10 Ways to Turn Off Home Buyers

Selling your home is difficult enough when everything is perfect.  Here are 10 ways to turn off home buyers that can impact the sale of your home.  Take some time and prepare your home with an unbiased perspective.  A good agent will help walk you through the preparation of your home as well as explain the best way to show and allow home buyers to view your home.  These are just 10 ways to turn of home buyers that are very common, though I could probably list 100!

10 Ways to Turn Off Home Buyers

Not Doing Necessary Repairs

Every home will probably have some punch list items of minor repairs that need to be done.  But what we are talking about is the glaringly obvious repairs.  Leaky faucets, a roof that is leaking, entrance staircases with missing treads, etc….   If the major and obvious repairs aren’t done it is going to leave an impression with the buyer.   This will leave the home buyers wondering if they can’t do the big things what else is left undone.

When a potential buyer is viewing your home, they are expecting your homes major systems, structure and safety to be in order.  Unless you are marketing a home as needing TLC, get your homes maintenance in acceptable odor.

Not Cleaning Your Home

So you might not have a perfect home. Your home might need some updating that you can’t afford, but everyone can afford to clean their home.  A sparkling clean home goes a long way in impressing buyers.  I mean every corner, every window, literally every area spic and span.  A very clean home leaves a great impression as well as a filthy home leaves a bad one.

Take the time and clean your home.

Not De-cluttering Your Home

Clutter is turns off for buyers.  Clutter also gives the impression of dirty, even though that can be farther from the truth.   Not only is it a turn off for potential buyers clutter prevents the space for being shown in it’s best light.   Excessive furniture cramps a room and impedes traffic flow.  Overflowing kitchen and bath counters prevent a home buyer from seeing how much space is there.  The list can go on.

The important part of de-cluttering is to allow the buyer to envision how they will use the space with their items.  If they can’t see the space they cannot take mental ownership.

Bad or Inadequate Listing Photos

Your first showings are online!  Think about it.  Just about every home buyer has access to every home available at their finger tips.  Home buyers are making decisions about what home they want to see online.  If your home does not present well on line they are passing it by.

There are parts of the country where you wouldn’t think of listing your home with out hiring a professional photographer.  Even in the Massachusetts real estate market I am seeing more and more agents hiring professional photographers to provide listing photos.  Make sure you are hiring an agent that is committed to hiring a professional or takes professional level listing photographs.  It is imperative.

Severally Outdated Decor

Not everyone has the money to fully update their home.   There are certainly inexpensive ways a home seller can help a home buyer get past severely outdated decor.  Painting cabinets, replacing light fixtures faucets and/or hardware, replacing carpets, painting walls that have outdated wall paper and/or colors etc…

Talk to your listing agent and put a small budget together to see where you can get the most bang for your buck.  Its amazing how a little creativity can inexpensively transform an outdated area.  If there are areas that are severely outdated and leave the impression with a home buyer they can’t live with it, the cash register just goes KACHING, KACHING in their head.

Heres a little secret….  Sometimes when I go into a home with heavy outdated wallpapers, I will tell the home owners just to paint over it! Yep!! The key is the wall paper can’t be damaged or peeling it need to be fully intact.   Buyers will just see a neutral, modern color. Even if they notice the wall paper has just been painted over, which they probably wont, at least they feel they can live with it until they can get to it.

Bad Smells and Odors

Bad smells just STINK. Its not pleasant.  But it goes deeper than that.  The way your house smells will also leave an impression of how clean or dirty your house may be.  You could have an unusual odor that is unpleasant to a home buyer, yet, your house could be spotless.  Still the buyer will think your home is dirty.

The most common unpleasant odors we run into are pets, cigar/cigarette, mildew and cooking smells.   Try to give your home a neutral or clean smell.  Don’t go over board with a clean smell though.  Also avoid room fresheners, boiling cinnamon sticks etc… it just makes buyers think you are hiding something.

Not Leaving Your Home During Showings

I get it showing your home over and over can be tiring.  But come on… your asking a buyer to spend 100’s of thousand of dollars.  Let them have twenty minutes of viewing your home with out feeling like an intruder.   I will tell you from experience with working with 100’s of buyers that its a turn off.  If the home owner and their family is home we rush through the house to get out of their and we don’t discuss the home merits as we are walking though it.    I have actually done showings where dad is sitting on the couch with a beer yelling at a football game.  We didn’t even step foot into the room.

The Pushy Agent Accompanying Showings

Some sellers insist that all showing are accompanied.  Before you insist try to figure out your motivation why you would like your listing agent to be present.  It is really not necessary in most cases.  In many cases it can be a huge deterrent.

if I am working with a buyer, I have a relationship with them.  I know what their wants and needs are in a home.  The buyers are comfortable with me.  Add a person they don’t know like the listing agent they will clam up and not talk to me.  On top of it add an agent that tries to “sell” the home with no clue of what my clients needs are.  Can’t tell you how quickly my clients will run through a house to get away from the pushy agent.

Overpricing Your Home

There are two issues with overpricing your home that you need to keep in mind

First, you may not be showing your home to the right buyers.  In many cases your home will not stack up to the competition of homes that are priced correctly.  There can be certain things your home is lacking that buyers expect in that price range.  They get to your home and realize it is lacking in features or amenities for the price range they are looking.

Second, buyers are not stupid.  They are working with buyers agents that help determine proper pricing of a home as well as they have access to a ton of information on the internet.  Your home can be so overpriced that a home buyer is unwilling to put in an offer because they feel they cannot come to terms of a fair price with you.

Of course you can always do a price change but that interested buyer will probably be long gone.

Misrepresenting Your Home

I am often asked by sellers to count a room that is not a bedroom or give a unrealistic size of the home.  While it can initially grab a buyers attention it will quickly turn them off when they get to your home.  They may be viewing the home because of a feature that is misrepresented.  Than they become annoyed that you have wasted their time.

As I am writing this article I am realizing that under many of the headings I am talking about leaving and impression…. what kind of impression do you want your home to leave with a home buyer?  Remember your home is competing with other homes in the market place you want your home to stand out on a positive note.  While their are many more ways you can turn off a home buyer these top 10 ways to turn off a home buyer are some of the more typical  situations.


This article, 10 Ways to Turn Off Home Buyers, was written by Kevin Vitali.  I am a 13 year veteran of the real estate industry and have the experience to help you buy or sell a home.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me by phone or text at 978-360-0422 or by email at kevin@kevinvitali.com