Everyone grew up in a neighborhood that has that house. The yard was a clutter of weeds and broken bottles, and an overgrown trellis masked the front door. You were scared to pass by at night.

In what has become one of the most-challenging housing markets ever, you’d be surprised how many people with homes like this think they’ll sell them. All things being equal, a would-be buyer will take the clean, attractive, uncluttered home and yard.  Here are great ways to send buyers packing:

Valley of the curb appeal monster

Photo by Ugly House Photos

Photo by Ugly House Photos

I was stunned to find this photo at Ugly House Photos. The home backed upon my childhood home in the San Fernando Valley. In this economic climate, buyers aren’t that interested in huge fixer-uppers. It’s tragic, considering all the affordable ways to brighten your home’s façade.

Landscaping by Sparky

Photo by Cheap Bee Removal

Photo by Cheap Bee Removal

Good luck staging a home for sale with Sparky in the yard, unless you’re tossing in a huge mallet to whack his furry lil’ skull. The tail-lights diminishing into the night, those belong to potential buyers.

Shrinking your expectations

Photo by Ripley's

Photo by Ripley's

That genuine artifact you brought back from Brazil just might diminish your closing points – if anyone buys your place. Better Homes and Gardens recommends 20 ways to boost curb appeal. But your family photo of Uncle Max with a geisha or the head of that elk you dropped last year must come off the wall.

When less is more

Photo by Career Line

Photo by Career Line

Those cute extras you’re including in the sale – the garden shed, workshop, barn – will only hurt if they’re in considerably worse shape than the rest of the home. It’s like trying to swim the English Channel with an anvil on your back.

There are no guarantees in tough times, but when it comes to staging a home and property, it pays to be a clean freak.

Golden Oak: Neighborhood by Disney

Some of us want to live in multi-million-dollar homes in gated communities. Some just want to be safe and comfortable, while too many live in cardboard boxes or shelters. That’s why it’s difficult for me to believe in the Disney myth that there is a carefree land of tomorrow. I was stirred to see the story at Yahoo that some 450 homes are for sale now in Golden Oak, a Florida planned community owned by Disney, adjacent to its Orlando parks. Prices, according to Disney, are forecast from $1.4 to $8 million.

Golden Oak interior

Yahoo Photo by Dan Forer

Yahoo Photo by Dan Forer

Welcome to the  All-American living room, ala Disney. This dining/living room area has an animation cell look to it, doesn’t it? According to Golden Oak, residents and children have social and educational programs in concert with neighboring Walt Disney World Resort as well as movie nights, culinary adventures and more. For me, the mystique died the day I toured the backstage corridors of Disneyland where mascot mice had their heads off, tucked under their arms, while their human heads chatted and smoked. Anyway, I’m not going to make any additional financial or political remarks. Anyone who thinks Golden Oak will be free of disease, worry or red ants should look more closely at the neighborhood.

Coupe de vil

Just across manicured lawns of Golden Oak and around the curve is the home of ugly Cruella De Vil. Her home is often picketed by PETA members and sometimes puppies cry out in the night. She recently announced her candidacy for the homeowners association board.

A question of residential density

Just across the street, Ms. White, vivacious and sweet, lives in a home with eight cars parked outside. The window glass is always dark, so you don’t  know what they’re doing. Gnarly little dudes zip around the streets in their Minis. It’s like a commune of deadbeat uncles over there.

There’s one in every community

Once you’re in Golden Oak, a sense of security surrounds you. Ironically, this goofball mutt lives down the lane in a crooked house. Science reports very low brain amperage in the large, playful doggie. Every so often he gets excited and dizzy and loses control of the lawn tractor. You can see the rows plowed through the landscaping.

If you’re willing to put up with these characters for your own imagined peace of mind, visit Yahoo for more pictures and information about Golden Oak.

Recent Comments

  • Kid's stuff:Bedroom furniture for dreamers

    Hey Woodrow,

    You've put together a great post here. Hardwearing and long-lasting bedroom furniture is so important when you have young children, and choosing pieces which can handle the rough-and-tumble that comes with having little ones is key!

    Best wishes, Alex.

  • Awesomely Oddball Lawn and Garden Accessories

    I plan to do this. What was your process in painting the bottom...outside portion of the tub?

  • Poor staging can crush your home sale

    Woodrow, you have once again 'nailed' the essence of the issue of staging your home for sale with easy to understand pics and words. These are definitely rules to live by, oh wise one! I know I"m soaking up the knowledge you share--- now excuse me while I wring myself out. Can't wait for the next issue.

  • To everyone, a room of one's own

    We've recently bought a house which needs A LOT of work and I'm trying to convince my other half to let me build a "room of my own" for the house, one where I can put my games console and beer fridge. She's not gone for it yet though. The most I've managed to get is an office I can work out of ... not quite the same ... LoL.

    Mine would certainly be like the car boot room in the first image :)


  • Home designs you haven’t seen before

    I wonder how far the folks in the Rock House are able to drive in their car? Maybe down to their boat? It's so true that home is where you are at the moment.