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Moving is a pain. It almost feels like punishment. In my case, the rewards of freedom and liberty and reduced taxation will drastically outweigh the hassle of making my house “California ready” in the real estate market. It isn’t like I spray painted guns on my walls or have giant animal heads decorating the bedrooms. My husband is a hunter, but he hunts for meat, not for sport, so he has no trophies. But I was still told by my real estate agent to do a few things to make my home more “presentable” to other Californians . . .

What, pray tell, did my real estate agent suggest? My guns are locked up, and I’m not likely to leave firearms laying around during a showing. “It’s the gun cases,” she said. I’m sure she could see the disdain on my face. I’d stacked the empty cases on the top shelf of the walk-in closet. They are above the ammo that won’t fit in the safe and several other gun accessories including two cleaning kits, holsters, lights, a few slings and spare magazines. This, apparently, is a terrifying sight to most Californian home buyers.

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An actual photo of my closet

The other, more obvious suggestion: remove a canvas of the Second Amendment from the mantel of the fire place. So I put the gun cases in the garage (which is crazy because when showing houses people look in garages too, right?) and secured the canvas in a box. I can’t wait until I move to Wyoming, unpack and organize my gun stuff in our new house. That will be a great moment.

96 Responses to Sara Tipton: De-Gunning My CA House for Sale

  1. Realtor: “Ya see, Sara, a great many Californians are granola-munching, Birkenstock-wearing, lily-livered, yellow-bellied, collectivist, victicrats who are absolutely HORRIFIED by guns to the extent they’d never even want to live in a house an insane gun nut once occupied.”

    • Yep, that’s why they chose CA to ram through the coming mandatory vaccine laws an set a precedent for the rest of the country. Let’s see how these collectivist wimps respond and see if they can grapple back an ounce of the individual freedom they gift wrapped to the state.

      • Good Freaking Grief, you can’t put that issue down long enough to comment on a GUN blog.

        Seek psychiatric help.

        • The granola types are a very large reason why California had to go to mandatory vaccination for school age children. Marin County anyone? So few of the natural everything types there vaccinated their kids that herd immunity was wrecked. There’s a reason why Measles is a reportable infection, and it has nothing to do with hale and hearty adult types, it’s called public health.

          Morover, it’s the same kind of unfounded fearmongering and ignorance that leads to hoplophobia and gungrabbiness.

        • The egregious double standard that some of you alleged 2nd amendment supporters project is laughable. If you don’t believe in personal freedom on all levels, you’re either liars or idiots.

        • Personally, I believe if you don’t vaccinate your kids by choice, you’re an absolute moron. However, I believe that people have a god given right to be morons.

          I do however believe that if you are going to send your kids to school and they get a fatal illness, you should be responsible for anything that happens to them or anyone that gets infected by them. If a child dies because of it, you should face murder charges. But by all means you should be free to not give your kids vaccines.

        • It appears this board is not immune to Shills and astroturfers, no surprise there. It’s unfortunate that the the doctors that administer the vaccines and the companies that manufacture them cannot be held liable for death or injury. Vaccines are the only product In the United States that are shielded from liability by the government. Another observation; very few people trust the government, very few people trust the pharmaceutical conglomerates, yet somehow these boards are filled with people who trust the marriage of both without question when it comes to vaccines.

        • Funny how so many of the anti-vaxxers are up in arms about the law, but will have no problem with a federally funded (I.e. your tax dollars) $20,000 ICU stay for their kids for largely preventable illnesses, not to mention all the others they will infect due to loss of herd immunity and those people that would love to get vaccinated, but cannot due to an egg allergy or whatever other restriction.

          I am sure that Pg2 had no problem with a person with Multiple drug resistant tuberculosis coughing violently flying cross country on an aircraft everyone else’s family, just as long as it is not his or her family.

        • Redford, not sure if you’re intentionally lying or just really misinformed. Anyway, there is zero scientific evidence vaccine induced herd immunity exists. The theory of vaccine induced herd immunity started literally as a guess, without an ounce of science to back it, and remains so today. There are outbreaks in fully vaccinated and near fully vaccinated communities in the U.S. And worldwide. Stop parroting phrases you hear on TV and Do a little research. As a 2nd amendment supporter, assuming you are because you are posting here, it’s hard to believe you would take what the media says as fact.

