Avoid Home Selling Turnoffs

The following Family & Consumer Science article printed in the 2015 fall edition of our quarterly newsletter. View our newsletters online here.


Avoid Home Selling Turnoffs

selling a home

If you’re buying a house, you probably know what turns you off in homes that you tour: messy, cluttered houses, strong odors, and so on. When you are selling your house, be sure to prepare. Avoiding these major turn-offs goes a long way toward making your home a place visitors won’t be in such a hurry to leave.

  • Pets. Although pets help make a house a home, signs of pets often turn off home buyers. Clear away messes, put away paraphernalia (litter boxes, food bowls, toys, etc), and eliminate all pet odors. You might want to leave your pet with friends or relatives while your home is being shown.
  • Children. Not all homebuyers know what having children is like, and a tour of your home isn’t the time you want them to find out. Take the extra time to make your home neat and presentable, with all toys out of sight in a toy chest or storage space. Clean and store dirty diapers, children’s clothes, and baby bottles. Eliminate any odors that may be present. Otherwise, prospective buyers might not think your house is sanitary.
  • Cooking/Baking Smells. Cooking smells are offensive to many homebuyers. If you must cook or bake before a showing, be sure to open a window. A simple trick to freshen up the house after cooking is to boil cinnamon in water. Artificial air fresheners are not a good idea because you never know who is sensitive to those types of smells. Something that smells good to you could send prospective homebuyers out the door.
  • Smoking Smells. Tobacco, incense, and other smoky smells can be a serious problem for anyone trying to sell a home. These smells linger throughout the house. If smells persist, professionally clean the carpets, draperies, and furniture. Repaint all interiors before putting your house on the market.
  • Dirty Dishes and Clutter. As long as your house is on the market, keep the dishes clean and the counters uncluttered. Electric appliances could distract home buyers, making enough counter space appear limited. Consider putting appliances in a cabinet when they’re not in use.
  • Messy Bathrooms. Put beauty and grooming items away neatly under the counter, in drawers, or inside the vanity. Clean the shower/bathtub, toilet, sink, and floor thoroughly, removing all hair and toothpaste markings. Keep the toilet flushed and the lid down at all times.

If all this sounds like your house should not be lived in, that is precisely the point. Prospective homebuyers are not your usual visitors and often judge you and your house much more critically than your friends and relatives. Present them with a spotless house that they can imagine living in, and your house will sell itself.

Reference: Hoak, A. (2014, April 13). 7 of the biggest home-buyer turnoffs. MarketWatch. Retrieved October 22, 2014, from http://www.marketwatch.com/story/7-of-the-biggest-home-buyer-turnoffs-2014-04-13.

Source: Robert H. Flashman, Family Resource Management Extension Professor, University of Kentucky; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant. Reviewed by Chris Duncan, Oldham County Family & Consumer Science Agent.

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