Melbourne FL Real Estate News, Brevard County FL Sandy Shores, Broker Associate

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Selling Your Home, Should Family Photos Stay or Go?

Selling your Home, Should Family Photos Stay or Go?Ihave mixed feelings on this, which is typically not like me. But, when placing a home on the market, should the personal, family photos stay in the house or should they go before the house goes on the market? 

Maybe as a seller this thought has never entered your mind.  Put my family photos away to sell your own home...what do you mean?  Why? What's the big deal?  Well, it depends on who's looking at it (or should I say; looking at them).

When placing a home on the market a REALTOR's job is to make the home  appeal to as many buyers, as we can.  Today, many homes are professionally staged. Kudos to all of you professional stagers, you make our job so much easier!  Those that aren't staged are typically critiqued by the listing agent, prior to the sign going up.  The idea is to clear out as much "excess stuff" and to neutralize the furnishings in a way as to appeal to the broadest range of buyers that we can.  And many times the feeling is...if there are an excess number of personal, family photos, THEY MUST GO or at least the majority of them must go! I feel that it is fine to leave a couple of photos out.

During a showing, we ask that the seller not be home when a buyer is looking at the property.  We want Selling your Home, Should Family Photos Stay or Go?the buyer to feel as warm and comfortable in the home as possible.  We want the buyer to "see and feel" himself living there.  If the seller is there, the buyer often feels uncomfortable being in someone else's place.  And, if the buyer walks through and it is "filled" with family photos, it can make it difficult for some to envision themselves living there.

In the past I have kindly asked a number of sellers to "thin out" some of the pictures in order to make the home more buyer friendly. I have received responses ranging from polite and agreeable to flaming red hot.  One seller told me in no uncertain terms would she remove any of her nearly 75 family photos.  I thought I would be escorted to the door! 

I have been in a number of homes that felt as if all eyes on the wall were staring at me.  In some cases, it  scared buyers off. So what is a seller to do? 

Should the personal photographs stay or go?  You tell me...

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Melbourne FL Real Estate, Sandy Shores, Realtor

 

Sandy Shores, Broker   

Melbourne Real Estate

M & M Realty of Brevard, Inc. 

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Comments

When we were in home staging school the rule was "go". They are simply too distracting to some buyers...and it makes it harder for all buyers to think of the home as a blank slate ready for their own family.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Broker for San Ramon, Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton (Vickie Nagy, Broker Associate Realty ONE Group BMC Associates | BRE#01363932) about 6 years ago

The rich are pulling another fast one on the poor That one is easy, they should be thinned, they don't have to go but should not distract buyers. The seller has to determine if they are really mentally prepared to move or not.

Posted by Ross Quintana, Real E Smarter Real Estate Coach - 509-362-1966 (Real E Smarter) about 6 years ago

Hi Vickie, I have heard the same thing over and over again.  Buyers just cannot "feel" themselves in a home that is filled with the memories of another family.  Thanks for the feedback!  However, some are not always receptive to putting grandbabies away in the closet!  Have a great weekend!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Ross, I agree that they must be thinned out as not to be a distraction to buyers.  There are so many other things that can pull a buyer's attention from a home, already.  I do believe that they must prepare to move, however for some it takes a bit longer than for others.  Thanks for the comment and hope you are having beautiful weather there!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Sandy ... I don't agree with removing all pictures.  Leave a couple and they will not be a distraction.  The potential buyer can still envision the home as his own.  My buyers like seeing a picture or two ... in many ways it conveys a "happy home" to buyers.  Also, my sellers really like leaving a couple as well.  It's still their home and separation anxiety is something most of my seller go through.  Anyway, it has worked for me. 

Posted by Marie Meyer, Orange County New York Realtor (Keller Williams Realty) about 6 years ago

Hi Marie, Thanks for your perspective.  I usually have sellers leave a couple, also.  I suppose you are right that it conveys a feeling of a happy home - good point!  I know that the sellers like leaving them.  I think it is a transistion time for all and it does take getting used to a lot of the new things both buyers and sellers will be experiencing.  So, the smoother and more comfortable we can make it for all involved - the better.  Thanks for your views and hope you have wonderful weather for the weekend!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

The one thing about all of those photos hanging on the walls is that the holes left on the wall.  This can be a turn off for buyers.

