10 Things That Could Turn Off Homebuyers

Homebuyer tips

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Updated: Feb 23, 2024 by

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Selling your house is a challenging decision to make. Giving up the place you’ve made life-long memories is emotionally consuming. But you might need a bigger home or want to relocate to a new city. Thus going through the selling process is unavoidable. First time selling a house? There are several aspects you should consider. You need information about the local real estate market to price your property correctly. Also, an essential factor is knowing how to make your house appealing to homebuyers. A common practice is to get help from a professional, but maybe you want to save some money and take matters into your own hands.


A vital aspect is knowing what turns off potential home buyers. It could be many things, starting with the overall condition of the house and ending with minor details, like family photographs lying everywhere. Don’t forget that homebuyers usually look for their dream house or an investment opportunity, so you can expect them to turn their nose up to the smallest things. Emotions are essential in the selling or buying process. Therefore, the first impression is always significant. Ensure proper home maintenance and check for any safety hazards before selling. Also, there are some other essential aspects to consider that might influence the buyer’s decision.


Throughout the following paragraphs, we’ve gathered the most common things that turn off potential home buyers.


What turns off potential home buyers

Several factors should be considered when looking for a place to call home. First, you should look at the housing market to know the average prices and available offers. A real estate agent can help you with priceless information regarding these matters. Secondly, you must figure out your budget, whether purchasing a house for cash or applying for a mortgage. To make it stress-free, you need to be organized and know what you are looking for when buying. Attend open houses in the neighborhoods of your interest, and make a list of your favorite places.


Selling a house is demanding, considering the competitive real estate market and the wide range of offers available. A home seller needs to know what makes a place stand out, but the good news is there are plenty of tips and tricks to do it.


Sellers need to be aware of what turns off potential home buyers in order to have the house ready for the open-house visits. Here are 10 things that could turn off home buyers.



1. Filthy front yard

When buying a house, the first thing that you see is the exterior. It can tell you much about the house owner and influence the first impression. There’s no second chance for a first impression. Therefore make sure you make a good one. You want to ensure your lawn is well-maintained and the walkways are clean and open. To enhance the curb appeal, you can plant flowers or small trees to make the space more vivid and inviting. Or you can give your mailbox a makeover and ensure that your windows are clean. If you sell an apartment, you don’t have to deal with these issues, but a couple of factors determine the first impression. You want your front door and door knobs to be clean, without dust or chipped paint. It would help if you considered buying a new doormat to welcome buyers into your home.



2. Clutter and messy rooms

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Preparing your house for potential home-buyers means you must roll up your sleeves and get ready for a deep house cleaning. Start by creating an inventory of all your belongings. You don’t want useless things lying around. It will distract homebuyers from the houses’ best features. Throwing away or donating some of your unnecessary possessions will also help you through the moving process. Then start dusting your furniture, give a good scrub to your hardwood floor, and don’t forget to clean your appliances. Also, it would help if you considered moving around the furniture a little bit to create the impression of a larger space. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it, or you can even request the services of a professional home stager to enhance your house's best characteristics.



3. Bad odors

A major turn-off for potential homebuyers is unpleasant odors. Whether you're a smoker and imprinted your habit into the house walls, or a passionate cook enjoying fried meals, foul odors can steer homebuyers away in seconds. You have to freshen the place before an open house by washing your bed sheets, professionally cleaning carpets, and opening up windows for fresh air into the rooms. You want your home to be welcoming; therefore, a neutral or pleasant smell is required.


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4. Over-the-top wall colors

Did you get too creative with your wall colors? Bright fuchsia living rooms and dramatic lime green kitchens won’t do the trick when selling a house. Homebuyers usually look for neutral tones, even though they usually repaint the entire house after buying. They don’t want anything screaming at them. So if your walls have over-the-top colors, you should repaint them. It will increase the chances of your property selling faster, and you will surely get your money back. You don’t necessarily have to hire a professional to do it. You can take matters into your own hands.



5. Overpriced property

What turns off potential home buyers? Well, on top of the list should be the overpricing of a property. Usually, people take their time researching the real estate market before buying a new home. So, do not expect to easily trick them into purchasing an over-priced property. You may involve subjectivity in the matter, considering you are emotionally attached to the property. Thus overpricing may come easily. Before selling, ensure you have done excellent market research and correctly priced your property to increase your chances of receiving an offer faster.


A more straightforward, accessible way to avoid overpricing is that we strongly recommend getting the help of a real estate agent. They will assist you in every stage of the selling process, starting with setting a reasonable asking price for the property and ending with the sale closing. 


6. Personal decor and photography

image photo baby portrait

You may consider having your family portraits in the living room or your kid's drawings hung on the refrigerator’s door, will create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Although, it only makes the homebuyer feel like he has stepped into a strange and unfamiliar house. By removing all personal decor and family photography, you will manage to depersonalize the place and help the buyer visualize himself in the property. It is an easy but effective way to make the buyer feel comfortable stepping into your home and imagining him/herself living in the property.



7. Bad lighting

When stepping into a house, you want to enter an open and bright space to see the property's best features. You must pull back the curtains and invest in some new light fixtures. Putting in new light bulbs will be helpful, especially if you have your open house during the evening hours. Besides ensuring good lighting, you should also check the electric wires and sockets' condition for safety and aesthetic purposes. Just ensure you don’t put yourself in danger while doing it. If you are unfamiliar with these issues, you should request the help of a professional.



8. Clingy homeowner

As a homeowner, you want to be involved in the entire selling process. That means you might attend the open house visits. You want to make sure you leave enough room for the buyer to feel comfortable. Avoid overselling your property by getting too personal. Usually, a real estate agent presents the house, so try to avoid interfering that much. It will show a lack of professionalism, and the buyers might feel uncomfortable checking out the place. Give them some space, and you'll have a better chance of getting an offer.



9. Pets and animal stuff

belgian shepherd puppy

Make sure you avoid an unpleasant encounter between the buyers and your pet. You want to ensure your animal friend is not around during an open house. A buyer's last thing to see is a dog greeting them at the door or in the driveway. Also, put away all the animal stuff to make the space look tidy. You don’t want the buyers tripping everywhere into all the animal stuff. Also, make sure you get rid of the animal smell. It is another major turn-off for buyers.



10. Unrealistic house photos

When putting your house on the market, you want to ensure you have good-quality but realistic photos. I bet you feel the need to focus on your house’s best features and enhance them with the help of the numerous apps out there, but in fact, the buyer expects to see the same features they see in pictures in reality as well. Thus, having deceiving photos of your property is a no-no. A good idea might be to hire a professional photographer. He will know how to make your property look its best without being deceptive.



What turns off potential home buyers? As mentioned above, multiple aspects might represent a turn-off for potential home buyers. Following these steps to make your house more appealing might be demanding and time-consuming. But when expecting good results, you must put some effort into it. Selling a home is not something you do every day, so committing to the process is a must. It would be best if you did your research and invested your time into the process. Doing everything by the book won’t necessarily mean you will sell your home overnight, but it will increase your chances of selling faster. So, get ready to declutter, give your place a good clean, get rid of all unnecessary belongings, hide your family photography and prepare to welcome buyers into your home.

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