Once I listed a house that was a total dump. It had been inhabited by a group of wild and crazy graduate students who shared quarters with a pet goat. The goat had actually eaten several sections of an antique oak staircase. The place was truly awful.
And it smelled like a freakin' goat!
I sat in front of my computer screen at the office trying to think of how to write an ad that might attract a buyer.
There were all the euphemistic cliches:
- This Old House!
- Bring Your Decorator!
- Bring Your Architect!
- Rehab Opportunity!
- Sweat Equity!
Nothing felt right. Then a wise old colleague suggested that I stop trying to be subtle and just tell it ike it was, and together we wrote an ad that totally captured the house. The ad read:
Abominable Condition: 4-level Victorian bayfront has seen too many toga parties.
We included the price, neighborhood, address and Open House hours.
So the next Sunday, I stuck my arrows in the ground, tied on some balloons, and people started to come by - in droves! The most common remark was, "Wow! This place really isn't all that terrible!"
It's like they expect real estate agents to exaggerate!
At the end of the day, there were several offers, and one of them worked out.
In this case, my sellers were in Dublin and less likely to see the Washington Post ad that we ran. Had they been local, we would have had to prepare them for the ad, hoping it wouldn't hurt their feelings.
I learned an important lesson from this - often, lower expectations give you a higher chance of attracting a buyer! Go figure!