When it comes to staging a house for sale, one thing most real-estate agents are adamant about is that the artwork not be risqué. “No nudes is good nudes,” says Lyn Sims, a Realtor at ReMax in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.
The goal of showings is to keep people at a property as long as possible to form a good impression, says April Greer, a Realtor with Century 21 in Temecula, Calif., who frequently asks clients to take down portraits of unclothed subjects. “You want to make sure buyers feel comfortable.”
A 2011 Duke University study on home staging, which involved 457 participants, found that removing especially attention-grabbing art or accessories was one of the most important actions a seller could take to change buyer perception and behavior; participants rated this 5.98 on a scale of 1-7. The study revealed that buyers often evaluate (and remember) the art rather than the house, and that a negative reaction to art can affect how they assess the house.
Peter Brant, take notice
Real-estate agent April Greer says a nude depiction of one of the owners is where she absolutely draws the line. “I just explain to them how it might make a buyer feel to see their wife half naked,” she says. “They get it.”
Brant and Stephanie are not alone, however
Kathryn Mikesell, a collector in Miami, was told by a real-estate agent to hide her art, including a sculpture of a nude male by Lars Calmar that she had in the kitchen. She was put-off enough to change her mind about selling her house.
“She told us if we really wanted to attract a broad audience, and not offend anyone, we needed to [remove the art],” says Ms. Mikesell. “Our art is our life. It is part of our family. We decided this is us, our home.”
Which is true, of course, but Ms.Mikesell misses the point: she and her family no longer want it to be their home; better to stash the art, sell the house, and then reinstall those nudes in her new one.