Relocate to Wisconsin : There's No Excuse for the House being Messy ! YES there is !

There's No Excuse for the House being Messy ! YES there is !

   Imagine that your life as you know it lost your job, your spouse left with another person...and the savings are a single parent overnight with no Life upside downsupport other than the part time job you had....the house needs some repairs......bills continue and income does not.   

     If you think that this condition has economic or geographic would be's Doctors, Lawyers, teachers, one is immune...and the strong not only survive...but come back to a new life a stronger just may not happen in an instant...things take time to heal and start again.  The courage to get upMessy life and face a new day...taking on as many responsibilities as can be handled is all that can be expected. 

    When you show a home where income is sparse whether it is a Short sale or kind.

     The best definition I have ever heard of depression is "anger turned Inward"....people are understandably frustrated with their lives due to circumstances beyond their control. When you are "at the bottom" or on your way there...the dishes in the sink, freshly vacuumed floors, etc. are not your top priority....functioning the best you know how for yourself and the people who depend on you....ARE....and some days that is difficult.

Empathy  You don't know what those other shoes feel like they are walking in...that the toes pinch and the heels rub....they do.

   Before you write that showing report that complains about what was not dusted...or discourage buyers because you can only imagine how much maintenance has NOT been done....Take a breath....a kinder aren't selling dust or dirty ARE selling a piece of someone's life history  which right now is not as perfect as anyone wishes it to be....

         This is a professional public service post brought to you by Sally K.  & David L. Hanson, Broker Associates at Keller Williams honored to represent southeastern Wisconsin.

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

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Comment balloon 60 commentsSally K. & David L. Hanson • September 17 2017 01:07PM


I do get your point, Sally and David, about being more "charitable" in situations like this one. We never really do know what is going on behind closed doors.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) 9 months ago

Sally and David, I have to agree with you. If you're in this business long enough you're going to see hardship. And it can be heart breaking! I try to give feedback letting the seller know the client isn't interested. I might send a private email or give a phone call to the agent if I think it is helpful. They can present it to their client in a soft way if they want. You never know what someone else is going through until you walk in their shoes!

Posted by Carla Freund, Raleigh - Cary Triangle Real Estate 919-602-8489 (Keller Williams Preferred Realty) 9 months ago

Nice food for thought.  Not every situation is HGTV worthy.  There's always room for us to remember the range of possibilities that sellers are dealing with. 

Posted by Brenda Mayette, Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how! (Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc.) 9 months ago

I love the detail and thought in your blog today, I just closed a divorce sale and have 2 in the works where everything you wrote, is happening in part or whole in all 3 sales Sally K. & David L. Hanson 

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) 9 months ago

We should help where we can...I have hired cleaners and yard work. Its not about the money, its helping that matters.

Posted by Dennis Swartz, ABR, CRB, GRI, MBA...experience counts! (Full Circle Property Management) 9 months ago

Good morning, Sally and David --- even in the best of circumstances/situations we don't know what is going on behind the scenes.

               Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.   Dalai Lama

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) 9 months ago

This is so very true my friend, I always remind myself to not judge, as we never know what a certain person is going through in their own life.

Posted by Brian England, MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ (Arizona Focus Realty) 9 months ago

Good morning, Sally K. & David L. Hanson point well made.... and there are situations that need to be handled carefully.... it's not always laziness that results in "the mess".... one's frame of mind may be right at the edge!!

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) 9 months ago

Sally, great post to remind us, not everyone has a perfect life, and depression kicks in, giving no motivation to clean! 

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) 9 months ago

Good morning Sally K. & David L. Hanson ,

Very thoughtfully written post that makes us all stop to think why a house shows in its condition. We do need to take in to account the circumstances and have some empathy for those in trying situations. I loved Michael Jacobs comment with the Dalai Lama quote "Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible."

