Dear Seller: Are You Sure You Want to Sell Your Home?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

The other day I was out showing a Buyer a few houses and the most embarrassing thing happened! We arrived at our final home of the day; I walked to the front door--rang the doorbell and knocked loudly (just in case the Sellers had not left the property yet), retrieved the key from the lock box and let ourselves in...

What we encountered upon entering took me completely by surprise...the stench that flooded our noses was disgusting, no lights what so ever were turned on. We creeped in a little further in the living room and about tripped over the mounds and mounds of dirty clothes, toys and other crap haphazardly tossed everywhere.

The place felt so dirty I was hesitant to even turn on the lights! My Buyer and I walked over to the kitchen...we had found the source of the smell!! Stacks and stacks of dirty dishes with leftover food stuck to the plates. Oh gross!

I cautiously looked over at my client to see how he was handling the place--one look at his face and I suggested we leave right then, no need to see the rest of the home! My client wondered aloud as we left "if that's the way they take care of their home, I wonder what maintenance and other repairs they've neglected to take care of." He is absolutely right!

Where is their pride of ownership? Has their agent not explained to them how a home should look for a's not like I didn't call two days in advance to schedule the appointment!! Do they not want to get their home sold?

I was completely embarrassed that I had chosen to show my client that home!! Especially since we had just come from a home that was perfectly staged and had great curb appeal--the owner of that home is also an agent, but still! Upon entering her home we were greeted by soft, pleasant music, the lights were on and the blinds were opened. It smelled good, but not too overbearing. And except for a few of the closets, it was clutter free! No dirty laundry, no gross dishes, everything in its place so the true features of the home could shine! Now THAT is how every home should look for a showing!

Sellers: If you want your home to sell, make it looks its best for showings! Agents: Please coach your client on what to do before a showing!

(Not an actual photo from the place, we weren't there long enough to take one!)


It's a great time to buy a home in Georgia, whether you're a first-time home buyer or not, and I would love to walk you through this process. If you are in the market to buy or sell your home in the Bethlehem or Dacula area, I would be happy to assist you! My passion is helping people find their dream home and stepping them through this exciting journey. I serve the Walton, Barrow and Gwinnett county areas. Call or text me today: 404.357.2231!


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Home Loan Search.Online
Home Loan Search Online - Newnan, GA

Sometimes people just really don't want to sell their home. Hopefully you'll find a great place for your clients!

Jul 31, 2009 12:40 AM #65
Barbara Canada
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Probate & Estate Sales Specialist

It amazes me that people live in those houses and they don't even notice how bad it is...

Jul 31, 2009 12:51 AM #66
Norm Werner

I showed a house like that yesterday. In addition to the dirty dishes and clothes layign about it had three dogs (two very noisy ones in a cage) and a pot-belly pig (also in a cage). Talk about uninviting!

 One of the more humerous reactions to a place like this occured several years ago when our office went to tour a house that was in sad condition - cluttered and unclean. Obviously the listing agent was embarrassed by its condition. The real kicker was that there was a sign as you entered asking that visitors "Please remove shoes." When tour was done and the listing agent asked for comments, one agent remarked loudly that he wqs going to go home and burn his socks. Now that's bad!

Jul 31, 2009 01:19 AM #67
Lorrie Semler, REALTORĀ® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417
United Real Estate - Addison, TX
Real Service. Real Results. Real Estate

Whenever possible, I prefer to preview homes before taking buyers in.  Had I previewed the one you showed, I never would have brought my buyer.

Jul 31, 2009 01:58 AM #68
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTORĀ® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Pretty much real estate 101.

Jul 31, 2009 02:03 AM #69
Christianne O'Malley
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Reno, NV
Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno!

I've been in some of those before. Clients and I have usually looked at each other, given each other the friendly nod of "get me the H E double hockey sticks outta here" look, and it may take a a few minutes just to feel like a shower is not immediately necessary!

Jul 31, 2009 02:31 AM #70
David Monsour
Keller Williams Keystone Realty - Gettysburg, PA

I had an experience like this with my first buyers ever.  We went to this house.  One room was fully blocked off with unattached doors.  It had to go boxes all over the floor.  The trash was still in the house, the groceries still in bags on the floor.  Absolutely terrible.

Just last week I was in a place so moldy that I got outside and almost took up smoking (my buyers were smoking) to get the mold taste out of my mouth.

I fully agree if you want to sell your house make it presentable. 

Jul 31, 2009 02:47 AM #71
S&B Real Estate Team
Capstone Washington Real Estate, LLC - Vancouver, WA

I've been in a few houses like that! The two that come to mind were both occupied by renters that were being forced out with the sale so I guess the motivation to sell just wasn't there. Normal clutter I can overlook but there's NO excuse for being filthy!

Jul 31, 2009 03:03 AM #72
Kayla Pearce
First Class Properties - Milford, DE
Real Estate Agent - Milford Delaware

I dont know about you, but whenever I leave a house like that, you know the really nasty ones... I always have to go home and shower. I mean if they are living there & cant take care of dishes, can you imagine what kind of creepy crawlers might be roaming around? yak! Poor buyers though, I bet they were pretty upset that they even wasted time going out there!

