taxidermy and real estate

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All (Taxidermied) Creatures Great and Small

No, not at all a revised James Herriot work. Quite the contrary…

Since we’re headed into hunting season, I feel the need to address the subject of taxidermy and how it relates to real estate.  You may think it doesn’t, but it does.

The Common Jackalope
The rare and elusive Jackalopus Wyomingii

First, let me give my opinion: I dig taxidermy.  I like everything about it.  I see nothing wrong with the mounting of antlers or stuffing of birds for display.  It’s a great conversation piece, and it’s a part of our western heritage.  Heck, it should be state law that every home have at least one piece of taxidermy prominently featured, and the story behind it ready to be told in the greatest of detail.

I’m sure my bias can be traced to an old set of antlers in Franklin, ID.  The family story was that my grandfather years earlier had tracked down a monster muley in the foothills around there with a friend.  After X number of shots, they were able to bring the buck down. He ended up something like a 14 x 27 and was promptly sent to the taxidermist.
He hung in the Idaho Cafe in Franklin for awhile before he was moved to the home of my grandfather’s bud.  And that’s where, as a boy, I remember my Grandpa Olsen taking me to see the brute. 
The truth is, other folks may feel differently.  A lot of other people may feel much differently.  To them it’s just a dead thing (“eww, gross!”) and has no place in any modern home.
A few months ago, I showed a house to some people from back east and things were going well.  When we ventured into the den, the wife let out a scream and immediately shielded her view from a tastefully done whitetail buck.  Realizing what had just happened, I tried to assess just how “not okay” with it she was.  She wanted nothing to do with the property at that point.
Another case involved a pair of bear rugs in a house that I had listed for sale.  Both little black bear rugs were draped over a handrail on a recently remodeled staircase.  Believe it or not, even as the only taxidermy pieces, they seemed to “go” with the rest of the decor.
The problem was the smell.  Bears stink and even though they had been through the tanning process, they still carried a mild oily odor.  I would always try to cruise over before a showing and get them rolled up and tucked into a closet, out of sight and out of mind.  I never did hear any complaints.
Although I enjoy taxidermy, I recognize that when it comes to selling a home (the exception being a cabin in the woods), you’re trying to appeal to as many people as possible.  I’ve found that most buyers are looking for something to disqualify that property on their search for the “one”, whether they know they do it or not.  From an agent’s perspective, why give them a reason, especially in this market, to walk away?

Wyatt Olsen

Wyatt Olsen, Coldwell Banker Gold Key Realty

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Wyatt Olsen
Boomerang Real Estate Services


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