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This home selling thing is not for the weak of heart

By June 4, 201410 Comments

So 6 weeks ago my husband and I decided to put our house up for sale. We’ve been in our current home for 11 years and are ready for something new and we would like to find a home that backs up to trees for our kiddos.  And let’s be honest.  Momma wants granite.  And a mud room.  ha!

Even though this is the 4th home that we have lived in, its been a lonnnnng time since we have sold one. The last time we sold a house we only had one kiddo and my business was so much smaller, so we just had “less stuff”. Its soooooo much harder with three kiddos at home (did I mention they are on summer break) and a studio in your home!  Wow!

We’ve had several really interesting things come to light during this sale process. I want to share them with you as TO HELP SOMEONE AVOID OUR MISTAKES!

We did a ton of work on the house prior to putting it on the market. We re-

painted the entire exterior.  We went from a washed out taupe with lighter trim…..



To a deeper Sherwin Williams “Virtual Taupe” with “Smokehouse” for the trim.  And my door is “Peppery”.  I’m in love with it.  Like “I want to marry it” in love with it.




We re -carpeted the inside.   And by recarpeting the inside I mean…..”we had every belonging we own shoved into a hallway for 24 hours”.  It’s a wild process.  Thank goodness for carpet layers….that is a hard job that I would not want to have!

We replaced the minor wood rot, cracked windows, etc. These are things that WE would be looking for it in the future house we are purchasing. We thought we had done ALLLLLLLLLL the things that really matter.

So over the course of the last 6 weeks, we have had a very interesting feedback. The majority of which centers around the fact that our house is too personalized to our taste. We’ve had several realtors suggest that we take down some of our personal things. So about 2 weeks ago, I went through the house and took down almost all of our family photos. Take a guess at how many family photos I removed? 53. Does this mean I need therapy? Lol. I had NO IDEA we even owned 53 framed pictures.  Before you think I am a whack job, seriously go around your house and count all the photos you have of you and family or friends.  You will probably be surprised too! And report back.  I want to know I’m not alone in my abundance of photos/

And  so I removed all those pictures, but wouldn’t you know it….. the very next showing had the comment afterwards that we “needed to the de-personalize our home”. What? I just removed 53 photos!  lol.

So the next week I decided to paint over the biblical words that I had stenciled over each of my children’s doors into their bedrooms. These are words that the Lord gave me for my kids when each of them were toddlers. It was really difficult for me and for them to see them be painted over, but I reminded my kids that God has tattooed these words over their hearts. The words don’t have to be over their doors for them to apply to their life. And … we can always re-stencil the words in our new house!



So the very personalized word stencils are now gone.  Insert sadface.  But, it’s ok and necessary for a sale.

Then I decided it was time to take down my beloved gallery wall.  That one stung a little.  It was  a labor of love.  You perhaps remember this blog post here.




A couple of our showing comments said that the buyers “could not get past the sellers ‘stuff’ “.   I am still refusing to be offended, so I assume “stuff” means “really cool gallery wall”. I took it down one afternoon last week right before we had a showing.


This was the new, more “generic” wall.  Certainly this would be enough “de-personalizing”, right?  I was wrong. The very next showing comment was that our house was “decorated very specific to seller’s taste”. LOL.  Should I laugh or should I cry?


So this week I am planning on painting over the Bible verse that is in my master bedroom. And I’m also planning on taking down the world’s largest vinyl photo of any kids on the planet that I blogged about here.




Did you know that research shows that children to see pictures of themselves throughout their home have a higher self-esteem than kids with no pictures? I took that literally and wanted to make sure they had 53 photos and a huge poster of them self!!  Ha!

So we have continued to make the home more generic by removing ALL rugs from our house (who knew that buyers would think that makes the hallways look smaller and that you are hiding something under the rugs?  I am shocked!)

At this point though I just feel like we are throwing darts and hoping one sticks.

So here is what I will tell you that I KNOW about selling a home in today’s market.

  1. * people are unable to visualize much less than I ever thought
  2. * you need to do all of this de-personalizing BEFORE your house is on the market, not during…..  Ug.
  3. * when it’s meant to sell, it will sell and not a day before hand.


