Buy Alexandria Real Estate: 5 Surefire Ways to Turn Off a Buyer

Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Blog

5 Surefire Ways to Turn Off a Buyer

Remember when you prepared to go out on a first date?  You made darn sure your clothes were ironed, your shoes polished, your teeth brushed and flossed (maybe twice), and perhaps you dabbed on a bit of cologne or perfume.  In the middle of dinner, you might have even snuck into the bathroom for a spray of Binaca (do they still sell that?)

All of this was done in an attempt to impress your date, or at the very least to not turn them off.  First impressions matter.

They matter when you are selling your home too.  Not everyone owns the most beautiful move-in ready home with granite counters, stainless steel appliances, a perfect paintjob, and clean, stain-free carpets.  So, while you may not be able to sweep every potential buyer off their feet, at a minimum, you can most certainly avoid the following



REALTOR-Eating DogFerocious Dogs:  Nothing against pets.  To many people, their dogs and cats are a part of the family.  However, when you're trying to sell your home, Mr. Pit Bull or Mr. Rottweiler may make potential buyers skip your home.  There have been times that I've been with clients who wouldn't even allow me to open the door when they heard loud barking inside.

When you are selling your home, it's often best to take the pets with you while your your home is being shown, leave the animals with friends or family while your home is on the market, or put Fido in a cage in the basement.




Ugly CouchOutdated furniture and decorations:  You may love the flowery wallpaper and pink carpeting, but it's unlikely that the new buyer of your home will.  Most buyers understand that they'll redecorate after they buy your home, but strange colors and ugly appliances or furniture and bizarre wallhangings can certainly be a turnoff.  Rooms overstuffed with clutter can also make it hard for a buyer to imagine the home without "all the stuff"

You may consider some quick, simple and inexpensive fixes such as repainted with neutral colors, storing excess clutter in a garage or storage facility.  Another option is to hire a professional stager to really make your home shine.




Smelly!:  There's a reason you put on cologne or perfume before that first date.  Our sense of smell is very strong.  Can you imagine walking into a beautiful home only to turn around after catching the first whiff?  Pet odors, mildew, strong cooking smells, cigarette smoke can be the strongest odor offenders. 

Take some time to thoroughly clean your home.  Air fresheners can help but don't fully cover up these    scents.  Additionally, overdoing the air fresheners can make potential buyers suspicious of lingering    odors.





Let There Be Light!Darkness:  Darkness was one of the Ten Plagues that were inflicted upon the Egyptians in the Bible.  Don't plague your home sale -- "Let There Be Light!"  Dimly lit rooms appear gloomy.  Buyers are attracted to homes and rooms with lots of natural light.  Darkness may work for haunted houses, but it doens't work to help sell your house.

Make sure you replace or repair lights that don't work, keep the shades up, and clean the windows to let in the maximum amount of light into your home.




Wet BasementWet Basements:  In Florida, there's no such thing as a basement -- it's called a pool!  In Virginia and D.C., many, if not most, homes have basements.  Signs of current or past water damage are a certain turnoff for homebuyers.  I've had some clients who only want to view homes after a big rainstorm to make sure that the basements do not get wet.

If you get water in your basement, get your foundation inspected for damage.  You may also need to install a dehumidifier or sump pump.




If a homebuyer is going to make it past the first date and enter into a relationship with your home, you've got to make sure that your home makes a good first impression and doesn't turn them off.


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Comment balloon 93 commentsBrian Block • October 13 2008 09:58PM


I will NOT show a home with a loose dog inside.  There isn't enough insurance to cover me if anyone, especially a child is bitten. 


Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Brian ... good photo's to illustrate some simple things seller's can do to help SELL the home!

Posted by Pippa Mac, The Woodlands TX Real Estate (Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) almost 10 years ago

Brian, that couch reminds me of some neighbors (college kids) that installed a orange couch out back next to the creek. It didn't last long. The creek flooded and the city fined them like it was garbage. Good thing I wasn't trying to sell my house! I bet it was heavier to move as it was wet.

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty,Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes - (Lizette Realty - Lexington KY - Richmond KY) almost 10 years ago

Yep!  You pretty much nailed the Big 5 in my book! 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Hi Brian, What a great post!  You have probably hit 4 of my pet peeves while looking at homes (we don't have basements here in Florida).  Excellent points and keep up the great job!

