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showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Posted by LMRinc (My Page) on
Thu, May 16, 13 at 15:32

My hubs and I personally like seeing family photos when looking at a house but I know it's one of those showing rules to de-personalize your house.

We have a great wall of photos collaged together from our wedding and I'm wondering if it would be distasteful to leave them up?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

We took ours down and left a just a few in non-line-of-sight areas (on a book shelf, nightstand, desk.) As long as they're not the major focus.

Another way to think of it: If you're moving, you'll need to take 'em all down and pack 'em up anyways. Why not get a jump on it?


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Down. Hang something else there if you must.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

OP Wrote:
"My hubs and I personally like seeing family photos when looking at a house"

You just gave the main reason why you should remove them.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Remove them. Every single one. And put them in albums if you still want to look at them every once in a while.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

I know the general consensus this day and age is to remove all personal photos and items from a home. My Realtor however mentioned that when people see pictures of family members in a home they realize that a family actually lives there. Yup, we do not live in a vaccum! So why is it so necessary these days to eliminate any connection to the current homeowners? I think it is going overboard to remove all pictures from a home. I am not stupid enough to realize the home I am looking at was not someone else's. I have the vision to see beyond their personal decor and pictures to know if a home is right for my family. I did this several times already before. In the meantime, I wouldn't want to see a ton of family pictures everywhere, but it would not bother me to see them in a home. It says to me that someone lives there... and that is the truth!


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

However, if there is a "great array" of pictures on a "great picture wall" people get distracted.

Take them down.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

IDK...I guess if you have those school photos or the Olan Mills church photos hung randomly up on the walls, or an old ladyish collection on every horizontal surface I would remove them...but well-done photographs of family and children make a home seem like a home to me. I like seeing a beautiful happy family...makes me want MY family to be beautiful and happy in the house! :) I kept up all of my photos except for the ones on the fridge (I took those down to have the fridge look pristine.) The family who bought our house have children a few years younger than ours...and they loved our photos.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

I don't subscribe to that theory, either, having never put away a single photograph and having sold those homes in a week or less. Nice, silver-framed photographs on the back of a piano, or on one's desk or bureau in the bedroom are lovely. With respect to these dubious "personalization" issues, do realtors recommend you take family portraits (painted, not photographic) off the walls and replace them with something nondescript from "art.com?"


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Things that turn me off and keep me from seeing a home's full potential are a cluttered home, a messy home, most window coverings, rugs, lots of small nick knacks and collections, fake plants and flowers, walls that aren't neutral, and too much furniture.

If there are family photos in mismatched frames all over the house, the refrigerator, or in unusual places like dining rooms and bathrooms, then I agree that they can add to the clutter and be distracting.

However, well done family photos in nice frames-even a large collection like up the staircase or on a gallery wall that show a beautiful happy family, give me the vibe that this is a warm, inviting, happy place to live- a house full of love. That's what I want my future home to be.

Empty homes and homes that have depersonalized everything will often feel cold and bland to me. I know I've read tons of articles saying to take it all down and pack it up. I wonder though if it's just something that has been repeated forever without real research to back it up. Family photos have come a long way from what they use to look like 10 or so years ago.

There was a link to a home here recently that showed some large beautiful wedding photos over the master bed. To me they helped to convey the message that this is a romantic, loving, passionate space. When most master bedroom pictures basically all look the same this one stood out as being really nice to me. This person was advised to take down the photos by other posters which really bothered me.

A serious buyer who has a limited time in each home is not going to stop to look at family photos and forget about what they are there for. When I go into a home I am there to see if the home will work for our family. I am looking to see if it has the space we need, if it has our must haves and some things from our would be nice list. I am paying attention to how it smells, what the property and neighborhood is like, and looking for things that would need to be fixed or updated.