    • Hey! Don’t go insulting granola, just because some collectivists like it. Survivalists love it too.

  2. I am in the same situation in attempting to move from Illinois to Missouri. Fortunately it looks like i found a buyer on my own without a realtor’s help so I may soon be moving back into the sunlight and the ‘mistake by the lake” can disappear into just a bad memory

    • “mistake by the lake”

      I thought that was Cleveland? I suppose Chicago is making a strong showing for that title.

    • Congrats on getting out of Illinois, the vast wasteland I call home, also. 5 years from possible retirement, I can’t leave just yet. But when I can, it’ll be assholes and elbows, guns in tow, to somewhere south of here.

  3. Part of me wonders if it was really just your Realtor’s hoplophobia showing, or if Californians for some reason are really infected with an irrational fear based on the state they live in and the propaganda they are force fed, to a level that would make a significant portion of potential buyers not want to purchase your house based on seeing a few rifles cases/ammo boxes.

    • In the case of the closet– it’s to make the closet appear bigger. Any realtor will tell you to minimize clutter in the closets– folks want space. If it looks crowded, it looks small, lots of empty space– Wow!! look at all the room in here!

      Sara is right about the garage– if that looks cluttered she should be moving stuff out of there as well. Around here realtors recommend renting a storage unit to assist in ‘staging’ the house by clearing a lot out of the house from closets and garage (and even some furniture) to make everything look bigger…

      In the case of the 2A canvas- hoplophobia by the realtor? More empty space on the walls?

      • yeah, I guess that all makes sense irrespective of the hoplophobia variable… You’d want your place as ‘clutter free’ and as ‘sanitized’ of personal effects so the buy can envision themselves there (as TTAC’er states). The storage Pod idea seems to make a lot of sense in this case.

    • Its not all granola and yoga here. For what its worth, I live in California, and most of the people I know and work with are gun owners. I overheard a conversation today where a supervisor instructed a worker to “make sure you have your weapon”, due to a recent mountain lion sighting in the area. And no, these guys are not law enforcement or Fish & Wildlife, they’re just blue collar workers who happen to work outdoors. There’s a lot of 2A folks here, despite what you might think.

  4. “My guns are locked up, and I’m not likely to leave firearms laying around during a showing.”

    What about the one between the gun scabbards?

  5. Just because your husband is a meat hunter doesn’t mean he can’t have trophies. I’m a meat hunter, in fact I don’t hunt anything that I don’t intend to eat, a la cats or bears. But, if, after extreme effort and painstaking care, I manage to harvest a special buck that I have been watching mature for several years, damn right I’ll have physical remembrance beyond the meat in the freezer, to make note of a challenge met by myself and respect for what nature built. Of course, it’s in the workshop, my wife doesn’t appreciate the decor as much as I do.

  6. Economics of market vs. core values and what one does to benefit most from both. How and why we weave between both. Never far in my mind the cost of clearing a holster in lawful self defense.

  7. I wouldn’t read too much into this. If you had a Steelers banner or a Pride flag a good agent would tell you to take it down. Your house is supposed to be sanitized of personal effects to allow the buyer to envision living there.

  8. And that is just one of the many reasons I laugh when I get a call from a recruiter for Cali.
    You’ll be able to buy 3 to 4 times the home for less than half the price in your new home state too.
    My home would cost more than 5x in Cali.

    • The DC area is just as bad. I just moved back to the Midwest for retirement and purchased a $1.5 million NOVA house for $300k. Yeah, I’m bragging.

    • That really depends on what part of California you are talking about. Urban areas, or areas within commute distance, sure. Out here in the sticks (far northern California), not so much. My house would easily sell for over a million in SF, but here I’d be lucky to get much over $200K. Of course, you have to like the heat….

  9. Guns, so evil they will haunt a house for years after they are moved. A floating canvas of the second amendment near the mantle casting a spectral glow. Sounds of a frustrated Ruger MkII owner trying to reassemble their gun. An eerie odor of Hoppes #9 and WD40. A stain on the wall that looks like the Calguns logo that wont go away even after being painted over. The shadow of an AR15 in the corner of your eye that you can never seem to see no matter how fast you turn. And worst of all, a glimpse of Wayne LaPierre when you shut your medicine cabinet! AAAAHHH!

