It's always something new when you are a Realtor® taking buyers through occupied properties. Today, I called a listing agent on a very desirable townhouse listing. It had been on the market for two weeks with no offers. That is an eternity for a house in good condition, priced under $400,000. And it wasn't a short sale or foreclosure!
As I drove to meet my buyers, I thought that it must be my lucky day. Sure, the other properties they wanted to see had tons of activity and offers within 48 hours. Maybe it was the holidays that had this lonesome gem just waiting for my buyers.
A walk through the home showed that it was worth every penny of the list price. Nicely updated and well maintained. A perfect match for my buyers. And then my buyers caught a glance of the photographs, framed on the wall.
There, for every buyer that walked through to see, were no fewer than a dozen "action" photographs, of the supposed home owner, a career firefighter, fighting blaze after blaze. There was one of a bus engulfed in flames. A house where a fire had started in a garage. He was even on scene at several horrific car accidents. And wait, there he was with the jaws of life.
Home Stagers and Realtors® will ask you to take down such personal items from a home. For one, they call attention to the fact that the home is someone else's. Therefore, the buyers have a hard time picturing themselves in the home. Secondly, they are a plain, old distraction in general. And in this case, a ghoulish one.
While the home owner is probably very proud of his career, and the fact that he helps people in terrifying situations, those photographs called to mind circumstances that folks outside emergency professions do not have the ability to easily brush off.
I bet if that home owner had not had those pictures up on the wall, my buyers would have written an offer today. There is just something about seeing a lovely single family home going up in flames that can give any regular Joe the creeps.