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10 Ways You’re Putting Off Potential Home Buyers

10 Ways You're Putting Off Potential Home Buyers

From bad odors to dirty dishes, here are 10 features that could make your home less attractive to home buyers.

Table of Contents

Converting Your Garage Into A Home Office or Family Room

As a Realtor, I see this happening quite a bit since COVID. But most home buyers want a safe, protected place to park their cars. This is especially in the case of places that have issues with car catalytic convertors being stolen. Or during the hot summer months, when the sun rays are beating down on the leather seats and the car’s paint.

So when you turn the garage into a home office, gym, or family room, you’re going to consequently turn away most home buyers. Furthermore, what if your buyer only wants to hold family gatherings inside the home? Or what if the buyer needs the space for storage?

The garage should be used for storage. It should be a space to hold your household items, vehicles, holiday decor, and tools.

Turning A Bedroom Into Something Else

The first question I always get from a homebuyer as a real estate agent is “how many bedrooms does it have?”

It is an important question because bedrooms are essential to the home — And lots of home buyers in Orange County have families. Here, home buyers are looking for a new home because they need more space for their family — Sometimes that means having a newborn, getting married, caring for an elderly or sick family member, or planning to do any of these things in the near future. If the home can’t accommodate these needs, they are going to move on.

If you have to convert a bedroom into an office, kid’s playroom, man cave, arts, and craft room, or theater room, make sure that it can easily be converted back to a bedroom. This means refraining from large built-in cabinets, special epoxy flooring, and wall mounts.

Laying Down Carpet In The Home Instead Of Hardwood Floors

Carpet was in style in the 1950s, but home buyers in the 21st century can’t stand it. Nowadays, most new home buyers believe it to hold odors, is difficult to clean and maintain, and is a heavy-duty magnet for allergens. Carpet is an absolute nightmare for parents with young children, pet owners, and people who love to entertain.

A worse situation occurs when the home buyers realize that there is carpet laid over hardwood floors. In this case, they start calculating the cost of removing the carpet — Which always begs the question, “What condition are the hardwood floors?” And since they can’t see the floors, they just assume the worst-case scenario.

One final note on this topic, if you want to repel and repulse buyers, then make sure to carpet the bathrooms. I have shown homes with carpeting in the bathroom and the buyers have left the viewing of the home quickly.

Turning Your Kids' Rooms Into A Miniature Fantasy Park

If you decide to design your daughter’s room into a princess castle with bright colors, you will instantly turn potential buyers away, because this communicates a high cost for renovation. This is especially true if the home buyers have teenagers, no kids, or no daughters.  The home buyer will have to pay a contractor to repaint the room and remove princess-themed built-in beds and cabinets, stickers, and hanging ornate light fixtures in order to make the room for practical use. 

Having A Lot of Clutter In Your Home

A buyer will be turned off from the home if the home is cluttered. Even stylish home decorations can create clutter and make the home look like it is unkempt. Clutter in the house can make the space appear smaller to a buyer. And it makes it difficult for the buyer to imagine themselves living in the home.

Leaving a Dirty Home

A dirty home will repel any buyer walking through your home. Also leaving dirty dishes is a bad idea because the kitchen is usually the first place buyers look when searching for a new home. The kitchen is the deal maker and the deal breaker in most home purchases. If you welcome them with dirty dishes or a dirty home, you can bet that you’ll be subjected to the latter. Buyers are trying to envision their family living in the home. They will have a hard time if the home is dirty. 

Making Home Buyers Take Off Their Shoes

It’s completely understandable why a seller would request shoe removal. Lots of people walk through your home when it’s on the market and sellers hate the idea of having other people’s dirt and dirty shoes tracked into their homes.

However, buyers don’t want to be inconvenienced by taking off their shoes whenever they enter a home. Sometimes, home buyers will visit up to 5-6 houses in a day for weeks on end — That’s a lot of effort, time, and energy for shoe removal. On top of that, if your floors aren’t clean, buyers won’t feel comfortable removing their shoes and will probably just leave the house, sight unseen.

Shoe covers are the best answer to this problem. They can be purchased at medical supply stores and neither party will be inconvenienced by wearing them at the home. 

Odors and Cigarette Smoke In The House

Can you believe that you need to be conscious of what you cook in your home while it is on the market?

Cigarette smoke is a big no-no. The odor can permeate every part of the home — The walls, drapes, carpets, drywall, everything.  Cigarette smoke is often difficult to remove without hiring a serious professional to paint, wash, wipe, destroy, and rebuild. 

If you are preparing to have a showing try not to cook with strong spices or fish and try to smoke outside of the home only. Doing these simple things will help keep the value of your home. 

Placing Pets As The Focal Point of The Home

This may be hard for pet lovers to understand, but not everyone loves pets in the home. Some will feel that your dog’s bed and toys are adorable, and some people will not like the site and odor of the pet’s bed. A few home buyers have terribly allergic to pets, some homebuyers are obsessive cleaners, and some just dislike having pets.

Even if your potential buyers are pet lovers, seeing your pet’s bed and toys with fur, saliva, dirt, or dust can turn off most people. Make sure that all toys, beds, blankets, and litter boxes are put away.

Make sure that your dog or cat is being held in a secure location. I once showed a home to a family and the husband was afraid of dogs, and when we entered the home the dog greeted us at the door, and the husband took his family back into the car. They never even saw the house.

Not Updating Old Fixtures

For the prices, home buyers are paying today for homes they do not want to come in and replace all the fixtures. This includes old countertops, dated appliances, to led lighting. Tile countertops were in style in the 70s but now people just think that the grout is hard to clean. White appliances may have been hip in the 2000s, but now buyers think they are cheap compared to stainless steel appliances. And brass chandeliers were awesome in the 90s, but now people think that they’re too ornate. To get the highest value for your home, you must let them go.

It's Your Home... For Now

It is your home and you have every right to enjoy your home and do whatever you like with it. However, keep in mind that life can sometimes throw you curveballs and you may have to make a move. Make sure you are thinking about your home’s resale value before you change your garage or loft into a gym or office.

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Aarin Chung

Aarin Chung

Hi, there! I'm Aarin, the founder of Your Orange County - A strong tribe of Orange County residents who get weekly information about the best events, restaurants, shopping, activities, and real estate in and around Orange County, California. Plus, the best hiking, biking, health and wellness options, new hot spots, and more! Click below to follow us.


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