I've been an agent for over fifteen years now and I really enjoy it. Part of the excitement in this job is...you meet all kinds of people and see all kinds of houses.
We've all had that experience of being contacted for a listing appointment and not knowing what the inside of the house will look like. Walking through the front door..the first impression is so important, and often tells you a lot about the sellers. And sometimes, the house is updated, well maintained, nicely decorated, clean and not cluttered. And sometimes, it's not. When the inside of the house is more lived in than show ready, it can be diffcult to figure out if the sellers are willing to get the house in the best shape it can be for the market...so they can get the top dollar they expect.
That's when I know I need to take a more positive approach, no matter what. Sellers are generally very proud of their homes, despite the possible sloppy and cluttered appearance. Being critical of the home will be taken personally. So I want to reinforce the positives rather than focus on the negative. And then take a more gentle, diplomatic approach on how the home should be prepared for sale.
I work with many seniors who need/want to move/downsize, and quite often the decor of the home is 20-40 years out of date. The mechanicals may be updated, but the furnishings, paint, wallpaper, drapes, applicances will not appeal to today's buyer and will not show well in photos. These older adults often feel like 'it's good enough for us' and note 'the house next door sold with multiple offers and it's just like ours' and so on. A busy family with kids and pets may say "I just can't get rid of all my kids toys" or "I don't have time or money to touch up the trim paint" or "I don't smell any pet odor". And sometimes, I can just feel that they are embarrassed about the condition of the home. This is the time to be positive and diplomatic...but first, be positive and focus on the features a buyer will like: location, inviting outdoor space, great curb appeal, large master bath, new roof, etc. I take this same approach when giving feedback after showing a house--I note a few positive features as well as anything that didn't work for my buyer. Sellers are very sensative to the feedback comments.
I like to be around positive people--those with a great attitude and who don't complain often about the small stuff. And boy, do people complain endlessly about small stuff: having to wait through a traffic light, or the grocery check out clerk is too slow, or why doesn't this shirt come in my size. They can get very upset! I occasionly rant about some stupid paperwork detail or an agent not getting back to me in a timely manner. But I won't dwell on it; not worth the effort. And I usually keep it to myself.
Having a positive outlook, even when the house is not in good shape, creates a better atmosphere to start the relationship and the rest of the process of consulting and hopefully, listing the home.