Posted by Dorie Dillard, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) 9 months ago

Good morning Sally and David. What a beautiful post and so beautifully written.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) 9 months ago

Sally K. & David L. Hanson , thank you for presenting the very human side of some sellers who are just doing the best they can -  they deserve understanding and kindness not nitpicky, mean spirited, holier-than-thou feedback

Posted by Mary Douglas, REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado (United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado) 9 months ago

Sally K. & David L. Hanson,  very good post.  It could also be a result of a health decline where they are physically not ABLE to do it.  I know agents that will rip sellers apart for Polish Brass fixtures in the baths.  That drives me crazy!!  I owned a plumbing company before my Real Estate life and trust me people paid good money for those fixtures.  Not everyone has Time, Money and maybe Physical ability to make their home "perfect" for YOUR buyer.  Let's coach both sides!  Happy Sunday.  

Posted by Joan Valverde, GRI,CDPE,CNE,MRP,SRES Colo Sprgs, Blk Forest, Monu (Synergy Realty Group Inc) 9 months ago

Thank you for posting. I once was in the same position. My ex ran off with another woman, primary residence and left me after a major accident in my pre-marital home after he sucked all the equity out of it. As hard as I tried to short sale the home, it eventually went into foreclosure and my dog and I ended up living in a studio apartment above someone's garage. It was pure hell. I have a lot of empathy because of my history. If you haven't been there, try to imagine yourself in their shoes. A little bit of kindness goes a long way!

Posted by Denise Samouilidis, Jupiter Abacoa Sales & Beach Front Luxury Homes (Mirsky Realty Group) 9 months ago

I agree. Life can be hard and even a small dose of compassion can change someone's life in that situation. Thank you for posting your thoughts. 

Posted by Corey Martin, Real Estate and Management Solutions (Martin Presence Group) 9 months ago

Help where and when you can but at all times...hurt no one

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) 9 months ago

Understanding and compassion go a long way, too bad it's often absent.

Posted by Linda Metallo DiBenardo (Re/max Impact, Lockport, Illinois) 9 months ago

Hi Sally and David- you are both very compassionate people!  I love what Richie Alan Naggar said.  We could all use a big dose of compassion. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 9 months ago

I have seen this happen to  a close friend,  lost husband, son move out, she change jobs 3 times in one year and started drinking. Down hill from there.

Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) 9 months ago

Let he who is without sin (or problem in life) cast the first stone . . .

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) 9 months ago

I have paid for professional cleaning in these situations. If finances are an issue and the seller needs the money from the house, then we should be helping them to get it sold as quickly as possible. A well-presented house will sell more quickly for more money. I know other agents who have done the same to help their clients move on.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) 9 months ago

Sally and David you make a very good point.  We all need to be slow to judge others.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) 9 months ago

Beautifully said.  It is our job to also prepare other agents if this is the case so they can be prepared to help their client see past the non perfect look and concentrate on the space, floor plan and potential.

Posted by Amy Gutschow, Professional Real Estate (RE/MAX) 9 months ago

Hi Sally and David

What a thoughtful post! We just never know what may be behind the issues we encounter in a messy home and while it's not desirable a bit of empathy is in order. I have paid for cleaning on a couple of occasions and offered assistance in other ways a few times. It doesn't come up often. Letting prospective agents and their buyers about issues they might encounter, including sellers moving out, can help.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) 9 months ago

So true, Sally and David. I am dealing with some seller clients in that very boat. It is hard to get anything done and oh the tears come in a flash. It takes lots of patience.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) 9 months ago

Compassion and empathy seem to be lost in today's 'high-expectation' lifestyle and it's really sad, isn't it?

Wonderful reminder to always be kind and giving - there's really nothing gained about complaints of poor housekeeping, Hansons both.

