Sunday, July 19, 2015

Buyer turn-offs - By Rick Yost

Home sellers often overlook the most common complaints from potential buyers. The things that the home seller has grown used to, or even to love, are exactly what is killing their home sale. Buyers do not love speckled red cabinets, no matter how much the home seller does.
The best way to a quick and profitable sale of a home is to eliminate as many buyer turnoffs as possible.
As a realtor, I see and hear about many buyer turnoffs that home sellers are not aware of or chose to ignore. Of all the buyer turnoffs that I am aware of, there are four that universally get noticed and commented on. These four buyer turnoffs should be addressed in order to maximize price and minimize time on the market for a home.

The first and foremost buyer turnoff is also the easiest to fix. Clutter, disarray, and mess turnoff many buyers. Buyers can be quick to assume that the clutter and mess are signs of a home that had not been well cared for. Rooms that are full of clutter, or repurposed to store clutter look smaller and seem to have less utility than organized rooms do. Home sellers should pack everything they can away in boxes and store them in a garage, basement or even a storage locker. Removing all clutter, organizing all rooms, and cleaning the home thoroughly should be priority one for home sellers.

The next big turnoff that home seller miss or ignore is pets. News flash, not everyone loves pets. Some people have phobias, others have allergies, and some just don't like pets. Home sellers should always have a plan to get pets out of the house during showings. A barking dog can be a big distraction and a bigger turnoff to potential home buyers. Home sellers should also make sure that litter boxes are emptied, feeding areas are tidy, and pet odors are eliminated or at least minimized. As wonderful a dog as Fido is, he won't help sell the house, and cat hair does not make the furniture more attractive. Sorry pet lovers, but this is the harsh reality. Please don't shoot the messenger.

If a home seller had made their house "Me", they need to make it less "Me" before putting it on the market. Home buyers are turned off by homes that they cannot picture themselves in. Home sellers should create a blank canvas impression for potential buyers. Children's art work, family pictures, distinctive furnishings, and unusual decorations are all things that make a home unique. They are also the things that make it more difficult for buyers to picture the home as their own. Home sellers should take down and remove as many of these items as possible.

Out dated decor is another big turnoff to home buyers. Some finishes just scream 70s, 80s or 90s to potential buyers. Some of the most common dated finishes that buyers comment on are--textured ceilings (popcorn or swirls), floral wallpaper, wood paneling and brass door knobs, cabinet knobs and light fixtures. This type of decor can make a home appear older than it is and less appealing to potential buyers. Textured ceilings can be removed by paint contractors or even by the home owner. It is messy and tedious, but worthwhile. Removing or painting wallpaper and paneling makes rooms more appealing to most buyers. Changing brass cabinet knobs to brushed nickel and brass light fixtures to more modern styles is an inexpensive way to change the feel of a home.

Home sellers that avoid the big four buyer turnoffs should realize higher sales prices and shorter sales periods for their homes. Small changes can make a big difference. Home sellers should always ask for their realtor's honest opinion on what to do to make the home more attractive to buyers. More importantly, home sellers should take that advice and not be offended by.

Rick is a realtor, real estate author, and long time Windham resident. You can reach Rick with all of your real estate needs and questions at

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