Here’s What Real Estate Agents Really Think About Hiding Your TV Before Selling

published Sep 2, 2022
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Every Frame TV evangelist on Instagram would have you convinced that a visible television in your home is an absolutely unacceptable offense. If there’s not a digital impressionist painting covering up that unsightly black screen, what are you even doing? 

But people live in houses, not on Instagram grids. And in a lot of those houses, people watch TV. 

So that got me wondering: For all of the hide-the-television rhetoric out there, are homeowners actually camouflaging their TVs both in their daily life and when they list their house to sell? Large media centers have gone the way of other oversize early aughts decor, but is a simple black box also a red flag? 

I asked the experts to find out when you should keep the TV, when you should hide it, and whether you can use a television to your advantage.

Main Living Areas: Keep It

AJ Olson Whitfield, a real estate professional with Villa Real Estate in Orange County, drops the truth with, “I hear from buyers, ‘But where will we put the TV?’ if there isn’t already one mounted in the living space.” Homebuyers don’t always have an eye for design — that’s why stagers exist. They want to understand how they’re going to live in a space and, often, a TV is part of that vision. 

While Marie Bromberg, an NYC-based real estate agent with Compass, believes that a TV does impact the flow and visual staging of a room, she reports that hiding it typically backfires. “I have never opted for the hidden TV — it’s tough to make that look nice. It either has that ‘80s look where it’s in the cabinet of the media console, or it’s in the early 2000s, brought up or down like a projector style screen,” says Bromberg. (Though if you’re hiding it with this DIY frame tutorial, I fully support you.)

Credit: Erin Derby

Plus, removing a TV isn’t necessarily a seamless process. Kelli Salter, founder of Anchor Real Estate of Eastern North Carolina, says, “If we remove it, the prospective homebuyer will see tons of noise behind where the TV was hanging because of the metal mount and wiring from the wall.” What’s worse, a black screen or a mess of wires where a TV once was? 

With those insights in mind, let’s say you’re leaving the TV in place. So, is that it? Salter does note that some buyers will spring for the ubiquitous frame TV when they go to list, but she has a solution that’s lower lift. “Real estate agents can have their photographers embed a picture via Photoshop onto the TV screen,” she explains. “We either put a striking or high-impact photo of the home from their MLS listing on the TV or opt for some type of local nature scene.” It’s a win for your day-to-day life while you’re in the selling process and it’s a win for marketing.

Bedrooms: Hide It

In a living room, buyers are thinking about having friends over to watch sports or relaxing on a Friday night with a movie. It makes sense that a TV is part of that vignette you’re creating. But TVs aren’t as commonplace in the bedroom and they can ruin the peaceful sanctuary feeling you want to evoke, so consider hiding the TV in your boudoir or investing in a mirror TV. 

David Tully, a Realtor with eXp Realty in Reno, Nevada, says, “You can use it in any setting where a mirror is appropriate. You can even use it in a closet as a vanity mirror.” It’s a selling feature that tells a buyer you paid attention to (and spent some major $ on) the details.

And an Unexpected TV Downside…It Can Date a Space 

While your vintage TV may be in working order, there is a downside to keeping it in plain sight. “A TV has the ability to date a space, if it’s not flat, definitely get rid of it, but really if it’s not 4K it looks dated,” Bromberg says. “This gives the whole place a dated vibe, which can impact your listing.”