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By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | Broker in San Francisco, CA

5 Surprising Home Buyer Turn-Offs

The prospect of selling your home effectively makes you a marketer. And effective marketing requires that you understand the mind and priorities, likes and dislikes of your target buyer. In real estate, we all know that buyers like to see homes that are pristine, huge and well-located. Sometimes, though, it’s much harder to recognize when our own homes might actually be triggering buyers’ distaste - or disgust. 

Earlier this year, I gave you some critical insights into what specific things turn buyers off - and now I’m back with a handful more! Whether you’re preparing to sell your home, or you’re in the market to buy a home and want to be aware of what the property’s resale prospects might be, here are five home features and characteristics that are big-time turn-offs for today’s home buyers.

1.  Pools. Twenty years ago, having a pool was seen as a luxurious amenity - almost a status symbol that you had made it, if your home had one. Fast forward a couple of decades, though, and many home buyers are turning down homes specifically because they have a pool.

There are a couple of core buyer subgroups who love pools: people who live in places where summers are super hot and people who really like to swim. But those buyers are vastly outranked in number by these other subgroups: 

  • people who know they won’t swim enough to use a pool, and think that maintaining one would just be a waste of their time, energy and money
  • people who would rather have a yard, and are looking for homes in areas where they either have a pool or a backyard - but not both, and
  • people who have young children and see a pool as a safety hazard.

If you happen to have a pool, your best bet is to market your home as best you can to those buyers who truly want one, and to mitigate the perceived negatives of pool ownership by being both pragmatic and creative:

  • ensuring the pool has a well-functioning fence and cover, 
  • staging the rest of the backyard in a way that maximizes the non-swimming activities a buyer will see as possible in the outdoor space, and/or 
  • offering to pre-pay for a year of the buyer’s pool maintenance as an incentive of the home sale transaction.

2.  Your stuff.  Yes - your taste is immaculate. But it’s your taste. What buyers are really looking for when they come to view a home is a palate on which they can envision easily applying their tastes. Accordingly, a primary goal of smart home preparation is depersonalization or neutralization, simply removing most or all of the personalized touches that make your home reflect you unless they are also neutral enough that any buyer, from any age group or cultural background can step in and put their mind’s eye to work at filling in what the place would look like if they lived there.

That said, it’s also entirely possible that your things might not be as attractive, nice or tidy in the eyes of a buyer as you perceive them to be. In the same vein, the tchotchkes, knickknacks and memorabilia that you see as cozy and warm are highly likely to be seen by buyers as dumpy clutter. I have personally been in homes with a number of buyers where the fact that the sellers still had so much stuff or such bad stuff throughout the home distracted the buyers from appreciating the property’s true potential, and what it might be like if they simply made some cosmetic edits and redecorated.

We’ve talked a lot over the years about the idea of simply pre-packing, staging by boxing up everything but the very most basic daily essentials and get them ready to move - some sellers find that to be a much more effective way to think about the project of decluttering.  Also, you can reset your own perspective on what you need to get rid of or move out to put your home on the market by visiting professionally staged Open Houses, hiring a stager just for an hourlong consult or even asking your agent to walk through your home and stick mini-Post It notes on things that need to be moved out before the listing goes live.

3.  Carpet.  Obviously, old, dirty, pet-impacted and bizarrely colored carpets (red?!) are not a draw for buyers. But this generation of home buyers takes the carpet conundrum even further, exhibiting a distaste for carpet - period. Concerns about the relative difficulty and expense of cleaning carpets, to the cost of replacing them when you want a decor change, to the tendency of carpets to hold pet hair, mites and other allergens that may impact family members with respiratory issues are, collectively causing carpet to fall out of favor with today’s home buyers. 

The majority of home buyers express a desire to have hardwood floors in their next home; other hard floor surfaces, from bamboo to tile to concrete to cork, are rapidly outpacing the popularity of carpets (though some buyers do still prefer the softness and warmth of carpets in their bedrooms). 

If you were thinking about replacing your carpets before you put your home on the market, consider replacing at least the living and dining areas with hard wood or a similar finish.  And if your home has carpet over hardwood, talk with your agent about exploring the idea of ripping it up - it might not be as expensive to repair or refinish as you think, and in many areas, buyers prefer even an imperfect hardwood floor over nice carpets.

4.  Gold bathroom fixtures.  Gold bathroom fixtures are part of a larger category of buyer turn-offs perhaps best described as things that are old, but not old enough to be vintage, retro, classic or historic. As a general rule, this includes household appliances, finishes and decor that dates from the ‘70s and ‘80s, give or take a decade, depending on where you’re at. For instance, the popularity of Mad Men has driven a massive amount of interest in all things mid-century modern, bringing the 50’s and 60’s decor and design aesthetics that just seemed plain and old when I was a child back into vogue - but somewhat more in urban than suburban taste zeitgeists.  

This means that those goldenrod refrigerators and wallpapers with marigold, orange and avocado floral patterns are decidedly passe. Similarly, gold bathroom and lighting fixtures, popular in the 80s and 90s are seen as dated by buyers, who much prefer sleeker, matte-er stainless, brushed chrome and even bronze or white finishes where metal finishes are necessary.  Is this just another trend? Yes.  But replacing gold bathroom finishes and recessed lighting can covers is relatively inexpensive to do; touch base with your stager or agent regarding whether they think these micro-home improvements will make much of a difference with buyers in your area and your home’s price range.

5.  Elaborate gardens and/or vast landscaping.  A huge backyard seems like it’d be a big draw.  So do the flower and botanical gardens that the seller obviously spent hour upon hour designing and tending to. But they also seem like a lot of work to today’s time-strapped and cash-conscious buyers. Not long ago, a buyer I know actually de-prioritized a home they otherwise loved, because it was surrounded by an enormous Japanese garden, bonsais and all, that the buyer admired, but knew they could and would never be able to care for.  Same can go for elaborate, high-maintenance food gardens or even super-large front and backyards: some buyers simply know they don’t or won’t put the time, money and water into their care, so would rather not take them on.

Nothing about this should stop you from creating such an outdoor space if that is part and parcel of the lifestyle you want to live in your home. But it should be a factor you consider if you are concerned about reselling your home in the near future, and it might impact how you market your home if it has any of these sorts of features. If you have a miniature botanical garden at your home, why not find out if the local botanical garden or garden society has a newsletter you can place an ad in? If you have bees and chickens in the middle of Chicago or the heart of L.A., is there an urban farming club or blog that reaches that audience?  

Work with your agent to research where local buyers who would love your home’s unique or high-maintenance features, then market your home to them via publications, websites or organizations in which they already participate.  Once you understand that the average buyer might find these features to be less-than-desirable, it’s time to get creative about finding the buyer who will find them to be just what they’ve always wanted.

Agents and Buyers: What turn-offs have you encountered while house-hunting?


By Kalyn Ringwold,  Wed Sep 19 2012, 17:12
I agree with all except for the carpet. I know of buyers who have been turned off from hardwood because they like the look and feel of carpet better. But I think you have a pretty good article here. Very well written :)
By Dottie Cammarasana,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:19
GREAT ARTICLE. The key information here is - WHO you market to - your public remarks should be able to draw the RIGHT buyer to your property. Have a pool - make that a focus of your remarks, have lush landscaping - focus on the buyer who love to garden - carpets old - tell the reader there is an allowance for carpeting...and so on and so on.
By aslans_home,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:20
carpet is a big bummer for us. Don't like it. Don't have it. It holds germs, no matter how well you maintain it.
By Greg Neumayer,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:21
I continue to be surprised at the number of home photos that will show a pet -- usually the family dog -- in the picture! No! Buyers should feel the way they feel about a good hotel room... that they're the first people ever to sleep there.
By Truman Dawson,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:21
I too agree about the "gold fixtures" There or others that have the same effect..brase,tented in colors..etc...Unless the property is upscale ..medium price homes show better with gleaming hardware. tru
By Windancer1970,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:24
This helped me a lot! I see now the things that I have to do to stage my home in a way that will be appricated. Thank you so much!
By Scole,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:25
The series of articles is very well written and help provide objective opinions to buying and selling. Regarding the pool, I think it is "location, location, location." I have a home in southern Arizona, and about every home there has a pool. In Arizona, they are an asset more than a liability. We evaluated hardwood vs carpet in the renovation of the home, and elected to go with carpet, simply because we have 18 x 18 ceramic in all hallways and traffic areas... Hardwood seemed too "busy" for our tastes.

I totally agree with changing the gold bath fixtures... They definitely are perceived as "dated" and out of style.

Thanks for another good article.
By Icarus,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:25
While i agree that too many ' tchotchkes, knickknacks and memorabilia" can be a turn off, I don't think you need to irradicate every single item, especially if you only have one or two items in the first place. Some realtors feel that they have to remove these items to show that they provided "staging assistance".
By Catherine Mcinnis,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:29
Great article.
By Richard K. Ho, M.D., MBA,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:36
Well written! Anyway the biggest turnoff for buyers is an overpriced home for sale! :(

Richard K. Ho, M.D., MBA, Realtor. ePro
Investor Coach and Strategist
Cornerstone Realtors,

6455 Almaden Expwy., Suite 98

San Jose Ca 95120


Fax 408-649-5212

Please visit: http://www.trulia.com/profile/RichardHo/
By Roselle Commins,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:41
Unkempt yard.....weeds, grass too long, bare spots in yard, gutters overflowing with debris, and more like that ! !
By Vicky Ten Hoven,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:43
In Arizona a pool and large diagonal tile are really desireable. Housekeeping makes a big difference also-I have shown houses where my clients are taking out the hand sanitizer when we leave.
By Kim Nicholson,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:44
Pools are a tough one. I have had listings in areas that the buyers LOVE the pools and other listings in areas that the buyers are afraid of the pool for numerous reasons. Liability, upkeep, cost are just a few. I think it really depends on the area and the neighborhood.
By Lynnell Woodward,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:44
Very well written! In our area all of these seem to be true.
By Jerry.Dodd,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:51
Excellent suggestions. We built a large custom home with two story foyer and family room. We selected hardwood for all rooms and tile for kitchen and bath. It looked beautiful when we moved in with our 10 and 13 year old boys. We quickly realized that the noise of typical family activities was intrusive, so we placed large area rugs in major rooms and runners in halls to attenuate it. So much for our beautiful hardwood floors
By Jerry Baker,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:52
Great article except for where the dangling participles are at :-)
By Cpdeckert,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:53
I believe nice balance of tile to wood to carpet is needed. The fact is that buyers do have dogs and dogs can't walk on flooring that is 100% no carpet. I know many dogs to go down hill when they move because they are put in homes with all tile and hardwood. It takes a toll on their paws. I like family room carpet and or area rugs of some kind and carpet in bedrooms.
I believe clean windows are very important and curb appeal.
By Ben,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 10:58
I've been turned off otherwise perfect homes by:
- Daycare next door
- Neighbors running a recurring fleamarket (in an upscale neighborhood no less)
- Self-constructed man cave with sauna - high risk of fungas and mold
- No in-house or neighborhood parking without the commensurate adjustment in price
- High crime area without the commensurate adjustment in price (marketing to the unaware) - just because the neighborhood will probably be gentrified some day . . .
By Maria Boyle,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:09
Great points! Definitely will consider these as we started to prepare to list our home. Thanks again for another good article!
By Renee Vespa,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:12
What turns me off is the tiny little lots being offered these days. We actually ended up just writing an offer on an older home that will need updating so we could get a larger lot. There is nothing worse than going out in my backyard and being able to see 20 identical tiny little backyards in either direction. Greedy contractors are just jamming as many houses as they can into each plot of land they buy. I want a little privacy and a little space!
By Suzanne Turner Phillips,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:23
I am continually shocked at the choice of pics that realtors deem acceptable to post on a listing. 35 pics posted? AWESOME. However, posting a pic of that fourth room (spare room, guest room, office etc) that is COMPLETELY filled with junk just ruined the entire listing. Makes me wonder how much of that junk will be left when the house sells. Especially if the house has obviously been occupied by the same person for 50 years.
By Adrian Harrell,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:23
This is a great article. It goes to show that when preparing your home for sale, you have to let go of all the attachement ties you have with the home. Often times sellers love their homes and love all the touches they have added to the home through the years. They also believe thier home looks "good and well maintained" where a buyer sees "cluttered and dated". I always recommend that seller keep at least 30% of thier decorations and store everything before putting the house on the market at a storage facility (not in the garage). Once a lot of the clutter has been removed to look and see where they can make inexpensive changes that will have high impact and attract the buyer. For example the dated light fixture in the entry can easily be replaced with a new inexpensive one to freshen up the home. I also recommend planting new flowers in the flowerbeds and cleaning up the front of the home to provide curb appeal. Most often when a buyer walks up to a home and is impressed in the beginning, they start to imagine themselve in the space and tend to look past some of the "challanges".
By Barb Mihalik,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:24
Offering allowances for outdated kitchens, baths or for replacing flooring can help sometimes. Most people prefer a neutral move in ready home, though. That way they can take their time decorating it their way without being compelled to change taste specific colors, fixtures or things they don't think they can live with for any length of time. It's especially difficult for people with few resources to want to spend money on a home they won't be living in anymore. Just having a clutter free and immaculate living space can go a long way.
By Rich Vandermeer,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:35
I think that an unprepared real estate agent is the biggest turn off!
By Betsy,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:44
I can't believe some realtors allow some of the pictures they put online! Some rooms have unmade beds, dirty underwear on floors, dresser drawers open with clothes spilling out, blankets on windows, cat and dog dishes up on bathroom counters....Ugh! Really? No thank you!
By Jeff Kerwing,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:45
I've been home-shopping for a couple of months, and I've been shocked at how many homes have paneling on the walls. Didn't that go out of style like 30 years ago? And another big turn-off: a mysterious puddle of water in the basement. I fell in love with a place and would have pursued it if not for the puddle in the basement.
By Tiffany Hogan,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:48
I am a current home buyer (just sold and moved out of our 4th home) - and I have to agree with everything you have posted. We will not look at a home with a pool (unless its an Endless Pool) and hate carpet (it is unhealthy). Gold fixtures I can cope with (they are easily replaced). And the landscaping? Well - the worst situation is with overgrown/uncared for plantings that need removal/cutting down, etc. We walked away from a house in a great location because for some inexplicable reason, the previous owners (more than one, I am sure) - had permitted two giant evergreen trees to grow inches from the house, on either side of the front door. I could not look at the house without imagining how it would have been squashed if the clearly needed arborist made even the smallest mistake. These trees had to be 60 feet tall! One mistake up in the tree and house would have been cut in two by the falling tree trunk. No way was I going to risk spending money on a house like that.
By Andrea Crilly,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:50
Pools are definitely wanted in Miami since it is so hot and we can use them all year. Your other points are good surprising buyer turn-offs. If desired by the seller, we cover those in a free home staging consultation prior to listing.
By Hallie O'donnell,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:55
Great article! And I agree: carpet is a huge negative for us as well. We will be beyond grateful when we never have to see a nasty, rust color, 1980s-era, pee-stained carpet again (our rental)!!
By Evelyn Brewer,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:56
What happened to imagination and a great realtor. I had a home in Illinois that I had decorated to the hilt with wallpaper, unusual carpet, etc. The realtor brought one couple in that loved the house and wanted to buy all the furniture too. Only one person looked at my house and bought it because my agent knew her clients. Where I live, realtors don't even have open houses or do any work to bring clients through. I repainted the walls, changed the carpet, did everything they requested and now I'm living with all of these whitewashed changes because the house didn't sell in this market.
By Rob,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 11:57
But it's just my kitty in the picture. Does'nt mean it's a bad home.
By yaybs,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:06
I've read about these suggestions before & will continue to gather helpful ideas. Basic know-how when selling a home is always good, but you will never please everyone regardless if you use neutral colors, remove personal items etc. When I sell my house, hopefully I will hit all the important points to make it more attractive and hope for the best.
By kathy9416,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:09
Please pick up the clutter so I can walk through and remove some furniture so I can see the walls. I hate carpet and a flooring allowance would entice me.
By Lynne Thompson,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:14
Two things: The first. Odors of any type (cooking, animal, cig smoke) The second. Lack of natural light - remove heavy/lined draperies, increase the wattage of your light bulbs, rearrange lighting in dark areas. Try to bring as much natural light into your home as you can; it's not possible to over-do it!
By Jo Shaw,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:21
My big turn off in looking at pics on line has been. Seeing beds instead of the window in a bed room, toilet seats are up, photos of family members, yes unmade beds, used towels in the bath. Who can we blame for these turn-of pics? Homeowners, edit the pics before letting them be put on line. Move the furniture then take the pic. I want to see the windows, doors, and any other good looking features. If a pic of your fireplace, front door, windows, etc are not available then you are not proud of them.
By Gregory Lee,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:28
Agree completely on carpets. Most buyers prefer tile, laminate, wood etc. Pools are specific to the market niche. Most buyers like a big yard with fruit trees
By Lisa Ledoux,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:36
Kitchens!! I'm suprised no one mentioned them. Old outdated kitchens are one of my biggest turn-offs. If it's a quaint, cottagy one, fine, but other than that, all I see are dollar signs and inconvenience.
By Eric,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:37
I definately agree with the Pool and carpets. My wife and I are looking at buying another home and I don't like pools and my opinion you waste more time maintaining it rather than enjoying it. As far as the carpet we seem some really odd colors out there where now I am thinking how much is going to cost me to change it.
By tdinie,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:40
I've been home shopping for the last 2 months and you got it right. I have pets and the thought of carpet is repulsive. Clutter...I can see past that. Pool- no way! Too much yard- no thanks. Gold faucets...that can be replaced, but yuk. As far as gutters and poor yard work- all the better for me because that stuff is an easy fix and brings the price down. Other things...'updating' or removing original architecture- what a shame turning a home into an average box-pass. Antiquing cabinets-horrible! Big plus is a patio or Florida room or both. Laminate- I already see pictures where the stuff is warping, not a plus. Biggest drawback of all is noise.
By Samantha Albrecht,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:41
I live in WI and our family LOVES our pool.. It's an above ground I can't really hide it during a showing and I hate to take it down and turn the space into grass. If the house doesn't sell by next summer I'd miss the pool every warm day.. what should I do?
By lynbir1,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:41
A couple of things for me were instant turn offs, we were looking last summer and people would leave the house with no air conditioning on, these were houses that were lived in, usually retired folks, perhaps it was a budget thing or maybe they just like it warm. But when my first thought on entering a house no matter how nice is "OMG, I can't breathe because it's so stuffy and hot," it wastes everyone's time. Keep it reasonably cool please (at least under 75 degrees)!

We looked at another house where we could not breathe because it smelled like an ashtray ... get rid of the carpeting, have the house cleaned if it still smells bad, and stop smoking in the house. You are not doing yourself any favors ... there were other houses where they clearly smoked in certain areas only, and one can deal with that, but not the whole house!

As a pet owner, I understand about animal odors and I am not as sensitive as a non-animal owner, so if it bothers me, it's really bad ... and had that issue a few times as well.

Walking into a house that looked like it had huge rooms because of the way it was photographed, big turn off ... and another waste of time (and time is valuable)

If you are a Do It Yourselfer, please have a list of things you have done to the house and make sure you had permits! It would be really wise (and this is for anyone really), and I bet it would sell your house faster, if you had a good house inspector come in and tell you what is wrong with your house to start with and fix it. It would be a HUGE selling point for me as we spent over $2k this past year on home inspections/radon checks/lawyer fees and have no house to show for it. I am sorry ... there is normal maintenance involved with having a house and I do understand that, but I don't expect to pay several hundred thousand dollars for a house and pay a few more thousand out of pocket to catch up on maintenance you didn't do before selling the house or things you screwed up because you are not as handy as you think you are.

Lastly, and this is due to our experience home shopping this past year. PLEASE if you belong to an HOA, make sure you have a copy of the rules available BEFORE someone offers on the house, better yet, put them on a website or in the disclosures are and save everyone a lot of time and money. I got the rules on a house we were planning to buy on the day we had the inspection done. I have 4 dogs, the HOA allowed two (county limit is 4 seemed reasonable to expect that it would be the same). Even though there were some issues on inspection, we would have found a way because we truly loved the house .... but I love my dogs more (and don't get me started on dog limits).
By Gloria Walters,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:41
Absolutely dead on...even for rentals. I have runaway from all of the above, but the 2 biggest offenders for me are carpet and a pool.
By anasara79,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:41
I agree completely on the carpets & pools. We're in the process of looking to buy our 1st home & if a place has carpets I always ask if there are hardwoods underneath; if not, we won't even consider the home. Carpets are easy to stain (especially with pets like we have) & never seem clean enough to me. As for the pool, I just see a giant money pit. Maintenance of a pool is pricey for the 1 season you can use it (here in New England anyways) & I'd rather have a nice deck in my backyard that I'll actually use 3 seasons of the year. If I want to use a pool, I'll drive to my parents' house!
By Dale Palmer LLC,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:43
Agree with everything except the pool. Pools are almost a requirement in the Fort Lauderdale Real Estate market in fact I end up selling them one without a pool and they put one in since they find the perfect home but it doesn't have a pool. Pools and Fort Lauderdale mix well.

