Selling your home? Here's what buyers hate

Clutter, dirt, damp and bad smells: 20 things that could stop someone from buying your home

New research has exposed the 20 biggest turnoffs for potential homebuyers.

The findings, gathered by, gives sellers an insight on what they need to improve upon to shift their home.

The bottom line is that buyers want somewhere that feels like new:

"Our survey suggests that many homebuyers want a home that’s ready to move into and are put off by properties requiring repairs or maintenance work" said Matt Sanders, mortgages spokesman for 

That's hardly surprising, but the research does highlight the areas you should be focusing on if you want to sell your home for a decent price. 

So let's take a look at what household sins buyers hate the most and what you can do about them.

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20. Cluttered rooms (16%)

Buyers don't want to have a hard time stepping over clothes and toys that have been left scattered about. Be sure to put things away- a good place to start is the off-season clothes and shoes which, let's face it, you won't be getting any use out of anyway.

Thinning out piles of books and DVDs will help too.

19. Artex or textured ceilings (18%)

Retro is one thing, but artex and textured ceilings appear to be a major turn-off for buyers.

18. An overgrown garden (19%)

Who knows what could be lurking in the depths of an overgrown garden? Potential buyers probably don't want to find out. Cutting the grass, weeding the flowerbeds, trimming the hedges and removing any litter will make a big difference when it comes to wooing buyers. 

17. An outdated bathroom (25%)

16. An outdated kitchen (25%)

Modernity seems to be key when it comes to selling your home. It's a real shame that the rooms in question are the kitchen and bathroom which, according to GoCompare, are two of the most expensive rooms in a home to update

15. Stone cladding, render of pebble dash on the outside of the property (27%)

Again, it's a bit old-fashioned. 

14. Wooden windows (27%)

Over a quarter don't like wooden windows, possibly because they're harder to maintain.

13. General untidiness and/or dirtiness (28%)

This is a bit of an obvious one. Untidy and unclean home give a bad impression to buyers, suggesting that the house is in poor repair.

12. A small kitchen (40%)

It sounds like there are a fair few keens cooks among us, with 40% of buyers put off by a small kitchen.

11. Bad DIY (43%)

Exposed wires, holes in the wall and chipped paint will send buyers running in the other direction. Fast.

10. An old, inefficient boiler or central heating system (45%)

Buyers want to be confident that the heating system won't let me down during the colder months and that they can save as much money as possible with an energy efficient model. It might be time for an upgrade.

Read How to save money on your new boiler for more.

9. Small, poky rooms (48%)

Obviously not a lot you can do about it, but there's no question that Cramped spaces deter people from buying a house. Have a think about how you can change the layout of your furniture to make a small improvement (though we definitely wouldn't recommend trying the layout pictured below...)

8. Outdated electrics (50%)

Buyers want their appliances to be reliable so old, sparking electricals probably won't fill them with confidence.

7. Poor natural light and/or dark rooms (50%)

If you can't get brighter lightbulbs or lighter blinds, try cleaning the window. It can make a room look a lot more homely.

6. Unfinished building work (55%)

As Matt Sanders said, people like to feel like they're buying a home that's ready to move into, not one which is 'in progress'. It might be pretty hazardous too.

5. No garden (57%)

The only thing worse than an overgrown garden is no garden, with almost 60% calling it a deal-breaker.

4. No parking space (59%)

Even worse if there's nowhere to park their motor.

3. Bad smells including pet smells, damp and cigarettes (61%)

Like clutter and dirt, bad smells can hunder your chances of selling. Before viewers arrive, clear out any ashtrays and make sure any cages or cat litter trays are clean. It's also a good idea to put pets out and clear up any stray hairs in case your potential buyers are allergic.

2. Property being in poor state of repair like rotten windows (65%)

Perhaps this is why people don't like wooden windows - they're prone to rot, which can make them quite the eyesore.

1. Damp patches and/or stains on wall or ceilings (71%)

Suspect stains would stop almost three-quarters of homebuyers purchasing a property.

Damp is a particular area of concern - a musty smell, black mould, stained ceilings or crumbling plasterwork are all warning signs of problems which, depending on the cause, can be expensive to fix, according to GoCompare. Get it sorted before you put your house on the market.

Selling success

So to secure a sale on your home you need to give everything a good clean (including the windows), tidy away the clutter, do any necessary minor repairs, tidy the garden and give worn-out wares a lick of paint.

Previous studies have also shown that baking bread can make a home more inviting for potential buyers as well. Plus, you get a delicious loaf to scoff later.

Already have a home? Get a free, no obligation mortgage quote with loveMONEY

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