Real Estate Buying

9 Unexpected Turnoffs for Home Buyers

When you put your home up for sale, you need to put in quite a bit of work to make it an attractive competitor on the real estate market. Location, price, and a host of other factors affect its desirability, but proper staging is important too. Knowing the tricks of the trade will help you set the most appealing scene, but it's also wise to brush up on what not to do. Here, we share 9 well-intentioned but rarely successful staging tactics to avoid when you’re trying to put your best foot forward.

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Don't Overdress the Windows

While it may be tempting to spruce up your living space with some fancy new drapes or snazzy blinds, resist the urge. They might not align with your buyers’ tastes, and they’ll also block sunlight—a priceless commodity that works in your favor when you’re trying to sell a home. You’ll be better off simply drawing up your existing blinds and pulling back those old curtains to brighten both your space and your chances of making a sale. 

Related: 10 Simple Tricks to Make Buyers Love Your Home

Don't Bake Some Treats

For what feels like eons, real estate agents insisted on baking cookies just before an open house to make a home feel cozy and welcoming. While the idea was nice at first, over time it grew to be seen as what it was: little more than a sales ploy. Nowadays, you can skip the baking until you’ve moved into your new kitchen. Celebratory sugar cookies, anyone?

Related: 9 Age-Old Real Estate Tips to Ignore Completely

Don't Scent It Up

It’s wise to get your home smelling crisp and clean before prospective buyers arrive, but when it comes to scent, less is more. Fragrance is a very personal thing, and though your favorite aromatherapy candles smell heavenly to you, your buyers’ noses might disagree. Ditch those scented votives in favor of a subtle but great-smelling surface cleaner and some good old-fashioned fresh air instead.

Related: 7 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh

Don't Play Music

It might sound charming in theory to have room-inspired tunes playing throughout the house as buyers walk through, but this is one open-house fad that’s unlikely to last. The reality is that your buyers will leave the open house feeling annoyed, not inspired, by the unwanted melody now stuck in their heads. 

Related: 9 Mistakes Not to Make When Selling Your Home

Don't Accessorize

In your excitement to make a good first impression, it’s easy to overdo it on decor and cover every last surface with tchotchkes and photographs. The key to drawing in buyers, however, is to keep the space neutral and give visitors a chance to imagine themselves living there, not you. Instead of cluttering up their view with quirky items, hide your possessions from view to let their imaginations fill each room with their own belongings.

Related: 23 Insanely Clever Ways to Beat Clutter

Don't Go All Matchy-Matchy

Today’s home buyers are looking for places with character and charm. While it’s fine to upgrade a few furnishings to make your home more attractive to prospective buyers, do yourself a favor by steering clear of matched sets. Too much uniformity can actually make your home feel dated rather than timeless, so mix it up by pulling in furniture that differs slightly in color or style but still looks like it belongs in your space.

Related: 11 Home Staging Tricks That Don’t Cost a Penny

Don't Overdo the Holidays

If your home goes on the market in the fall, you might feel inclined to go overboard with holiday decor; after all, everyone loves a festive abode, right? Not so fast. You want to let potential buyers consider themselves living in your place, so don’t distract them with twinkling lights, bright decorations or faux fall foliage that they might not have chosen for themselves. Keep the slate as blank as possible, and let your home sell itself.

Related: The 12 Best Holiday Hacks of All Time

Don't Go Dark

Rooms painted in deep, dark colors have become a popular design trend over the past few years, and for good reason: They can be lush, elegant, and dramatic when balanced with the right furnishings. Even so, don’t be lured to the dark side when you’re setting the stage for a sale. Why? Because homes with lots of dark rooms are notoriously harder to sell.

Related: 11 Problems You Can Solve with Paint

Don't Hang Art Too High

A simple trick that can greatly improve a buyer’s perspective on your property, quite literally, is to make sure wall art is centered at eye level (or about five to five and a half feet above the floor). Many well-intentioned homeowners hang their art at the six- or seven-foot mark, which can make a room feel awkward or unwelcoming. 

Related: 21 Totally Free Ways to Upgrade Your Home