Relocate to Wisconsin : "No, I won't tell Our Seller to Declutter..." I told the agent

"No, I won't tell Our Seller to Declutter..." I told the agent

 Yes, Yes...we know carpet...If only....we hear you.....and are choosing to ignore you, Mr. Showing Agent. The listing is a short sale....

   If the house were dirty, the sidewalk unshoveled, there were health/safety hazards you might incur in touring the house....we would be the first ones there to make your tour safe and "hazard free."toy room

    What there was....was a toy room that could have been picked up...your showing was on short notice.  You have no idea what hardship this single parent is experiencing. Job loss, illness...and you know of course, this family is losing the house they called home.

   To you, Mr.  Agent, it is one more house on the tour and a possible pay check if your buyers we hope are qualified....and have patience with the process.  To the Sellers it is end of a difficult chapter.  Were we experiencing the multiple difficulties that we know exist...we would have a hard time picking up our heads, let alone the toys. 

   compassion  If you have no compassion, no real understanding of what possible circumstances may be involved in a short sale...that is unfortunate.  What is more unfortunate, is you chose to voice them without that understanding.  If this were a "traditional sale" the situation is different...and the appearance more manicured....staged and picture perfect. It is is a showing that needs to be viewed with more empathetic if you can't do that...If you have not explained to your Buyers what and why a short sale exists, you probably are not the agent...your Buyers are not the next owners for this property.

     If you or anyone you know, for reasons of hardship, are unable to pay their mortgage in southeastern Wisconsin, call the Hansons, we are honored to be of service.

Sally K. & David L. Hanson, ABR, CDPE, CSS, e-Pro,ILHM, REDS

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Comment balloon 66 commentsSally K. & David L. Hanson • February 02 2016 02:41AM


Good morning Sally. You are so right, it is impossible to walk in another person's shoes and truly understand. It is important for all of us the remember compassion in all that we do.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) over 2 years ago

Good morning Sally and David! Sometimes you have to ask to get the full story! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker (Wayne M Martin) over 2 years ago

Yes, sometimes things are so difficult and picking up toys is the least of their concerns.  Short sales aren't easy for anybody.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 2 years ago

You have to have some compassion in this business. Everyone is experiencing different circumstanes, and understanding what someone else may be going through is an important factor...

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Condo & Home Sale Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) over 2 years ago

Hi Sally and David.  Buyers and their agents must understand that short sales are a very different breed of real estate and act accordingly.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 2 years ago

I agree. Agents should understand that some sellers may have reasons why they cannot declutter. 

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 2 years ago

Oh Sally, I find this all the time & the agent will say later well why should I bother they are under enough I want to find the buyer!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hi Sally.  Short sales are emotionally wrenching on the seller.  Tough spot for them.

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) over 2 years ago

Good morning Sally and David. I hear you and  this is so very very true. Good for you.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 2 years ago

Good morning Sally-there is always more to the story than meets the eye. People should be a little more sensitive or considerate in a short sale situation-I am.

Posted by Marco Giancola, Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida (Beachfront Realty) over 2 years ago

So many agents out there that are only interested in the pay day and not at all with what the client in experiencing personally.  Sad but true.

Posted by Roger D. Mucci, Lets shake things up at your home today! (Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092) over 2 years ago

The agent could not understand why I thought his conduct "unprofessional"...urgh !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) over 2 years ago

A great perspective from the other side "of the mirror," Sally and David. But I will also say, I've shown short sale homes that showed like models--sellers wanted to get out from under asap and get the highest price possible. Everyone has his/her own story and we need to be sensitive to what's possibly happening behind the scenes that we don't know about.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) over 2 years ago

Selling a home in the best of circumstances is stressful but in times of hardship it is doubly so. Short sales are this weird area where everything is in limbo, the sellers are stressed, the buyers are on edge because purchasing a short sale is no picnic and waiting on bank approval is about to kill them, so both parties are at their worst. This is why it is so important for the agents who work both sides of short sale transactions are the most professional among us, unfortunately that is not usually the case on the buyer side. I am sorry for your experience.

