The house appeared to be relatively nice as we drove into the driveway.
The landscaping was reasonably trimmed and neat . . . There were no hints from the curb as to the horrors that awaited us beyond the front door.
Just as I popped the key out of the lock-bock, my client commented that this was the listing that didn’t have any interior photos. As it was a new listing, I gave the Listing agent the benefit of a doubt and replied that photos sometimes take a few days for the Professional Photographer to prepare for upload . . . and that I am sure the agent will upload them soon.
Within seconds of that comment, we determined that there was a different reason for not having interior photos in the MLS . . . We felt “Baited and Switched.”
This house was cluttered beyond reason – Dirty clothes scattered everywhere – Kitchen COVERED with dirty dishes and perishable food laying out on the counters – Carpets FILTHY to the point that replacement seemed the only option . . . the upstairs bathroom was closed to shield the stench.
Note to self and ANYONE looking at a house in this condition – Do NOT open any closed doors . . . and NEVER open the refrigerator unless you enjoying gagging.
My client’s feedback?
“We wouldn’t buy THIS house at ANY price!”
Now . . . I’m trying not to be judgmental here . . . yet I cannot imagine ANY justification for putting a house in this state dishevelment on the market. Surely, this listing agent knows better?
It could be that the Seller has no money for making improvements to the house. I’ll grant that as a reason for signs of deferred maintenance. I cannot think of a single justification for what we witnessed yesterday. Even with no money to spend on improvements, a few hours of tidying and decluttering and CLEANING could COMPLETELY change this product and move it from the category of “Not at ANY price” to “with a little work, this house might just work for us”
Either way, this Seller is ultimately going to selling at a price FAR below market value . . . and this agent is not doing himself any favors in terms of reputation.
I don’t ever want to be THAT agent who put a house like this on the market.
What would I do if this Home Seller called ME?
I would give them a list of things to do and tell that that once those things are done we can go on the market.
I would work with them to HELP them get this house ready for market.
I would offer vendor support (Cleaning companies etc)
I might even roll up my sleeves and with side-by-side with them to get the house ready for the market (If they were clearly unable to to do it themselves).
What I would NOT do is “toss it on the market” to see what happens.
This house being on the market in its current state of readiness (not) is a huge injustice to the seller, a big negative reflection on the listing agent, a huge disservice to ANY prospective Buyer and the Buyer’s agent . . . It’s an egregious waste of everyone’s time.
Can you sense a twinge of disgust in the tone of this post?
We REALTORS can and should do better than this – ALWAYS!
We serve our Home Selling clients best by telling the truth and by requiring them to present the best product possible to the market so we can sell for the highest price and best terms for the seller.
Sometimes this requires a dose of “Tough Love” and candid speak.
That’s the game I (and most Real Estate Sales Professionals) am playing as I practice my art of coaching folks through this process of Buying and/or selling a house.
If you want to sell you house . . . and you want it done at the highest price with the best terms . . . find a LOCAL Real Estate Sales Professional who will tell you the TRUTH . . . and DO what he/she advises you to do . . .
Simple as pie!
PS – A continuation of this post will talk about Home sellers making the house AVAILABLE for showings.