SO, we all hear how it’s a buyers market from every pundit, news media outlet, statistic company, and blog around. So WHY are sellers showing their houses in the worst light possible, and making it so darn hard to show their houses.

I have been showing houses (a lot) the last few weekends, and I am amazed at the condition sellers leave their homes in when buyers are coming through. These houses are in the $400-$600K range too !! Filthy kitchens with dishes in the sink, filthy(er) bathrooms, clothing all over the place, unmade beds, fingerprints/crayon/marker on walls, black crud on switchplates, hastily repaired leaky ceilings, dirty floors/rugs, EATING lunch or dinner or cooking while we are there, and clutter everywhere.  What do they think the buyers are going to suppose?  That the house is a mess and dirty which therefore translates to not well maintained. You want me to remove my shoes? NO problem, but it’s warm out and I am wearing sandals. When my bare feet are sticking to the floors, or there’s crumbs under my feet, it creeps me out, so  I imagine my buyers feel the same way.

As a Realtor for a few years now, I have had my share of not so terrific listings, but always look at the house with the eye of a buyer and make suggestions (within reason) for the sellers to prepare their home for showing so it looks as good as possible. Minimally, I remind them to keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean, counters cleared and carpets vacuumed.  I KNOW, it’s a pain to do this every day, but the ladies (sorry girls it’s true) always look at the kitchen and bathrooms, while the men always “kick the tires” looking at the utilities/siding/roof etc. In my experience, it’s usually the ladies who make the final decision on which house to buy based on “emotion” and a filthy house just doesn’t inspire the “I LOVE IT” emotion at all.

I suppose it’s their Realtors fault to a point also, but I bet the sellers, even IF their Realtor gently, then firmly, suggests they spruce it up just don’t heed the suggestion. I also imagine that some Realtors just don’t look at the house and how it will show, but just take the listing and hope it sells.

If it is truly a buyers market, with all the competition and so many houses to choose from, WHY would a buyer make an offer on a house that was yucky, when the house around the corner is immaculate? I know sellers have to LIVE in the house, but taking time to keep it clean and neat will go a long way in selling it faster, and probably for more money too.  Unkempt translates to worth less in a buyers mind.

As far as showing the house…it’s the spring/summer market, a time when the number of sales dramatically increases. If I cannot show your house on a weekend (MOST people work during the week), or only on Sunday, or only before/after 2 PM Tuesday and Saturday, or only then there’s a full moon (OK I am being sarcastic there) how do you suppose your home will sell?  SHOWINGS = SELLING.

I have tried to make appointments for 6-7 homes each weekend, and was amazed that at least three houses each time were no showing this weekend, or not during the timeframe my buyers can make it, or only on a specific day or after a specific time or a combination of those.  Of course I understand there are extenuating circumstances (working nights, babies in the house, a party at the house etc), however, a seller MUST be willing to sacrifice their schedule to accommodate a buyers, or the house won’t sell.  

Selling a home is a tiring and stressful time, but it is also tiring and stressful on the buyer agent side to have to tell your buyer that they can’t see a house because of the sellers restrictions, ESPECIALLY when it’s the house they really wanted to see. Not having actually SEEN the house, they will indeed look at the ones they can, and 9 times out of 10, buy one of those.

The peak time frame for selling a house is April through July, so the window is a small one.  Sellers need to be aware that the house WILL linger on the market, and probably suffer through several price “adjustments” if they don’t show the house in it’s best possible condition and when it suits the buyers schedule.