August 2, 2009

Seriously, people?

So if you've ever had your television tuned in to HGTV for more than 30 consecutive minutes, you've probably seen shows like Designed to Sell, where experts help sellers get their homes sold by making a few inexpensive but high-impact upgrades, clearing out the clutter, and showcasing the home's best features. Not rocket science. Not brain surgery. Pretty simple, obvious stuff.

There are websites full of great advice, like this one from I found these tips on, submitted by a realtor:

1. Depersonalize, take down all the little things that say this is my house. The buyers must be able to walk into a home and see themselves as living there. Pictures, items on the fridge like magnets and drawings the kids have done - pack them away. Remember. you are going to move anyway.

2. Declutter, make your house as empty as possible. Your square footage will appear larger. Empty out as much from the closets, bookshelves, garage and don't forget the kid's rooms. Store it off site if you can.

3. Neutralize the colors! Paint every room the same neutral color. If you are re-carpeting do the same thing, one neutral color throughout.

4. Deodorize, you probably don't smell it, since you are desensitized to it. Animals are the biggies here. Please don't try to cover it up with candles.

5. Have an unbiased person come in and look around and make a list for you of all the things that need repaired or taken care of. We tend not to see these little annoyances after a while, but prospective buyers will!

Good advice, but like I said, nothing that requires an exceptionally high IQ. Just common sense. Right?

Um...well, not so much...

I offer as evidence these photos of homes currently on the market in my neck of the woods...and before anyone starts in with the redneck/Southern/hillbilly jokes, let me just say I'm certain I could find the same sort of bewildering disregard for basic rules of home-keeping (much less SELLING!) anywhere in the US, if not the world.

All photos from

"Order is a lovely nymph, the child of Beauty and Wisdom; her attendants are Comfort, Neatness, and Activity; her abode is the valley of happiness: she is always to be found when sought for, and never appears so lovely as when contrasted with her opponent, Disorder." ~ Samuel Johnson

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