Posted by Tamara Elliott-Deering (Central Metro Realty) over 2 years ago

Sally K. & David L. Hanson There is always one in the bunch that hasn't learned to just accept a listing for what it is and run with it. Good post!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National) over 2 years ago

Each situation calls for individual treatment and sometimes compassion is more important than decluttering.

Posted by Olga Simoncelli, CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management (Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I overlook clutter on home inspection reports.  Surely I note that there were personal belongings that might have impeded a complete view of everything.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Thank you for using the utmost care and patience with your short sale clients!  It's unfortunate that we (humans) sometimes lose sight of the fact that others are suffering.

Posted by Rebecca Foresee, Let's foresee the possibilities . and get results! (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 2 years ago

Selling is stressful even under the best circumstances. Short sales more so, and I wish selling agents who are as concerned about clutter at showings were as concerned with what short sale sellers are going through. Show some respect and have some empathy! It is astonishing how thoughtless some people can be at times. 

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 2 years ago

Actually in our area, the agents representing buyers love homes that are a bit cluttered, and not looking their best.  In such a competitive buyer's market you hope to be the only offer on the house.  I find myself adding up all the negatives - dark dreary paint, dirty cabintets, ugly carpet and making them positives.   More perceived negatives the house has, the fewer buyers who will be interested.  Have represented buyers on several short sales in the past - some of the best "deals" were on short sales. 

Posted by Ann Wilkins, Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA (Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty) over 2 years ago

Short sale = shown ""as is""...

Posted by Anthony Vosilla (Tony's Appraisal Services) over 2 years ago

Hi Sally K. & David L. Hanson 

I totally agree that sometimes there is no way to clean up the clutter. I do a lot of short sales and people are ill, seniors, death of spouse, in the hospital, overworked and typically a lack of funds plus a whole lot of other reasons for the sale. I have personally done "trashing out" at no charge for clients who just could not get it done and had no funds and the yard just needs to be picked up. Unless an agent calls me and says "you showed my house today and wonder if you know why no one has submitted an offer on it"? Only then might I mention that perhaps decluttering would help.

Posted by Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor, (909) 557-6966, GREEN, SFR, CHS-Redlands/Loma Lind (Keller Williams Realty) over 2 years ago

It's no wonder that many in the general public don't understand short sales because the vast majority of agents really don't understand the process or what's really going on.

Posted by Jeff Getman, Realty Executives (Realty Executives of Ravalli County) over 2 years ago

Sally and David one should question before judging, and apparently this agent was not interested in doing that.  It is easy to just criticize.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 2 years ago

Kindness is never out of fashion - too bad that agent has none of it in her heart. 

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 2 years ago

So many situations that preceed the short sale and most often through no fault of the owner/seller. Job loss and catastrophic illnesses are big culprits that lead to a seller who is paralyzed by depression and may have never experienced it prior. There is absolutely no motivation like the elephant sitting on the woman's chest (COPD commercial), they can not breathe.

Posted by Theresa Akin (CORPUS CHRISTI REALTY GROUP) over 2 years ago

Wonder if this was the buyers opinion or the agents? Toys not picked up in 1 room is standard for anyone with a kid. Dirty dishes or worse is not OK.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 2 years ago

When short sales took over our market I ran into so many sad situations it was unbelievable.  Job loss, health issues, divorce etc...created some very bad situations and it was heart breaking to see the homeowners be forced to lose the home they loved so much. 

Posted by Terry McCarley, REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL (REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL) over 2 years ago

The Short Sale is the ultimate "as is" sale and is reflected in the price.  It is hard enough to sell a home, but when you will walk away with nothing it is even harder. 

