Market Ready: Should I Remove Sports Memorabilia Before Showing My Home?

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Q. My home office is decorated with memorabilia from my favorite sports team. Do I need to remove it before showings?

A. Removing sports memorabilia may feel disloyal to your team, but it could help you win at the real estate game.

“I totally understand having those things,” said Michelle Korosy, a sports fan who also happens to be a sales associate at ERA Justin Realty in Rutherford, N.J., but “when it’s time to sell your house, it’s a better idea to neutralize that office.”

Most buyers would prefer seeing “a clean, uncluttered, neutral space,” she said. “A lot of people have a hard time looking beyond the decorations or memorabilia.” That can make it difficult for them to imagine how they could use the space.

And you never know buyers’ personal tastes and interests. “Imagine if a New York Yankees fan walked into a Boston Red Sox fan’s house,” she said. “It could be an issue.”

Jan Poulain, who owns Perfectly Placed for You, a home-staging company in Middlesex County, Mass., with Liz Larson, likened sports to religion, noting that objects associated with either could be problematic when you’re trying to sell because they’re so emotionally charged.

At the very least, Ms. Larson said, “you need to edit, edit, edit,” so that sports-related pictures, jerseys, pennants, balls and bobbleheads don’t overpower the room. Leave only a few key pieces, if you must, she said, and use them in the same way you would use art to decorate the walls.

A better idea is to store everything. If you have other options for artwork with more universal appeal, Ms. Poulain said, “use them.”

When deciding how far to go with your cleanout, consider where the room is in your home. If it’s in the basement or on the second floor, Ms. Poulain said, it will likely have less influence on a buyer’s overall perception of the property.

On the other hand, if the office is visible from the foyer, it will have a bigger impact. “In a first-impression space,” she said. “You want to be very selective of what you put in it.”

Another advantage to packing up sports memorabilia before putting your home on the market is that it may help ensure your prized possessions make it safely to their new home.

“If any of it is valuable, such as signed pieces,” Ms. Larson said, “we’d suggest removing those things for security reasons.”

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