Q: “Denise, I have a seller who will be listing in a few weeks. He recently retired and will be moving out of state. His house is in decent shape with a nice view, but he has this old truck in his driveway that is a total eyesore. I am not sure if it is drivable and has some tools and items in the back that he has covered with those lovely blue tarps. I have the photographer coming in two weeks and this home will also be having drone video due to the view off the back. But I am concerned the view of the front and this terrible truck is going to kill the sale. He told me last night that he is not willing or able to move the truck for both the photography session nor the duration of the listing. What do I do with that?”
A: I wonder why he won’t move the truck? Is it that he doesn’t know how to get someone to help? Does he not know where to store it? There must be a reason.
It also sounds like he might have some emotion tied into this truck situation. Is it that he is having a harder time with this impending move than he originally thought? Is he having a difficult time with retirement and feels out of control?
All of these reasons may be coming into play here. Therefore, it is important to go back to the facts and take the emotion out of it. Here is how I would approach it:
“Fred, I have been thinking about our conversation the other night about the truck. I want to explain a little more about why I am recommending we move the truck and then I want to hear more about your concerns about moving the truck. Are you open to hearing my thoughts and sharing yours?”
Hopefully he says that he is open to this discussion. He might say something snarky like, “you can waste your breath all you want but I am not moving my truck.” Just ignore the snarky parts and thank him for the opportunity to discuss. That way you aren’t dipping down into the emotion and you are maintaining control of the conversation.
Then you can say something like this,
“My ultimate goal is to get your home sold for the most money. As a professional, I am trained to look for things that will get the buyer really excited about your home and I also have to look for things that might make a buyer pause or get concerned. For your home, I know buyers are going to get excited about the view, the expansive back deck, even the landscaping in the front. But when my photographer is taking a photo of that landscaping in the front, it is going to be very difficult to mask your old truck with the blue tarps which is going to distract the buyer from looking at all the great stuff you have going on in the front. Imagine the drone aerial photography panning from your amazing view to the front of the house, all of which looks lovely but then we see the truck and the tarps. I am worried that the decision to keep the truck in the driveway is going to cause buyers to get distracted and not focus on the great qualities in your home.”
Then ask some questions about his truck moving concerns. See what you can find out.
You can then move on to truck moving and storage solutions that would be good options based on his concerns.
But in the end, if he is adamant about keeping the truck there, it is his listing and he can choose to do so. But you should have a conversation (as you should with any seller) about pricing realistically and how you advise price reductions should be handled.