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Do buyers hate your home? Avoid these turnoffs...


Are you having trouble stirring up interest in your home for sale? Have a lot of people toured your home, but no one is interested in buying it? We have listed some of the top reasons why you may be turning off a potential buyer.

Ugly Curb Appeal

Are shingles falling off your roof? Have weeds taken over your driveway? Do you have cars with no wheels parked in your backyard? Home buyers refuse to go into houses that look unkept or worse—scary outside. For all they know, it will be a big waste of time, because you don't care enough to keep up the outside, which is most likely a reflection of how the inside looks. So dazzle them at the door with beautiful landscaping and a fresh looking home that is warm and welcoming.


Cigarette smoke and house pets can really stink up a house. If you smoke inside your home, your home, furniture and window treatments probably smell and your walls may even have a yellowish tint to them. If you have inside pets, certain rooms, carpets or furniture might also smell.

Sometimes there is not a leak and the room simply needs a basement dehumidifier to remove that damp smell. You may not even notice a smell because you are use to it. Ask a friend or neighbor to come over and give an honest opinion on the smell.


Wallpaper turns off most buyers especially if it is in every room of your home. Even people who like or tolerate wallpaper will probably not like what you've chosen. If you really want to sell your home, remove the wallpaper and then put a fresh coat of neutral paint on the walls. Don't paint over wallpaper, because it will be obvious that you did—and buyers know that makes removing it even more difficult.

Bold or Dark Wall Paint Colors

If your home has bold or dark wall paint, a buyer may not be able to get past all the work that he/she will have to do to repaint all the walls. Buyers try to visualize their furniture in your home and can't do that if all they see is orange paint with black trim. Help buyers see themselves living in your home by painting all the walls in a neutral palette.

Overpriced Home

Rarely will someone buy a home that is obviously overpriced. A buyer wants to maximize their investment by getting the best value in their purchase. If your home is priced $50,000 higher than your neighbor's identical home, your home will not sell and will just sit on the market until you eventually have to drop the price. By then, you will appear desperate to sell and may have to take even lower than the current market value of the home. So, price it right the first time.

Dogs that meet you at the door or in the driveway

Many people are frightened by unfamilar dogs or don't want to be jumped on, rubbed up against or any other dog greetings. There are also people who are allergic to dogs. Some people won't even get out of their car if a dog comes to greet them. Remove pets during showings if possible to show respect to potential buyers.

Dirty Bathrooms

Buyers do not want to see a filthy bathroom. Clean the tub, sink and floor spotless, paint the walls if needed, replace old fixtures, buy a new shower curtain, rug and towels.

Damp Basements

Moisture or damp smells in the basement alarm buyers that the foundation leaks or worse—MOLD! However, most of the time a damp basement is not caused by a serious problem or a faulty foundation. A damp basement occurs because rainwater is being diverted towards the foundation instead of away from it. Look for these common problems:

  • No rain gutters along the roof line
  • Downspouts directed the wrong direction
  • Clogged underground drains

Go outside the next time it rains and determine where the water is coming from. Sometimes there is not a leak and a basement simply needs a dehumidifier to remove that damp smell.

Gutters with Plants Growing in Them

Plants growing in the gutters of a home is a sign that the owner does not take care of the home and there are probably other areas of the home that have not been maintained.

Bugs & Rodents

Buyers especially hate to see mice and cockroaches and will probably run out of your house if they do see any. Call a professional if you are not able to get rid of pests yourself.

Sellers Who Hang Around at Showings

Home buyers feel awkward about looking into closets and getting a really good look at a home if the seller is there.

If you're selling your home by owner, give buyers some space and freedom to view your home unescorted. Tell them to "feel free to explore the home on their own". Don't hover over them because they will feel as though they are invading your home and will not spend as much time looking it over.

If you are selling your home yourself, try not to appear desperate in selling your home. Don't be offended by criticism of your home, instead be glad you were informed of the reasons your home isn't selling. Make a list of these items and try to correct them before the next Open House. Of course some of these are impossible to fix.

Here are some common criticisms:

  • Bedrooms are too small
  • Not enough bathrooms
  • Not enough or too small closets
  • Only 1-car garage or no garage
  • Needs to be updated
  • Needs too much work
  • House is too small
  • Master Bedroom is upstairs instead of on the main level
  • Yard is too small or too big
  • Traffic noise

As you can see, you can correct most of these "Home Buyer Turnoffs" without spending much money. Try to minimize these concerns before putting your home on the market, otherwise your house will develop a reputation among neighbors, agents and buyers as the house with the damp basement, or the house with room to room wallpaper, or worse.

View the following FSBO Tips on to help you sell your home yourself:

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