Selling Advice

10 Things That Turn Buyers Off When Selling Your Home

Selling your Home

Have you been thinking about selling your home? In today’s market, you want to attract buyers — not turn them off. When showing homes to prospective buyers, I hear and see so many things. I’ve been asked by Sellers what advice I can give for selling their home. Here are the top 10 things that will immediately turn Buyers off while searching for a home.

1.  Dirty Home

Imagine being the buyer and you’re excited to see this beautiful home. You open up the door and a pungent smell hits you square in the face. Peeking inside, the house is in total disarray. Carpets are stained, the home is dirty, floors are sticky and grimy and the showers are moldy with scum. You don’t want Buyers to run out the front door. Instead, you want them to relax and stay awhile. It is so important to get your home in the absolute best condition that you’ve ever had it in. If carpets are stained, steam clean them. If the carpets are ruined beyond cleaning, get the carpets replaced. Or offer a credit at closing, most times Buyers prefer to put in their own flooring.

2. Smelly Home

Smells turn off buyers right away. Buyers do not like to smell pets, foods, or cigarettes. Try to limit cooking greasy fried foods or fish due to the odor. If you have an animal, remove all items that are related to the animal. Open a window and let the house air out.

3.  Sellers or Renters Who Hang Around the House

Nothing is worse than walking through a potential home and having someone watch you. Buyers quickly scurry through the home and all they want to do is leave. It’s easier to depart for the showing for an hour. Try running an errand, seeing a movie, or grabbing a bite to eat. Buyers appreciate when a house is vacant and they can take their time looking around.

4. Clutter

You want buyers to picture themselves living in your home, not wondering how people can live like this. Start sorting through your stuff. Plan a yard sale, donate items that are no longer needed, recycle and throw away things that are not needed. Buy storage bins and fill personal items and knick-knacks in them. Place the storage bins neatly in the garage, rafters or storage area. Remove family photos, clean out closets and organize (Buyers will look inside the closet) and limit the items in the kitchen. Have open counter space and place all dishes away neatly in cabinets. If you have small children, put their toys in laundry baskets and take the baskets with you in the car.

5. Bad Photos

When buyers are searching the internet for a home, the first thing they see are pictures of the home. They’re not reading the description of the home, they’re looking at your pictures. During the first 3 – 5 seconds, if the pictures are dark, fuzzy, small, blurry or no photos, they’re going to skip your listing and move on to the next. It is imperative to grab the buyers attention from the very first picture. Trust me, I’ve bought many houses and the first thing I scroll past is a house with bad pictures. I never scheduled a showing, never gave it a second look or entertained making it a possible home for my family. Hire a professional photographer to capture the beauty of your home and use these for the listing pictures. Most realtors have professional photographers that they use to sell your home in the best possible light.

6. Old Appliances and Fixtures

Homes that have old appliances such as a dishwasher, stove, fridge, microwave, etc. turn off buyers. Your kitchen is one of the biggest selling points. Update the kitchen appliances with new items that match. Change out the old ceiling fans and put in new ones. Having old appliances and fixtures in the home, buyers are more likely to send in a lower offer. These are material items but they make a big difference in catching a buyers eye and receiving a full price offer.

7.  Paint

Bright, bold, loud paint colors scare off buyers. Neutral colors should be used for selling. Choose a warm neutral color like beige, ivory, taupe or light gray. This makes your rooms look inviting, larger and brighter. Redo painted trim in white. A fresh coat of paint goes a long way.

8.  Wallpaper

Buyers don’t like wallpaper; it’s a personal taste. Buyers see the amount of work that is required to remove the wallpaper, which adds another job to do. Here’s a great site on removing wallpaper.

9. Popcorn Ceiling

Anything before 1978, there may be asbestos in popcorn or textured ceilings. Not all popcorn ceiling has asbestos in it. Popcorn ceiling was used for an acoustic look. When buyers look up at the ceiling today, they don’t know if there is asbestos in it or not. They’re thinking about another cost to have it removed professionally.

10. Curb Appeal

As the old saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is true with your house, appearance counts. If your yard looks like it hasn’t been taken care of or looks like a creepy scary house, buyers may drive by and not stop. Make your house inviting, trim bushes, mow the grass, edge the lawn and mulch gardens. Add a pop of color with some flowers to make the house feel warm and attractive. Remove anything dead, power wash the house or hose down the front porch and door. Remove any dirt and debris and have the outside looking as clean as the inside.

Key Tip

Focus your home as a product you’re selling, not as an emotional attachment. When the time comes to sell, stage your home to sell and not the way you would live in it. Stage each room to attract potential buyers so they can picture themselves living there. You want your home to appeal to the masses. Keep in mind your end goal, Selling your Home for What it’s WorthFor more actionable tips for selling your house and advice on what potential home buyers look for please contact me at 808-439-1077 or

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Vivian S Albitre

February 2, 2019

great tips for the sellers! I’m keeping this page for when it’s time to sell our house!

I also liked the link to : removing wall paper, as that is the next room I want to redo! I remember removing the wallpaper in the Fredericksburg’s house…….using that blue Gup…….what a mess that was!

Lovely job Fawn! Very impressive and useful!
luv you,

Fawn Bertram

February 4, 2019

Thanks so much Mom! Ah yes the days of removing Wallpaper, not fun at all!! Love you. 🙂

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