Can a house be too clean?

May 17, 2012

No, a house cannot be to clean. The answer to your first question, “why is the house not selling?”, may be found in your second sentence. “A lot of people do not like the layout.”

Reader Question: Monty. 20 showings and no offers…5 interested people, two second showings. Comments have been very clean, but a lot of people do not like the lay out. We have 2300 square feet with a large kitchen, dining room, large family room, 3 full baths, 4 bedroom and an unfinished 5th room over the garage. We do not have the living room but larger rooms instead. It is on the market for 239,000 in a neighborhood houses are selling between 240,000 & 260,000. Why is the house not selling when all the agents say, ” it is show ready”, “very clean”, “nice property and well kept”??? Help! Can a house be to clean?  – Anonymous

Monty’s Answer: Hello Anonymous. No, a house cannot be to clean. The answer to your first question, “why is the house not selling?”, may be found in your second sentence. “A lot of people do not like the layout.” I have copied two paragraphs directly below from the Red Flags of Real Estate page that may be the source of your concern. I recommend you review the entire page.

“Floor Plans and Amenities – Consider the layout and size of rooms when evaluating a home. Does a two-bedroom home fit into an area of mostly three-bedroom homes? A home with a bedroom that can only be entered through another bedroom should be evaluated differently. Houses lacking a garage in an area where garages are common should be of concern. Unusual floor plans and over sized rooms may not work efficiently for some families. Further, missing amenities, such as no half bath in high traffic areas when most other homes in the area have them, can sometimes affect marketability.”

“To the seller I would say, if your home has a “red flag” be alert so as not to overprice your home. Remember that there is a buyer for every home. I have observed objections melt away as the price is reduced. The point is that money cures all deficiencies. The real trick is not to get excited and over react. “

Do Not Get Excited

Here, is what I mean by “not to get excited and over react.” Before reacting to my response, consider the situation more closely by answering these questions:

  • How long has the home been on the market?
  • What is the “sales rate” for homes in your neighborhood?
  • What is the “last list price” to “sale price” ratio?
  • How many homes are competing today?
  • How strong is your motivation for selling?
  • What factors influenced your decision to buy the home?
  • When you bought the house did you think the floor plan was unusual?
  • If so, how did you overcome your concern then?

It is possible in a strong sellers market that the right buyer has yet to appear. After all, you bought the home and liked the floor plan. There may be others that will like it, as well.

Here Is Another Tact

It may also be possible to change the perception the lack of a living room could create in a potential buyer.

  • Can the space be presented as an advantage that will resonate?
  • Can the furniture be rearranged to better demonstrate the use of space?
  • Can a living room be created on paper by adding a wall, then get a firm bid from a contractor and make it a part of the presentation? Acknowledging the issue upfront may help the prospect see a solution they would otherwise miss.
  • The great room concept was meant to combine a living room and a den or family room. Can the family room be referred to as a “great room”?

You will be better positioned to decide what actions, if any, to take after answering these questions. Your real estate agent can help you with much of this work. I hope you find this information helpful. If you have further questions on this or any other real estate subject please ask again.

Good luck with finding a buyer.

Monty