Top 5 Things Buyers Don't Like About Your House

Real Estate Agent with Bob Leigh & Assoc., LLC

Top 5 Things Buyers Don't Like About Your House
by Pam Simpson
The Kudzu Vine

I came across a discussion on city-data forum the other day on what people dislike about looking at homes.  The following items were mentioned over and over again.  Here are the Top 5 Things That Buyers Don't Like About Your House:

SMELL...Overwhelmingly, the #1 complaint among prospective buyers were unpleasant odors in the Dog smoking Cigarhome.  The chief offenders were smoke, pet odors, and strange cooking aromas.  Some in the discussion said they turned right around and walked out because they found the smells so oppressive.  Most of us are unaware of the 'peculiar' odors of our homes because we become immune to the smells - the buyers are not immune to these same odors.

CLEANLINESS...This one just boggles my mind - the #2 complaint that buyers had about the homes they Dirty Dishesviewed was that the seller simply did not bother to clean.  We're not talking about home staging (which will help) or even unrealistic expectations of the home being spotless - just simple old-fashioned cleaning.  Selling your home can be a bit inconvient, but when you have advance notice that a buyer is coming to view your home - clean it up!!!  At the very least, remove the pile of dirty dishes from the sink. 

...Coming in at #3 is having the owners at home while the buyers are tring to view it.  Most buyers felt very uncomfortable with the seller there.  Many said they could not take the time to really look at the features of the home because they were in such a hurry to get away from the seller.  This is a real problem for FSBOs, as they are usually the ones showing their own home. 

CLUTTER...The #4 complaint is related to the cleanliness point - the dreaded clutter.  We have all seen it on the home shows, many buyers have a hard time seeing your home because of all the stuff.  When I was selling my small (875 sq. ft.) home, I hauled a big truckload of stuff to a storage facility.  How in the world do we accumulate so much stuff?

UNFINISHED PROJECTS...Unfinished projects take the #5 spot.  If you are planning on selling your home, finish up any on-going home improvement projects before placing it on the market.  Homes with half-finished painting, flooring, trim, etc. gave buyers a bad overall impression.

But, none of the above matters if your home is overpriced.  Buyers really hated it when the homes were priced above what the market indicates.  An obviously overpriced home discourages offers because the buyer believes it is an indication of an unrealistic and unreasonable seller.  The more out-of-line your price is with the current market, the longer your home will sit unsold and the more inconvenient the process is for you (the seller).



If your home is priced correctly and you have addressed the other items on this list, it will stand out like a diamond among the many lumps of coal out there.




About the author:
Pam Simpson is an Assoc. Broker with Bob Leigh & Associates, LLC in Northwest MS.  Copyright©  2009 by Pam Simpson.  All rights reserved...***Top 5 Things Buyers Don't Like About Your House***

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Re-Blogged 14 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Erica Ramus 03/11/2009 09:08 AM
  2. Chelsea Stevens 03/11/2009 10:37 AM
  3. Kristen Wahl 03/11/2009 11:54 AM
  4. Thomas McCormack 03/11/2009 12:23 PM
  5. Lynda Bennett 03/11/2009 12:29 PM
  6. Bev Boeck 03/11/2009 12:38 PM
  7. Linda Lipscomb 03/11/2009 04:30 PM
  8. Karen Witt 03/11/2009 11:19 PM
  9. Pat Mulligan 03/11/2009 11:53 PM
  10. Will Nesbitt 03/12/2009 12:04 AM
  11. Kathleen Buckley 03/12/2009 12:45 AM
  12. Max Gieck 03/12/2009 02:12 AM
  13. Annie Pinsker-Brown 03/12/2009 04:40 PM
  14. Steve Brien 03/13/2009 12:00 AM
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Jimmie McAdams


This is a great article and you hit the top five right on target. The sellers just do not get it! We had a condo listed for months without the first offer and it took that long before we could finally get the sellers to leave the condo while it was being sold. Now that we have accomplished that, the market has deteriorated further and no buyers. So it is very possible that their best potential buyer was one that previewed it while they sat there watching the buyer's every move!

Jimmie McAdams  CLHMS; ABR; Realtor®, (RE/MAX Island Properties; Singer Island, FL)

Mar 12, 2009 01:59 AM #59
Carolyn Heilman
Century 21 Premier Realty - New Franklin, MO

Great list.   I had a seller who, when I mentioned the smoke smell, had all the carpets cleaned, painted most of the walls and agreed to only smoke outside.   Wonderful people to work with.   Not all sellers are so agreeable.   

I also don't like when you have to deal with pets...don't let the cat out, barking dog following you around.   I have enough to deal with without worrying about animals.   Best to have them crated or gone if someong is looking at the house.


Mar 12, 2009 03:11 AM #60
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Apparently there are a lot of people who agreed with me that this is a great list for sellers as it has been reblogged 12 times.

Mar 12, 2009 03:13 AM #61
Pam Simpson
Bob Leigh & Assoc., LLC - Senatobia, MS
GRI, Broker-Assoc.

Jimmie-It is frustrating when the seller won't listen to the advice their agent is giving them.

Carolyn-That was a great seller!  On the pet issue, I have offered to meet the showing agent at the home (if I am the listing agent) to take care of the pet if the seller can't make it - especially if I know the seller is not going to crate the pet.  I once had a buyer client who was terrified of cats.  Wouldn't you know it, one of the houses we went to had a cat dart into the living room just as we were walking in.

Christine-I am OVERWHELMED at the response. 

Thank you to everyone who read, commented and reblogged.  I am glad you found it useful.

