10 homebuyer turn-offs: Things to consider addressing before putting your house on the market

If you’re thinking of listing your house this spring, it’s not too early to start preparing. Looking around your home, it may seem overwhelming to get your house “show ready.” What issues should you tackle? Generally, your best bet is to begin by addressing the issues that may turn-off many buyers. These include:


  1. Bad smells
    The first impression potential buyers experience when they walk through your door is smell. Pet, smoke, musty basements, and food smells all leave a negative impression. You may not even notice if your home has odors; ask your Realtor.
  2. Clutter
    This seems obvious, and yet so many sellers think it doesn’t apply them because of their attachment to their things. Anything that stops a buyer from seeing the features of your home, however, is a detriment. The same applies to your yard.
  3. Bad paint
    Nothing transforms a house quite as much as a fresh coat of paint. And bang for the buck, it’s the best investment. If your home has an off-putting color or paint that has seen a better day, consider repainting. In general, it’s best to choose light and neutral colors.
  4. Gross carpeting
    After painting, carpeting is an excellent investment that can also transform a home. Older “sculptured” and “shag” carpets with worn spots are good candidates for replacement.
  5. Mineral-stained toilets
    Old mineral-stained toilets can be easily and relatively inexpensively replaced to freshen up older bathrooms.
  6. Bedraggled window coverings
    Out-of-date heavy window coverings hide the charm of and light from your windows. Instead, consider no window coverings. If you are shielding a bad view, you can install new inexpensive shades or sheers in a neutral color.
  7. Dangling wires
    Wires dangling precariously from ceilings and walls are a red flag to most buyers even though they may be no trouble at all. It’s best to have an electrician address them.
  8. Unfinished projects
    There are very few buyers willing to take on an unfinished home remodeling project. If the project should have but doesn’t have a building permit, then that is another troublesome issue. Buyers who are willing to take all this on will expect the home to be priced accordingly. You will most likely get a better selling price and have more potential buyers if you finish the project before listing your house.
  9. Mold
    Mold is a red flag for many buyers, especially those with respiratory issues. On the small side, tiles with mold can easily remedied by cleaning and if necessary fixing grout. If you have a larger mold issue you may want to meet with a mold mitigation service to get a quote for addressing the issue. Keep in mind that this only addresses the mold, not the underlying cause of the water that made it. This may be a leaky roof, pipe or appliance.
  10. Dirty filters
    Make sure to change your furnace filters and if necessary have your cooling system cleaned.