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5 surprising turn-offs for home buyers

October 4, 2021 11:00 am by Upside

If you’re planning to sell your house, it goes without saying that you’ll want to maximise its value when it goes to market.

While things like landsize, location, layout and renovations have a big impact on a property’s price, there are also many less-obvious factors that affect a home’s value.

Even if your home looks great on paper, buyers are easily be swayed by what they see on open home day. This means a seemingly minor detail – like an untidy room – could be enough to turn off a prospective buyer altogether.

So, what should you be looking out for? Avoid these five homebuyer turnoffs to appeal to the highest number of buyers and increase your chances of an offer.

1. ‘Out there’ paint colours

When anyone moves to a new home, one of the first things on their to-do list is to make it their own. This often includes adding their own personality through paint.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with slathering a rainbow of colours on your walls – it’s your home, after all! – but when you want to think about how to sell your house, those character hues might put buyers off more than you’d imagine.

As you’re styling your home for sale, consider repainting a few surfaces to appeal to a broader market. This can also give your home a fresh, polished appearance.

RELATED: What are the best paint colours for selling your house?

2. Deceiving photos

We live in an age of clever camera angles, flawless staging, and Photoshop. And of course, every seller wants their home to look its best for buyers.

However, just like a heavily Photoshopped dating profile, deceptive images could be a turn off for buyers. Should they show up expecting a bright gleaming kitchen to find a dark room courtesy of image brightness settings, they may be more disappointed than they would be if they had realistic expectations.

Aim for photos that show your home in the ‘best light’, but make sure they’re realistic, too.

On the flipside, having poor quality photos can be detrimental to selling your property, so it’s a good idea to engage a professional real estate photographer – they’ll know how to make your property look its best without being deceptive.

3. Evidence of pets

Australian’s love animals, but even if potential first home buyers are looking for a pet-friendly property, they may not appreciate a property that currently has a pet.

Some animals can wear down home interiors or even leave lingering smells in soft furnishings, and some owners have fur allergies that would make the move very difficult.

To prepare for open homes and an eventual sale, clean the house from top to bottom, remove any evidence of animals (such as toys and litter trays), and check for damage that you can fix.

RELATED: 6 tips for selling your home with pets

4. Overeager sellers

While you’re making sure there is no evidence of animals in the home during showings, it’s important to make other plans for yourself, as well.

Owners, or even renters, who are home during showings can be off-putting for buyers, making them feel pressured, and not letting them explore or linger as long as they’d like.

At the current time ina a few Australian states, new limits on real estate activities such as open for inspections mean open homes for prospective buyers will now be by private appointment only, with no multiple-buyers attending.

If you are in the process of selling a home that you currently reside in, it is important to stay in contact with your agent to plan for private buyer appointments so you can plan your grocery shops or other essential activities around it. Don't hesitate to get in touch to ask about the COVID-safe measures that agencies have in place at this time.

5. Personal items and clutter

Most homeowners already know that tidying up is one of the top tips for preparing a house for sale, but you should also consider taking it a step further and putting away as many personal items as possible. While you might love your knick-knacks and travel souvenirs, they will likely appear messy to buyers.

Additionally, if a home is filled with family photos, teddy bears, and other personal items, a buyer can feel like they are intruding, and struggle to see themselves living there as it is so clearly someone else’s home.

It’s fine to leave a few things out, but reducing these items can help a buyer see your home as their home.

Other factors that affect home value

The reality is there’s a long list of factors that can impact a property’s value. Potential turnoffs vary from buyer to buyer, so don’t be disheartened if your home doesn’t tick every box for every potential buyer.

With that said, it still pays to know what prospective buyers will be checking for when inspecting your property. Here are some other common turnoffs to watch out for and fix before selling if possible:

  • Evidence of water damage or moisture damage, including a damp basement, bathroom or laundry room
  • Lack of storage, such as no built-in wardrobes or limited pantry space
  • Old carpets or floorboards
  • Bad smells, such as pet odours or musty scents RELATED: How to make your house smell nice before selling it
  • Lack of natural light, or dimly lit rooms
  • Poor kerb appeal, including unkempt gardens, peeling paint and dirty roofing gutters
  • Outdated fixtures, including lights, tapware, door knobs, ranges and fans
  • Temperature that’s too hot or too cold

Looking to sell your home? Look no further than Upside when it comes to expert local advice and selling techniques! Upside also offers a free appraisal of your home, and a flat fee for all property sales, so you know exactly what to expect.


Upside is an Australian-owned, full-service real estate agency with local real estate agents, low fixed fees and zero commission. Our standard is other agents’ ‘extras’, delivering vendors a complete agent managed service including a full appraisal, open home management, copywriting, photography, signage and advertising. It's the way real estate should be.

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