Posted by Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Brian, well done.  You talked about the buyers that would not go in the house with the barking dog.  A Realtor brought a buyer once to one of my listings and the buyer noticed that one of the shutters on the front was about half fallen.  The buyer said, 'nevermind' and would not go in the house, saying that was just an indication of 'how they kept up the house.'  The Realtor was nice enough to call with this feedback so we got that fixed (the absolute only thing that was wrong). 

Posted by Charlie Harden almost 10 years ago

Brian, these are pretty compelling photos and certainly bring the point home. It is so well written that I am going to reblog it to my local area and praise you as the awesome Realtor you are!

Posted by Jeanean Gendron, Specializing in Selling Unique Properties (The Address Realty) almost 10 years ago

All excellent tips!  I wish more sellers read this, it would help them a lot.

Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) almost 10 years ago

I love the picture of the little puppy. On a side note i like the tips things we do no think of

Posted by SacramentoCommercialLoans Bank Turn downs welcomed, Quick closings 916-847-7212 (Sacramento commercial loans) almost 10 years ago

Wonderful buyer tips and I loved the pictures. I have seen buyers walk away from homes for all these reasons. A little story, the one that really got me once was a big dog barking, showing his teeth and snarling at the front door and the listing agent had told me, "don't worry he is a sweet dog." when I had made the appointment. We did not even open the door! My clients bought a house that day, how sad they didn't even see the one with the dog. I really thought that was probably the best house and have all ideas that that would have been the house they would have chosen - but we couldn't get past the dog.

Posted by Linda Breeding (Keller Williams Realty ) almost 10 years ago

Brian,  I just made this comment on Lizette re-blog:  You made your points so clear and your graphic gave a good picture...dogs, smells, old furniture, darkness and a wet basement..all turn offs to the precious few buyers that are out there today.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) almost 10 years ago

Brian I have to tell you that I still think your are the master of conveying a great message with a blend of excellent pictures and descriptions. My hat goes off to you. Very very accurate!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

What a nice way to let Sellers know their home stinks! Perfect... And what great illustrations with the photos! I enjoyed this post. Thank you!

Posted by Mara Hawks, Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL (First Realty Auburn ) almost 10 years ago

Good Morning Brian!  The points you have covered really do have such an impact on whether a home will sell or not.  Smells alone are a leathal weapon.  There have been times when I've stood at the door with my clients and all I can think is, "Oh my goodness, what is that smell".  I'm ready to run for the hills before the door even opens and the second my clients smell it, they too are running.  Have a wonderful week!

Posted by Julie Neerings~Lifting Hearts ♥ Building Dreams~ (Agent Referral) almost 10 years ago


Nice explanation laid out in an easy to understand way and well deserving of the star!!! Thanks,   Fran

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Ive got  smoker house right now. They sat they have stopped smoking in the house but it is a hard smell to remove.

Posted by Mike Russell, Overland Park Kansas Real Estate (Mike Russell & Associates) almost 10 years ago

Brian- Great post and pics. We have all had our fair share of them for sure.

Posted by Martha Brown, Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403) almost 10 years ago

Brian~ I  don't see one thing wrong with that sofa you have pictured! LOL!  Your photos really get your points across loud and clear!  I won't show a house if a dog is in side.  I have had clients that wouldn't  even look at a house because they saw a cat on the window sill of a house!

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) almost 10 years ago

Great post -- Even though I am a doggie lover, it is challenging to show a home with a dog running around.  Even if they are the nicest dog ever, they do distract other dog loving home buyers from actually looking at the home.  Smells are also a deal breaker for 99.9% of home buyers.

Posted by Kerry Lucasse, Your Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant (eXp Realty - Nest Atlanta Team) almost 10 years ago

Nicely done!  I think the odors are a big problem for a lot of buyers -- pets or otherwise. 

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 10 years ago

I think the dog and the wet basement would've definitely turned me off ...

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) almost 10 years ago

Love the post...sent you an email my friend...

The only thing missing is that...cigar/cigarette smell...when they say they don't smoke...I went into one recently with little tea candles the time we got there...they were about out...I put them out so the home did not ignite...

I mean really, do you people not know that we know you smoke?  The wall's are yellow...the smell it extreme to those of us that don' don't smell it b/c it's au naturale to you...sorry, candles won't help...and don't burn your house down to try and hide it...really, it doesn't work.

Posted by Karen Monsour, REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert! (Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach) almost 10 years ago


All of my sellers have all of the above! Just kidding.  but boy how we have to work them and educate them to make sure they truly understand how critical these issues are in a buyers market!

