Written by Kelsey Lane

Instagram these days is riddled with gorgeous videos of glamorous Realtors showing upscale staged homes for sale at record-high list prices. We can easily imagine sellers trotting off into the sunset into even larger, more luxurious mansions. Of course, this is sometimes the case (and I'm not knocking it).


But in the spirit of being "really real" it's often difficult life events that get thrown at a homeowner that prompts them to need to sell. And when the tough realities hit, the last thing these homeowners likely want to face is cleaning out their homes to be staged.


Sometimes homeowners are faced with financial hardship - either the loss of a job, or other unforeseen surprise. Sometimes it's health. Sometimes it's both. Imagine knowing you need to divest your home which is currently providing you comfort and stability, and looking around at years of stuff that needs to be sorted, cleaned, and stored. Oh, and by the way, you don't have any energy to do it. I have helped many sellers that are in this situation, and it can be both overwhelming and heartbreaking for someone who is going through these life events.


There are some options of how to handle the home sale in order to minimize impact to the best level possible.  First of all, homes can be shown as is. This will, of course, affect the sales price, but often it is more important to maintain a low level of stress than it is to get the highest price. Only the homeowner can make that call, but it's an option. In addition, the hours of showing can be limited to certain days, where the seller can spend some time at a different location during the tours. Open houses are also not a requirement - showings can happen privately by individual Realtors with their clients during certain windows of time.


Another option is to begin the cleaning, sorting, and storing process of personal belongings (just like in a typical sale). Agents often have resources for personal organizers or other professionals that can help. Or, perhaps there are friends who can come on a regular basis for successive weeks in order to help. Many agents will help to "stage" with your own belongings if you're tight on funds to hire an actual stager. And in reality, homes do not need to be staged in order to conduct a home sale. Any progress of cleaning, sorting, and storing will help the eventual price.


During a difficult time to sell, you also have the option of not having your home on the MLS and not having a "for sale" sign if these options suit you better.


Bottom line is there are options if you are anyone you know are going through a difficult time and needs to do something with the house. I'm happy to talk over any scenario and answer what questions I can.




Kelsey Lane has been a Realtor in the Silicon Valley since 2003 and is a Master Certified Negotiation Expert through the Real Estate Negotiation Institute, specializing in listings. She is also coaching certified through the Life Purpose Institute and approaches her real estate business through the eyes of a life coach. Cal-DRE #01390557