    Hoplophobe nightmare fuel. Gotta love it.

  10. Sara, every day you and yours remain in Kali, you WILL be reminded WHY you must put that state in your rear view mirror and remand it to your family’s collective memory.

  11. Don’t think of it as a fear-based reaction. Most buyers probably wouldn’t even notice, and if they did wouldn’t care or know enough to connect the dots. Think of it as depersonalizing your house. The objective is for buyers to see themselves in your house so that they want to buy it, and lots of personal items or other reminders of how the house ISN’T theirs are going to get in the way of a sale. Take your two examples. You want buyers thinking about what they might put in there, not what you have stored there. You want them to think about what they would put on the mantel, not what you have there. Astute buyers will look past this stuff, but most buyers don’t fall into that category. They are making an emotional connection with your house based upon picturing themselves living there. Having lots of items laying around that they can’t connect with makes it less likely that they will “connect” with your house and want to buy it.

    This is what staging is all about, and why sellers should put most of their stuff in storage while selling, and the rest in boxes that are accessible but out of sight. The more stuff you have laying around (furniture aside) the harder you make it for people to imagine themselves living in your house. I’d go a step further and completely clean out the closet.

    • Agree. I’ve had to do the relo thing several times, but in a tougher market. De-clutter and depersonalize are the watchwords of showing real estate. Something we may particularly enjoy (in my case, model railroad stuff) is just clutter to someone with no interest. Plus there is a lot of sense to the above comments that you don’t want to indicate to potential bad people that you have high value, easily portable stuff.

      Clearing closets, removing some furniture, and putting stuff in storage all makes the place look bigger and more inviting.

  12. We sold our house in CT last year. I refused to do anything of the sort.

    We sold in four days for asking price. People overhyped this stuff. The house was neat, organized, and well staged. I wasn’t going to worry about what was in the basement for closets.

    Don

    • “The house was neat, organized, and well staged.”

      And that’s likely why it sold quickly. The guns thing is highly secondary to properly staging the house for sale.

    • @Don: Your experience will not necessarily be Sara’s. Different areas and how fast your home will sell depends on many things. Area market, demographics of her area, number of competing homes in her area for similar list prices, current interest rates and so on. I was in Real Estate sales for several years and I have to agree that uncluttering and staging your home can bring in more qualified offers. And you want as many of those as you can get. The more the better. Too many may even generate a bidding war which would be ideal for her and her husband. As a seller, you want to be able to pick the best buyer from a batch of good ones whenever possible. Better chance you will get your price and the deal will close successfully.

  13. My husband is a hunter, but he hunts for meat, not for sport, so he has no trophies.

    Ahh, so an actual hunter.

  14. When we were house-hunting in CT, I was very impressed when we viewed a house where the boy’s bedroom has a certificate from the NRA’s Eddie the Eagle program.

    The house we ended up buying actually already had a gun safe in it – the seller left it for us.

    Conversation with the wife while viewing the house:

    Me: This guy’s closet is great

    Her: Why is that the “guy’s” closet? It’s the more convenient one, cloer to the bed.

    Me: It has a gun safe. The other one has a shoe rack

    Her: Oh.

  15. “It’s the gun cases,” she said.

    It just strikes me as funny that she got her knickers in a twist over canvas cases but not the ammo. Maybe she didn’t know it was ammo?

    Anyway, any .22LR should obviously be locked up with other rare and precious valuables.

  16. I’d hide that stuff anyway – you don’t want someone using a showing as an excuse to case your house for later burglary to know all the valuables you have.

    • It’s SOP nowadays for cops to get the names of the people who the house was shown if it gets burglarized while the house was listed.

  17. Ive moved twice in california and ditto the putting gun suff away / out of sight. On a practical level there are a lot of weirdos out here (SF Bay Area) that will use an open house to case/steal. They would love nothing more than to take stock of your weapons and ammo, and familiarize themselves with your security arrangements and home layout.

  18. When I recently sold our house, all the gun paraphenalia was in one closet that I locked with a padlock.

    Not because I cared what people viewing the house think about guns, but for the same reason I put passports, i-devices, and checkbooks in secure locations: because I don’t want any pilferage and don’t want anyone casing the house.