Posted by Tracy Santrock, Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge (Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. ) almost 10 years ago

Brian - Great job!  This is an excellent list for home sellers who actually want to sell their property.  Thankfully, we don't have to deal with the possibility of wet basements here, since basements don't exist. 

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Brian - My previous broker before I became a broker myself always told me not to wear any perfume and I have remembered that!   Many people are allergic so I never wear it!

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) almost 10 years ago

Brian this is excellent and I do hope many sellers will read this list so they know how to present their property to get it sold.  From personal experience the dog is what got me - I went to see a property last year and 3 dogs came running at me and my agent - lets just say I called the tour off and bought the house across the street which I absolutely love and know I made the right decision.  Best of luck to you! ~ Anne Marie

Posted by Anne Marie Malf, Real Estate Marketing Consultant/Virtual Asst, Bucks County,PA (Malfi Marketing Solutions ~ for real estate professionals) almost 10 years ago

Great post - now let's see if anyone will listen!

Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) almost 10 years ago

This post is a winner, Brian, and I may have to invite you back to Crofton as a guest blogger with this.

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

The pet thing is huge I couldn't agree more.  Get rid of the pet or any traces of it during showings, it can be a huge turnoff for buyers.

Posted by Tatyana Sturm, Denver Realtor, GRI, Denver/ Aurora CO Relocation (Exit Realty DTC) almost 10 years ago

Brian... makes great sence and it was very well laid out. People need to make the basics are done, prior to showing their home. Nice job and overall, some great points.

jeff belonger

Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) almost 10 years ago

Brian, nicely done. Love the photos to help get the points across.

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) almost 10 years ago

Another big one is dirty dishes.  I heard one agent that showed a house that underwear spinning from the ceiling fan.  Well, maybe that last one is an urban legend.

Posted by Brenda Harmon (Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas) almost 10 years ago

Great article Brian, thanks!

Posted by DJ Swanepoel (Real Estate Wiki) almost 10 years ago

AWESOME POST! I just don't think sellers realize that you can turn off any buyer in less than 4 seconds of walking into a home. I think your post should really hit home with them!

Todd Clark, Helping Families Home -

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) almost 10 years ago

Excellent post! I too have gotten the "dogs are inside but friendly, go and show!" only to be snarled so viciously that we couldn't enter the home, not that I would have let anyone in anyway! And even if they are nice puppies, the buyers hear that there's a dog inside and are mentally racking up damage (oh, a dog, that means new carpet, scratched doors and window sills, repair for doggie door, etc)

Oh and Brenda - I have indeed shown a house where a thong was hanging precariously atop a lamp near the bed.....

Posted by Joel Weihe, Helping you to use your VA home loan benefits (Realty World Alliance) almost 10 years ago

Great advice for all potential sellers. We only get one change at a first impression and need to make the most of it.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) almost 10 years ago

Great advice. Thanks Brian.

Posted by Pete Peterson almost 10 years ago

Brian- What a testiment to how well received your post is, at this time of this comment you have had 4 people reblog this post! That is great!

Dogs turn me off the most. Can't stand the  smell either.

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) almost 10 years ago

Those are the big ones!

Posted by Jean Groesbeck, Broker, CRS, e-PRO, ABR, ASP, CNE, IMS (Coldwell Banker Bain) almost 10 years ago

Amazing, that these are very simple fixes, yet some home sellers just don't get it!

"Professionally Bringing Home Buyers & Sellers Together"

Livingston County MI Homes Rocks!


Posted by Marvelous Mary Novak, CDPE Sells MI Real Estate (REMAX Platinum) almost 10 years ago

Excellent post Brian! Well said!  Dogs are a big thing for me.  I tried to show a home a few days ago and the owners dog was in the window barking and jumping.  You would think the owners would contain their pet when they know their home is going to be shown.

Posted by Eunice Waller, Working Together, We Can Do Great Things (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Simpson Realtors) almost 10 years ago

Great post Brian, very easy steps for sellers to follow.


Posted by Joseph D. Federico, Eastern Massachusetts Real Estate (Donahue Real Estate Co.) almost 10 years ago

Brian, I have encounter all these situation and more except for the basement issue. Were in Southeast LA.

Posted by Frank Rubi, (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Brian, ditto what Lenn said. Once I showed a home where I was told there was a "friendly" dog loose. The "friendly" dog followed my buyer around the house with his ears pinned back the entire time. That was the LAST time I ever showed a house with a loose dog. Don't care what size they are - and it's really better as you said if they are gone completely.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) almost 10 years ago

Brian- I agree with you 100% (I think I looked at the house that had that red couch in it:)

I appreciate you.