So, I am still not discouraged.  We are praying a family who LOVES our home would be the perfect ones to buy it.  We are praying for the right timing.  We are praying that if God wants us to stay put that it just won’t sell at all (ug…that’s an uncomfortable prayer).

And I am certain that after this whole ordeal is over, there will be another blog post for you.  It will be called “What you SHOULD be looking for when you are shopping for a new home (and it’s not my rugs)”.  ha.

Until then, prayers appreciated for a speedy sale!  And I would LOVE to hear your home selling stories!!!!  We will survive this, right????

Much love,





  • Misty says:

    I cannot believe the lack of imagination! Maybe it’s because I have always lived in fixer uppers, but I don’t go into a home expecting everything to be a perfect blank canvas. I see the possibilities, the adventure of creating a home. I love seeing how someone else has made a house a home. I guess I’m one of those kooks that believe that a space reflects your energy. Your home is beautiful, and it is quite evident that love has flourished.

  • Corina says:

    Really??!!!!!!! These are adults not 5 year olds. You would think they could look past this and think of how “they” are going to decorate. I think your home is beautiful!

  • Vicki says:

    Our house is on the market, due to circumstances of me moving most ( except one bedroom) of the furniture to our new house… the walls are bare and repainted in a lovely popular neutral, it is SPOTLESS, it has a professional grade chef kitchen, new roof, new a/c, new hot water heater, nice beige walls, a pool, plantation shutters , wood floors, excellent school zone, tennis courts, pool, shopping within minutes, wonderful neighborhood, NO PHOTOS up, remodeled baths and GRANITE …. N o personalization. It is just what it is, the right person will come and appreciate the clean ready to move in home. My friends give honest feedback, they would snap up in a minute. But You are so correct~ pray for the right thing and this too shall happen in due time. But it is not for the faint hearted.

  • Eri says:

    Without wanting to underestimate anyone, viewers in general either they have no imagination and open mind or they are looking for if you would ever sell the house with your pictures!
    Having said that we all know the more empty and the more impersonal the house is the easier subconsciously we make it our own in our heads during the viewing, unless of course magically someone with exactly the same taste comes by.
    It took us 9 months to sell our last house, and except of all the updates and all you describe above, we also had the council holding meetings with the locals who opposed to the sale ( it was a historic Georgian propery, ex-hotel in the English countryside, too big for a single family home to be turned to a family in crisis resource center.
    We were in the newspapers with neighbours standing in our driveway behind the gate protesting with placards and in order to complete the sale, the highway agency had to get approval to widen the main road outside the propery and move one light post, while creating a narrower island in the middle between the 2 lanes!
    Finally 9 months later the sale was closed but the locals had to deal for the next 4 months with roadworks, and of course hated us because we got them into all that! All still documented in the local papers! Joy!

  • Andrea says:

    Oooh… So the first decent offer we had on our house was literally within 24 hrs of being on the market on a Tuesday. Unfortunately it was last summer the same week the interest rates spiked and put us out of her range. Offer fell through on Friday. Meanwhile- our awesome sauce agent decided to go through with the open house scheduled for THAT Saturday. Which was fine- we were signing the paperwork for our new built house that day (obviously contingent). We would be out of the house and so that was fine. WElll… turns out the same agent that had showed the house with the bid that fell through? HE had exchanged the key for his own in our lockbox. We still aren’t sure how or why that happened. We hadn’t been aware all week because we technically accepted this offer and no other showings were after that… So Saturday when the agent’s helper goes to set up the open house- the key didn’t work. Strangely, my mother was in town visiting (she was driving back to MO with me) and she had left the back slider unlocked and the open house was still on. Needless to say… we had no one show up at the open house, when the first contract fell through on Friday and open house on Saturday- it’s short notice for all people planning their weekend and house hunting. Happy story though- less than 2 weeks later we got another offer. End of story. It sold fast- but closing took 3 months!!! OY VEY! Hang in there… God’s timing is what it is. All you can do is find the positive from each challenge and be more aware. It’s weird people can’t visualize a house with the accouterments of life sprinkled about but the right buyer will come along. Oh and selling it- will the easy part. You also have to survive the nit-picking home inspections, contract negotiations, and the back and forth. Then- oh and this is important… don’t choose closing day as the day to update your address online and not realize your DRIVER’S LICENSE fell on the floor next to the chair… then go to your closing and realize you don’t have your picture I.D., and have to rush all the way back to your new place during RUSH HOUR and make it back all the time turning every zoo and farm animal into a dirty word… Just saying- not that I would know. 😉