  19. I remember when I escaped California. What a scam it is there. The home inspectors also offer repair services, which is a conflict of interest. They wanted $500 to repair one little section of dry rot by the patio door. Suck it up Sara, the joy in escaping the PDRC is well worth the hassle of selling.

  20. It’s better to hide the “unmentionables” than it is to clean the carpet of urine (or worse) should one of those sensitive souls see “gasp” a gun!

    • Get a clue. Period.
      When you enlist the services of a real estate agent to sell your house, there is a signed contract involved. You don’t just “change realtor” without consequences.

      Part of the agent’s job is to offer advice that will help the home sell quickly at a good price. Maybe this agent is nuts, or maybe she has a good handle on buyer preferences in that area. We don’t know. She could be the strongest 2A supporter since Charlton Heston, simply offering practical advice based on her experience.

      • The realtor didn’t toss her hands in the air and run away shrieking, so I figure it’s largely about getting the best price and selling quickly.

        • The better agents only care about getting the best price and selling quickly.

          I’d listen to their advice on showing the property.

      • Curtis, I’ve bought and sold several homes, not sure what your experience has been, and have also hired and fired realtors. Sorry if that statement about changing realtors based on philosophy struck a nerve with you, though your response seems a little extra-emotional.

  21. Yep-stage your home. Your agent is just trying to sell your house for the best bang. Neutral is best. And decorate however you want wherever you go…

  22. The Realtor was likely doing their job, which is to secure a buyer for you. To do so requires eliminating anything which may detour prospective buyers. It sounds more like the Realtor’s choice of communication and making her feel as if her lifestyle was being judged when it would have been better to suggest what needed to be cleared out to allow for an open view of the square footage. So what, get the hell out of CA, that’s all which matters.

    • Another good trick is to have hot cookies come out of the oven just before prospective buyers show up.

      Your kids and hubby (and hopefully you as well) will *love* you for it.

      Just buy a few tubes of cookie dough and stash ’em in the fridge for immediate use…

  23. You clearly chose the wrong realtor if you wanted to proudly display who you are. Apparently selling your house is a higher priority – even though we gathered that you are moving because of who you are and your conflict with the Cali way of suppressing who you are. For me, this was a posting about compromising your principles.

    • Why would you care about “proudly displaying who you are” to people who are only interested in buying your house? It’s not a personal interview, you’ll likely never interact with these people ever again, so why would you care what they think of you? You should only care what they think of the house. And removing any clutter, whether it’s gun cases and ammo or Precious Moments figurines, helps give them the impression of a neat, tidy house – the kind they want to live in. When you put a house on the market, you should stop thinking of it as “my home” and think of it as “an asset I’m trying to sell”.

      I’ve bought a few houses in my life, and that means I’ve probably been to hundreds of showings. If you want to make a house less appealing to a buyer, leave a bunch of personal crap all over the place. The subconscious message is, “They must not want to sell this place very badly, they didn’t even bother to put their shit away.” Even the least competent real estate agent knows this. I’ll bet her agent also told her to take down personal photographs and put away all her toiletries – is that compromising your principles, too?

      • In that vein of thought, Stinkeye, would leaving a jumbo box of Trojans out on the nightstand imply the new owner might get laid more?

        🙂

        • I suspect that wouldn’t work… Nobody wants to buy a house and think about all the places in it the previous owners might have bumped uglies. Every carpet stain would be viewed with extreme suspicion…

  24. I lived in the land of the whispering bush for a a few years, also change
    your vehicle registration, and drivers license as you will be dunned for those charges also, do not forget taxes as you will be charged by the land of the Sodomites.
    Good luck on your move, Wyoming is a much nicer state, more real people not the cardboard types! or afraid of their own shadow!

  25. The realtor was just trying to get the house sold for the best price. We’ve moved a bunch of times, and the past two everyone who looked at the house marveled over the colors and paint treatments, but didn’t get a buyer until we painted them a neutral color.

    Having moved a number of times, my wife and I don’t even care what the colors and decor is, just how much time, money and effort to paint, change the flooring, etc.

  26. We recently liberated about a dozen firearms and associated ammunition from the People’s Republic of Kalifornia and brought them to Texas. Next visit we liberate my mother-in-law. 🙂

    • “Next visit we liberate my mother-in-law. :)”

      Er, I’m sorry to hear that, Marcus?

