10 Things That Might Scare Off Buyers

Your home might be your castle, but when it’s time to sell, it’s also time to put away anything that could scare buyers away. Here are twelve things you should remove or hide when showing your house may cause a potential buyer to start edging toward the exit.

  1. Odors. Have a friend, neighbor or your real estate agent do a sniff check. Over time we become nose blind to the scents within our home. What may seem normal to us, can be offensive to others. We can mitigate this by having the professionally cleaned and painted – two items buyers love anyway!
  2. Anything related to smoking. For the majority of buyers, evidence of smoking in the home is a big turn off. Put away all smoking paraphernalia. Have carpets, drapes, and upholstery professionally cleaned before starting to show your home. Then refrain from smoking in the home at all during the selling process.
  3. Pets. You don’t want your pets distracting potential buyers so remove them from the house before a showing. Have a game plan in place. While you are at it, remove bedding, bowls, toys, scratching posts and litter boxes. Pet odors can be as offensive as smoking odors so have carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned.
  4. Pests. This one seems like a no brainer. If you have roaches, ants or any other pest-control issues, call the exterminator and have your home treated. However, where most people fall short is that they try to use home remedies – traps and bait stations – that are highly visibly to potential buyers and can scare them off.
  5. Clutter. Besides just being unattractive, clutter can create the impression that your home doesn’t have enough space. It can also lead buyers to believe a home has not been well maintained. This includes putting away children’s toys before every showing. Additionally, clutter makes it hard for the buyer to focus on the house.
  6. Taxidermy. Mounted heads and stuffed wildlife may be points of pride for you, but its important to not assume buyers share your view – remember, we want to appeal to as many people as possible! Find them temporary new homes while your home is on the market.
  7. Unusual collectibles. Another unnecessary distraction. Pack them up and store them out of sight.
  8. Personal information and personal items. Put away anything of a personal nature such as financial statements, legal papers, bills, and personal letters. This also includes family member’s ashes, religious objects and any political literature you may possess.
  9. Personal art and photos. Most professional stagers recommend taking down family pictures. This is because we want buyers to focus on the home as their potential space – not wondering about the family who lives there. It can be hard – but think of this as a time to depersonalize your home and begin the packing process. Add to that any unusual or out-of-the-mainstream photos and artwork.
  10. Yourself. It’s so important that buyers can come into a space and visual it as theirs – not yours. We want them to feel comfortable to linger, discuss the features and warm up to the home. When buyers are on the way, sellers should leave at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment and do not plan on returning until 5 minutes after their appointment ends. Don’t linger or park just down the street.