Yes, There is a Buyer for Every House!

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

No matter how ugly, obsolete, or smelly a house may be, a buyer is out there somewhere.  My job, if I choose to accept the listing, is to find that buyer!

I was reading Patricia Kennedy's post this morning, Too Bad They Couldn't Stage The Neighbor's Yard, and I thought about all the listings I've sold IN SPITE OF something that seemed like a huge obstacle.   The one I mentioned in my comment to her post was a lovely home with a next-door neighbor who had four junk cars lined up in the front yard.  The buyer didn't seem to be bothered by this, and I soon discovered why - their yard didn't look much better, within months of occupying the home.  Something I find undesirable about a property may be the very thing that appeals to the "right" buyer!

Some agents walk away from listing a home that seems to have "fatal flaws" - but I consider it a challenge.  Anybody can sell a clean, neutral, uncluttered, staged and priced-right home that is in good repair.  I can sell any home - even homes that are ugly, obsolete and smelly!  The trick is to identify likely buyers for the flawed property, and target your marketing to them.  Here are some examples:


1730 Stratton"If you have allergies, I have a home for you!  Original owner says no pets or smokers ever lived in this Crofton colonial."  (Red, red, red - in every room!)

Folks, I have a red room in my house - my one big daring attempt to add color in an otherwise neutral home.  However, I once had a listing that was red throughout.  I mean red!  Red walls and/or red carpet everywhere - completely violating the warning that "neutral sells".  Would you be surprised to know it sold the first week? 

The buyer was looking for a home they could verify as pet-free since day 1, because of their child's severe allergy to pets.  Painting the walls and changing the carpet was a small price to pay for their child's health!  My MLS remarks described the only thing I could think of that might make this home desirable.



house"This home is no cookie-cutter.  If you're tired of all the look-alike subdivision homes, you might like this.  It may even remind you of home."  (No curb appeal and functionally obsolete inside.)

This Annapolis home had ZERO curb appeal, without a single shrub or bush.  While the house was clean, neutral, and in good repair, it was functionally obsolete.  The bedrooms and one bath were on different levels, the clothes washer and dryer were in different rooms, and the biggest room in the house was the kitchen.  There was a big screened porch which would get a lot of use in the summer, since there was no air conditioning - almost unheard of in this area. 

According to three agents who wrote offers on this property in the first week (in a buyer's market), the MLS remarks triggered thoughts of a buyer they had previously worked with, and all three offers netted my client within $500 of each other.  The "winning" buyer was thrilled with the home, and said it did remind her of the house where she grew up.



Dog"Your animals will LOVE the fenced two acres that comes with this pet-friendly Gambrills home.  Plenty of room for the humans in your family, too, with 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, a nanny suite, and more."   (Take a deep breath before you go inside because the pet odor will knock you over!)

I thought I would pass out at the listing appointment because the pet odor was so overwhelming.  But it was a huge lot and home, and the seller had been one of my agents when I was a Coldwell Banker manager.  She knew she had a problem property, and she was counting on me to sell it.

I decided to focus my marketing towards pet-owners for this Gambrills home, thinking they might be less offended by the odor than others.  Sure enough, in a market similar to this, a buyer who wanted the pet-friendly yard and house came along and paid top-dollar.  When I stopped by to deliver a Christmas poinsettia the following year, it turned out they had more animals than the seller did...  and the odor was still awful.



There are many reasons for walking away from a listing, and all of these homes tempted me to do just that.  Fortunately, I didn't, because there IS a buyer for every home. 




Crofton Maryland Real Estate

Find a Home and learn about Real Estate Market Conditions in Crofton and Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  Check out Today's Rates, use the free Mortgage Calculator, and watch a brief video about the Power of RE/MAX.  These consumer-friendly real estate tools are provided by Margaret Woda for you to use at your own pace. 

When you're ready to go from "just browsing" to "let's get serious", contact Margaret online or call her at RE/MAX Vision in Crofton Maryland. 410-451-1900 

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This infoMargaret Wodarmation was provided to you by Margaret Woda, an Associate Broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton Maryland. Contact Margaret today for general real estate information or to learn how she can help you buy or sell a home in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, and Odenton. 

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Comments (49)

James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move
Great points.  Sell it!  I have seen a few REO's that would make your hair catch on fire oye!
Dec 11, 2007 02:02 PM
Matt Collinge
Century 21 In Town Realty - Vancouver, BC
REALTOR® - Vancouver Real Estate

I have sold a couple of real doozies. This one was a bit a sad story, but the owner, who had passed away, was a hoarder. His kids, who didn't get along that well, had been through the rooms looking for anything of value and when it came time to sell they had had enough of it. THis was the living room.









 One of the bedrooms:









Anyway the whole house was like this and the backayrd was 3-4' high with bramble. You could not walk to the back of the lot. And this was in a very expensive area on Metro Vancouver. But the house did sell, to builder of course.

You are right there is a buyer for every house. Just sell it the best you can and price it right.

Matt in Vancouver, BC

Dec 11, 2007 04:17 PM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

James, I haven't done much with REO properties, but I've heard stories...

Matthew, 'Looks like you have a post here, just waiting to get written!

