Top 10 Ways to Scare a Buyer Away

Whether your home is currently on the market or you are considering selling your home in the not-too-distant future, you need know how to present your property in the best possible light. In order to do so, you want to avoid these top ten ways to scare a buyer away.

#1 Overpricing Your Home

It is important to remember to price your home reasonably at a price comparable to other homes of the same size in your neighborhood. Overpricing your home is a sure way to scare away potential buyers. Most buyers have researched the internet and are aware of the prices of homes similar to yours. If your home is listed for $20k-30k more than other similar homes in your area, the buyer will likely assume your home is overpriced.

#2 Outdated or Poor Photographs or Videos

The internet provides potential buyers instant information about homes listed for sale. Research has shown that over 90% of home buyers begin their search for a new home online. One of the first things a buyer notes is what a property looks like. Make sure the pictures and videos of your property present your home as attractive and inviting. Also, make sure photographs are not out of date. If it is early summer and the posted picture shows your home snow-covered, the potential buyer will assume your property has been on the market for a while and will wonder why it has not sold yet.

#3 Poor Curb Appeal

When a potential buyer drives up to your house, the first impression they get is extremely important. Poor curb appeal – overgrown plants, dirty side-walks and driveways, and dead plants – convey an impression of poor maintenance. Make sure the exterior of your home is clean, neat, and inviting. Taking time to plant some colorful annuals and decking the porch with flower-filled pots can tell potential buyers you love and care for your home.

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It is important for a home to have great curb appeal. A nice, manicured yard is a great start!

#4 Cluttered Spaces

The first thing a real estate professional will tell you when they list your home is to remove all clutter. You are going to be moving soon, so go through your home packing up what you can do without and getting rid of anything you do not want to take with you. Rooms look larger with fewer pieces of furniture, so consider selling or storing any large furniture you do not have use. Clean out closets and cupboards so that they are not packed with belongings. Most buyers are looking for a home to provide them more living space and have trouble envisioning themselves and their belongings in a home filled with clutter.

#5 Over-Personalized or Outdated Décor

After you list your home, walk through and ask yourself if there are items you love that would not appeal to the majority of home buyers. Remove personal items from the walls and furniture surfaces. A simple way to depersonalize your home is to paint the walls in neutral colors such as white, cream, or a light gray. Remember that you are trying to create a home in which your potential buyer can envision themselves living. Additionally, replace some outdated home features such as:

  • Light fixtures
  • Wallpaper
  • Loud or overly bright wall colors


Neutral decor is appealing to most buyers looking to purchase a home.  Steer clear of taste specific decor.

#5 Dirt, Grime, and Mold

Your listed home needs to be impeccably clean. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company. The most important rooms are the bathrooms and the kitchen, especially countertops, showers, toilets, and sinks. You want to create an impression of consistent care for your home.

If your house is older, has a damp basement, or you live in an area with a great deal of rain, make sure you have a mold inspection prior to listing your property. Mold will definitely scare away potential buyers due to health concerns associated with some types of mold.

#6 Bad Odors

Your home needs to not only look inviting, but smell inviting. If your home has an odor, you may not realize it, as you live with it daily. Ask a friend, family member, or your real estate agent to tell you how your home smells. Potpourri or scented candles both freshen the air. While your house is listed, be aware of what you cook as some foods scent the air long after preparation; the smell of onions or fried food can turn off potential buyers.

#7 Pets

No matter how loving your pet is with your family, they can be unpredictable with strangers. Make sure they are not in the home when potential buyers visit. Additionally, clean up all signs of pets – their hair, food and water dishes, cages, and litter boxes. Many home buyers are scared of or allergic to pets. See if a friend or family member can take care of your pets for you while your home is on the market.

#8 Poor or Non-Functional Major Home Components

Major home components include the roof, furnace, air conditioning, windows, and electrical system. These require large amounts of money to replace or repair, so if one or more of these components appears old or worn, or is non-functioning, buyers can quickly be scared away from purchasing your home. Check all your major home components and make sure they are working correctly prior to listing your property. Consider professional inspections and repair if necessary.

#9 Misrepresenting Your Home

Make sure all the listing information is correct and accurate. Be honest about the age and condition of all aspects of your home. If you are not completely honest with your potential buyer, ultimately you will lose their interest.

#10 Being Present at a Showing

Do not be surprised if your real estate agent asks you to leave when they are showing your house to potential buyers. Your presence can scare buyers away for a number of reasons:

  • Buyers may be afraid to ask questions if the seller is present.
  • Buyers may want to browse through a home without feeling as if they are being followed.
  • You may inadvertently provide too much information for the potential buyer.

Your presence when buyers are viewing your house can certainly scare potential buyers away.

Your real estate agent wants to find a buyer for your house. You can help by making sure you are not guilty of having one of these top ten ways to scare a buyer away sabotage their efforts. Of course, a seasoned agent will make sure to give you this information prior to your home going on the market.  Looking for a seasoned agent?  Let us know, we would love to let our agents help you sell your home.

Pre-approval:An assessment given by the lender that investigates the borrower

Mortgage:A contract that represents the debt owed by the borrower to the lender for the money borrowed to purchase a property.

majority:The age of which a person transitions from a minor to an age where he can represent himself and handle his own affairs.

listing:A formal written contract that allows an agent to represent a party in the selling, leasing, or buying of a property.

buyer:An economic downturn when buyers have the advantage.

buyer:A temporary agreement where the buyer will reside in the property before closing.

buyer:the agent that represents and guides the best wishes of the buyer in a business transaction, as either an individual agent or as a broker

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