Posted by Marlene Pellegrini about 6 years ago

Marlene, You are correct.  Buyers don't want to go in to someones house and fill holes, maybe do a bit of sanding and then paint.  That is the seller's responsibility (otherwise the buyer will lower there price on an offer substantially).  That's why the pictures should come down first, the holes should be filled and sanded, walls should be painted and then the house goes on the market. Good point!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Sandy - It all depends on how attractve the family is! Just kidding!

Posted by John Guiney, e-PRO, CBR (Keller Williams Realty) about 6 years ago

Hi John, You absolutely cracked me up!  I love it!  Too funny (but so true -kidding).  Comments like yours are my favorite part about being on Active Rain.  I love when someone throws humor into our sometimes stressful job!  Keep it up!  Have a wonderful weekend!  Thanks for the laugh!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Sandy Just popped by to say hello and got a little chuckle from John's comment too!

think it's best to have personal photos thinned (as others have suggested) -  my buyers  usually do stop to notice seller photos (so do I btw, just curiosity I guess?) - but in my opinion, typically the fewer the better

Posted by Teresa Berry about 6 years ago

Sandy, I think that this comes under the "clutter" rule. I know that pictures of family are not clutter to the seller, but it is to the buyer. Give them a chance to see themselves in the home. Same thing goes for some of the way out decorating that people are attached to.

Posted by Fred Chamberlin, Oak Harbor/Whidbeynulls, #1 Experienced FHA Mortgage Consultant (Guild Mortgage Co - Oak Harbor WA) about 6 years ago

Teresa, I suppose we all stop to take a look to "enjoy" others photos.  It is a curiousity thing. I remember when I sold my own home in 2001, I emptied out half of the things in the house, took all but one or two pictures off the walls in each room, filled holes, painted inside and outside...and it sold the first day!  I did not want an extended market time. Take care of yourself!  Hope the business is treating you well!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Fred, I guess it would be considered a "clutter" thing.  So many changes often need to be made to have a home "market ready".  And yes, sellers must remember that not every buyer is going to be attracted to their personalized style.  Take care of yourself!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

We recommend that photos go. Buyers will look at photos and not focus on the home if there is too much clutter. Our 2 cents.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) about 6 years ago

Hi Bob & Carolin,  Thanks for the 2 cents.  It's interesting to hear the different perspectives from agents. I agree that clutter can definitely be an issue. Have a great weekend!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Photos can clutter.

Posted by John Hurbon about 6 years ago

The photos need to go.

I was the buyer's agent for a house one time.

There were nice frames throughout the house and not a picture in any of them.

Not even the pictures that came with the frames!

Posted by Brenda Harmon (Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas) about 6 years ago

When a seller lists their home, they are letting go. Letting go means, in my view, to begin de-personalizing the home so others can envision themselves in that home. This means personal photos should be taken down. Also, any religious items should be removed. The home should be "de-personalized" so as many potential buyers as possible can see themselves in that home.

Posted by Todd Hillman,, Broker Associate, M.A. (HomeSmart) about 6 years ago

Pictures probably should go.  But it is a personal decision.

Posted by Will Nesbitt, Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage. (Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria) about 6 years ago

Sandy,

It depends!

Often when the walls haven't been painted or well cleaned in years removing the photos will leave spots. Even the hooks can be distracting.

Then there is the subject matter. I remember photos of one seller's son first deer, I was a hunter, but the buyers weren't! Vacation photos are interesting, but a nudest camp? I called the listing agent, he hadn't noticed it, he said he was on his way to study the matter.

There are so many considerations, there can be one rule.

Bill

Posted by William J. Archambault, Jr. (The Real Estate Investment Institute ) about 6 years ago

Sandy - In my opinion, removing and depersonalizing is a must for selling. I love pictures and frames and even I would advise a client to remove (especially photo walls) photos and large photos! Some sellers don't agree, however I think it can be distracting for buyers. I know myself I've caught myself look at the photos...yikes!

Posted by Gilbert Arizona Real Estate - REALTOR® Candace Robinson Broker Associate, Red Hawk Realty & Property Management (Red Hawk Realty & Property Management) about 6 years ago

I know that the conventional wisdom is to keep personal photos to a minimum, but I would not want to tell a seller that they "must" remove them. The more neutral the better,but price, condition, location trump photos IMHO.

Posted by Judy Peterson, "Superb Service, Superb Results" (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox&Roach Realtors ) about 6 years ago

I don't know where this nonsense came from.  The seller needs to clear out clutter, clean and make a home available.  They don't have to redecorate. 

Buy the house and the buyer can put out their own photos.

