So You're Selling Your Home. Will It Be a Nordstrom's or a Thrift Shop Experience

Real Estate Agent with RealtyONEGroup BRE#01231053

So You're Selling Your Home. Will It Be a Nordstrom's or a Thrift Shop Experience?

So you're selling your home.  You have found a Realtor® that knows your neighborhood, has a strong marketing plan, and a positive outlook for the sale of your home. The only problem is they've asked you to do all this work before putting your home on the market. They've asked you to take down the family photos and the kids paintings that hang on the refrigerator.  They want you to clear off the kitchen  counters and they even suggested (GASP!) that you might want to get a storage unit and put some of your furniture and all of the stuff from the garage in it.  And clean the yard and trim the trees…the list just keeps going.  They said you needed to do these things if you wanted to get top dollar for your house. Why should you have to do all this work? This is how you live and it should be good enough for anyone coming to see the house, right?  After all, you painted the house and remodeled the kitchen only about 5 years ago, isn't that enough to get you top dollar?


Nordstrom windowProbably not.  Let's take a little shopping trip and I'll explain why. First we're going to stop and look in the windows at Nordstrom.  We'll find that the windows are beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean. Walking inside we can see that the store is well lit, the floors are gleaming, the air is fragrant, and there is a piano playing somewhere in the distance. The most desirable fashions and shoes are highlighted in artful displays, the clothing racks are organized and neat and the sales associate is eager to help you to find what you are looking for. Nordstrom sells high quality merchandise and people love to shop there and are willing to pay top dollar for the items they buy.


Thrift shopNow let's go visit the local thrift shop. The window is packed with a hodgepodge of items, from china to lamps to dolls and shoes. And judging by the handprints and smudges, it's probably been quite a while since that window was washed.  Inside, the store is a bit dark and has that funky smell that either comes from all the old stuff in there or the brown indoor/outdoor carpeting on the floors. The shelves and countertops are overflowing with items and the clothing racks are organized by men, women, and kids. Good luck finding your size. You know when you go into the thrift store you're going to be there for quite a while, searching through the clothing racks to find something in your size, digging through trays of jewelry, or hunting through the framed pictures. And why do we do this?  Why do we search and dig and hunt through mountains of disorganized stuff?


Diamonds in the roughBecause we are looking for a bargain, we are looking for that diamond in the rough, a treasure at a rock-bottom price. Years ago, a friend of mine was thrift store shopping while on vacation and while picking through a jewelry tray found a ring that caught her eye. It was showy and a bit gaudy, but she thought it would be fun to wear and it only $10, so she bought it. When she got home, she took it to her local jeweler to have him look at it.  It turned out that this was a an antique wedding ring, with a 3 carat sapphire center stone and a 2 carat diamond on either side, all set in platinum and valued at $18,000! That's what we are all hoping to find when we shop in a thrift store, the bargain of a lifetime!


Now let's go back to your house. Park the car on the street, take off your rose colored glasses and look at the house as if you're seeing it for the first time.  How does your house present itself to you? Are the walkways and driveway clean and clear? Is your house hiding behind overgrown shrubs and trees? Are the remains of last summer's flowers still standing, withered and brown? Now go inside and walk through the entire house and garage and take notes on what you see. Are you highlighting your home's best features or are they hidden beneath piles of stuff?  Does the house smell clean and fresh or is there is lingering scent of something unpleasant? When you finish your walk-through ask yourself if your house presents itself as more of a Nordstrom experience or a thrift shop experience.  If it is more like a thrift shop and a buyer is going to have to dig and search to try to find the value in it, then be prepared to also have them bargain down the price.


Can you turn a thrift shop experience into a Nordstrom experience? Absolutely!  Your Realtor® should be able to give you suggestions and advice on how to improve the appearance and experience of your home. They know what sells and what adds value to a home in your area. You want your home to get a buyer's attention and draw them in at the street, then welcome them inside and make them never want to leave.  Those are the kind of buyers that are willing to pay top dollar for your house.




If you're thinking of selling your North County San Diego home, call Suzi at

760-484-3440 for suggestions on how to turn your home into a Nordstrom experience.


So You're Selling Your Home. Will It Be a Nordstrom's or a Thrift Shop Experience?

Posted by

Suzi Sandore is a REALTOR® specializing in North County San Diego.  If you, or someone you know, is looking to buy or sell real estate in San Marcos, Escondido, Carlsbad, Vista, Oceanside, Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Valley Center  - or anywhere in San Diego County, please contact Suzi for excellent service.

Direct:  760 484-3440   |   Keller Williams Realty North County |  |   |   BRE #01231053

Comments (13)

John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Excellent Suzi.... Consider this one now suggested.

Dec 27, 2012 11:01 AM
Suzi Sandore
RealtyONEGroup - San Diego, CA
North County San Diego Homes

Wow! Thank you John, what a compliment! And I realized with this post I hit 100,000 points, which was a goal I wanted to hit before the end of the year. 

Dec 28, 2012 12:34 AM
Eric Salonga
The Salonga Brothers at Reed Realty - Ceres, CA
Your Key to the Central Valley

Hi Suzi, great post. I like it when my buyers get the Nordstrom's experience because the seller took the time to clean their house.  Of course it's a different experience when it comes to short sales or REO.  Have a great day and thanks for sharing.

Jan 09, 2013 04:31 AM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

A Nordstom Please..You can get discount if you like but I like first Class..

Jan 09, 2013 04:59 AM
Blaser Yoakum Team
Keller Williams Southlake - Southlake, TX

Very well stated!  Title of this post made me laugh!  Great article.  Thanks for posting!

Jan 09, 2013 05:27 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Great explanation and cute analogy.  If sellers are unwilling to do the tidy-up, then they are donating the $18,000 ring to the Thriftstore -- they'll get $10 offers.  The less clutter, the more appealing.  Buyers can not see through clutter.  A lot of things in the way distract and no one wants to dig through the stuff to find the prized ring. 

Jan 09, 2013 05:45 AM
Matt Keough, New Castle County, DE
Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate - Wilmington, DE
Matt Keough Agent New Castle County Delaware

This is a great way to present to that home owner that does not truly "get it". 

I was showing home this past weekend to 1st time homebuyers.  We walked into two homes that showed very well, but did not have the updates that the buyers were looking for, bathrooms and kitchen. 

Then we toured two homes that were updated, had many great features, but was "trashy", not dirty, just "really lived in".  My buyer could not see though the mess. 

Bottom line, they thought the ones that were not really updated looked the best and now we have a contract in on one of them. 


Jan 09, 2013 06:13 AM
Joel Weihe
Realty World Alliance - Wichita, KS
Helping you to use your VA home loan benefits

What a really fantastic way to get the point across. I'm gonna use it!!!

Jan 09, 2013 10:29 AM
Adam Mykel Cox
Re/Max First Choice - Hoover, AL

Great article and a great way to get to the point without being too harsh!

Jan 09, 2013 10:50 AM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Suzie - I love this analogy and it makes perfect sense.  Everything about the Nordstrom's experience is excellent - for all of the senses.  I hate going to the thrift shop.  Oh, and I don't think it's the carpet smell...we have thrift shops here that have vinyl flooring and still smell.

Jan 09, 2013 06:51 PM
Steve Warrene
Your Town Realty - Lower Burrell, PA
Pittsburgh Real Estate Investment Specialists

That's the exact reason we use a well know stagger on our listings. Diane is a well known top stagger/interior designer in Western PA.  Before Diane get there we ask the seller, "Are you planning on buying this home when we put it on the market?"  With the answer always being "no" we tell the seller to listen to what she has to say and really consider doing everything she recommends.  She knows the fashion trends, styles, and all that good stuff.
This is the difference between the Thrift Store and the Nordstrom with our team.

Jan 09, 2013 10:10 PM
Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA

Hi Suzi, Great illustration that makes perfect sense. I intend to re-blog.  Great post.

Feb 14, 2013 11:03 AM
Brian Rayl
Home Value Leads - Highland Park, TX
Active Agent and Co-founder Of Home Value Leads

Hi Suzi, I came over from Dan's reblog of this. GREAT ARTICLE! Thank you for putting the home selling experience into a great metaphor that clients will understand.

Feb 14, 2013 07:13 PM