When selling or renting your home, your walls DO talk, and sometimes they tell stories you wouldn’t believe. Telling stories aren’t always a bad thing, however, some should be left untold. When prospective buyers and renters view your home, are they getting the full picture? Should they see the full picture? Although a buyer’s experience can and should be totally different than a renter’s experience, there are similarities as well.

When renting, the owner of the home is saying, “Stay here, and live like we do. Treat my home as if it were your own, but respect all my things. See? I’ve left everything you need to enjoy your time here in the mountains.”

When buying, the seller of the home is saying, “I hope you like my home. I want you to buy it and enjoy your time here in the mountains like we have for X amount of years…”

But,  this is where the seller’s story can have different endings. There are at least three scenarios that complete the seller’s story. 

 #1 Here’s one we see a lot “…I’ve left everything you need to start your own story in my house, you don’t have to bring a thing but your toothbrush, at least I hope I remembered to take mine out. I hope you have a dog, because I’ve left my supply of leashes and dog bowls just for you. The artwork includes everything from my beloved framed shell collection (those shells came from all over the world you know) to the starry night from Van Gogh (it’s not an original) to the beautiful gold macaroni art my granddaughter made at summer camp-priceless…” We see this a lot for several reasons, a second home is full of things the seller has that are no longer needed in their new stage in life, or in their primary home, and their children and/or grandchildren don’t want them. I’ve seen buyers almost run to get away from these homes, and that’s too bad because most of them just needed to be ‘de-previous ownerized’.






#2, This is more common these days, maybe because their Realtor has suggested ‘less is more’. This is what these sellers are saying, “Welcome to my home. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. When we bought it, we were overjoyed with the amount of space it had to offer. We’re leaving everything you need to move right in, but just the basics because you will want to fill it with treasures you find along your new home journey. Believe me, we know how expensive the basics can be, so we’ve got you covered here with nice bedding, matching window treatments, and we’re leaving the grill and all the deck furniture as they seem to fit perfectly…” You can feel the welcome when you walk into those homes, and guess what? The buyers can too.

#3- these aren’t as common, in our marketplace, but they’re there. These sellers are saying, “Welcome to your next home! Here it is a blank slate and it’s broom clean. We’ve had everything freshly painted with a neutral color, and the floors have all been refinished (or newly carpeted, or tiled), so please use the booties we’ve provided when viewing. We hope you like all the space, we sure enjoyed our years here. Oh, there’s one thing ‘original’ we’ve left, if you don’t like it, you can always have it refinished. There’s a hallway door frame with etched marks showing the growth of our children, I just couldn’t paint over that…” When buyers look at these homes, sometimes they’re taken aback at the starkness, the coldness, the nothingness. It helps when the home’s character shines through with wood, stone, natural light, etc. Sometimes though, buyers can see through all the fresh paint. They imagine behind that neutral painted bedroom oom may have once been purple with a teenager’s posters hanging on the walls, music blaring as they did their homework. The bland living room, kitchen, and outdoor areas used to be alive with conversation and laughter. One wonders, did someone ever propose in this garden? How many football wins were celebrated here? Christmases? Easter brunches and Thanksgiving dinners with family gathered around a festive table.

Buyers come in all shapes and sizes. Some say “Oh, I’ll know when I see it, the perfect house for me. I can look over clutter, design or anything really.” Sometimes, those are the ones that go running, but the same can go for a stark empty home because some buyers can’t imagine what to do with the space. Buyers and sellers are just people after all and some need a little help imagining things, while others can ‘see’ a multitude of things no matter how the house is presented. As a Realtor, we have to allow buyers to imagine themselves in THEIR new home. Imagine that.

Jeannie and Tucker Chambers are owner/brokers at Chambers Realty & Vacation Rentals at 401 N. Fifth Street Highlands, NC. They want to help you see yourself in a home or a vacation rental. Imagination is only the beginning. Highlandsiscalling.com [email protected]