Some years ago, I took a listing that was very much "an indoor outhouse." In addition to stray animals, they had stray people. It was a referral from a friend, and they needed my help! Stuff was piled high, and you could not walk through the rooms. Think about a hoarder. Dirty would have been a compliment, and these were bright, educated people with professional degrees. Go figure.
Now, this was a real challenge. How do I sell this dirty, messy, cluttered house?
To start, I told them to paint the dining room. It was packed floor to ceiling, and the table was piled three feet high with stuff. One would assume they would empty the space to paint it. Wrong assumption!
They moved everything one foot from the wall, painted, and moved it all back. We could not make a dent in the mess.
At the same time, I was working with a young musician and his fiancé. They wanted a large, new home that no one had lived in before. After a lot of searching, we found new construction that had three bedrooms, an unfinished lower level. It was in their price range, ready to go, but it did not have all they wanted. Still, they prepared to put down a deposit.
With their wedding less than a month away, I suggested they look at the dirty, messy listing in the same neighborhood as the new one: It had a finished lower level, beautiful yard, and much larger square footage.
But how would I ever get someone who was set on clean and NEW even to consider this pigsty?
Did I have their trust enough to take a look? I warned and forewarned the young couple to not look at the condition. Picture the house empty, white walls, new carpet, new appliances, etc.
The bride-to-be walked in and immediately clasped her hands behind her back – she did not want to touch a thing! I could see she was grossed out and thinking, "How can I live here?"
There was only one way to get these young people into the house that was right for them. Make an offer asking the owner to strip the property down to bare walls. Remove carpet, all appliances, ceiling fans, shower doors, blinds, toilet seats, shades, everything!
We requested an empty walkthrough with proof of extermination after everything, especially the carpet, was removed. The buyer did not believe they could make these kinds of requests. Wouldn't it be an insult?
Guess what; the sellers thought it was fabulous because the family could take all of their stuff when they moved. (Once a hoarder, always a hoarder.)
One of the most unusual contracts I have written. After the house received all new paint, new flooring, new kitchen, new baths, new windows, etc., this young couple had a much better five-bedroom home for less money than the much smaller brand new home.
That's how I sold a messy, dirty house, aka an indoor outhouse!
Thanks to Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS Carol Williams, for hosting the December challenge.