Dirty Homes Do You Tell the Seller?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Paramount Properties

Have you ever been on a listing appointment where the home was so dusty and dirty that your eyes watered, your throat got real raspy, you start sneezing, and you just couldn't stop? They seller asks you if you are coming down with a cold, and you answer "No," but cannot stop sneezing?  You sneeze, aand sneeze again! Your contacts want to jump out of your head because the home is just so filthy, and dusty!  Perhaps it isn't the worse you've seen in a while! There are other homes that we've seen that when you walk across the floor...your feet stick to the floor like a fly on the ceiling!  Then there was the home of the the divorcing couple, you know the one where they have literally built walls inside the home.  You  step on dog poop in the yard that is in such a big pile that you look around to see if their pet is an elephant!  The seller tells you it's ok, just wipe it off on the rug inside!  Sound familiar, even if you don't want to admit it! Well you know as well as I do that it happens more than we would like to admit. 

If we have a partner or team member it is good to speak in code so as not to offend the home owner.  Our code word is "Betty Davis!"  That means thehome is so bad we are not interested in listing it. In one of Betty Davis' old movies...Bette Davis would say, "Whatta dump!" Then she would flick her cigarette ashes right on the rug! 

So sometimes the home is dusty, other times we deal with filth...so as a real estate professional, how do you seal with it?  Do you low ball the price?  Tell them you charge double commissions?  Are you blunt and tell them your not interested in listing the home in it's current condition?  Or are you subtle, and after you've taken your inhaler advise the sellers to call other agent in town for a second opinion?  Perhaps you give them the names of your competition!  What your your thoughts?  How do you deal with it?

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should you take the listings
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Comments 104 New Comment

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Jim Crawford
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
RE/MAX Paramount Properties

Mike Gambino  Mike you are so right!  Before we walk through any home we try to sit down and find out what is taking place, and what are their needs.  Every sale is different.  There is a difference in a neglected home if a spouse is sick, has health issues or a partner has just passed away.  A listing sign and a commission will never sell a home.  It is a team effort, and if the seller just refuses...to listen or to act on anything...we cannot perform miracles.   A journey to success start with being honest and truthful and then offering some solutions!

February 04, 2008 08:45 PM
Rainer
16,197
John Fariss
Appraiser - Bakersfield, CA
Fariss Appraisal Services
I think I just appraised that house! Ok, maybe not, it was actually worse: "a handyman's dream" with "lots of potential".

Seriously though, a house in such condition will definitely appraise for less. Cluttered homes aren't so severly affected, but if the house is actually dirty such that, as the inspector above suggested, there could be other problems with the house, any reputable appraiser will end up valuing the property at the low end of the range, or even lower depending on the condition.

I think you are best off to advise your potential client exactly what they need to do to get the best possible value for the house, and to help the marketing of the house for a timely sale.
February 05, 2008 11:41 AM
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Jim Crawford
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
RE/MAX Paramount Properties

John Fariss - Appraiser Bakersfield, CA  LOL!  Exactly!  Sellers now more than ever need to understand that Cleanliness, and appearance can greatly influence value!  Perhaps it did not matter as much when inventory was in short supply, but the shoe is on the other foot now!

February 05, 2008 01:00 PM
Rainer
23,992
Jacqueline Tolstyka
Realtor - Selling Beautiful Northern Michigan
Coldwell Banker Northern Lakes
Jim, If the seller really wants to sell they will take your advice. Especially now when so many homes are on the market. Most sellers always ask me to tell them what they can do to make their home appealing. I once had a home with a renter who was drying opossum skins and had them hanging from the ceiling. It came to be know in my office as the "opossum house". Wouldn't you know it sold in about one months time.
February 05, 2008 03:11 PM
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Jim Crawford
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
RE/MAX Paramount Properties
 Jacqueline Tolstyka  Sometimes they do, most times they don't!
February 05, 2008 03:43 PM
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Jim Crawford

Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
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Atlanta real estate broker associate, real estate columnist for www.RealtyTimes.com, real estate speaker. Real estate marketing, Internet marketing for real estate, real estate coaching

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