This one “smells” like a foreclosure.

By
Real Estate Agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers

Smell is a very powerful sense!One of the perils of showing REO properties is that one never knows what to expect when the door is opened. MLS photos can be somewhat misleading because they can never quite capture the “essence” of the house.

But once the door is open, much of the history of the previous occupants is immediately deciphered by the olfactory sense … the house just stinks!

Cigarette smoke, pet urine, mold, rotten wood, and even dead things immediately tell the story of property neglect and abuse.

And while some bank-owned properties have been restored to their former glory, the vast majority of REO and HUD homes leave one gasping for breath. And most prospective buyers can only think of one thing: GETTING OUT!

It violates every rule of marketing and common sense. The idea is to make the product attractive to buyers.

And the only way these properties ever get sold is by drastic price cuts which destroy neighborhood property values and contribute to the overall downward spiral of the marketplace.

I honestly believe that these sellers could double their investment in cleaning, paint, and new carpet if they only gave it a chance.

Smell is a powerful sense. All of the pretty pictures in the world cannot overcome it!

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Rainmaker
468,836
Janice Roosevelt
Rory Burkhart Team, Keller Williams - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

I just ran into that with a new SS listing we have, and I have shown many of this kinds of properties. Reaching for a new perspective - as it is obvious - poor condition = poor price, I can only conclude, with compassion, that this is results from the emotions of the situation - for the person in this situation there is no motivation to care about the environment - it is not a matter or wrong or right, it simply is, and yes, it literally stinks at times.

May 10, 2011 08:10 AM #6
Rainmaker
1,766,790
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International - Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Oh, you are so right.  And, by spending some money on touch ups, you are supporting the local community members (e.g. painters, cleaners, handymen) and boosting value to the home which will help the neighbors.

May 10, 2011 08:13 AM #7
Ambassador
1,091,705
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville

There are some banks who do the right thing and make the repairs. More should do the same. There is nothing more stomach turning than showing a house with all those nasty smells.

May 10, 2011 08:19 AM #8
Rainmaker
769,592
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Richard,

One of the simplest things to do would be to make sure there is water in the drain traps of long vacant homes.  When the trap dries out and sewer gas smells take over, it can be breathtaking...

May 10, 2011 08:30 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,468,144
Kristin Johnston, Waukesha Realtor 414-254-6647
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Waukesha County Realtor, RE/MAX Buyer Agent

You are right...and, then maybe they can provide more than one lonely outside pix in mls too!

May 10, 2011 08:30 AM #10
Rainmaker
158,602
Stella Barbour
NoVa Brokers LLC - Vienna, VA
Principal Broker, Serving Virginia and Maryland

Some of our foreclosures are freshened up and some are not.  You never know until you walk in what the inside will bring us. 

May 10, 2011 08:30 AM #11
Rainmaker
874,170
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Richard...I have been pretty quick to remind lookers - not to open the fridge door, after power had been off for a period of time...but not always have I been quick enough.

May 10, 2011 08:39 AM #12
Rainmaker
315,692
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

I have seen many houses that were good condition until the banks yanked the owner's chain. Sellers try to do the right thing but banks turn down good offers.

Your post is another example of how the banks could avoid tremendous losses if they would let the house sell in a short sale. Short sale offers are often so much higher than the liquidation price a year later as a neglected REO.

May 10, 2011 08:47 AM #13
Rainer
276,890
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

If only the banks understood this!  A few months ago, I was waiting for some clients outside of a REO home and watched some buyers walk into the house with another agent. They spent perhaps 30 seconds in the house.  The reason:  The stench of pet urine and who knows what was unbearable!

May 10, 2011 08:49 AM #14
Rainmaker
820,302
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

We don't have many foreclosures in my market area and they sell pretty quickly once they go on the market, but I can only imagine what a home with sewer gases and urine smells like in hot, humid weather in a property that's been closed up for over a year!  REO agents should be required to check on their properties once in a while and be able to get the bank to authorize minor repairs.

May 10, 2011 09:33 AM #15
Rainer
322,088
Don MacLean
Simolari & MacLean REMAX EXECUTIVE REALTY - Franklin, MA
Realtor - Homes For Sale - Franklin MA

Banks know they just don't care. There still making money with the "loss" and we foot the bill.

You can put a bow on a pig but the reality is " she's cute" lol

Enjoy the day

May 10, 2011 09:45 AM #16
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667,270
Ann Allen Hoover
RE/MAX Advantage South - Hoover, AL
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL

Yep, every once in a while I run into one that is so gross you can't even enter and feel like you need to take a shower!

May 10, 2011 09:46 AM #17
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1,590,082
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Smelly homes are terrible and anything will sell as the price approaches free, but you are right about hurting neighborhood values.

May 10, 2011 10:13 AM #18
Rainmaker
708,647
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

It's taken some banks 5 years to figure this out. Spend $5k cleaning painting and carpeting and get a net of $10k more as a reward. I should run the REO program for the US...short sales too.

May 10, 2011 10:14 AM #19
Rainmaker
564,387
Diane McDermott
Realtor®, GRI, Landis e2 Real Estate, LLC - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte NC Real Estate Market

Some reo listings aren't too bad, others make you feel like you need a shower after you walk out the door and just like ANY listing buyers will immediately start lowering any amount they'd be willing to pay....if they can get past the stench

May 10, 2011 10:31 AM #20
Rainmaker
552,125
Cynthia Larsen
Safe Haven Realty - Cotati, CA
Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA

I went to one REO where the deadbolt was completely missing. I could smell the house when I was 10 feet away, the stench was wafting out the hole in the door.

May 10, 2011 10:45 AM #21
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Richard Weisser
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale

I am going to write a follow-up post about the reasoningh behind most of this!

May 10, 2011 10:57 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,817,830
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

For the buyers that can get past that part of these properties, they are the ones making the extra.

May 10, 2011 11:29 AM #23
Rainmaker
656,924
Sheila Newton Team -- Anderson & Greenville SC Real Estate
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner - Anderson, SC
25 years experience -Residential Real Estate Sales

I work with a lot of different banks.. I have to say I much prefer to work with the ones that repair the homes.. or at the very least, clean them up well..

May 10, 2011 11:50 PM #24
Rainmaker
524,788
Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh
Century 21 New Millennium - Upper Marlboro, MD
A doctor who makes house calls.

I am always amazed at the state of some of these homes.  Seems like they would make so much more if there were even minor repairs made.

May 11, 2011 08:42 AM #25
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