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Top 10 Home Buyer Turn-Offs

If you are thinking about selling your home, you should know the top 10 things that will make potential buyers walk right out the door:

  1. ODORS – cigarette, pets, cooking… Unless your home smells fresh and clean, most buyers will be unable to see the good features of the house, and those that do will be adding up the expense to replace carpeting and window treatments and to repaint (and thinking of how much less they would offer for the house).
  2. BUGS – of course destructive bugs like termites are a serious problem, but spiders, ants and stink bugs will make buyers squirm, and think there may be bigger problems that they can’t see. Call the bug guy.
  3. ANIMALS – I am an animal lover and have several mself, but many people are not and you need to know that they can turn off – or scare off buyers. Dogs left loose in the house, dirty cat boxes, pet food dishes – all no-nos for showings. If you have exotics like birds, snakes or ferrets you need to seriously consider relocating these while your home is on the market. Check out my post for specific tips on selling if you are a pet owner.
  4. DIRTY ROOMS – particularly bathrooms. Nasty grout, soap scum, toothpaste = no sale. Make every room sparkle.
  5. WET BASEMENTS – Even if the problem is minor, it is a major red flag to buyers. They will believe the problem is serious – always. Waterproofing is a must.
  6. DARK HOMES – Let the light in. Open drapes and curtains, replace any non-working bulbs, make sure windows are clean.
  7. UGLY EXTERIOR – If your home lacks curb appeal, buyers will not even get in the front door. Here are some tips to improve curb appeal.
  8. CLUTTERED INTERIOR – It doesn’t take long to fill a home with tons of personal items and furniture. If you have accumulated lots of stuff since you moved in, now is the time to thin out a bit. Start packing anything you won’t use for the next 3-4 months, start getting rid of things you will never use again, and start to de-personalize the house.
  9. MINOR REPAIRS – If there is a leaky faucet, doors that don’t close properly, damaged walls or floors, fix them. When buyers see minor maintenance that is not tended to, they will assume that major items have been neglected as well, whether or not those things exist.
  10. SELLERS THAT HOVER – If you must be home when buyers come through, try to make yourself scarce. If they are interested and have questions, they will find you!

Most of these problems are relatively minor and the cost involved in fixing them is not as great as the amount you will need to reduce your price if they are left unattended. Take some time to take care of them before you put your house on the market.