Wow - we all get them - the difficult home seller and the house that "needs work". And by difficult, I don't mean high maintenance or opinionated I mean - "Pre-foreclosure, mid-way through an acrimonious divorce with assets being hidden, sons who are drug dealers and in and out of jail and the house smells bad and looks worse" type of difficult sellers. What to do? What to do with them? How do you market a house like this?
Well, I actually know - from experience. First thing we did was hire a stager. She was there 5 days (bless her heart) and when she came back on the 6th day (to drop the last few finishing touches off) she called me almost in tears. The house looked almost the way it did when she started (minus the bright blue paint she had toned down to a more sophisticated grey tone and the repaired burnt slats on the upstairs balcony). We then had a repair man come in to repair the broker drawer fronts, holes in the walls, leaks, lighting that had been pulled out from the wall, etc. Wow - it looked great until the kids punched the front glass out of the front door, knocked some of the slats out of the stair rails and added a lovely variety of holes throughout the home. Preparing this house and showing it was like trying to carry water upstairs in a sieve.
Oh and my feedback (which is so inspiring I have decided to devote my next blog to the good, the bad and the ugly of feedback) - it ranged form "I think there was a naked girl in the master bedroom, to sellers were having a party and refused to leave house and it was distracting with the teenage boys diving off the second story balcony into the pool - to my favorite - it was creepy, all of the bedroom doors were shut and it felt like someone was hiding in the rooms, so we decided to leave without opening them. The feedback almost took on a life of its own. I would forward it to my buyers agent and my husband (who is licensed as well) and we would try to discuss it with the owner. Well, you know he'd remind us - "kids will be kids and that is why I'll be glad to get rid of this house." Whew - not sure what to do with that one.
But I sold this house. Not once, but twice! The first sale was terminated when they came by for their pre-closing inspection, not only to find that many of the repairs were undone - but to find that 2 hours before closing there was no moving truck and nothing was packed. We pushed closing back 4 times and by the 4th day - we were smacked with a big, fat termination notice. The only thing that could improve that situation, was the fact that I was dealing with this from a gorgeous beach house in Savannah, GA where I had gathered family and friends to celebrate my fathers 70 birthday (the closing was supposed to have taken place before I left). Not only did I spend every second dealing with this closing crisis and trying to avoid the house being foreclosed on while we negotiated getting the owner out of the house, but my husband left early to try to salvage the deal (to no avail) - and since there is always that one extra, little cherry on the sundae - my buyers agent, rushing over to try to salvage what was left of the walk through and closing, pulled into the driveway and crashed right into the already irate buyers car. Wow.
But, since the universe always rights itself - two of my favorite clients ended up buying this home and fully renovating it. Because they had been so familiar with what was going on - they weren't surprised when he had trouble getting out by closing, and when he finally did leave he left a house full of furniture and junk, and of course, didn't complete any repairs. And even with that - they love their new house. They pulled all of the carpet out and re-painted. It looks amazing. So go figure - all's well, that ends well.