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 2 years ago

This is a very good story to share. It is sometimes difficult to fully appreciate the circumstances and the hardships faced by the occupants.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) over 2 years ago

Yes Sally, often times we have to be patient and realize that most people are doing the best they can.  Shortsales can be painful for all involved, especially the sellers.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities) over 2 years ago

Sally and David- compassion is needed in all instances, but especially in a short sale. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Once upon a time, there was a golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  If you show no compassion for someone's hardship, do not expect compassion from the world when you face hard times.

Posted by Jerry Lucas, Mobile Notary Colorado Springs, CO Notary Training (ABC Legal Docs LLC) over 2 years ago

Sally and David,  I think that part of being a really good agent is learning to help our buyer clients look beyond the superficial stuff in a house.  Nice post.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 2 years ago

There is no excuse for "kindness impairment."

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 2 years ago

Thanks for this post and for reminding us that a short sale can be a very difficult situation for the sellers.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 2 years ago

There are many reasons that people do short sales - and no buyer or the buyer agent should make any assumptions as they enter the seller's home. 

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) over 2 years ago

I only listed one short sale, and it was not a family, it was an investor.  Short sale agents get my utmost respect for even doing the work involved.  Must be hard to be encouraging to the sellers.  Let alone dealing with insensitive agents.  Good job!

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 2 years ago

Maybe this comment came about because the listing agent was asking for "feedback" and got it? I'm no fan of feedback unless I see unsafe situations. Clutter does not qualify. And I sympathisize with your client going through this tough period. My heart goes out to her.

Posted by Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®, Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea over 2 years ago

Sally K. & David L. Hanson you nailed it!

I remember I had a short sale listing once - and had difficult time to even get good pictures! And I had the same thought process - there are many more concerns for the seller than just de-clutter!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 2 years ago

Sort sales are difficult for sure and agents who are showing thme should have a little understanding about the situration the sellers are enduring.

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) over 2 years ago

Dear Buyers Agent - If you want your buyers to see well groomed houses don't show them short sales, REO's, HUD's and Auction properties --- duh!

Posted by Nancy Laswick, Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun (United Real Estate) over 2 years ago

You shouldn't be asked to others dirty work in that sense and I don't blame you

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 2 years ago

Traditional sales vs. short sales is a world of difference, agents need to be informed and convey that information to their buyer clients.

Posted by Raul Rodriguez, Looking out for the client's interest and not my p (Covenant Partners Realty) over 2 years ago

I see this all the time. Short sale to many seems to scream a "steal of deal" but then the buyers are less than impressed when they find out that the home is not pristine and may need more than a cleaning of a playroom. In the end some short sale properties are a good deal and other times they are not. BUYERS should be informed how this works from the agent so that the expectations are REAL. Toys scattered everywhere is the least of the problem in these transactions.

Posted by Janis Borgueta, LIC RE Salesperson (Key Properties of the Hudson Valley ) over 2 years ago

Sally, some agents seem to feel it is their job to educate all other agents. What they should do is educate their buyers as to what a short sale is and why they come about. A little compassion goes a long way. 

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 2 years ago

Fortunately our MLS has a great feedback system which allows us to easily provide the listing agent our thoughts on price, condition, etc. 

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Well written, Sally K. & David L. Hanson ... and a great reminder that our jobs truly revolve around people ... and not just properties and finances.  


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) over 2 years ago

Great post Sally K. & David L. Hanson.  I think that at times we all my need a kick in the pants to remember that in some circumstances we are dealing with situations that warrant compassion for another human being or in this case a single mom trying to find her way. Thankfully, most of us are out there trying to help and there's the few bad apples.  Great Job and Kudos to you both!

Posted by Chris Lima, Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you. (Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise) over 2 years ago

Did you ask for feedback?  If you did, the agent was giving you his honest assessment.  When I give feedback, it's to help the seller and the seller's agent sell their home.  I know I don't know the whole story here but it seems like your reaction to his feedback is a little over the top.

Posted by Francine Viola, Realtor, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs (Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA) over 2 years ago

For the most part, the short sales are now over with, but there are some in our local market.  Although we are moving passed them, here, I agree.  Compassion for people, no matter what the issues are, is lacking.  Glad you have yours intact!  