I also am paying attention to how the home makes me feel. I think everyone does this even if it's subconscious. Does it feel welcoming, does it feel warm, can I picture my children thriving here, is this a place were we will love hanging out together, will our extended family and friends want to come visit. My opinion is that nice family photo's can influence this "feeling" part of house hunting for the better.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

One needs to aim at the lowest common denominator when prepping a house for sale. Yes, sometimes it's nice to see a photo or two of who lives there, but I can tell you from first hand experience that those of you that are not distracted by the photos are the exception, not the rule. The fact that you post on a site such as this makes you a bit more savvy than a typical buyer.

A wall of photos will become the focal point for many people. They will forget about the great characteristics of the house and remember the photo wall. My clients and I often had "nicknames" for houses when we saw many. It might be the "cat smell" house; the weird bathroom house; the garden house. Your house would become the "wedding" house. Take them down.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

I don't see a collage of photos any more distracting then a large painting or other piece of artwork hanging on the wall. It is part of the home. If there were one on every single wall that would be too much. Then I would remove some. Photos are part of the home's decor. Plus they are fond memories for the owner and make a house a home. I wouldn't bother taking down the collage. Supposedly these are adults walking through your home. If a bunch of photos is enough to stop them in their tracks and breaks their concentration on their purpose for being there, then they aren't really all that interested in the house and need to move on and not waste your time. NancyLouise


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Hm, interesting question. I don't mind family portraits much or personal items when viewing a house that's for sale; in fact, it gives me important clues about who the sellers are.
However, as a seller I would feel weird if a bunch of strangers traipsing through my house sees all my family pictures. I would go even further and remove as much as possible any personal items (e.g. prescription bottles) I know that you can't remove clothes or books, but even that feels intrusive to me.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Technically family photographs should only be displayed in an intimate setting like a hallway to the bedrooms or your personal bedroom. They aren't for public display to begin with. When you list, you are taking that personal space and making it public for others to see. Of course you would want to take down any personal mementoes! It would be like wearing your knickers out in public to have strangers come through and ogle your stuff.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Technically family photographs should only be displayed in an intimate setting like a hallway to the bedrooms or your personal bedroom. They aren't for public display to begin with.

Where did I miss this rule? Are you saying I can't have any family pictures in MY own living room because it is a public space? In a home not for sale? You have got to be joking!


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

And this is another reason to take them down, "in fact, it gives me important clues about who the sellers are."

We've all heard the phrase, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Those photos say something about you, the seller. What you don't know is what they are saying to a stranger that may buy your house. Maybe the wedding dress looks expensive so the buyer thinks they can low ball you. The point is you have no idea what the photos are saying to others.

Photos, diplomas, etc. should be taken down because they do give the buyer information about you that maybe erroneous. I remember walking into a house with several diplomas displayed. The owner had a degree in a very specific field. I also knew that the only company in my town that employed people in that field was relocating to another town. That told me that maybe they needed to sell quickly. I shared that with the buyer. The photo of four kids in a 3 bedroom house tells the buyer the house is to small for four kids.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

I would also vote for taking them down because neutral is safer and Buyers can still get a feeling of homeliness if the right staging is done. Most people want to see themselves in a new home and not the past/current owners. I've listed a couple positives and negatives. Most were already mentioned.

Positives:
-Personalization
-Identification with family
-homeliness

Negatives:
-Painting the wrong picture (literally)
-Distracting
-Exposing (do you really want strangers to see your family?)


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

The only question in this context here is how and why would the wedding collage help the sale? I think if you can analyze that, you may come to a decision whether it's a good or bad idea to leave it out.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Another thing I like to do is to look at the pictures to see if there are two parents. And then compare this info with the clothes in the master closet. If the pics show two parents, and there are only clothes for either the male or female, I know there is probably a divorce going on.
A funny thing happened to me about 3 weeks ago... I am showing a home to my buyers. We are in the master bedroom when the phone starts ringing. The answering machine picks up and it is one of those machines where you can hear the person who is calling in. Wouldn't you know that it was from their lender saying that this is the last attempt at collecting the last 3 months of mortgage! Couple this with the fact that the pictures show a husband, but the closet only had clothes for the wife and my buyers had some great leverage even before I did my homework. Lucky for the sellers,my buyer did not particularly care for the home.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

I didn't want random people who looked at my apartment to see me on the street and say "Oh we looked at their apartment" or be able to identify me with it for some reason. There is no rational reason for it, but that's how I felt.

