Want a quick house sale? Here's what NOT to do

A speedy house sale is all about enhancing its appeal to buyers – and avoiding these top turn-offs

For sale sign outside a terraced town house
(Image credit: Getty)

If you're hoping for a quick house sale, you probably are aware of what turns on potential buyers: bright, big rooms, kerb appeal, and outside space. But what about the things that are turn-off and must be avoided when selling your home? 

A recent study of 2,000 adults commissioned by estate agent Purplebricks shows that first impressions work both ways, and a negative impression after a property viewing, whether physical or virtual, can seriously harm your chances of selling your home as quickly as possible. These are the top turn-offs that people feel strongly enough about to turn down a viewing or even seriously reconsider putting in an offer on a house.

1. Dark and small rooms

dark room

(Image credit: Unsplash/Abi Goldstein)

We like the dark decorating trend – but it's not the same as a dark and dingy room that's also small. If you do have a dark room in the house, consider visually enhancing it with artificial light. And – avoid heavy or dark curtains, as they'll make the room look even smaller. 

Read more about maximising daylight in your home in your guide. 

2. An overgrown garden

overgrown garden

(Image credit: Jonathan Farber)

Again, there's a fine line between a natural-looking garden and a garden that is overgrown and needs some love. You will know which one yours is, and if it's the latter, hire a gardener for a day: it won't cost you much, but can make a dramatic difference to how much your potential buyers like your home. 

Check out our gallery of garden ideas to inspire you. 

3. Dirty clothes and shoes on display

Basket full of laundry

(Image credit: Unsplash/Annie Spratt)

This is a big no-no for buyers, with many naming this as one of their top turn-offs. It's not just about dirty laundry either: don't line dry your clean laundry indoors on viewing day. Likewise, muddy trainers must never be left on display in the hallway or on the porch, and should never appear in the promotional photos. 

4. Garish colours

Pink toilet

(Image credit: Unsplash/Curology)

We like colour, and well-judged use of bright colours can enhance the look of your home. However, if you're not confident about which colours go together, or you know your taste is outside of the mainstream (for example, you follow the maximalist trend), then you might have to rethink the colour scheme of your home before putting it up for sale. Stick with calm neutral and you'll widen your pool of potential buyers. 

Start with our gallery of living room paint ideas to guide you.

5. Rooms made to look bigger than they really are 

Got a fancy fish-eye camera lens and think it's a good idea to make your living room look bigger in the pictures? It's not: prospective buyers are well aware of the distorting effects of specialist camera lenses, and will most likely give a property that is made to look bigger than it is a hard pass. Even if they do turn up for a viewing, they will most likely be annoyed that they've had to come to see a home that has been misrepresented online.

Instead, rethink the layout of your room, or – if you have the time and budget –consider going open plan. 

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Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.