Home Selling Mistakes that will Turn off Homebuyers (Checklist)
Updated: November 2023
Home selling mistakes can derail your journey, turning a promising sale into a challenge. Selling your home requires savvy strategies to avoid common pitfalls.
One of the 39 points below may be the reason a buyer decided not to purchase your house. Be smart & don’t take that risk – complete the checklist below!
Home Selling Mistakes – Inside of the House
First we’ll take a look at the property buyer turn offs that are situated inside of the house.
1) Bad Smells:
This seems fairly obvious but you’d be surprised how many home owners forget to get rid of smells from food, cleaning products, damp and even paint. Before you put your house up for viewing be sure to have a nosy through every room.
2) Poor Security:
Poor security can come in the form of having old/worn out locks, doors and windows but also by not having a home security system or alarm.
3) Small Room Sizes:
There’s not much you can do about small rooms if that’s how your home has been built, however there are home staging techniques that could be used to make your rooms appears larger.
Clutter can take many forms one of which includes personal items. Be sure to put them away or in storage before any house viewings take place.
5) Damp Stains:
These stains look very unpleasant and can also cause smells. Firstly get in a professional to make sure you don’t have a big damp problem and then go ahead and paint over them using the correct type of paint.
6) Run Down Fixtures & Fittings:
Any kind of run down fittings and fixtures should be replaced with newer ones as nobody wants to move into a home where things look tacky and on their way out.
7) Poor Broadband Connectivity:
Nowadays everyone not just wants the internet, they need it and at fast speeds. If your home is located in a broadband black spot with little to no connectivity you could have a hard time selling it to potential buyers.
8) Bad DIY:
Bad DIY sticks out like a sore thumb. Do yourself a favor – if you’re putting your house up for sale, get in a real professional to do the job.
9) Messy/Dirty House
For the most part home sellers usually do a decent job of cleaning through homes before they go on sale, however more often than not people will try to skip some ‘harder to get to‘ cleaning areas which are not always checked to homebuyers. Don’t make the mistake of missing these areas and risk the sale of your house.
8) Old Wiring & Electricals:
Nobody wants to deal with having to change the whole wiring system right after they move into a new property for obvious reasons. If you’re intent on selling your house and your wiring system hasn’t aged well, you may want to consider replacing it before putting it on the open market.
11) Unexpected Property Problems:
If your home has any pressing issues it’s wise to disclose them to potential buyers right away. Not being up front about issues like structural damage and allowing buyers to find out for themselves or worse from someone else is only going to deter more people from purchasing your house.
12) Lack of Storage
Smaller homes can’t really do much about this but storage space is a big plus for house buyers with families. If you have little to no storage space try to find creative ways to make additional space such as adding multi tasking furniture and also by making full use of ‘dead’ space via shelves or something similar.
13) Small Kitchens:
Small kitchens are another turn off for many property buyers. Again if your home already has a small kitchen there isn’t much you do. That said, you can try to add space by doing simple things like finding a new place for your washing machine, clearing away extra clutter and adding storage helpers.
14) Dark Rooms with Poor Natural Light:
Walking into a dark gloomy room is a sure fire way to put off a buyer. If you have small windows and very little light coming into certain rooms you can combat this by adding mirrors opposite your largest window (so natural light can bounce off of it) & also by adding metallics to the room.
15) Outdated Boiler or Central Heating:
Both these can be very expensive to replace so it’s very common for homebuyers to back out of a sale if the home is running off an old boiler or central hearing system.
16) No Double Glazing Windows:
Although not as common as it once was, there are still homes out there that do not have double glazing windows. Not only do they help preserve heat and reduce energy bills, double glazing windows also help improve home security.
17) You as a Seller:
One thing many home buyers dislike is an over zealous seller. People don’t like to be hovered around or hounded over every little thing so the best thing you can do as an owner is let the viewers check out the house as they please and then ask them if they have any questions later.
18) Low Energy Efficiency Rating:
Low energy efficiency rating means higher energy bills and nobody wants that! It also means you won’t attract the ‘Green‘ crowd of buyers that prefer to purchase environmentally friendly homes.
19) Your House Number:
This is very rare and even a little silly but there have been times when people have backed out of a sale due to a properties house number!
20) Controversial Items:
If you have any controversial allegiances or even follow a certain religion it’s more practical to keep such items hidden away during a house viewing.
21) Signs of Pets Living in the House:
Not everyone is a pet person and some buyers will totally disregard a house if they know a pet’s been living there. Try to eliminate any pet odors and replace any damaged furniture if you think it may cause someone to avoid purchasing your home.
22) House in Poor State of Repair:
Broken furniture and torn carpets make a home look in bad condition and are not things a potential buyer wants to see. Be sure to fix anything that is broken or on it’s way out before a house viewing.