Have a wonderful week!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 9 months ago

It all depends where the person is focused. It's all pretty simple that way. Love and light!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) 9 months ago

Compassion and empathy are the basis of everything good really. Once we get that, everything falls into place. Debe Maxwell, CRS

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) 9 months ago

Sally K. & David L. Hanson 
As usual, an informative and compassionate post based on experience and knowledge. Thanks -
All the best - Lynn

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) 9 months ago

Empathy is a necessary tool in this people-related business. Many people get overwhelmed by life at times, and just can't deal with everything. 


Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, 9 months ago

Good morning Sally.

Don't throw a stone it may return to you threefold.  One never knows what other are experiencing in their lives.  Good one, congratulations on the feature

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) 9 months ago

Thank you for a beautiful post . I hope buyer agents will read it and try to understand why some home owners have not been able to maintain their homes.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) 9 months ago

A very solid and compassionate post S&D.  To be a good judge one has to have all the information.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 9 months ago

This is a people business and you have to have compassion in what you see and hear. Don't be too quick to judge...

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) 9 months ago

I see this with short sales too - if those particular people were able to change or get control of their lives they wouldn't be in the short sale itself so it isn't surprising that the house is not neat! 

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) 9 months ago

As with showing any property, we want to focus on the positive aspects of the house.  Just like that annoying red wall or carpets needing replacing,  or odd furniture, the buyers will make the house their own.  Repainting and cleaning are part of it.  I think it says a lot about us as agents when we don't dwell on the negative with our clients.

Posted by Shirley Coomer, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az (Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living) 9 months ago

I think empathy is a necessity in this business and you are right, we never know what's going on with someone.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) 9 months ago

Good morning Sally and David.  While a messy home may not be appealing to buyers and their agents, it's best to be understanding when it comes to feedback and co

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 9 months ago

Empathy is one of the greatest traits an agent can cultivate. It will make your career and your life much more fulfilling.

Posted by Luke Acree, Making Agents Memorable (ReminderMedia) 9 months ago

Empathy is not so often these days. I hae done this so many times... All we need is love... Thank you for sharing

Posted by Andrea.B Ferreira 954-303-8289 CRS, Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL (Keyes Co. ) 9 months ago

Scattered is a good word.  I find that most people who aren't compassionate do not make good judges.  It's easy to look at a circumstance and arrive at a conclusion.  So often the conclusion lacks.  I was happy to see your compassionate take.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 9 months ago

What a great perspective Sally K. & David L. Hanson.  Sometimes we need to be reminded to take a step back and be mindful of our actions and words.

Posted by Lee Keadle, Keadle Real Estate Group (Carolina One Real Estate) 9 months ago

"There but for the Grace of God ..."   The reminder shouldn't be necessary, but it is Sally K. & David L. Hanson ... and you deliver it beautifully here ...


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) 9 months ago

Great post. I'll take the time as a buyers agent to explain why a house may not be in show condition , it's not hard word to get them to see through to what lies beneath. That's the difference between a buyers agent and a door opener.

Posted by Corinne Guest, The Choice of Professionals for Luxury Home Buying (Barrington Realty Company) 9 months ago

So true. I recall touring a house I was listing and the poor tenant was beside herself. She had 2 or 3 small children and her husband had been hauled off to jail for cooking meth. The house was a disaster and she walked around picking up a stray sock here, a dirty dish there, and putting them down again - like she was ashamed of how things looked, but it was just beyond her to do anything about it at the moment.

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) 9 months ago

Hi Sally - very thoughtful post.  There are times when an agent has told me - please take note they just lost a loved one (or whatever) and the home isn't in it's best condition. I make sure to tell the buyers and look beyond all that. Life happens to all of us.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker, Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) 9 months ago

Love the reminder to be compassionate. It's a great thing to pay forward.

Posted by John Lemos, Your Mortgage Expert (New American Funding) 9 months ago

Great article!  We don't know what is going on in the sellers lives and a little compassion goes a long way.  

Posted by Carolyn Hernandez (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty) 9 months ago

When I show up for an appraisal I end up with situations such as this.  I explain that the ""house is lived in"" and not to worry...I realize that there is a major difference between showing a house for sale and having one appraised but the mind set is the same...