I personally believe that family photos are friendly and friendly is an atmosphere plus.

I'm a buyer's agent and have never had a buyer object in any way to family photos in a property for sale.

Neutral means paint that purple bedroom.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Thanks John, I had heard quite a few indicating that photos are included under the "clutter" category.  I agree.  Take care!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Brenda, You indicated that there were frames with no pictures in them at all.  I've never heard of that before.  That has got to be one of the strangest comments I have heard.  Had they gotten mad and taken all the pictures out of the frames? Or were there never any pictures in the frames in the first place?  Hmmm.  I suppose that's better than someone's face being cut out of all the pictures. LOL  Did you ever find out the reason for it? Very strange!  Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Todd, I agree that there is a certain amount of de personalizing that must be done to prepare a home for sale.  That's often why we hire professional stagers.  I have not yet been faced with the religious thing yet.  I have shown a small handful of homes that contained a large amount of religous items.  It definitely reminds the buyer that the home "belongs" to someone else (and always will)! Thanks for the comment!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

I would suggest that family photos go.  When buyers are going through a home you want to see the home as "their" next home.  Family photos remind people that this is "someone else's" home.

Posted by Jon Wnoroski, Summit County Realtor (America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc.) about 6 years ago

In my opinion, personal photos give the appearance that real people live in the home. As long as it isn't cluttered, I say leave them in place. Does a home have to look like a model home or a hotel room to sell?

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA (Michael's Commercial LLC) about 6 years ago

Hi Will, You indicated that pictures should probably go.  The comment that it is a personal decision  concerns me just a tad.  If we leave it up to the seller, often they aren't receptive to taking their grandbaby pictures off the walls, or their pictures of their 3 beautiful children.  Sometimes we are really tugging at a sellers heart strings. As Todd mentioned we are asking them to detach from the home so they can move on. For some it can be difficult.  Thanks and have a fun weekend!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi William, Great point!  I suppose it does depend on the situation.  I agree that if taking them down means nail holes and poor paint then that is a totally new issue to deal with.  In my pictures I feel that all but one or two in each section should be taken down, holes must be filled and walls need to be painted.  Many sellers would not be agreeable to that. These black and white pictures are reminisicent of times gone by -living in the past.  Some may not like that -some may want a house that reminds them of today -updated and newer. I would not care to see pictures of a hunted deer. Did someone really have pictures at a nudist colony?  Too funny!  I wouldn't want to see that either. Have a beautiful weekend!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Candace, I love to see happy families in homes also.  But I think you just hit the nail on the head...we catch ourselves and our buyers looking at the photos and not at the house. SOOOO true...I've done it myself.  We have to remind sellers that buyers will be coming through to look at the house and not at the furnishings.  I have seen buyers so mesmerized by the belongings that they didn't even remember what they saw when looking at the house itself (probably because they couldn't really see it!) Take care and thanks!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Judy,  I agree that neutral is best and I think that if that must be accomplished by removing excessive photos then it must be done.  Each situation is different.  I think a handful of photos keeps the home warm and inviting.

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Lenn, I think that too many pictures falls under the definition of clutter.  If a buyer can't see the house, then he can't buy it.  I think there is a certain amount of rearranging and reorganzing that must be done in some homes so that buyers are able to see the home when they walk in and not be focused on the sellers belongings.  Have a nice weekend!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Jon,  I agree that family photos remind a buyer that they are indeed looking at someone else's home.  I feel they must be kept to a minimum.  I believe that this should fall under the same guidelines as listing agents requesting that sellers not be present for showings.  It makes the buyer feel that they are a guest in someone else's home.  Often it is difficult for them to envision living in the home themselves otherwise.  Thanks for the input! 

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Michael, As you mentioned it falls under the guidelines of clutter.  Are there too many pictures in place to even "see" the house?  No, I don't think that a home must look like a model or a hotel room to sell.  I have seen some model homes that felt to me like the normal middle class buyer could never live there!  Sometimes I don't feel that they are warm and inviting -your point is well taken.  I think we must look at these properties on a case by case basis before they go on the market!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Excessive photos are distracting, and buyers will spend more time looking at the photos than at the house! I agree that keeping a few photos makes the home inviting. I did have a listing where the owners decided to keep their wedding pictures up. A couple came through the house, and really liked it. Upon seeing the photos, however, they decided not to make an offer on the house. They realized that they knew the owners socially, and didn't want to risk a friendship by entering into a business dealing.

