The 8 undesirable home décor features that put home buyers off

Garish décor isn't the only thing that puts prospective home buyers off, it has been revealed

undesirable features that put buyers off
(Image credit: TI Media)

First impressions are a huge factor in selling a property, so presenting your house in the best possible way and considering how it looks from the street should be the first place to start.

This means tidying up front gardens, painting tired woodwork and replacing front doors and windows if necessary.

Cracks, damp and mould on walls and ceiling present huge red flags to potential buyers so should be sorted properly before any viewings are arranged. Even clutter and dark rooms are a sure-fire way of putting doubt in buyers’ minds as to how well the rest of the property has been looked after.

The interior features that put home buyers off

Personal finance experts from website The Money Pig have compiled a list of undesirable home décor features that are almost guaranteed to ruin house viewings and limit the chances of selling your home.

1. Clutter

Dirty rooms, appliances, or furniture are a sure-fire way of putting doubt in buyers’ minds as to how well the rest of the property has been looked after, so keeping your home clean and tidy is really important.

2. Damp and mold

Signs of damp and mold are enough to stop the majority of homebuyers in their tracks, no matter how smitten they are with the rest of the house. Damp stains, stained ceilings and crumbling plaster work are all red flags, signaling a problem that could be expensive to sort out.

3. Dark rooms

Nobody enjoys living or even sitting in dark and dingy rooms, so you might want to consider getting brighter light bulbs or position lamps in strategic spots for viewings. Also think about replacing curtains or blinds with something light and translucent and position a mirror in the darkest corner of the room to reflect light.

4. No curb appeal

First impressions are a huge factor in selling a property, and often decisions will be made before buyers even set foot through the door. This means that you need your present your house in the best possible way and consider how it presents from the street (i.e. improve its curb appeal). You might have to replace a front door or windows, paint tired woodwork, and give everything a good clean. You could also plant a welcoming flower bed, and jet wash walkways.

5. Cracks in walls and ceilings

Home buyers’ number one concern is that the house they purchase may be hiding an expensive secret, so visible cracks in walls or ceilings are sure to set alarm bells ringing. But this doesn’t mean you should just bodge it or try to cover up the issue. If you can’t repair it, you need to be upfront with the buyers.

6. An overgrown garden

If your property has a garden with grass, make sure its been cut, hedges have been trimmed and flowerbeds weeded before viewings. This goes for all garden areas but particularly ones at the front, as this is the first impression potential buyers will get of your property. You don’t want to fall at the first hurdle.

7. Garish decoration

You’ll want to make it as easy as possible for prospective home buyers to imagine themselves living in your home, so that might mean giving it a quick paint job before arranging any viewings. If your personal décor choices are too garish – think elaborate wallpaper patterns or gaudy paint colors – buyers will have a hard time seeing past it. Choose instead inoffensive, neutral tones.

8. Noise

It's not so much a decor choice... but it may affect how you decorate: noise. Be it traffic noise or the noise from neighbors, potential buyers are always looking for a peaceful spot to buy – not one that's going to be stressful to live in and why your friends hate your house.

There are three ways to tackle this: one, hold viewings when you know neighbors are out at work and traffic is at its quietest; the other is to keep windows closed during viewings, and play subtle, calming music when buyers visit and ensure the garden has a water feature with a water feature that can disguise the noise. 

Finally, can your decor choices help? The most obvious is double-glazing that can shut out the noise of traffic – while soundproofing rooms and ceilings can make it harder to hear a neighbor's noise.

If you're ready to put your property on the market, it pays to research the best time to list it and make sure you've staged your home to perfection. 

Jennifer Ebert
Deputy Editor (Digital)

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.