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10 Common Things in Your Home That Turn Off Buyers

By Realty Times

Selling a home is a hassle. It can sell fast or slow, for far more than you wanted or expected or the minimum to complete the sale. Either way, the actual process is a complex confluence of paperwork, time, and effort, both physical and mental. It can become even more of a hassle if your house is unappealing to potential buyers. There are some common factors that will turn off buyers during an open house, and every homeowner should know them.

The Nose Knows

Unpleasant lingering odors are a major turn off for potential buyers. Whether the house smells of tobacco, weed, cat urine, or just humid musk because the air is dense, people who enter a home whose first impression is a deep sniff that makes them wrinkle their nose is a major hurdle to overcome. While getting rid of the seeped in smell of pot or tobacco is difficult, musk and cat pee can be removed. The offending articles of animal soaked urine can be removed and cleaned, while the musk can be taken care of with a dehumidifier and some better ventilation. Some pleasant scents to invite and relax lookers are never a bad idea, especially seasonal cooking related scents like cookies or pumpkin. It can also help cover up lingering stenches that haven’t cleared away yet.

Untidy Space

Not cleaning the home before potential buyers have a chance to look around is not only unprofessional, it’s also likely to deter people from committing to a sale. People want to see the home, not the mess that will be in the home once they’ve settled. So make sure that the home is properly cleaned and organized before you let people walk around. If potential buyers see a mess, they’ll think the house itself is a mess, so they either won’t bite or will offer a low number. Examples of untidy places include a messy kitchen or poorly organized living room cabinets.

Poor Lighting

This one can be annoying to fix, since it requires either more powerful bulbs or more lamps. Neither of these really solve the problem, but a dark house can feel foreboding and might lead people to believe you’re hiding something, like neglected paint. You don’t have to install new fixtures, but angling light with shades and dimmer switches can help a lot.

Busy and involved walls

You might like your flower garden inspired wallpaper and bright pink walls, but not everyone will. While the personal tastes of your décor reflect you, leaving it around for everyone to see can leave them turned off by all the work they’ll have to do to repaint everything.

Neglected Yard

Neglected yards and lawns indicate a lazy homeowner who doesn’t take the time to maintain their home. While that might not be the case, the yard is often people’s first impression of a home. A poorly kept lawn indicates to them the house is in poor shape, too.

Nothing but Carpets

People prefer hardwood floors now, at least in some rooms like the living and dining room. A heavily carpeted room is a sign of work for potential buyers who might want hardwood. Or, they might balk because they don’t like the age or color of the carpeting.


We love our pets, but not everyone will. Between allergies and phobias, your pets should be left somewhere safe during an open house. So should the kids if possible. The pets will likely appreciate avoiding all the activity, as well.

Personal Décor

Along with the busy walls, personal touches like family photos can also turn off potential buyers. They want to imagine their own stuff there, and it’s hard to do that when you’re stuff is in the way.

Uncomfortable Temperatures

This is another tricky one to fix. If the home is exceptionally hot, cold, or the temperature varies widely from room to room, that can cause prospective buyers to hesitate. To them, such issues mean a lackluster ventilation, heating, and cooling system. No one wants to buy a house and then spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars fixing the vents and heater.


Along with the pets and kids, most realtors say the homeowners shouldn’t be around, either. this can vary, but people like to be able to look at a house without the owner looming over their shoulder. Such actions makes people unsettled, and that can affect their decision to buy the house.

Preparing for an open house is a lot of work, so you probably only want to do it once. So make sure you do everything you can to ensure that the house sells that first time so you don’t have to keep preparing open houses. Open houses are inconvenient and intense for the whole family, and if you don’t properly prepare for it, odds are good you won’t get any offers, or the offers will be for less than you wanted. Ensure a successful sale by avoiding the potential pitfalls of a poorly planned and prepared for open house.