What not to do: 8 Ways to send buyers running

It’s true, there’s no right way to sell a house, but you better believe there are wrong ways to go about it.

As broad as your pool potential buyers may be, they are still human, so they act like normal humans. This means there’s a “rulebook” when it comes to selling your home.

Buyers will never ever ever like to put up with dirty house, a smelly house or a cluttered house. So, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to imagine themselves living there.

Here are the eight things most likely to scare buyers. Ignore them at your own peril.

Being too clingy

It can be difficult to let go off your home, especially if you’ve lived there for a long time. But once you decide to sell, you need to commit.

It’s important that you give your agent room to do their job, and not micromanage. Allow your agent to schedule open homes so that potential buyers can see the space. You need to stay as objective as possible during this process so that your buyer can visualise their life in your home.


Walking into a property that is dusty and dirty is not going to work in your favour if you want maximum dollar for your home. So make an effort, and clean up or hire a professional to do it for you. And while you’re at it, be sure you address any wear and tear.


Certain smells can help to sell a home. The smell of just baked cookies, freshly cut flowers, all those lovely things. What we don’t want entering our noses is the smell of wet dog mixed with garbage juice.

So, focus on eliminating bad odours, open plenty of windows to allow the fresh air to flow, and refrain from cooking fish.


Really, there’s no excuse for a cluttered house. If you want to sell your property, now is the time to be putting things away. It doesn’ really matter where just get it hidden – in cupboards, in the garage or in a storage shed.

Think about decluttering and how you can be strategic. Eg, starting with the areas that buyers will spend most of their time. Engaging a professional organiser is often a good idea if you’re feeling overwhelmed as a pro will look at your clutter objectively.


Remember Goldilocks and the Three Bears, well the loved children’s tale and real estate have something in common. The temperature inside your property shouldn’t be too hot and shouldn’t be too cold, it should be just right.

Now, while this might not be a deal-breaker, buyers will get turned off if they’re uncomfortable. Ideally, you want to keep your property between 22°C and 26°C. And while you might see a little spike in your energy bills, the amount you spend creating the perfect atmosphere will look insignificant in comparison to the amount you make in the sale of your property. 

No photos

Would you buy something worth six figures or more sight unseen? I doubt it.

A photo says a thousand words and are the single most powerful tool to inspire a potential buyer. People either need to imagine their lives in your property, or they need to get an authentic impression of how it will stand up as an investment.

Work with your agent to create a series of photos that show your home in its best possible light. Fail to do so and you’ll shrink your target market dramatically.

Personal photographs

Always remember that potential buyers need to see themselves living in your home. So, you should create a blank canvas. That means removing any personal photographs.

The property should still be made to feel like a home, but any notes or documents that reveal your identity should be hidden away, as they often interfere with a buyer’s attempt to build an emotional connection.

Your agent

A good agent can make or break a sale. So, it’s important that you choose an agent with proven experience selling similar properties to yours.

Take advantage of realestate.com.au or Domain find an agent with a deep understanding of the local market. Ask them lots of questions about their experience and how they’d approach selling your property. You should even consider attending one of the agents open homes to see how they interact with buyers.