Dec 11, 2007 10:27 PM
D'Artagnon Wells
ERA Advantage Realty - Logan, UT
There's nothing like an albatross listing. My broker has this thing about attracting the homes with everything seemingly stacked against them. To be honest, I usually lose faith in the house. But practically everytime we end up selling in record time fighting multiple offers. I don't believe there is a home that can't be sold, well except maybe some dire, death pit built on a uranium storage facilty.
Dec 12, 2007 12:40 AM
Brian Wilson

You're right, Margaret, the house you never thought could sell may be the one to sell the fastest! This is a great post and reminder for us to take on challenges and persevere. Thank you!

Brian Wilson, 

Dec 12, 2007 02:56 AM
David Slavin
Keller Williams Premier - Katy, TX
CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier

If you have trouble finding a buyer then buy it yourself.  Now is the time to buy what we sell!

Dec 12, 2007 04:22 AM
Karen Gentry>>Charlottesville, Virginia Real Estate Professional
RE/MAX Excellence-Charlottesville VA - Charlottesville, VA

WOW - Great advice.  Marketing can make all the difference in the world!

Thanks for sharing your ideas! - Karen

Dec 12, 2007 08:31 AM
Adam Brett
The Adam and Eric Group - Fullerton, CA
The Adam and Eric Group, Fullerton's Finest
I agree there is a buyer for every house - but unless the price is right - the buyer might not see it.
Dec 12, 2007 09:19 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Adam, that's true... to a point.  I've seen people overpay, though, for the "right" house.

Karen - You're righr, the right marketing message is very important.

David - I would not have bought any of those homes, at any price in any market!

Brian - The challenge is one of the things I love about this business!

D'Artagnon - That sounds like another one I wouldn't buy.  Fortunately, I don't know any properties like that around here.  By the way, welcome to ActiveRain!

Dec 12, 2007 12:17 PM
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Margaret, There are valid reasons to walk away from a listing, but they mainly involve the seller, not the house. Every house can be sold if the seller can be "worked with."

Bill Roberts

Dec 13, 2007 03:18 AM
Josette Skilling
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Bethesda, MD

Just changed my comments on a listing!  Let's see if it sells it today!!

Thanks for the different take on things....

Dec 13, 2007 03:27 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Bill, Thanks for your comment - I actually love difficult sellers, too, and their personality issues would just challenge me.  I even take overpriced listings - with the sellers' full knowledge that they are overpriced - and often I sell them for more I thought possible.  They do, however, sometimes require more time and greater patience - I have both!

Josette - That's great - sometimes it just takes a nudge from a 3rd party...  Let me know if it works!

Dec 13, 2007 03:30 AM
Karen Goodman

I'm pretty new to listings, having spent the first 5 years in real estate as an exclusive buyer's agency. I can attest to the idea that every buyer is looking for different things, and they aren't always wanted the cookie cutter house.

A couple of years ago I had a client who was a hobby juggler. He wanted a condo that had high ceilings so he could practice indoors. The first time I took him out, the third condo we saw was a 1970's multilevel townhouse. It actually had 4 levels (not a popular floor plan in my city!), and the family room was two stories high. We cancelled the rest of the showings and wrote a contract.

I had another client who was really into trains, and needed a large unfinished basement without too many support poles so he could lay out his vast expanse of train tracks. The first thing we did in every house was go straight to the basement.

You never know what a buyer might be looking for. Those 'flawed' homes might just be perfect for someone with an unusual hobby.

Karen Goodman

Dec 13, 2007 08:25 AM
Linda Sticklin
Home Staging & Organizing - Berwyn, PA
What a creative strategy for taking on what may appear to be a challenging listing. My guess is you are an optimist!
Dec 13, 2007 08:38 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Karen - You presented that so well, from a buyers' perspective!

Linda - LOL!  Who wants a plain ol' vanilla listing that anybody can sell?  'Give me a challenge any day.  (Kidding, of course, I'll take a plain ol' vanilla listing any day, too.)

Dec 13, 2007 10:09 AM
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
Stan Barron calls that the Principle of Sacrifice. Why market to everybody when most of them won't be buyers - eliminate the ones for whom the property won't work, then target the ones who want what it has.
Dec 13, 2007 10:24 AM
Konnie Mac McCarthy
MacNificent Properties, LLC - Cobb Island, MD
Broker/Owner - VA & MD "Time To Get A Move On!"
my husband is in the car business....I suppose that is similar to his saying...there is a rump for every seat..
Dec 14, 2007 07:03 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Konnie, that's priceless!  Who knew?

Sharon, I never heard of that before, but it's exactly what we're doing here.  Targetting the LIKELY buyers, and not the MOST buyers.

Dec 14, 2007 10:00 AM
Karen Goodman

Margaret - I just put together a post on how to Avoid the Top 10 Mistakes in MLS Listings...and your article was a perfect reference on my #3 complaint of no marketing remarks. There is always something positive you can say about a house. I linked to your post since I think you made the point better than I ever could.

I'd love to hear what you think of my other 9 complaints. Sorry for the shameless plug with a link...but I'm not yet an AR member. This is still all pretty new to me and I'm doing one thing at a time. You can reach my blog at:



Dec 20, 2007 10:59 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Karen, thank you for mentioning this in your blog - who couldn't use the link love!  I am enjoying your blog posts, and hope you decide to join ActiveRain.  You might be able to generate more links to your other blog from here, which would be good for your google rankings.  Would it be okay if I send you an official invite?
Dec 20, 2007 04:24 PM