May I Be Completely Honest With You?

Real Estate Agent

70s roomOne question I ask potential home sellers in Lenoir, Morganton, and Hickory, NC is if I can be honest with them during the listing presentation. This is a nicer way of saying "do you want me to tell you the truth, or just what I think you want to hear?".


There are some people who have homes on the market with major problems, and I have to wonder if anybody has even let them know what is wrong or why it may be a problem. There is a thin line, and nobody wants to insult any homeowner, but it is important for any seller to know about potential problems and to know what they may be able to do to address those problems.


Sometimes, the homeowner may be so used to the way things are, they don't see an issue. Or they may be really enamored with their lime green shag carpeting, wicker ceiling, purple and gold foil wallpaper, or Precious Moments™ wall mural and not understand how much of a turn-off things like these can be to potential buyers. wicker ceiling(Yes, these are rather extreme examples, but all are ones I've either seen in homes for sale or in MLS photos from other areas).


None of us like to hear negative comments about our homes but, as your agent, part of my responsibility is to alert you to any potential problems with the sale, and to suggest ways to fix them or lessen the impact. The good thing is that most of these are easy to solve. The most common problems with a home itself are datedness or extreme decor, clutter and dirt, and smells. All of these are easy to address, but you must know there is a problem first.


Most buyers do not care for wallpaper, unusual colors, borders, or fixtures that are linked to homes from previous decades, but this can be fixed by repainting and sometimes changing a few fixtures. Removing clutter helps open up a space and gives the impression that is is well-maintained. You're moving anyway, so look at sorting and storing belongings as a head-start on that. Cleaning should be self-explanatory, but it is easy to overlook exterior cleaning, faucets and trim, baseboards, etc if you are used to letting them go.

horse doorSmells can vary - sometimes they can be solved by having the carpets cleaned, painting, and keeping the pets outside more often, or by cleaning a disposal unit or other problem area, while others may require help from a professional cleaner. Musty or moldy smells can be solved by cleaning the affected area well with bleach or an agent made for such a job, installing a dehumidifier to stop further growth, and painting over the affected areas with a mold and mildew resistant paint.


There are so many small things that can be really off-putting to buyers, yet fixed with a few days', or a few hours' worth of work. This can make your home sell faster and for more money or, in a buyer's market like today, make the difference between your home selling or just sitting there. However, you must have an agent who is willing to tell you the hard truths and not just the good stuff, and you should be prepared to listen and implement their advice, rather than get offended by their suggestions.



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The views expressed in this blog are those of the author of the post, Raine Carraway, and of the comment posters respectively, and do not represent the views, policies, or opinions of any company or brokerage firm I am or have been affiliated with, any Association of Realtors, or any other person or entity other than the original author. Blogs may be reposted, with attribution and a link back to the original post, or "re-blogged" via ActiveRain.


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Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

Raine - Nice to see you blogging and a good one too.  How very true that the sellers have gotten so used to their home they don't see anything wrong with it. 

May 24, 2011 12:07 AM #1
Laura Sargent
Carolina One Real Estate - Mount Pleasant, SC

Nice post!  I think the horse would scare me if I was young and it was staring at me all night long.  To each their own but not when it is time to sell.

May 24, 2011 01:36 AM #2
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Raine - I think so many listing agents are afraid of offending the potential seller that they don't say a thing.  I've always felt honesty was the best policy and I often get the listing right then and there because the other two agents didn't say a thing about the neon green wall.

May 24, 2011 08:55 AM #3
Dan Edward Phillips
Dan Edward Phillips - Eureka, CA
Realtor and Broker/Owner

Good Morning Raine, it is a 'tough' question to ask, but you will be wasting a lot of time with the client if you do not ask. 

May 25, 2011 12:02 AM #4
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Raine - I have always told my clients what I think they need to do to get top dollar.  Many times they ignore my advice, but you know, I have to say it!

May 25, 2011 02:27 PM #5
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Raine - It never ceases to amazing the kinds of atrocity I've seen in some homes and then the sellers wonder why their home isn't selling.  SERIOUSLY???   LMAO!!!

Jun 01, 2011 05:43 PM #6
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