Posted by Jennifer Mallory, Nyack NY Real Estate Broker Associate (Keller Williams Hudson Valley Realty) about 6 years ago

Pack them up, it will distract the buyers as they will be looking over at the photos and not the house.

Posted by Mary Strang, Real Estate about 6 years ago

HI SANDY!

I'm a firm believer of getting rid of family pics.  I think it takes the buyer's attention away from the house.

Posted by Yvette Smith, Realtor In Williamsburg VA, Homes for Sale (LONG & FOSTER) about 6 years ago

Hi Jennifer - OUCH!  That's the part of family photos that I don't like.  Buyers often make judgments based on the photos on the walls.  I showed one home to buyers and they could not get their eyes off of the photos.  They were very intent on reviewing all of them.  They never really saw the home, because they could not refocus on anything else besides ALL of the photos. It can be tough sometimes!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Mary, I agree, I just mentioned the very same thing to Jennifer.  You are so right!  Take care and best wishes to you!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Yvette, Thanks for your point of view.  It is so interesting here to see that opinions range from no pictures at all to leave the pictures alone.  I suppose it depends on the buyers perception when they walk through the home, and no one can ever forsee that before they get in the house.  Thanks and have a good weekend!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

This is a great POST!  I tell sellers to "de-clutter" and that includes photos (oh, leave a couple), as they are very distracting to potential buyers. And, I have to admit, when I'm previewing or on caravan, I STOP and look at pic's on the wall. Human nature I guess.

  

Posted by Kat DeLong, Realtor BRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate ( (MOUNTAIN COUNTRY REALTY, Lake Arrowhead. (909)-273-4542) about 6 years ago

Hi Kathy,  I agree to de clutter and leave a few photos.  That human nature element in us is exactly why we want the pictures off the wall.  We want the buyers to see the house, not the family.  I have caught myself doing the exact same thing!  Have a great weekend!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

I tell my sellers to get rid of the family photos as well as any framed college degrees. They're too much of a distraction and can affect the sale of the home or the price buyers offer. If the wall looks too bare, then I tell them to go to Target to buy some new artwork to place in the empty space.

Since I work in Columbus, if there are football posters for any other team other than the Buckeyes, must go as well. Anything - including toilet seats - with an OSU logo on it can stay! We're passionate here!

Posted by Elaine Reese, REALTOR® in central Ohio (Real Living HER, Powell Ohio) about 6 years ago

I think photos should be tucked away, especially the really cute baby ones! A few reasons, one is safety. Unfortunately anyone can come in to your home when it is for sale, and they don't need to know all the details of your family life. The other reason is it is so darn interesting to look at other people's pictures! I spent a good 5 minutes at an open house looking at a women's sonogram pictures on the fridge and asking the realtor when she was due, etc. I don't even remember what the house looked like!

Now on the other hand, I'm working on decluttering and organizing a home to sell, and when I took pictures off the wall, there was a complete outline of them because they were heavy smokers! They have no intention of painting the walls, so the pictures went back up!

You win some, you lose some!

Gretchen

www.creativespaceserie.com

Posted by gretchen wheeler (Creative Spaces) about 6 years ago

Kathy, Sometimes a culling of the herd is appropriate. It's a house, not the trophy case at the local high school. For me the key is, do the pictures draw a potential buyer's eye away from a great aspect of the house? If so, box them up for the move.

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 6 years ago

Great post Kathy. We always have the photos packed away. The photos you illustrate is the wall of fame or a museam of the familes past life. What you want buyers to do is to fall in love with the house not bond with the family living there! When you visit model homes, only a photo or two can be found if at all. Thanks for sharing & greetings from Paradise.

Realtor Greg Gorman & Realtor David Burke Present Naples Florida Real Estate

Posted by Greg Gorman, Naples Florida Real Estate (John R Wood Properties) about 6 years ago

You mean the clients that have the "screaming wall of pictures ..." where it looks like their 4 year old went crazy with a nail gun and hanged 57 pictures in a 5 foot space isn't a selling feature??? 

Some pictures are fine if they compliment, and can even be good conversation topics with clients. But you're right - the wall of pictures though can be freaky. 

Posted by Richard & Carol DeGrace, Mortgage Loan Officers NJ 609-209-3700 (1st Colonial Community Bank | Bank - New Jersey) about 6 years ago

The best thing when possible is to have a stager tell them, ya know good cop bad cop.  Then they are not mad at you and heard it from an independent 3rd party.

