Top 5 Home Buyer Turn-Offs

Top 5 Home Buyer Turn-Offs

home buyer turn offs


Selling a home in today’s market can sometimes feel overwhelming. There are so many steps to take and it can be easy to overlook minor details. There’s lots of home staging and remodeling advice out there, and some of it may seem impossible to accomplish. You can’t turn a rancher into a Victorian, or a colonial into a modern, but you do have more control than you may realize over how desirable your listing looks. Here are the 5 biggest turn-offs to potential buyers. If you can avoid these problems, you can sell any style home.

declutter your home

1. Clutter

Untidy counter tops, neglected toilet seats, and unattended litter boxes will compel a buyer to walk away. Luckily, you have complete control over how your house looks to guests. Never show your home without it being completely clean. Vacuum, wash and put away all the dishes, and get rid of all unnecessary muddle. Some sellers find it less stressful to think of it as pre-packing instead of de-cluttering. Everything that is not part of the home’s decor or furnishing and is not a must for your daily functioning should be boxed up, and neatly packed away in the garage or a storage unit. You’ll have to pack it all up anyway when your home sells, and doing it in advance will not only make your move out day go smoother, but it will also help your home sell faster.

home for sale

2. Overpricing

As a buyer, it can be hard work sifting through all the homes on the market. If a home is priced too high, many buyers won’t even bother looking at it. As the seller, you want to make the buyer’s decision as easy as possible. If they’re impressed by you, your home, and your marketing, they will be much more likely to buy. List your home for what it’s truly worth so the buyer doesn’t have to hesitate on their decision. The last thing they want to do is toggle back and forth with a seller on a price that’s unreasonable. If your home is priced too high and a buyer really is interested, they may just wait until you lower the price because it isn’t selling. So starting out with a reasonable price isn’t just good for the buyer, it’s good for you too because it allows your home to sell faster.

Ultimately, you decide what to ask for your home, but be sure to listen to your agent’s advice. They will point you to other properties that have sold in your area with similar features and use that data to help you understand the right price range for your home. Worried about setting the price too low? Get buyer’s brokers’ feedback with an advance broker’s open house, and work with your agent on an advance plan for bringing the price down if you get no showings or buyer interest.

real estate home picture

3. Deceptive Listings or Pictures

You can’t fool someone into buying your home. If listing pictures are edited within an inch of their lives, buyers will realize this after taking a few steps into your home. If your neighborhood is described as funky and vibrant, because the house is under the train tracks and you live in between a wrecking yard and a biker bar, buyers will inevitably figure this out. Be honest about your home’s condition and location and you will catch the attention of buyers who really are your target audience. It wastes time and energy to be falsely marketing your home to buyers who won’t be interested once they learn what information is stretched. Misrepresentation alone is enough to turn otherwise-interested buyers off.

Buyers rely on sellers to be upfront and honest—so be both. If your home has features or aspects that most buyers will see as negative, your home’s listing probably shouldn’t lead with them. But you also shouldn’t go out of your way to spin the facts which will become obvious to anyone who visits your home. Staging your home is a great way to honestly show it’s potential. And in any event, your pricing should account for all of your home’s features, pros and cons.

remodeling painting wall

4. Poorly Done Home Improvements

Many buyers have walked into a house that has clearly been remodeled and upgraded in anticipation of the sale, only to have their heart sink with the further realization that the brand-new kitchen counter top is not made of Carerra marble, but instead, pink tiles with a kitty cat in the middle of each one. Or the pristine, just-installed floors feature carpet in a creamy shade of blue—the buyer’s least favorite color.

New home improvements that run counter to a buyer’s aesthetics are a big turn-off. You want to remodel the home with up-to-date styles that will appeal to a wide range of buyers. Use neutral colors and “safe” choices when it comes to accent designs. Stay away from bold decor like purple carpet and obnoxious floorboard trimming.

Check in with a local broker or agent before you make a big investment in a pre-sale remodel. They can tell you about the likely return on your investment, and help you prioritize about which projects to do. You don’t always need to take on large remodeling projects anyway. You agent might encourage you to simply update appliances, have the cabinets painted, and enhance your curb appeal. These little improvements can go a long way.

train track real estate photography

5. Bad Photos or No Photos At All

Because of the internet, we live in a very visual world. The pictures you post are often the first look that potential-buyers will have at your home. Give them a good impression. You don’t want to showcase the dumpster that’s near your driveway or the train track view through your living room window. Hire a professional to take careful, honest, and bright pictures of your home. Keep the interior—as well as the exterior—clean; turn on all the lights, and open all the bedroom and hallway doors. This will make the home look open, bright, and welcoming. Poor photos won’t even catch the attention of a potential buyer, even though your home might be exactly what they’re looking for! Make sure the photos you market do the beauty of your home justice.

The only bigger buyer turn-off than poor photos is no photos at all. Most buyers in today’s market who see a listing with no pictures will just click past it without thinking twice.

Before your home is on the market, ask your listing agent to see how other, similar listings are operating. After your home is on the market, continue to check top listing sites to be sure that your home’s listing represents your home well. If not, ask your agent to update pictures and descriptions. But if you consider and avoid these 5 buyer turn-offs, your listing should be the perfect description of your home and is much more likely to sell quickly and for the right price.

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