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 2 years ago

I often offer to clean up and get help at no charge to sellers.

They got a lot of things on their plate. This is where a condiderate agent comes in.


Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) over 2 years ago

Sally and David, I included this post in today's Last Week's Favorites on ActiveRain.  Enjoy the SuperBowl - or Downton Abbey!                                                                                                                 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Isn't that funny? They are either afraid of the seller or they have a client that doesn't trust their opinion. 

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 2 years ago

In the past year or so, I represented a buyer in a short sale.  It was truly so sad, so very sad for the seller.  We (buyer husband, buyer wife, myself) ended up helping move furniture as we did the walkthrough.  The sellers literally couldn't tear themselves away from their home.

In our case, it was utter joy, it was a beautiful home (or it would be after a few cosmetic retouches), but also with compassion and appreciation for the prior owner of this home.

Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) over 2 years ago

Yes, it is very sad when a family must do a short sale. If I am representing a seller of a short sale I try to let them know, the better the house looks, the sooner they will receive an acceptable offer, the showings can stop and they can start fresh. I will offer a free house cleaning as part of my listing service.

Buyers agents really should inform their clients that this is probably a very difficult time for the sellers and to be understanding of that.

Posted by Jill Moog, Carlsbad, CA Homes for Sale (Coast & Country Homes and Estates, Inc.) over 2 years ago

There is something out of the ordinary occurring when is attempting a short sale.  Agents should expect things may be out of the clutter and other issues...

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) over 2 years ago

I have been the listing agent involved in many short sales. I definitely do have compassion for my sellers. I have had sellers going through the death of a spouse, job loss, divorce, transfer to another state or just plain upside down on the mortgage. We as agents must use compassion when presenting the facts to these very vulnerable and hurting clients. That being said, it is still my job to get my client the highest possible sales price even on a short sale because they will likely have a tax liability on the forgiven amount. They could in fact have to sign an promissory note on a portion of the forgiven amount. You do not know until you are going through the process what the investor and or mortgage insurer will ask of the seller or require in order approve the short sale. That being said, if it is at all possible, I will still encourage my seller to treat their property as a product and make each showing count. The faster it gets sold, the sooner they can get through it and move on to better things ahead in life. So, if the buyers think the house is cluttered and it would make a better impression to have it uncluttered then you should tell your seller the truth.

Posted by Kalene Bagwell, Realtor - Selling Blue Springs - Kansas City Metro (Realty Executives Of Kansas City) over 2 years ago

Sally and David - It's so easy to judge and criticize others without knowing the whole story. This is a poignant post that deals with the reality of selling real estate. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Troy Erickson, Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor (Diverse Solutions Realty over 2 years ago

Sally and David

Sad to say there are still a number homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payment. It's a condition and the homeowner needs to be treated with respect.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) almost 2 years ago

Sally and David 

Congratulations on being awarded a feature for an outstanding post.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) almost 2 years ago

Empathy is definitely needed more in home showings!  Thanks for posting and starting this discussion.

Posted by Lee Davenport, Learn With Lee: Real Estate Coaching & Consulting almost 2 years ago

Now that Rich is full time in what they call "The Flipping Business" he see so many short sales and it always touches his heart... very sad... Great post!!!

Posted by Richard and Beth Witt, Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940 (Long Island Cash Home Buyer) over 1 year ago

A little compassion goes a long way. 

Posted by Foster Smith Summerville, Summerville & Charleston Homes for Sale SC Realtor (Carolina One Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Sally K. & David L. Hanson "If you have not explained to your Buyers what and why a short sale exists, you probably are not the agent...your Buyers are not the next owners for this property."

Right on target - and - re-blog!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 1 year ago

Hi Sally and David, I echo what Gene Mundt said, It is tough on a seller going through this. Buyers need to be educated. It is our job to educate them. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 1 year ago