"I'm Mayhem, and I'm Your Worst Nightmare!"

Home Stager with Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes

"I'm Mayhem, and I'm Your Worst Nightmare!"


I like small children.

I surf the internet looking for them.

I don't have to bother with social networking sites.

I can use the MLS.

I know if it's a boy or a girl.

I know approximately how old they are.

I know their address.




I know they might respond to me if I call them by their name.


I'm Mayhem, and I'm your worst nightmare!





Parents, if your house is for sale, PLEASE remove any and all references to specific information regarding your children.  This may include name banners, awards, certificates, report cards, signs, etc.  Don't give Mayhem a chance with with your children!

Child's Name

Real Estate Agents:  Please encourage your listing clients to remove name signs such as the one above.  While charming, they could put a child at risk.  If the client won't comply, refrain from posting such photos.

This is one important piece of advice I give all my Connecticut Home Staging clients, and one that I would think all agents would too.  However, every day I see new listings posted on the MLS with this kind of blatant "invitation".  Let's keep the children's safety in mind!

Comments (268)

Lisa Wetzel
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Carson City, NV
CDPE, SFR carsonvalleyland.com

Julia ... what a great point ... I really never thought of it in those terms.  I do really agree with the blurring idea!  It's also not a good idea to put any info in the public remarks about "Child Home alone"

Jan 08, 2012 04:01 AM
COMPASS - Palm Springs, CA
COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate

I've been selling Real Estate for well over 20 years and have never thought about this.

Although I always suggest my clients de-personalize the home before listing, this hasn't been a reason I've mentioned.

Jan 08, 2012 04:11 AM
Rosalie Frankel
Dominion Real Estate Partners - Cave Creek, AZ

GREAT post!  Excellent point...always suggest to clients that, before listing, they remove all personal items...especially those relating to children.  This is more ammunition for that suggestion!  Thanks, much!


Jan 08, 2012 04:30 AM
Roberta Hutchings

I've had to wait a few days to comment, as your blog raised many conflicting emotions.  This is a disturbing post for many reasons. As realtors we need to be aware that there are people out there who mean us, our clients or our children harm.  And I am certain you thought carefully before posting the graphic of the black man as your boogeyman. You chose a graphic that would draw attention and shock.

What I find disturbing is the assumption presented that a potential molester looks like your graphic. As Larry Lynch posted, most molestations are perpetrated by someone within the family, or by someone who is close to and trusted by the family. They  don't appear to be "creepers" at all. They look like everyday normal, friendly people. THAT'S why they're so dangerous.

This is a crime that is perpetrated in the "best" of neighborhoods, not just "creepy" ones. I chose deliberately to live for 25 years in an inner city neighborhood. When I did an internet search for sexual predators within a 1 mile radius of my home, ONE showed up. But in my daughters middle class neighborhood, with an elementary school a block away, that same one mile radius revealed 83 convicted pedophiles

Your post is an important one. But please also remember that predators will find some way to find victims online through other means more user friendly than our MLS's.  And please remember that some of those bad guys exist within our professional midst as well.

Jan 08, 2012 11:03 AM
David Earle
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Maitland, FL
"Experience isn't expensive it's Priceless"

Julia that is solid advice; I don't have children nor am I a sick person; so I would not have thought of providing this kind of warning to my seller clients. BUT I WILL NOW! I appreicate your alert; it's sad there are sick people out there preying on inosent children. Let's find them and drop them down a dark hole; all Realtors should unite to fight mayhem and the sick scum like him or her.

Jan 10, 2012 12:35 AM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Julia, Great suggestion! We try to always remember to have our sellers take down names and photos of their children.

Jan 10, 2012 01:20 PM
John Turner
PARKS - Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Tennesse - Murfreesboro, TN
The Turner-Victory Team at PARKS

Great article. This is something I never considered. We can never be too careful these days.

Jan 12, 2012 02:18 AM
Bobbie Smith
Stroudsburg, PA

WOW! Excellent post. Like John above I had not considered this as strongly as I should have.  Scary world we live in today.

Sep 18, 2012 11:04 PM
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

One very thoughtful REA contacted me privately because she did not think it was appropriate that I used a photo of a person "of color".  I responded and apologized.  Frankly, I did not think the photo had that kind of relevance - to me it was a photo of a scary person - and actually looked a lot like my brother in his 20s, and told her so.  She kindly responded and said she understood.

That said, I am glad this post has had an impact.  However, I continue to see so many references to sellers' children online.  Hope this changes.

Sep 19, 2012 02:08 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I know I commented back in January but because of Lynn's reblog, it worth revisiting.

So many people would not think about this. Oh so scary!!


Sep 19, 2012 11:29 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

This post was one for the top commented for '12.  I can see why . . .

Dec 28, 2012 04:57 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

In light of recent events, I can see where this blog probably resonates even more now than when it was written. We need to do whatever we can to keep our kids safe - within reason.

Dec 28, 2012 05:28 AM
Kelvi Cunningham
ERA High Pointe Realty - Manhattan, KS

WOW! Short, not-sweet, and to the totally creepy and VERY IMPORTANT point. I have NEVER considered this and it needs to be strongly considered. I can see why this stirred such a huge reaction from the AR community. Great post and congratulations on making the top 10 most commented on blog posts for 2012.

Dec 28, 2012 07:14 AM
Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers

Some people are so sick. I never thought of this. I should have and I will remember from now on. Say no more.

Dec 28, 2012 09:01 AM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Julie, congrats on a Top 10 comments post for the year - and this is a good point. We don't always even show bedrooms because they don't photograph that well anyway, even with wide angle lenses - except for the Master. If they like the house, they will visit, they don't have to see every single room.


Dec 28, 2012 11:14 AM
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Incredible post.  I never even thought about lurkers spotting children's rooms but will certainly mention this to listers.  One more reason to take that stuff off the walls especially for the photos.

Dec 28, 2012 12:11 PM
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor

Wow...wonderful post. I have always requested that my sellers de-personalize their home. Now I have a stronger point to convey in regards to photos and names of their children. It really makes one think twice about being proactive.

Dec 28, 2012 12:43 PM
Julie Bentley
Watson Realty Corp, Jacksonville, FL - St Johns, FL
Saint Johns, FL REALTOR

Congratulations on being in the Top 10 list for 2012. Your post is thought-provoking and certainly garnered lots of attention and varying opinions. While I have never thought about removing a child's name from pictures, unless a child's bedroom is unique I don't typically include it in pictures of my listings anyway. Thanks for giving me something important to think about.

Dec 29, 2012 10:00 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Julia ... what a great point ...I don't really think, it is a way they find those kids, yet, why to risk?

The less personal items and pictures of the family selling the house, the better.


Dec 30, 2012 08:57 AM
Charles Stallions Property Manager
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pace, FL
Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management

Would an agent be so stupid as to do this. Unbelievable at best now we are the internet police.

Aug 16, 2013 11:48 AM