Skip to main content

21OAK may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

No sale: Homebuyers reveal their biggest deal-breakers

There are many factors to take into consideration when buying a home. Every homebuyer has a list of “must-haves” and “would-like-to-haves” that they look for in their search. Similarly, most homebuyers have deal-breakers — the less-than-ideal aspects of a house that they find difficult to overlook.

Common deal-breakers include issues with weatherproofing and a significant number of repairs needed in the home, according to a study conducted by HomeAdvisor. Depending on the length of their deal-breaker list, budget, and the real estate market in the area, homebuyers could see deal-breakers popping up on their house hunt left and right. 

Related Videos

Although deal-breakers may be an inevitable part of a homebuyer’s wish list, there are ways to get around them by easily fixing up sore spots in what’s otherwise a dream house. Here’s what that HomeAdvisor poll found to be the biggest home-buying deal-breakers and how to, well, deal with them, whether you’re selling the house or buying it.

man in front of house for sale
LightField Studios/Shutterstock

Exterior issues

Forty-nine percent of homebuyers surveyed were willing to judge a house by its curb appeal. Exterior issues, such as damaged or discolored siding, topped the list of concerns among homebuyers in HomeAdvisor’s study.

Outward appearances clearly mean a lot to homebuyers; if the house isn’t presentable from the outside, they don’t want it. To address this, we recommend a do-it-yourself paint job. Painting the exterior of a home goes a long way to hide its imperfections, and you don’t even have to spend extra cash hiring someone else to do it.

Cracked walls or ceilings

Of course, the interior matters a whole lot, too. In the HomeAdvisor poll, 41 percent of homebuyers mentioned cracked walls or ceilings as a huge deal-breaker. Not only do they not look pretty, but cracks can bring up concerns about cold drafts from outside or potential leaking, as well. They can also be a sign of structural issues.

First, determine if you have a structural issue that demands immediate attention or if the issue is purely cosmetic. If it’s the latter and there are holes and cracks in the drywall, consider repairing the drywall. It’s simple and takes less time than you think. And sometimes, paint can help in these situations, too!

Weatherproofing issues in an area of the house

Making sure that a home can withstand the elements is a top priority for homebuyers — 46 percent surveyed by HomeAdvisor had insufficient weatherproofing on their list of deal-breakers. Flooding is a huge concern because moisture can lead to the growth of mold, which has potential health impacts. Leaks are another big concern — no one wants to constantly patch up holes in the ceiling when it rains.

There are quite a few fixes for water in your home that could put homebuyers at ease when it comes to their future pad. In many cases, simple repairs can go a long way.

Drainage issues

Many homebuyers are concerned about potential drainage issues in the kitchen and bathroom of their future house. Plumbing problems can cause structural damages and waste money on water. Forty percent of homeowners surveyed said drainage issues were a major deal-breaker for them.

Some plumbing and drainage issues will definitely require you to hire a professional. However, if you’re dealing with a leaky faucet, it’s most likely a simple fix you can do yourself.

A significant number of repairs needed

Ultimately, homebuyers want to get the best bang for their buck. Forty-four percent said that they wouldn’t buy a house if “a significant number of repairs” needed to be made. Costs of repairs in a home can really add up unless you take the task on yourself, which is sometimes possible but not always.

Bad remodel work

Along the same vein, 41 percent of homebuyers said they would be discouraged from buying a home if it had bad remodel work. This would mean they’d have to do their own remodeling in the future, costing them more money on top of the price of the home.

When buying a house, the majority of people will be on a budget of some kind. But that doesn’t mean your dream home can’t be well within reach, or that you won’t be able to sell your house if it has these problems. There are many easy, do-it-yourself fixes to common problems in homes.

In other words, deal-breakers don’t always have to be deal-breakers if you are willing to find a reasonable solution. Of course, some things will be impossible to look past — 43% surveyed said obvious flaws in the foundation was a deal-breaker, while 33% pointed to the age of the home (and that’s obviously not something you can change). But you may be surprised how turning a deal-breaker into a project can transform parts of a home that are looking drab into a nonissue for both the seller and the homebuyer. If you’re selling, it is important to get these fixes done if you want buyers to fall in love with the home and pay top-dollar. If you’re a buyer and you see these issues, know that they don’t have to make or break the sale.

Editors' Recommendations

These are the household products Reddit agrees you should always buy brand name
Here are the household products worth your investment
cool upcycled entertainment unit idea beautiful women painting cabinet trim

Household products can add up, especially when you consider all the different types you need to keep on hand as a homeowner. It's a highly lucrative field, and many manufacturers make knock-off versions that promise the same high quality as the original at a fraction of the price. But which products should you spend a little extra money on? What items have a reputation that stands the test of time? The Reddit subgroup r/frugal asked that very question, and plenty of people weighed in on the best household products that you should never skimp on.

The question was posed: "What everyday items should you not get the cheaper versions of? Sometimes companies have a higher price for their products even when there is no increase in quality. Sometimes there is a noticeable increase in quality. What are some everyday purchases that you shouldn’t cheap out on?" The poster of the question added his opinion, writing, "One that I learned recently: bin bags," to which we enthusiastically agree.

Read more
The house maintenance tasks homeowners think first-time buyers should know
A few considerations when buying your first home
try these 11 bathroom diys you can do in one hour plumber

Buying a home for the first time isn't for the faint of heart. There are so many decisions you need to make and so many considerations to keep in mind before you sign on the dotted line. The biggest worry (beyond the biggest financial investment you're making) is what you don't know, especially regarding house maintenance. Luckily, we have the expertise of those who have come before us.

Redditor theforeverletter recently posed this question on the r/Home Improvement subreddit: "Homeowners who have been doing this for [a while], what regular maintenance do people need to do to their house they don’t know they should be doing? For those of you who know far more than me, I bought a house last year; what things do I/other first-time homeowners need to do to keep up with everything we may not know? Of course, this depends on the house (Septic/city water crawl space/no crawl space) and things can vary, but happy to learn as much as I can!" Hundreds of people were happy to share their advice, and we've taken some of the most popular, so you know what to look out for.

Read more
The 9 tips pro shoppers wish they knew their first time shopping at Costco
Shopping at Costco is easy with this handy guide
tips for first time shopping at costco interior

Shopping at Costco is not for the faint of heart. The aisles are massive, the weekend crowds are huge (which is why you should consider weekday trips), and there’s just so much to look at. It’s pretty inevitable: You go in expecting to buy a rotisserie chicken and some frozen foods, and somehow you also walk out with a TV, a few new sweaters, and Christmas decorations you’re not 100% sure you need. If it’s your first time shopping at Costco, it can be a little overwhelming. Luckily, a few pros recently took to Reddit to share their best tips for Costco shopping.

1. Always get a cart
“Always, always grab a cart when you go in, even if you’re convinced you’re only getting one thing,” warned lead_injection.
2. Get the rotisserie chicken
 User iWillNeverReplyToYou put it succinctly: "1. Always get a rotisserie chicken. 2. Never not get a rotisserie chicken.”

Read more