It doesn’t take much for potential home buyers to walk into a home or even drive by a house and be completely turned off from buying it. These turnoffs could mean you don’t get top dollar – or you actually miss out on people noticing the amazing things about your home. Here are the top turnoffs for buyers, and what you can do about them before putting your house on the market:


House odors are the number one turn off for home seekers, specifically odors from cigarette smoke, trash, pets and mildew. Be sure to get an opinion from someone who does not live in your home (you may be used to and not realize it) and if they feel you have an odor, be sure to get rid of the smell.


You’ll have a much better response from showings if you control your pets as they often frighten people. Asking a potential home buyer to not go into a room because an animal is locked in there also raises a red flag as it does not allow that person to see or inspect that part of the home. Remove pets during showings.

Dirty Bathrooms

Grimy bathrooms are an instant turnoff. Scrub them, paint them, and buy a new shower curtain, rugs and towels.

Dimly Lit Rooms

Dark homes are a turn off to most home buyers, especially in Seattle-area. Here are some potential fixes: replace dim light fixtures, install additional light fixtures, install (quality) sun tunnels or skylights, remove heavy drapes to let the light stream, etc.

Busy Wallpaper

This is another critical issue to think about if you’re selling a home, because busy wallpaper in every room turns off most buyers. Even people who love wallpaper rarely like what you’ve chosen. It’s a personal decorative touch that they want to select themselves. Your home should appeal to the masses. Decide if it should be removed and replaced with paint.

Damp Basements

Dampness (or damp smells) in the basement throw up a red flag to buyers. Fix the leaks. No leaks? Look for drainage issues. Maybe water is pooling around the foundation, keeping it damp. Most problems we see are caused by rainwater that’s being diverted towards the foundation instead of away from it.


Roaches, spiders, any type of insect that shouldn’t be in the house. Many adults are afraid of bugs, get rid of them!

Poor Curb Appeal

You must grab their interest from the curb if you want to sell the home for top dollar. Buyers often refuse to go into a house with an unkempt yard, sagging doors or peeling paint.

Gutters & Roof

Overrun gutters and moss on the roof makes buyers wonder what else hasn’t been handled.


Buyers want to see your house, not clutter. This is the hardest thing for most sellers to do because they are emotionally attached to everything in the house. After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it. Clutter collects on shelves, counter tops, drawers, closets, garages, attics, and basements.

Dirty Windows

Cleaning the windows can make a big difference; have the windows professionally cleaned inside and out.