From Listed to SOLD - How to Sell Those Listings You Work So Hard to Get!

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Do You "Disclose" a Home's Obvious Deficiencies in Your Marketing?

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Many years ago, I had a sweeeet little listing in Denver. A 1940's stucco Tudor, with all the fixtures and features Tudor-philes love - glass doorknobs, art-deco light fixtures, oak floors with inlays, decorative tile window sills, vintage fireplace... it was an easy house to fall in love with.

And buyers did... over and over again. Fell in love, that is... UNTIL...

<key spooky music>

...they reached the back bedroom. Unfortunately, the entire northwest corner of this sweeeeet little stucco Tudor was sinking. Not only did the floor slope alarmingly, there were 1"-2" cracks all along the back wall and across the ceiling.

Ouch.

How fast do think buyers ran screaming for the door?

(pretty fast)

Other than the minor issue of a quarter of the house falling off, the home was truly wonderful. It sat on an oversize lot, had a finished basement, an updated kitchen and 2 full baths. The price was great (since we knew we had an objection to overcome), it was staged and photographed beautifully.

BUT WE DIDN'T DISCLOSE THE STRUCTURAL DEFECT IN THE LISTING DESCRIPTION, hoping that buyers would fall so in love with the home, they'd be willing to overlook it.

Silly, silly Jennifer.

The house didn't sell. And didn't sell. And didn't sell some more, even though we had scads of showings.

It finally occurred to me that we were attracting the wrong buyer - the adorableness of the house was bringing in the Pottery Barn crowd by the dozens, but ... the Pottery Barn crowd ain't much interested in a house with a serious structural issue.

So, I could finish this story, but I'd rather hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you "disclose*" an obvious defect (e.g. high-tension power lines overhead, a highway behind the back fence, water in the basement, a strong offensive odor, structural damage, etc.) in your marketing, or let buyers discover for themselves it when they look at the house?

Please share your thoughts and experiences!

* by "disclose" I'm not referring to our and our sellers' legal obligation to disclose known defects; I'm asking if you mention the defect in your MLS description and other marketing.

 

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Comment balloon 52 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • March 18 2011 07:39AM
Do You "Disclose" a Home's Obvious Deficiencies in Your…
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Many years ago, I had a sweeeet little listing in Denver. A 1940's stucco Tudor, with all the fixtures and features Tudor-philes love - glass doorknobs, art-deco light fixtures, oak floors with inlays, decorative tile window sills, vintage… more