I did look at a house that belonged to someone I do not like, and I don't even remember much about the the house, I just remember that I lost interest after I saw who it belonged to.

I have also seen pictures in houses that I thought "boy those people look annoying", based upon the style of the family portraits. You know, pregnancy glamour shots and photos where the people are clearly into their own awesomeness.

All probably not very rational I know, but it can have an effect.

That said, there are a picture or two of us around but we put most of them away.

angel, before the age of Facebook and Twitter and all the media that convinces some people that the world is interested in every move they make, it was a fairly accepted convention that family photos were primarily for family and put in family parts of the house.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

I do have to say that things like that stand out. We bought the house we are moving from soon from a family whose child had a bedroom full of trophies and medals from speed skating. It's not the most common sport, so it was definitely something we remembered after the tour. We found out from neighbors after we moved in that he was definitely as good as he looked by the awards and medals - then, five years after we moved in - in 2010 - we learned that he earned a place on the US Olympic team. I thought it was pretty cool, but it certainly didn't influence us one way or the other to buy the house.

Anyway, I'm not super paranoid about someone seeing my picture - we spend a good deal of time outside, if someone wanted to know who lived at my house, it's not a secret. We didn't have any selling motivation to hide. It's clear from the bunk beds that two of my kids shared a room. Nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong with looking for a house where they could each have their own room. Everybody moves for a reason.

Anyway, I took down the stand alone frames because the house looked less cluttered without them, but I left the couple of wall pictures because the walls would have looked too empty without them.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

It is not that taking the pictures down nor leaving them up will create a sale or keep a sale from happening, but taking them down is just one part of the whole when trying to organize, clean, depersonalize and repair.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Another thing I like to do is to look at the pictures to see if there are two parents. And then compare this info with the clothes in the master closet. If the pics show two parents, and there are only clothes for either the male or female, I know there is probably a divorce going on.

This exactly happened in the house we own now. It did tell us that the sellers was probably eager to sell.

I did look at a house that belonged to someone I do not like, and I don't even remember much about the the house, I just remember that I lost interest after I saw who it belonged to.

Soon after DH and I married we were looking for a house and I bought him a listing for a house that I thought looked interesting. He looked at it and nixed it because it was the house own by his ex-wife's first husband. It was just all too weird for him....

Oh - in another house we bought there was a huge wedding photo on the master bedroom and there were clothes for both a man and a woman in the master closet. However, I didn't see any male toiletries. Turned out there was a divorce pending. I never understood why the wife (still living the house) had left up the wedding photo (I could see leaving up a photo of the kids that happened to have the husband in it) in her bedroom of all places ....

Also, you do get a lot of information about people from seeing personal stuff in the house. You can often tell age, education, employment ... all of which can be grist for the mill.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

When we purchased our previous home 13 years ago (just sold it in Jan) we noticed that there were lots of pictures of Def Leppard taken in the home and autographed pic's of other rock stars....found out that the home owners daughter was married to the drummer of Def Leppard.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

When you live in a small town, as we do now, everyone likely to buy your house already knows what you look like, your kids, how many pets you have, and to which other acquaintance's house you are moving. No need to change anything for the sake of anonymity.

That said, I also subscribe to keeping the photographs in bedrooms and other private spaces (a study or dressing room). But in our downstairs den we do have a tall metal carousel that is modeled on an old postcard display rack, which I keep stocked with pictures. Usually it's only close friends or relatives who are down there, but they all seem to LOVE going through those pictures.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

"The only question in this context here is how and why would the wedding collage help the sale? I think if you can analyze that, you may come to a decision whether it's a good or bad idea to leave it out."

This is all that is important.
If the collage "only" puts off 20% of the people, do you really want to exclude 20% of the viewers as potential buyers?