What do you think about our checklist so far? Have you implemented any of them? Leave a comment at the end of the article and share your experience with us!
Now let’s take a look at some common mistakes when selling your home that are located outside of the house.
Home Selling Mistakes – Outside of the House
1) No Garden:
Although not every buyer cares for a garden, the majority usually expect something outside their house. Of course if your home does not have one there isn’t much you can do but without one you are at a slight disadvantage and won’t be able to attract all types of buyers. This can also affect the overall house price of your property as well.
2) Unfinished Building Work:
Never start a house viewing if you have building work going one. Potential buyers visit a house trying to envision what their new home will look like. By having unfinished work there, you make it harder for this to happen. If you’re bored at home then getting the jobs might be time well spent .
3) Illegal Home Improvements:
It’s not uncommon for homebuyers to build extensions and the like without getting the required planning permission. If you’ve done this and a buyers find out their going to back out of the sale.
4) Swimming Pools:
Swimming pools are a dream during spring and summer times but after that they become more of a headache. The maintenance, time and cost involved in running a swimming pool is very high so unless someone is supremely well off, having a swimming pool is seen as a big turn off for many.
5) Poor Kerb Appeal:Kerb appeal is basically what your home looks like from the outside (namely the garden). Homeowners seem to forget that the first thing a buyer see’s is the outside of your home, not the inside. This is why it’s important to make sure the kerb appeal is on point before you begin booking viewings. Even if it’s just simple things like mowing the lawn and trimming down some bushes, first impressions can make or break a potential sale.
6) House Not Connected to Mains Gas:
Although one can simply hire a company to get you connected to the mains gas, it’s both a big job and can end up costing a fair amount of extra cash so it will no doubt put off some potential buyers.
7) None Standard Exterior Walls:
The main problem with none stand exterior walls like pebbledash is that the wall coverings don’t last forever and a decision on whether to remove or re-do it needs to be made at some point. This can cost fair amount of time and money. In addition these types of wall coverings are not liked by many which results in them not wanting to purchase a house at all.
8) Filthy Exterior:
As we explained in a previous point, the first part of your house a buyer see’s is the outside so it’s your job to ensure that you do everything you can to make it look as clean as possible. Things like getting rid of excess rubbish bags, washing down windows and making sure there isn’t any dirt on the walls are some of the things you can do.
Lastly, let’s look at some common mistakes when selling your home located in the neighborhood as well as some other factors.
Home Selling Mistakes – The Neighborhood
1) Noisy Neighbors:
Sadly there isn’t much you can do about noisy neighbors yourself but it still remains a big turn off for potential house buyers.
2) Student House Next Door:
Having a student living next door can be very annoying for working families as late night partying and loud music is not something working professionals want to deal with when they have work at 6am the next day.
3) Unfriendly Neighborhood:
People like to reply on their neighbors to watch out for them so if your home is situated in a not so friendly part of town with high crime rates it can become very difficult to sell your home.
4) Traffic Noise:
Another big turn off for homebuyers is traffic noise. This is usually only when your house is situated on a main road. Let’s be honest nobody wants to hear the sound of traffic in the early hours of the morning.
5) Rubbish Strewn Neighboring Gardens:
This is another of the points you can’t really do much about but still remains a turn off for buyers. If your neighbors are not looking after their homes and rubbish is piling up in their gardens and entering the street and other gardens at the same time, don’t be surprised if nobody wants to buy your house.
6) Dilapidated Neighboring Properties:
What this basically means is derelict properties in and around the area of your house. Yes, it’s true there’s nothing you can do about this but it still counts as a home buyer turn off because if properties around your house are an eye sore, potential buyers may not want to live in that area.
Home Selling Mistakes – Other Factors
1) House is Priced to High:
If your home is priced too high you won’t get enough people viewing it! An easy way to price your home fairly is to look at similar houses in and around your area and see how much they have sold for.
2) Poor Quality Photos of the House:
With Websites like Rightmove and Zoopla being utilized more and more, it’s essential for you as a home seller to take a set of high quality photos that can be used to show off your house online.
3) House is Priced to Low:
If you price your house to low potential home buyers make become skeptical as to why it’s on the market at that price. You really want to find a good middle ground and use that figure to sell your house with.
Understanding Buyer Psychology
When selling your home, it’s crucial to step into the shoes of potential buyers. Understanding buyer psychology can significantly influence your selling strategy and help you avoid common mistakes.
1. Emotional Connect: Buying a home is as much an emotional decision as it is financial. Buyers often envision their future in a property, imagining their lives unfolding within its walls. As a seller, highlighting aspects of your home that can spark an emotional connection, such as a cozy living room or a serene backyard, can be more effective than focusing solely on technical details.
