Actually, I find it more difficult to tell a homeowner that their home is dirty and cluttered.
For houses that need help, I use this "Have you ever traded in or sold a car?" "Before you put it up for sale or brought it to the dealership did you get it washed and cleaned up?" "Why?" Selling a house is similar, you want to get the most money
Some agents hire a staging company to come in and break the news. Confidence is the key - stagers are very confidant with what needs to be done.
If they have too much stuff, you could indicate that thye are going to have to pack it up anyway. Might as well start now...
Now if I was able to get those results, with just a few dollars spent at the five and ten cent store, how much more can your clients accomplish if that is their intention?
If you can invest a few thousand in paint and come away with multiple offers, then that's the smart play - isn't it?
Some good advice from Dave Janis: If you are uncomfortable breaking some news, invite a professional stager to assess what needs to be done. Then let the stager give the seller the unwelcome news.
If you see something that is an obvious repair, I think you need to speak up and let them know about the roof or some stained drywall that detracts from an otherwise beautiful home.
When a buyer has the makings of a nice home, it's a shame for it to just sit there in its mediocrity. I thought I had a home that sparkled until I put it on the market (during a time when I wasn't an agent). The agent showed up with some top soil and some flowers to put in the ground. We spent that morning before the open house adding these splashes of color to the garden. I had to agree, the addition was the perfect touch. It cost the agent a few dollars. She made money on the sale and our next purchase. Smart girl!
You are going to pay for a paint job, whole sale up front are marked up retail at the closing. Or even worse, you will still own the home when the smoke detector batteries need replacing, again.
After all, your seller has or will be buying another home. Ask then what their evaluation process is and apply this to their home.