space reads a configurated floorplan. Paint the walls in neutral colors to give a sense of freshness. Depersonalize the rooms by safekeeping personal photos and travel souvenirs. Allow natural light to illuminate the areas, and consider the views, the entrance, balcony, terrace and garden. If this step is hard, or any of the others, ask a friend or a professional to walk your property and listen to their observations. Ignoring well intended criticism will not help, remember you are selling the property, hence, work on the unenthusiastic comments and seek further advice to make improvements.

I hope these notes are helpful. Let me know what you think! More information available here