How Do You Tell A Homeowner It's A Dump?

Real Estate Agent with S & L Properties

vacation rentalsToday, I had to drive to a real estate company who does alot of vacation rentals to pick up a key.  While I was sitting in the office, a client came in requesting a copy of his rental schedule for the rest of the summer.  He expressed his displeasure openly that rents had not been as strong as they had been for the past few years.  He stated that he would return later to discuss how the company was going to improve his rentals.  He couldn't wait because he had family waiting for him in the car.  After he left, I asked the front desk agent why his rentals were down when everywhere I have been, offices have been very pleased with rentals.

He pulled out a stack of survey forms which most companies ask renters to complete and the companies forward them on to the homeowners.  The agent shared a few and the comments went like this...great views, wonderful location, shabby carpet, carpet needs cleaning, worn places in carpet, holes in couch, furniture needs updating, formica counter tops have scorched marks and stains, blinds have broken slats, two ceiling fans don't work, and appliances are old, etc.

From listening to our own rental agent, I have learned that during peak season, tourists will rent what they can get but once that eight weeks are over...they have lots of choices and they are going to choose a property that is in good condition.  I asked the agent how he was going to handle that session and he said...very tactfully he would share the survey with him.  Either he updates or he will continue to see his rents at current level.

It is even harder to explain to a homeseller that money may be tight but they need to buy a can of paint and a big bottle of cleaner plus some cleaning cloths.  The ones who listen tend to be better clients; the ones who don't, usually blame the agent for not getting an offer.  They promise you that they will do what you have suggested but you soon get reports of dirty dishes, overflowing ash trays, and dirty bathrooms.  I'm not a real tactful person.

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You Call It Paradise...I Call It Home...So Can You!

Comments (7)

Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices


It is a tough one. There are people who are adamant that they would not do anythhing in their property and then be frustrated that they do not get decent income. If that;s the case, it is often better to decline the property.

Let him/her deaol with it themselves

Aug 18, 2010 04:21 PM
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

I hope he listens to the rental agent.  Blind eyes and deaf ears make for lower rental income.

Aug 18, 2010 04:23 PM
Matt Grohe
RE/MAX Concepts - Des Moines, IA
Serving the metro since 2003

Linda: I point out the positives and then say, but  XX XX  XX XX really detracts from all that. Buyers generally want to see ABC.  You're going to hear X and you'll only get X- unless you do  Y and Z.

Aug 18, 2010 04:25 PM
Dan Edward Phillips
Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA - Eureka, CA
Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA

Hi Linda, I tend to "tell it like it is", and I get away with it.  Nice post and great question!

Aug 18, 2010 05:17 PM
Marie-Denise Kratsios
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Huntington, NY
Where ever you are, that's where I'll be!

I would mention the positives first--the view, the location, and whatever else you can think of.  Then make suggestions regarding the negatives.  Most importantly, put it in writing so that when that discussion with the client comes up, you can bring out the written suggestions and review it with the homeowner.

Aug 18, 2010 05:48 PM
Wade Kawahara
Dominion Real Estate Partners, LLC - Phoenix, AZ

Linda, sometimes you have to just tell the unvarnished truth.  It may go over better that you expect.

Aug 18, 2010 05:49 PM
Don Spera
CR Property Group, LLC - East York, PA
Serving York and Adams County, PA

Make copies of the surveys and send them to him with a personal letter and your thoughts and follow up with a phone call or visit.

Aug 18, 2010 06:54 PM