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A lot of what goes into selling a home is positive: we do things that we think will make our houses look better and sell for more money.

But sometimes it’s what we neglect to do that has the biggest effect. It’s easier to think of things buyers will like than to look at our own homes and critique the way we live.

So here’s a list of the six most common blind-spots that turn buyers off. How many are you guilty of?

The 6 biggest buyer turn-offs. Seller beware!

A lot of what goes into selling a home is positive: we do things that we think will make our houses look better and sell for more money.

But sometimes it’s the negatives that make the most difference. Unfortunately, it’s easier to think of things buyers will like than to think of what they won’t like about our homes.

Unfortunately, the old saying “the customer’s always right” rings true in this situation. So to help you notice your own blind-spots (we all have them!) here are six of the most common turn-offs that prospective home buyers complain about.

  1. Interior clutter

This might seem like an obvious place to start, but you’d be surprised how much clutter people can have lying about, yet still think they could win prizes for minimalist interior design.

The problem is that most of us will tidy away the things we don’t use every day, but then leave most of the other stuff out. The thing is, our prospective buyers probably live a totally different lifestyle to us, so anything lying around might look like clutter.

Our aim is to provide a clean, roomy space that our buyers can project their imaginations into – and the more stuff you have lying about, the less they’ll be able to do this.

This should also go without saying, but the more clutter there is, the smaller your rooms look – especially the garage and bedrooms. So get clearing!

  1. Exterior mess

Not everyone’s a gardening guru or exterior expert, but we all know how much an overgrown front yard can detract from a home’s kerb appeal.

Here are some of the outdoor issues that you might want to look out for:

  • Weeds in lawn, concrete, brickwork, roofs or gutters
  • Mould under eaves or on walls
  • Dead leaves
  • Lack of mulch around beds
  • Tatty flyscreens
  • Cracks, rust or lichen on roofs and gutters
  • Flaky paint
  • Unpruned or dying plants, trees and shrubs

These are just a start – any number of things could be hurting the first impression your home makes from the street.

Take a minute to look at your home from the sidewalk, and try to spot anything that someone might take issue with. It could make the difference between a sale and a fail!

  1. Odours

Tobacco smoke, pets, food and even babies can all make their mark on your home in the form of smell.

If you’re seriously thinking about selling, you may need to spend a week or more removing odours and sources of odours. This doesn’t mean throwing your pets out on the street, but it does mean taking them outside, opening windows when cooking, changing air conditioner filters, shampooing carpets, washing down your walls, and so on.

Your home could look immaculate, but if it smells odd, it will turn people off. If you’ve just cooked up a roast and your potential buyers are vegetarian, they might reasonably wonder if the meat smell will ever go away.


  1. Being there

Yes, this means you. Being in the home. Your home. It doesn’t sound fair, but it all fits with the whole buyer-imagining-themselves-living-there scenario.

When someone’s looking around your home, it isn’t their home yet, so it’s always going to be awkward if they have to tiptoe around the current occupants – no matter how welcoming you are.

If there are repeat visits, by all means do a meet-and-greet, but don’t lurk about during the first open home.

  1. Darkness

Dark, dimly lit or over-shaded areas don’t appeal to many people. Especially in Brisbane’s climate, they often mean damp, mould, algae, mosquitoes and other pests.

This applies to all areas, indoor and outdoor – if any part of your home is too dark, try to see what you can do to brighten it up. This will not only make your home look more inviting, but it’ll probably also help with getting it clean and making it that way.

  1. Lack of privacy

This one doesn’t occur to most people straight away, but a bit of privacy goes a long way towards helping your home sell.

The biggest contenders here are blocking out neighbours’ views into your home and limiting street noise and visibility without making your buyers feel imprisoned.

If you have very open street access, this could be great for brightness and morning sun, but if everyone on the bus can see into your bedroom, it might be a good idea to plant a shrub or install some louvers.

So there you have it: six of the most common turn-offs that can cost you when trying to sell your home. If you have any questions or are curious about what you can do to make your home look better for prospective buyers, get in touch with Hicks Real Estate on 07 3355 6845!

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Hicks Real Estate is a Brisbane based, full-service real estate agency supporting buyers and sell as well as renters and property investors. With almost 20 years experience in the local market, we are the real estate experts you can rely upon.