Last Updated on September 2, 2022
Real estate agents know what buyers want.
Just think about it, they’ve walked hundreds–if not thousands–of potential buyers through home after home. They’re quick to pin point the exact moment a buyer may become disillusioned with a home and they know exactly what home features help win a buyer over.
For the most part, homes that are reasonably updated, appropriately priced and in a good location will sell quickly–but what about the homes that sit stagnant on the market?
Most real estate pros can agree– if a home has a glaring flaw it’s likely to sit on the market for a while.
Getting ready to list your home for sale? Then you’ll want to pay attention to the five most common real estate deal-breakers.
Deal breaker #1: Bad roof
Roofs are expensive and no buyer wants to move into a home only to turn around and spend thousands on a new roof. The most common roof seen on homes is an asphalt shingle roof, which can run homeowners upwards of $3-$4.25 a square foot, and typically last about 30 years.
If your roof is well past its prime or already showing signs of serious wear, either consider replacing your roof or lowering your asking price to reflect the investment buyers will have to make.
Deal breaker #2: A dark, dated kitchen
You’ve likely heard it before, and based on buyers’ preferences these days, it’s not likely to change any time soon: kitchens sell homes.
If your kitchen is dark and significantly dated it could be a deal breaker for some buyers. If you have concerns about your kitchen affecting your home’s value, talk to your Realtor first. If you price your home accordingly, some buyers might be delighted to make the kitchen their own if they feel like they’re getting a good value for your home.
On the other hand, homeowners not up for a major renovation might walk out the door when they notice the state of your kitchen. If your Realtor agrees, it might be time to set aside some funds and sweat equity to bring your kitchen up-to-date. You’d be surprised how painting old cabinets, adding a simple backsplash and replacing old countertops with inexpensive materials all work together to help buyers see the potential in a tired, old space.
Deal breaker #3: Pest issues
Got mice, roaches or even ants? It only takes one dead roach in the corner to give buyers a sinking feeling– so make sure you call in pest control well before you put your home on the market.
If your pest issues are far worse than the occasional roach, like say, termites, you’ve really got your work cut out for you. Fix the problem by calling in the experts to get rid of the termites and then have someone come out to inspect and fix any structural damage. Trust us, you don’t want a home inspector calling out termite damage on an inspection report.
Deal breaker #4: Unappealing listing photos
Dark, grainy photos with un-staged rooms just aren’t going to cut it these days. Even if your home falls right in line with a buyer’s budget, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get them to tour your home in person if your listing photos are just plain awful.
Don’t skimp on professional photography–there’s a huge difference between low-quality phone pictures and high-quality professional snapshots with ample lighting and correct angles. Going the DIY route with your photography might save you some money on the front end, but bear in mind, you’ll lose on the back end.
Deal breaker #5: Moisture in the basement/crawlspace
Buyers really don’t like finding out about moisture in the basement, as typically, moisture is a breeding ground for mold. But unless you smell mold or mildew rising up from the basement, it can be difficult to identify a moisture-ridden basement. It’s worth examining your basement or crawlspace for any signs of moisture before you list.
Honorable mention: TV in the wrong place
Would you believe that placing your TV in a bad spot could turn off potential buyers? Believe it!
While not typically a true deal-breaker, real estate experts have seen many would be buyers struggle to accept a home that had the tv in the wrong spot.
The lesson from this almost deal breaker is to make sure your home is staged well. It’s worth having an unbiased friend and a Realtor give you some serious feedback about your home’s layout to ensure it flows and works well for the average buyer.
Get ahead of deal breakers by scheduling a pre-listing inspection
Be proactive and schedule a pre-listing inspection to identify and fix any trouble zones before you list. Typically costing homeowners between $200-$500, many sellers find this to be money well spent.
Keep reading: Does your home have what buyers want?