These are the 5 things that we have found put prospective house buyers off the fastest.

  1. The house smells
  2. Your personal detritus is everywhere
  3. The house is a mess
  4. The pets are off putting
  5. The house looks uncared for

Most people decide whether they’re going to buy a house or not in less than an episode of EastEnders. So, every second counts from the moment they arrive outside your house.

Working with clients over the years, we are often asked to recommend ways to optimise the price of their house and the speed they can sell it. We aim to leave our clients positive about their house, how they can polish it up themselves and an action list for them.

We’re never as blunt as this – but these are the top 5 things that we have found put off prospective buyers that we aim to improve before the house goes on the market.


A bad smell is the most off-putting problem. Your prospective buyers have to imagine themselves living in your space and if it smells “off” then they’re not going to want to spend a lot of time looking around, let alone buying it.

Eliminate the odour before putting it on the market or at least try to make it less pungent.

First get rid of the cause. If you have a smoker in the house, it’s time to smoke outside. If it’s cat litter, then you need to deal with this daily, if it’s strong cooking smells (spices, deep fat frying, fish) it’s time not to cook those things for a while and if it’s got an old person’s smell it’s time to throw open the windows, and air it.

And then start with the cleaning.


It’s embarrassing to be in other people’s obvious personal space – whether it’s the bedroom or the bathroom. You want buyers to feel comfortable in your house, not imagining what goes on in there currently. No one wants to be shown an unmade bed, used tissues, dirty laundry on the floor, stray hairs in the bath, dirty toilet, the plunger, used razors, wet footprints on the shower mat, etc. You get my point?

Try to make it look as clear as a hotel room looks when you first enter. You want to clear all signs of personal life out of here if possible, get it really clean and style it.


As your prospective buyer walks through the front door, you want them to focus on how perfect your house could be for them, and not how messy or crowded it is. Put yourself in their shoes. They have no emotional attachment to this house yet. You have to help them fall in love with it.

Give it breathing space. Make sure everything has a home. Make it as minimalist as possible.

It’s time for the first declutter. Banish that messy pile of shoes from the front door mat. Put all the toys away. Clear the gaming equipment from the living room. Clear the surfaces everywhere. Hang all your clothes up. Clear out the cupboards. Clear out the loft/garage/shed.


Most people love pets, and those coming to view your house will love their own pets. But they’re unlikely to love the smell, mess and damage your pets have done to your house.

When you have viewings, clear away the food and water bowls, remove the pet beds and litter boxes and take the dog for a walk.

If you’re a reptile or spider lover, maybe cover the vivarium?


First impressions count, and if the front of your house and the back garden are unkempt and untidy, this naturally gives the prospective buyer the idea that the whole house is uncared for too.

People love gardens and outdoor space. Make sure yours is beautifully cared for so they can visualise themselves in it

So, to correct the 5 things that put off prospective house buyers,

  1. Your house needs to smell clean.
  2. Your personal spaces need to be as neutral as possible.
  3. The house needs to be as tidy and clutter-free as possible
  4. You need to keep signs of your pets to a minimum
  5. Make your house looked loved and looked after by tidying the garden – front and back

Remember that the prospective house buyers have no emotional attachment to your house yet so make it as easy as possible for them to fall in love with it. They will be seeing any number of other properties, so make sure yours stands out for the right reason.

It takes time and energy to prepare your house for market. If you would like a chat about how the Homemover Specialist could save you time and help with the preparations, contact us on 01483 255895 or by email. For more top tips and latest news from this new budding sector make sure you follow our Facebook  Twitter and Instagram pages.


Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash