The other day, I published a blog post about incense in a seller's home. It sparked a good conversation and we all agreed on what we already knew: keep the smells to a minimum. I did mention the uses for such a thing in my post and one of the uses was for spiritual purposes. One commenter mentioned an experience about showing a home and seeing five altars setup in the home. This sparked a thought.
EXACTLY HOW DO WE BREAK IT TO A SELLER GENTLY?
HOW DO YOU TELL A SELLER TO PUT THEIR GOD AWAY FOR LISTING?
I'm not sure if you all have noticed, but sensitivity on all things especially things concerning Islam have been at an all time high since 9/11. Adding to this sensitivity is the fact that times are changing and people are becoming more vocal about the thoughts and feelings and more judgemental to boot. Also, spiritual practices are having more variety. It's not all Bible and Quran anymore. People are finding "alternative" ways to commune with their maker.
We all know sex, religion, and politics are hot and edgy topics that will kill any deal in any industry because people are strongly convicted in their views. Religion and Politics especially. These two monsters can turn saints into bullies and I find that if you do not agree with someone's religious and political views, you can pretty much can any thought of doing business with them. Some people are judging you buy your God and your political views. Don't think so? Ask a Muslim how their life as been post 9/11. Take a look at the all out war between the Dems and Pubs in the last 8 years. It gets ugly.
Add to this the fact that buyers may judge a house based on what they encounter when walking through. An insanely devout Christian might be taken back by statues of Buddha and altars all over the place: SALE KILLED regardless of how lovely the house is. A buyer holding Muslims to blame for 9/11 may be equally thrown off by the need to remove their shoes when viewing an Islamic home and seeing Arabic writing matched with the Quran laying around: SALE KILLED regardless of how lovely the house is.
So what do you do?
We have sensitivity in our approach when telling people what to do with their animals during a listing appointment. We don't want to offend them because people consider their pets part of the family so we've developed soft skills in this area. But how in the H.E.Double Hockey Sticks do you tell a seller they need to pipe down on their God display?
Or do you?
Hmmmm tell the seller or add notes to the showing instructions like we do for pets and pray agents are good enough to read their buyers and know how to let them know what they are in for? Me? I choose plan B. Coaching a seller on taking the personal affect out of their home is one thing but telling them to put their God away? Nope not touching it. I'm a people watcher. I study people, my clients included. I'm never touching anyone's God but I will study my buyer's sensitivity meter and if they are hyper sensitive about such a thing I would let them know beforehand. I would rather inform a buyer that we are viewing a Buddhist home so they may see some statues and altars around than tell a seller to can their Bible, Rosaries, Qurans, and/or altars for a listing. Mind you, I would need to be very careful with my wording here as well so not to sound discriminatory but I would rather do that then tell a seller to can their practices until they sell.
Show home or not....I'm not touchin' anybody's God.