Posted by Tatyana Sturm, Denver Realtor, GRI, Denver/ Aurora CO Relocation (Exit Realty DTC) about 6 years ago

All photos must go!

You don't want buyers come and spend time looking at photos, you want them looking at your home. Neutral paintings and art work is perfect. When I say that to my sellers they usually are very receptive of it.

When we were selling our home, before I became an agent we were told by our agent to remove the photos. I was very offended, but its how he said it. If he explained to me what I mentioned above I would have been fine.

Posted by Nelya Calev (John L Scott) about 6 years ago

We strongly urge our sellers to parse down the family photos to a minimum, so that the house has a warmer feeling that something that has been totally sanitized of them.  I have taken buyers through homes with the walls covered with photos and on several occasions they have been distracted from looking at the house because they were focusing on the pictures.  Other times, I have had a couple people say that they feel like they are intruding into someone personal space and don't take a lot of time in the house.

For the purposes of selling, leave a few good ones out just to give some flavor, but pack the rest away.

Posted by AJ Heidmann, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) about 6 years ago

I say less is better.........most buyers can't see through the seller's things.  De clutter and it will make a difference

Posted by Dianne Barody, Pensacola Florida Real Estate (Century 21 AmeriSouth Realty) about 6 years ago

I too have mixed feelings in that I believe a few photos are okay.  I did an open house a year ago for an agent friend and upstairs in that home, there had to be 500 photos on the wall.  It was horrible.  There was no rhyme or reason as to how they were placed. 

Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) about 6 years ago

Definately less is better - they are a true distraction that stops  buyers from paying attention to the house.

Posted by David Thomas, Phoenix,Chandler,Mesa,Gilbert,AZ (West USA Realty, Scottsdale, Arizona) about 6 years ago

Hi Elaine,  I find your comment very interesting.  You said that you advise sellers to put away college degrees...I guess I never really thought about that one.  You indicated that sometimes it can affect how much a buyer's offer on the home is.  That's makes sense.  I love your comments about teams.  So true, only keep the team up that is popular in your area.  Thanks for the info - all good points.  Thanks so much for sharing!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hey Gretchen,  Pictures can be an awful distraction to many.  You are the first to mention safety aa a concern in keeping out baby pictures.  Very good point in this day and age.  I have been in the same situation as you with taking pictures down.  Although this was furniture.  I asked a seller to move a couple of pieces of furniture to different spots to showcase the home.  Funny thing was, they had painted around every single piece of furniture, without moving any of it!  It was just tooooo funny.  They had no intention of doing any painting prior to the sale, either. Obviously, we nixed the idea of moving anything! Love the great ideas!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Richard, I think sometimes it's hard to determine what is going to catch any one buyer's eye and take their attention off of the home.  I have had sellers complete a list of things before a home goes on the market, only for another completely different issue to be pointed out during a showing.  All we can do is try to have the home appeal to the greatest number of buyers out there.  Thanks for the comment!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Greg, A house for sale must definitely be presented in a different light than a house being lived in by a family.  As homeowners we like to have our homes feel warm and cozy for us, however this may be a total turn off to a buyer.  The old pictures must be thinned down to one or two on a wall, provided the holes are filled in and painted.  Thanks for the feedback!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Steve, Oh no, you and I have showed the same house- the one with 57 pictures in a 5 foot space..sometimes that can be a typical teenagers room. Those are the really difficult ones.  All the pictures and posters must go and look out for all the nail holes and tape marks on the walls afterwards.   I have also seen some of those freaky walls of pictures.  Too funny - you crack me up! Thanks and have a great weekend!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Tatyana,  I don't really have a problem telling them that there are too many pictures.  If they become very disgruntled and uneasy to bend in that situation, then often times it lets me know if we are going to have other problems in the future.  It can potentially be an eye opener.  I have had many sellers not receptive to their home being staged at all - as some feel that we are just trying to spend money that they don't have!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Nelva,  I agree that often it is how we present the suggestion to our sellers, that pictures must go.  A little sugar goes a long way.  When I sold my house myself in 2001, I removed all of the pictures on my walls, filled the holes, painted and replaced 1 to 2 pictures on each wall.  The house sold the first day it was on the market.  For me it worked beautifully.  Thanks for the feedback!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Sandy.. When I first started in this business.. I was told that sellers should always remove their personal photos as they can be distracting to a potential buyer who pays more attention to the photos instead of the home.