Bobby Wallace

Posted by Bobby Wallace, Sell Your Vacant Land The Hassle Free Way! (Vacant Land Solutions) almost 10 years ago

Brian, Great points that sellers need to adhere to!  I especially liked the tip on not overdoing the air freshener.  I walked into one of my own listings this weekend and thought I would pass out from the "vanilla" glade plug ins they had...5 in all I found.  (They didn't have an odor problem, they just assumed people would love it).  They don't have any vanilla smell now, lol.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden, Huntsville AL MLS (Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)) almost 10 years ago


Stink and clutter comes to my mind....also sometimes poor taste in decorating doesn't help but you have to tell the buyer that they could change that if it isn't too costly.

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

Brian interesting points, especially smell, loose dog and bad decoration as they are really deal killers. At least in a dark place, while not great, the buyers might not run away immediately.

Posted by Michael Sahlman, e-PRO - Miami Beach Florida Luxury Homes ( - Keller Williams Realty) almost 10 years ago

Love the pictures to illustrate your points Brian - just need to add the shag carpet and the harvest gold appliances :-)

Posted by Judy Peterson, "Superb Service, Superb Results" (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox&Roach Realtors ) almost 10 years ago

Is that sofa for sell I got a lake house with gold carpet the people just had installed. Great sugggestions but price I would think is still king.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) almost 10 years ago

  Love your pictures....there is that great thing about sensory adaptation....the people who live there have no idea about the  dog....musty...smokey....spicey....smell.....and they think it must be YOU !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 10 years ago

We have used Ozone machines to get rid of such smells and have been effective in 99% of the cases.

Posted by Donald Urschalitz, P.A. Realtor ABR RSPS North Palm Beach County (One World Realty Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Brian,  This is good information.  I think the worst thing I see is over flowery room deodorizers. What are they trying to cover up?  Dead bodies under the house?  I now work with a stager who will really be brutal about the things the seller needs to do before putting it on the market.  Many of my sellers have enough stuff in there house to furnish two.  Get rid of clutter is also a number 1.

Posted by Marian Goetzinger, Crystal Coast Real Estate NC (Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000) almost 10 years ago

Brian, As I'm heading out on a listing appointment this morning what  great timing for me to read your post. I placed a copy in my list kit.  

Posted by Cat Zwicker, CRS, Down to Earth Service; Out of this World Results! (Desert Sky Real Estate, LLC) almost 10 years ago

The dog issue is huge.........I once had a seller with a Great Dane.....I swear it was bigger than the house that we never got sold.

Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) almost 10 years ago


Frist of all, great name. All of these are dead on!  Love the pictures, especially the dog.  I have been completely stunned by peoples fear of dogs and even cats. I believe it has been statistically proven (am I saying that right/)  that pets lower showings.  I know with pets, its not just fear, but smell as well.  I may be reblogging this for local Blog.  Thanks.

Posted by Brien Berard, Maryland Real Estate Agents - Laurel Real Estate (Remax Professionals Laurel MD) almost 10 years ago

Hey Brian I think you may have garnered the coveted star from my reblog? Saw one of the guys checking out my/your post last night via the "spy tool" my blog log - LOL

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Brian - I love this post & Congratulations on your feature... This might actually be my first RE-Blog... I think I'm ready to take the plunge. 

I skipped a house after letting the buyers know that there was a Pitbull "old and friendly" unsecured in a house.  NO THANK YOU was their response.

Posted by Debbie Summers (Charles Rutenberg Realty ) almost 10 years ago

I'm always amazed that sellers don't get this concept. If they watch TV at all, they have probably heard something about preparing their homes for sale. If they truly live in a bubble, we tell them or we have a stager tell them what they need to do. But still, many don't properly prepare their homes for sale. It defies logic!

Posted by Kelly Sibilsky (Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD.) almost 10 years ago

I remind sellers that they're also buyers.  And, as buyers, what they don't like about someone else's home, someone else might not like about their home (pets, paint, and potpourri).  I always offer to take sellers to see the competition, then they can see first hand what else is on the market and what they face and how their home stacks up to others on the market.  They don't always want to do it, but, when they do, they often have a better understanding of where their home fits into the market based on price, condition and location.  This is especially important when the home is located in a subdivision with many similiarly priced properties (condos and townhomes come to mind), but, it also works with single family homes.  It's always easier to address matters of price and condition after looking at the competition.  Thanks for some great reminders about what to do and what not to do.

