Selling a home in today's market can be a bit frustrating. There's all kinds of home staging and property preparation advice, and some of it seems almost impossible to follow unless you already have a serious budget set aside to get your place into shape.

You can't turn a ranch into a Traditional 2 Story. But you do have more control than you may realize over how desirable your listing looks to potential buyers.  In order to know what turns a buyer on you need to know what turns a buyer off.

Here are 5 big-time turn-offs that make buyers cringe. 

1. Cluttered, dirty and/or "fragrant" houses. You already know this one. Every seller does. Even in the era of HGTV, buyers across America walk into homes that would make your mother cringe every day. The people who come to see your home are making one of the biggest decisions they'll ever make. Cluttered counter-tops, neglected toilet seats and unattended litter boxes not only invite the viewer to turn up their nose, they practically force a buyer to walk away.

Luckily, you have all the control in the world over how your house looks to your potential buyer. Some sellers find it helpful to think not about de-cluttering, but about pre-packing. Everything that is not part of the home's decor or furnishing and that is not a must for your daily functioning should be boxed up, and neatly packed away in a storage unit. You'll have to pack it all up anyway, and doing it in advance just makes it more likely the place will sell, stat!

Also, no matter how long it takes for your home to get an offer, do not show it without it being completely and totally cleaned; no laundry or dishes piled up, counter-tops freshly wiped down, mail and magazines put away and smelly dogs or litter boxes cleaned and/or out of the house. Get every family member on board, kids/cats/dogs included, and create a daily cleaning ritual to minimize crazy pre-showing stresses.

2. Overpricing. Buying a house in today's market is hard work! On top of all the research and analysis about the market, buyers have to work overtime to get educated about current listings and multiple offer situations and often make several offers before they get even one accepted. The last thing they want to add to their task list is trying to argue a seller out of unreasonable expectations or pricing.

When buyers see a home whose seller is clearly uneducated about their home's value and has priced it sky-high, many won't even bother looking at it . If they do love it, they'll wait for it to sit on the market for a while, hoping the market will "educate you" into desperation.

Ultimately, you decide what to ask for your home. But you deprive yourself of the professional counsel and expertise you're paying for if you fail to listen to your agent's advice and insights on the subject of listing price and condition of your home. They will point you to other properties that have sold in your area with similar features and use that data to help you understand the right price range for your home. Worried about setting the price too low? Get buyer's agents' feedback with an advance broker's open house, and work with your agent on an advance plan for bringing the price down if you get no showings or buyer interest.

3. Deceptive listing descriptions or pictures. You will never trick someone into buying your home. If listing pics are photo-edited within an inch of their lives, buyers will learn this information at some point. And misrepresentation alone is enough to turn otherwise interested buyers off. 

Buyers rely on sellers to be upfront and honest – so be both. If your home has features or aspects that most buyers will see as negative, your home's listing probably shouldn't lead with them.  But neither should you go out of your way to skew the facts which will become instantly obvious to anyone who visits your home.  And your pricing should reflect all of your home's features, pros and cons.

4. New, bad, home improvements. Many buyers have walked into houses that have clearly been remodeled and upgraded in anticipation of the sale, only to have their heart sink with the further realization that the brand-spanking-new kitchen features a counter top made, not of granite, but brand-new inexpensive tile, or the brand-new carpet in a light shade of green – most buyer's least favorite color.

New home improvements that are unappealing to a buyer's aesthetics are a big turn-off.  Buyers just can't imagine ripping out expensive, brand new, perfectly functioning things just on the basis of style – especially since they'll feel like they paid for these things in the price of the home.

Check in with a local agent before you make a big investment before listing your home.  They can give you a reality check about the likely return on investment, and help you prioritize about which projects to do (or not). Instead of spending $40,000 on a new kitchen, they might encourage you to update appliances, have the cabinets painted and spend a couple of thousand on your curb appeal. Many times, they will also help you select neutral finishes that will work for the largest possible range of buyers and suggest reasonable contractors that can get the work done.

5. Bad photos or no photos at all. Some of the listing photos that make it online are extremely bad. They have cars parked in front of the house, piles of toys all over the hardwood floors.  Listing pictures that have put your home in anything but its best light are a quick way to ensure that you turn off a huge number of buyers from even coming to see your house!

The only bigger buyer turn-off than these bad listing photos are listings that have no photos at all; most buyers on today's market see a listing with no pictures and click right on past it, without giving the place a second chance.

Before your home is on the market, ask your listing agent to see the online marketing for their current listings, to get a feel for how they market properties. After your home is on the market, check the MLS listing to be sure that the pictures of your home represent your home well.  If not, ask your agent to get some new shots and get them online.  Make sure your agent hires a professional photographer instead of taking shots with their smart phone.

Please call Ursula & Associates to discuss your potential Home Value in Woodstock, Canton, Cherokee and Cobb County at 678-569-4044 Find out what your home is worth NOW!

We represent buyers in all areas.  Schedule a free consultation here 

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