Posted by Roland Woodworth, Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource- SFR - Clarksv (Keller Williams Realty) about 6 years ago

AJ & Jodee, I like your comment about not sanitizing the home.  You are right.  No pictures at all could make the home feel sterile.  Every buyer is different.  I have been in homes that had over 100 little pictures in collages on the walls.  The buyers spent 15 minutes looking through all the photos and unfortunately never saw the beautiful home that could have been showcased.  Have a fun weekend!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Thanks Dianne for the less is better comment. We must make it as easy as we can for buyers to see past the sellers items. 

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Diane, My sister loves her family photos.  She has a hallway wall with probably 500 photos on it.  She knows that if she ever went to sell, all of those must go.  Some are very receptive to removing the pictures and others aren't.  I suppose for some it's a transition with the thought of letting go of their house and all the memories it holds also. 

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

David, The overall consensus does seem to be that the pictures are a distraction from seeing the rest of the home.  Thanks!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Sandy, Thanks for taking the time to do this one.  My thoughts have long been that prospective buyers need to be readily able to envision their stuff in the house.  Anything that distracts them from being able to do that proprtionately reduces the odds of them being interested enough to make an offer.  I think the old maxim of "moderation in all things" applies well here.  A conservative number of  family pictures, carefully staged & tastefully displayed can be a real asset.

Posted by Dave Hamill, Prescott, Arizona Real Estate (EXIT Realty Legacy) about 6 years ago

I always make suggestions while walking through the home. One suggestion is that they are going to be moving and it's better to start packing now. Decluttering and so forth. This also a way of finding out how motivated the seller is. Just a thought.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) about 6 years ago

I would ask them to take down family photos and memorabilia. Too many times it's overwhelming & distracting. Less is better.

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) about 6 years ago

Here in Del Ray Alexandria 1 or 2 family pictures help the sale. We are a very family/community centered area and the total lac of family pics seems creepy. Time and Time again houses without a few don't show as well and when asking for comments at open houses? the pictures are a positive.

Carol

Posted by Carol Lynne Bull (Keller Williams) about 6 years ago

At the very least they should be thinned out - preferrably they should GO!

Posted by David Matney, Omaha, NE Real Estate | Omaha, NE Homes For Sale (Alliance Real Estate) about 6 years ago

From the school of less is best, I try to at least get them to thin the heard a bit!  Overly empty and sterile is equally distracting though, so I shoot for a balance. Probably not a bit helpful to you but moderation and balance seem to be my modes of operation!

Posted by Cat Zwicker, Principal Broker/Owner - 2014 President Oregon CRS (Desert Sky Real Estate, LLC) about 6 years ago

The term is to "depersonalize" the home.  I have never been in a home with family photos that I didn't peer at them myself and find the potential buyer doing the same thing.  They are distractions that don't need to be present.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) about 6 years ago

Sandy:  I don't think a few are a big deal, but like everything in real estate, it depends.  I once sold a home where the only photo left was of the wedding, but it was a female couple.  In the hot market, that didn't turn off any buyer, but today it might.  And I remember walking through a home with a buyer and we saw a boatload of photos in the basement on the wall.  We spent a lot of time looking at them...more than at the house.  This owner had photos of himself with many celebrities.  Once we came to the one on the mantle of him and the current President Bush, my buyer wanted to leave.  Hot button issues can come across in photos.  Better to stash those from view.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Northern VA (Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA) about 6 years ago

A few photos are ok...but not a collage on the refrig.

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, Personal Service, always. (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) about 6 years ago

Thanks for the post...  I agree that a majority of the photos must go...  A few are okay.  When out on caravan, I notice that I get distracted from the home looking at photos.  I am sure this happens to buyers previewing homes, too.  Better that they be focused on the home and its amenities and not family photos...

Posted by Sherry Lee Cox (Platinum Properties) about 6 years ago

Hi Sandy-  I haven't seen any stagers give their opinions on this one yet, so here's my 2 cents.  I have all my sellers remove All personal pictures. 

Here's why, buyers WILL spend time looking at those pictures, their curiousity will get the best of them.  They may not intentionally set-out to catch glimpses of what kind of people live there, but they will.  Not only are personal pictures a distraction, but they help create a picture in the buyers mind because now they feel as if they know who lives in that house and it becomes a personal thing.