2. First Impressions Matter: Buyers form an opinion within the first few minutes of viewing a property. Therefore, ensuring your home has curb appeal and is welcoming from the moment they step in is vital. Small touches like a well-maintained garden or a freshly painted front door can make a big difference.
3. The Desire for Turnkey Solutions: Today’s buyers often prefer homes that are move-in ready. They may shy away from properties requiring significant repairs or upgrades, fearing hidden costs and the hassle of renovations. Highlighting recent updates or renovations in your listing can reassure buyers of the home’s condition.
4. The Practicality of Space: Buyers consider the practicality of the living space. Rooms that are too small, lack of storage, or awkward layouts can be turn-offs. Demonstrating clever use of space and storage solutions can appeal to their practical side.
5. The Importance of Staging: Staging plays into the buyer’s psychology by presenting a clean, decluttered, and neutral space, allowing them to easily envision themselves living there. Overly personalized décor can hinder this vision, making it harder for them to connect with the property.
6. Transparency and Trust: Buyers value honesty and transparency. Being upfront about any issues with the property and providing a clear history can build trust. This transparency reduces the risk of surprises during the buying process, which can be a major deterrent for potential buyers.
7. Price Sensitivity: While buyers want the best, they also have budgets. Overpricing can lead to your property being overlooked. Competitive pricing, backed by market research and understanding the buyer’s perspective on value, can lead to quicker sales.
8. The Search for Lifestyle: Buyers are often looking for more than just a house; they’re seeking a lifestyle. Highlighting community features, local amenities, and the neighborhood vibe can tap into the buyer’s desire for a certain lifestyle.
Market Trends, Seasons, and Timing: Navigating Buyer Perceptions
The property market is sensitive to various factors, including economic trends, seasonal changes, and broader market conditions. Understanding how these elements influence buyer behavior is key to timing your sale effectively and avoiding periods that might deter potential buyers.
1. Seasonal Influences: Real estate markets often exhibit seasonal patterns. Generally, spring and early summer are considered peak selling seasons, marked by increased buyer activity and higher sale prices. Homes tend to show better in these seasons due to better weather and longer days. Conversely, the winter months often see a slowdown in the market, with fewer buyers and potentially lower sale prices. However, buyers in the off-peak seasons may be more serious and motivated.
2. Economic Climate: The broader economic environment plays a significant role in buyer behavior. High interest rates, inflation, and economic downturns can reduce buyer purchasing power and lead to a sluggish market. Conversely, low-interest rates and a booming economy can spur buyer activity. Keep an eye on economic forecasts and mortgage rate trends to gauge the best time to sell.
3. Local Market Conditions: Each market is unique. Some areas may buck national trends due to local factors like employment rates, new infrastructure developments, or changes in local regulations. Understanding your local market dynamics is essential. Consult with a local real estate agent for insights into the best selling window in your area.
4. Competition and Inventory: The level of inventory in the market can impact buyer behavior. A market with low inventory (a seller’s market) can be advantageous for sellers, as buyers have fewer options and may be willing to pay more. Conversely, high inventory levels (a buyer’s market) give buyers more choices and bargaining power, potentially leading to longer selling times and lower offers.
5. Timing and Life Events: Buyers’ decisions are often influenced by life events such as job changes, family expansions, or educational needs. Aligning your selling strategy with these life event cycles can be beneficial. For example, listing your home in late spring or early summer aligns with families wanting to move during the summer to avoid disrupting the school year.
6. Holiday Periods: Selling around major holidays can be challenging. Potential buyers are often preoccupied with holiday activities and less focused on home buying. Additionally, bad weather can make property viewing less appealing. It’s generally advisable to avoid listing during major holiday periods unless your local market dynamics suggest otherwise.
7. Market Predictions and Future Trends: Keep an eye on real estate market predictions and trends. Emerging factors like changes in remote work policies or demographic shifts can influence buyer behavior. Being aware of these trends can help you anticipate shifts in buyer interest and time your sale accordingly.
Understanding these market and seasonal factors can help you choose the most opportune time to list your home, increasing the likelihood of a successful and timely sale. While some factors are beyond your control, strategic timing based on market understanding can significantly impact the selling process.
So there you have it, 39 common home selling mistakes you should do your best to avoid when selling your home.
As we stated earlier in the article, it’s almost impossible to correct all 39 points because some of them are totally out of your control but accounting for as many of the 39 points in our list as you can give buyers little reason to skip out on your home and give it the best chance of a sale!
We’ve also included a downloadable PDF version of the full infographic, simply click the image below to get your hands on it!
Are You Struggling to Sell your Property Despite Doing Everything Correctly?
Selling your house is no easy task and sometimes, even if you’re doing everything you should be as a homeowner you may struggle to sell your house. If you’re one of these people Housebuyers4u may be able help.
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