Posted by Stephen Howell, Annapolis MD Homes For Sale 443-994-8043 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 10 years ago

Very good points because the buyer is going to loose confidence is us as agents if we waste their time with homes like these.  I suppose the best way to prevent this situation is to preview the homes before taking the buyer to them.

Posted by Jared Wangsgard almost 10 years ago

The only pet situation that makes me uncomfortable is "the friendly dog". If I knock and the dog barks that usually does not bother me, but those quiet ones, BEWARE!

Posted by Frank & Jodi Orlando (Frank & Jodi Orlando Get Us A Home Realty Atlanta Homes Sale) almost 10 years ago

Brian: ALL GREAT POINTS. Love the pic's! LOL   That dog looks like he's gnawed on a few legs!   Smelly homes is another great point: Sometimes clients walk in a smoky or pet pee place and turn right around and walk out. 


Posted by Kat DeLong, Realtor DRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate ( (Wheeler Steffen Sotheby's Int. Realty) almost 10 years ago

Great post and excellent points.  If the dog is not caged or outside, I won't take my clients inside!  The wet basement issue is huge in our area, and the fixes for it are not cheap.  Its best to find and fix it before you sell.  Just because you disclaim doesn't mean you can't get sued.

Posted by Ray Nelson (Exit Realty Expertise) almost 10 years ago

As far as light goes, a class thought me to always attempt to have 3 light sources per room.  It makes it feel warmer.

Posted by Barb Overmann (Keller Williams Realty) almost 10 years ago

GREAT LIST of DON'TS for Sellers! These are the ones that really cause the buyer to say "NEXT"!!! GBU!

Posted by Elizabeth Nieves, Bilingual Raleigh - Durham North Carolina Real Estate Team (The Elizabeth Nieves Realty Group) almost 10 years ago

I kind of like that couch. Is it for sale? : ) Mother Lode Master

Posted by Mother Lode, Real Estate Master (Real Living Sugar Pine Realty) almost 10 years ago

Great post, I agree with all of these. The dog doesn't even have to be mean and ferocious, a small dog barking incessantly will turn off many buyers and would make me want to leave as soon as possible.

Posted by Matthew Quackenbush (Matt Quackenbush at Keller Williams Realty, Albany New York) almost 10 years ago

Very sound advice!  I will link to this blog on my site if that's okay.

Posted by Sassy Skelton (Staged Right Professional Home Staging Colorado Springs) almost 10 years ago

Hi Brian,  That whole pet thing is amazing, isn't it ?  Not all potential buyers are pet lovers !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 10 years ago

Dogs, and anything related to what they leave behind on the lawn or in the house. Pets are never a good thing to show off.

Posted by Everard Korthals, Mountain Realty (---Preferred Lifestyle Advisors---) almost 10 years ago

A great post Brian... very informations and a great reminder to us all... I bet that the pet problem is biggest turn off of them all...

Posted by Patt M. Judd, Realtor - Your Cookeville Connection (First Realty Company) almost 10 years ago

Great pictures to emphasize your point... and a great point at that! Seller's should take note and we as professionals should help remind sellers!

Cheers, Kara Sommerville

Posted by Kara Sommerville (Sommerville Real Estate Group) almost 10 years ago

Brian: All very good points. I would also say "clean up the yard". Nothing says "this house is going to take a lot of work" than a weedy, unmowed front yard, rusted out beater car in the driveway, yard furniture (or living room furniture, for that matter, laying on its side in the bushes. It truly is the first thing people see when they drive up, and it makes a huge difference in their perception of the house. Thanks for the post. Its a good list.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) almost 10 years ago

The doggie and kitty issue is a pesky one-- seems a lot of people do not get that both their animal is more safe and secure all crated up for a showing and it also means more people will want to go inside the home.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) almost 10 years ago

Just had this problem today - my seller's dog was attacking the door, and the buyer agent would not go inside...nor would the buyer.  Gee, I wonder why?  (Dog is going to be removed so that's good news.)

Posted by Karen Rice, Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales (Davis R. Chant, REALTORS) almost 10 years ago

Brian:  Great photo representation of each of the turn-offs!  Congrats on that little gold star too!

Debe in Charlotte 

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 10 years ago

Brian - You forgot to put my sofa back in my house after taking a pic for your blog!

Posted by Tchaka Owen (Galleria International Realty) almost 10 years ago

Hi Brian - I enjoyed reading the post and the comments!  Couldn't agree more with you.

