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Homebuyers’ Five Biggest Complaints

Homebuyers have one simple expectation – that when they go out with their agent to shop for a home that the seller is ready for them to buy. 

That means no sticking drawers in the kitchen. No leaning fences. No rust-stained plumbing fixtures. We could go on, but maybe we need to make it clear.  If you have even one of following “turn-offs,” your home won’t sell. 

Buyers can get instantly turned off. Here are their five biggest complaints:  

  1. Overpriced Homes
  2. Smells
  3. Clutter
  4. Deferred maintenance
  5. Dated décor


Overpricing your home

Overpricing your home is like trying to crash the country club without a membership. The ones who belong know that you don’t and you’re going to get some negative feedback. The worst feedback, of course, is silence. That could include no showings and no offers. 

The problem with overpricing your home is that the buyers who are qualified to buy your home won’t see it because they’re shopping in a lower price range. The buyers who do will quickly realize that there are other homes in the same price range that offer more value.


Smells can come from a number of sources – pets, lack of cleanliness, stale air, water damage, cooking, and much more.  You may not even notice it, but there’s not a buyer in the world that will buy a home that smells unless they’re investors looking for a bargain. Even so, they’ll get a forensic inspection to find out the source of the smells. If they find anything like undisclosed water damage, or pet urine under the “new” carpet, then they will either severely discount their offer or walk away. 


If your tables are full to the edges with photos, figurines, mail, and drinking glasses, buyers’ attention is going to be more focused on running the gauntlet of your living room without breaking any Hummel figurines than in considering your home for purchase. 

Clutter and too much furniture confuse the eye, making it really difficult for buyers to see the proportions of rooms and to try to imagine themselves living there. If they can’t see what they need to know, they move on to the next home.  

Deferred maintenance

Deferred maintenance is a polite euphemism for letting your home fall apart. Just like people age due to the effects of the sun, wind and gravity, so do structures like your home.  Things wear out, break and appear rickety. Especially with an older home, it’s your job as the homeowner to keep your home in good repair.  

Your buyers really want a home that’s been well-maintained. They don’t want to wonder what needs to fix or how much repairs will cost. 

Dated décor

The reason people are looking at your home instead of buying brand new is because of cost and location.  They want your neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean they want a time capsule of a home.  Just like they want a home in good repair, they want a home with updates that complement the home’s era and brings it into the modern era. 

Harvest gold and avocado green from the seventies; soft blues and mauves from the eighties, jewel tones from the nineties, and onyx and pewter from the oughts to be all colorways that can date your home.  Textures like popcorn ceilings, shag or berber carpet, and flocked wallpaper are also undesirable.  

When you’re behind the times, buyers don’t want to join you.  And your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional can’t get you the price and terms you want. He or she can work miracles, but only if you follow their advice and get your home up to speed – the speed of today’s market.