I get asked often by my sellers what types of things are turn-offs to buyers. I've compiled a list of the worst offenders below.
There is nothing like a terribly smelly house to turn away buyers. The worst is cigarette smoke and pet odors. Those odors can be difficult to get rid of so buyers are wary to purchase homes with these issues. The smell of mildew or dampness can be indicative of other issues and are a turn-off too.
Another one that surprises some is when a house is over inundated with air fresheners. Some people are very sensitive to those odors and it also raises the question of whether or not the air fresheners are covering up something more concerning.
We all live with clutter in our homes from time to time. You should see my desk right now - it's embarrassing. When your selling your home though, clean it up. Clean it up off of tables and floors and closets. Buyers are sometimes lacking in imagination. A messy, clutter-y house feels like it's too small and doesn't have any storage space.
3. Grimy Kitchens & Bathrooms
As with clutter in our homes, our kitchens and bathrooms have a tendency to get grimy over time. This is a huge turn-off to buyers. Take the time before selling to really deep clean the home. Clean houses feel more move-in ready and less "yucky." You don't want any potential buyer to get a "yucky" vibe from your house for sure.
4. Un-Cool Retro
Sometimes original features are really sweet and add character that you can't replicate. There is a limit though. Things like outdated wallpaper, popcorn ceilings and old fixtures - turn-offs.
5. Dim Interiors
Nearly all buyers love a home that has or feels like it has lots of natural light. Before listing your home replace burnt out bulbs. Also change out bulbs for the highest wattage the fixture will allow. If the fixture has multiple bulb, make sure the type and wattage matches. If you have a room that still feels dark consider adding lamps. And before showings turn on all the lights.
6. Too Many Personal Items
Buyers want to be able to picture themselves living in your home. If your house is very personalized - say with all the decor for a particular sports team or tons of family pictures, or your vast tube sock collection - it could be a turn-off to potential buyers. Try to make your home a bit more neutral as you prepare to sell.
7. Deferred Maintenance Items
If there are lots of little things that need to be fixed or even some big things that will need to be fixed in the upcoming years, that could also turn off buyers. As home owners there are things that get put on the back burner - cracked driveways, peeling paint on the garage, broken door locks, dripping faucets, loose rain gutters, etc. These repairs can add up and buyers like something that feels more "done." Taking the time to address these issue prior to listing your house can help to sell your home more quickly.
This is not an exhaustive list of what can sour a buyer, but it's definitely the top ones. If you need help getting your house ready to sell, let me know. I'm happy to come over and help you decide what is worth the time and what isn't.