Home Buyer Turn Offs

You will never be able to please all home buyers but there are certain things that will turn off most buyers. Let discuss a few and how to avoid them.

  1. Odors – There is nothing worse that walking into a home and being hit by a strong unpleasant smell. The most common smells I encounter are pet odors (mainly urine), cigarette or cigar smoke, strong food smells (think fish or cabbage), moisture smells, smelly trash or sinks (disposals and dishwashers), Musty washing machines, sewer smalls, and refrigerator odors (yes, buyers will open your refrigerator). Check out this article for some simple solutions.
  2. Dirty bathrooms and kitchens – Dirty homes in general but bathrooms and kitchens are heavily judged. Make sure to pay special attention to those two rooms and some of these other overlooked areas:
    1. Dusty air vents. Dust and clean all air vents. If the vent is rusted consider replacing or painting the vent. While you are at it, go ahead and change the air filter.
    2. Ceiling fans and glass light covers – Dusty ceiling fans are even visible in pictures. Go ahead and clean all ceiling fans.
    3. Light switches, fan and light remotes, and door knobs – You have no idea how many sticky and grimy light fixtures and knobs I’ve touched. Once you do, you don’t want to touch anything else in the home.
    4. Baseboards – baseboards collect dust and hair. Make sure to clean and touch up all baseboards.
    5. Window treatments – dusty curtains and mini blinds are a major turn off. It makes the buyer feel that the home is unkept.
    6. Interior doors. Doors get touched all day, everyday and they get grimy. Wipe down all doors and door frames.
    7. Kitchen backsplash – Backsplashes accumulate grease and dust. Use a degreaser to clean all backsplashes.
    8. Appliances – Make sure to run a cleaner through all your appliances.
    9. Clean and deodorize your trash can.
    10. Ceilings and walls – Check out your ceilings and walls. Are there spider webs or dust collected on the texture? Use a broom or vacuum  to clean these off.
  3. Dimly lit homes – Most people like lots of natural light. Make sure to remove heavy drapes. Open mini blinds, and move anything that block windows. There are some homes that simply don’t have a lot of natural light. If this is your case, make sure that every bulb in your home is working and have the highest wattage allowed. You will want to leave your lights on for property showings.
  4. Busy homes – Is there too much color? Too many pictures/art all over the home? Too much furniture? Will the buyer be able to focus on the home and it’s features? Its time to declutter. Also consider removing any décor that may be controversial or sensitive to others, such as political memorabilia, military or religious icons.
  5. Gutters with plants growing out of them or stuffed with leaves.
  6. Sellers that decide to stay in the home during showings. I know you might want to be present to tell the buyer more about your home, but don’t. It makes the buyer feel uncomfortable and they will not be able to focus on the home. If you like to offer more details about your home, consider writing a welcome letter that can be left in a common area. In this letter you can write down the highlights of your home and share anything you’d like the buyer to know.
  7. Bad curb appeal – I’ve had buyers refuse to go into a home because the exterior is so off-putting.
  8. Digs, cracks and defects – Too many defects will cause the buyer to think the home has been neglected. Neglected homes = buyer expense $$$.
  9. Dirty Carpet – This is in its own category because is a HUGE turn off. The buyer starts to guess what caused the stain. Yuck!
  10. Cracked tiles and sheetrock – Cracked tiles and sheetrock make buyers feel there might be foundation issues.
  11. Storage is important – Packed closets, cabinets and garages make the home feel like it lacks storage.
  12. Bright and bold colors on the walls – I know paint is relatively cheap and it’s easy to simply offer a buyer credit for paint but the truth is that most buyers cannot visualize a room in another more neutral color. They mainly look at a room and see if their furniture will fit or match the space. They will rule out a home simply for color.
  13. Bad photos – Most buyers will only tour homes they like online. Your pictures will be the buyer’s first impression of your home and will be a deal breaker if they are poor. Details matter. Dirty dishes or cluttered kitchens such as the pic below will make a difference. Professional pictures are a must!