Posted by Margaret Mitchell, Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty) almost 10 years ago

Brian, I agee with most with one exception~ Big Don't on my list for sellers: Air Fresheners. They contain petrochemical compounds like benzene, formadehyde & phylates that are extremely irritating to some folks . Causing headaches, sinus infammation, palpitations, & Asthma. The  compounds are also carcinogenic.

JUST SAY NO to these & Scented Candles They give off VOCS which adhere to the carpet & sheetrock. Its like a home of a heavy smoker. You can't get rid of these scents!  Sellers, Go green! Open windows, & use some cinnamon sticks, cloves or pumpkin pie spice in a cup of water, microwave or boil in a pot before showings before showings.

Posted by Ginger Sala, Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~ (Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC) almost 10 years ago

Brian, I liked the photos along with the comments the way you did them.  It seems so obvious to all of us who are real estate agents, but too many sellers just don't get it.  I once spent months trying to convince a seller to open her blinds and turn on a few lights before showings - the house was a tomb most of the time because she kept all the blinds closed.  So frustrating, and unnecessary! 


Posted by Liz Householder, Prudential Ct Realty, Colchester, CT almost 10 years ago

The dogs really get to me, I once pulled up to a country home and two huge Rottweiler's came running up to the driveway, believe me, I did not want to get out of my car.  I called the listing office and said that I was going to call my buyers and suggest skipping the home, they called the seller and it turns out that there was an invisible fence that went up near the drive, but the dogs wouldn't go past it to eat us.  I showed the home, but didn't like trusting something invisible to keep me safe. 

Another time I showed a home with a big German Sheppard in the yard.  It let us in the home, but when we tried to leave it stood outside the back door growling and baring its teeth at us.  The front door was blocked by a couch and wasn't used by the sellers, but we moved that couch and snuck out the front making a run for our cars.  Once again I had to call the listing office to let them know the front door was now unlocked but no way was I going back there.

Posted by Beth Anderson, Realtor - Tecumseh / Lenawee County (Goedert Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Good job, there are more than the 5 though!

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 10 years ago

Brian, Great post, great pictures! Some of this seems so no brainer, yet people really do need to be reminded. Thanks for keeping us focused.

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) almost 10 years ago

So I take over a listing....and the husband blows his brains out in the basement, creating a mess beyond imagination.  Obviously, we took the home temporarily off the market trying to analyze what to do.  That week a realtor called to see the home and we told them what happened and to be prepared for an aweful site and odor.  The client bought the is.

Moral of the story: I will never understand this business.

Posted by TIM MONCRIEF, Over 2,000 homes sold….. (Keller Williams Realty) almost 10 years ago

Thanks for the info,  you made important points with a little bit of humor.

Posted by DeAndrea "Dee Dee" Jones, The NorthernVARealEstateLady & DMVRealEstateChick (Home Buyers Marketing II, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

I'm all for energy savings - I have all CF bulbs in my whole house (over 100 bulbs I believe). But when it comes time to sell, the areas that need a boost will get some high wattage incandescents!

Posted by Benjamin Clark, Buyer's Agent - Certified Negotiation Expert (Homebuyer Representation, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Brian, fantastic post!! What a great way to educate sellers. Two thumbs up!

Posted by Kristen Wahl, CBR (Re/Max Plus) almost 10 years ago

Brian...shortly after I put that couch out on the curb, I kinda decided that it would work for a doggie bed in the garage. Can I have it back?

Posted by Thom Abbott, Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale ( |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living) almost 10 years ago

Excellent post, Brian, with great pictures to illustrate your points.  I showed a house just yesterday that was recently vacated.  The odor was the strangest thing I have ever smelled, not urine, not smoke, just a really funky smell.  I like your comment about darkness being one of the plagues.  Now that it's getting darker earlier, it's hard to show more than a couple of homes in the evenings.  Sellers:  please leave some lights on!  I don't know where the switches are.

Posted by Pam Ghanaati (Metropolitan Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Brian - Great info for sellers and it was so much fun to read!  Somehow I missed this when you first posted and just read the reblog on Bill's site.  However I wanted to stop by here to comment as well.

Posted by Pam Dent, REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse (Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Great simple, standard tips for sellers. The worst turn off is the smell. If you open that door and there is an odor of ANY sort (even if its from cooking, etc.), that is the FIRST impression the buyer got and a hard one to erase.

Posted by Winter Baserva, Realtor -Homes For Sale, Atlanta, GA (Seasons Realty Group of Solid Source Realty, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Great post and most homes do not have basements here in coastal California.

Posted by Pete Xavier, Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide (Investments to Luxury) over 5 years ago