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Clean it, paint it, fix it up, you just lost a buyer for your big, expensive home.

Clean it, paint it, fix it up, you just lost a buyer for your big, expensive home.

Paint CanI have been showing higher end homes in Brookfield, CT, between 650,000 to 680,000 to a client. Although I think his mind is made up, something popped on the market that he just had to see. It was at the top end of what he wanted to spend, judging from the photos and description he was very excited about it. I would have previewed, time was not on my side however.

The house sits up, with sweeping views over the cul de sac and beyond. We knew the back yard was minimal, he was ok with that based on the interior photos. This home is fairly new, 5 years young. We expected something entirely different than what we saw. As we walked up the front walkway, surprise, surprise. The vinyl siding was covered in algea and what appeared to be mold on the columns. Strange indeed as their were no trees, the front of the house had a good amount of sun for a major portion of the day. As I arrived at double front doors I was shocked. The black doors were beaten up, chipped, banged up, dirty. Not the grand entrance one would have expected at all.ha

Once inside we were greeted with more of the same. The family lived hard in this house, there were young children, a large dog and a cat. But for this price I would have expected that they would have taken the time to get the house ready to go on the market. Almost every wall was dented, banged, had grimy hand prints. There were nail pops in almost every room. An obvious leak from the master bath into the kitchen had stained the ceiling and walls. Perhaps the leak was fixed but it sure scared my buyer.

The lower level was not finished but they still used it for a playroom and office. The first thing I noticed was the children had way to much fun with crayons on the sheetrock  going down the stairs. Wow! Next their were toys scattered everywhere on the floor, all over the place! It turned my client off completely. The gauge on the oil burner looked like it was growing a scientific experiment inside, I have never seen anything quite like it.

Red CarpetWhen we left my client said that he just couldn't do it, the cost to take care of everything that needs to be done was overwhelming for him. He asked me why, at that price range, the homeowner didn't do everything they could to make the house shine? I couldn't answer the question, and I couldn't agree with him more.

I would bet this one will sit for a while, until it goes to the relocation company. I wonder how they will feel about that when they take it over? Either that or the owner will take a significant hit on the price if he does get an offer.

Clean it up, paint it, get it ready to go on the market! Buyers have multiple choices, and they really do prefer the homes that are in great shape, or are priced according to condition. Make those buyers feel like you rolled out the red carpet for them!

Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors

2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor


 Search homes for sale in Litchfield County, CT.


Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776


© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017

 Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain

Comment balloon 15 commentsAndrea Swiedler • July 26 2010 10:48AM


When parents grow up without discipline, their kids do too. It's a shame they never had to clean up after themselves.

Posted by Robert Slick, NRBA, RDCPro, Trident/CCAR MLS (Beach and River Homes) over 8 years ago

Some sellers get the idea that the neighborhood fetches those prices so they should too.  They'd like to do no work and fetch top dollar. Not going to happen, for the reasons you point out.  Total initial turn-off!

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 8 years ago

It would be interesting to know if the agent for the Seller called you for any feedback.  I would surely be forthcoming with the buyer's information.

Posted by Eileen Liles, Macht-Liles Real Estate Group - Cedaredge, CO (970-216-0530 over 8 years ago

Andrea, I showed that house a few months ago...........I guess they never learned.

Posted by Rita Fong, Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale (RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 ) over 8 years ago


RUN fast and far, you don't want this house, as all of that deferred maintenance and just intelligent logic tells you a ton about the house. 

I am shocked that someone would take the listing.  We are a team, the sellers and I,working to do the right things to get the house sold, they have to do their work - cleaning, painting & de-cluttering if I am to have a chance of succeeding in this current market, or they need to give it away.  Of course, somehow, I find the folks who want the highest prices, usually are the ones that won't play ball as a team. 

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 8 years ago

Andrea, that house sounds like an abused spouse!  The sellers need a listing agent who will read them the riot act!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 8 years ago

With all the options for buyers these days, a home really has to sparkle for a buyer to consider it.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) over 8 years ago

I've seen these too. $800,000 (which is about 6x median around here) and it was dirty and needed lots of maintenance. Another one that was $899k and the kitchen flooring was buckled up - as in lifted 8 inches OFF the floor. What are these sellers - and their agents - thinking?

Posted by Julia Odom, Chattanooga Homes for Sale (Select Realty Professionals) over 8 years ago

Robert, it was just that they lived really hard in the house. The rooms were all clean, but those walls, the damage to the ceiling, the nail pops, the algae, mold, all more than we could handle.

Karen, really, it was too bad. It could have worked, then the agent said the relo company would throw a few grand in for painting.... try more like 20 grand, these are not the type of people to paint themselves.

Rita, for that price I expect to have my clients socks knocked off!

Michelle, I am blessed that all my homes right now are cleaner than you can imagine. OK, all but one, LOL. My clients are a pleasure to work with!

Pat, the listing agent thought I was too picky. I made him remove the large dog for the first showing, that was a pain.... then I told him the dog could be out for the second showing, all he did was follow us around and stick his nose in very uncomfortable places...

Craig, it really does have to stand out. No question about it. And not because you remember the crayon drawings on the walls or nail pops, or the dirty and scuffed front doors...

Juli, just blows my mind! We were not that bad, however, it will take a substantial amount to fix it.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

This is typical of folks who "use" the house rather than live in it.  The condition will be reflected in the final price.  The relo and ultimately the employer will take a hit. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Lenn, and they sure are "using" this house! There is a bumper pool table in the driveway, sitting out in the rain. You can tell they are still playing with it, but ghesh, how about in the garage? Looks horrible when you are driving up. Gets worse when you get out of the car. Just enough damage all the way around to be talking about enough money and time to make someone run away. You can get new construction for less! And with it being very close to power lines, one would think they would do all they could to take your attention away from that. Ah well.. who am I...

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

Andrea..I wish the seller read the info before the buyers saw the house..great info


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) over 8 years ago

Andrea this reminded me of an open house I went to; the home owners did not even pick up for the open house but wanted someone to buy the house for 1.5 million dollars.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 8 years ago

We have way too many properties like that here in San Diego. The high end market lags behind the general market by 12-24 months, and it seems to be hitting its low point right now while the rest of the market seems to be in year two of a recovery. It's amazing that people can spend that much money on something and then just ignore it.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) over 8 years ago

I'm always amazed by Sellers that just don't get it! I'm surprised to hear it in the price range yoare showing now. When the house doesn't sell they will just keep reducing the price until they sell it for much less than market value in about a year or longer. Very sad that they obviously haven't been educated and informed by their agent! It will be interesting to see how it works out for the Relo company.

Posted by Paige Walker, Real Estate Guru - Alexandria Pineville LA (Paige Walker) over 8 years ago