Common Things That Turn Buyers Off

When selling a home, first impressions are often all you get. A buyer could be thrilled until they turn a corner and see something they don’t like.

And, if you’re a seller – what is this ominous deal breaker? Here are few common areas sellers can improve upon.

What Is That Smell?
When a buyer first walks into a home, it is crucial that the home smells fresh and clean. Just baked cookies, fresh flowers, a room deodorizer or a fragrant candle are all good items to put near the entry to the home and welcome buyers in. Chemical cover-ups like Febreeze are fine for a short-term fix, but if there is a pungent, built-in odor from pets or shoes for example, it might be wise to professionally clean the carpets and furniture, replace throw pillows and wash blankets. If the house smells bad, buyers may not be able to see beyond it.

Empty Rooms
If most of the house is lived in, a room devoid of furniture can leave the buyer wondering what the space can be used for, so think of staging that room as an office, extra sitting area, or guest bedroom, even if you won’t be using it that way yourself. A vacant room will also allow any of its imperfections to stand out. If the house is completely vacant, make sure all the rooms are professionally cleaned or consider staging the main floor and the master bedroom. It’s amazing how some well-placed, transitional style furniture can make any home more enticing to buyers resulting in a quicker sale.

Brighten Up!
One of the biggest turnoffs for a buyer is a dark or gloomy house or room. The reason is simple: No one wants to walk into a home and feel depressed. Even if the rest of the house is flooded with light, one dark room can make a whole house seem dark. To combat this, open all the curtains and blinds before showing a home. If the room doesn’t have much light, paint the walls a light color and add a mirror to make it appear larger. Updating the lighting also goes a long way in adding to the brightness of a room.

Less Than Stellar Bathrooms
The biggest offender in this category is carpeted bathrooms. Not only will many home buyers refuse to enter a carpeted bathroom, but after seeing one, they lose focus on the rest of the house. Even if you love your carpeted bathroom, replace it with tile and a nice bathroom rug. Also remember to have tub caulking cleaned, stained tubs reglazed or replaced, and glass shower doors scrubbed to remove any hard water stains. Put garbages, toiletries, toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes tidily away under the sink and consider buying a shower caddie that can be easily removed and stowed for shampoo bottles, razors, and other shower paraphernalia. Lastly, buy some crisp, white towels and display them during showings.

The Cluttered Playroom
Too many toys can be a problem, especially if they are in a cluttered mess. If the playroom isn’t tidy and organized, home buyers may feel that the home is dirty or unkept. To avoid giving off that impression, buy inexpensive organizers at Target or Home Goods to make it look immaculate.

Outdated Decor
Colors create feeling, and if your home is filled with outdated wallpaper, bold paint colors, and old furniture, it could impact your home’s appeal to buyers. You don’t need to spend a fortune to update it – grab some paint for the walls, simply cover outdated furniture with slipcovers and new throw pillows, buy some neutral accessories, and invest in removing that floral wallpaper you loved 25 years ago. A clean, fresh, neutral palette will go a long way towards enticing today’s buyer.

**Partly adapted from