Obviously, there is disagreement.
But if even a small portion of the people are put off it is something worth addressing.
My feeling when selling is that I refuse to run into bumps in the road merely because of something I did or did not do.
If selling is important to you why would you not do everything possible to see that it happens?
To me this says that you are not serious and 100% committed to selling.
As mentioned above, you are going to have to pack them up anyway.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Guess I will be in the minority then. If looking at wedding photos so traumatizes/puts off a supposed adult, then that says to me they weren't serious buyers in the first place. They are wasting the sellers time and the REA time. Do clean, have everything spick and span,declutter but don't make your house sterile and lacking in warmth. Photos definitely make your house a home and show that a family lives here and yours'(potential buyer)can too. NancyLouise


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

It's not that it "Traumatizes" people. But some adults are highly distractible, as easily distracted as children.

I have looked at houses with clients and with friends and some of them have looked at anything and everything Except the actual house. I went with someone who didn't like a house and it ended up because she hated the master bedroom furniture. I have been with people who look at all the pictures and ignore the house. And these were people who were actively looking to buy, not open house addicts.

This post was edited by palimpsest on Sat, May 18, 13 at 12:37


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

I intended to take ours down first thing, but our first showing was an hour after we listed. I was so busy cleaning that I didn't have a chance.

I left them up until I got to them, but by that time we already had an offer. So I guess it didn't hurt the sale.

I would still take them down though if just for the reason that you will get a head start of packing them away AND it will help to disconnect you emotionally from the house.

I really didn't WANT to move in the first place and I found taking down the photos DID help me. So I say pack them up.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

It's not just family photos that can be distracting, it's collections of anything that can distract buyers. So pack up your thimble, teacup and team pennant collections! Remember you want buyers to focus on the house, not your stuff.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Another reason to take them down, is to fill in all of the holes in the walls. Buyers look at a collage of hanging pictures as major work... filling in the holes, sanding, and then repainting an entire room.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

With regards to the following quotes below:

angel411-"Technically family photographs should only be displayed in an intimate setting like a hallway to the bedrooms or your personal bedroom. They aren't for public display to begin with."

palimpsest- "before the age of Facebook and Twitter and all the media that convinces some people that the world is interested in every move they make, it was a fairly accepted convention that family photos were primarily for family and put in family parts of the house."

I am 50 years old and all four sets of my great grandparents had family photos in their living spaces as did my grandparents, parents, and every home I've ever been in throughout my life. I've been in plenty of historical homes that had painted portraits of family members in their living areas. This definitely is not some new trend because people are now arrogant and into themselves.

Why wouldn't I want to surround myself with the people I love instead of filling every wall with the artwork of strangers. It sends a message to my family that this is what we value and what is most important to us. The family room and living room are the family spaces in our home. We typically don't hang out together in each others bedrooms, the hallway, or in the study.

My bedroom is a romantic space for my husband and I. I really don't want pictures of his mother, our children, siblings etc in that space.

kswl- "I also subscribe to keeping the photographs in bedrooms and other private spaces (a study or dressing room)"

I don't even know what a dressing room is, but don't think I want family members faces staring at me while I'm dressing.

I've never heard this "conventional wisdom" before in my life, and think it's one of the craziest things I've ever heard. Who comes up with these rules?


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Most buyers are easily distracted. You don't want them spending time commenting on family photos when they could be looking at the features of the home that STAY with the home. It's about doing what you can to get an edge over the competition and to keep buyers focused on the bones of the home and its potential for THEIR lifestyle. I don't understand the mentality of keeping overly personal items displayed in a home one wants to sell. Once you decide to sell, you need to start looking at your home as a product to market, not as some sentimental repository of family memories


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Just because you've never heard of it, doesn't mean that is was not an accepted convention in some circles. If you look at older versions of books by Emily Post and such they do get into some topics like this. Does this mean it was a class-related topic? Probably. Is it outmoded? Probably. But I do think there is an increase in the general narcissism of society. Don't you remember all the jokes on sitcoms and such about how boring it was to look at other people's vacation slides?