As mentioned above, people have a hard time looking around a house that belongs to someone else.  If you don't de-personalize a house before it goes on the market, most buyers that walk into that house will have some insight into the sellers life.  It will make them uncomfortable, whether they admit it or not.  Consumer behaviour is a complicated thing, understanding how people feel when they walk into a home is what I do.  We all know that the decision to buy a house is often an emotional one.

If they don't want to listen to someone who is trying to help them sell their house, then you have to wonder how badly they really want to sell.  I agree that removing a picture here, moving a couch there, putting away some accessories alone won't make a difference, but when you put all the recommendations together - you'd be surprised at how much of a difference it makes.  The bad cop, good cop thing is also a good point.  The buyer may not like our suggestions very much at first, but once they do it and realize how much better the house looks, they can't help but love us.  My goal is the same as yours and theirs - to sell the house!

Posted by Anonymous about 6 years ago

Hi Sandy-  That was me recommending that all personal pictures get put away.  It looks like there was an AR glitch when I submitted my 2 cents.  Thanks, Emma

Posted by Emma Vargas, Simply Staging (Simply Staging) about 6 years ago

Posting blind without reading all the comments.

Personally I think that in cases of excess photos, many of them should be put away.  I had a friend who literally had every wall plastered with photo arrangements, and then when she ran out of wall space she got some of those folding "wardrobe screen" type displays that show 15 8x10 photos and stuck two of them in her living room and another in her bedroom...her house was TINY as well, only 1000 square feet, so it made it look REALLY cramped and very overstimulating.

BUT THAT SAID, I don't think there is anything wrong with having a reasonable amount of family photos on the wall - it is a HOME and frankly, if buyers are afraid of pictures on the wall I would be worried about their mental health.  LOL

Photos, like knick-knacks and too much furniture can add to the overall cluttered feel of a home - having only a few favorite happy photos out will show buyers that happy people live there - and thus, it may make them feel that they will have happy times there too.

Posted by Karen Rice, Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales (WEICHERT, REALTORS® Paupack Group ) about 6 years ago

Hi Dave, Buyers must be able to envision their belongings in a house,  Typically, when they begin "placing" their furniture, we know that they are interested in moving on to make an offer on the home.  But, you are correct, if they never get to that point because they cannot get past the feeling that the house belongs to someone else, then they'll never make that offer.  Thanks for the comment!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Charles, Yes, I agree, it is helpful to remind them that they will be moving anyway, so they may as well start packing up some of their belongings ahead of time.  Good point-it does give a better perception of a sellers level of motivation.

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Erica, We keep hearing that less is better.  Thanks for the comment!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Carol,  That's interesting to hear that your small town community wants to see pictures of people that they know.  That is understandable!  Thanks for giving us a little bit of a different twist on it.

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

David, We keep hearing that they should be thinned out or they should go.  Thanks for your feedback.

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

I think the personal photos should go. Sellers really resist that. I spend much time trying to break the psychological link they have with their home. When they finally accept that their home is a commodity and needs to appeal to the widest range of buyers, things proceed more smoothly.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) about 6 years ago

Cat, Actually I understood exactly what you were saying -moderation is best.  I have to agree with you.  Not enough photos can sometimes take that warm, comfortable feeling of home out of the property.  Thanks and have a great weekend.

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Barbara, I believe that a certain amount of depersonalization is essential. Thanks for the feedback!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Chris, You ran into 2 very interesting situations with photos.  I can see where the political photo could really turn into a bombshell - people really play off of their emotions when looking at homes.  Some items can set off hot buttons with some. Thanks for sharing your stories -never been in either of those situations, but I could see where they both could become very difficult with some buyers. 

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Gary, How are things going in Viera right now?  I hope that business is brisk for you.  It seems that things have been picking up lately.  It seems that more buyers are getting into the market right now.  You are the first to mention no collages on the fridge!  Good point - I have seen oodles of collages on the fridge (and even have one on my own fridge), but they don't belong in a home that is listed for sale.  Thanks and take care of yourself.  I hope that we can work together in the future sometime soon.

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Sherry, I have heard your comment several times.  Even agents get distracted by family photos in the home, so you know that buyers will too.  I suppose we are all curious about who lives in a home and we naturally want to know something about them.  However, often times that gets in the way of getting the home sold.  Thanks for the input and take care!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

In one house we all got totally distracted looking at photos of this family doing this and that with some famous people, whether it was playing golf, at a party etc. Can't remember a thing about the house! Neither did the buyers. ~Rita

Posted by Brian Burke, Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate (Kenna Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Oh, forgot to say. It also depends on the placement of the photos IMO. If the photos are not in line but just smacked on the wall it can be really confusing of if they are hanging about 6" from the ceiling (no kidding there). ~Rita

Posted by Brian Burke, Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate (Kenna Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Hi Emma, I agree that using all of the recommendations together can give the seller the necessary results that they need to get the home sold.  Thanks for giving us your perception as a stager.  Well appreciated!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Karen,  Thanks for the input.  I agree with a reasonable amount of family photos. I can see where a buyer would feel that they too could have many happy memories in the home.

