The Way It Is

Pink Sky
Pink Sky

Since I’m selling my house, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a collection of pictures as promotional material.

I started out by selecting a few photos of the beautiful skies; sunrises, sunsets, storms, rainbows. I have a lovely view of the vast Alberta sky and I’ve been taking pictures for seven years. At one point I thought I was taking too many sky pictures, but still I take them. Anyway, I sent my choices to the local photo lab and they said that I could, at no extra charge, have a booklet which would hold twenty-five. I kept back about ten in order to fit the right number into the free cover.

Storm in July
Storm in July

I put the little booklet on top of my kitchen counter when there are viewings, and I hope that the pictures somehow give a sense of the things that potential buyers cannot see. They can’t see the sunsets, or the geese, or the birds in the wetlands, or the autumn leaves, or the couples walking along the public footpath in the evenings. So much of what is lovely about my house cannot be seen in a brief visit.

Framing the Basement
Framing the Basement

Then it occurred to me that visitors have no idea of how the house has evolved. I have owned it since it was first built, and I had some say in how it was laid out and finished. Showing the house’s development from a hole in the ground to today required more than a booklet of twenty-five pictures, so I put them all together on a flash drive. It’s a lot of pictures.

Hole in the Ground
Hole in the Ground
Once, when I knew there was to be a showing of the house, I put the flash drive into the TV and had it run with a slide show. I really enjoyed watching the display, seeing the hole in the ground, the framing, the finishing, the landscaping, the guys building the fence. I left it running when I left the house.

When I got home, I saw that someone had turned off the slide show and closed the booklet of pictures. When I saw that, it occurred to me that perhaps showing the pictures was a bit “over the top” for selling a house. It’s not staging like setting the table or plumping the cushions. It’s something else. What is it?

Buyers want to imagine themselves in the rooms, living in the spaces. If it hasn’t had any major structural or mechanical problems, no one cares. They don’t want to know how it began or how it developed. They want to start fresh and create their own memories. For them, this is day one.

What happened before is mine, not theirs.  So, showing my pictures was probably too personal. They don’t want to know the way it was. That’s just the way it is.

Sunset in December
Sunset in December


  1. Maybe, I would have loved to have seen them if I were looking at a house I was considering to buy. I wish I knew the history of the house I live in. It’s possible someone might have been trying to be polite, by not leaving it run after they left. Or maybe….they enjoyed them but afterwards wanted to view it without the distraction.

    1. I think the realtor probably turned off the tv as part of the routine of turning out the lights when they leave. My reaction was based mostly on seeing the picture album face down. I will leave the flash drive of pictures for the new owner when I move out.

  2. I’m no real estate expert, yet I think you’re on to something. Home buyers may be more interested in what might be and less interested in the way it is.
    I noticed some neighbors who sold their house quickly used that approach. They put up little signs by each room, describing how it might be used. This must have captured the imagination of the buyers.

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