Another thing in the Fort Lauderdale market is old original windows, because of hurricanes. They want shutters or hurricane impact windows since you can't get a discount on insurance with just plain old windows.
By Andy Burke,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:44
Well stated. These are the toughest issues to communicate to my clients who are selling their home. I would add wall paper and wall colors to the list. We talk a lot about "Pottery Barn" colors today, but the key is that the walls be painted in a neutral color, either off-white or one of the "new neutrals" like beige, sage green, soft grays. And wall paper.....everyone hates it. And even if they love wallpaper, they will hate the seller's choice!
By Kathy DeCicco,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:47
How about listing photos of interiors of homes that have been taken with wide-angle lenses? Kind of surprising for a buyer to see the property in real- life after seeing pics that make the rooms appear twice their size!
By Almoneys,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:53
I've been looking for a home for over a year now. I can tell what homes have been staged and homes that are occupied. The biggest thing that bugs me is... They are now calling the color of your walls, designer colors. When I see that, I know it's wild colors. Recently I saw a home I liked but, the walls were all wild colors called designer colors. They post it like it's supposed to be some great selling point. IT"S NOT !!!
By Ariescc,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:55
Carpet is debatable for us.....we have been told by several friends with hardwood flooring that they don't recommend it....Also, it can be cold....so, if the answer to that is toss in an area rug...you have defeated the "no carpet" idea. Area rugs are expensive, may slide around, and still require cleaning. Just a thought. I agree with the consensus about pools and large yards. In the middle about brass bathroom fixtures. If people replace those fixtures every time decorators come up with something new, they will go back to bringing in water in buckets. I'm looking for a house, and I'm much more interested in neutrality, cleanliness, window coverings, and a 3-car garage. Not all retirees have only one car, and many retired men require a work space. It would be terrific if search sites would include a box for 3-car garage and downstairs master for the searchers to populate. Often you can't see the whole front of the house in the pictures. As I said, just my thoughts in the real buyers world.
By ceokarens,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:57
If a realtor does not know what to show or not to show their buyer I would agree. Most realtors do not do their homework and previsit or discuss properties with sellers. Thousands of questions are unanswered and because of that....I am turned off by thier inability to answer my questions. I am turned off by the lack of owner presence when I visit. Even if a realtor does their homework, a visit can spur the imagination and many more questions being answered right then are key to me. Most people's time is limited. Carpets...I would want to pick that out and it might play as a negotiation piece for me. Gardens...I love them and a sustainable perennial garden that is already established....fabulous. It saves me from planning and just enjoying Clutter would be a distraction I would agree but not a turn off. I have an imagination. Gold trim? some people like it others do not....easy to change and not a deal breaker. My feeling is that everything is negotiable. If the price is affordable everything else becomes a negotiation piece. It amazes me how realtors always feel they know what I want. I am clear and they do not bring me to see what I want to see.I shorten the list up front and wish the realtor would do their homework and not waste eachother's time or gas.
By Gina,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:59
We have seen houses where uneaten food and crumbs are on tables and floors.(Cold cereal with stale milk to boot!!)Ugh! Unwashed dishes in sink. Maybe there're rentals or house on market too long and owners got tired of spiffing up for showings?
Also, dirty old towels on bathroom floors and other rooms.
Most of all, smells and odors(even "fragrant" deodorizers) .Homeowners following you around from room to room.(If you're afraid of losing stuff, you should have put them away first.) Do not feel free to check out the house, just want to run through and leave.
By Gordon Haraway,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 12:59
Agree with most everything you said in the article. We buy inexpensive runners for the hallways in heavy traffic areas. Our dog has no problems and wood floors are protected. The runners are easy to clean and after while just buy new ones. 1 thing about paint though, having mostly neutral colors is great but you can have an accent wall here in thereby creating a focal point in the room. My wife and I buy, fix and flip homes and always use accent walls of color.
By KatalysticKarma,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:00
I know most sellers are told to make the walls white to make the rooms look larger and cleaner; however, my husband and I always look at those homes as stark and "sterile" (not in a good way). We always take the fact that we will need to repaint into our offer pricing.

Lack of adequate parking is a major turnoff. Not all homes are built with garages. We found a lovely home in an area that we were looking at in a true 4-season area (heavy snow in winter) ... great price, large rooms, great maintenance. Unfortunately, it was on a street that was considered "narrow" ... so, no street parking. No garage. An extremely small carport that was not enclosed on at least 3 sides (only 2 which blocked the back door exit with oddly configured trees that were an obstacle course into the carport). We have two cars ... one being my hubby's "dream car" ... so no protective shelter was not an option.

No enclosed yard for our dogs, and the house literally took up the entire allowable lot. We even tried to find out about purchasing an empty lot next door to make a garage and yard, but the neighbors around the corner bought it to keep anyone from building a house to block their view. It would have been a nightmare to try to get the lot separated and reapportioned to us. Who would have thought it would be such a nightmare?

Sad thing is my hubby and I both loved the house, the neighborhood, and the price ... but we could not overcome the parking and no yard (not even a tiny yard was possible) issue.
By Fred Parks,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:03
Call me old fashioned or out of step, but what is with all the hating on carpeting? Like anything else, it needs to be cleaned occasionally but I will take the warmth and quiet of it over hard surfaces any time. The nylon wall-to-wall in my house is over 20 years old and has worn like iron. Who can say that this type of flooring won't be back in fashion in a couple years, with people buying it in droves to cover up their faux wood floors or even the real thing?
That said, I guess I will have to tear out and replace at least some of it to please the trend followers when it's time to sell.
By mfarris2,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:05
I am a buyer looking in the Central Florida area. It is very hot here, yet I agree with the writer of the article. I will not purchase a home with a pool. The upkeep cost will not justify the small amount of use I would use it for. I have many tools that I would have a single car garage/shed built in the back yard for storage. So a pool would take up to much room in my back yard.
Wall to wall carpets are out. Ceramic tile and hardwood floors are a must. I will simply lay small and large throw rugs where I want carpet.
Granite counters, an area for french door refrigerators a must. Stainless fixtures, mean clean to me.
Just my 2 cents.
By Rick Stroud,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:07
over staged houses....looks more like a showroom than a warm inviting home
By Herb,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:13
I think the world should not need to be sterilized for my house to sell. One respondent noted that her realtor brought only the RIGHT buyers. That's one of the things I'm paying realtor big bucks for.

I'm a single, older guy. I have no intention of redoing my house to sell it; I need to live here (with my dog) until it sells or I die. Most of these suggestions are just beyond my ability, interest, desire or pocketbook. Yes, my house will need updates, that's why it's priced where it is.
By Fuzzycrud,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:25
I approach buying a house differently than selling one. While selling, I insisted that our appliances matched, that the walls be freshly painted a nuetral taupe, that the brass light fixtures were replaced and that te deck was freshly painted. I also rearranged curtains so that only sheers were hung on windows that had the wood blinds and a very carefully chosen set of curtains with a liner were placed on the patio door. I also insisted that the carpet in the bedrooms be replaced. I knew the turnoffs for people. I worried about the crappy laminate flooring in the living/kitchen/dining areas, so I used very nuetral throw rug in the living room and aimed to keep the rests smudge free as possible (after that experience and our current, I actually now feel laminate/solid surface is dirtier because of the visual aspect.....).

Anywho, the house which didn't sell the year before (with the old carpet and mismatched appliances) sold in 20 days just a hair off of the asking price (which was higher than the price the year before!)

However, when shopping for a home, I ignore the "crap". Carpet is replaceable. Paint is changeable. Wallpaper can be taken down. None of it will stop me from buying what is otherwise the house of my dreams. What will stop me are foundation problems tht aren't typical, major problems with Mold, floor plan that isnt my style and cant easily be rectiied, overall hime style that doesnt have any appeal to me, poor location (highway, crime ridden neighborhood, bad schools, etc), pretty much the things that cannot be rectified. ps-smoking odor falls into this for me as well....

If something cosmetic is just absolutely hideous and I know I don't want to spend a ton to correct it. I would ask for an allowance in my offer to get it taken care of. Say tere is wall to wall Pepto bismal pink carpet-ask for a flooring allowance.

I always laughed when people would come to our for sale house and would comment that they wished te laundry was on the main level or that the master bedroom was bigger or wish it had a walk out basement.... All of those things were clearly disclosed on the listing, so the excuse was just very poor and laughable. Either the buyers didn't read the listing or the agent didn't even listen to what thy wanted....
By mfarris2,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:27
Another thing, if I smell or see a pet that I know goes outdoors, I will not bother looking any further. I have no pets and do not desire being bitten by the fleas left behind once the owner and his/her pet has vacated the property.
By Korel,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:28
Where can I find some nice bronze faucets to replace my 1978ish genuine imitation gold faucets?
By Margie Birch,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:33
Here in Florida, a pool is usually a must-have on every buyers list. Whether they will use it or not. Bad smell are a huge turnoff for a lot of buyers. Pets, smoke, or just stale odors are bad. Keep an air freshener around while the house is for sale.
By geddy725,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:43
Great article, great points made by all. A few things to add: everyone has different wants/needs and tastes. No house is perfect unless it is built to your specifications. Finding a good deal involves some compromise. I think a clean, neat, well maintained home is really the bottom line. You cannot expect everyone to have every room updated. As for carpet, as long as it is clean and neutrally-colored you can work with it (or replace it). The same with paint--easily and inexpensively fixed. .A good realtor can help to match the right house, at the right price with the right buyer. It is annoying and a waste of time when buyers with very little $$ to put down look at homes out of their price range and then low-ball and expect it all for free or complain that it is not perfect. You cannot expect caviar on a beer budget. Buyers need to get real. Sellers who are appropriately priced are holding out for the right offer.
By Judy Mangini,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:45
Unmade beds, dirty clothes on the floor. Messy baths and kitchens. The buyer wants to see neat, tidy houses. It shows the property was cared for, so therefore adds more "value".
By Felicia Reynolds,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:52
The pool issue definitely varies widely by geography. Here in New England they're not an asset. Bad smells are huge, but I also find that people are also turned off by air fresheners, scented candles, and other "masks". Find the source of the odor and remove it. As a professional stager two of my biggest challenges are pets and young children. Everyone loves their pets but the reality is that many potential buyers will walk in and right back out if they see cats or dogs -- either because of fear about the animal itself or of the dirt/smell/bugs that they think come with it. Many homes with young children are overrun with bright, giant plastic toys... every room looks like a day care center and many parents don't or won't see that this works against them. Hard as it is, both of these issues need to be addressed head on.
By Dana Hollish Hill,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 13:58
Love this list. My buyers dislike these five things as well. One other that is a major turn off - smells. Whether it's smoke, litter box, air freshener, or freshly baked cookies, my clients are turned off or suspicious.
By Olsene49,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:00
Also, walls that are painted outrageous colors can be a turn-off. Many potential buyers just can't look past the purple and red-trimmed livingroom. Seems that neutral colors help make the place look more appealing in the long run....
By Violet M. Perales,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:02
I agree with most of the comments. However in Florida where the summers are pretty much year round, more people seem to desire pools. Carpet also seems to be not as desireable in the warmer climates, where people are spending a lot of time outdoors, going to the beaches etc. Buyers are looking for surfaces that are easy to clean and maintain. I feel that overpriced homes is the biggest turnoff for home buyers in todays market. Most homebuyers have done the research via the internet before they even consult with a Realtor!
By Corinne Z,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:03
The article ia a good reminder...for all us Brokers. And everyone who has contributed their comments/experiences has a point. Albeit..bottom line ...to each his own..what works for one person does not work for another...pools,carpets, colors,clutter.odors,etc... Remember no two buyers/sellers are alike.
By Pjleisch,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:04
I like the look of wood floors and I'd like to have hard floors. However, my doctor says no. I have severe arthritis and there's also the possibility of falls as people age. Wood is better than tile, but please consider that there are other reasons people have carpet. Special needs and disabilities make a difference. There seem to be a lot of judgmental attitudes in the comments.

Sometimes it's necessary to just work with what's there. In regard to hiding pets and photos of pets in the home, it's pointless. If a person can't tolerate animals or has severe allergies, don't take them there. You're risking putting them in the hospital if the allergies are severe. Normal cleaning won't cure the exposure risk for those people.

On the other hand, for those saying yuck about carpeting with pets, the person who mentioned that dogs can't walk on hard surfaces well is correct. We've done rescue work for 20 years. Many people come into my home and don't even realize we have pets. There's no odor, no pee on carpets, or other problems. That's a specific issue with that owner, not a general problem. I know of a dog that had a hairline fracture of the pelvis from his rear leg splaying out when he slipped on a tile floor. That's far from the only injury I've seen in kids and dogs on hard floors. In kids, it seems to be head injuries most often.
By Corinne Z,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:07
The article ia a good reminder...for all us Brokers. And everyone who has contributed their comments/experiences have valid and true points. Everyone is correct. Albeit..bottom line ...to each his own..what works for one person does not work for another...pools,carpets, colors,clutter.odors,etc... Remember no two buyers/sellers are alike.
By amyreusscaton,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:10
Have done much looking and find the following things a turn-off:

- Grossly overpriced homes because the real estate agent over-appraised and promised the moon in order to get the listing and/or the seller is hugely out-of-touch. Most buyers are wise. The fact is, economics almost always prevail. Homes will only sell at price that the market can bear. Meanwhile, everyone sits and waits entirely frustrated.
- The smell of pets. Don't get me wrong, I love animals (and have three cats of my own) but they should be kept out of sight and out of mind when houses are being shown.
- The smell of cigarettes and cigars, especially when disguised with plug-ins.
- Overwhelming neglect and disrepair that isn't accounted for in the asking price. Again, sellers are wise to the *total* cost of the transaction -- not just the upfront cost.
- Wall-to-wall carpet and dirty rugs. No clarification required.
- Above-ground pools.

All this said, there's much, much more I do like but that wasn't the question. : )
By Tamara,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:10
Great article! Ive been window shopping for houses and many have been turn off's due to the things described here. But a pool is very desirable for me, I am in the North East (NY/NJ) and would love a pool in our future home. Can't wait to actually house hunt in the new year!
By Nick1013,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:15
Hmmm... I'm going to go against the tide here on the carpets... I've always lived in homes with hardwood floors so I hate carpets. And I have 5 dogs. The house I just bought has carpeting upstairs... Neutral color, good shape, and my first thought was how quickly can I tear it up.

Having lived here for two weeks, my thought now is how long can i keep the carpeting. I love it, my dogs love it, the entire downstairs is wood floor. I clean it religiously and hope for the best, and don't let my dogs on it when they're wet or have wet feet. But I have to say I love my carpeting. Great articles and very interesting comments, too!
By Bonnie,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:16
I looked at a house that had the little boy's toys all over the place! And the kitchen counters and table were covered with "things". When we looked at the Master bedroom, the first thing we saw was a big purple bra hanging on the handle of an exercise machine! I couldn't even see the house for all the clutter. Needless to say I didn't buy that one! Bottom line to sellers..... tidy up and get rid of your "personal" things if you want to make a good impression.
By Me,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:16
You read MY mind but I always thought I was in the minority re: carpeting (loathe it) and pools (a big waste of real estate and $$ unless you live in a desert like AZ). Great piece. Thanks!
By Leslei,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:23
Cats are a big turn off for me, and a house with carpet and cats....oooh. But I always try and keep in mind the things that can easily be changed, and carpet is an easy change out...so it paint or wall paper.
My biggest turn off is clutter, clutter, clutter.
By Marcia Kelly,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:27
My mom tried to sell her penthouse condo with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay. As lovely as it was, it didn't sell for a year. A new Realtor suggested staging. Mom packed everything (as you suggested). A stager brought simple modern furniture, leaving the walls neutral. We replaced the 80s appliances with sleek stainless steel ones & refinished the roof garden patio deck. The condo got 3 offers the 1st week & sold for more than it originally was listed. Staging works!
By mfarris2,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:32
Sonnymoore15, I am not trying to start an argument. But I could not disagree more. Just because someone appraised a home for $XXXXX.XX dollars a year ago, does not mean it is still worth that price. My agent is going to make a decent amount of money from my purchase. I need to trust him/her. He/she will know what homes are selling for in that area with the same features and square ft. (I will do my own checking online as best as I can.) But in this market, a professional appraiser's appraisal just about means squat.
The home will sell for what the market will bear. Nothing more and nothing less. I am not trying to undercut the market. But when I am shown a home that the sellers says was valued at $XXXXXX.XX dollars, I pay absolutely NO attention to that price. I want to know what similar homes in the area have sold for. That is my offer, nothing more and nothing less. There are just WAY TO MANY homes to choose from to pay more than fair market value for any one home. In today's market, there is always one just like it around the corner.

Sorry everyone, looks like Sonnymoore15 pulled his/her posting. But I think everyone can get the jist of this reply.
By Mark Forror,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:33
Here in Virginia, pools are definitely a turnoff due to the cost of maintenance and the increased insurance liability. The rest of the turnoffs are no great surprise. Some people have allergies, and carpet is a big turnoff for them! Buyer allowances for either new carpet or pulling up the old is usually a good way to get around that.
By Rosie Moore,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:35
Great article!! I agree! Besides the location and price, presentation of your home is just as important. I advise my clients to de-clutter to maximize a room's potential space and de-personalize to create a neutral environment where potential buyers can envision themselves living in the home. Personal momentos throughout a home can distract buyers.
By William Stoen,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:40
Older shrubs and landscaping planted too close to the home foundation and steps. Sellers have had them since the kids were little and are in all the home photos so they want them to stay during the listing period.
By Sandra Hall Vercrouse,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:41
Great article. The northwest area of Florida is a little tricky when it comes to pools. Some buyers would rather swim in their own back yard pools than drive thirty minutes to the beach. The carpet is, of course, a toss up. A seller should take into account the percentage of people with allergies and the cost of replacing the flooring. Time is money and a seller has to look at what the competition is offering.
By Amymarie32,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:43
I sometimes look at the pictures people post and wonder what the heck they were thinking when they chose that BIGHT RED wall to wall carpeting (as if carpeting isn't repulsive enough), or why they think anyone else will enjoy their choice of filler backsplash kitchen tiles showing farm animals. Let's not forget pink or yellow or peach toilets and bathtubs...yes, the same bathrooms sport the gold fixtures. Another thing that is really a turnoff is religious statues and crucifixes on walls. It's creepy. Panelling and outdated kitchens and bathrooms are a major turnoff. No one wants to stand in a nasty moldy tub or prepare their food on a yellow countertop from 1971. I've been through and looked at tons of homes and am really amazed. Either their realtors are not on the ball or the sellers aren't taking their advice. I don't mind taking down someone's idea of lovely Victorian wall to ceiling flower wallpaper and repainting, as "fun" as that is, but when kitchens and baths are outdated and carpets need to be taken out and floors refinished, then the price needs to reflect that.
By William Stoen,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:45
Agree Pools are a tough sell in IOWA ! Too far north for much usage, energy needed to heat the pool to a comfort level is now an issue.
On lots of our BPO forms and market analysis there are SO many questions on are the pools secure? are they above ground or in-ground, why is there not a box at the top of the forms that says....... Good Grief we're too far north- skip.
By Joanne Naponic,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:48
When Sellers cut the utilities off and then don't want to pay to have the meters replaced so that potential Buyers can do their inspections
By Tim Grimes,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:48
Good article and informative (so rare these days). I am buying a new house right now and have, coincidentally, designed OUT all of these turn-offs (well except for my stuff, even then we are going to go minimalist). Pools are especially repellent. They are very expensive, a huge waste of energy, and most important useless most of the time! We've got a community pool close by and the Pacific Ocean minutes away. The compromise on the carpet was in bedrooms only we installed a neutral carpet, bathrooms have tile floors, and hardwood every where else. Yahooooo!!!
By William Stoen,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:50
We are in a tremendous area for large trophy sized Whitetail bucks - some buy acreages here just for the hunting and fishing options, Many homes have mounted deer heads above a mantel or in the den. Non-hunters have been offended by multiple sets of antlers and deer heads staring at them as they tour a home.
By ecrum105,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 14:59
Big Question for soon-to-be seller: How do you find the RIGHT agent? The one who sold me the house I am in was ignorant of govt. programs that would have helped a lot and I would up over a barrel 2 weeks before settlement and had to go through with a deal I didn't want to make. So, how do you evaluate a selling agent?
By Jeremy Arnold,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:02
Litterbox odors
Shared parking
Rebel Flags in the neighborhood(issue in KY)
Emotional attachment by the seller.
Off-white switch and outlet plates.(They look dirty)
Poor painting jobs, your lack of attention in painting your house means you probably took shortcuts with other home maintenance tasks.
By Linda,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:05
If the house is lived in it is up to the realtor to help the buyer get past what they see. Things like carpet, wallpaper and the color of walls is definitely cosmetic. The things that are important is if the bathrooms or kitchen need complete redo. That will take major bucks. This also could be worked with with lower offer so it could be accompllished or allowence. Again, it is up to the realtor to help the buyer understand this. It is not fair to expect the seller to totally renovate for the buyer. Everyone would love a perfect home but even if you buy a brand new one it will not be perfect.
By Cdd,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:09
I agree 100% with those who say here that they are turned off by the on-line realtor website pictures of overgrown yards, cluttered rooms with so much furniture that navigating from one side to the other is a hazard, kitchens with so many gadgets, dishes, and food containers on the counters that there appears to be no counter space at all, pictures of ugly and outdated bathrooms including toilets with the seats in the 'up' position, and bedrooms strewn with clothing and personal items, curtains askew, and closet doors open to reveal a stash of jumbled clothing and even dirty laundry. The place could be the Taj Mahal on sale for $100,000 and I would not go look at it because these pictures are disgusting and they tell me that the homeowner probably didn't take good care of the structure and inner workings--plumbing and electrical systems--of the home either. I just move on to the next listing.
By Lucy Babb,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:09
I prefer a home that have a pool. Carpet is a no..no to me. I prefer tiles or hardwood and just an area rug even in my bedrooms. Neutral colors I would love because it is easy to decorate. I hate yellow colors though. Love big garden since I love gardening...it makes me feel relax to toil the soil after a stressful day at work. Never like a pop corn ceiling and rough walls...
By Marika400,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:12
I'm on a beer budget and look at houses only within my price range in online listings,since I will be buying a house in another state.

