Meg White is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.
I was selling a beautiful eco-friendly home in Venice, Calif., and sometimes a green home means hippie clients. The sellers of this particular property were two very hip parents — a nutritionist and a writer. They had a couple of kids who continued to live with their parents well into their 20s. It sounds great: free pad, free food, with parents that let them do anything in the house. However, when it came time to sell the house, the son would smoke pot in his bedroom before showings. It was very fragrant and, on several occasions, I had prospects comment knowingly on the smell. I tried scented candles and airing out the room, but eventually I had to ask the parents to talk to him about it.
Talk about awkward. “You know that thing that your son does in his room?” I asked, not even really sure that they did know. “Can you make him stop?” They knew exactly what I was talking about. It took about three tries before they understood what I meant about how the son was undermining the sale of the home.
Another issue with that house was that it wasn’t far from the beach, and there is a sizable group of homeless people nearby. Out-of-area buyers would try to get the price down by calling it out, so I tried to keep it light, telling people, “Hey, if you didn’t have to worry about rent and could live anywhere in the country, wouldn’t you move to the beach?” If you know the areas of Venice and Santa Monica, you know the issue. In full disclosure, if buyers can’t handle that sort of atmosphere, they might want to find another place to live.
In the end, we got an all-cash offer and sold the home at full asking price. The buyers were Canadians looking for a vacation house and loved the low-maintenance style of a green home.
—as told by Heather Leikin, associate partner at Partners Trust in Los Angeles.
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