Today: classic showing mistakes!

I love real estate because every day is different. Every day is different because every property is a little different. Today I showed a home in east Henderson - the showing setup was a bit of an argument, but we got in. When we arrived, it took 10 minutes for the owner to come to the door and when she did, she was a bit... glazed over. Before we even went in I could smell the thick cigarette odor. Knowing my client is a clean freak, that immediately doused by enthusiasm for this one as an option for them, but in we went. Of course, the big dog jumped on the visitors right away. Cute dog, didn't bother me, but amazingly not a great first impression. The house was DARK - as in every window with dark drapes and completely closed. Food on the stove, clutter everywhere and clotheslines strung up in the backyard (washer was broken as we were immediately told). The selling feature was a big pool with a slide. But the pool was green (owner can't afford to fix it) and the slide has cracked plaster. Owner was proud of new tile in the kitchen but the carpeting was a goner and tile upstairs was improperly installed (subfloor anyone?) and cracking. In short, the flooring was a net negative. The pool was a net negative.

Question - is it the seller's fault or the seller's AGENT's fault? I say the latter.


Here's what I would've told the seller before taking the listing:

  1. Ozone the house and clean the carpet. No money? Borrow from someone.
  2. Empty out half the stuff.
  3. Put a lockbox on so it's easy to show (if it's too tough, most buyer's agent put it at the bottom of the stack) - give the dog to someone on showing days if needed.
  4. Fix the pool. Or empty it, but don't leave it green.
  5. If all else fails, price lower and market to an investor.

The problem is the house is priced to reflect what an owner occupant would buy, but it's really an investor house. A classic mistake. If your target is an owner occupant, it has to show well. But let's say the seller truly can't fix anything - they can still make it SHOW better and most importantly it simply has to SMELL good. SMELL is the most important sense in any house, and the most often neglected. Showing needs to be easy. Most REALTORS don't want to have any conversation with a client that might lead them not getting the "listing" - when taking an unsaleable listing only makes things worse. I turn down listings all the time if the seller is not realistic. It's better to part ways as friends!

Shawn Cunningham