I don't care about anything that's an easy fix (although if it was so easy, why didn't the homeowner do it?) What I do care about are mechanical,electrical,and plumbing,foundation and flooding... the NOT easy and very expensive fixes. The very things someone on a beer budget can't afford to have to fix after moving in. Not all houses priced accordingly are falling down wrecks,but be honest about what needs to be done. Although I do understand that with honesty comes a possible 'no sale'

Closets! Especially in older houses! I want to see the closets to hang my clothes and other stuff to prevent the clutter that is now being talked about as being detrimental to selling. Or say so in the listing if there are none.

On the side bar are windows that rattle when the wind blows,or a house with no shed,garage or carport, but is marketed for its huge double lot and priced accordingly...accordingly for what? To build the garage to house everything a huge yard needs? Being a yard person, this would be a deal breaker for me.

Finally...no matter what the house costs, how beautiful it's interior,how well maintained its exterior or mechanicals...I won't even consider it if there's no pictures. That tells me everything I need to know about the house and its listing agent.
By konish911,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:15
I'm not sure any of the things listed is much of a surprise, but I do agree with most comments in that some are really regional. The thing I hate most is the botched/half-@ss, "updates" put in by a seller.

Look, if it can't be done all the way and correctly, it looks obviously budget and kludgy...and sellers usually feel justified in trying to get 110% return on their materials purchase. I wish they would just save their money and reduce the price of the home accordingly so I can go in and gut it and build it with stuff I want. An "updated" home that needs to be gutted is the ultimate buzzkill.
By Stephen R. Higley,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:15
1. Realtors would love it if you ripped out the carpet and put in hardwood floors. How many people have the cash to do that?
2. I just bought a townhouse in Arizona. With two dogs and two cats, it was important for me to know that the townhouse community is animal friendly.
3. I WANTED carpet, not tile or wood. Primarily for my elderly dog that has trouble negotiating slick surfaces. It all depends on the customer. Wood floor snobs are getting to be almost revolting as the "only gas in the kitchen" crowd or "no popcorn" or "no orange peel" people.
By Itsnotme1207,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:20
i am looking to buy after i sell my home. http://www.trulia.com/property/3006972280-1802-Twin-Oaks-Dr-Van-Buren-AR-72956

really i'm looking for a 4br (one room can be pretty small as it's for an office) 2ba in the country on about 2+ acres. i'm not really picky at all. none of the above is a deal breaker for me (since i can fix it or pay to have it fixed) as long as i have the room i need. carpet, fixtures, landscaping etc can all be easy to change. i'd rather the owner leave it for me at a lower price so i can pick the flooring, colors, or whatever it is that needs changed. antiqued cabinets and granite countertops might be nice to some but i don't like it at all. all i see is that i'm being charged for something that's "nice" and is going to be a pain to keep up. a tiny kitchen will turn me off because there isn't much you can do about that, but wallpaper...psh...no problem for the right home. i also have no problem with clutter (as long as it doesn't prevent me from seeing the home) and some dirt. i know how to clean lol and i know the clutter or their personal items do not come with the home either. and if they leave it i know were the trash is as well lol. i just don't see why some people get hung up on one or two small changeable things if they really like the house. you have to use your imagination. if you are looking for a house that has no problems you aren't going to find it unless you pretty wealthy or you're building to suit.
By Terrence Gay,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:20
A way to make hardwood floors more attractive is to use designer area rugs. For instance a Persian carpet that frames a sitting area like an island surrounded by finished hardwood is a designer treatment. Similarly a small bound plush carpet can do the same thing for a lot less money. It gives the buyer an option idea when they move in. They can leave the floor bare or frame it with whatever area rug or bound carpet style they like.
By Webster,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:20
I have to disagree on the carpets - I am frankly sick of ceramic tile and hardwood floors - they are everywhere! Give me neat, clean, well-maintained carpets in living rooms and bedrooms every time -especially here in Chicago where the winters can be very cold. I HATE the echo in rooms with hard flooring - nothing inviting or cozy about feeling like I live in a canyon!! As for "gold" fixtures - surely you refer to brass - if you have a bathroom with true gold faucets, etc., you have an elegant and quite expensive gem worth keeping for its sheer elegance. There is nothing "dated" about solid, polished brass - especially if it is paired with warm tones of marble or granite. You obviously have not been in many high-end, decorator homes lately. The brass and gold you disdain is quite popular in true luxury homes - and it is the solid stuff that is so beautiful - not brass-plated knock-offs,
By Carol Smith,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:27
Yikes, people, surely there are buyers out there that have similar tastes to yours (i.e. pools, carpet, landscaping, etc.) In my experience, buyers complain about cosmetic things to try to get the price down.
By Chris,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:32
Hey if not a pool make it a tornado shelter. I hate cold floors , but what's wrong with carpet tiles? Trash cans is my pet peeve and I won't buy anywhere cans are allowed to stand in front. Appeal?
The neighborhood hasn't any. Sales people totally ignoring your want list or stupid to what is in their inventory. (As if there was any other kind.)
By Laurierazo,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:34
I am immediately turned off by old sagging garage doors. This tells me that it's likely other areas of the house have not been maintained.
By Kate,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:35
I have been looking for a house since April, and it has been an experience. I am shocked at how poorly people care for their homes. Carpet is THE main turnoff for me. I grew up in a home with hardwood floors, and several dogs - never had an issue with getting hurt. Even an outdated kitchen is better than gross carpet (unless there is hardwood under it). I agree with the posters who mentioned general outdated-ness. Many of the houses I've seen haven't been touched in 30+ years! Yet, they are priced like have been.

I love in ground pools. Again, depends on neighborhoods - I am from southern New England and pools are common regardless of the terrible weather. When I moved to the midwest, I was sad that no one has them!
I guess I need a bigger budget :)
By Debora Jackson,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:38
If the house smells like a kennel--what a turnoff! Fur gets down into air intake vents, clogging it up, & you can never get rid of pet smells. If people are looking for a house to double as a kennel, let them take the houses with carpets and live with all those awful smells. Turns my stomach!

Dated appliances and overall yukky kitchens & bathrooms are certainly no draw. Kitchen & bath upgrades can sell your house, and of course staging the front entrance with a tasteful vignette, incl. pots of blooming flowers to draw the eye will give a house charm and warmth. I swear that's what sold the house we sold in a university town, which we had bought for our children to live in. I placed a metal bistro set on the front porch, urns with flowers, and painted the shutters mint green, then the garage doors the same color. Also, I found a beautiful shower curtain for the main bath, which was all freshly painted, but that shower curtain had ribbons hanging from it, which gave the space color and movement. I told our realtor that was the touch which did it, even though we had a young male buyer!
By Regina Fawn Bates,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:42
Great Article, i agree i hate the gold fixtures, love hard wood but do have carpet in the bedrooms...I have just listed my home, and have worked for months to declutter and repaint and do a deep cleaning in every room of the house as well as keeping the yard looking presentable..... I'll be moving so packing stuff up might as well start now!!!
By Bbrcg,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:46
2 turn offs

Red paint on the walls. Don't understand the whole red fad. Harsh to the senses...
Bad smells....you probably covered that one in the first article!
By Legatcn,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 15:53
Excellent article. Hate carpet but love wood and quality rugs. Hate other peoples pictures and stuff. For most of us, pool maintenance is a huge problem. We do enjoy gardens, though I agree that botanical features appeal to a smaller number of potential buyers. In our case, we were initially attracted to a property because of the very mature perennial garden. We discovered that the architectural features on the inside complimented the exterior. Worked for us and if we ever sell we know a gardener will be the buyer. It's also noted that the whole urban garden rage is a serious movement. For a cook, growing herbs, salad greens, and a few heirloom veggies is very appealing. However, I see that many people aspire to do the garden thing and end up with messy unfinished projects.
By Debra Praschan,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:00
I searched for & bought a home last year in TX. My biggest pet peeve is website search engines that don't let you search by lot size. I need a minimum of 5 acres for my livestock. Very few sites let you search by lot size. Also, we did buy a house with a pool. I learned a simple method of maintenance that takes no more than 5 min. per day & the only thing I put in the water is 1 gal. of household bleach per day. Costs about $60 per month. Seriously! I'd be happy to direct anyone to the free website that teaches about it. Nothing is sold there. Just free help.
By Lpasopooch,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:01
I'll bet there is a market for a book with no words written...just online pictures of properties for sale. It would probably be hilarious. I so love these well written articles. They appeal to so many people. I always share them. Whether you're in the business or a buyer or seller, every article is pertinent. Last month, my Realtor sold my home faster than the speed of light. One week, multiple offers. I pre-packed my personal belongings and staged my home for three months before listing. I read every article on Trulia and found it to be an absolute treasure . I wish I had another house to sell.
By David Blades,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:08
i just put brand new carpet in my sisters house.new kitchen,bathrooms.re did the hardwood floors.no gold sinks.check it out 13217 miles rd 21220 dropped the price by 60 grand 4 bedroon 3 bath 2400 sq ft.
By Mr. Guillermo G,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:09
Excellent article yes! A pity! that I dont learn that time ago.... What I will do with the huge in-out pool that cross my living to the landscape? What i will do with my big double sink kitchen with barbacue and parrilla automatized? or with my big library plenty of culture that occuppy tree walls ? mmm.....I know ... I am going to enjoy it! because I was saving saving and saving ... and My house is paid! is mine! I have no mortgage! I DONT SELL MY HOUSE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By Melinda,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:29
I agree about the comment about people complaining about cosmetic things to lower the price, also, I totally disagree with the animal hater that thinks pets bring in bugs...very moronic, that insinuates all pet owners are filthy! Very crappy comments by the ignorant non-pet people. Realtors should only show a specific home to a potential buyer based upon what THEY desire. If they want a modern home, then why show a Victorian? It only inconveniences the seller! If people are looking for Victorians, they have to realize it is OLD....and they come with quircks; such as plaster and lathe walls, steam radiators, small closets and charm! Do your research before you see one and begin complaining about those things...LOL!! We have totally restored our Victorian home as well as updated it into the 21st Century...we expect to get back every penny we put into it. We just want to break even. It really is ashame this economy has come to kick homeowners in the groin!!
By Marion Weiss,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:33
can't people see beyond things and fixtures. It is so cheap and easy to change fixtures. Are people morons or what. People that don't buy a home because of these things are not really serious buyers
By Gail Coplin,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:46
I, too buy fixer-uppers and use the suggestions here. I BUY on rainy, cold, miserable days in the off seasons - don't care if there are cosmetic "challenges". The house has to be solid with a good foundation and location, location, location, and price, price, price.Nothing personal is out to see.. A few candles, a few attractive vases, a clean neutral couch and chair, and sell on a sunny day.
By Kirsten,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:46
My favorite house hunting story is the one that was the most outrageous. It didn't upset me, just made me laugh because I saw the whole thing as an adventure. My realtor told me about a place that looked way underpriced on paper and said there might be issues but I decided it was worth looking at.

Just before we left, the seller's realtor called and said that they had a homeless woman and her daughter staying in the place rent free to protect against squatters or burglars and that she would let us in. I thought that was a little strange, but not a big deal. When we got there the woman let us in and we saw that she had been camped out there a long time and apparently had the same compulsion that people have in the program "Hoarders." The floors were knee deep in places in garbage, bags, broken toys, old clothing strewn around, flotsam and jetsam. There was also a three foot deep, 2' by 2' hole in the middle of the living room floor.

But that was not the coup de grace. No, what really made it my #1 funniest house-hunting story was the fact that the woman kept five *gigantic* live chickens *in the house*! My realtor ran screaming out of the house because she has a chicken phobia and these things were HUGE and they ran after her. The woman squatting there said it was good to have the chickens in the house because they "kept down the scorpion population." Oh. Then she walked me around the house pointing out the spots where termites had completely eroded the walls and ceiling. The only thing that keeps me from fully laughing was the sad thing she said next, that the hens laid around two eggs per day among them so she and her daughter each got to eat one a day.

Also, when I was looking for an investment home here in the Phoenix area my realtor told me that there are a lot of buyers who don't want a pool and that putting one in would not pay for itself. It costs $20,000 to $30,000 to put in a decent pool, but the most you get in sales price is closer to $10,000.
By Ann Graham,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:52
I do not use a realtor at all. Having worked for a title company I have see deals broken by the realtors. Most are idiots. FSBO is the way to go. Buyers are liars. They will tell you they do not want a pool and end buying a house with a pool. A well appointed home, clean and appealing will sell. Print a contract off the internet advertise for appointments only and sell as is. The price is great and both the buyer and seller get a good deal.....no brainer folks!
By Randi,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:56
I have a question, what about hardwood in the living room, hall way, dining room,etc. Tile in the bathrooms and kitchen, but carpet in the bedrooms? This is what we are thinking of doing. Would that be a turn off? We just don't like getting out of bed on cold hardwood in the morning (we currently do it every morning) . Would carpet like this be a turn off too?
By Carol Bonnet,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:57
I will agree to have carpet in the bedrooms if it is already there, but refuse to have it in bathrooms, dining areas & hallway from the garage to the kitchen. We are buyers and want to have space for our 35' wide body motor home next to the house. Many we have looked at state in the listing to have RV parking or RV pad. If we were wanting space for a 19' travel trailer or tent trailer, the space would be fine. Also, with our RV, we can not have much slope to get to the leveled area. A long sloped driveway which is too close to the house or fence is difficult to back up without re-adjusting angle.

In looking at pictures of the listing, I've seen deep blue, dark green & even red walls....fancy lacy furniture with canopy & four poster beds, We are NOT interested in painting an entire house before we move in.

In viewing some houses, the walls seemed to close in on us, even though the Realtor opened drapes & turned on all lights. Most people want openness now - not a lot of walls.

Another house we viewed had two pieces of furniture in one bedroom, a bed in another, the repairs from leaking skylight hadn't been completed, the garage was half full of junk & the 3/4 bath in the garage hadn't been cleaned, not to mention holes in walls where mirrors or other heavy objects had hung. Repairs hadn't been done to stucco but there was no mention of an allowance for them. We went back over a month later to look at it again because we had been interested in the house. Nothing had been moved, including a pickup truck in the driveway.

Then, there was the home of the musician. He invited us in & when asked to turn on some lights, he did, but all of them were 25 watt bulbs. He had his windows sealed with light blocking material & told us he had sensitive eyes. Walls & ceilings were painted black. He opened drapes a few inches to point out the beautiful deck, then attached it again. We don't think he REALLY wanted to sell. However, the decorating was very nice & tastefully oriental & the home was immaculate....as much as we could see. I thought of going out to get a flashlight. His Realtor should have told him how to present his home the best way possible.

I did fall in love with PART of one home which opened up into a beautiful great room & dining area with windows all around. But the kitchen was small & there was a long hallway. I agree with one person who posted a complaint about the size of land that some of these houses are put onto. I'm seeing a 1600sf house that is 5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, advertised as having "large great room, formal dining & master suite". Impossible. We used to call that kind of advertising "puffing".

These kinds of things are what turns people off. Just as having a pool brings a certain buyer. But, who wants bright blue walls or a red wall bathroom with black & white tile?

When we bought the house we're in now 16 years ago, there were two wooden planters on the front porch with colorful flowers in them. It made for good curb appeal, since besides rosemary bushes next to the front were the only living things except for a small pine tree on one end of the house. Everything else was rock, or as we Arizona natives like to say, desert. Grass is for places which receive plenty of rain. After we moved in, I noticed the flowers looked like they needed watering. But, when I watered them, it all ran through & out the bottom. There wasn't a liner in the planters & the flowers had just been stuck into some potting soil to look good. Well, they did. Over the years, I have "planted" artificial flowers & determined which ones the javalina like to pull out. Now have cactus where the rosemary was. After all, this is the desert. Stop putting plants that don't belong here out in the yard.
By Kirsten,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:58
I've heard a lot of people like carpet in the bedrooms but hardwood everywhere else. I think you are onto something, Randi. Definitely no carpet in the bathroom, though!
By Mark York,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:12
Buyer turnoffs are exponential these days. Carpet is definitely out, and the cost of installing 2800 sf of hardwood, prohibitive. But worse is the lack of a downstairs master bedroom with a large bath, and the open concept kitchen. Have neither of these and the prospects, particularly at the 500K plus range, and you have a real seller's problem.
By Missa_butterfly,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:19
Recently I saw a double wide mobile home in a park which was very nice but there were so many pictures (family mostly) everywhere that I can only imagine the holes inthe walls. Also, the furniture was plaid because it matched the gold walls. Keepering neutral, I think, is important in selling a house. I have a lot of Native American items in my house which makes it my home but I know a buyer might not relate to this, so I would remove some of these things to make them feel more comfortable. Thanks for the great article.
By Jack,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:22
I believe most who see bronze, nickle, or chrome realize that the home has cheaper hardware than brass. As a builder of higher end homes, I've had none with anything other than brass-real, solid brass and gold fill. I believe an agent would be wise to point out how much more expensive brass is than the other choices and play up to it instead of getting the homeowner or new buyer to buy into the "new phase".
By Jeanette Bell,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:40
My pet peeve is seeing photos of a house taken from the realtor's car
By Brian,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:52
I'm always amazed when I see online photos of houses with their rooms packed to the ceiling with junk. My realtor was always very particular about staging, which was a pain, but when I see these homes, they look so littered, that I wouldn't even want to set foot inside one of them. Then there are the painted walls in colors so hideous and garish, that it would take 4 to 5 coats to cover up.
By Dmsd,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:55
I am selling and just bought a new home. As for buying, I would only look at a home if there was a pool since we live in Hilton Head, SC. I also have 2 small children - 3 years and 10 months old and saw the pool as a fun family activity as they grow up. We are installing a portable child fence around it before we even move in. As for selling, we are scheduled for an open house this Sunday and had our movers here already who packed and placed our personal items and quite a bit of furniture and toys in storage. Having a lot of toys lying around could be a turn off for those looking and do not have kids, which I thought should have been listed as one of the turnoffs.
By Chrichter4,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:55
We just sold our house with a pool. I find this article helpful, especially since all of our updates included those mentioned-2 1/2 wks on the market. Only other suggestion with the pool-we sacrificed to make concessions for the pool-easiest: all pool equipment stays. Hardest-agreed to replace liner, which is costly but would have broken the deal had we not. Just be prepared to spend the cash on the pool, makes the buyer also feel more secure that it's "new" again for a while :)
By Lee,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:57
Just beginning my home search, but I hate carpets. As a long time renter (and pet owner), I am so tired of brown carpet. I guess it's easy to replace and hides dirt, but give me tile or wood, please, that I can customize with area rugs.

My biggest turn off, and one I don't see mentioned, is colored tile in the kitchens and bathrooms. I don't want the previous owners weird and outdated colors -- if you want color in those areas, use paint which can easily be changed.

