Homebuyer Turnoffs-17 Things Buyers Will HATE About Your House

Learn about major homebuyer turnoffsNo doubt, the 2022 home buying market is still a white-hot market.  Local open houses are flooded with buyers, multiple offers above asking seem to be the norm and quite frankly sellers have been in the driver’s seat.  Quite frankly, home sellers have gotten a little lazy with their take it or leave it attitude. Because they could! But now it may be time to pay more attention to homebuyer turnoffs when selling your home.

There could be change in the air.  Rapidly rising interest rates and higher than normal inflation will be eating into consumers pockets. 

In the past 2 months alone, interest rates have risen close to 1.5%. This eats into a homebuyer’s affordability. 

To put it in perspective, I recently spoke to one of my regular mortgage brokers, and he said if a buyer was pre-approved for $500k at the end of last year, they have lost $109k in buying power!!

Let me get to the point, the market is going to slow maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but sometime in the near future and sellers are going to wake up and have to fight a little harder for a home buyer’s attention.

Buyers Want Move-in Ready Homes

Societal changes over the last 40 years have had younger generations prioritizing their housing differently than past generations.  They are working longer and harder, are saddled with more student debt, and value their downtime.

Today’s home buyers want to move in ready homes. They want homes that are clean and they also want homes with plenty of space and amenities.

17 Homebuyer Turn Offs That Will Leave Them Hating Your Home

Filth and Grime

Filth and grime are a major turn-off for home buyers.  First they focus on how dirty your home is and second how much work it will take to clean it. Keep your homebuyer’s attention on your home, don’t distrat them.

A spotless home will impress any buyer.

Solution: Clean it, clean it again, and then clean it one more time.

Dirty carpets are a major homebuyer turnoff

Dirty Carpets

Dirty, worn carpets can make every home look tired and dingy.  Not only do your dirty carpets turnoff homebuyers, they can also hold lingering smells that compound the problem even more.

It is also no secret that carpet has fallen out of favor in most areas of the home.  Carpet does not top the list of many homeowner wants and desires. 

Solution:  At the very least, try to clean your carpets and make them as presentable as possible.  If you have hard woods underneath the carpets, even if they need refinishing, show the potential of the hardwoods rather than a dirty carpet.

Converted Rooms

Buyers have a hard time visualizing a home with converted rooms. 

What is a converted room? A converted room is taking the original intent of a room and converting it to another use.

Sometimes a homeowner will take a 1st floor dining room and convert it to a bedroom, an office or a playroom.  Often it doesn’t make the most sense for the flow of the home and it will leave buyers wondering where the dining room is. 

One big conversion, is taking a garage and converting it to a family room or bedroom.  This is a huge mistake.  Buyers want garages for storage and to protect their car from the elements.

Solution:  Consult with a local real estate and understand the impact your conversion will have on the value of a home if it is not something easily irreversible.  If you can convert a room back to its intended use.

Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings were a cost effective easy way of providing a textured ceiling that fell out of vogue in the 70s.  Many home owners continued using popcorn ceilings to cover ceiling repairs.  It sprayed on easily and covered fast.

Unfortunately, today’s homebuyers, hate popcorn ceilings and find them a major turnoff…. a question often heard is how do I get rid of them.

Solution:  Remove the popcorn ceilings in key areas of your home.  And, certainly do not cover problem areas with popcorn ceilings because it is a simple solution.


Clutter distracts home buyers.  First, most buyers will be turned off by clutter and view the home as dirty and disorganized.  It will also close in spaces and make them look smaller than they are.

Your clutter also prevents buyers for fully viewing the home.  Remember, you are selling the feature and benefits of your home and it may be hard to see through all your clutter..

Solution:  Take a few weeks to remove your clutter and allow the buyers to see your home.

Outdated Brass Fixtures- Home buyer turnoff

Outdated Hardware And Fixtures

Brass cabinet knobs, hinges and faucets were a very popular choice not that long ago.  But today’s buyer prefer brushed nickel or black hardware.   Also, porcelain fixtures with an imprinted design or encased in brass is a style choice that turns off homebuyers.

Solution: Change out hardware and fixtures for a more modern look.  A small, inexpensive change can have a big impact.


Pets can be a major turnoff for homebuyers



Not everyone loves your pet like you do.  If a buyer knows you have a pet, their nose goes on high alert.

All they think about is smells, filth and damage caused by a pet inhabiting the house.  Some, buyers are allergic to pets and will be left wondering how they can get rid of all the pet dander that causes the allergies.

Solution:  While you can’t hide all evidence of your pet or pets, try to limit your pet’s presence to one corner of the home.  Repair all damage from pets and work to remove all pet odors from your house.


Bad smells, cooking smells, pet smells, smoke….. or any smell that a homebuyer is not used to can be a real turnoff for home buyers.  Buyer’s want to buy your home, not the odors you leave behind.

This also goes for deodorizers.  If a home buyer gets a big smell from plugin deodorizers or sprays, they are often left with the thought of what are you trying to cover up.

Solution:  The best bet is no smells at all.  Try to eliminate smells at the source and work at neutralizing the smells and airing out your house.

Highly Personal Decor Choices

Highly personal decor choices distract buyers.  Topping the list is paint colors. Keep your paint colors neutral. A neutral palette lets the buyer work in almost any color scheme of their choice. 

Beyond paint, your personalized choices in furniture, artwork, religious artifacts can be highly distracting.

