Buyers, What Are Your Deal Killers?

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California CA DRE #01490977

Buyers, What Are Your Deal Killers?



Knowing what you want in a new home, or better yet what you need and why, is essential in any house search in order to be effective. I’ve talked about this before in my series on how to buy a house. You’ll waste plenty of time if you really don’t have a good idea of the things that are important, which of course includes knowing your budget and what you qualify for if a loan is needed.




Location, say a particular community, might be very important for lifestyle and other reasons. You may require a certain number of bedrooms or baths. Having a single story house as opposed to a 2-story might be necessary or something you simply prefer. The list goes on. I use a checklist for buyers to help them think through these issues.



The other issue to consider in your search are the deal killers. These are those issues that could prevent you from moving forward with an offer on a particular home even if it met all your important needs. Perhaps there is nothing that would stand in the way if everything else was right. But for some buyers there are factors about the house or the location that would prevent them from saying “yes, let’s make an offer.” I ran into this again yesterday.


Carlsbad home with wires 


So what do some buyers have on this list?


A house that was smoked in and still reeks of smoke


A busy road in front or behind the property


Significant road noise (this varies from person to person), say from the freeway nearby


Close-by rail road tracks, train whistles due to RR crossing


Barking dogs at the neighbor’s house.


The view – high tension wires and/or towers overhead or in plain view in the back or front yard, looking directly into a neighbor’s house, a neighbor’s house looking down on your yard


Too close to a school, retail facility, industrial area, fire house, etc.


A home in the flight path of the airport




Barking dogsI showed a home the other day that was a beautiful remodel with great views and a large yard. It met all the requirements. But the house next door had 5 dogs, with a couple that barked the entire time we were in the house. That was enough to kill that deal.



You may have other concerns not mentioned above as well, but whatever they might be it’s important to give this some thought in advance.


There are always trade-offs of some sort when buying a home – you just have to be aware of what your personal ones are so you can make the best decision when weighing all the pros and cons about the properties that you like.



And here's something to keep in mind…if it’s a big issue for you, there’s a good chance it will be for other buyers in the future should you move forward and buy. Lots of homes get bought and sold that have issues like this, although value is often impacted, and it’s just a matter of your personal taste.


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deal killers when home buying

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Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Barking dogs would send me running in the other direction. Mold and cigarette smoke are deal killers for me. Knowing your buttons at the beginning saves everyone time.

May 31, 2017 03:07 PM #9
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Great post Jeff Dowler  lots of wonderful tips for buyers . Congrats for the gold star it is well deserved

May 31, 2017 03:35 PM #10
Mega Team Real Estate
Realty ONE Group Alliance - San Mateo, CA
San Francisco and Peninsula Real Estate Concierge

Thanks for sharing great tips for buyers. 

May 31, 2017 04:26 PM #11
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Cool.  Not only the pros, but the cons to buying a house.  I actually sold a home very close to a train track because the buyer LOVED trains.  A negative into a postive for the right buyer.

May 31, 2017 06:34 PM #12
Sam Kader MLO 130505 MB 78982
Pacific Coast Financial LLC Lic# MB78982 - Seattle, WA
Real Estate NMLS 91980 Mortgage Broker Lic MB78982

Thanks for sharing Jeff.  Property not being appraised at value in escalating market.

May 31, 2017 07:24 PM #13
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I agree with you--there are some details buyers will not compromise on. I would add to that list--condition of neighbor's home. Living next door to someone who doesn't keep their house maintained, who has junk littering the yards, peeling paint, overgrown yards--that' s a reflection on the owner.

May 31, 2017 08:54 PM #14
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Jeff,

Deal breakers vary by client. I once sold a home on a noisy street, that I personally would not have purchased, but the buyers were happy with it because it reminded them of the place they lived in a European City. It was also convenient for commuting. Different strokes for different folks.

May 31, 2017 09:02 PM #15
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Showed the smoke 'em if you got 'em house yesterday to a lady who noticed nothing. Felt right at home as a smoker. To each his own. Match 'em up.

Jun 01, 2017 03:06 AM #16
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I enjoyed reading your post. Home buyers should read this post and discuss their deal killers with their agent.

Jun 01, 2017 03:25 AM #17
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Jeff Dowler ,

A very good article and video because deal breakers vary by client. One should always think that if it bothers you it could bother another buyer down the road when you go to sell and could impact the value. Congratulations on a well deserved featured post. 

Jun 01, 2017 04:18 AM #18
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

It is always good for buyers to think through clearly what they want and maybe easier for them to say what they don't want. Good post.

Jun 01, 2017 05:10 AM #19
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Oh boy this really hits home with me. We are currently looking and nothing is good enough for me. LOL

The barking dogs would have been a deal killer for me.

An in ground pool would kill the deal.

Too much improvement needed would kill the deal.

If the neighborhood is bad....bad part of town or run down deal no matter how perfect the home in question is.

This is just a few examples. It's beginning to look like we are staying put in our current home.

Jun 01, 2017 06:53 AM #20
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

You're so right about the "big issue being future buyers too"Jeff Dowler ... most buyers become Sellers at some point in the future.  Those "issues" will matter ...



Jun 01, 2017 11:05 AM #21
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Your last paragraph sums it up nicely...don't buy if its an issue on day one because it will be an issue the last day!

Jun 01, 2017 11:08 AM #22
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Jeff, I've got some buyers who added a new deal breaker to the list - listing agents who underprice, over-stage, and wait a week before reviewing offers.  We just ratified on a house that was empty, and the extraordinary and clean offer they made during the first hours on the market was quickly accepted by the seller.  I'm still getting emails from agents who tried unsuccessfully to foment bidding wars - wondering, "Where are all the offers?"

Jun 01, 2017 11:13 AM #23
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Great post.

I find many people who are just starting the search process reply with the bare necessities, 3/2 etc.

But the list of deal killers helps to focus the search in much more detail and will save a lot of useless looking.

Thanks for a great post.

Jun 01, 2017 11:54 AM #24
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I think asking buyers for their list of deal-breakers before you begin the search is a wonderful time-saving idea.

Jun 01, 2017 01:27 PM #25
Amy Gutschow
RE/MAX - Sheboygan, WI
Professional Real Estate

Great post.  Knowing the deal breakers saves us and our buyers from wasting their time.  Cigarette smoke seems to be  ahuge deal breaker for most of my buyers.  Cats too if their is a allergy.

Jun 01, 2017 03:06 PM #26
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I agree with every one of these. I showed a house to someone three houses away from an active freight train track and I was relieved that they decided against it. I don't want to try to sell it in 5 years or 5 months.

Jun 02, 2017 03:22 AM #27
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Jun 02, 2017 08:53 AM #28
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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