Posted by Anthony Vosilla (Tony's Appraisal Services) 9 months ago

I love this feature.  The old phrase "you can't judge a book by its cover" applies. I'm in Real Estate because of having to start all over in life, so I get it.  Your feature is a keeper.  I really appreciated it.  Thank you very much.  Less judgement is needed all around these days.

Posted by Jackie Adams, Jackie Adams 9 months ago

Sally how strange, I responded to this post and no sign of it.... or did this get reblogged and I commented on the re-blog? Strange either way you bring an excellent perspective and most of us do not think of it...Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 9 months ago

I'm all for empathy and most of the time I get too emotionally involved with my clients,  but that isn't going to get buyers to overlook things and pay sellers top dollar.  It's kind of like when in the Fugitive, Harrison Ford when trapped, pleads with Tommy Lee Jones that he didn't kill his wife.  Tommy Lee Jones thinks for a second and then says, "I don't care".  

It's the same with buyers.  They might stop and consider the situation but in the end, they don't care.  It's not their problem.  They just want a nice home.

If I were advising my daughter, I'd say that you do the best you can with what life sends your way.  But don't expect people to care or feel like they owe you something.  A messy house for sale is a messy house for sale.  You'll get what a messy house goes for, no matter what your reasons or situation is.  Now go clean it up.

Posted by Tim Maitski, Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) 9 months ago

As Ellen is famous for saying "Be Kind to One Another".

Constructive criticism is valuable, but delivery is so important.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) 9 months ago

It is always good to be compassionate, and always realize your comment is likely to be shared with a homeowner. No need to be insulting, and there is always a good way to say something hard.

Posted by Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 9 months ago

You never know what you will encounter when you walk into a home.  Oh yeh, sometimes you have a clue, the listings with no photos.

I always tell my buyers not to talk to the sellers if they are in the home.  We get the short sales situation.  Fortunately, we are seeing fewer of these homes on the market.

Posted by Susan McCall, Everyone needs a home, Quickly, professionally and with a little fun! (Compass Realty Solutions, Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA) 9 months ago

Hi Sally & David, 

Such a considerate post and so worthy of a feature.

As a listing agent who knows what the seller is going through, we should remind buyer agents so they can prepare their customers for a home that may not be show ready.  I also do this for tenant occupied homes. 


Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) 9 months ago

A different perspective, we should not be so quick to judge.  I do think however that some people, no matter what the circumstances, just prefer to live in a cluttered mess.

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) 9 months ago

I couldn't agree more with the negative effects of depression on a person, and I agree with the importance of empathy. However, if a house looks disheveled and is in need of repairs, the sellers should understand that the only offers (if any are submited at all) will likely be low-ball offers. When a house is on the market, most people have to adjust how they live in their listed home. It can be a bit uncomfrotable to live this way but if a house is staged and/or looks fantastic, it will be reflected in the price. This is a universal truth, whether purchasing in my hometown of Columbia, SC or anywhere else in the world. 

Posted by Kimber Braswell, A staged home is a sold home! (sweetgrass home staging, llc) 9 months ago

On my best days, keeping my house in order, neat and clean 100% of the time is low on my priority list. Can't imagine how much harder it is for people having major stuggles in their lives. One usually never knows what a seller is dealing with when you show their home to a buyer. So, the best thing to do is not judge. What ever condition it's in when you show it, take it a face value and try to help the buyer see past the imperfections. It will either work for the buyer or it won't. Regardless of what the condition is, it's the prefect house for someone. 

Posted by Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA, Providing the integrity and service you deserve. (Future Home Realty) 9 months ago

Sally K. & David L. Hanson "When you are "at the bottom" or on your way there...the dishes in the sink, freshly vacuumed floors, etc. are not your top priority....functioning the best you know how for yourself and the people who depend on you....ARE....and some days that is difficult."

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) 8 months ago