  • Karen Shatswelll says:

    Jennifer, I know that you know me, as you have glazed my fireplace and taken it from drab to fab. It is the focal point in my great room and people who visit exclaim how lovely it is. Our house is also for sale (now 101 days) with no second showings, dealing with strangers coming into my home, and sometimes giving some not so nice feedback. We hired a stager, who did nothing but move a few things around and throw some things in the closet, We were so disappointed. We de-cluttered 2 of the 3 bedrooms, as people thought they were too small. We have endured people sitting in the driveway and asking to see our home. We asked for 5 minutes to get our dogs out of the way, and they said no and left. we have de-cluttered 3 times. We feel like we are living in a hotel. No pictures of my family, my son, my husband. When we show (at least at the beginning), we felt excitement as we awaited our client feedback. Now we really don’t look for them much. Common dislikes are the master closet is too small (I promptly removed 4 bags of clothes), still getting the same feedback. No walkout, too much house (can they not read that there is 3,330 sq feet?) too far north (really?!?!?!) the placement of the bedrooms was “strange”, I could go on and on. So now, we don’t get excited when we have a showing, it has become a nuisance (thanks for coming to look at my house at dinnertime). I am placing my home sale in God’s hand and will accept his will. I have learned, as you have, that people will look ANYWHERE, being critical over something small, I have given it all to God.

  • Pat says:

    This selling is not for the faint of heart. I just read this recently so will share:

    I also think that just as important as staging a home for sale is also emotionally detaching from it. Sometimes our heartstrings are tethered to that house and people intuitively feel that when they enter. One way to remedy that is to start getting really excited about the next house and begin planning for it which will take your focus off of selling this one. Prepare this one for the new owners and step out in faith 🙂

  • Amy says:

    I can’t help but smile at the comments about potential buyers having no imagination, no vision. We follow the Magic Brush…why? Because of the innovation and creativity! Birds of a feather, know what I mean? Of course we can’t understand people who have no vision. None-the-less, they do happen to make up the other half of the world’s population…and they buy houses they are comfortable in. Plain walls, neutral colors, low maintenance. If you have all the time in the world, you can do whatever you want. BUT, if you need or want to sell a house quickly, follow this very simple 3P rule: Price/Promotion/Product

    #1 Price your house competitively. It does not matter what YOU think your house is worth, how much you have invested in it or how much you owe. All that matters is what the buyers market will pay for it. Your Realtor should have all the data of what comparative homes in your area are actually selling/closing for and advise you accordingly.

    #2 Promotion: Internet/social media is the way of today. Your Realtor should be promoting your home on multiple online websites as well as sending out email blasts to their colleagues, their contacts and the hundreds of other realtors in your area.

    #3 Product (condition of the home). Clean, clean, clean, clean, clean. I cannot stress this enough. Declutter, depersonalize. Ramp up the landscape, keep the lawn cut & weeds be gone. If you are selling your home, why take depersonalization personal? You’ve had your chance; you already love your home. What you need to focus on is helping someone else to fall in love with THEIR new home.

    To Jennifer: you are a thousand perscent correct: This home selling thing is DEFINITELY not for the weak of heart. Good luck and Godspeed.

  • Janice Bowen says:

    This is my first visit to this website and I love it! I would love to know the colors used and techniques applied to the gallery wall. Can anyone tell me if it is on one of the videos or where to get this information? Thanks

  • Rena says:

    Maybe this will help when it comes to removing family photos. Do you really want strangers to see what your children look like?
    I am a home stager, after hearing realtors talk about some of the shady acting people who show up at the open houses, you don’t want them to know your children’s faces and names!!!
    Think of it as a safety measure, like removing your medications and mail. Buyers look in every nock and cranny!!!!!!
    You’re just protecting your family. ?
    Blessings for a peaceful sell.

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