What EXACTLY are You Selling?

What EXACTLY are You Selling?

I had the great fortune to list a lake front home this week. It’s beautiful, it’s well cared for, it’s immaculately clean – the ranch barely looks lived in. Did I mention it’s WATER FRONT with a BEACH area?

Showings began immediately and I was surprised by some of the feedback.

“It’s too black and white.”

Take a look at these images.

The only black in this house is the kitchen counter, the rest is the seller’s own furniture. The walls are mostly white. WHITE. Neutral. Otherwise known as, “easy to move into and make your own.” Add your favorite color and “VOILA!” It reflects YOUR taste.

The purpose of a nicely staged house is to emphasize each room, bring attention to the view, and allow the buyers to envision their personal belongings in the space. It shouldn’t be to create a vision for the real estate agents. Realtors should be able to create the vision for themselves. If they don’t possess this skill, how are they going to be able to create vision in a market that is asking us to adapt daily?

The purpose of a real estate agent is to guide their clients and help them make a good decision. So, why then, wouldn’t an agent point out to his/her clients that the home is NOT black and they are NOT buying the furniture? Do we refuse to buy the drill from Home Depot because the exposed beams in the store ceiling don’t reflect our taste? Of course not, because we’re not buying the building! And in the case of real estate, we’re not buying the furniture!

I believe home stagers are an important part of our industry particularly with homes such as these. But aren’t we taking this too far when we begin to expect people to switch out their furniture too?

As a real estate agent, if a home is structurally sound and offers good value while meeting our client’s needs, it’s our responsibility to point out that changing the black counter can be negotiated into the contract or easily remedied. We help them create the vision. This is what GOOD sales people do. They help clients see a problem or an opportunity where they may not see it themselves. They find solutions. I’d want an agent looking out for my best interests, not one too insecure to point out what I’m missing.

What kind of an agent would you want?

Comments

  1. Nice article, When ask my opinion I tell my customers, I'm not going to live here you are. Is it in the right location? Price Range? does it have the amenities you want? colors are easy to change the others are not.

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  3. Hi Pat,
    I agree, and disagree.

    I agree that a Realtor should point out easy cosmetic changes to prospective buyers BUT most people looking at houses can't see past the decor.

    I loved our agent. He did suggest putting a doorway between two rooms. That was helpful, but I have to add that I think one of the reasons people were passing up on the house we bought were the bright and strange mix of wall colours.

    In this case you mentioned, it's not hard to put colourful seat cushions on the black stools, and to put slip covers and a table cloth on the dining room furniture. A home owner would want to help sell their home so these types of suggestions from a Realtor, to add colour into a black and white colour scheme, would be simple, even if they only did it before a prospective buyer came to see the house.

    White walls can mean cold and hospital-like to some people (my husband being one of them), rather than being a blank slate. I also think the black leather furniture in the living room and the black dining room furniture emphasize what is permanently black in the home, the fireplace surround and kitchen counter. A few cushions on the black leather furniture is something that could alter a buyers perception, of a black and white, ie stark, ie dark and gloomy, room. The same way putting some fruit on the black counter in the kitchen could change the whole feeling of the room.

    A Realtor pointing out the possibility of painting the walls or changing a counter top or adding a doorway is not something everyone can see past and visualize. Small changes can make a big difference. To some people it's not about seeing a blank slate, it's about having a good feeling while walking through the house.

    xoxoRia

  4. It's taken me a while to get back to this. I agree with what you say to a degree. Although not visible in the pictures this home has purple accents, throw pillows, vases etc, exactly what you describe. The problem with making permanent/dramatic wall changes is you run the risk of alienating even more people. Your husband may see blank light colored walls as cold but the next person may see the brown – he prefers – as a nightmare to cover up. There's no possible way to appeal to what each and every person believes to be welcoming. All I'm saying is that if an agent can't see past the furniture how will they help their clients envision any home with their own belongings in it.
    (btw – there are neutral non-white colors in the kitchen and bedrooms)

  5. It's taken me a while to get back to this. I agree with what you say to a degree. Although not visible in the pictures this home has purple accents, throw pillows, vases etc, exactly what you describe. The problem with making permanent/dramatic wall changes is you run the risk of alienating even more people. Your husband may see blank light colored walls as cold but the next person may see the deeper color he prefers – as a nightmare to cover up. There's no possible way to appeal to what each and every person believes to be welcoming. All I'm saying is that if an agent can't see past the furniture how will they help their clients envision any home with their own belongings in it.
    (btw – there are neutral non-white colors in the kitchen and bedrooms)

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