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?

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Groups:
RE/MAX Active Rain Bloggers
Tags:
real estate listings
should you take the listings
listing agents
home sellers
listing appointment

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
253,960
Tina Maraj
RE/MAX North Orange County - Fullerton, CA
Fullerton, California Real Estate 714-403-7901
You are back on top with this one! The topic of a dirty home never gets old!
Jan 30, 2008 11:26 PM #85
Ambassador
1,130,240
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
Tina Maraj Shah Fullerton, Ca. Realtor  Somethings will never change in real estate!  LOL!
Jan 30, 2008 11:33 PM #86
Rainer
16,173
Jeff Sorg
www.OnlineEd.com - Portland, OR
OnlineEd, REALTOR®
If you cannot properly represent the listing, you should decline the invitation. Who is Bette Davis?
Jan 31, 2008 08:22 PM #87
Rainer
2,180
Lynn Pilsner
http://ilovejanesville.blogspot.com - Janesville, WI
CRS CRB ASP, RE/MAX Preferred

Years ago I started "Merchandising" all the homes I listed. I would go into homes of all sizes and prices and go through room by room telling them everything that needed to be done. If the sellers were willing to do the work, I knew we could work as a team to get their house sold.

Jan 31, 2008 08:38 PM #88
Ambassador
1,130,240
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
Lynn Pilsner, CRS CRB ASP RE/MAX Preferred That is exactly the way we do it!  It works really well!  If not... see ya!
Jan 31, 2008 09:30 PM #89
Ambassador
1,130,240
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd, REALTOR®, ABR, ABRM, MDC  Have to see the home first!  Google Betty Davis!
Jan 31, 2008 09:32 PM #90
Rainmaker
178,300
Robert McArtor
RE/MAX Components - Fallston Maryland - Bel Air, MD
Top Listing Agent for Baltimore and Harford County

Jim, I love your Blog on this. As an Auctioneer, many times I find myself in these circumstances. As a professional and expert, this is what the Sellers are looking for. Advice from an expert. If I have bad hair and dry skin, is your doctor embarrassed to tell you? No...this is their job..."Mr. Smith, you have lice and your skin is dry". The seller is now looking for a solution.

We as professionals need to be honest. I have walked out of properties with a listing agreement in hand that was $25 to $50 Thousand less than their initial price expectations.....simply because of condition. I was the expert...I gave them advice....I gave them facts....I sold their house.

Jan 31, 2008 09:38 PM #91
Ambassador
1,130,240
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate

Robert B. McArtor, AUCTIONEER REALTOR®  You are totally correct!  Condition is key to sales!  If I cannot meet their expectarions why lie?

Jan 31, 2008 09:43 PM #92
Rainer
16,173
Jeff Sorg
www.OnlineEd.com - Portland, OR
OnlineEd, REALTOR®

Jim, I was just giving you a hard time about Bette Davis, I do know who she is.

 

 

Feb 01, 2008 11:26 AM #93
Rainmaker
262,455
Chuck Willman
Gentry Realty - Mesa, AZ
Realtor - Arizona - 480.292.0600
It can be a delicate matter but it's in the seller's best interest.
Feb 01, 2008 02:41 PM #94
Ambassador
1,130,240
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd, REALTOR®, ABR, ABRM, MDC  No problem!  She was before my time also!
Feb 01, 2008 06:00 PM #95
Ambassador
1,130,240
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
Chuck Willman, Realtor®, ABR, TRC  I agree!  That is why they contact a professional.
Feb 01, 2008 06:02 PM #96
Rainer
83,312
Matthew Zgonc
Aksland Real Estate - Modesto, CA
Realtor, CFS, CVS
If it were possible to clean it up I would take the listing and tell them it would be conditional on the following things.
Feb 03, 2008 01:53 AM #97
Ambassador
1,130,240
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate

 Matthew Zgonc, REALTOR®  It is always possible to clean it up, a match could do that too...but empty promises won't.  It is like the old saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions!"  Performance is  what matters.  Experience shows me, do the work first, then we'll list it!

Feb 03, 2008 02:36 AM #98
Rainer
20,346
Mike Gambino
Prudential Patterson Realtors - Florissant, MO
GRI

Jim,

Have to agree with most of the comments.  I don't think there has been a time that I just walked away without telling the client what they need to do to market their home.  That is why you are there as the professional.  I have told clients what they needed to do to properly market and sell their home and some have complied and done awsome jobs.  Some were insulted, but I remind them that this is not a personal thing, it's about what the public will see and we want that to be the best first impression.  Some just refuse, but are willing to sell for less because of the condition.  I've sold a couple cat smelling, dirty dishes covered in mold, unmowed lawn, garage falling down homes, because I marketed it as the stinker that needs descenting, but given a good bath will be a great return on investment,  Be truthful, be honest but be upfront and tactful. 

Feb 04, 2008 08:21 PM #99
Ambassador
1,130,240
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate

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!

Feb 04, 2008 08:45 PM #100
Rainer
16,197
John Fariss
Fariss Appraisal Services - Bakersfield, CA
Appraiser - Bakersfield, CA
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.
Feb 04, 2008 10:33 PM #101
Ambassador
1,130,240
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate

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!

Feb 04, 2008 10:50 PM #102
Rainer
24,313
Jacqueline Tolstyka
Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors - Cheboygan, MI
Realtor - Selling Beautiful Northern Michigan
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.
Feb 05, 2008 03:11 PM #103
Ambassador
1,130,240
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
 Jacqueline Tolstyka  Sometimes they do, most times they don't!
Feb 05, 2008 03:43 PM #104
Show All Comments
Ambassador
1,130,240

Jim Crawford

Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
Contact Me Now!
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Additional Information