My, Oh My, You Have a Big....Mess

Real Estate Appraiser with PahRoo Appraisal & Consultancy

There are many things that can definitely shift your demeanor out of high gear and into low gear when walking into a property for the first time.  One of them is the unexpected experience of walking into a property and finding it an utter mess, possibly even despicable.  And when asked something along the lines of, "What do you think?", about the only repsonse you can politely and quickly come up with is, "My, oh my, you have a big ....mess."

Yes, cable tv and shows like Horders are helping get the word out, but I surely don't think it is a loud enough siren for a lot of homeowners out there.

Besides, the sheer mess that the house is.  There is the lack of respect it conveys to others when they actually see it.  In many cases, there is no one invited over because it is so despicable, so there is little to no home-social interaction.  When the clutter is so great, it detracts from one's mind's ability to be at peace and relax because there are so many distractions.  Additionally, there is a lack of opportunity to enjooy the property for what it is, because it has been converted to a storage dump which far exceeds something simple like clutter.

Maybe property owners should have to participate in a '3 hour' prepare your home course before they can seek to sell or refinance.  Nothing says I don't value this property like having it a 'mess' for others to see.

Michael Hobbs

Twitter @Pahroo



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Sherri Melton
Augusta GA Homes for Sale -Search Columbia County
Keller Williams Realty Augusta Partners

I have shown homes like this as well. A few times the listing agent has at least given me an idea the house could be in disarray and that although they HAVE spoken with their client concerning the condition of the property, it is to no avail. It gives me the opportunity to at least prepare my buyer for what we could possibly walking in to. Sometimes you can talk, beg. plead, educate your client on strategies that will help their home sell but even that does not help. And then sometimes they just need help to get started, which I gladly offer!

June 22, 2012 07:04 AM
Tammie White
TW Realty Group, Franklin TN, South of Nashville
Benchmark Realty, LLC (615) 495-0752 or

Michael, I have never been a horder. Probably a little bit of the opposite. Back in 2005, we sold out house and most of our worldly goods and hit the road in an RV. I can't tell you how freeing it was not to have stuff. I don't think I've ever slept better at nights. The items were gone, debt was gone. It was absolute freedom. It's unfortunate that people place so much value in their stuff!!

June 22, 2012 07:10 AM
Alan May
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate
Coldwell Banker Residential

when buyers see that a house hasn't been cleaned and straightened, it makes them wonder how else the house hasn't been "cared for"... has needed maintenance or repair been ignored, as well?

not a good thing.

June 22, 2012 08:03 AM
Gene Mundt
Mortgage Lender - Chicago/Chicagoland Mortgages

I truly think when the "mess" gets to this stage, it's no longer just simply a mess.  It's a mental disease and depression revealing itself in physical form ... the clutter and filth in front of your eyes. 

My wife read a snippet of a new article released by a headache foundation to me just a while back that said ... "clutter" and visual disruptions can actually cause migraines for those that have a sensitivity to them.  It raises the mental stress level and actually irritates the brain.  It's no stretch of the imagination to think that it bothers others in more obscure or less physical ways ... maybe such as yours?  Just a repulsion and mini-shock at seeing the condition.  I was much the same, when appraising years back.  You're left speechless at times, aren't you?


June 22, 2012 08:39 AM
Teri Clardy
APSD Certified Home Stager Pro
Colorado Premier Staging, LLC

I think it is really sad when you see these types of homes.  I'm sure the home owner didn't set out to destroy their home with junk and trash.  So many times it is the result of something else in the person's life and they really need professional help to get to the issue.

June 22, 2012 09:16 AM
Glenn Freezman
Family Abstract, Inc.

Me thinks the homeowner doesn't see the mess.  When filth is the norm, why would one question the cleanliness of the home when presented for sale.  The fine print of  the listed did say, Small, Pig Sty, 3 bedroom, 2 and half stall...

June 22, 2012 09:50 AM
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001

As an investor. .I love to see this. .that takes the public out from my competition. .

June 22, 2012 10:06 AM
Adrian Willanger
Profit from my two decades of experience
206 909-7536

Yep, I totally agree nothing turns off buyers more than walking into a mess house, most the time they can't get out of there fast enough. Sellers take notice.

June 22, 2012 11:05 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

It's amazing how many leave so much junk around while their homes are on the market.  It is totally distracting.

June 22, 2012 12:12 PM
Richard & Beth Witt
Broker/Owner RE/MAX Wittney Estates Long Island NY
RE/MAX Wittney Estates 516-795-6900

Great post Mike... I am totally on board for the "3 hour course".... when can we get it in as a LAW!!!

What always amazes me is that people can't figure this out... I mean it makes me crazy...

June 22, 2012 12:45 PM
John Fauth
Turning your dreams into an address!
Coldwell Banker King Thompson

THere are also the "Stackers" who stack everything and there is a little bit of counter or a little bit of floor and they think the place is spotless. Then have the moxi to ask why people are not making offers.  I sometimes wonder if I could make CD of popular songs that has subliminal messages to clean the home, LOL, if only we could.

June 22, 2012 01:12 PM
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Personal Service, always.
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC

Your last sentence really sums up this whole mess...."Nothing says I don't value this property like having it a 'mess"..."

June 22, 2012 01:23 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent
GreatWest Realty

I like your last sentence too.  I bought my home from a hoarder also.  It took me 5 times of visiting this house before I had the courage to write an offer - And, I'm in the business!  I knew the floor plan, but because there was so much junk, I couldn't make a decision.  Finally, on the last visit before deciding, I brought a piece of draft paper, moved some magazines off the seller's couch, sat down, and began penciling in my furniture and things.  I also made a "To Do" list of things needing work before I could move it.  What I realized was the home had a newer roof and HVAC.  With new carpet and paint, I could move in. 

June 22, 2012 04:09 PM
Joan Whitebook
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
BHG The Masiello Group

The bank owned properties are the worst.. feces, rotten food, unflushed toilets, etc. etc. simply disgusting!

June 22, 2012 08:07 PM
Pete X-Investment to Luxury, Huntington Beach, CA -GRI-MCNE 714.459.2017
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide
X Group Real Estate Advocates

Sometimes the best thing is to burn it down, legally of course in a controlled fire.

June 22, 2012 10:08 PM
Pamela Seley, REALTOR®
Menifee Lakes California Real Estate

I had a short sale listing last year that was tenant-occupied that was an OMG, Mr. and Mrs. Seller have you seen what they've done to the place? I couldn't sell it -- it was that bad.  Pete in #31 above has a good solution. Thanks for your post today,

June 22, 2012 11:36 PM
Sandy Acevedo
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Michael, I like the 3 hour course idea. It will sell, however they will have to sacirifice the green stuff for having such a big wasteful mess.

June 23, 2012 09:12 AM
Ciara Brennan
Mass Homes Realty

A lot of potential buyers are not able to look above the mess so if the seller is really serious about selling, they need to clean up!

June 23, 2012 09:58 AM
Erica Ramus
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA

I rejected a listing a few weeks ago because the place was a pure pigsty. It was horrible. Beyond anything I had seen before. Plates of old food on the floor! Piles of stuff that should be thrown out. Ugh.

June 23, 2012 12:27 PM
Bob Crane
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9663
Woodland Management Service

These are opportunity houses, the opportunity for the seller to be forced to get rid of their excess stuff, and the opportunity for the buyer to make some money while rehabbing a big mess.

June 23, 2012 05:49 PM
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Michael Hobbs

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