One of the comments I frequently get, particularly from out-of-town buyers, is how cluttered some of our listings are. Regularly they will mention that where THEY are from, the houses for sale are less cluttered and more photographic than the ones they see in Swift Current. That got me thinking “why?” (unfortunately at 4:00 am). As real estate agents, I wonder if we are doing enough to help our clients stage their home for maximum effect and maximum value. Now you have to keep in mind, we are not only from the most polite country in the world BUT smack centre in the most polite province, in the most polite country in the world. As such, it seems awkward for us to poke our noses into the way other people live and tell them how much stuff to have in what room. Perhaps we think of our own houses and are afraid to “cast the first stone” so to speak.
I once had a listing where the family had about 8 cats plus a new litter of 5 kittens. They did their best to keep the litter room clean, emptying it and mopping the floor daily, but it still had a distinct cat smell and there was literally a cat at every turn. I tactfully suggested that since they had a farm close by, and it was summer, that they could MAYBE take their cats to the farm just until the house sold. It isn’t like I told them to put them in a gunny sack and throw them in the creek. I simply suggested something that would help them to achieve not only a sale but likely at a higher price. The next day they came to the office and withdrew their listing from me.
We have all seen the HGTV shows about how different techniques can work to help sell a home. People contract us to help them sell their home. Yet I sometimes wonder how open they are to having us tell them to pare down their eclectic collections, streamline some areas of their home, find Fido a temporary location – you know, the same things they see real estate agents on TV telling their clients. Some agents may not feel knowledgeable in staging, however, we literally see hundreds of people go through hundreds of houses and we sort of get a read on the things that attract and things that detract from showing a house. If you are ready to hear our answers, maybe as clients YOU could take the initiative to ask what things can be done to make your home more appealing. That way you are inviting honest, open comments. Or perhaps agents need to ask people for their permission to be able to offer some polite tips. The problem with this is that clients will say yes to be polite but become offended when given a ”to-do list” around their house.
I guess the bottom line is to remember that we are here to help you sell your house. If we suggest repainting a room, cutting down a hedge, taking the snake cage to a friend’s house, or putting half the kids’ toys in boxes for a little while . . . please keep in mind that we are professionals just doing our best to shed the best possible light on your home from an OUTSIDE perspective. There may be things that you are used to or things that simply fly under your radar that could possibly detract from your home. A great example is that commercial for Febreze where they bring in a couch shaped like a dog and say “this is what your friends think your home smells like even though you don’t notice it”; we see things from a different perspective. Please take our suggestions well, in scope, and in stride and we will all have a better working relationship and hopefully a less lengthy one because your house will look so darn good that it will sell quicker.