I saw a documentary about this and some other subjects--what types of pictures and documents people hung, and where.

Painted portraits are different, and often the people in them are dead.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Right after I got married, I visited a home with a women's group and was SHOCKED to learn that displaying family photos in public areas of the home "just wasn't done." This was almost 40 years ago,

My own mother displayed all of her children's baby pictures in her living room till the day she died. So this was a brand-new idea to me.

Thereafter, though, as I started decorating my home, I have not displayed personal pictures in our living areas. In fact, on the rare occasion that I visit a home where this IS done, it seems very odd. Almost like we shouldn't be seeing these personal glimpses of the family - not really voyeurism, but close.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Even before reading ShanaMaiya's post, (ref: I really didn't WANT to move in the first place and I found taking down the photos DID help me. So I say pack them up.) I was going to say I didn't like seeing a lot of personal photos in the houses we were considering, because it gave me the impression that the owners didn't really want to move. Unwilling sellers could equal difficult, or slow, negotiations. While it would not stop us from making an offer, we did tend to keep our optimism in check on those homes and actively kept looking at other houses. Not a plus if you really do want to sell.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Take them all down and store them until you move -- your goal is to sell your house for as much and as quickly as you possibly can and storing the pictures will (1) keep potential buyers focused on the house when they're looking at it and (2) depersonalize the offer process -- you definitely don't want them to not make an offer because they've make certain conclusions about you based on your photos. After you move, if you enjoy surrounding yourself with family pictures, then by all means do it. When I to to somebody's house that has their personal pics on display it feels a little "quirky" to me (albums on the table that aren't open 24/7 would be more appropriate, IMO), but it's your house and you should do what makes YOU happy -- after the sale, though.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Homeblessings, we have a large walk in closet with a built in dresser and seating and I consider it a dressing room. Our previous house had a bathroom that led into a dressing area that led into the closet, and I had family pictures there, too. I am not sure what your comment means about not wanting family faces "staring" while you dress, but my home is not magical and our pictures, unlike those in Harry Potter, do not actually watch us.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

In my post, I was trying to address whether, and under what circumstances, wedding or family pictures could help a sale. That should be the only consideration.
I'm not even sure that pictures can only distract. I would also imagine that some people feel like intruders in someone else's territory if it's too personal. You want to create the impression: Wow, I could move in right now and feel comfortable here.
As a seller. your mindset should be that as soon as your house hits the market, it's not your house anymore.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Home blessings, I don't think you read my post carefully. I was quoting a previous post and asking the same question you did. I also think it is antiquated. People who believe in that rule probably still have formal living rooms that kids aren't allowed in. We just don't live that way.
I grew up in the south way before Facebook, and anyone who was anyone had oil paintings of their kids in white outfits hanging their foyers.
I apologize that this post has gotten so off topic. I have just never heard of anything like that before.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

I say remove photos and the rationale. Unlike prior generations not everyone buying a home has a family so don't typecast it as a Brady Bunch household.
Think of it as painting a bedroom entirely pink and Barbie pictures all over the place. That helps you if someone viewing has a daughter but hurts you if someone viewing wants a home office or exercise room.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

I was prepared to remove every personal picture (1 large one tkane from behind at our wedding and 3-4 others in picture frames) but my agent said to keep them. The thinking is that it all went to selling our lifestyle (cool, newlywed couple in a condo).

We had 3 offers in 14 days on the market. Not saying pictures sold the place, but it didn't hurt. :)


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Right, if the pictures or accessories/equipment are selling a life style.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

Take them down.

To me, seeing personal photos is like running into the sellers when looking around in their house. It's just weird. I'd prefer to keep things professional.


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RE: showing our house, keep photos up or take down?

We have photos scattered throughout our home. Not zillions hanging on the walls or anything, but one wedding photo in the vestibule to our master, a few on desks and shelves and side tables.

We received 4 offers on our house in the first three weeks are and under contract now.

I believe it has a lot to do with overall presentation. if you have 3 generations of family photos in mismatched frames randomly plunked up on the walls, that's not going to present well.


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