We Asked Real Estate Agents: What Are Buyer’s Biggest Design Turn-Offs?

The process of selling a home can feel like navigating the unknown, especially for those who have never been through it before. There are so many questions to consider: How is your home perceived by others? What can you do to get the highest sale price? Which upgrades were worth the cost? With these concerns in mind, we decided to call in the experts. We asked real estate agents to share some of their buyers’ biggest turn-offs. Read on to learn what these issues are — and how to fix them. With this advice, you can rest assured your home will show at its very best.

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Neutral interiors

Try to keep interiors neutral when selling.

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1. Unconventional or outdated design

“In an ideal world, buyers would be able to see past outdated home decor, or bold paint colors, however, many times that’s not the case. I have shown properties that seem to be a perfect fit for a buyer’s needs but they can’t see past the dark green paint in the living room.” — Chris Taylor, with Advantage Real Estate in Boston, MA. One of the hardest realizations sellers have to come to terms with is that, once their home hits the market, its interior design is no longer about reflecting personal style. It’s about helping your home appeal to the largest possible pool of buyers. If getting an offer is your goal, your best bet is keep your interiors neutral and modern. This isn’t as big of an undertaking as you’d think. A fresh coat of paint — in a neutral shade — can totally transform your interiors with relatively little effort on your part. That, coupled with the addition of a few modern accessories, will liven up your interiors.
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Natural light.

Natural light is a big plus.

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2. Not enough natural light

“Lately, I’ve found that the lack of natural light is particularly unappealing to buyers. Sellers should be careful with overhangs, overgrown trees and outdoor features like shaded loggias because they block a lot of sunlight to the interior rooms.” — Joy Bender, of Aumann Bender & Associates with Pacific Sotheby’s in San Diego, CA. In this case, you need to work around the confines of the natural light your home receives. There are still a few tricks you can use to highlight the light available to you. As mentioned above, you want to take stock of your home’s exterior before accepting any showings. Take care of any necessary home maintenance tasks and, if possible, hire a landscaper to spruce up outdoor areas. Additionally, make a point to open all your draperies before buyers come through the house. This will ensure your home feels light, bright and airy.
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Stair storage

Make sure there’s plenty of storage.

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3. Lack of storage solutions

“Some buyers will open every closet door and every drawer. Most are looking for more space, and if your home’s storage spaces are full to bursting, it can be a big turn-off. Our professional stager encourages buyers to make sure there’s empty space in every storage option.” — John Totin, of The Totin Group with Keller Williams Legacy in San Antonio, Texas. The first step to maximizing storage is to declutter. (If you need an incentive, taking care of this chore now may make your move easier down the road.) Once you’ve pared down to the essentials, it’s all about how they’re stored. If your current storage solutions are a little too full, invest in a few more — aesthetically pleasing — storage options. Then, when it’s time for a showing, use that storage to make sure all of your day-to-day clutter gets hidden away.
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Remodels should be left to the pros.

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4. Hastily done upgrades

“I have worked with hundred of buyers, and I can tell you that bad remodels are a major turn off. Buyers would rather have it be original and redesign it themselves or have a pro do it. Cheap cabinets and flooring, plus low-end appliances and finishes are just something they are going to have to remove and that cost more than starting from scratch.” — Paul G. Lykins, with True Floridian Realty in Delray Beach, FL. This one is a hard one. Yes, it’s true that when remodels are done right they can bring you a return on your investment — and then some. However, this tip proves that sometimes they can be more trouble than they’re worth. The only way to tell which camp your remodel will fall into is to be really honest with yourself about your abilities. Do you have the skills and/or resources needed to do a remodel the right way? If not, it may be better to leave the project untouched.
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design tips

Keep these tips in mind when selling.

Shop a similar look: Wall Light | Dining Chairs | Throw Pillows Those about to sell their homes often come to the table with a lot of questions — and rightly so. The idea of trying to anticipate what buyers want can be daunting. In an effort to take away some of the guesswork, we had real estate agents get real about some of their buyers’ biggest turn-offs. Use our suggestions to fix any issues your home may have before your home hits the market and you’ll know you’re putting your best foot forward.