Remember, you’re selling a house, not your stuff.  When home buyers view your home, you want them to envision themselves living there, not you.

Solution:  Neutralize the decor of your home.  This includes paint colors, furniture and decor. I always like to say take the home out of your house when it comes time to sell.  What you consider your home, may not be the vision a buyer has for a home.

Wet Basements

Here in New England, sometimes basements get wet.  Some homes get a bit of water on occasion, while others can have a serious water issue on a regular basis.

Basements are important for buyers first and foremost for storage.  And, secondly, many people want to finish part of the basement for additional living areas.

But a wet basement conjurs up images of mold issues, ruined items and potential ruined finished space.

Solution:  Some minor water issues can often be a simple fix.  Filling cracks, properly installed gutters, grading, etc…  Other larger issues could be a big expense that requires sump pumps or french drains.  But it is certainly something to think about or may buyers will just walk away.

Deferred Maintenance

Houses that have been lived in but have remained untouched for 20 or 30 years or more will overwhelm buyers and be a major turnoff.  Often, there will be major items all needing replacement at the same time.

This includes roofs, furnaces, exterior maintenance like decks, driveways, walkways, siding and windows as well as lots of little issues like leaky plumbing, old painted walls, sticky doors, cabinets that don’t close, etc…

One or two items a buyer might live with, but a total lack of maintenance will overwhelm a buyer and seem like an unsurmountable project.

Solution:  Keep up on maintenance and moderate updating, it is going to cost you either now to do the work or later when you sell and you have to discount your house to compete with homes in great shape.

Lack of Light

You want home buyers to walk into a well lit home. It is just cozier and welcoming.  You don’t want buyers wondering what’s lurking in the dark corners.

Not every buyer can view a home during the day.  Often, showings occur after the sun sets, especially in the winter months. 

Solution:  Swap out heavy drapes for sheers or remove them completely.  Add lighting to rooms that are lacking.

Unfinished Projects

Don’t bring a project to 80% completion and then leave it unfinished.  And, on top of it, expect a buyer to pay for your project like it’s completed.

Many homebuyers today are expecting turnkey homes.  They don’t want to be saddled with the cost of large projects or even spend the time on them.

Poor Workmanship from The DIY’er

Are you weekend warrior?  Before tackling a DIY project around the home, assess your skills and abilities.  There is nothing worse that a seller spending big bucks on a renovation project and expect to recoup their costs for poor workmanship.

One project that seems so easy but can go so wrong is installing laminate floors.  A new installation of laminate floors can fail quickly if done poorly.  All that time and money wasted, only to scare away potential home buyers.

Solution:  Do the work properly to begin with and if you can’t hire the right professional.

No Curb Appeal

The impact of great curb appeal can be immeasurable.   Curb appeal can make a home go from blah to FABULOUS!!

It can be the difference of a home buyer feeling indifferent about approaching your home to be excited to find out what’s behind the front door. 

Start your buyer off with a great first impression, and that will carry the whole showing.  But if they start off unimpressed or even turned off, every little issue becomes a problem.

Solution:  Spend some time and money on increasing your home’s curb appeal before putting it on the market.

Mismatched Flooring

There is nothing that drives a homebuyer crazier than mismatched flooring.  Ceramic tile in the foyer, hardwoods in the living room, laminate in the dining room, linoleum in the kitchen……. 

It visually impedes the flow of your home.  Homebuyers will see a barrier between each finish, even if it is an open floor plan.

Solution:  Plan your flooring for continuity and flow.  Limit each level to just a couple of flooring finishes. And, when you transition from one floor finish to another, have them visually blend.

Outdated Kitchens and Baths

Per square foot kitchen and bathrooms are the two most expensive rooms to renovate.  As a matter of fact, great kitchens and baths sell homes.

Many homebuyers do not want to get into the expense of big renovation projects. And with the prevelance of home buying shows many home buyers have the expectation of glamorous kitchens and baths.

Solution: Keep your home updated over your years of ownership.  If it comes time to sell your home with severely outdated baths and kitchens consider using a home stager to soften its age and give a homebuyer the vison of what it could look like.

Many areas of your home that can turn off home buyers can often be avoided with some careful upfront thought. Or, many of these items can be a simple, inexpensive fix that can go a long way in impressing homebuyers rather than having them turned off.

Mismatched Appliances

No homebuyer wants a hodgepodge of appliances, a black fridge, a stainless micowave, a white stove and an ovacado dishwasher.

A home buyer will view that as hideous as well as a significant expense.

Solution: Condider replacing your mismatched appliance with an appliance packgage of all the same color. 

Other Real Estate Resources:

  • How long should a seller respond to an offer? Kyle Hiscock provides advice. While there is no hard and fast rule a home seller should take into account the market and how confident they are in their pricing.   But, it is usually best to respond in a timely manner.
  • An appraisal and a Comparative Market Analysis is often thrown aroun interchangeably.  While both can aid a home seller in determinging fair market value of a home, there are differences between an appraisal and a CMA as Joe Boylan explains.
  • Buying a new home is a big deal.  Before you move into your home it is a great opportunity to clean your home from top to bottom.  Paul Sian provides some great tips on cleaning your home.


Homebuyer Turnoffs-17 Things Homebuyers Will HATE About Your House is provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Realty.  Are you thinking of selling your home?  Call Kevin at 978-360-0422.

Real Estate Services in the following areas: Northeast Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Metrowest. Including the following communities and the surrounding areas- Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland, Haverhill, Lowell, Melrose, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Wilmington, Westford







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