I want a tiny, year round pool for exercise -- in my dreams!
By Jennifer,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:00
Odor is my number one complaint. The other are the pictures, I don't need area pictures. Lets stick to real life pictures. Also hate when they combine the porches, garages and other areas that aren't in the living area in their square footage. Be real if you say its 2000 sq ft, it better be inside the house. Oh I forgot view, if you say it has a view of whatever, I don't want to sit on a floor or lean over a balcony to see the view.
By ruth_tekell,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:06
I'm glad people don't see beyond the clutter, unmade beds, and are offended by a couple of trees, which could be cut down at the entrance to a house in a great location -- because I CAN see past it all and have made good money flipping a few of them. I even started a bidding war once because I knew exactly what me competition looked like and staged it accordingly. I think most buyers have no imagination and no vision. But you do have to wonder when your looking at the photos on the internet, why are they showing me an unmade be? Why are they showing me a refrigerator covered with magnets and bits of paper and their kids' art, why are they showing me the biggest, ugliest sofa on the planet, and nothing else?
By Trisha Bowman,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:06
I will never understand "staging" or the desire for a house to be showroom quality. We shopped for a new home 2 1/2 years ago and I didn't see the purpose of all that work. Yes, the home needs to be as clean and repaired as much as possible, but the tons of family pictures and personal items don't bother me one bit. I could care less.. I can see the potential in a home no matter what the owner has in it. My overall preference when we were shopping was to see a totally empty home.. that was when my imagination really went into overdrive!
By Rohinita Charan,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:08
The pool and lush landscaping depend on the property. For the luxury homes that we photograph, they are an essential part of the package. http://www.resort-virtual-tour.com/category/photography-tipsblog/
By bleu_moon2003,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:23
I can see beyond clutter, dirt ,grime and most aesthetic flaws if the price is right. But if the place reeks of cigarette smoke, dirty laundry, or pet odors, I can't get over that. All I can think of is that those smells must have permeated the walls and will never come out. To sellers, please don't try to cover it up with an air freshener. It just makes it smell like a flowery ash tray or cat box.
By Lamarkaren,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:27
once bought a smaller stainless steel fridge for my community-room break room. I got so tired of wiping finger prints, if I could have picked that thing up and tossed it, I would! I absolutely hate s.steel appliances! I know that the manufacturers are trying to do the brushed S. Steel look to prevent the prints, but my skin crawls every time I see stainless steel. I'd rather have clean harvest gold appliances in good condition from the 70's than the s. steel! Also, stainless steel does not add to the hominess or warmth of a kitchen at all. With s.steel fridges, I expect to open one and see test tube inside! Kay
By Alejandro S.,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:53
SO glad someone FINALLY pointed out publicly what carpets are - DISGUSTING. Personally, I do not get how someone can still live with "wall to wall", it just seems clueless and disconnected. Hygiene is such a basic necessity and carpets are SO unhealthy, so nasty. And with pets?!?! Freaking heinous. Get a clue, get rid of those carpets, and get with the program.
By newportliving,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:58
Not sure what kind of pools you are referring to but I live in a beach community and pools are still a sign of affluence and greatly desired. They not only accent a backyard with elegant lines and colors but are fantastic for kids parties and adult cocktail hours. There is NOTHING like a dip in the pool after a hard day at the office. It feels like a million bucks. Look, if you are thinking about maintenance costs and upkeep, you're probably not shopping in my neighborhood anyway. Like they say, if you have to ask "how much?" look in another town.
By Sharon,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 19:03
We are preparing to buy our retirement home in about 10 months, me being the long range planner that I am I do my research each evening. With that being said in the 2 months of my research I have seen more dark red walls, hideous wallpaper and Berber carpet than I ever want to see in a lifetime! Cool, clean, classic walls and, floors. I have seen beautifully designed homes sitting on the market for more than 6 months because the home owner believes that everyone that looks at their home will love their dark walls and wallpaper as much as them. I am a very visual, practical thinker when I see dark walls, carpet and wallpaper. I think I really like this house but, how much will it cost to remove the wallpaper, spackle, prime and repaint all the walls, rip out all the nasty carpet and replace with beautiful hardwoods? To all those sellers suffering from all of the above comments don't be surprised if you have to settle with a low ball sale because of your emotional attachment to your home.
By Househunter123,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 19:17
I would like to see realtors start offering cameras for homes. I know the next time I list a home there will be a camera watching everything. Buyers today including realtors are looking for drugs!
By newportliving,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 19:25
Not sure what kind of pools you are referring to but I live in a beach community and pools are still a sign of affluence and greatly desired. They not only accent a backyard with elegant lines and colors but are fantastic for kids parties and adult cocktail hours. There is NOTHING like a dip in the pool after a hard day at the office. It feels like a million bucks. Look, if you are thinking about maintenance costs and upkeep, you're probably not shopping in my neighborhood anyway. Like they say, if you have to ask "how much?" look in another town.
By Bradlap777,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 19:51
Does anyone have an opinion about hot tubs? Pools could go either way here in coastal North Carolina (not on the beach but 20 miles from several and very hot summers). It is a very suburbanized, military family area and I am (was) considering adding an in ground pool for both enjoyment and the property value increase. If not a pool, would a covered hot tub have a similar negative marketing effect?
By Itsnotme1207,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 20:06
if drugs are what they are after then they are going to be very dissappointed in this house, that is unless they like to try to get high on advil or cough drops lol.
By Edie G. Pittman,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 20:07
Hot tubs in Colorado are a nice selling point if they are new, properly treated and well placed. Add a gazebo and perfect!
By Sean Williams,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 20:10
You hit the nails on their heads! Great tips! Regarding carpet:
I had one client compare it to a kitchen sponge that never gets cleaned or thrown away (Yucch!) -- but a carpet salesman told me that maintaining your carpet regularly can provide a cleaner, dust and allergy free environment -- better than hardwood! I resisted, but now have all wood floors -- when my 2 year old swept a bowl of cereal on the floor, my spouse just laughed (I thought it was time for the nut house) -- but the response was: "Remember when you wanted carpet?!" Hard surfaces are easier to clean! ; )
By Crystal Slavo,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 21:12
I agree with everything above! What I also found to be a pain is if the family are smokers and smoke in the home.
By Ranchlady,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 21:14
I think y'all are too picky. You want to walk into the perfect house with all the "cool" stuff and don't want to pay for it as you think it's just "normal". Well it's not. Each family has their own tastes and when selling most can't afford "your" taste just to sell their home. Can't you folks do a bit of decorating on your own without hiring it out? Can't anyone paint or do stuff themselves and put your own touch on the home rather than having a showcase home, turn-key home? I sure can. I can paint a room, or tear up carpeting if I don't like the color. I think everyone is too picky when looking for a home. Make it your own. Add your own color.

But then again I live in the country, have horse property, and am trying to sell to a specific crowd. Out here I don't have fancy flooring or counter tops. I also don't have the money to spend on doing something to the house that someone may not like and change anyway. I have old carpeting that needs cleaning and we'll do that when we move out all the furniture and before someone new moves in. I don't have curb appeal because you can't see my house from the road. I have location and that is what is going to sell. And when I go to buy something else, I'm looking for location...the rest can be fixed.

All the other stuff does not matter because it can be cleaned, painted, repaired or replaced. That what home ownership is about.

P.S. I live in my home and there are some things that just are what they are. But I've staged the best I can and gotten clutter out. I also look at all the realtor web sites for a new home in Texas. Maps tell me alot about the property and then the photos. It's all about location, location, location. The rest we can fix.
By Webster,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 21:30
Alejandro: Get real! Did it ever occur to you that not everyone who likes carpets has pets? Some of us have spent a great deal of money on expensive carpets in select rooms in our homes. The carpets are kept spotlessly clean, and no pets have ever walked on them. SO THERE! Every type of floor covering needs regular and frequent maintenance to keep it clean. I stand by my original premise that the usual hardwood and ceramic tlle fllooring is mundane and pedestrian - much like flat screen TV's and oversized brown leather furniture. Boring and unimaginative to be sure.
By Bobby Nunnally,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 21:34
I agree completely! I hate gold fixtures they remind me of childhood apartments. The brushed nickel or ss is just a cleaner look. I would like to add that white kitchens are a huge deal breaker for me .I've walked from a lot of houses just because of white cabinets ! They look antiseptic and institutional and frankly Cheap!
By Ellenharris,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 21:57
Have any of you ever pulled up old carpet? Years of stains and disgusting stuff under there that you can never get up with your vacuum. Also, we had a dog that we loved dearly but it still was hard for me to allow my children to lie down on the carpet after watching our dog drag her bottom across it or throw up on it. We just made an offer on a short sale in FL. We also want to live more of a minimalist lifestyle so I was glad there was no pool. We bought the house sight-unseen as we live in another country. Our son looked at the house for us and said it had been "gently lived in." We are planning on replacing all the flooring (there are at least 4 different floorings in a 2 bedroom house). My husband wanted wood but after reading about wood floors in FL, we compromised and decided on wood look tile. There is some wall paper and boarder paper that we will have removed and paint the walls my favorite milky coffee color. The greatest thing about the house is the nice 2 car garage. We looked at houses for years and we finally found something we agreed on.
By C.carnon,  Thu Sep 20 2012, 22:15
By Steve Taylor,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 04:59
People don't even buy "homes" anymore - they buy "houses". They are less concerned with a place to really live as they are a status symbol and a place to sell. I bought my HOME in 1995, painstakingly remodeled it they way I wanted (to code), without the help of outside contractors or formal training in the trades, and it will remain MINE til the day I die - that's a home.
By Deborah Benoit,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 05:12
I agree with the article but I agree that knowing your market as well as your clients is key! I think odor is the prime deal killer in every market. Buyers just can't 'look' beyond offensive odors such as smoke or animals.
Great article. Thanks.
Deborah Benoit
By JIM TURANO,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 05:29
Re: Topic with 33 Years in the Business,Queens,Ny and surrounding areas, I totally disagree with this entire article. Simple reason today you could have shag rugs from the early eighties, a pool, old furniture, old kitchens, bathtubs with legs, and an unfinished basement too. *IT IS ALL ABOUT PRICE TODAY! Look a Mint Condition home with all the trimmings, including private beach, Inground pool is for sale, however if the taxes are $15k-$25k, and a high asking price, the home is not selling usually.
But a house that needs work-renovation is priced right, especially with low taxes it sells in weeks!
By dr.inge,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 06:40
I live in the Kansas City area and most homes have "pottery barn" colors. I hate anything "dark" and that includes those colors. When those dark red and brown colors go out of style, they are a nightmare to paint over. I look for neutral colors as I can add color with my accessories.
By Victor J,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 06:46
Realtors all insist that staging is a must. However, last time I went looking at houses I was appalled to find so many of them cleaned out to the bone, even while people still lived in them. For one thing, I couldn't stop thinking how awful it must have been to live in this condition. Worse, viewing these houses was like visiting a tomb--it all seemed barren and cold and inhuman--a total turn-off. Staging is all fake and it is transparently so.
By Dad,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 08:04
I think everything you said is dead on. My wife and I have been married for 33 years and moved 4 times. Every house we owned we did exactly what you stated plus some paint touch. I am not bragging just letting others know we sold all our homes in the first 1-2 weeks on the market. The last home we sold was in 2009 when it was the worst market in centuries and that sold in 2 weeks, because we made it a neutral pallate and touch up the paint , marked the paint cans for the rooms they go in and lighting is also a big seller. No one wants a dark color with no windows or lights. Also animals can be a problem cats for the most part the smell you don't smell if you are the home owner. Smoking can be trouble some also. Clean smelling clean house great lighting all helps.
By Cynthia Howard,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 08:18
I live in Fredericksburg VA in a neighborhood with a HOA and they allow people to put these Portable Basketball Hoops right next to my house. The noise of the ball bouncing is too loud in our home and there is not a damn thing I can do about it. I will never again live in another neighborhood where this is allowed.
By Karen Pannell,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 08:27
Great points you make. I showed a house this week to a thirty something and she hated all the brass and gold fixtures. This included lights, door knobs as well as plumbing fixtures. One turn off you didn't mention is mirrors, mirrors everywhere. Mirrored walls, mirrored closet doors - ugh! If only sellers would listen to us and update BEFORE they put the house on the market (instead of waiting until it is market worn). I guess we gotta keep preaching!
By Jonathan Bowen,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 08:33
Pools. You hit the nail on the head! People either love pools or hate pools; there's usually no in-between. If pools weren't listed as the number one turn-off then I would've had a hard time with your blog entry. Bravo!
By tatianenascimentodesouza,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 09:17
Access the largest online shopping.

By Maggie Hawk,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 10:14
As an agent whose business is evenly divided between Buyers and Sellers, I sympathize with both sides.

I don't like to see Sellers invest in costly remodeling that may not achieve a sale, and may actually "turn off" the Buyers. Buyers all have different expectations. Even both members of a home-buying couple rarely agree on everything they want in a home.

So Sellers need to realize that (no matter what changes or improvements they make) their home won't appeal to everyone--That's a given. However, the Sellers' goal should be to present the home in such a way that it appeals to the majority of Buyers looking for that type of home.

Because Buyers "buy with their eyes" (AND noses), I feel it's important for Sellers to do the one thing that doesn't cost much, but goes a long way to make the best impression--Yep, folks, I'm talking about cleaning the entire house until it sparkles.

Even if a home isn't perfect--Which one is?--Buyers are likely to spend more time in a home that looks clean and neat, and smells good. Such a home sends a message to the Buyer that the homeowner cares about the home.

Another important (and inexpensive) Seller activity should be to thin out some of the furniture and decorative items. Most homes show their best when Buyers can move smoothly through the space. If the Sellers' furnishings create barriers that make it hard to walk across a room or open a door, the Buyer will experience the home as being "too small" or "crowded."

Preparing a home for sale doesn't have to be expensive. For some low-cost staging tips, you may want to refer to my Trulia blog on this subject, referenced below:

By Shawn,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 10:26
Indoor pets. Absolutely the worst.
By Donna Leonte,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 11:18
Excellent tips..thank you
By Julie,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 11:38
Here's a better idea -- Realtors could actually do their jobs and sell homes, rather than expecting sellers to do their jobs for them and then hand over a check.
By Paul Claeyssens,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 11:44
Wood Paneling that looks cheap and dated is a turn-off, especially if it is a dark color. This can easily be addressed with Paint. I have painted the paneling like this many times, and the texture than remains is actually appealing. Meanwhile, it disappears from view for all other purposes
This same technique can be used for just about any textured surface, like Brick. I have painted brick white, and even left the grout a different color to take advantage of the texture, adding a nice light color to the room with an interesting feature.
In my own home, the bathroom walls were done with wood strips about six inches wide put up on diagonals. It was a dark color. I painted it semi-gloss white, and wow! everyone comments on how nice it looks, saying it must have taken lots of effort to install the wood!!
By Sheila Geer,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 11:57
Great article. Smells are a definite turn off.. cigarettes, pets, etc. Another huge turn off is to see beautiful pictures on line (that may have been taken years ago before the drought dried up the grass). Anything that is misrepresentative of the property is a turn off.....also, if I open a listing and the only pictures are the ones of the outside of the building and the beach a block away, I wonder why there aren't pictures of the rooms inside the house or apartment and figure it must be a dump.
By Tara-Nicholle Nelson,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 12:18
A big thanks to everyone who has weighed in. You've certainly added some important turn-offs to the list. Happy house-hunting, selling and staging!
By Jacqueline Case,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 12:32
Great Article! I agree and would like to add a couple more.
Yes an over priced home is one, but also Clutter not just their own taste of items, but just clutter and dirt. I encourage my sellers to leave a clean palate this means clean your window sills, windows, corners of rooms you do not always get to, places you forget about.

If you are asking for top dollar you best have a home looking beautiful. If you went clothes shoping and you saw two shirts one less ironed and had a little stain and one just pressed and clean I am sure you would chose the pressed and clean shirt. It is that simple.

I myself USED to like carpet, but I also saw what it hides and what you can not really clean... for alergies Hardwood is the best. Thanks for this article Have a wonderful weekend.
By millbayhomes,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 16:54
Where people make mistakes is when they take what is basically a "fixer" and they spend money on carpet, paint, but leave the crappy cabinets, the ugly tile in the bathroom etc.......It is still a fixer! If I am buying a fixer, I am looking at the bones of the house. I dont want the distraction of new carpets if I am going in tearing out walls. It is a waste of money and as a buyer, I don't want to pay a cent for it.
By AESB,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 17:54
So very glad to see this article! My husband and I will be putting our home on the market soon, which presently has carpet throughout except the foyer, kitchen and baths. The carpet definitely needs to be replaced before showing and we were positively sure we needed to replace with tile. Now we're in a dilemma! Should we leave it, as is, to give the buyer the option and set a credit allowance?
By Christine Merlino,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 18:13
No matter "what" you have on the floor, even in "excellent NEW condition...People most always "will change the "flooring to their "taste". Due o "color and their needs":. Been looking over a "year". Biggest "pet peeve?" Finding out "you can only enter the home "thru a doorwall slider or pull in the garage, walk up a flight of steps, to get to "the main floor". This runs a perfectly nice home! Also, Realtors "that EDIT the posting pictures, to "make a home "look brighter and clean", freshly painted or new siding, or "freshly stained and kept up "log homes", and when you get to the home, not only is the "outside in very poor condition, the siding "ready to fall off, the logs "faded or full of mold", but the inside is a filthy mess(I mean BEYOND just clutter. Talk about getting very upset, especially when you drive over an hour to view 3 to 4 homes, and "They are ALL a mess". These photos are either edited or ten years old! People seem to have "no pride in ownership, yet "want top dollar!"
By Christine Merlino,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 18:17
When you buy a used home, it will never be perfect, but "lets keep it "well maintained", and at the very least, freshly painted, uncluttered, and the "same with the yard and garage! Please, no dog or cat pee smells! UGH! Clean those tliets and bathtubs!
By Becky,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 19:44
Turn offs while showing, holding open and househunting myself have been: a dirty laundry smell in bedroom (complete with the full laundry basket); broken things, little things like switch plates and knobs that would have improved things much if replaced; torn screens; mold (of course); heavy traffic noise; an owner lying on the master bedroom bed; overpriced, yes, one big no-no; food and pet messiness and odor; unclean, but could have been sparkled up and shown alot better; garage full of things, plus cars and also grease on garage floor is a big turn-off. But here's an exception - an owner told me this story of when they sold a previous home: The wife had just gotten dinner on the table and the family was sitting down to eat when the call came from the agent with clients ready to look. The wife scooted herself and kids and dog out the door and hid in the evening light in the backyard bushes, while the clients and agent toured the home, the tantalizing evening meal still on the table. Sold! Clients loved the homey atmosphere…...
By Terri Taydus,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 20:31
Loved the article! It seems that when I am showing homes cleanliness is king (or queen :) This includes walls, floors, and especially bathrooms and kitchen. If the walls are looking shabby - paint them. Nice clean trim also helps. Even though your "stuff" (ahem...clutter) will be moving with you, some buyers simply cannot look past it. You are moving anyway, so start packing it up and getting rid of what you don't want - de-clutter. Odor is also an issue. It seems that no matter how nice a home looks, if it smells funky buyers won't usually come back. Dated light fixtures also seems to be a turn-off - it may not break the deal, but a home that has updated light fixtures seems to "appear" to be more updated and leave a more memorable impression :) Like pools, hot tubs also seem to be an item that buyers many times don't want to deal with (or they ask that the seller take it with them or have them removed.)
By Sarah Smith,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 20:32
I just purchased a home and close in less than a month. With a market like this buyers can afford to be picky. If you want to sell fast and get a good price you need to put some minimum effort and investment into your home. Fresh paint, box up the clutter, and get rid of the gold fixtures. It won't cost you much in comparison to how fast it will move your home. I didn't want to be bothered with homes that had wallpaper, ratty carpets, and tons of knick knacks. I can afford to update the home but want to be able to move in and do it at my leisure. With so many options what incentive is there to buy a home that doesn't have that? Also---Turn on the AC!! If it's hot as heck I walked right out. Again, why should I bother?
By Dkdemory,  Fri Sep 21 2012, 21:27
Live in Michigan and agree about the pool. We've turned down houses with pools. But I can see how it might be more of an asset in the south. Another thing that really turns me off of a listing is when there is no defined front door, or if the front door is not visible from where visitors park, or there's no sidewalk leading to the front door. Even if you always go in the garage door or a side door, the front door needs definition. Otherwise, it's like turning your back on visitors.
By Rdwalsh5305,  Sat Sep 22 2012, 07:21
I have been the seller and a buyer in the recent past few years. This was a well written articial - when you are selling your home it is a castle and when your the buyer, it is even harder to decide and agree on your new castle. My husband and I recently found a beautiful home we loved and wanted to buy, however, the house we have now, worked out and we can now keep it without worry! Very well written and good thoughts!
By Mary,  Sat Sep 22 2012, 11:04
If you are going to have hardwood floors, do the real deal and not the laminate crap. We updated our house with custom built sanded and finished on site. (kitchen, living room, dining room, study, hall and master bedroom) I love them and my dog and cat are just fine wth them. I buy rental houses, so I don't mind a mess, wall paper, gold fixtures, carpet etc. If the layout is functional and the area is good -I am computing in my mind is what will my income be for my investment and how much am I going to have to spend to bring it up to date. I will not look at a house with a pool - even in Texas, too much liability. Great Comments - I'm looking to update my bathroom, just did my kitchen about three years ago. The cost is high and wonder if there is a good ratio of what to spend. My kitchen update was 20K (high end granite, painted and glazed the cabinets and new appliances (it is a large kitchen). Looks like the masterbath is going to be around 50K - but that is going to be a complete gut job. Houses in this area go between 250 - 450 or around $100 per sq ft, if updated. So maybe I'm crazy to spend that amount of cash - but this is our forever home. Thoughts?
By John.Kuckleburg,  Sat Sep 22 2012, 13:53
Number one thing I want in the next house I buy; and that will be in a few weeks: A complete home inspection with all the items repaired and/or replaced that were noted on the inspection.
By lindadspellman,  Sat Sep 22 2012, 18:14
This is an excellent article, but I would like to add one thing. Some people are allergic to animals especially cats, If I see any evidence of a cat I do not consider the home no matter what flooring or pool situation.
By puccinismum2000,  Sat Sep 22 2012, 19:32
I cannot tell you how much this article was on point! I'm in process of selling and buying, and I cannot tell you how much I have to look past the nasty carpet, never ending depressing panelling, and wallpaper , lawd save me from wallpaper, all I can say is if you just live in your house from 1982 on, don't expect top dollar when you got that brass and wallpaper home, and the wallpaper that's going to take a month to tear down!
By ceokarens,  Sun Sep 23 2012, 06:52
http://www.yournxthome.com What turns a buyer on? Good information from the owner and a good website. Open houses during great weather days and ability to revisit on a bad weather day. An owner who is willing to listen to the changes without lack of imagination and ability to negotiate changes for purchaser.
By Pbozard39,  Sun Sep 23 2012, 07:27
I keep hearing that having a pool is a bad idea, but I think that depends on the kind of pool, the size of the pool, if you have a salt system on your pool and if you have a built in pool vac. We live in Columbia, SC and it's HOT. We swim from May through the end of September! I spend 30 minutes a week with our pool (15,000 gallons). I can't imagine living in "famously Hot Columbia" and NOT having a pool!
By Nickycall,  Sun Sep 23 2012, 07:38
I first read this Friday. I am selling our home, which my husband build. We have empty sets going on, that being said. We have student loans to pay for etc. , we have painted from top to bottom, declutterd, staged, cleaning constantly . Twenty years here and many updates, price to comp. and went low! It's a buyers market, and they still want it all ,even though its priced minus what the newer homes have. All these things your suggesting for some, may be affordable, but not for all. Linda from above said it well, as realtors you could be pointing out the high features of any home. Sure we could refinance and do all the newer things. But I would like to do that at a home we have a contingency on. You can never please everyone no matter what. But we are not giving our house away, because vision is not a part of a sale anymore. People want to turn the key, and seat in front of the TV. What happen to investment! Sorry but the house we hope to purchase needs a little TLC , and It was pointed out that way to from the start. Time will tell, I just wish people were the way it used to be, it an investment. Our house is not a cookie cutter, no squeaks , build with sweat equity. Do people even know what that means anymore?
By Michael Steverson,  Sun Sep 23 2012, 09:52
It's give or take. It all depends on what the buyer wants or what they plan to do with the property.
By Lainey Bullard,  Sun Sep 23 2012, 11:22
Bit surprised about the pools but the rest I totally agree with.

What turns me off of buying a house is the lack of quality photos taken by agents...they either never show the face front of the house or never enough interior photos.

