real estate

10 ways to turn off a homebuyer

Dana advises her clients to eliminate all traces of pets, not just pet odors. It's important to get rid of pet paraphernalia and have a "pet plan" to make sure the animals are not around when the house is shown.

“Pets in the home? You have to deal with that.”

"A lot of times, people will leave pet items out -- dog dishes, cat litter boxes, etc.," Dana says. "That immediately turns off a buyer because they wonder, 'What has that animal done in the house?' Also, some people really don't like dogs. The minute they walk in and see this big, old dog bowl, they immediately won't like the house."

The same rules hold true for smokers: Remove all ashtrays, clean all curtains and upholstery, and consider smoking outdoors while your home is on the market.

"Interestingly, next to the kitchen, the smelliest room in the house is actually the living room," Dana says. "That's typically the room that has the most fabric, so that is where odors get absorbed."

3. Old fixtures

Want buyers to roll their eyes? Leave old fixtures on your doors and cabinets.

"You need to change out old fixtures in your house," Goldwasser says. "New cabinet hardware and doorknobs will probably cost all of $400 or $500, but it makes a huge difference."

The same holds true for dated ceiling fans, light fixtures and kitchen appliances.

"Homes that have old fans, lights, ovens, microwaves, ranges and dishwashers can really turn a buyer off," says Goldwasser. "Sellers will say, 'Oh, the buyers can take care of that.' Well, yes they can, but it's going to impede you from getting the highest price possible for your home."

4. Wallpaper

Your grandmother may have had it in every bedroom. Your mom may have loved it as a room accent. But today's buyer wants no part of wallpaper.

"Wallpaper is a definite no-no," Dana says.

Wallpaper is a pain to remove and simply adds another chore to a buyer's to-do list, Dana says.

"Wallpaper is extremely personalized. You've spent hours looking over books to pick out the wallpaper you want," she says. "What are the odds that the person walking in the door will also like that wallpaper that you picked out?"

5. Popcorn acoustic ceilings

Times change, and with them home decor styles. Acoustic popcorn ceilings, once the must-have for fashionable homes in the '60s and '70s, now badly date your space.

If you can't stomach the cost or the mess to remove the overhead popcorn, be prepared to credit a buyer in certain markets in order to close a sale.

"The popcorn acoustic ceiling is a major, major turnoff to buyers these days," says Goldwasser.

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