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5 Things That Instantly Turn Off Home Buyers

These 5 things can get your house thrown into the "no" pile quicker than quick by potential home buyers. Here's how to avoid these common mistakes so your house sells faster.
When you decide to put your home on the market, it’s important to step into the shoes of potential home buyers and keep them at the forefront of your mind as you prepare your home for sale.

In today’s competitive market, it’s not enough to simply list your property as-is. To stand out, sell your home faster, and get top dollar, you need to make your home as appealing as possible. That starts with understanding a buyer’s psychology.

Every buyer has their own individual list of things they don’t want in a home, but there are some things that turn off every buyer. Here are 5 that are crucial to avoid when you list your home:

5 Things That Instantly Turn Off Home Buyers


Decluttering is the first thing we recommend doing before you put your house on the market because it can have an enormous effect on the presentation. Clutter makes any space appear smaller, dirtier, and overall less appealing to buyers. While it’s easy to think buyers can just look past the clutter, it has a subconscious effect on how buyers feel in a space and actually distracts from the positives that are buried beneath it.

Take the time to declutter the entire house, clearing off all the surfaces barring a few pieces of decor, thinning out the bookshelves, and even paring down on how much furniture is in the home to encourage a nice, easy traffic flow.

Taste-Specific Decor

Homes with very bold and personalized decor never show as well to buyers as neutral decor. Decor that is very taste-specific is distracting to the home itself, causing many buyers to get a negative impression of a home simply based on the aesthetic if it doesn’t match their own style. This is especially detrimental if the decor in question includes boldly painted walls, wallpaper, flooring, or other elements that require an investment to switch out.

To ensure buyers are focused on the home itself, neutralize the decor completely. This allows buyers to effortlessly imagine their own decor in its place rather than getting caught up in what they don’t like about the current state of it.


A buyer’s sense of smell can have as much impact on their impression of a home as their sense of sight. In fact, it could be argued that the odor of a home can actually have an even greater impact than how it looks in some cases. Homes that smell of tobacco, pet dander, mold, or simply have a “funky” odor are major turn-offs to buyers. All of these things create the impression that the home has not been well-maintained. Buyers will be concerned that the smell won’t leave with the current homeowners and that it could end up being costly to remove it before they move in.

To combat bad odors, give your home a thorough, deep cleaning before you list it. (We recommend hiring professionals to make sure it is as clean as possible.) For more tips on making your home smell great, click here.

Bad Lighting

The right lighting can change the entire look and feel of a space. Most buyers are turned off by dark spaces because they feel smaller and less inviting. Allow as much natural light into each room as possible with the right window treatments and trim back plants or trees that could be blocking the sun. If any rooms don’t have access to good natural light, install attractive artificial lighting to make sure each corner is well-lit. Bright, open homes always show better to buyers.

Stains & Damages

Scuff marks on the floors and/or walls, holes, water damage, and any other structural issues are big red flags to buyers. No one wants to buy a money pit, which is exactly what your house will appear to be to buyers as they start calculating all the initial costs they’ll incur just to fix any necessary repairs they spot on the walk-through. Even small damages will have buyers wondering if there are bigger issues hiding where they can’t see them. It’s better to take the time to make the repairs before listing so you don’t give buyers any reason to wonder if the home has been well-maintained and whether it’s worth the asking price.

For more home staging tips, click here to watch Megan’s free Home Staging Webinar.

A beautiful home sells faster.

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