From pet beds to princess palaces, here are 10 features that could make your home less attractive to home buyers.

1: Turning Your Garage Into A Family Room

As a Realtor, I see this infraction happening more often than you’d think. But most home buyers want a secure, covered place to park their cars. This is especially true in NJ when the the sun beats down on leather seats during the summer.

So when you turn the garage into a family room, you’re going to repel most home buyers by default. Furthermore, what if your buyer doesn’t have a family? Or what if they would prefer to gather with their family in the home, instead of the garage?

The garage should be used a storage location — Not only for cars, but for lawn mowers, boxes, holiday decorations, and other household items.

2: Converting A Bedroom Into Something Else

There’s a reason why the first question that a home buyer asks a real estate agent is, “How many bedrooms does it have?”

This is because bedrooms are essential to the home — And lots of home buyers in the Essex & Morris county have families. Here, home buyers are often looking for a new home because they need more space — Sometimes that means having a baby, getting married, caring for a family member, or planning to do any of these things in the near future. If the home can’t accommodate these needs, they are going to move on.

If you have to convert a room into an office, playroom, man cave, craft room, or game room, make sure that it can easily be converted back to a bedroom. This means refraining form built in cabinets, special flooring, and wall mounts.

3: Laying Down Carpet Instead Of Hardwood Floors

This is one of the worst offenses that you can make anywhere in America. Carpet was cool in the 1950’s, but home buyers in the 21st century can’t stand it. Nowadays, most people believe it to be unsanitary, difficult to clean, and a heavy-duty magnet for allergens. Carpet is an absolute nightmare for parents with kids, owners of pets, and party-goers who love to entertain.

A worse offense occurs when buyers realize that there are hardwood floors located under the carpet. In this case, they automatically start calculating the cost of ripping up the carpet — Which always begs the question, “What condition are the hardwood floors in underneath?” And since they can’t see the floors, they get frustrated and just assume the worse.

One final note on this topic, if you want to repel and repulse buyers simultaneously, then make sure to carpet the bathrooms. I also see this when showing homes here in the area, and trust me, nothing will send a buyer out of your house quicker.

4: Turning Your Kids’ Rooms Into A Miniature Theme Park

If you turn your daughter’s room into a princess palace, you will immediately turn buyers away, because this communicates dollar signs. This is especially true if the home buyers have no children, teenage children, or all boys. The home buyer will have to paint the room back to neutral colors, tear down any miniature built-ins or doll houses, and remove decals, stickers, and hanging fixtures in order to bring the room back down to earth.

5: Adding An Above Ground Pool Or Trampoline

I’m sure that both items are barrels of fun, but when you’re selling a house, this is a huge turn off to potential buyers. Not only are they a huge eye sore, they often leave dead spots in the grass — And in the case of the pool, water damage on wood. Both are also huge safety hazards for parents with small children.

6: Leaving Dirty Dishes In The Sink

Dirt, in general, will repel any buyer walking through your home. But dirty dishes are one of the worst offenders because the kitchen is usually the first place buyers look when searching for a new home. The kitchen is the deal maker and the deal breaker. If you welcome them with dirty dishes, you can bet that you’ll be subjected to the latter.

7: Making Buyers Take Off Their Shoes

It’s totally understandable why a seller would request shoe removal. Lots of people walk through your home when it’s on the market and sellers hate the idea of having other people’s dirt tracked into their home.

However, buyers don’t want to be inconvenienced by taking off their shoes every time they enter a home either. Sometimes, home buyers will visit up to 5 homes in a day for weeks on end — That’s a lot of time, energy, and effort for shoe removal. Furthermore, if your floors aren’t clean, buyers won’t feel comfortable removing their shoes and will probably just leave the house, sight unseen.

The answer to this dilemma is simple: shoe covers. They can easily be purchased from the medical supply store and neither party will be inconvenienced by wearing them.  Plus, you get a laugh out of how goofy everyone looks.

8: Smoking Cigarettes In Every Room In The House, For Years

Cigarette smoke permeates into every part of the home — The walls, drapes, carpets, paneling, everything. Furthermore, cigarette smoke is often difficult to remove without hiring some serious experts to paint, wash, wipe, destroy, and rebuild. When you smoke in every room, you are communicating to potential buyers that they will have to put more money into to get the smell out. And this could be a costly process.

If you’ve participated in this offense, start mitigating your losses now. Relegate smoking to one part of the house, or better yet, outdoors. Start cleaning and painting rooms where you’ve smoked. Doing these simple things will help you to get top dollar for your house.

9: Putting Pets Front And Center

This is a hard fact to swallow, but not everyone loves puppies. Some home buyers will think that your dog’s bed is cute, and some will be visually assaulted. Some people have debilitating allergies to animals, some people are neat freaks, and some people just don’t like pets.

Even if your potential buyers are pet lovers, seeing your pet’s belongings with fur, saliva, dirt, or dust can be displeasing to the eyes and the nose. Make sure that all toys, beds, blankets, and litter boxes are out of sight.

One final note, make sure that your dog or cat is being held in a secure location. I once showed a home to a man who was afraid of dogs, and when the dog greeted us at the door, he ran back into the car. He never even saw the house.

10: Keeping Old Fixtures

Today’s home buyers want updated fixtures. This can be anything from granite counter tops, to stainless steel appliances, to LED lighting. Tile counter tops were cool in the 70’s, but now people just think that they are hard to clean. White appliances may have been hip in the 2000’s, but now buyers think they just look cheap compared to stainless steel. And brass chandeliers were awesome in the 90’s, but now people think that they’re cheesy. To get top dollar for your home, you must let them go.

It’s Your Home… For Now

Enjoy your home and do whatever you want with it. Just keep in mind that sometimes life throws you lemons and you may have to move. So before you convert the garage into a yoga studio, please keep your home’s resale value in mind.