      (Couldn’t help it, you walked right into that one…)

      And remember Aunt Edna from the original Nat. Lampoon’s Vacation.

      • At least he’s got his priorities straight. Get the guns out first, then go back for the mother-in-law. Eventually.

    • Especially the surplus ones that say interesting things like stun grenades or blasting caps. That’s how I know which ones have the really good stuff in ’em.

  27. So I am a real estate broker in California. While much of what this realtor says is true, it really depends on where your house is. However, I have worked with tons of buyers (tech types) who are far more intrigued when they see evidence of a home with a gun owner than they are “clutch the pearls shocked”.

    Of course, this is more true in some areas than others. My town of Morgan Hill is pretty gun friendly. The town just to the south, San Martin is a more rural, acreage, “get the hell off my property” type of town. I mean that last part in a more directed at government sort of way than their neighbors, to whom they are nothing but friendly. You will find “Molon Labe” engraved in many a plank over the fireplace as well.

    California is not as monolithic as many seem to think when it comes to gun ownership. Once you get out of the heart of the greater San Francisco area, the attitudes really change. Once you are up to Sacramento, Auburn, Roseville, etc. you are looking at folks who are pretty A Ok with gun culture.

    R

    • Except for that one neighborhood in Sacramento, you know the one with the big domed building on 10th Street.

  28. Well, in contrast, when I was looking for home here in AZ, one of the sellers left one of his rifles (bolt action, I believe Remington) out in the open, on top of the case, in his bedroom. My realtor was taken aback a bit, but I smiled.

  29. Take a breath Sara. If your realtor is really good and you really want to sell your house quickly you will do far more than put away gun cases.

    When showing houses, you want to put your best impression forward (I like you do not think guns are a bad impression). The house needs to be bright, fresh, uncluttered and pleasant smelling. It needs to be free of as much personal decor as possible. That’s just how it is. Everything else is a distraction and a possible sale killer. Think Cabbage Patch dolls are cute? Sorry put them away. Love lots of magazines? Sorry put them away. Same with your closets and bathrooms. It’s just smart marketing. If you don’t care if/when your house sells, no problem. Just show it how you want and wait and see.

    Yes CA sucks for guns and many CA residents are gun phobia nut jobs but that has little to do with selling your house. Don’t believe me? Replace your 2A canvas with a velvet painting of dogs playing poker and see what your realtor says.

    • “The house needs to be bright, fresh, uncluttered and pleasant smelling.”

      That’s what the baking of cookies is for. Nice home smells.

      Another is load the crock pot up with a roast or chicken and spices.

      Make their mouths water when they walk in…

  30. Unfortunately whatever we might think of guns (and all the other stuff in your house), you do have to put yourself in the buyer’s head if you want something from him/her/them, and decide what will appeal to them. Or at least minimize the chances something you have will be a turnoff to them.

    Or you can (possibly) have a harder time selling.

    I was lucky in being able to empty the house out completely (then paint the walls a clean white); my place sold quickly once a qualified buyer was found (the first people wanted me to pay their closing costs…nope).

  31. I’m not the slightest bit interested in trophies, but If I nabbed me a 450lb hog, I’d probably mount it.

    So glad this is the last time you’ll have to kowtow to the loony lefties!

  32. Best luck getting a good price on your place.

    *CAUTION*

    In your new home make sure the clothes dryer exhaust tube is made of metal and IS NOT MADE OF PLASTIC.

    I found out the hard way when mine caught fire and burned my old house.

    And please consider storing your ammo (and flammables like solvents and whatnot) as low as possible.

    Had my ammo been on a shelf when my place burned it would have been not good.

  33. Put a picture of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin on the wall….your house will sell quickly in Kalifornia.

  34. After nearly 60 years living in this pit of a state, I must say that I have found the two best things coming out of California. I-10 East and I-80 East respectively. Most beautiful sight here is “Welcome to California”, in the rear-view mirror. Not long till retirement, thank God!

  35. Well. If it makes you feel better, real estate agents will often tell families, ESP minorities, to remove all family photos and not cook anything “ethnic” until the house sells. It sucks, but prejudices are there

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