Next thing turns me off is when the agent can't be bothered to get back to you immediately...if they were working for me and I found out they did not get back to prospective buyer, I'd give them their marching orders.
By anneliese46,  Sun Sep 23 2012, 15:23
We sold our last house in two days. Then we had to get with it and find a replacement quickly, which was not an easy feat since we thought it would take a while to sell our house. We found a house by a lake that was well built in 1976 but all appliances were still working. The house had dirty old shag carpet and was really a wreck with the outside being a bamboo color masonite. It was awful. It is a two story house overlooking a beautiful lake and has a rock fireplace that takes up a whole wall in the living room. Actually the minute we walked through the door we knew it was ours to fix up. And fixing up we did. Three months later we had a beautiful home with vinyl and rock siding with the best lake view ever. We replaced the stove, oven and dishwasher but the gold 36 year old Amana refrigerator is still purring. We could not be happier. The house was listed at a good price, but previous lookers could not see beyone the ugly. This house is so well built and we could not be happier. It was a great investment but most of all it is a great home.
I would also like to add that LOCATION is all important. I do not see it mentioned here a lot. You can change anything in a house, but you are stuck with the location!!!!!!!!!!
By Mark Acantilado,  Mon Sep 24 2012, 07:12
I usually look for several fixes on the property I am prospecting. Checking whether those fixes would cost me expensive time and money, or if those fixes were just small quick fixes to do. I also check the neighborhood the safety of the house itself - does it have safety alarms, etc.
By Homeowner Tx,  Mon Sep 24 2012, 07:59
As for pools, we have one. The new ones require almost zero work. The automatic pool cleaner does all the vacuuming and all we need to do is brush down the steps. It's a salt system, so we need to add an occasional bag of salt. Takes less than $200 per year to maintain. We sometimes have to add water, but if the pool wasn't there, we'd be adding a lot more water for the grass that would be there. We are in north TX and have a long swim season, and do not have to heat the pool. It's wonderful when family comes to visit as our grands can have the pool to themselves and we win 'grandparent of the year' award. People are very uneducated about the new pools. Ours is a gunite pool with marble 'plaster' (no plaster at all), and is gorgeous. We live in an age-restricted active adult community on the golf course.
By DG82,  Mon Sep 24 2012, 10:58
Completely agree with the carpet turn-off!!! I hate carpeting and would go for slightly blemished hardwood floors over brand new carpet any day!!!
By Amanda King,  Mon Sep 24 2012, 12:24
I am a Realtor and some of the things my clients and I have seen inside of and outside of homes, would make this list look great. Here are some of the oddities I have witnessed that would be a definite turn-off if I was buying a home:

a huge cement block with the refrigerator sitting on top of it in the kitchen;
a 2nd floor bedroom in a row house, turned into a full size kitchen, Yikes;
in the basement, a huge cement block with a toilet and shower on top; supposed to be an in-law suite, hmmm, like to see mamma get up there and do her business;
here is the real doozy: a home had tree branches draping the kitchen doorways, and outside; the homeowners had taken more tree branches and cordoned off their walkway, from the roof of the home down to the curb, and along the sides of their home - SCREAM! Looked like the O-K Coral.

In any case, hardwood floors in a home is great, but they can be tedious to keep clean and free of scuff marks, as well as small crap getting into the cracks of the flooring.

Carpet is great, but it carries dust galore, and not very good for us Asthmatics. I think that a mixture of flooring surfaces in a home mellows the place out.

One other pet peeve of mine - I hate fifteen colors in a home. Every room has a different color, or one room has at least three colors.

Fun post, and love the comments and suggestions.

By Michelle Vibonese,  Mon Sep 24 2012, 13:01
UM...mfarris2 - haven't you ever heard of flea and tick preventative????? Good Luck finding a house because I know very few homeowners that allow their pets to pee and crap INSIDE their homes vs. letting them go outside. Your comment is simply ABSURD.
By Miami Beach Exclusive Homes,  Tue Sep 25 2012, 14:10
Excellent information thank you!
By Kathryn Paige,  Tue Sep 25 2012, 14:47
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By Tracy Enriquez,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 08:09
Good article. I'm in Denver so the having a pool here can really work against the seller.
By Michelle Cobb Caltrider,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 11:06
I would love gold fixtures! and I love carpet...maybe not red at least put a rug (that stays) on that hardwood...you have to mop it (uggggH!) and it is hard and cold on your feet! and I love to see a pet as long as it hasn't left evidence that the pet destroyed things... many things then we are fine! and yes once that inground pool leaks or needs cleaned for next summers use it becomes a pain! and I hate gardening too many bees and dirt lol and too much money! if the pool took care of itself I wouldn't mind it but ughh My uncle had an above ground one and it was a pain I heard lol
By Dianne Langston,  Thu Sep 27 2012, 21:15
Many home buyers find the formal living and dining rooms wasted space. I encounter many buyer who speak of using the space in another way.
By Musiclady420,  Sun Sep 30 2012, 13:06
One of our biggest pet-peeves right now is the area that we are looking at has a lot of homes off a river which is exactly what we are looking for. We found some beautiful homes in what we thought was our price range. Boy were we surprised when we found out that the lots that the houses sat on were sold separately! It reminds me of being a kid on Christmas morning and getting a toy that your parents forgot to buy the batteries! And the money they want for these lots are insane in this economy! There is currently one house on here that they want $109,900 just for the lot, and $143,000 for the house. The house at $143k was in our price range but not with this stupid lot idea and it needs a complete gutting! This house has been on the market for over 180 days. I guess our big turn off is when a house is overpriced. We found another one at the end of the street which has been completely updated and it is only $170000 with the same size lot. Do these people even do research before they price these houses???
By Powwowvic,  Mon Oct 1 2012, 12:06
Nothing new here! I was looking for some insight and it wasn't anything I didn't already know but I guess there are people (sellers) who need to be reminded.
By Zippy Shell Of Murfreesboro,  Mon Oct 1 2012, 13:08
Excellent advice, especially #2. It's hard to see yourself living in a home when someone else's belongings and clutter are everywhere. Using a mobile self storage service like Zippy Shell http://www.zippyshell.com/self-storage-moving-locations/tenessee/murfreesboro-tn/ makes it a lot easier because the storage container is driven to your door, you can load it up on your own time, then it's stored in a secure warehouse until you're ready for the big move.
By Cindy Rosenfeld,  Tue Oct 2 2012, 10:11
I always tell my seller to keep it simple when preparing a home for sale. De-clutter, clean, fix the stuff that's broken, clean again, have a good friend do a sniff test, clear countertops and the fridge, clean again.
By Stephanie Leon PA 786-574-3928,  Tue Oct 2 2012, 22:24
Thanks for sharing...
By Patricia,  Mon Oct 22 2012, 11:25
It seems that some folks forget that a house is something families call home. If you can't have pets, personal effects, etc. then why not just live in an apartment? I agree that a house must be clean and neat when one is selling, but it is sad that people cannot have their own preferences in their house without worrying about not being able to sell when the time comes.

Somebody asked about hot tubs, and for me, those and jetted tubs are not something I want. We have a huge corner, jetted tub in our master that just takes up space. It is almost impossible to keep the inner workings of those tubs clean. However, here again, if it's want you want, go for it.

Right now we are trying to decide if we want to remodel our house or sell it and buy something else. The idea of selling a house again (we've done it many times) is daunting. It's so hard to keep things ready to show at all times, and I'm no spring chicken now. ;-)
By kleen roofs,  Fri Mar 1 2013, 11:23
One thing I see that is a big turn off to many home buyers is the curb appeal of the home. What does the house look like when they pull up ? Is the roof covered in black streaks, moss or lichen ? Is the driveway and walkways dirty ? I have looked at houses like this, and right away it gives the impression of a home that was not cared for.
By Kelly Walters,  Wed Jun 19 2013, 04:41
Homes in my neighborhood generally sale within six months. However, there is one house that has been on and off the market for at least the last three years. It has a pool that takes up the majority of the back yard, otherwise the house is no different from all the other houses that sale. It just went back on the market for the umpteenth time, I feel bad for the owners, but unless they lower the price to exclude the pool I don't see it getting sold this time either.
By XRealtor,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 05:37
Realtors and buyers need to accept that buying a previously owned home comes with parts of the previous owner. If you're turned off by carpet - don't view homes with carpet. If you're turned off by pools - don't view homes with pools. Etc. etc. etc.
Most of this falls on the agent to know what their buyer wants and wants to avoid. MLS details such things, so to include these homes on your 'show'list is a waste of everyone's time.
A good Realtor knows how to overcome objections. Brass (Gold) trimmed faucets are about a $400 fix. So if you let a buyer walk away from an otherwise agreeable house - it's not the seller's fault for having brass trimmed faucets!
It you want a new house - shop there.
By richlynncorp,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 09:34
Popcorn ceilings need to go. That's a real big turnoff.

By bmcia,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 09:52
Every time I watch a show about home makeovers, my comment at the end is always "needs carpet"
I want no tile nor wood floors. Tile and wood are cold, have to be dust mopped every other day and make the house seem noisy. I want vinyl sheet flooring in kitchen and bath's and nice carpet everywhere else.
By ladyva7250,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 09:59
There are 3 things that will me make me walk right out the door of any house that I look at, regardless of it having any of the other features I may be looking for.
1. Wallpaper, and that includes wallpaper boarders. I absolutely hate wallpaper, and I have actually been through the process of removing it myself before and it's a huge mess and pain in the neck. Unless the seller is willing to pay the cost of taking down this tacky junk and then sanding and painting the wall(s) it was on prior to my moving in, then its a deal breaker.
2. No dishwasher. I don't care what time period the house is from, if there's no dishwasher its sionara.
3. Anything less than 2 full bathrooms. I require the privacy and sanctuary of my own bathroom, and I do not want to have to alter my personal space to accommodate the needs of my guests. That sounds terrible, but trust I am not the only person that feels this way.
By Tim Moncrief,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 11:49
You lost me with the pool comment being #1. In Texas, a home with a pool is platinum, and a home over a million without a pool is a very tough sell. People need to know: real estate is local. Concrete floors???? That went out of favour a decade ago.....
By Susan_wiens,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 13:07
Except for the pool, most of this is cosmetic. I've seen people spend major bucks on really poorly maintained homes that were staged well. I look for updated plumbing, electrical, windows, roof, and furnace. I think I'm in the minority though.
By iwrote1,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 13:18
i'm surprised they didn't mention wall-paper, cheap light fixtures, small kitchens and closets, odd colored bathroom tiles & fixtures (like the 1960's sea-foam green and baby-girl-pink sinks and tubs), or exotic colored exterior paint schemes.
By Peter Radeka,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 13:51
Pools in Florida homes located in residential communities are still a strong selling point.
By ronalddawson,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 13:55
Turn offs from my (buyer's) perspective:

1. Wide angle photography used to make a room look larger that reality.
2. Photos designed to show how great the house must be since the furniture looks pretty. I'm buying a house. If I need used furniture, I'll visit a consignment shop.
3. No taxes or HOA fees included in the MLS listing.
4. Pictures of dogs, cats, or their cages and food bowls.
5. Multiple pictures of bedrooms other than the master. Come on, they all pretty well are the same.
6. Not listing the square footage of the house and lot width/depth.
7. Not photographing the view from the house to the back property line.
8. Clutter, dirty towels in racks, bathroom mats and toilet seat cushions/covers
9. No floor plan drawing included in photo package
10. Tiny pictures. Virtual tours should be full screen capable, and not simply showing the same pictures in the MLS listing.
11. One picture of the house (house front, one or two unimportant rooms), followed by 20 pictures of the community playground, pool, walking trail, and gated entry.
12. No pictures at all. I never look further.
13. Real estate agent description embellishing the grandiosity, and telling me how it will impress all my friends, make me feel like a king or queen, and that I'd better hurry - it won't last long.
14. Pricing way above market because it looks better than the average neighbor's house. We all know that in today's market, price is determined by the appraiser.
15. When I don't have a clue where it is. There should always be a link to a computer map to locate the exact location visually, or a street address in the listing.

I have more, but my fingers are now worn out.
By mj673,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 14:57
I once looked at an outwardly cute, reasonably priced little place that was just the right size, according to written details, but I couldn't wait to get out of there! The owner was raising snakes in the house - he and his "pets" gave me the creeps. OMG!
By Jennifer Roberson,  Fri Jun 21 2013, 02:35
I will be house shopping next year, so this is a timely article. I also love the psychology of marketing, and, like others, am often amazed by what I see even in photos.

Gripes for agents:

--No photos at all with the online listing. I don't even bother reading the details.

--Photos with no identifying labels.

--Repetitious views from only a slight change in angle. Make each photo count.

--Misleading descriptions: Don't say a yard is "huge" when the lot is only .25 of an acre. The house takes up half of that.

--SPELL CORRECTLY! I'm not talking about abbreviations, I'm talking about complete words that are misspelled. I immediately assume the agent is an idiot, which isn't really fair, but I make my living as a writer. If you can't spell, find someone who can proof your writeup and descriptions.

Wants/Don't Wants:

--I'm in Tucson, grew up in Phoenix. Lived in two different houses with pools. I DO NOT want a pool. Expensive, constant maintenance, and a safety issue. Houses with pools immediately go to the bottom of my list. Unfortunately, it's tough to find houses without them in Tucson.

--I prefer tile. It's cooler in a hot summer. But carpet is not a deal-breaker; I'd just have it pulled up and, depending on the floor beneath, stain the cement, or tile it. I do like area rugs placed strategically. They make a room warmer and more inviting. Blank tile can make a room look cold and sterile.

-- While I am very good at imagining making a house mine when I walk in, I have a hard time when bedrooms are painted horrific colors. I agree about an accent color on one wall, but paint the garish colors neutral, and then I'll repaint them later.

--I will not look at a property that doesn't have at least part of the backyard fenced or walled. I have dogs.

--Central air; will not even consider a home with 100% evap cooling.

--It's Arizona. I want to know what the average monthly electricity bill is, particularly during the summer months.

--I need an agent to really LISTEN to my wants. Some may sound very strange, but I have them for good and valid reasons.

Lastly, I like seeing books in bookcases, and a dog or cat in a photo. In fact, if I meet a nice dog when I view the home, I often ask if he/she goes with the house. 8-)
By spadivabeauty,  Fri Jun 21 2013, 03:43
After reading all the posters comments about their own personal thoughts regarding what "they" look at when looking at homes to buy, I just have to put my two cents worth in.

1) Regarding hardwood floors - while a lot of potential buyers prefer them, the same amount prefer carpeting (except in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms). Both are fairly reasonable to replace if need be. Big box stores have sales all the time, including low/free installation. A good, professional steam cleaning does wonders if the house meets most of the "must-haves".

2) Wallpaper, while a royal pain to remove and repaint, it's not a turnoff. Same with "wild colors" - a couple of gallons of paint in the buyers choice is what - $70.00? A little elbow grease is free. In all the homes I have bought and sold in the past 40 years (in 6 different states), I have yet to find any buyer who hasn't repainted/wallpapered after moving into the home.

3) Gold fixtures - I loathe them personally, but if everything else about the property matches my wants or must-haves, that is a non-issue. For those who recommend "replacing them", try pricing the cost to replace a stand-alone shower that is made in the gold fixtures... and the seller must ask if the cost to do so will really make a difference.

4) Wood paneling - terrible, in every sense of the word. However, it's a relative easy fix for the buyer.
The only problem is one never knows "what lies behind".

5) Pools - depends on the area of the country. If you are buying in Florida (as example), it's really difficult to find a home without a pool. I personally don't care, if it has been well-maintained and the sellers can provide maintenance records.

6) No garage in northern climates - that is just dumb on the side of the seller. However, there are people who bought/designed said homes without them. The same goes for homes with one-car garages, or older, mid-century homes who have two car garages that "big-boy" vehicles cannot fit. Again, there are just some things people cannot redo.

7) Price - most people want the most money for the house they're selling. Suggest those sellers get a reality check.

8) Pets - I own them, and I have only had one incident where it was an "issue", only to find out these same people bought a less-pricier home, then turned around and got two dogs! If a seller has pets, just list in the MLS.

9) Large/small lots - nothing anyone can do about it. (IMHO) - Buyers should be able to figure out if a listing shows "large lot" and they are looking for "compact", just don't waste your agent's time in looking at homes already showing "large lots"!

10) Large "cement" areas in either front/back/side of property. Much rather buy home with grass/flowers - that way I can design my own "cement" design rather than rip up and haul away the "handiwork" of other people.

The list of "cosmetics" goes on and on. Not everyone want granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances (me included), slate floors, steam showers, spa baths, etc. If one wishes those features, I would suggest one take a house with "tile counters" and install granite. Is a lot less expensive to replace tile/laminated counters and tiles than rip up granite/concrete that the "color scheme" isn't what the buyer really prefers.

I am in full agreement with poster Susan_weins - my list of must haves/no exceptions are:

new/newer roofs;
updated wiring,
replaced outlets, and switches;
fenced yard;
sprinkler system (well maintained);
new/newer air conditioner;
sump pump,
hot water heater,
roofs under 6 years old (especially in areas that have severe weather;
cleaned duct work;
camera scoped drain pipes;
maintained septic tanks, if applicable;
surveyed property lines
location of any/all underground utilities
full inspection of foundation
full history of any/all underground water tables/streams
if in flood zone, and if so, what flood damage in past
new/newer windows (within 5 years replacement)
high radon readings
any evidence of "drug related productions"
crime stats

Go with your gut feeling! Buying a house is huge, but to be petty about having "cosmetics" that may affect a toddler, just remember that toddler is going to grow up, so what one may feel a "necessity" at age 2 is going to become a non-issue at age 8! If the house is in a great location, has all updated systems that would be cost prohibitive to repair/replace in the first few years after you've moved in, then buy it and start the projects to "put your own stamp" onto the property! And just remember, as you "personalize" your home, you will find people who will find fault with it when you go to resell your home! (Just my own thoughts and opinions... no insults or judgments intended),
By lbucci,  Fri Jun 21 2013, 04:52
Good points, BUT--REMEMBER--the house still belongs to the seller and the seller's furnishings should not deter a prospective purchaser from the ability to imagine his or her own furniture and furnishings in a room. The buyer must feel comfortable with the traffic pattern of a house, as well as the size of the rooms. An overly staged house is as unattractive as an overly cluttered, dirty house. I've been in both. I've had my home for sale and have taken it off the market when I see what type of buyers realtors bring--generally people who are out of their price bracket and who have actually complained that my house is too clean. Prospective buyers who have either smoked before or attempt to smoke while looking at my home are a turn-off to me, a seller. And, yes, YOU MAY REMAIN IN YOUR OWN HOME WHILE IT IS BEING SHOWN. I had occasion to have a realtor start to make commentary about my home that was totally inaccurate representation and stopped her right in her tracks. Realtors, if you do not know the inner workings or construction specifications of the home, keep your comments to yourselves because misrepresentation to a buyer will certainly get you in trouble with a savvy buyer. As to carpeting, if people have allergies and are concerned about residual dust mites and debris left deep in carpet pile, carpeting in bedrooms is more dangerous than in the rest of the house. That being said, hardwood floors that are in great shape and tile floors that are well maintained are always attractive. If the buyer wants carpet, let the buyer spend his/her own money on that. Buyers DO NOT have the right to make excessive demands on the seller in order to make a purchase go through. Try all you want, but if the wrong push is made, the seller does not have to agree to the sale. In reality, it is the realtors who set the market trends and it is they who need to step back and let the market do what it needs to do instead of making sellers feel uncomfortable about their properties and prospects for selling them.
By lbucci,  Fri Jun 21 2013, 05:01
Other things that a realtor does not point out to a prospective buyer deal with the operations of the home when the monthly bills are displayed for a prospective buyer to view. Realtors in my area fail to point out overall total cost of living, public transportation, shopping, and other amenities of living in the area where I live just because we are not in a "community." I won't hire a realtor when I want to sell because realtors don't sell--they speculate on who might want to buy for the moment, but do not develop a clientele with specific housing needs/requests like they used to do.
By digy07,  Fri Jun 21 2013, 06:28
Make sure your walls are a neutral color (not pink or purple) and you get rid of any family photos. I have sold my house and my in-laws house in literally 2 weeks after posting it. I follow those two rules and perhaps the most important....get rid of anything that you do not need to get by with! The more open space you present the more the buyers can picture their own stuff in there and the more spacious it seems. I can't count how many homes I would walk in and see the people's junk laying around or feeling like I'm a peeping tom with all of their photos everywhere. Even though paint is an easy fix a seller showing a house with odd colors tells me they don't care much about selling and I translate that into them not caring about their house. Also take time time to make the easy fixes such as new outlets if yours are grungy or old, patching up holes in sheetrock, or installing some new cheap lighting to update the space. If you have hardwood under your carpets tear it up yourself and have a company refinish it. A bedroom costs about $400 to do and will pay off when a buyer sees a brand new floor.
By Dehlia,  Fri Jun 21 2013, 07:39
I was just preapproved a month ago and have meet with and chosen a realtor. In reading through these posts, the first ones where honest opinions. Further down, I see and doctor, realtor with an MBA clearly being greedy and advertising for customers. I dislike that. One degree over another will not make me or I hope anyone else choose you to show us homes because it is not about my needs or wants you are concerned about but how much money as if you are not earning enough sir to get me to sign up with you? That sir was a turn off, and I hope other than those from Asia looking for status showers will sign up to buy through you.

I have seen many things in a home that is up for sale. What I take into consideration is that this is an interesting time. I would appreciate a pool only if to take a couple of laps each morning or late evening before bed for exercise. So I agree, a pool would be nice but it is not what will make me buy a home. Harwood floor? I have lived in homes with hardwood floors the fact is if you like hardwood look for homes with that, if you want or like a pool look for homes with one. All this nonsense about this that or the other.

