What "Turns off" Buyers

When buyers reject your home without looking it over, you need to think about what's driving them away. As a seller you might argue that the a buyer didn't stay long enough to give the home a fair chance! True, but the buyer may have had high hopes of making an offer on this home but was immediately disappointed because of a poor presentation.

Careless attention to odors, poor lighting, and dampness problems are a sure way to send prospects quickly moving along to another seller's home.

The following is a list of reactions and complaints that have killed any hope of an offer during only the first few minutes of the home visit.


The Number One reason buyers reject a property is because of odor. It's only a matter of stepping inside long enough to get a whiff of tobacco smoke, pet urine, dirty diapers, cooking spices, mildew, or overpowering room deodorants that can send the buyer out the door without even looking at your home's features.

Smells you're accustomed to may be repulsive to buyers who are non-smokers or have pet allergies. You're not likely to get an offer from a buyer with an allergy to cats if the most significant smell in your home is a stench from "kitty's" litter box.

Dirty Bathrooms
Few places in a home are a personal as a bathroom and a grimy bathroom can instantly kill a buyer's interest in your home. Soap residue in a shower, a moldy shower curtain, accumulated dirt in the track of a sliding shower door, and blackened or missing grout give buyers an uneasy feeling. Even though they know it can be corrected, they don't want to deal with another persons grime.

Scrub the fixtures, buy a new shower curtain, rugs and towels--do what it takes to make the bathroom shine.

Barking Dog
If the buyer is dog lover, you might be safe with this. However, many buyers are uncomfortable around dogs and don't relate to being barked at by an animal who is trying to protect his domain. Concerned about the dogs intentions, the distracted buyer will not get a good look at your home and will leave remembering a lot about your dog and very little about your home.

Poor lighting and switches that don't work
Dark, poorly lit homes are oppressive and will turn off most buyers. Even worse are rooms with no obvious light source or means for turning one on. This can bring the viewing to sudden halt.

Bright, well lit rooms feel "alive" and full of energy. They stimulate more interest in the home and encourage rather than discourage possible offers. Prior to a showing, turn on all lights and open the drapes and blinds in every room. Give the buyer a relaxed, positive experience as he walks through the home, don't give him a darkened house where he has to fumble for light switches or search for basement light fixture drop cords.

Poor Curb Appeal
It happens to every Realtor. After driving forty miles to see a home, the buyer refuses to go inside because of the condition of the exterior or an unkempt yard. Make the exterior, especially the yard and entrance, look a good as you can.

Take a good look at the front porch and wash, paint or repair anything that needs attention. Conditions such as a rusty mailbox, loose or sunken stairs, unpainted trim or a torn screen have probably become commonplace to you. However the buyer will be able to take it all in as he stands at your entrance waiting for the Realtor to unlock the door. Remember, this will likely be the buyer's "First (and only) Impression" of your home.

Wornout or dated carpeting
Carpeting isn't just walked on. Children play on it and family members lie on it to read, watch TV or relax. Your worn out and stained carpet falls into the same category as a grimy bathroom. The buyer is looking for a new place to call home. Offering him a dated, traffic worn, pet stained carpet isn't going to endear the buyer to you home.

Damp basements
It won't matter that it doesn't, dampness or damp smells in the basement throw up a red flag that the foundation leaks and the house is full of mold!
Most dampness problems are not caused by faulty foundations. They occur because rainwater is being diverted towards the foundation instead of away from it and because there is insufficient air movement to dry the moist air.

Check the grade to make sure it doesn't have low spots where pools of water can collect against the foundation. Make sure downspouts are attached so rainwater empties into the yard instead of against the foundation. Use a fan to create air movement and a dehumidifier to help dry the air.

Poor staging and awkward furniture arrangements
You're selling a living space, not furnishings and decorations. There's only a slim chance that you and the buyer will have the same taste. Therefore, you must stage your home so that it will appeal to the largest audience.

Deciding that it's too bad if the buyer doesn't like your furnishings and arrangements won't get it sold. Refusing to move your furniture into a more appealing arrangement will only keep your home on the market for a longer period of time. If you're serious about selling the home, the extra work is a must.

Busy wallpaper and too much of it
Wallpaper is a personal decorating choice and even people who love wallpaper rarely like what you've chosen. Busy wallpaper in every room can hurt the sell of your home.

You want to appeal to the widest audience when selling a home, so take a serious look at your wallpaper and decide if it should be removed and replaced with paint. Don't paint over it, because it will be obvious that you did so and buyers will see it as a short cut to removing it.

Sellers who hang around during the showing
A home owner can drive away buyers faster than a barking dog. Buyers feel awkward about opening closet doors, making comments or lingering for a really good look at the house if the seller is home. They'll feel less welcome and will rush through your home, remembering little about it.