When you’re browsing online real estate listings, something will invariably catch your eye. Often it’s in a good way, like when you spot a stunning chandelier that you hope the sellers will leave behind.
But other times, it’s something so jarring, you do a double take and wonder: What’s up with that?
That’s definitely the case with a house on Long Island in Great Neck, NY, recently listed for $2,158,000.
This four-bedroom, five-bathroom ranch is spacious and tastefully decorated, albeit a bit on the bland beige side. OK, maybe more than a bit.
The listing touts that the home’s open floor plan is “perfect for entertaining,” and comes with a heated pool.
Sounds pretty sweet, right?
Yet as you continue scrolling through the listing pics, you’ll encounter a surprise guest: a very pregnant lady lounging near the dining room, clad in a bikini. Oh my!
Listing agent Sandy Rosen of Coldwell Banker says the oil-on-resin sculpture, titled “Mona Lisa,” gets a big reaction in real life as well.
“Everybody was enamored with it,” says Rosen, who has been showing interested buyers the home. “Sometimes they jumped back. They thought it was a real person.”
Eclectic art in listing pics: Good or bad idea?
While plenty of real estate agents like to keep listing photos as neutral as possible by removing personal effects like family photos, Rosen believes that “art always enhances a house, except when there’s too much of it.”
But certain styles can be a turnoff. “I once had a primitive art collection in a house, and it was actually a deterrent,” she says. “It doesn’t work if it’s too scary or too bleak. It depends on the kind of art.”
“If the artwork is complementary to the home and enhances how it shows, then by all means it should stay,” agrees Cara Ameer, a local real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Florida. “However, anything that is extreme or distracting, whether that be a painting or sculpture, should best be removed. You want people to focus on the house and not the things hanging on the walls or, in this case, lying down on a chair.”
Because you can never anticipate how a buyer will react to artwork, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“If a seller insists on leaving an unusual piece of artwork in the home for a showing, then their agent should get some background on the piece and why it is there to be able to explain to potential buyers,” Ameer adds.
As for those who hope to catch a glimpse of the hyperrealistic swimmer at the seller’s next open house (this Sunday), we have some sad news: You missed your chance. The owner, who is an art collector, removed Feuerman’s sculpture (which is not included in the sale) along with many other pieces from the home.
Rosen explains that when a work is the creation of an admired artist, most often it’s going to be moving on with the homeowner. Whether that’s good news or bad is your call.
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