Q: What do you think of a realtor that tells you in the beginning of the listing that your house shows well but now tells me to pack up my clutter and get it out of the house?

I’ve had my house on the market for 5 months and haven’t had an offer. She also told me the house I live in is the most sold house in the area I live in. Two couples came thru the house and didn’t like the floor plan. I feel that she lied to me. What do you think?

A: I think that we’re in the worst housing market in more than 30 years. There are way more houses listed for sale than there are buyers to purchase them. I don’t know where you live, but in many markets, existing home sales have slowed dramatically.

Five months ago, your agent might have thought your house showed well and was priced competitively with other homes on the market. But with a tough market, it’s possible that while your home shows well, but doesn’t show as well as some of the other homes for sale in your neighborhood. If you want to sell, your house has to look the best and be priced lower than comparable homes in the area.

It may also be true that your house style has sold better than others in your subdivision. Just because two couples came through and didn’t like the floor plan doesn’t mean that your agent is lying to you. That could be a fluke or in fact, it’s possible that your decorating has detracted from the way your house flows. Perhaps this is why your agent has suggested you pack up most of your stuff and move it out of the property.

It’s never easy to hear that you aren’t a world-class decorator, or that your home doesn’t look good enough to sell. Telling sellers they need to pack up and move stuff out of the house is one of the worst parts of an agent’s job. Staging your house is one thing that has been shown can help sellers make their property look the best it can be.

But the simple truth is that you’ll only sell in a tough market if you stage your house so that it looks like developer’s model home, and then price it lower than just about everything else in your neighborhood. And be prepared to wait — since there are fewer buyers going through more homes for sale. (If you don’t know how to stage your house, please take a look at some of my staging videos at www.expertrealestatetips.net.

As for your agent, she seems to be doing her job and trying to work with you to make sure your home sells. Sometimes agents come back and try to change things a bit to get homes sold. In some cases, they might suggest cleaning out a house to make it look more spacious. In other instances, they might want a homeowner to take better care of the exterior of the home and landscaping.

In an evolving market, a good broker will try a bunch different things to get a home sold. A savvy seller will listen and try to follow as many of the suggestions as possible, in order to get his or her home to look better than competing homes that are for sale.