The room not shown

Many buyers spend a lot of time trying to get a feel for a home before they ever step into it. They examine pictures posted online of homes available to figure out what ones might be worth seeing in person. A question in the mind of many buyers is whether or not they will like the layout of the home. I have had many tell me they spend long periods of time trying to piece together what room goes where, and what rooms are close to each other. Sometimes listing realtors throw buyers a bone and provide floor plans of the home, but this is not always the case for various reasons.

A perplexing and recurring situation buyers experience occurs when they find a home that looks really (or least reasonably) nice in all of the pictures shown, but after examining each photograph carefully and taking inventory of which rooms are shown within each picture, it sometimes becomes clear that a room is inexplicably absent. This always puts buyers on high alert because the immediate assumption is that there is something terribly wrong with the one room not shown. I mean, the agent has 34 pictures of the rest of the house so what would compel the realtor to stop there? They even included two pictures of the same half bathroom that is 4 feet wide and 6 feet long. Not much to see there, but the realtor included two photos of said bathroom. Why not go all out and take just one more picture of that one last, missing room?

When a room is missing from the pictures, the worst is usually assumed. What is so wrong with the room that it cannot be shown? Is the room missing parts of the walls and/or ceiling? Is that one room where the sellers are keeping all of the items and belongings the realtor told them had to go before the home went live on the market? Or is the room harboring a far more disturbing secret? Something so terrifying that it can only be known to those who dare to schedule an appointment to see the home?

And asking the listing agent to provide an explanation may result in vague and unsatisfying answers like:

The room is too cluttered.

The room needs some TLC/work/updating/repairs/alterations.

The room was not presentable.

The seller asked that I not take pictures of the room.

I felt I shouldn’t take pictures of the room.

The room was too dark when I took a picture and the flash didn’t go off.

The picture I took was blurry and so I left it out.

There’s a room missing?

Needless to say, none of these answers are very comforting and the line of thinking on the part of the buyers is typically the same in that they express grave concerns about the condition of the room. After all, it must be in pretty rough condition if the agent won’t even try to get a corner of it in a photograph – even if it is just for the sake of showing buyers that all rooms in the house are present.

The truth is that it can be a difficult decision on the part of a listing agent when it comes time to decide whether or not some rooms should be shown in the pictures accompanying a listing description. There are times when an agent, or their seller, might feel it is not appropriate to show it due to privacy concerns or other matters requiring some discretion. It can be a risk either way and sometimes there are no easy answers.


About Melissa Higgins
Client-centered realtor to assist with renting, buying, and selling needs. I work for BHG / The Masiello Group which has a wide range of services to assist in allowing me to help you realize your real estate goals. I serve all of Southern New Hampshire, including Nashua, Merrimack, Bedford, Manchester, Hooksett, Milford, Hollis, Pelham, Brookline, and many others. Contact me to talk about how I may help you.

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