A homeowner can and will do whatever they want with their home. While I have seen many with colored walls it all depends on my preferences and taste as to whether it will work or not. I see a home with white walls I am ready to move. I can paint my walls later if I so choose. Homes will match the personality of the next owner. You are supposed to be looking for a home that brings you no stress, it has everything you want or like, e.g., size, yard, pool, ceilings, a gated backyard, a fireplace, acreage whatever. If you like it you buy it, if as soon as you walk in and look around it does not feel right . . . . DON"T BUY IT! How difficult is it to pick the right home?

My realtor has all my wants, dislikes, must have, and things I will negotiate over. If the house is $300+ I will expect to see a nice home with appliances. At least her in California, in other states its going to be different. The couple who found the perfect home that did not have a garage? Why even look at the home unless you were not already planning on adding on a garage? When you drove up you already saw the parking was not good. I mean seriously, give me a break. It did not have, this, that or the other, and oh the rooms were too small, the yard was this and it had no parking!!!! Don't waste my time here. I want to buy a home, any information about what it out there, helps narrow down where I do not want to buy, and quite frankly neighbors, I do not choose to live near also. Digy07, I am with you. Help us help you. I went through two realtors and found a great one finally who narrowed the choices and I have two I like and am weigh off my pros and cons. I think this home buying process is a game to see where, who, the cars in the driveway, the environment that today makes a buyer feel they fit in. Absolute nonsense why look at anything that does not meet your needs?
By Steve Dutch,  Fri Jun 21 2013, 07:45
Thinking about what it takes these days to sell a house, and how you have to sterilize the house so it looks nice on line, I think I'll just advertise an al-Qaeda bake sale on Craigslist, then collect the insurance after NSA sends a drone.
By goddesshadeev,  Fri Jun 21 2013, 07:47
I owned a "cozy" Craftsman Bungalow during the late 1990s, that was built in 1926. It was my first and only home purchase, and the longer I lived in that old house, the more I hated it. I couldn't sell it, so I ended up signing the title back over to the bank to avoid foreclosure. The house was remodeled before I purchased it, but the so-called upgrades were bothersome to me. As a single mom, changing everything was not an option financially.

Reasons why it didn't sell:

1 - Bad neighborhood. Gang-infested with a high murder rate. Was gentrifying and peaceful at first, but took a nosedive 3 years later. Neighbors put their trash in my can and let their dogs poop in my yard. Found a spent bullet, a pistol and box of bullets in my garden.
2 - Oil and Electric heat
3 - Cheap carpet throughout house AND on staircase
4 - Mice and stale air or pungent dead mouse odor at times
5 - Poorly insulated with blown in fluffy stuff
6 - White linoleum on kitchen and bathroom floors that was hard to clean
7 - One old, drafty window that didn't get replaced with a new one like the others
8 - No fence around yard
9 - Upstairs was cold in winter and hot during summer
10 - Poor water pressure (water main pipe needed to be replaced) Water ran rusty for half a minute or more before it ran clear. Had to always be filtered. Couldn't use the sinks while washing machine was filling up.
11 - Bedrooms were small, with small closets. They could only accommodate a full size bed and chest of drawers. No other closets in the house.
12 - Bathroom was too small for two people at the same time. Poorly lit, with ceiling fixture only. Medicine cabinet was the kind with 3 narrow, mirrored doors.
13 - Cold, unfinished basement with small windows.
14 - Long kitchen with an awkward layout, and no dishwasher. Breakfast nook was tiny.
15 - No formal entryway. Front door entered straight into the combination livingroom/diningroom areas.
16 - No garage. There was a concrete slab in back yard where a shed once stood. The neighbors took the liberty of parking in my back yard. One day, there were 3 vehicles in my yard! The police did nothing. I erected a towing sign, and enforced it. I even let the air out of someone's tires.
By Kelly Jensen,  Fri Jun 21 2013, 08:38
Great article, I especially liked the reference to how 'Mad Men' is changing what buyers are looking for. Either way, out with the gold is always a good idea!
By nattwell,  Sat Jun 22 2013, 02:47
By nat: The article makes it sound like it is necessary to strip a home of its character and neutralize it completely before offering it on the market. It is hard to believe that potential buyers wouldn't have enough imagination to picture their own things in a home. A home on the market can be kept extremely clean and neat without denuding it of personality (I know this from experience). Most sellers don't want to live in sterile, half-empty rooms. Our last home sold because of its character; we also had installed 1000 square feet of travertine in the lower story. We bought a new home that was immaculately clean after looking at the dirtiest places possible located in an exclusive, gated community. The homes looked great from the outside but contained dirty laundry, dirty dishes, closets that had been used by animals for their personal needs, etc. This was not uncommon. If I was a realtor, I would refuse to show a home in that condition.
By helen_va_usa,  Sat Jun 22 2013, 07:58
I learned my lesson from buying a staged house. The house looked spacious because they used downsized furniture and cleaned out everything in the closets, etc. When I actually moved in, nothing fit. My furniture was just average but the stager used a sofa for 2 rather than 3. After the fact, I met the original owners in the grocery store and they told me all they were required to do to sell the house. When I get ready to buy again, I will take the staging lists and be sure they have not adversely impacted my concept of the house before buying. Eventually, all buyers will become aware of the staging tricks and they won't work in the future.
By helen_va_usa,  Sat Jun 22 2013, 07:59
I learned my lesson from buying a staged house. The house looked spacious because they used downsized furniture and cleaned out everything in the closets, etc. When I actually moved in, nothing fit. My furniture was just average but the stager used a sofa for 2 rather than 3. After the fact, I met the original owners in the grocery store and they told me all they were required to do to sell the house. When I get ready to buy again, I will take the staging lists and be sure they have not adversely impacted my concept of the house before buying. Eventually, all buyers will become aware of the staging tricks and they won't work in the future.
By BlueSuedeShoes,  Sat Jun 22 2013, 08:47

Your precious little mutt may smell heavenly to you and may have had some occasional "accidents" inside the house, but no one wants to move in to a house that smells like a kennel.

Also, smokers and heavy cookers please mind your clinging smells, I like bacon but I don't want to move in to a meat smoking factory.

Lastly, do you have athletic adolescent boys or an outdoorsy husband... B.O. tends to cling heavily and no one wants to move into a house that smells like a high-school locker room.

Don't just go crazy on the room-deodorizers and scented candles, that may also be a turn off. Hire a home cleanup company or rent an ozone machine... and open up your windows and ventilate.
By Mark E. Horning,  Sun Jun 23 2013, 00:16
Pools, even in Phoenix can be a major turn off. (maintenance, liability, time) For heaven's sake if you do put in a pool don't put it in the center of the yard, push it as far as you can to one side so there is some yard left.

Walpaper. Yuck. Ripping it off and re-texturing the drywall (or replacing it) is simply too much work. Linoleum floors. double yuck.
By Steve Kahn,  Sun Jun 23 2013, 05:41
missing from list: dead bodies in house, blood stains on carpets and/or walls, cemetery in back yard, Clampetts as next door neighbors....
By pennysevans,  Sun Jun 23 2013, 06:18
I'm horribly allergic to plug-ins, room deodorizer s etc. especially Glade products. Get severely nauseated. So wouldn't enter a house that stank of that stuff. It's toxic anyway. Also clearly
trying to cover up something very bad. Sewer smell? Cigarette? Mold? Rot? Animal excrement or urine?
By monikawaligora,  Sun Jun 23 2013, 09:23
we had 4 houses in our neighbor hood that were all bought by investers and they flipped the property..it is sad to see regular people don't qualify for these homes because because an investor pays cash then fixed them up and sold them driving the prices up by 25%...the last one across the street was the worste..it is a great business when the husband sells real estate and the wife flips houses..however I am also aware of the dryrot, the air conditioning and heating not working, due to the fact the guy that lived there was a cheap recluse..I was hired to clean it and walked away litteraly sick..could not do it and told the owner he needs to gut the whole thing..there is also an addition that was done without a permit..the guy sold it for 149.00 and now the realto is asking 220, which is crazy but someone is going to buy it if they can get rid of all the problems and what about disclosure...I saw the dry rod just being covered up..I would rather buy a run down house and fiz it mysel, because I will know what is in the walls..I am ready to sell my home next year..but in todays market without a realtor..to this day I have never found one that actually listens...maybe some day I will
By Sara Gordon,  Sun Jun 23 2013, 10:38
A pool, for me, even though my husband loves to swim, is a turnoff because I see issues with home owners insurance. Some deny based on pools, others want it surrounded by a fence and or deck.
By idahosunrise,  Mon Jun 24 2013, 05:31
My biggest turn-off is a realtor that has a lack of knowledge and does not listen. I will tell the realtor what I want and do not want. Said realtor still shows house that are contrary to my desires. I do not want a relator that just sells appearances. ("See how pretty that is.") I want to know the structure of the house. When was it built. What material was used in its construction. How much insulation does it have. What class and grade of windows does it have. If a neighborhood association is involved, I want to see the rules and by-laws. If a realtor cannot or will answer these questions, I drop him(her).
By Gina,  Mon Jun 24 2013, 07:34
As a pool owner, I think people need to educate themselves about pools--newer pools require very little maintenance or money. A salt water pool requires about $10-$20 worth of salt for an 8 month season, and a $125 solar cover will make the pool warm enough to swim 8 months of the year for states south of PA. An robotic vacuum (6yrs old) cleans the pool--I have not vacuumed since the first year, 6 yrs ago. The only thing we pay for annually is the for a company to put on the winter safety cover ($170), because for liability reasons I want a professional to do it. Our home insurance did not require extra coverage (we live in VA), even though we have a diving board. So don't write a pool off as a money pit or too much work, because that is not longer the case. Pools are fantastic for families, and a great way to enjoy your backyard with your kids and friends.
By Claw2,  Mon Jun 24 2013, 08:35
Taxidermy as interior design. I viewed 1 house in Houston that had stuffed bobcats and dead head of various other animals everywhere. It was pretty obvious the realtor had told them to tone it down, too, because there were even more stuffed into the master closet! :P
Everyone, from realtors to those whiny 20-somethings on those real estate reality shows, just focuses on cosmetic stuff. I have spent more money fixing the unglamorous stuff you can't see: electric,insulation, old drum traps; repairing gerry-rigged cabling and phone lines done by the previous owner - none of which the inspector caught or bothered to mention because it wsan't "obvious." $45,000 later, and the only thing you can "see" is the new roof. Jump up and down on the floors, make sure your ever-so precious and necessary granite counters are on top of cabinetry that can actually support them. Open every single window. Make sure they function and/or are at least somewhat energy efficient.
Oh, and realtors, please stand in the doorways or corners to take a picture of the room. I want to see the room, not a closeup of the furniture that isn't part of the house. I also don't want to see you in the mirror. Why would you even take a straight on photo into the mirror? Please put captions on what room I am seeing. And, not cool cropping the outside photo just enough to exclude the apartment building, shopping center, nuclear power plant or whatever right next door. Just because you got me to show up by excluding them doesn't mean I'll go inside. If you're sneaky enough to hide the obvious, I don't even want to know what other surprises I'll find.
By Rutledgehatlady,  Tue Jun 25 2013, 05:19
OUCH! I'm a junk-lover, and my sisters are constantly bringing me more 'presents' from our long-dead mother's huge collection that they want me to keep because 'You have the biggest house and a maid'. I feel that I would desecrate my mother's memory if I got rid of all that great stuff, but I've decided that a LOT of it will just have to go.
We are not ever going to sell (my husband named our estate for me, and I'm only ever going to leave feet-first), but I got some really great tips for making my home more appealing to family and visitors.
We have a large pool, but our yard is several acres. We feel that the space for the pool is worth the pleasure we have in a night-time dip, with the pool lights and stars igniting romantic moods.
I designed most of our house, a sprawling 4,000+sq.ft. vintage-type farmhouse for us to enjoy and live in until we're carried out, but I am now in declining health, and I have to look to my husband giving up the place after I'm gone.
He has said that he plans to throw everything out the windows, push it into a pile with a dozer, and burn it. I won't care then, but it would kill me to see it now.
I'm the local 'Hat Lady' and I hope he will give my 3,000+ collection to the American Cancer Society, as I have made that a feature of my own recent recovery.
My 2,000+ collection of porcelain Lemax snow houses and fixtures will probably go to the Goodwill, where they will likely go for about 25 cents each.
I already have the notion to come back and haunt him for all he will get rid of, but I can see from your great article that I do really need to start NOW to unload.
One thing you did not address was the surface of driveways. Our half-mile driveway is tarmac, which blends with the historical style of our house and out buildings, but what is the choice surface? We couldn't afford concrete. Whew!
I did pretty well on your other warnings, except for our kitchen range, which is a huge, black LP gas stove on Queen Ann legs that looks like a wood-burning stove from the early 1900's. Most visitors love it, but I wouldn't think a potential buyer would.
I'm glad I won't have to worry about that.
By Rutledgehatlady,  Tue Jun 25 2013, 05:20
OUCH! I'm a junk-lover, and my sisters are constantly bringing me more 'presents' from our long-dead mother's huge collection that they want me to keep because 'You have the biggest house and a maid'. I feel that I would desecrate my mother's memory if I got rid of all that great stuff, but I've decided that a LOT of it will just have to go.
We are not ever going to sell (my husband named our estate for me, and I'm only ever going to leave feet-first), but I got some really great tips for making my home more appealing to family and visitors.
We have a large pool, but our yard is several acres. We feel that the space for the pool is worth the pleasure we have in a night-time dip, with the pool lights and stars igniting romantic moods.
I designed most of our house, a sprawling 4,000+sq.ft. vintage-type farmhouse for us to enjoy and live in until we're carried out, but I am now in declining health, and I have to look to my husband giving up the place after I'm gone.
He has said that he plans to throw everything out the windows, push it into a pile with a dozer, and burn it. I won't care then, but it would kill me to see it now.
I'm the local 'Hat Lady' and I hope he will give my 3,000+ collection to the American Cancer Society, as I have made that a feature of my own recent recovery.
My 2,000+ collection of porcelain Lemax snow houses and fixtures will probably go to the Goodwill, where they will likely go for about 25 cents each.
I already have the notion to come back and haunt him for all he will get rid of, but I can see from your great article that I do really need to start NOW to unload.
One thing you did not address was the surface of driveways. Our half-mile driveway is tarmac, which blends with the historical style of our house and out buildings, but what is the choice surface? We couldn't afford concrete. Whew!
I did pretty well on your other warnings, except for our kitchen range, which is a huge, black LP gas stove on Queen Ann legs that looks like a wood-burning stove from the early 1900's. Most visitors love it, but I wouldn't think a potential buyer would.
I'm glad I won't have to worry about that.
By kbarrett7677,  Tue Jun 25 2013, 06:33
Question: What type of window coverings are desired by buyers? We have a craftsman style home. Should we put in wood blinds, shutters etc in white or brown or does it matter if we just put up cheap shades and good drapery rods?
By Elizabeth,  Tue Jun 25 2013, 08:50
Pet peeves:
#1 turnoff: It is disgusting to see pictures of bathrooms with the toilet lid up/or pictures featuring the toilet.
2. Pictures featuring furniture rather than the room reflecting the dimensions and windows. Who the hell cares about your furniture?!
3. Clutter of any kind (if its there it = no/lack of storage)
4. Dark rooms/dirty rooms/bad lighting/lack of windows
5. Cell phone pictures...come on people, get/borrow a decent camera
By iamk8,  Wed Jun 26 2013, 07:45
I'm mixed on carpet. If it's new, clean, in a neutral color then I see nothing wrong with it. I do like the look of hardwood or nice laminate, but prefer carpet in bedrooms. Old, dirty carpet in a color other than beige (why do they even make green, red, or purple carpet????) is gross.
By bamalady,  Wed Jun 26 2013, 11:15
My advice to anyone looking to purchase a home is "Use your imagination". I purchased a condo at a steal of a price because the previous owner had "baby blue" carpet intalled everywhere but kitchen and bathrooms (bless her heart) . It was hideous & no one would go past the door to look at the rest of the home. I did & made an outrageously low offer, they took it. I had the place completely painted & installed hardwood. its looks like something from southern living magazine now. OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE POSSIBILITIES ! who cares about gold door knobs, just replace them
By Pamala Vela,  Wed Jun 26 2013, 11:22
We encountered a house that had renters currently in it. They did not want to be taken from their home, and they made it obvious by their mean looks and rudeness. While I understand that - the landlord should have made them clean up. The place looked and smelled like an episode of "Hoarders"!
Another thing we encountered was a house with all kinds of artsy-fartsy colors (lime green walls with dinosaur sticker wallpapers, hot pink walls the master bedroom was painted neon yellow with a dark gray ceiling!), and a tree with unicorns that covered a wall - this house was a hot mess.
I have to say the worst was the dog lady's house. She had eight large dogs that peed on the AC and disintegrated it. We won't talk about the smell inside the house. We got two rooms in and said - nope not for us. We set our sights higher and decided that maybe we were looking in a too low price range.
But of the houses we encountered where people were genuinely trying to sell - cleanliness was an issue. I realize you have to live there, but please - get the ring out of the toilet and the tub, and don't leave dirty dishes in the sink. I don't do that and don't want to imagine what the house would look like with a whole service for 12 in the sink with god knows what stuck on it.
By dlstone,  Wed Jun 26 2013, 11:55
I would actually prefer decent carpet to cheesy laminate fake hardwood flooring (especially when it sits on a thin layer of foam, in which case the not-so-hardwood floor has a little "give" to it--very creepy-feeling) which I have seen in a number of houses in the last couple of years. Some of these homes put the danged stuff EVERYwhere, even on stairs. Ugh.
By Brooke Allen,  Thu Jun 27 2013, 10:35
I prefer to have a pool here in Arizona. We just rented a house, and we placed a premium on houses that either had a pool or were in a community with a pool. Carpets were also a plus for us (except in the dining room/kitchen. Some of the houses that we absolutely loved had purple walls in one bedroom and blue walls in another bedroom (for our girl and boy). Obviously, that might be a turn-off to some people though.

Finding the right buyer for your home is the most important thing. If the house is clean, well maintained, and in a nice neighborhood, then the right buyer is likely to come along. While clutter, dirt, and pets would be a giant turn-off, things like pools, carpets, and yard size are attractive to certain people but not others.
By MahtaMouse,  Thu Jun 27 2013, 12:49
While I agree with most of what was said, I disagree with the anti-carpet sentiment and don't understand those who have a phobia towards it. Maybe these floor options work well in hot areas like AZ, NM, etc., but here in the Pacific NW wood, laminate and tile are cold and uninviting, while carpet warms the rooms (and feet). We also tend to have people remove their shoes upon entering due to all the rain and mud which helps to keep the carpet clean.

I grew up in the 50's with hard wood floors and while I do love them, I can tell you first hand that not only are they noisy to walk on; especially with kids - but then I'm guessing none of the carpet phobics have kids or pets - but women's heels, dogs, dirt and tiny rocks brought in on the bottoms of shoes damage them. My neighbor learned this the hard way when she had her carpet torn up and replaced with hard wood and then had to have it refinished every 5 years. Expensive and required her to vacate for several days due to toxic fumes.

Hard wood, laminate and tile requires more daily upkeep than carpet. While I can quickly vacuum a carpet and have it steam-cleaned spring & fall; the former requires you to sweep and mop daily otherwise the floors are gross with dust bunnies, dirt, mud, people and/or pet hair, etc. You will never catch me walking barefoot on those type of floors due to the major ick factor.
By MahtaMouse,  Thu Jun 27 2013, 12:54
Paint, wall paper, fixtures and landscaping can all very easily be changed with a little elbow grease and may even get you a lower price. Sadly tho, there's 2, coming up on 3, generations of buyers out there who are color-phobic, lack the imagination to see past an unappealing paint color and, are loath to put in some sweat equity. Knowing this should I ever decide to sell my house I would of course re-paint everything "builder/apartment white". And, since it's a small (by today's standards) 3 bedroom, 1 bath, ranch-style house in an area of over-sized, over-priced McMansions, I would ofcourse have to market it as a "starter" house, as well as a single level home for older couples who are looking to down-size and no longer deal with stairs.

And finally turn offs.... I don't care if it IS winter and raining cats and dogs, Realtors need to get to an open house early enough to throw open the doors and windows to air things out! Most people prefer the smell of fresh air to cookies, candles and air freshener. Like everyone one else, smells are a turn off. That and a dirty house, junk laying around, AND the toilet seat up! HOW can Realtors post pictures and conduct open houses with the seat up?!! THAT'S a major turn off, especially for women!!

Homeowners need to be told to clean up and give them time before springing a walk-thru on them. And for heaven's sake, change the sheets and bedding if older than a week! I went through one house where the master BR reeked of funky dirty bedding and skanky socks. If you have dirty laundry wafting out of the basket in your closet, then for heaven's sake toss it in the washer! Nobody will care if the washer is running, but they WILL care about those funky sock smells and last week's gym sweat.

By isawondfl,  Fri Jun 28 2013, 02:17
Living in FL, it is a must to have a pool. It is a high selling point for most buyers.
I built a house 4 years ago. The pool is inside the house. And why is everyone saying that it is a huge cost? The pool service cost me $120.00 per month and $30.00 per month on electric. The electric could be cut ($0) by putting it on solar. If you can't afford a $150.00 for a pool, you may want to wait until you have saved more money for a house. My pool is over 25 years old. I built the house around it. 4 sets of double doors open from the main house to the pool from the 1st. floor. 4 sliders upstairs open from a 2 room suit, playroom & bedroom with balconies overlooking the pool.
Tile and area rugs only in main house. Wood in bedrooms. I have to admit, I do have carpeting in the media room for sound reasons. I may change that to cork later.
If I decide to sell this house, it will be a special kind of person to buy it, for sure. The yard is 4 acres.
During the last hurricane, I was swimming with neighbors, having a hurricane party, generator going, weather channel on.
By jim.janetmccauley,  Fri Jun 28 2013, 07:20
Replacing "gold" (polished brass) bathroom fixtures is way more expensive than you would suppose, even if you do it yourself. The hardware itself is expensive, and plumbers don't work for free. Tub and shower fixtures will almost certainly involve tile, sheetrock, and professional plumbing work. And chances are the mirror frame, toilet handle, towel bars, door knobs, drawer pulls, switch plates, light fixtures and the shower enclosure itself will require replacement of "dated" brass trim and fittings. The list is endless and expensive.