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Wayne, It can be quite difficult to get a buyer to detach emotionally from their home, especially since there are so many memories tied to the home.  Thank for your input.

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Rita, I too have been in the same home you were (or so it seems).   The buyers spent their time admiring the photos of the family, but never even got an opportunity to look at the property.  It is a shame, because it was indeed a beautiful home (under all the clutter).

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Sandy,  I would normally agree to remove most photos and also not have the sellers around, however, I was showing a home this morning and the owner just happened to be the Realtor.  She planned on just showing us the layout and then leaving- I thought- Oh no- I don't want her there.  My buyers had a lot of questions to which I would have had to make many phone calls to get answers.  The sellers happened to be sticking around and answered everything.  It was actually very helpful- so I guess there isn't a straightforward black and white answer to any situation with photos, no photos, sellers around or not.  Today- it came in handy and saved me a lot of time.

Posted by Tina Allen (Exit Realty Tri-County) about 6 years ago

Sandy ~ As a professional stager, I advise clients living in occupied homes that leaving family photos displayed prevents potential buyers from imagining themselves living there....and also that sadly in today's world, it's also a safety issue.  You don't want strangers at an open house to see who lives in that house and what they look like.  99% of my homeowner clients accept this and the photos are then lovingly packed away, to be proudly displayed in their new home.

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging that Sells Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) about 6 years ago

Hi Tina, I agree that sometimes it isn't a black and white issue.  I have been in similar situations, with sellers that were home -they were delightful - and the buyers liked them so much, the wrote an offer on the home an hour later.  Funny - you just never know how it's going to go!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Maureen, Others here have also mentioned the safety issue.  It is something we must consider today. I absolutely love the way you put it, 'the photos are then lovingly packed away, to be proudly displayed in their new home.'  When you put it like that I don't know of any owner anywhere that would disagree with you.  Thanks for your perception as a stager.

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Sandy,  I am also a professional stager and my line is very similar to Maureen's when working with clients and family photos.  On the occassion when I have a client who is very distressed about pre-packing the family photos I have him/her create a "memory box" I use the decorative photo boxes available at craft stores and they place the most important photos in the box and then that is placed on a shelf or nightstand.  The photos can then be enjoyed in private.  This compromise helps ease the transition and respects the clients attachment to the photos.

Posted by Debra Brodhecker, House Dressing, New Jersey (House Dressing) about 6 years ago

I like how you say the photos should be thinned out.  I agree one or two is fine but I fine myself distracted by the photos or by trying to find out who lives there and that takes away from the real reason we are all there to see the home.

Posted by Michele Eckart (RE/MAX Advantage Realty) about 6 years ago

Hi Debra,  I appreciate your passing along your input as a stager on what sellers are doing with their family photos.  Selling a home can be an emotional experience, and some have a harder time letting go, than others.  The memory box does seem to be a good compromise.  Thanks!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

Hi Michele, We have so many distractions when looking at a sellers home. The more we can alleviate when going on the market, the better chance the buyer has of actually seeing the home.  It does takes away from the real reason we are there to see the home - excellent point!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) about 6 years ago

I say take them down. I had a buyer who recognized a woman's photo that was stuck on the refrigerator with a magnet. The rest of the day he kept wondering how the sellers of the house knew this lady. I could not get him to focus on the house at all.

Posted by Rich Mielke, REALTOR, Frederick Maryland Real Estate (REMAX Results, Frederick MD) almost 6 years ago

Hi Rich,  Wow, you lost your buyer's focus for the day because of the picture of an acquaintance!  That's terrible. But, you know, like you said, that's exactly why we try to take as many distractions out of the house as we can!  Did that buyer ever purchase a home?  Thanks for the feedback!

Posted by Sandy Shores Broker, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County FL Real Estate (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) almost 6 years ago

that buyer sounds like a doofus though.  lol

Posted by Karen Rice, Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales (WEICHERT, REALTORS® Paupack Group ) almost 6 years ago

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