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    4 Things That Turn Home Buyers Off

    With military families frequently moving due to PCS orders, finding a perfect home isn't always the priority. However, certain issues in your home can deter even the most relaxed military home buyer. From neglected repairs and maintenance to a lack of curb appeal and overpricing, understanding what turns military buyers off is crucial for sellers looking to attract this unique market.

    Let's explore four factors that can discourage home buyers along with tips to help sellers navigate through the market towards a successful sale.

    home's roof missing shingles

    Photo from Canva

    1) A home in poor condition.

    While some home buyers are on the hunt to flip a house for profit, you rarely find a buyer—especially a military home buyer—who wants to purchase a dilapidated house. Outdated finishes and color schemes are easily changeable, but poor condition overall indicates signs of neglect throughout the home.

    Structural Issues

    Issues with the foundation or roof can show up as cracks in the walls, floor, and ceilings. These repairs can be costly, and sellers struggle to find a buyer willing to undertake the expenses associated with such substantial issues.

    Strange Odors

    Off-putting odors can be a major deal-breaker for potential home buyers, leaving a lasting negative impression that may deter them from fully considering your property. Rather than masking odors with scented candles or air fresheners, tackle the root cause by shampooing or replacing carpets and addressing the source of the odor before showcasing your home at open houses. Using excessive air fresheners or candles can signal to buyers that you're trying to hide an underlying issue.

    Water Damage

    Signs of water damage, such as stains on the walls, ceiling, and floor, are indicative of a larger and more costly underlying issue. The thought of paying for expensive repairs or replacement of a water heater,  leaky roof, or improper plumbing will be a deterrent to a potential buyer.

    Additionally, if water damage is present, there's likely mold or mildew growth, requiring another costly fix. Mold treatment alone can run into the thousands of dollars, and this doesn’t include the costs to remediate the source of the issue.

    bucket catching water from leaking roof

    Photo from Canva 

    2) No curb appeal. 

    Curb appeal plays a crucial role in attracting home buyers. It’s the very first impression you make on home buyers and it can either get them in the door or send them running in the opposite direction. Overgrown landscaping, a dirty and outdated exterior, a leaning mailbox, and stained pavement all signal neglect to a home shopper.

    Spruce up the exterior in a few simple steps: 

    • Add some potted plants. 
    • Put a fresh coat of paint on the exterior. 
    • Pressure-wash the pavement. 
    • Add a vibrant wreath to the front door. 

    While these small steps can enhance your home’s curb appeal, they won't overshadow larger imperfections such as a cracked driveway, rotted railings, a bare yard, and peeling paint. These issues represent significant repairs for potential buyers and should be addressed.

    yard with sparse grass and front door

    Photo from Canva

    3) The home's location.  

    Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about the location of your home. For military  members buying a home, proximity to the installation is a priority, along with safety for the family and great school districts. 

    If your home doesn't hit the mark on these crucial elements, shift the focus and emphasize how the home's location can enhance the service member's goal of a better work/life balance. If the nearest school is less than ideal, provide information to potential buyers about opting into another school district (if that's possible).  

    Share what sold you on the home by focusing on the positives, such as: 

    • Nearby walking/biking trails
    • The community 
    • Quieter area 
    • Less traffic 
    • Walking distance to restaurants and stores

    4) An overpriced home.   

    An overpriced house is one of the biggest turn-offs for home buyers. Everyone seeks the best value for their money, and a home lacking desirable features with a high price tag will deter buyers from even considering it.

    Overpricing suggests to potential buyers that you may be emotionally attached to the property, haven't conducted a comparative market analysis, and might be difficult to negotiate with or potentially unwilling to negotiate.

    To avoid overpricing your property: 

    • Research the local real estate market to better understand current trends and comparable sales.
    • Consider factors like location, size, condition, amenities, and current BAH rates for the area. 
    • Consult with real estate agents or appraisers for professional insights. 
    • Be realistic about your expectations and avoid letting emotions influence pricing decisions. 

    Recognizing and addressing the factors that turn home buyers off is essential for sellers looking to make a sale in this market. By paying attention to details such as curb appeal, pricing, and other key considerations, sellers can better attract buyers and, ultimately, celebrate a successful home sale.

    Looking for more home selling help? Our free guide below will walk you through the home selling process from listing to closing. 

    Guide to Selling Your Home

    4 Things That Turn Homebuyers Off

    Danielle Keech


    Danielle Keech

    Danielle Keech is a writer and content creator for MilitaryByOwner Advertising. She writes on military life topics, highlights clients’ open houses on social media, and manages the Military PCS Facebook group. She especially enjoys covering financial topics and helping military families exercise financial responsibility and plan for the future. Danielle has been a Marine Corps spouse for ten years (and counting!) and is a momma to four littles and one fur baby. She and her pilot spouse have lived in Virginia, Florida, Texas, California, Hawaii, and, most recently, Okinawa, Japan. And yes, you guessed it, Hawaii is her favorite duty station to date! Find MilitaryByOwner's Millitary PCS group here.

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