Should you Take Your Family Photos Down While your House is for Sale?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. BK629999

When a house goes up for sale, should the personal family photos stay in the house or should they be put away before the sign goes up? I have mixed feelings on family photos. My response would be that it depends on the pictures, how many, their location, etc.

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; who's looking at them).

When placing a home on the market a REALTOR's job is to be sure the house shows in it's best light. It should be staged to showcase it's great amenities.  We want it to appeal to as many buyer's as possible.  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 too many personal items or family photos they must go.  It's fine to leave a couple of pictures out.  But, we want a buyer to look at a house and envision themselves living in the home.  We want them to feel comfortable in walking through.  Too many furnishings or family photos can detract from the appeal of the house.  Thus, a buyer is busy scanning the walls of photos to see who the sellers are.

During a showing, we ask that the seller not be home when a buyer is looking at the property.  We want 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. 

In the past, I have 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 she would not remove a single one of her nearly 75 family photos.  She said she didn't care what buyers thought... that was her family.  I thought I was going to  be escorted to the door, but instead I wasn't hired as the agent to market their house for sale.

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. In situations like those, the buyers were so busy looking at the seller's furnishings, nick nacks and pictures that they were not able to really "see" or "get a feel" for the house.

So what is a seller to do? 

Should the personal photographs stay or go?  What do you think?



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should you take your family photos down when you sell your house should family pictures stay or go

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Trisha Bush-LeFore
Preferred Properties Land & Homes - Walla Walla, WA
Providing Realtor Services in the Walla Walla Area


I think the family photos should be put away. Just like clutter being cleared out, you want the prospective buyer to be able to "see" the home not the stuff in it.

Oct 23, 2013 02:18 AM #1
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

This can be a sensitive subject indeed for some sellers.  I think that it is important to neutralize.  So a few photos are okay, but 75 is way too many.  

Oct 23, 2013 03:11 AM #2
Kerry L Klun, Broker/Owner
Palm Realty - Melbourne, FL


I totally agree with your blog.  Good information, thanks for sharing.

Oct 23, 2013 10:20 AM #3
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