Jul 31, 2009 06:19 AM #73
Jeani Codrey
The Learning Jeani - New Braunfels, TX
If you're not learning, you're not living!

I have been there and done that!  Sometimes you leave a house and feel like you need to take a shower!!!  I cannot believe people live like that!  You are right and so were your clients...if that is what you CAN see, what is going on with what you CANNOT see????  Scary!

Jeani Thomas Richie, REALTOR

Jul 31, 2009 06:23 AM #74
Heather Leach
The Knowledge Coop - Vancouver, WA

How awful!  Sounds like they might need a new listing agent!  I suppose that will make them appreciate the other homes you show them even more.

Jul 31, 2009 06:37 AM #75
Clark Blackwell - Commercial Lender at Crescent Bank, GA

Anne- Great post about a subject that almost never comes up. It seems to those of us in the industry that - even if it had always been a pigsty - any seller would perceive the benefit of cleaning up the house and keeping it clean while they're trying to sell it. 

My only similar experience was a pre-arranged visit to a customer's "home office" about twenty years ago. I'll never forget it. First thing I noticed when I turned into the drive was the garage door hanging at a weird angle and the front lawn going to seed. I first assumed I had the wrong address, but after double-checking my notes (this was long before mobile phones & GPS) I saw I was at the right place.

I cautiously approached the rough-looking entry door and looked for a doorbell. Finding none, I knocked on the door itself. My customer arrived at the door shortly and peeked around the door to invite me in. At first I thought it strange that she hadn't fully opened the door to avoid letting a pet out. That wasn't the case. I had to squeeze past the partially open door and into the hallway because it was BLOCKED BY A PILE OF OBVIOUSLY DIRTY CLOTHES. As I stepped over the disgusting pile of clothes and followed her down the gloomy hallway, my nose was assaulted by the smell of cigarette smoke and beer. It was like walking into a VERY seedy bar-room. She motiioned for me to follow her and her husband into the office. There were red shears on the windows, casting a horror-movie glow on everything. I was literally averse to sitting on the threadbare sofa and when I finished the meeting (as quickly as possible), I was physically sick.

I have often wondered,

"They knew I was coming. If they were too lazy / apathetic to do a little basic housecleaning, couldn't they at least have piled the clothes somewhere other than immediately inside the front door?"

"Why didn't they just make an excuse not to meet me there?" 

"Do I really want to do business with these folks another day?"

At the time I assumed that there was a substance-abuse problem, but maybe not. Maybe just plain laziness? For obvious reasons, I've consistently avoided visits to home offices ever since.

Jul 31, 2009 07:43 AM #76
Terrie Leighton
Ferrari-Lund Real Estate - Reno, NV
Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno

What a story! I have had this happen (not to this extent) when showing homes with clients, the house turns out to be a mess and sometimes a bit disgusting. The best part about walking into a home like this is it makes for a great story between you and your buyers! Most people realize this is not the norm and as embarrassing it is to walk in a home the looks like the on you just showed and it ends up helping to build a little rapport between you and your clients. (Think positive, right?)=)

Jul 31, 2009 07:57 AM #77
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


It's the law of the averages that so many homes for sale, hopefully a really small percentage, will look like that. Obviously the seller is in no hurry to unload the property.

Jul 31, 2009 11:23 AM #78
Ginger Moore
Wilkinson & Associates Realty - Gastonia, NC

nice blog. thanks for sharing! nice story! yes, I have encountered situations like this also. 

Jul 31, 2009 02:33 PM #79
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

It is incredibly hard to understand - but there are people who live that way and who think nothing of it , it seems.

Jul 31, 2009 05:08 PM #80
Jennifer Mallory
Keller Williams Hudson Valley Realty - Nyack, NY
Nyack NY Real Estate Broker Associate

I'd bet the listing agent knows, and has told the owners, but that the owners either don't care, or don't have the werewithal to clean. I have a listing that has ants everywhere. After every showing, I tell the owners. They just laugh and say that buyers shouldn't be so fussy. Amazing.

Jul 31, 2009 11:11 PM #81
Vipul"Veep" M Pawani

Sorry to hear that you had to face the embrassment.  Man that looks really bad. Even homeless shelter look better than that crap hole.  Guess people don't give a crap  about anything.

Aug 01, 2009 07:35 AM #82
Suma Kakani
Northern IL Realtor - Keller Williams Success Realty - Prairie View, IL

Hi Anne, I thought it was th epic from the same house. I can imagine the condition of the house :-(

Aug 03, 2009 02:38 AM #83
This Account No Longer Exists
Inactive Account - Woodstock, VA

Sounds to me like the sellers are in need of a good lowball offer with a contigent home inspection right behind it...I'm not suprised at anything anymore

Aug 05, 2009 12:43 AM #84
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