Merit Real Estate

Top 5 Homebuyer Turn-Offs

It’s well-understood that buying a home can be an exciting, yet emotionally charged process. During the home search specifically, buyers are continuously challenged by homes for sale that doesn’t check every box on their list. Perspective home buyers often have to make compromises when choosing a home to move forward with. Although there may be compromises, it’s important to note that there are some things that home buyers just can’t seem to get past.

Let’s take a look at the top 5 homebuyer turn-offs. These are things that buyers just can’t overlook regardless of how easily they can be rectified. Logic tends to go right out the window when home buyers are confronted with these triggering turn-offs.


If you want to send a buyer running in the opposite direction; show them a home with wall-to-wall carpet. Home dwellers enjoyed the fuzzy, furry flooring for the better part of the 20th century. It’s needless to say that those days are long behind us. For the past two decades, homeowners have increasingly sought alternative flooring options. Enter hardwood, tile, and laminate floors.

Wall-to-wall carpeting in homes has become something that is rare to see. Perhaps this is why buyers have such an intense reaction when they come face-to-face with what they thought was just an urban legend. If you really want to see the terror on a buyer’s face, show them a carpeted bathroom.

buyer turnoffs


The Homeowner’s Personal Stuff

When selling a home, put your personal items away! It doesn’t make much sense why the homeowner’s personal items have such a negative effect on buyers, but it certainly creates an emotional roadblock for them.

My theory on this is that seeing an overload of the homeowner’s personal items in the home somehow prevents a buyer from fully imagining their own items there. The best practice as a seller would be to remove as much of ‘you’ from the home as possible.

Homeowner's personal items turn off buyers


Lack of Light

A dark home is difficult to sell. Buyers love homes that have an abundance of natural light. So pull back those curtains and turn on all of the lights for showings. For rooms that don’t have great natural lighting, it might be a good idea to add some floor lamps to boost the illumination.

Buyers don't like dimly lit homes

Aggressive Paint Colors

Paint is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to transform a home’s look and feel. You wouldn’t know that by judging the reaction of buyers when they are confronted by aggressive paint colors or flamboyant wallpaper. Even though it’s an easy thing to fix, buyers have a very hard time seeing past the paint. The best way to avoid this is to preemptively tone down the design with a few coats of a more neutral paint color.

Wild Interior Design can derail a home sale

Strong Odors

Buyers do not want to smell anything when they are previewing a potential home to buy. It is best for a home not to have any odor whatsoever. Even odors that many would consider as pleasant can be challenging for buyers. It also goes without saying that strong pet odors present in a home for sale will definitely have a buyer removing it from their list of possibilities.

Top 5 Home buyers Turn-Offs

Circumnavigating  the Top 5 HomeBuyer Turn-Offs

There are no perfect houses. Even if there were, buyers would find something they don’t like about them. It’s just how it goes with home buyers.

The key to success as a home seller is to do whatever you can to remove the presence of these buyer turn-offs from your home. Take some additional time and spend a little bit of money to do some effective staging and preparation of your home during the listing process. Sellers that can preemptively identify and rectify these Top 5 Homebuyer Turn-Offs before they put their home on the market will be set up for success.