Friday, March 21, 2008

Q: We are going to sell our house and want a recommendation for a listing agent.

We had someone we were going to use but she told us that we should put away our "religious objects." We found that insulting and now we don't want to use her.

Before you dismiss the agent you're already working with, let's talk about this. It is a very sensitive and delicate issue, I know, but I suspect I would agree with her. I'm sure her comments were not intended to be rude or hurt your feelings. What many people don't realize is that religious pictures, icons, and ritual objects from any faith can be a turn off to those of another faith.

Years ago there was a home on the market that had a very large collection of religious objects. The house was stunning and had a beautiful view. It sat, month after month, in a very active market, without so much as an offer. I showed it several times and each time I could feel my clients react to that collection.

The sellers came to me at one point and asked for a recommendation for another listing agent. They felt it was their current agent's fault that the house had not sold. I told them how their collection of objects, although probably precious to them, was putting people off. Buyers didn't even look at the house because they were almost spooked by these religious objects. The sellers took these things down and the house sold in a week.

Keep in mind that you are going to be moving anyway, so why not pack up these items along with family pictures, and other precious belongings? That way no one will be distracted by them and will be judging your house, and not your beliefs. We all have some pretty deeply held prejudices. None of us like to think we are prejudiced but we can have subconscious reactions to things even when we aren't aware of them. The goal here is to sell your house, not your religion. Best of luck to you.