How to Help Your Clients Neutralize their Homes

How to Help Your Clients Neutralize their Homes

 July 4, 2014

Neutralizing a home, also called depersonalizing, is something every homeowner should do if they want to sell their property fast. It is the process of removing their identity from the home so that potential buyers can picture themselves living there. A home filled with personal belongings can easily put off buyers as they feel like they are invading private space. Homeowners should neutralize their homes by:

Removing Family Photos:

A house with many photos can easily distract potential buyers. They will start focusing on a fun vacation the homeowners had and fail to notice the architectural details of the home. Homeowners should remove all personal photos or leave only a few. They can spread the few photos throughout the home so that the space doesn’t look empty.

Adding Books with Neutral Subject Matters:

Books can bring a room to life during the selling process. However, homeowners should choose the books they display with care. They should choose coffee table books on food, travel, and architecture and steer clear of religious books, books on niche topics, or photo albums. They should turn the books’ spines inward to make them look truly neutral.

Removing Artwork:

Some artwork can be offensive to potential homebuyers. Posters with political messages should be removed from rooms as well as nudes, stuffed animals, and religious icons. They should be packed and stored away safely.

Painting Walls Neutral:

Homeowners should paint their walls a neutral color. They should get rid of wallpaper, wall stencils, or bright paint. Creating a neutral environment helps potential buyers to see the space as a blank canvas they can decorate however they want. Most homebuyers are unable to see past bright walls or wallpapered ones. They are also afraid of the work and expenses involved in removing wall treatments.

Getting Rid of Religious Items:

It is perfectly fine to be proud of one’s religious affiliation, but not all buyers will appreciate religious items. Potential buyers come from different backgrounds and some may not be religious at all. Advise homeowners to store religious items in safe places while showing their homes to make them look neutral and free from bias.

Staging Empty Rooms:

Sellers should stage empty rooms. Bare rooms are not very inviting and buyers may have difficulty in visualizing their purpose. Additionally, they also have an echo chamber effect that may be very unappealing. Homeowners should focus on making empty rooms as inviting as possible. They should add some pieces of furniture to “suggest” their purpose.

Removing Pets:

Pets are adorable, but they can be very messy. They barf a lot, track in mud, and also shed. Your clients may love their pets, but buyers will not. They may even let the pets out accidentally while viewing the home. Tell homeowners to leave their pets with neighbors or friends during viewings and open houses. They should also remove pet food, water bowls, and other pet accessories to create a feeling of cleanliness. Some buyers usually equate animals with a low level of cleanliness.


Smells can trigger both good and bad memories. For example, the smell of mold can send buyers bolting out the door. Homeowners should not try to minimize bad odors with freshening sprays and deodorizers as some buyers will detect the underlying smell. They should work on eliminating them.

Selling a home is a monumental step for many people. The whole process can be very emotional so it is important to prepare your clients from the beginning. Advice them to neutralize their homes to create an environment that appeals to everyone. When they disconnect themselves from the house, buyers are able to connect emotionally with it.

Looking for more home selling tips for your clients? Look to the iHOUSE blog for ideas!

Ronique Gibson

By Ronique Gibson

Ronique Gibson is an Associate Architect and a LEED Accredited Professional, who has been in the design industry for over 13 years. She started her design blog in 2009 and today it has become a premier destination for helping homeowners with everyday lifestyle challenges. Her readers check in daily for help with their homes, DIY project ideas, recipes, crafts, and inspiration to beautify and enjoy their homes.