Nov 3, 2020

“Sorry, But That’s a Deal Breaker”

As an agent, you can tell immediately.

The client either shut down when you parked the car in front of the listing, on the way up the walkway, or once you opened the front door.

Something in the initial presentation of the home killed the deal, and there is nothing you can do to change their opinion.

Common Deal Killers

So what kills deals?

Any number of things can swing buyer opinion on a house, but there are a few common ones that consistently make buyers walk away.


Pets can be amazing companions, but they are not good for sales of homes.

We are a pet society, that generally considers our furry friends to be part of the family, but guess what? They don’t help you sell your home.

Being assaulted by a pet smell when you open the door is wholly unappealing. Having Rover come running to the front door to greet you is also not a great look. And having Fluffy the cat bolt out the front door the minute you open it is obviously a recipe for disaster.

We know you love your pets and we know that sometimes they have to be there, but I have never been in a situation where a pet has helped a deal. Whether present in reality or present in smell, when a buyer enters an obviously unkempt pet house, they might be more likely to look for other options.


‘We will have it replaced by closing,’ is a common refrain.

Sorry, that’s probably not going to cut it.

Dirty carpet, damaged wood floors, a broken window — it all actually really does matter. Unless the buyer is looking for a fixer-upper, no client wants to see anything that indicates that the owner has neglected the home. To buyers, dirty carpet means dirty floors underneath, a broken window pane means potential mold issues, and damaged wood floors that will never match again.

If you have items that need to be fixed, go ahead and fix them. If you have to choose a paint color, carpet color or any other selection, make them neutral and as universal as possible. (Even brand new carpet won’t help if it’s purple!)

Seller Present

If the showing is at 2, leave by 1:30, not 2:01.

Get out. Vamanos. Arrevaderchi.

Do not stay. Do not linger. 

Get out well before they get there.

I cannot stress this enough –– Buyers are seeking an emotional connection to their potential new home, and as long as you are there, they will not be able to imagine it as their own.

And I don’t care if you are Tony Robbins, your presence is not helpful.

We know –– sometimes agents run late and they may not get there until the end of the window. I’m sorry, but we don’t control schedules, traffic or other factors that interfere with an efficient showing.

If you see an agent still there, don’t come in and ask us if we have questions. Run an errand, visit a friend, go get gas — but don’t come in. We will leave soon enough and you can have your house back.

The Personal Stuff

I’ve seen it all –– nude pictures, suggestive statues, shrines to all sorts of things, political propaganda, handguns (seriously!), and a host of other items that give off a really weird or uncomfortable vibe.

Again, we recognize that these things mean something to you, but they don’t to your potential buyer. Resist the urge to be political, controversial, overly artistic or otherwise overly… eccentric. If you think that you might have an offensive piece of art, inappropriate picture, or other offbeat collection, you probably do and it probably needs to go elsewhere.


At the end of the day, it is still your house and you can do as you please. But you do so at the risk of costing yourself time, money, and frustration as the showings pile up but offers never come.

Marketing times matter and when you are constantly turning off buyers, the market begins to wonder what is wrong with your home. Stale listings, in any market, sell at a discount.