5 Things Home Buyers Hate

Because "eeew" doesn't sell

A few years ago, during our house hunt, my husband and I showed up at the tail end of an open house. The listing agent insisted we make our way through the home even though the sellers were home and standing in the kitchen. It was, hands down, the most uncomfortable house tour of all time.

Not only were the sellers present, but they also still lived in the home, and the walls were hung with their pictures, the bathrooms cluttered with their cosmetics and such. We couldn’t comment on the creepiness freely because we didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. The whole thing was just…ick, and I knew within minutes that I did not want to buy this home.

And that, my friends, is exactly the opposite of how you want potential buyers to feel while touring your home. So please, when creating your list of Must Nots, keep in mind the following 5 Things Buyers Hate:

1)    Overgrown, out of control landscaping

If you don’t trim the bushes, mow the lawn, and cut back the ivy a bit, you probably won’t need to do anything else on the inside of the house, because the only buyers you’ll get will be the drive by kind.  Very few will brave their way through the haunted house vibe a snarly yard gives off.

2)    Your stuff, your clutter, your paint colors.

You love your stuff.  We get it. We love our stuff, too. Buyers will not love your stuff.  They will hate the lime green bathroom walls. They will hate your collection of ironic t-shirts piled up on top of your dresser. They will hate your family photos.  Yes, it looks bland and lifeless with neutral paint colors and without all that you-ness, but it allows buyers to imagine it full of them-ness.

3)    Dirty Carpet

Look, you don’t have to install marble or bamboo floors to suit your buyers’ tastes (especially given that you have no idea who they are or what their taste will be). But leaving in your old carpeting is a bad bad idea. Along with odors and bugs, old carpet is high on the list of things that make buyers go, “Eeew.” Our advice? Rip it out and put in new carpet. It’s an easy, inexpensive fix that, in this heyday of hardwood floors, will, at worst, get a “Meh,” from potential buyers. But at least it won’t send them running.

4)    Pets

Yes, get the dog out of the house (or the bird or the cat), but we also suggest getting rid of all evidence that it ever lived in the home. If you leave the kitty litter box in the laundry room, potential buyers will get feline pee on the brain. Then, rather than noticing the view from the bedroom or the skylights in the kitchen, they’ll swear they smell something – even if they don’t.  Those with allergies might start itching the moment they notice the cat’s scratch post in the front hallway. Our hunch is that itchy buyers will be less likely to buy.

5)    You

Ok, so potential buyers won’t hate you, and you might not make itch or go “Eew,” but your presence will taint the home tour for them.  Give them some space to go through the home without you watching.  And give yourself a break, too. Listening to conversations visitors have between themselves or with their agent will only make you crazy.  Give your agent the key, grab a girlfriend, and go get a pedicure. After that, take your pink toes to the nearest rooftop bar, get a fancy drink, and toast to the successful sale of your home.

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Elizabeth Salaam
Along with her work as Senior Contributing Writer for Girl's Guide, Elizabeth Salaam writes for the San Diego Reader. Her work has also been published in Elle Magazine. | Most inspired by: Contradictions. | Favorite room in my home: The Master suite. The windows have views for days! | Best design idea I may never do: Adorn my enclosed toilet room with library book wallpaper and a chandelier. | Will never: Bungee jump. | Have always been: Rebellious. | Dying to: Live in a Paris flat with herringbone wood floors.
11 of 18 in Selling

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