Major Turn-Offs for Home Buyers

Even in a “sellers market”, selling a home can often feel as competitive as buying a home. As you likely remember from when you first purchased your home, there is a sense of uncertainty when you place an offer. You knew that others were likely placing offers, and it sometimes felt as though the only thing that would make your offer stand out was a hope and a prayer. Now that you are standing on the other side of this equation, you might think that the insecurity is gone, that you are the one holding all of the cards. While it is true that the market right now is tilted heavily towards those who have the property to sell, it is not the case that your home is guaranteed to attract a buyer in the timeline that you want.

Today, we want to go over some prominent turn-offs for prospective buyers, things that you might not have considered, but that could make or break the sale of your home. Our goal with this is not to engender despair, but rather raise awareness so that you can ensure your soon-to-be-sold home doesn’t linger on the market due to some preventable or treatable issue.

Check The Septic

First up is the septic system. We don’t like to think about it because, well, it’s the septic system. As long as it’s working, right? Unfortunately, there are times when the septic has issues that we are not aware of until it matters. Like when you’re trying to sell the home.

If your home fails the septic inspection (and this inspection is required unless the prospective buyer is offering cash – not a normal scenario), then no bank will offer a loan. No loan, no sale. This is a hard fact, almost as hard as the reality that a new septic system will cost upwards of $20k to fix. However, if you don’t fix a bad septic system, you will lose a lot more than $20k, so it is best to bite that bullet and take care of the problem immediately.

Check The Air Quality

Less severe in certain ways than a bad septic system is the quality of the air in your home. Because you live there, you might not be aware if your home has an odor. If this is the case, ask some trusted friends to swing by and give your their honest opinion. More than one prospective buyer has declined to put an offer on a house simply because the lingering odors within the structure have been more than they can bear.

Fortunately, bad smells (unless they are due to some larger problems) are often easily taken care of by deep cleaning. Yes, we know that this does not sound like a fun way to spend the afternoon, but if it takes a little (or a lot) of elbow grease to make sure the home sells we think that it is definitely worth the extra work.


What did we learn today? That an up-to-date septic system is essential to a home’s ability to sell, and that bad smells are a huge turn-off that are (usually) easy to take care of. Check back soon for more tips, knowledge, and professional advice!