Ugly Works In Selling! (Except When It’s Your House)
One of them was a photo-op from an Aspin conference where Peggy and I got our picture took with Bill Clinton. Suddenly we have inserted ourselves into the prospect’s train of thought that would distract from the house itself.
“Hey, look, here’s Bill Clinton!”
“Yech, these people are Democrats!”
All of this clutter was squirreled away out of sight — replaced by an innocuous wooden bird carving and an open art book with a beautiful photograph of polar bears.
Below is my section of the closet. For 60 years every closet I ever had was a pigsty. Realtor + wife ordered me to clean it up. We took five big plastic garbage bags of my stuff to Goodwill Industries. I’m now down to only clothes that fit — five sports jackets and dress trousers along with four suits: winter, hot summer, spring/fall and a tux.
All dress shirts are on elegant narrow hangars acquired from The Container Store and arranged by color — from dark to light.
When a prospective buyer sees a closet like this, in the back of his mind is the thought this house will be an inspiration to turn over a new leaf and get organized.
Every nook and cranny of our house is tidy. For example, under our kitchen sink was a mini-junkyard of crap. Today all is neatly arranged in two medium-sized plastic bins — just in case anybody peeks.
In short, we are living a lie.
Takeaways to Consider:
- “Neatness rejects involvement.” —Lew Smith
- "Avoid walls of gray type." —David Ogilvy
- “Ugly works.” — Bob Hacker
- Do not expect home buyers to have an iota of imagination.
- Many years ago I was in the checkout line at Turn-of-River Hardware in Stamford, Connecticut. As the guy ahead of me was paying the woman at the register, she exclaimed, “Oh ... why, you bought that house! We looked at that house and we loved it.” “You should see it now,” the guy said. “You know why we didn’t buy that house?” she said. “I give up. Why didn’t you buy the house?” “We couldn’t handle the wallpaper in the hall.”
- When selling a house, it should be as depersonalized and comfy as possible — like a hotel room when you first walk in. Here’s the Presidential Suite at New York’s Waldorf Astoria:Let them imagine how this beautiful space can become theirs!
Denny Hatch is marketing consultant, copywriter and designer. The author of four novels and seven business books, his newest is Write Everything Right!
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