Avoid These Big Turnoffs for Potential Home Buyers
April 29, 2022

Avoid These Big Turnoffs for Potential Home Buyers

It’s no secret that when it comes to real estate in the Sacramento area, it’s a seller’s market. From Folsom to West Sacramento, Roseville to Davis and everywhere in between, countless buyers are looking to put down roots, meaning the market remains competitive just about everywhere. Sellers typically have multiple offers on their homes, and oftentimes those offers are above list price.

That said, there are still steps sellers should take to ensure they get top dollar when putting their home on the market. The first step in the home selling process is getting your home into shape by making small repairs and conducting a thorough cleaning. While that’s a good start, it’s also a good idea to consider the factors that can be detrimental to potential offers. Following are some of the biggest turnoffs for home buyers.


Your Relatives

That is, photos of your relatives! Potential buyers need to imagine themselves living in the home, which is impossible to do with someone else’s family photos staring down at them. As much as you love the old black-and-white photos of your great aunt and the adorable newborn baby pics, buyers will not. It’s a good idea to store them until moving day.


Kid’s Art

Buyers aren’t as impressed with your children’s ceramic handprints and macaroni necklaces as you are. Similar to family photos, artwork and report cards on the refrigerator and handmade cards on the mantel can prevent buyers from envisioning the space as their own.


Paperwork & Clutter

Sure, selling and buying a home involves a lot of paperwork. As does adulting in general. And paperwork and other random junk lead to clutter. But no buyer wants to see it piled up in the corners or and on every surface. Mail, bills, magazines, bank statements, homework, catalogues, newspapers (the old-fashioned kind), keepsakes — whatever it is, keep it out of sight while your home is on the market. Not only does it make your house look messy, it signals that the home lacks storage.


Last Night’s Dinner

You may still be beaming with pride over the exquisite meal you prepared for your family last night, but that doesn’t mean visitors will enjoy its lingering odors the following day. This is especially true of particularly “fragrant” meals such as fish or deep-fried food. Open a window, turn on the exhaust fan and air out your home — or order takeout the night before a showing or open house.


Your Best Friend

No matter how adorable, how snuggly, how cute and cuddly, not everyone is going to love your pet. In the same vein as last night’s dinner are the smells your pets leave behind (and carries with them!). Dog or cat, guinea pig or hermit crab, pet smells can be a huge turnoff for potential buyers. Sellers are advised to wash all pet bedding, cages and enclosures and to hide toys and other accessories before visitors arrive. And of course, clean up any pet messes inside and out.


Shag Carpet

Photo courtesy woodleywonderworks via Flickr

Or wood paneling. Or plaid. Or golden oak furniture. Although we all have our personal tastes, outdated design trends are likely to turn off potential buyers. If you haven’t updated the look of your home in decades, it may suggest you haven’t kept up with other parts of your home. Plus, it puts into question the overall upkeep and cleanliness of your home.


Your Favorite Color

Sure, you might love bubblegum pink. You might love it so much you painted your entire home in it. But the majority of home buyers will not share your affection for it. The same goes for outdated faux finishes (think antique-look walls or sponge painting). Similarly, if you’ve got an accent wall, stenciled wall, vinyl wall decals, or motivational quotes (think “Live, Laugh, Love”), it’s best to paint over them.



No offense, but the last thing a potential buyer wants to see is the current homeowner. You may be the nicest person in the world, but hovering over buyers during showings and open houses is a big no-no. It makes the buyer uncomfortable, and they may not want to ask questions or stay as long as they would otherwise like. So, pack up the kids and the pets and make yourself scarce.


Category Home Inspiration, Real Estate

Elizabeth Penney

Elizabeth Penney is a content writer for Lyon Real Estate and the Lyon Local blog. A Sacramento native with a marketing background, she shares her insider knowledge on restaurants, attractions and outdoor activities throughout the greater Sacramento area and beyond.