Mar 12, 2009 04:05 AM #62
Dave Culbertson
Real Living Home Team - Mount Vernon, OH

nice post...probably going to "steal" a bit of it...(no, let's say creatively acquire)

Mar 12, 2009 04:42 AM #63
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Pam, All great points!  I am sure we all have stories of the dirty house where we wanted to run straight home and hop into the shower... Can you imagine how bad it is when they dont know people are coming???  Congratulations on your feature!

Mar 12, 2009 05:23 AM #64
DeAndrea "Dee Dee" Jones
Home Buyers Marketing II, Inc. - Manassas Park, VA
The NorthernVARealEstateLady & DMVRealEstateChick

Cleanliness and Clutter are my top two, If you can not afford a stager or storage unit, simply clean up and put the junk in the garage, under a bed, in a closet, at a neighbor or relatives house. 

Mar 12, 2009 07:57 AM #65
Adam Mahler

This is great stuff! I own a real estate appraisal business in North Hollywood, CA, and there are one or two things on your list here that can also lower the value of your home when it's getting appraised. If, for example, the comparables are between $250,000 and $300,000 and your home is in need of repairs, it will appraise for the lower end. Most people don't think of many of these things, so it's nice to see somebody trying to help them through it. Well done!

Mar 12, 2009 08:11 AM #66
Dave Hymes
RE/MAX Gold - Placerville, CA

Very good Pam....I would think a close #6 would be..."It's so dark!" Open the curtains, turn on some lights!

Mar 12, 2009 08:19 AM #67
Pam Simpson
Bob Leigh & Assoc., LLC - Senatobia, MS
GRI, Broker-Assoc.

Dave-I'm glad you liked it.  I've already found one "unauthorized" version on the net.  Rework as much as you wish, but please don't just copy and paste!

Robert-thanks for the congrats.  I am used to very dirty homes when I show foreclosures, but you would think it is just good common sense for a seller to clean up the house when they know it is going to be shown.

DeAndrea-You are so right.  Elbow grease doesn't cost anything and a clean house shows 100% better.

Adam-Thank you.  In a perfect world, I would like for the seller to make any necessary repairs before the house hits the MLS.

Dave-thanks for the comment.  I find the older I get, the harder it is to see without lots of light.  Makes you wonder what they are trying to hide.

Mar 12, 2009 11:54 AM #68
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Pam, this is a great post - I like that you tell it like it is and pull no punches. These are things sellers absolutely have to know in order to sell their homes. I just reblogged this b/c it was so valuable. Thanks for posting!

Mar 12, 2009 04:42 PM #69
Pam Simpson
Bob Leigh & Assoc., LLC - Senatobia, MS
GRI, Broker-Assoc.

Annie-thank you.  There are some things that it is just better to come out and say plainly. 

Mar 13, 2009 01:11 AM #70
Sonya Loose
Modern Realty - Beaverton, MI
Helping Buyers & Sellers of Waterfront Property

Such truths to what you read and then said in this post!!!  Why is it so difficult for our sellers to grasp these easy concepts.  When only 34% of listings are selling in my market and they take an average of 230 days to do so you better believe I tell all of my sellers what not to do!!!  Great post!!!

Mar 13, 2009 05:42 AM #71
Pam Simpson
Bob Leigh & Assoc., LLC - Senatobia, MS
GRI, Broker-Assoc.

Sonya-thank you for your comments.  I think that some people will always look to an external source of why their house is not selling (like its the Realtor's fault) rather than admit it could be the showing condition or the price. 

Mar 13, 2009 07:28 AM #72
Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

Carrie and Kathy SampronPam:  I loved your post.  I cannot tell you how many times we've shown a home and the smells were just . . . well you know!! :) 

I know we all have stories we can tell about a home we showed that was not in the shall we say optimal condition.  I remember one home where you had to navigate through small lanes that were created by the clutter.

Mar 13, 2009 10:13 AM #73
Pam Simpson
Bob Leigh & Assoc., LLC - Senatobia, MS
GRI, Broker-Assoc.

Carrie & Kathy-thank you for your comments.  You would think that with more houses in competition for the qualified buyers out there, the seller would want to really make their home shine. 

Mar 14, 2009 04:38 AM #74
Bev Boeck
My Idaho Place Real Estate, Inc. - Eagle, ID

Hey Pam, I'm thinking of a post on the value of re-blogging.  As you know, I appreciate/d this one from you enough to reblog it, and I do have a question of you: how do you most easily "track" others' reblogging of your own posts?  Is there an AR link I'm unfamiliar with, or do you just search for your post title or something?  Thanks for any light you could shed...keep on rainin'!  :)

Mar 28, 2009 02:40 AM #75
Pam Simpson
Bob Leigh & Assoc., LLC - Senatobia, MS
GRI, Broker-Assoc.

BB - AR just made the tracking of reblogs a whole lot easier.  If you have green dots under the reblog button (at the upper right of your blog post) that means someone has reblogged your post.  Just hover your curser over the dots, then click.  It will bring up a box with a list of the rebloggers.  You may also want to copy and paste the title or some of the content in google and it will show where it all is posted.  I found an "unauthorized" post of my blog this way.  In other words...someone stole my post and made it look like it was their own material.

Mar 28, 2009 12:29 PM #76
Alan Strange
Keller Williams - The Strange Team - Thornton, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Professional

Good information to be reposted.  Clutter and having the seller home are big deals.  While on the rare occassion that having someone there helps with information it often back fires and either turns off a buyer or it ends up weakening negotiations down the road.  Nice info!  Thanks.

Nov 09, 2010 07:14 AM #77
Pam Simpson
Bob Leigh & Assoc., LLC - Senatobia, MS
GRI, Broker-Assoc.

Your welcome, Alan.  Glad you found the information useful.

Nov 15, 2010 02:41 AM #78
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