The Top Turnoffs for Buyers that Prevent Home Sales

Chicago-based realtor Thomas Cox of Baird & Warner Elaborates on what home buyers are looking for.

Buying a home can be one of the most stressful yet exciting times in a person’s life, especially if it’s their first time doing so. But even when potential buyers get caught up in the process of purchasing a home, there are still factors that can block a sale from officially going through.

Thomas Cox is a realtor with Baird & Warner, and has more than two years of experience in the industry working with individuals, couples and families to find their dream home in Chicago. He spoke with ESTATENVY to help break down the top turnoffs for buyers when they are looking to move in to a new home.

Many times, buyers think that aesthetics are going to be the major turnoff when they are out looking at a home considering that they’re often one of the first things that people see. However, according to Cox, the number one turnoff for potential buyers are the property taxes associated with owning.

“Property taxes continue to be the number one turnoff for buyers when people are looking in both the city and suburbs,” Cox said. “They vary based on the area code, so while a home itself may be reasonably priced, the property taxes could push a home over someone’s budget.”

A second turnoff for home buyers, especially those looking into condominium communities, is low finance reserves. It’s not uncommon for buyers to look at condominiums because they make great use of limited land. But if there are special assessments involved to improve things like curb appeal, buyers may think twice.

“When special assessments are announced for a condominium community, buyers are instantly turned off. It sends the signal that updates need to be made to the community,” Cox said.

A third turnoff for buyers when trying to find the ideal home is location. While it may seem obvious, families and individuals typically set their budgets before they start house hunting, and often get hung up on a specific neighborhood. But once they start going on showings, they might realize that their neighborhood preference and budget don’t match.

“While the location of a home isn’t the number one turnoff, it still is certainly a major factor for buyers who are house hunting,” said Cox. “Location isn’t just limited to the physical address of a home. It also relates to a home’s proximity to schools, transportation, shopping and supermarkets, among other things.”

Cox also believes that parking can be a big turnoff for buyers, especially in major metropolitan areas. Oftentimes people searching for homes will have cars that they need spots for, and some homes don’t have a driveway or garage for parking.

In addition to convenience issues like parking, there are also aesthetic turnoffs that can block sales from being made final. But it’s not always the biggest physical attributes that deter potential buyers from taking that final leap. Cox says, “Some of the most glaring turnoffs that buyers pick up on are the small things, like whether or not window treatments, flooring or appliances have been updated. Those seemingly minor things can appear large to buyers.”

The final turnoff that buyers see is the deferred maintenance on a property. Cox explains that when homes aren’t maintained properly, buyers have a hard time envisioning themselves living in a particular space.

“Deferred maintenance that is often seen includes leaky pipes, an outdated furnace or an outdated water heater,” Cox said. “These can often be costly upgrades that buyers don’t want to incur when they are moving into their new home.”

Ultimately, a home that is on the market is not going to cross every “T” and dot ever “I” for every hunter that is looking for a new place. But by avoiding the aforementioned turnoffs, homeowners can greatly improve their chances of closing a sale.