Home sale prep personal photos

popedaDecember 31, 2010

My daughter in the position to have a relative's home in which to reside while she tests the market for selling her home. This will allow her to get the home show-ready and then have the luxury of not living there with two toddlers, a messy husband, and a dog.

The new subdivision into which she will eventually move has larger lots and requires a well and septic system; therefore, it will be more expensive than her present home. This means that although she has a large equity in the present home, sales price needs to be in line with comps for the area (Hill Country Texas)and not bargain basement price. We want to help her get top dollar for her home.

She has begun to methodically and diligently work on getting her home ready for the market. One of her interests and personal focuses is family and family history, which means that she has more than the usual number of family pictures around. For example, there is a kind of gallery of family pictures going up the stairs to the second floor.

My question is especially aimed at realtors, and any with somewhat local experience would be very helpful. We know from watching TV over the years that most home stagers recommend storing all the personal pictures. She has seen and heard this a number of times, but is still doubtful that is "all that necessary." I believe that in two of the last three homes we sold, I had not packed the majority of my family pictures. But I must say the market was more evenly balanced then between sellers and buyers.

So, realtors, as you walk around homes with clients, are many of them turned off or distracted by family pictures? Or is that piece of advice a bit exaggerated on the real estate shows?

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trilobite

People are funny and my understanding is yes, family photos are generally a distraction, especially if the person selling appears very different from the prospective buyer.

It might be different with historical photos. An old black and white of someone from another era (I suspect) scans more as art than as a family photo, but that's just my speculation.

More generally, she needs to pack this stuff up anyway. Why not now as opposed to later?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 1:28PM
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dreamgarden

"One of her interests and personal focuses is family and family history, which means that she has more than the usual number of family pictures around. For example, there is a kind of gallery of family pictures going up the stairs to the second floor. We know from watching TV over the years that most home stagers recommend storing all the personal pictures. She has seen and heard this a number of times, but is still doubtful that is "all that necessary." "

The realtor is right, it is necessary. Pack up the pics.

Not putting away personal belongings tells me that the sellers are still emotionally involved with the property and might not really want to move.
I do not want to be the person 'blamed' for taking someone's house away from them.

Plus, personal pics are distracting. How am I supposed to imagine what my own belongings will look like if I have to stare at a gallery of pics of your family?

What if they are ugly?(!)

Please give me a chance to see your house in a neutral light and let my imagination work without the distraction of your personal effects.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 1:31PM
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ncrealestateguy

Yes, the pics will be a distraction. It is funny how almost all buyers will stop to look at family pics. You want them to be focused on the home, not your pics.
Like the other poster asked, if she is moving anyhow, why not take them down?
Also, do not over encourage your daughter to "maximize" her price. List it smartly, yes, but there is a fine line these days between maximizing the orice, and being overpriced.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 1:49PM
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gardenspice

I agree with the above posters - personal pictures are a distraction. I clearly remember one family portrait that was prominently displayed in a house we did not buy. The fact that I remember that speaks for itself - it WAS distracting.

Your daughter is going to have to pack the pictures when she moves any way, why not remove the possible objection now?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 5:34PM
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popeda

ncrealestateguy: get your point about the fine line between best price and overpriced. I guess that I did not say that although she has a plan to build in a subdivision not far away, she intends to work hard to price it fairly, and if she isn't getting close to the mark on offers, she will probably take the house off the market after the summer and try again in a year or so. Going to be tricky, but hopefully fruitful.

Another thing not said is that we live across the street from her, have a new lot in the same different subdivision, and will go up for sale when hers is sold...she's testing the waters.

She is not going to pack everything up and completely move into the relative's home (which isn't large enough to do that)...but I will work on her to get the pics out of sight since the consensus seems to be against them.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 6:12PM
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pink_overalls

Perhaps she just doesn't like the thought of patching the holes and painting that stairwell wall. If so, she could get a painter to come in and do the work.

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY Home Staging Tips.com

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 12:23AM
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graywings123

It's all in how it is carried out.

Well chosen, well placed, well framed photos can pass as a decorating statement. I'm thinking of the TV show Modern Family and of Claire and Phil's house with the pretty blue walls and family photo array going up the staircase.

On the other hand, a zillion small framed photos covering every tabletop and some wall-mounted junior high school photos from the 1970s above the mantle may give a grandmotherly look to the place.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 8:54AM
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chicagoans

pink_overalls brought up what I was thinking: if I saw a wall full of frames or hangings of any type, I'd think about all the holes in the wall and how much work I'd have to do to patch and repaint. That would register as a negative to me as a prospective buyer. Getting that wall clear, patched and painted before a showing would take away that potential negative reaction.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 11:37AM
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terriks

Any kind of collection, be it family pictures or ceramic roosters, regardless of how well done, will draw attention and be a distraction from what you are actually selling, which is the house!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 12:42PM
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booboo60

I agree about the pictures; we lived in a cabin-like house close to a river and we had a hallway that was covered with pictures of various family members and the fish they caught! When people came to visit they always commented on how unique the "wall of fish" was but when we went to sell we took it all down and replaced all those pictures with one nice big landscape picture. It really looked nice and very NEUTRAL.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 12:58AM
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Carol_from_ny

Whenever I go looking to buy a house and I see alot of stuff upon the walls be it pics or anything else I immediately start thinking about how much patching, sanding and painting I'm going to have to do and I start taking dollars away in my offer.
Given how much real estate there is out there she shouldn't be playing any games of chance when it comes to what she is showing. Very often these days you have one chance to impress the buyer pool, and if you don't you are going to sit for a long while.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 1:49PM
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worthy

As a real estate broker for 17 years, but no longer, I say get rid of the pics. We always take ours down before selling.

When I used my right to inspect the place we're in now once before closing, there was virtually nothing there but dozens of photos of the former owner and family, including her deceased husband. It reminded me of the display at "viewings" I have been to. I felt like I was moving into a funeral home. Downright creepy.

Better to have to step over human faeces in the hallway! Yeah, I've done that.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 7:49PM
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ncrealestateguy

Carol makes a good point...

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 7:11AM
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popeda

Well, of course she intends to fill all the holes and touch up paint before closing. Or knows that her dad will do that. LOL

I am passing all these along.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 8:59AM
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phoggie

The only pictures I am keeping out are a few grandkids and they are in frames in a bookcase, so no holes for them to repair. My REA said not to remove them because they make it look like a family lives here.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 1:42PM
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sheilajoyce_gw

You will be surprised at how much larger the space will look with all the pictures down. People are buying space, not decor. So show off all the space they will be purchasing.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 6:52PM
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