Two years ago I sold a three-story townhouse in a (then) soft Northern Virginia real estate market, and was faced with the "dated" fixtures, carpeting, and wallpaper issues you correctly identified as being anathema to buyers. The wallpaper got torn out ("strippable"- HAH! don't believe it), so far, so good. Then, I decided to install new polished brass faucets in the master bath, and used the cosmetically good parts from the old faucets to spiff up the old faucets in the other three bathrooms. They all looked great, but supposedly "dated" (well, just wait- matte nickel and oiled bronze won't be around forever).

Next came the carpet problem. We were told repeatedly that wood floors were required by the fashion police. Well, what color/texture will the as-yet unknown new buyer prefer? And do I now replace/refinish all the bannisters and railings to match? Since the 20-year-old original carpeting was very clean and unworn (no kids, no pets, no smoking, shoes off at the door, please) and the wood floor project was ridiculously expensive, we passed on that, too. We clearly understood that the brass faucet/carpet issues could be reflected in the sale price, but figured that the effort and expense involved would not be recovered. As it turned out, the house sold fairly quickly at exactly market price.
By trish_sand,  Fri Jun 28 2013, 08:22
I love this article and the comments following it.

I can only add a few things:

If the property is occupied by a renter, MOVE THEM OUT BEFORE LISTING. My husband lost tons of money because his renter was sabotaging the sale. Once he got them out, the property sold quickly.

About carpet: yes, I do like soft, warm floors when my feet leave the bed. I bought several large plush bathroom rugs and placed them around the bed. My feet are happy with the warm softness and my alergies love that I can throw them in the washing machine.

Get a good agent and listen to him/her!!! A good agent is as interested in getting your house sold at a good price as you are.

Touching up the paint and new, low-cost light fixture upgrades are good. But don't do pricy remodels just before going on the market. We viewed one house that was perfect EXCEPT the kitchen had just been remodeled with all new cupboards and appliances. The new stuff was not to my taste and I knew I'd have to live with it because I couldn't justify the expense of replacing all that new stuff. We walked away. We ended up buying a house with a horrable 1950's kitchen where the appliances kindof, sortof work. I'll happily gut the thing and feel no guilt at all.

About pools: the house we ended up buying had a huge above-ground pool in the back yard that we didn't want. We put removal of the pool into the conditions of our offer. The seller talked to his friends and found a family that was thrilled to get it. They got a pool for only a couple day's work to take it away. We got rid of the thing. The seller paid a minimum to an electrician to remove the power points. Problem solved.

To buyers: if you see something objectionable in an otherwise perfect property, you can specify remidial action when making the offer. This gives you barganing room. The seller can fix the issue or give you a discount for you to deal with it. It also gives the seller some working room with a property that's been on the market very long. And don't be afraid of sweat equity. We got our current house for a good price. We've torn out carpeting, moldy drywall, and spent hours covering dark walls with bright, cheery new paint. For $35 to buy a flurescent fixture and an hour's work to install, we turned a dark cave of a kitchen into a bright, inviting space. Look at the floor plan and imagine the possibilities. It might take years to do it all on weekends because you work full time but it will be yours when it's done.

And shop around for your agent. Yes, some are just in the business for money. But many are in the business to assist families in finding their great new home. I've worked with several of these "gem" agents. I love them. When you get one, listen to them because they want to help you.
By dtoler1951,  Fri Jun 28 2013, 10:18
This is a really good article. Thanks for the original article and all the comments.
By carla.wanzer,  Fri Jun 28 2013, 10:35
This is something my realtor never seemed to figure out. Look for the most scenic & easiest access route to the house. If you can leave the house & go east to make an easy right turn onto a main road, do that rather than go west and sit at an intersection for 5 minutes waiting to make a left turn. The most direct route to & from the house isn't necessarily the best thing to do.
By kdklug,  Sat Jun 29 2013, 04:15
My ex-wife has always been a vegtable gardener. In one house in Austin, Texas I took a backyard with a high spot in the northwest and a low spot in the southeast and made two level terraces. That area is limestone or bedrock mostly, so it wasn't easy. Half of the lower terrace was dug down into limestone well over a foot and lined with Colorado river blue clay to retain water, then filled with the best topsoil we could find from the meadowlands east of Austin. When we were selling, one looker's best comment was that the garden soil looked 'cheap'. He called it dirt. It didn't matter. Within a few more days we sold the house to an engineer working for Motorola. He moved from the northeast and loved every aspect of the house. Yes, we learned not to be present at showings!
By Eric Gildersleeve,  Sat Jun 29 2013, 07:59
I wish Trulia would add one more feature to their website and apps for searching, that feature is a check mark for Yes/No on HOA (Home Owner's Association). It is the number one thing that I want to avoid in the housing market why searching for a home. I also don't want the previous owner having any rights over the property they are selling, such as must build a 3000+ sq. ft. home, must build using brick, must park vehicles inside, etc. I can understand the mineral rights ownership, but even with that, a drilling platform should have restrictions where they are allowed to be. I realize not a topic for Trulia, but it is common down here in Texas around the Barnett Shale fields.
By dak_72560,  Sat Jun 29 2013, 22:03
I have bought and sold many house most have been without an agent; Other than cigarette odors & mold both of which I have severe allergies to, I don't really mind clutter or dirty laundry. I'm more concerned with age of the roof, air-conditioner, condition of plumbing, insulation (if any), condition of electric and age of water heater. If I'm really, really interested I will hire a home inspector to check all this stuff as well as look for termites or foundation problems - these are the deal breakers for me. Termite damage, foundation problems, plumbing, electrical, roofing, air conditioning problems are all potential money-pits. My biggest pet peeve is the DIY carport or garage enclosure. They all look like they are enclosed by an unimaginative handyman. My personal preference would be to have a carport or to have a garage - a place out of the weather for my car and to get in and out of my car and not be drowned or get snow down my neck.
By Denis Palmer,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 07:16
I had a offer of a nice home,,, Great home small lot, and a homeowners association, air conditioner stopped working in one room, put a window unit in for a few days so that room would be livable until the repairman could get it fixed,,, was written up by the association,,, did not buy that home,,, found a bigger nicer home , large yard for 1/5 the cost and no association to tell me I cannot have a ac in my window, etc... home owners associations and rules a big turn off, Freedom and America ,,, live and let live,,, new neighborhood is Quiet and nice,,,
By Lifeshard,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 08:09
bad bad article. people don't want carpet or pools.. I can also think of reasons why people would not want a 3 car garage or beautiful trees in the yard. So all these things lower the value of the house huhh. I guess a plain box house with no green plants or carpet or pool would cost a million dollars then. think of it... 2 houses side by side, one has great landscaping, reasonable carpet and a pool and the house next to it has none of these things.. ohhh ohh no we want the plain house and will pay more for it.. really? honestly really? maybe once a in while you might find a buyer that would go against the norm, but as a whole people will buy the better valued property with most improvements. This person has no idea what will sale in the real world.. come to missouri we got a lot of houses without pools and carpet and no landscaping. we are going to be so rich.
By Lifeshard,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 08:09
bad bad article. people don't want carpet or pools.. I can also think of reasons why people would not want a 3 car garage or beautiful trees in the yard. So all these things lower the value of the house huhh. I guess a plain box house with no green plants or carpet or pool would cost a million dollars then. think of it... 2 houses side by side, one has great landscaping, reasonable carpet and a pool and the house next to it has none of these things.. ohhh ohh no we want the plain house and will pay more for it.. really? honestly really? maybe once a in while you might find a buyer that would go against the norm, but as a whole people will buy the better valued property with most improvements. This person has no idea what will sale in the real world.. come to missouri we got a lot of houses without pools and carpet and no landscaping. we are going to be so rich.
By bessi2,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 08:46
granite counters and stainless steel everything.. no thanks! what I don't want is my kitchen/bath to look like every other house on the planet!
By Chuckie,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 08:53
Well, as a seller, I always keep some brochures from a custom home builder for people who are looking to do it "their way"...

Face it. If you could afford the home just the way you wanted it, you be in the custom home market.
By lightft,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 10:38
Why no comments on the impact of cost to "make it your own"? Innocence and lack of imagination, I guess. We had it too at one time. Saw a great house that was $20 grand below the market and wondered why - until we saw the bright orange appliances, countertops, telephones, and bathroom fixtures! We loved the place but could not get past the orange. Only later did we learn that we could have replaced everything orange with new items in our favorite shade for half that (when we were house shopping back in the early 80's). Who knows, the previous owner might be taking the appliances and phones with them anyway! Most people will start renovating the day they move in and stop the day they die anyway. issues like those above just provide focus and goals for achieving a home that is truly yours.
By MJerome,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 12:22
BROWN...BROWN...BROWN. Nothing screws up a sale like painting anything brown. Outside or inside. Whatever you do do not follow any TV show about flipping because their taste is for TV and noone will buy that house.
By Barbara Codner,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 14:38
#1: A pool is nice to have but I would rather live in a community that has one for the residents. I would be too afraid of someone drowning in my pool. #2: I've seen homes decorated beautifully and I've seen homes that have been decorated horribly. If a home is decorated beautifully, I would definitely consider buying it. It'll give me ideas on where to put certain things. #3: I like carpet way better than hardwood. In my opinion, it's easier for me to maintain. You see and feel every speck of dirt on hardwood and it scratches easily. #4: Gold bathroom fixtures are gaudy. No thanks. #5: I've been known to get turned off by gaudy landscaping. I love a simple but beautifully manicured lawn.
By jennyct,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 14:53
You're right, but the other posters have excellent points too... Pools could be a turnoff if you have young children. For a high end home, 500k or more, the maintenance cost is not a worry... but it must be in-ground and tastefully done. Carpet is easily replaced; if you love the home, it shouldn't be deal breaker. You either pay up front for turn-key, or you pay down the line for your own changes, but it evens out in the end.
By ngibbs,  Sun Sep 29 2013, 13:14
These articles about what people want in a house tick me off because someone new looking for a home for the first time only will look for these things and don't really look at what they should be looking at. , the bones of the house and what it really has. Does it have an updated roof, a newer furnace is there mold anywhere how about the appliances. The carpet, if not liked, can be changed if not right away a little later, walls can be painted the colors you want, does the house smell, did it have smokers or pets. Parking, is there a garage, what shape is that in, how about parking. City services or is it a country house with a septic system. Does it have an air conditioner or not. If you like the house and don't like the idea of a pool, then negotiate, someone wanting to sell may have it filled in. Someone may live in the house you are looking at, are you buying their furniture with it, absolutely not, so don't pay attention to the furniture, look at the windows, the doors the traffic pattern of how you would set it up if you owned it, don't like the picture or mirror hanging on the hallway wall, well that is not going to be there when you move in so don't pay attention to it, look at the design of hallway, is it something you want to walk thru everyday yourself. So many realtors are so busy looking at the decorating and telling people about the looks that they don't spend time with what is really important. Pictures, well, if you think it might list a few things you may want go look at the house you may find you like it as pictures are taken from the prospective of the person behind the camera not someone who is looking to buy a house. So look past these articles of what people are looking for and look for what you want and not what someone tells you want. Use your imagination and look past someone's careless clutter or mess in a home and look at it as how it would look if you lived there and had a future in that home. You may be missing out on something that you really are looking for just because you were to busy trying to get past what you are told you want. I am writing on experience my own experience of buying and moving 5 times over the past 37 years. I also was a home seller from my past homes and yes, they were clean, not overdone when people came to look at them and yes, we had to make a few decisions on when selling because a buyer asked for different things, but they were not requests based on the carpet, paint or a pool or what the front door looked like. So please, set aside what someone tells you, you are looking for and go and look with your own open eyes and mind on what you would do if you lived there, you may find the house of your dreams because you went in with an open mind.
By kimwhitehill,  Sun Sep 29 2013, 15:34
A big turn off for me when I was looking for a home was basketball hoops. Whether the portable kind out in the driveway or one attached to the garage, that always indicated to me there would be groups of kids, boys, young men outside until all hours of the night making a lot of noise. So I avoided neighborhoods that had them. Also, houses that all look alike. When you look at a lot of houses, you realize how many of them are very similar to each other. There is nothing special or unique about them. I ended up buying an older, cottage-style home built in the 1950's. It already had a sprinkler system, a new roof, a deck, and a swimming pool! All things that were a plus to me. I live in Texas where it gets over 100 degrees several days in the summertime. I'm single, and there is nothing I love more than coming home from work and swimming in my pool after a long, hard day at work. When it gets towards fall, I love to lay outside by the pool in the afternoons or evenings and drink beer and listen to music.
By precious46992,  Mon Sep 30 2013, 06:46
I don't know why everyone gets so high and mighty on hardwood floors. We took our carpet up and put in hardwood. I spend more time cleaning these floors then I ever did with carpet. Clean them one day and the next day all you see is dust and you start all over. My mother thought it would be a great idea, not so. As she got older and became more unstable she fell on her hardwood which is not forgiving and broke her back twice! If I had it to do again I would much rather have carpet. So warm in the cold Winters, where hardwood lets you know they feel like ice under your feet. I never use to wear shoes in the house, but now that is the first thing I put on, for these floors hurt my feet walking on them. Think twice before you lay those floors!!!
By Jlhoffman95,  Sat Nov 2 2013, 18:24
My husband and I our looking to purchase our 6th home, we have moved a lot for job reasons. We've had small homes, big homes, a lake home, rural and city homes in many different climates. At different stages in our lives our housing needs have changed, so has our like and dislike of carpeting. I have had hardwood floors that I loved and hardwood floors that well....I liked a whole lot less.
As for pools, I lived in Maryland where a house with a community pool bond was a very desirable home. In the north climates a pool would not be desirable to us, in Texas or Florida a small pool might be nice, a community pool might be nicer.
In looking for a house, we first look for the traffic patterns and then the lay of the lot. If there are likely to be water problems, the house is scratched. A house that is high and dry and allows us a a reasonable commute is at the top of the list. Next, we look at condition, layout and the yard we think we want (loved those mature trees, got really tired of dealing with leaves). We remodeled one home and never again for us. Cosmetic things we'll do, but major projects like adding rooms....never again. Homes painted wild colors are a turn off, bad kitchens too much work to fix. We also look for low maintenance exteriors. Painting or staining a house is not something we like to do or pay for. Replacing a roof is most annoying. I have never had the "perfect " house, but I have had houses that we have made into a home, our home. For us, it comes down to "can we make this house our home?"
By annie.ross.0,  Thu Nov 7 2013, 13:03
we just began househunting. I am amazed at the condition of the homes And the lawns in these 'buy me' photos. I did discover that the realtors sometimes have no control over what the seller deems as 'postable' less he/she get fired before being hired. so, with that being said, let me write this for the Sellers - at least the ones that obviously need to be told -
how about taking the lawn mower out for a test drive before loading your camera with film. & plain and simple - get your CRAP out before snapping a glorious pic of the mattress leaning against the wall behind the couch. put away your $10.00 radio resting on the edge of an already microscopic sink with the cord stretched across the toilet before saying 'Cheese". play 'hide-the-baskets' with the 30 pieces of wicker stuck above the fridge and all over the kitchen walls and borders; skip the photo of the smallest room in the house painted BRIGHT BLUE sporting grandma's ruffled tiebacks on the tiniest windows known to mankind; kid and dog toys, 'stuff' sitting on your porch, piles in your driveway, etc., etc., etc., must be put away before Olan Mills gets there! my first impression happens the first zero to 10 seconds I see something - including scary pictures. let's clean it up folks. I know the old adage - one man's trash is another mans treasure, but, Bury it where it belongs.
By napyhed,  Mon Nov 18 2013, 14:08
I am a buyer and am tired of seeing the same shiny sleek décor in kitchens and bathrooms.
By karmeldeluxc,  Fri Nov 29 2013, 15:20
Started looking for homes two months ago. The pictures posted of some of these homes are outdated, fuzzy, yellowed and taken at horrible angles. Yards and garages are over grown with trash, fungus, branches or suffering from deterioration.

Looking for a home with one story, a large kitchen, master bedroom and 2 car garage. Two additional bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. The home should be over 1,000 sq. ft. You would be surprised how hard this is to find.
I am not an animal lover so a home that has had pets in it is no go due to deathly allergies of family members.

Turn offs:

All wall paper
Nasty carpets
Water challenged basements
Add-ons done by unskilled laborers
Loud paints on all walls
By lhowell62396,  Tue Dec 3 2013, 13:38
If you see a house as only an investment. Or a place you might grow out of and want to move one day.... DON'T paint the walls dark colors! Light colors (white being the best) makes for a clean looking house. Plus, buyers can look at what they might want to do with the walls. Dark colors look like a whole lot of work. Plus, remove your personal possessions when picture taking. Make it as clean as possible so we can see the room. Also, real-estate sales people with a camera... take good pictures. Dark or blurry shots only tell me there's something wrong in that room. I know of more camera trick and have seen them used, but I won't go into all the details. If you want to sell your house, clean it up and make it say "its used but clean and nothings hiding".
By f2farhad,  Fri Dec 6 2013, 13:48
I can't agree more with all you but I'd like to add one more thing which is being at home when the buyers are viewing your home. It is bad idea and make the buyer uncomfortable looking around your place comfortably. read more here out other facts that turns of buyers or even vacation rentals customers at http://www.justrentals.ca
By Jen and Mark Bowman,  Thu Jan 9 2014, 12:46
Here in Florida, people want the pools. In the winter months we want them heated.
By Savvy_g1,  Tue Jan 21 2014, 12:06
I think every onlinelisting for a two story home should list how many bathrooms and or bedrooms are located on the ground floor. 2) Whether it has a fenced yard. (Hard to tell in photos) 3) Open the curtins. We want to see what you see when you look out of them, and how much sunlight comes in. 4) Open some of those closet doors in the bedrooms for photos (If they are small, we want to know) 5) Especially for older buyers...where is the mailbox? Will I need to walk to the street to get my mail? 6) A pool is always a plus! 7) I don't want to see your clutter, or your ironing board out - put it away. 8) The hideous wallpaper boarders all need to go. Instant turnoff. And if your wallpaper matches your bedspread and curtins ...well...I will look at the next listing.
By Khadijah57,  Thu Jan 23 2014, 22:49
Miss leading photos, outdated bathrooms, kitchens and clutter are big turn offs for me. Although, I've seen wonderful prospective homes but the unfinished basements.... Some of not most are Frightening. Homes that have been completely cleaned, refurbished, and fully updated is what I look to invest in. I'd love a pool if I could afford one in a home of which is also affordable. Carpets, On stairs, in the finished basement and upstairs where bedrooms are must be new. Freshly professionally painted walls, trims and exteriors front and back, along with new windows, roofing and weatherization is a must. Updated electrical wiring and sufficient outlets in all rooms are essential for these days and age. Fair pricing and negotiation is always a plus. I can't look at homes that are occupied or show remnants of previous occupancy. I need bath in large master w/ large closet space. 3-4 additional spacious bedrooms with ample closet space and as many bathrooms as possible. A laundry room, garage, a safe front and back porch or deck with a yard on a tree lined street in a great community. This is what would sell me, and this is what I want for myself and my family,
And as a Disabled Veteran seeking a VA loan, this is what I wish to invest in, and feel that I deserve. I don't want or need to put any work into my home for a few years and may they be minor. I am retired and retire is what I look forward to in my newly purchased home.
By Asteriskgoddess,  Sat Jan 25 2014, 08:25
GRANITE COUNTERTOPS GROSS ME OUT. So do cheap stainless steel appliances.
By Lisa,  Tue Feb 4 2014, 14:10
My husband is turned off if just the paint or wallpaper dates the house...silly since I know that is easy to change. He also will choose not look at a place if it is occupied and requires an appointment, saying he does not want to bother them if he is not seriously considering buying it (which is impossible to know until you see it). He HATES flips. He wants it upkept enough to move in, but wants to choose his own remodeling later. He also doesn't want to make the flippers richer so we can be poorer and I agree with that aspect. Also, who knows what kind of fundamental problems the flipper covered up and are not required to disclose. I hate it when there is incorrect info, recently kept driving by a listing because it had a 1-car garage whereas listing had said 2-car garage. We also couldn't have parked very easily because the agent was having an open house and was standing in the street so she had blocked the only open parking spot right in front of the house. She didn't have her facts straight about the garage anyway, how hard could it be! Why do these vultures of people get such good commission? Please be PROFESSIONAL! My agent is pleasant and professional and surprised at lack of integrity of other agents. The selling agent can make it not worth it to approach a deal, especially if they are nonresponsive.
By Lisa,  Tue Feb 4 2014, 14:15
One more item about the selling agents sometimes being the hindrance on getting sold, my dad had an agent that took bad pictures and never showed the house for them (they had to show it themselves), after months and months, they switched agents and had multiple offers shortly after the new listing had been posted. Want to sell, pick a good and professional agent!
By Robin Loperfido,  Wed Feb 5 2014, 12:12
We have a small lot less right next to a 350 acre park. Several people have told our agent that our low-maintenance, native landscaped yard is too small. We know they aren't "park" people and just sigh.
By bdougthompson,  Wed Mar 26 2014, 13:04
I like carpet in the bedrooms and wood floors everywhere else. What I'm seeing is the opposite.
By Nzstays Accommodation,  Fri Apr 4 2014, 04:05
Great post
try this website : http://www.nzstays.co.nz
By Cherie Colon,  Sat Apr 5 2014, 15:03
I have found that a big turn-off for many buyers is pet odor. Pet lover-sellers often don't realize that odors they are used to are offensive to buyers who open the door and can smell nothing but the sellers' beloved pets.
By Jonathan,  Thu Apr 10 2014, 12:31
On the HOA topic, buyers definitely should be aware of how HOA's operate. Found the website http://www.hoamemberservices.com to be a great resource to pass along to buyers.
By Brandolynscott,  Thu Apr 24 2014, 13:36
EVERYTHING IS ACCURATE!!!!!! 1) Pools- I have children and I also don't want the extra task, maintenance and cost of a pool. That's what the local YMCA is for. 2) Carpet- I have children and a dog. I would prefer carpet in the bedrooms, BUT NOT in the common areas. Plus it makes certain spaces look bigger and you can decorate WAY better around hardwood than carpet. 3) Your stuff- biggest pet peeve ever. If you are not gonna have your house staged (and I would advise this) it is definitely a turnoff for me. Oh... and if you have a pet they should never be there if you are going to show your house. 4) Gold fixtures--- no need to comment on that one. JUST SAY NO! 5) Elaborate landscapes- I like a pretty yard but again I have children, a full time job and I'm a student. I do not have time or energy to invest in such a project.
By ales-73871,  Thu May 1 2014, 07:40
So many comments. So few poeple who have passed english in high school...
By Dawn Stefek,  Thu May 1 2014, 20:42
I think the biggest problem out there is HGTV and realtors not managing their clients expectations. Our home is immaculate, all the physical plant and appliances have been replaced and it has been redecorated according to the realtor and stager. The yard was landscaped. We are in a desirable location. We have had nothing but weird comments. I want a fence. I don't like your neutral foyer tile. I want a bigger shower. Hmm how many people and animals take a bath at the same time. You are to close or to far from the park. Please realtors and people there are physical defects of condition or location that cannot be fixed and some things that are your personal decorating decisions like $500 of tile or a fence or a remodel of a extremely beautiful and functional master bath nursery/ exercise room that you can do when you have time and money. Condition location. Figure out what you think is a fair price for that perfect house and then knock off you think you need to remodel your physical concerns and make an offer or you are going to look at 100+ houses. I have built several custom houses. You never get everything you want. You always end up compromising on something.
By tracythomas44,  Thu May 8 2014, 20:32
I have house dogs. When I sell a house, nobody knows there were pets in it. The house is sparkling clean and with no carpet on the floors, there is no smell. The houses aren't cluttered and nasty and smell clean. Repairs and maintenance are done. With the right price, they don't stay on the market.
By shadowman62.mm,  Fri May 9 2014, 15:47
Here's my take on the subject, When I've been the buyer, I didn't care what the decorating style was because I was going to change it to what suited me and my family. As far as pools, if you don't want a pool, don't shop properties with pools, and Carpet or plants and knickknacks are easily done away with or changed. If the buyer doesn't have an imagination then they need to be shopping in the new home market where everything is generic and bland. Just my opinion, but, either you want something that has character or you want plain Jane.
By gayleschool,  Mon May 12 2014, 15:49
As someone who has arthritis and fibromyalgia .. I'll take a house that has a LOT of carpeting .. not all carpeting .. i need the cushioning .. pools a definite turnoff .. photos that make rooms look huge that when you get to the house are extremely tiny are a pain in the backside. When did MLS STOP listing room sizes? particularly bedrooms? When is a 12 x 14 Master Bedroom 'huge' 'luxurious'??? If you have a soaking tub in the master bath, but a tiny shower, why not just put in an oversized shower? Kitchens, bathrooms, CLOSETS, bedroom sizes .. walkout basements .. REAL walkout basements.
By Rutha Williams,  Sat May 24 2014, 06:17
old windows are a big turn off. some older homes with home improvement need updated windows as well.
By pogle1414@bresnan.net,  Tue May 27 2014, 10:30
OK, I have read most of the comments. My biggest turnoff ever, was the unmade beds. Especially the bed with the girlfriend ASLEEP in the bed. The owner said he told her the realtor had a showing scheduled at 10:00, and he tried to get her up .However, he said we could go ahead and look at the room anyway. Then there were piles of dirty laundry everywhere. The final turnoff was the Kelly green carpets in every room in the house. Yes, they could be replaced, but this was a very large house. No, we did not buy this property.
By pogle1414@bresnan.net,  Tue May 27 2014, 10:44
To realtors, PLEASE give the square footage in you advertisement. I also agree with the person who requested you put info. on how many bedrooms are on the main floor.
By Sukie Mccormick,  Wed May 28 2014, 05:05
We just purchased a home that was filled to the brim with clutter, horrible paint job in every single room, and some repair issues. BUT, we loved the floor plan, location, and incredible views of the private pond. Long story, short version - we got the house and property extremely cheap and are willing to do the work to bring it up to our standards. In the process, we will be adding real value to the home and we will end up with it exactly the way we want it. Guess we are the 10 percent that can see past a mess and see true potential. Seller left the house extremely clean and the painters started yesterday so we are on our way ...
By karablader,  Thu Jun 12 2014, 07:17
I found the "elaborate garden or vast landscape" to be a problem for my parents, who are trying to sell their home right now. They have almost 2 acres of land and have a big garden out back that they've used for years. Some of the people that have come by have mentioned how they don't think they could keep up with all the work and maintenance it would require.
Shelly Slader | http://Landscapeandconcretecenter.com
By kacarnley,  Wed Jul 2 2014, 18:26
Pool: wouldn't mind one if it didn't require my time and money to maintain. The seller paying for the first year of maintenance isn't enough incentive for me. Gold fixtures: sure they're ugly and outdated but that is something that can typically be changed for little time and expense. Elaborate gardens: not only do I not want to spend a lot of time on keeping up with flower beds but I also don't want the expense of watering. I live in an area that is seeing less and less rain; even if I didn't mind the water bill, restrictions are becoming an issue with non-native plants. Carpets: my preference is tile in the kitchen/baths, carpet in the bedrooms, wood everywhere else. The two biggies I'm encountering on carpets are old, nasty, with mystery stains, and wild colors that leave me wondering what the seller was thinking. Carpets need to be kept neutral. The outdated, nasty, unkempt kitchens and bathrooms are two of my biggest turnoffs. My immediate thought is roaches and the money I will have to spend to tearout/replace cabinets, counters, tile.
By Marjorie Bull,  Thu Jul 17 2014, 15:43
The thing about hard surface floors is: you can sweep them with a broom, or clean with a damp mop. Carpet, not so much. Get out the big heavy vacuum. You can easily add area rugs and throw rugs over hard surfaces to soften the under-foot (or under-paw) experience, and you can clean them in the washing machine (small ones) or outdoors by shaking them or throwing them across a porch rail or fence and beating them with a stick, or hosing them off. Can't do that with w/w carpet.

Most goshawful picture I've seen while house-hunting was a kitchen located in the interior of the home, so had no windows or outside doors. You'd have to carry the trash out through the living room or the family room. How elegant! It was dark, dark, dark, and had a black fridge, too. Someone tried to brighten it up a bit by painting the walls a vivid orange and adding a sponge-effect paint job on the cabinets. It was clearly their first attempt at that technique. The overall impression was that a clown and his four-year-old twins had done the decorating. I actually saved the picture to my computer in my "Funny Stuff" folder, because I laugh out loud every time I see it. I bypassed the place because I don't want an interior kitchen, but please, please, even if you don't stick to neutrals, keep the colors tame.

That goes for plumbing fixtures and appliances, too. The only color I want to see is white. I can put up with stainless appliances, but any other color--especially black--is the kiss of death. I'm already buying a house, for heaven's sake; I can't afford these expensive and time-consuming replacements, too. And they don't take paint well.
By greto,  Mon Jul 21 2014, 13:36
I can't believe some of the pictures posted for a home. Something as silly as low-res/out of focus makes the home/room look older, or more dated (kind of like those fuzzy 80's pics in your scrapbook!). And silly details - toilet seat up in a bathroom shot - twelve bottles of shampoo & conditioner in the shower, a grey outdoor winter shot when the house is still listed in May. Other things that point out flaws - old A/C units hanging out of windows tell them before they get there there's no central A/C, or a dehumidifier in the basement family room says it's a wet, musty basement. If the homeowner isn't smart enough to do some quick 2-second staging for each shot, hopefully their agent is smart enough to. Lastly, overly stretched wide-angle shots to make the room look bigger, only make me think it's really tiny. Not many 4-burner stoves are five feet wide with oval burners! Who do they think they're kidding? ;-D
By Russ Goddard,  Tue Jul 22 2014, 16:04
We're currently in the initial stages of looking for a house in the area we're moving into due to job reasons. I've looked at over a hundred house listings with photos so far, with probably another hundred or so to go. Whenever I see photos taken by a Shaky McShakerson, out-of-focus fuzzy pictures, lots of clutter, dishes in the sink, food on the table, enough knickknacks to fill a museum, old and dated furniture, A/C units in the windows, wood paneling on the walls, wild paint colors on the walls, or stenciled-n writing or phrases on the walls, I click "next". Looking for a house is like looking for the perfect candidate for a job opening. First impressions count! If a seller is not willing to stage the house appropriately, or at least hide the dishes in the cabinets or dishwasher, it tells me that the seller just don't care. I'm sorry if that assumption appears to be incorrect, but hey, I have dozens and dozens and dozens of potential "forever homes" to look through. I don't have time to deal with sellers who just don't seem to care. The article is absolutely spot on. I am one of those buyers who do not like pools, hard-to-maintain gardens, or tacky gold fixtures. The fact of the matter is, my wife and I, we're lazy people. We'd like to move in with a minimum of fuss. If you already have what we're looking for, such as hardwood floors in the living and dining rooms, tile in the kitchen and bathrooms, neutral color on the walls, and a finished basement, you got a potential buyer!
By woots1,  Tue Jul 29 2014, 13:17
Great advice. I am looking for a house and every thing you listed are exactly what we are NOT looking for.
By karablader,  Thu Aug 7 2014, 11:27
My friend had a really time selling her house last year. She had one big tree that was very close to the front of her house. I thought it was beautiful and provided awesome shade for the living room which it covered. A few buyers said they were worried of it damaging the house so my friend had the tree removed. Her house sold just a little after the tree was gone.
By gabirdy2,  Sun Aug 10 2014, 20:37
I have been looking at listings online for six months, and those that show professionally done photos make all the difference over the poorly lit, fuzzy snapshots that appear so often. And it is a pet peeve of mine that so many online listings feature 2-3 of the exact same photo and none of key rooms in the house -- I always figure they're hiding something ugly/disastrous when the bedrooms or the living room isn't shown. One more thing -- I have found an online listing that I love. It looks very well taken care of, the owners are obviously very neat, and the lot is great but they have soooo many knick knacks and so much furniture, that I find it difficult to look at many of the pictures -- every possible surface is covered with collectibles. I can't imagine how long it will take them to move out and whether the walls will be left studded with nail holes, brackets and unfaded squares and ovals when they do leave. It's nice stuff, but it's WAY TOO MUCH for most people to tolerate!
By tbarelaxer,  Sat Aug 16 2014, 19:28
Basketball hoops are bad cause of kids? I get sad when kids don't play pickup touch football in an area that is basically common area, even though we own some of it. Kids playing football or soccer and having keg parties are two different things. Putting up NO, NO, NO signs is just a sad thing to do. Then who doesn't like a yard, not talking crazy rare plants, but an old school yard? Whether playing catch or building a snowman, might sound corny, but should not life be fun, or have a chance at it? If someone bums out at mowing a yard or paying a kid as a summer job, again sad. I don't doubt everything you say is true, but says a lot about our culture. God forbid anyone goes outside, or smiles at the neighbor's kid, or enjoys a hot tub, or has a yard, or enjoys a dog's unconditional love etc. Hey I can be as lazy as the next person, but a yard is a must unless living in a city, and only SF is a city I could tolerate. To repeat, I agree with what the author has written, just maybe we all need to look in the mirror, myself included. With mortgage rates at all time lows, I highly doubt many folks will be moving once rates return to their usual rate. Why? As we have seen buying a house is a game, and not a fair one. As for realtors, no comment. Only thing I'll add is if you have hardwood floors, might as well show them, as a person can always add a carpet. Good luck to everyone buying and selling, as here is to everyone getting a fair deal. Sorry to preach, as again, I am no saint, just thinking maybe we all need to be a bit more friendly, and a little less prone to fear. If this comment causes flames or any controversy, please just delete it. I don't care for internet flame wars, or anything that fuels them. That said, thoughtful remarks are not only welcome, even ones that do not agree, but also welcome, as long made in a polite manner. thank you.
By Joanne Straub,  Thu Sep 11 2014, 20:10
As someone in the preliminary stages of house hunting - I can say I'm continually shocked at some of the things I see in houses offered for sale that would be major eyesores, and yet cost peanuts to fix. Laminate peeling off countertop edges, stained shower stalls or tubs, untrimmed yards and cracked yard edging. Little stuff that grabs the eye and screams "hey, they didn't care enough to spend 5 bucks for some glue and/or cleaner, folks!" And the CLUTTER is just remarkable. I try to look beyond to what's there, but some are so crammed - and are usually some of the ones that have been on the market with a decreasing price tag - it's easy to see why a prospective buyer would look for something cleaner to the eye, line wise. It's very hard to picture your furniture in a home that's dark, dingy, and packed full of enough furniture and knick knacks to start a secondhand shop.

I'm one of those that doesn't mind some work if the price reflects the fact that some areas are worn or faded. But at least have your photos show enough pride for cleanliness and a degree of neatness - and get the clutter outta there so we can see what we're buying. Also agree with the person who said it gives a bad bad impression to focus on YOUR focal points and skip rooms completely - it can make you wonder why a home with three bedrooms only shows one, and yet, there are 20 pictures of the new bathroom sink!

Lastly - describe things honestly. I will be a lot happier to see "kitchen has original linoleum" and know I need to plan for the expense, than make a drive based on a glowing and glossed over "kitchen has been lovingly maintained, and all main areas have easy upkeep flooring" and find peeling or cracked and faded linoleum!!!

Lastly - energy consciousness. Where I live and am looking, electricity is VERY steep, and we're in a desert area, so we need A/C almost year round. Old windows, block construction without insulation (very very common here from 50's and 60's building practices), old roofing without insulation, no attic/roof fans, no central A/C are kisses of death. I can't afford an electric bill higher than a mortgage, and will walk away from an otherwise attractive property that hasn't been upgraded (if not newer construction) to meet newer energy saving/insulation standards. As for pools here - with the heat, I wouldn't mind, except the trend out here is most pools are oversized for their lots - and take over almost all the available yard space. With two dogs and two kids, yard is a higher priority for me - and a pool taking up the entire lawn is an immediate "not if the price was cut in half" deal breaker.
By Kathi Barfield-brewer,  Sat Sep 20 2014, 22:50
I actually want a pool and carpeting in my next house. Spend a few winters walking on wood floors with a raised foundation and you will understand just how cold the floor can be. A nice garden would be cool too. What I don't want is the toilet next to the bathtub or glass shower doors. It's disgusting when your clean towel rubs up against the toilet. Shower curtains can be washed and tossed. Glass doors, no matter how hard you try, end up with hard water deposits.
By Dean Haack,  Fri Sep 26 2014, 14:14
the biggest turn off for buyers is the price people allways want retail and now there is no retail
By lissahall.realtor,  Sun Sep 28 2014, 23:10
Yeah, nice article. like to read it. I'm looking for this kind of information or blog which describe deep knowledge of current real estate market and changing trend. Thanks Tara.
By lissahall.realtor,  Sun Sep 28 2014, 23:10
Yeah, nice article. like to read it. I'm looking for this kind of information or blog which describe deep knowledge of current real estate market and changing trend. Thanks Tara.
By Ruth,  Tue Sep 30 2014, 00:17
I have seen HGTV where people want to have wood floors and don't like tile or carpets. I know my parents built a house (of course, it was 50 years ago) and wood floors were the thing,. We lived there about four or five years, I think, and before we moved, They had carpeted the wood floor. The wood was too hard to take care of. The next house we moved into was carpeted. Also, it is softer and warmer and if you fall on the wood floor i (If it is wet, or otherwise) It would be painful. I have bought and sold three house and learned how to sell them. I wasn't good at having it uncluttered, but on the first house it took over a year to sell, and the walls were painted light pastel colors. There was also a recession at that time and houses were not selling very well. We repainted the living a beige.. The next one was a hud home,(a town house) and I repainted although it was off white. It sold soon. I couldn't afford on my budget to move a lot of my stuff to storage, so I tried to have it as much as possible. I sold it fairly soon because the person who bought it lived in the same neighborhood renting a townhouse and was interested in that particular style of townhouse. The last one I was lost in the 21st century recession. I was fixing it up because I found problems that would be difficult for me to handle so I changed electrical in it. I wish I had known that I was living in a house that had an amateur fix the electrical and the electrician was supposed to just put in light fixtures and ended up redoing the wiring. I bought it with work that had to be done because It was the only one that I found to work out for me. I have watched HGTV and the problems that t he people found had to fix lots of things and upgrade to pass what was required to pass code. I will take my knowledge from all this and what I learned from watching on TV and look for all that in another house or townhouse. Also, a good thing to check is if the house is built on a soil that is unstable and you will soon have cracks. I saw a house on the West side of town where the houses are on that soil. The foothills are made of that soil. The brick was loose, The garage floor is cracked and there is a crack on the wall between the kitchen and the living room and it will slide down the hill. It isn't just settling, it is worse than that. It would be very expensive to fix it up and fix it so that it wouldn't slide. Even if it is new, that should be looked into.
By Anna,  Sat Oct 11 2014, 14:40
Spot on for most of points. I don't want to see your cozy undies or your grandma's portrait when looking at the house. As well as 1,000 personal notes to your family members attached to the fridge. It is simply indecent to read notes addressed to other people. I dislike dusty ugly looking round dunk tanks aka mini-pools. And I HATE carpets. If a house has carpet all over, it's a no. Costs $5,000-15,000 to substitute all of this crap with at least laminate, leave alone hardwood. And why would I want $15,000 added to my already high bill?..
By aka_effie,  Sat Oct 11 2014, 17:26
Generally I heard a good time to sell/buy is Spring/Summer for families with school age children so they may not have to relocate school in the middle of the school year. There is a great elementary school in my neighborhood and once I list my home, that will definitely be used as an incentive for school age families. But now I am an empty-nester and I will list my home in the Spring so I have already started the process of neutralizing paint colors, re-painting the neutrals, re-painting all the trim/doors and just purging 'stuff'. Although all the living areas and bathrooms are ceramic tile, the 4 bedrooms are carpeted. I will say, I do not want to choose carpets for future buyers, so I will have the carpets professionally cleaned closer to the listing date and I will automatically offer a carpet replacement allowance, another good incentive.
By SherryOvermier,  Tue Oct 21 2014, 15:27
This article seems a bit outdated, as in two years old.
By Starkmojo,  Mon Nov 3 2014, 17:24
Must be great to be so picky. My last offer was on a house with old school wallpaper ( like my grandmother would have loved), a terrible remodel on the bathroom, trash in the garage, eight CRT TVs that "came with the property" no working hot water ( tank red tagged by the utility) no furnace ( ditto) carpeting, paneling, plumbing issues and mold. I offered asking minute ten grand ( estimate to make the house habitabal by a contractor) and the seller laughed at me! Granted it's still on the market and their realtor quit... But still.
By sarahjanegross1983,  Tue Nov 18 2014, 10:42
I honestly find peoples comments totally out of touch with the fact that most of us LIVE IN OUR HOMES! I can't afford to board my dogs & cats and send kids off to god knows where for months that it will take to sell a house. A few toys on the floor or a dog in a crate or cat sitting on the back of a couch is no reason to run away appalled that others don't live like you *rolls eyes*. Maybe instead of trying to teach people they need to be wealthy to sell their homes we should teach people what to look for when buying; for instance no mold / termites, a solid foundation, great construction, space, etc. I agree with updating, cleaning, and moving out everything unnecessary into storage. If you have carpet get it professionally cleaned as well as any furniture that can hold smells. Throw out the clutter, pack up the out of season clothes, take all the pictures and paintings down from the walls and add fresh paint inside & out. Pressure wash everything outside, keep the yard up and plants/bushes trimmed. This shouldn't be as hard as we make it out to be. If you are so picky save up and build your house or buy a just built one so you can be the first people to live there.
By Deecuebee,  Wed Nov 19 2014, 10:50
So many of these are regional. I live in Phoenix and we had a hard time selling our house because it did not have a pool. It's also rare to find houses here that don't have carpet, at least in the bedrooms.
The issue I have with this article and especially with many of the comments is that many of the turnoffs listed are things that can't be reasonably changed. When I put my house up for sale, we decluttered and put a ton of stuff in storage. We updated some flooring in the kitchen and baths, had carpets professionally cleaned, painted neutral colors where needed, made minor repairs, had the yard professionally maintained every week, and generally tried to make it look like a model home. However, it would have been cost prohibitive to replace all the carpet with wood (especially not knowing if the buyer would even prefer it), we couldn't change the fact that there was no pool, or the lot size, or the floor plan, or the location. It turned out to be a matter of the right buyer coming along, whose needs matched what our house had. After almost having given up on selling it, we got a full price offer. In my opinion, you have to make the small, inexpensive updates that you can, keep it clean and in good repair, but trying to make major changes isn't worth it. Rather than trying to make your home right for every buyer, which is impossible, the trick is finding the right buyer who wants the house you have.
By joelehn78,  Mon Dec 8 2014, 04:10
lazy realtors who frequently reschedule to suit their convenience or, would you believe it, do not show up, and who ignore buyer requests such as floor plan.

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